The Economy of Naked Yarn

Is there such a thing?

My forays into dyeing have been very few and far between.  I originally bought some natural yarn and acid dyes in June 2010 and dyed about 3,000 yards of yarn for me and a friend of mine.  Since then, I have only overdyed yarn and finished projects; however,the independence and creativity the prospect of dyeing presented has always appealed to me.

I love hand dyed yarns. I love the variegation and depth of colors that are rarely available in commercially processed yarns.  Unfortunately, finding hand dyed yarn in sweater quantities for me is difficult, as well as expensive.

Madelinetosh is a favorite of mine.  To make a plain pullover out of her worsted weight yarn would take about 1500 yards.  MadTosh Vintage is 200 yards and $19.20 a skein.  8 skeins is $153.60, plus tax and shipping.


That is not to say I have not paid it.  Still, ouch.  

A cardigan with cables would require about 2,000 yards...

In January, I found some 100% merino worsted weight undyed yarn from Catnip Yarns.  It is not the same base as the MadTosh.  I have no idea what that base is.  2,520 yards of the undyed merino worsted cost $79.60, which is $.03/yard; however, that does not include the dyes, synthroid, glauber salt, latex gloves, etc., that each vat of dye costs me.  The dye was $6.17 and the small percentage of the other items probably did not total another $3.00 per batch, so to dye 2,520 yards of worsted weight, it cost me roughly $88.77 or $.03523 per yard.

In comparison, the MadTosh is $.09/yard.

Naked yarn before the dye bath:

Naked yarn dressed in dye:

Albeit, this was only one of the four skeins.

No, it does not look like MadTosh above, but I do love the color, and I think I did a pretty good job getting the shade fairly even.

Moreover, I will have more than enough to make a richly cabled cardigan without fear of running out of yarn or breaking the bank.  Perhaps, something like Monami:

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Twisted is another favorite yarn.  

A couple of years ago, I used the above skeins to make a pullover. This yarn is a lovely Aran weight that has a strand of superwash wool intertwined with three plys of regular merino.  The superwash ply takes the dye darker, giving the knitted yarn a mottled look.  

Well, also in January, I found the same base at Catnip yarns called Licorice Twist.  I bought 2,100 yards of the Aran weight for $96.75 or $.046 per yard undyed (and adding the same cost per vat for dyeing from above, $.05044 per yard dyed).

Before dye:


The Blue Moon Fiber Art Twisted is $29.50 for a 560 yard skein.  That is $.05268 per yard. 

Wow.  That is only $.00224 difference per yard and a whopping $4.70 for 2,100 yards.  So, it would appear the Aran Licorice Twist is not quite the deal the worsted is.

However, while I had plans for the Aran Licorice, the second the yarn hit the dye pot, my younger daughter appeared and asked if the yarn would be appropriate for a sweater for her, specifically, a hoodie I had already knit for myself, the Everything Nice Hoodie.

As they say, dyeing yarn that is immediately appreciated by the twelve-year-old daughter:  Priceless.

In all, I had a delightful afternoon playing with yarn, color, and dyes!  Now, I cannot wait for the hanks to dry, so I can swatch.


Joy said…
I love both dye jobs but I think the twisted is my favorite. That blue is lovely.
Feisty said…
Oh, thank you, Joy!!

It is much prettier in person, too!

; )

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