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Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing

A Lesson Before Dyeing

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Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing

Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing by Barbara Parry.


Wiley's Teach Yourself Visually series is a great resource for visual-oriented learners, and Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing by Barbara Perry is no exception. This book is chock-full of just about every technique you could think of for dyeing yarn, fleece and roving, as well as ideas for choosing and combining colors, using hand-dyed yarn in knitting and spinning projects and more.

If you're new to the world of hand-dyeing or just want to sharpen your skills and expand your repitoire of techniques, this book is a must-read.

How to Dye and Why

The book begins with a discussion of why people might want to learn to hand-dye, a look at the necessary tools and safety tips to keep in mind and an overview of the different kinds of dyes and how they work with different fibers.

There are tips for preparing yarn, roving and wool locks for the dyeing process, and an education in working with color that includes two lessons: creating a color wheel of sample skeins and learning about color concepts by making yarns of different values, using complementary colors and creating tertiary color combinations.

These lessons are a great way to get started dyeing and will teach those who complete them a lot about how color works as well as the basic dyeing techniques.

Dyeing Ideas and Instructions

From there, Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing goes on to specific technique instructions, and there are a wide variety, including:

  • solid-shade immersion dyeing
  • creatings semi-solid skeins
  • making multicolored roving
  • dyeing silk scarves
  • hand-painting techniques
  • dip-dyed yarn
  • Kool-Aid dyed fiber made in a slow cooker
  • low-water, direct-pour dyeing
  • spray-painting fibers
  • dyeing with the help of the sun
  • using fiber-reactive dyes on plant-based fibers
  • overdyeing yarn
  • spinning hand-painted roving

There's also a section in the back of the book providing color inspiration, showing how different fibers and yarns were inspired by colors in nature, the seasons and food.

The instructions for each method include the necessary materials, how to prepare the fiber and dyes, making the dye bath where applicable and how to actually dye the yarn or roving. Pictures illustrate what to do for most steps, and tips often provide extra information to ensure success. Several chapters also have troubleshooting guides to help you prevent or correct common dyeing mistakes.

Bottom Line

Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing is probably the most comprehensive book on home dyeing methods that I've seen. Other books cover just dyeing wool, or just using natural dyes, or some other niche of the dyeing world, but this one covers just about all of it.

That makes it an excellent guide for new dyers as well as those who've been in one of those niches but want to branch out into, say, dyeing cotton or dyeing wool locks or roving to spin into yarn.

The book takes a bit of a scientific approach while also encouraging experimentation, so it's a good fit for dyers (or want-to-be dyers) of all stripes.

Publication date: April 2009

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 5 out of 5
, Member Samanthagy

I am from China. I love knitting and hope to learn more skills from this website. I am from China. I love knitting and hope to learn more skills from this website.

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