We’ve worked hard to create methods that are efficient yet deliver a consistently high standard.

From beginning to end, every step of our process is done by hand with love and care. Here it is in a nutshell…

creating a list of what needs to be dyed > opening the bags of ten and sorting the quantities we need > adding cotton ties to each skein > pre-soaking overnight > hand-mixing the dyes > making sure dye lots are consistent > hanging the skeins to cool > post-soaking to remove the vinegar smell > rinsing one more time > hanging the skeins to dry > squeezing them gently to speed up drying > re-skeining to redistribute colors, remove all tangles, and prep for braiding > hand-braiding every skein > prepping the labels & hand-writing the colorway names > putting the labels on > packaging to ship

We’ve perfected various methods of kettle-dyeing so that we can offer a broad, ever-growing range of colorways that simply glow. Our goal is that every knitter find something that tickles their fancy and inspires a new project or design. While most of our colorways are one color, we have several techniques that create multi-colored yarns. Here are the types of colorways we’ve created so far…

SEMI-SOLIDS: one color with variations of light and dark to create depth
GLAZES: multiple dye baths that create subtle variations between different colors
DIP-DYES: two or more colors in long color repeats
TWISTY-DYES: two or more colors in short color repeats

The ideas for my colorways come from the inspiration I find in everyday life: food, flora, fauna, places, memories, smells, things I hold dear… Growing up close to the mountains of North Georgia gave me a love of mountain living, so a lot of my memories and favorite places are in the Appalachian Mountains where we went to apple festivals and pumpkin farms. I love food — raspberry tea, pecan pie, cinnamon chai, blackberries. And I love the beauty I find in God’s creation, like the new leaves of spring, blue oceans under a summer sky, golden sunlight in the fall, pale wisps of woodsmoke amongst evergreen boughs. I think perhaps that’s why our colorways glow: they’re inspired by a love of life itself, which is beautiful.

Back in 2011 when a dyer friend was doing my dyeing for me and my brand was just getting started, I wanted a unique presentation no one else in the industry had. I wanted to stand out in a market full of twisted skeins. So I asked God for a creative idea, and what popped into my head was: braided skeins. My sister and dye assistant, Jenn, figured out how to braid a skein, taught me how to do it, and the rest is history. Braiding takes a lot more time than twisting a skein, but that’s okay. It’s unique, it’s gorgeous, and it’s a lot less prone to coming undone because of where we loop the label. When I tell someone how to find my yarn, all I have to say is “look for the braided skeins.”

We want knitters and yarn shops to enjoy working with our yarns from the moment they go to wind a skein into a cake or ball. That’s why we re-skein every single skein after it’s dyed. It redistributes the colors so that it’s a more accurate representation of how it will look knitted up, but more importantly, it removes all tangles for a smooth ball-winding experience. It’s time-consuming, yes, but it’s been so worth it to hear from knitters and LYS owners alike that our yarns are a dream to wind.

Right now our bases come from a supplier here in the U.S. that works with mills around the world to create yarns for dyers like us. We love the yarns we get from them and know our customers do too, but we aren’t stopping there. Our vision for Annie Yarn is to begin working with mills directly to develop our own bases. It’s going to be an exciting journey, and we’re looking forward to the adventure of it.

Take a tour of the process of turning un-dyed hanks into the colorful braids knitters love…

{ photos are from my blog series on being a featured dyer with Yarnbox in 2013 }