Monday, September 17, 2007
Riding the Wave of Interest in Hand-Dyes
I have customers who have been so successful at their handdye business that they have quit what they used to call their real job, and have become fulltime fiber artists. They're making a living at it too. When they write to me about trends they see in the demands of their own customers, I listen.
Lately, what I have been reading from these folks is that they foresee a need for good handdyed yarns in sport and DK weight. Their customers, who buy handdyes at fiber festivals, go back to the local yarn shops and tell the local shop owner that they wish they could find something like the handdyed yarn they got at such-and-such fiber festival. Shop owners have been responding with shelves full of Koigu and other yarns which have ridden on Koigu's success, especially in their choices of filling their sock shelves. First it was the self-patterning sock yarns which looked like Fair Isle, then it was the more muted yarns which mimicked handdyes, and now, they are actually buying your handdyes and stocking them on their shelves.
Not all knitters who see the lovely handdyed yarns are sock knitters. In fact, it has been said that there are fabulous talented knitters out there who have never knit a sock in their life! So, see? There is a huge market of sweater knitters, baby clothes knitters, shawl and shrug knitters out there and they are awaiting some lovely handdyed yarns in a little heavier weight.
What I hear is that the next wave of popularity of handdyes is in the sport weight and Dk weight. So, when I heard about a closeout on an upscale yarn, I decided to take a chance and buy all of it. What 'it' is is a blend of 15% silk with 85% superwash merino in a DK weight yarn. I have some of it shown on the SPECIALS page of my website. Other choices to try creating your own line of handdyed sweater yarns would be Kona Superwash (for the superwash customer) and two yarns from the non-superwash lineup, giving you some choice. Try Montana for a classic knitting weight yarn, and Licorice Twist for a visually interesting yarn. (Remember the Licorice Twist is a 4-ply with some superwash merino in the blend, and the SW takes up more dye than the non-superwash, giving the yarn a candycane look. When knit into fabric, though, Licorice Twist gives a sort of heathered look. Very nice, and lots of fun to dye, too.)
Trends and fashions change, and in the knitting and crochet world, we are a part of the next wave of interest. Our luck, though, is that we can see it coming! Think about it.