Gail Callahan discovered weaving in the 1990's, leading her to a small business called The Kangaroo Weaver. A few years later, she began dyeing for personal use. The following year, Valley Yarns asked her to dye yarns exclusive to WEBS, America'sYarn Store, in Northampton, Massachusetts. She now teaches dyeing at WEBS, and continues to dye for them as well as for her own business, The Kangaroo Dyer. She is the author ofHand Dyeing Yarn andFleece.

Hand Dyeing Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan

Create one-of-a-kind fiber arts projects with "exciting and unusual techniques" from the woman known as The Kangaroo Dyer® and The Color Whisperer (CraftStylish).

Discover the colorful joys of hand dyeing your own yarn and fleece. It's easy, fun, and can be done right in your own kitchen! Self-taught dyer Gail Callahan shows you a variety of simple techniques to turn plain, outdated, or leftover yarn into vibrant "new" fibers using ovens, crockpots, frying pans, and other standard kitchen equipment. Detailed advice on color theory, self-striping, "grocery store" dyes, and handmade multicolor skeins make successful dyeing a cinch, even for complete beginners.



  • "Filled with a TON of information... This book would help anyone that is looking to learn more about yarn dyeing. Overall, I would recommend checking this book out and becoming inspired."

    – Amanda Crochets




Of the many reasons for dyeing my own yarns, what first dragged me kicking and screaming to dyeing was need. The lovely yarn I wanted to use for a weaving project was available only in white, but I wanted color. With some trepidation, I chose some green and blue dyes, partly because I love these colors and partly because I knew that if they were either accidentally or intentionally mixed together during the dye process or during the weaving, I couldn't go wrong. And it was true! With this success behind me, the world of dyeing possibilities opened endlessly before me, and it continues to inspire and tempt me on.

Need isn't the only reason — and perhaps not the most important one — to dye your own custom colors. I strongly believe that the more you are part of the creative process, the more invested you become in any project you undertake. A recent survey confirmed that people who've taken part in some way in creating their own yarn are more likely to complete their projects than those who did not, whether they've raised the sheep, spun the fiber, and/or dyed the yarn. Unfortunately, I can't have sheep (although I do sometimes fantasize about having pygmy sheep that could be domesticated!). However, I learned to spin because, as I began writing this book, I wanted to understand what happens to color during the spinning process. Like my first dyeing efforts, I tackled spinning out of necessity! For some dyeing initiates, however, with no compelling reasons to dye, curiosity is enough to spark their interest.

Some reasons to begin dyeing will quickly become apparent if you just examine your "stash." If you're like many of us, some of your yarns sit and collect dust because you no longer like their colors. You may have bought a skein at a great sale or inherited it from a friend's stash or have it left over from some long-ago project. These are all candidates for dyeing experiments. And even though this book focuses on protein fibers (see page 27), don't be deterred from dyeing fiber blends, including wools blended with synthetics. The protein fibers will accept the dyes beautifully, and you'll often get surprisingly lovely results on the remaining fibers.

Reason to Dye #1: Beautiful Fiber, Ugly Color

Unless the yarn is exceptionally dark, a dye bath can work wonders on a to-die-for fiber, transforming an ugly duckling into something very special. New life for old duds!

Reason to Dye #2: Specific Color

It's rare for a brand of yarn or fiber to carry enough colors to satisfy everyone's color needs. For instance, to create their intricate pictorial pieces, rug hookers and tapestry weavers require just the right shades and seldom can find enough colors to meet their needs.

Reason to Dye #3: Economy

A complicated project that requires many colors, such as stranded or intarsia knitting, can be exorbitantly expensive if you have to buy a skein for every color you want, even if you need only a small amount of many of the colors. If you dye your own yarns, however, you can wind off small lengths from a single skein and dye each a different shade in just the amounts you need. No need to limit the creative possibilities because you feel you need to stick to fewer colors than you'd really like to have.

Reason to Dye #4: Reuse and Recycle

Apart from your stash of yarns, consider woven, crocheted, or knit fabrics, either tucked away in the back of your closet or inexpensively available at thrift stores. Any of these can be dyed as is, then unraveled and reknit, or you may want to unravel the yarn before redyeing it.

Reason to Dye #5: Because You Want To

Why not? Become your own colorist. Personalize your work and expand your creative potential!