Hand-Dyed Yarn Expert: Interview with Alyssa McCollum of Yarn for the Masses

March 2020 is Happily Hooked Magazines 6th birthday, and to celebrate, we enlisted the help of artisan and hand-dyed yarn expert, Alyssa McCollum, from Yarn for the Masses.
Alyssa set out to create a yarn that embodied our mission to create the happiest crochet place on earth.
We are so excited about our specialty yarn!  Thank you, Alyssa, for sharing your process with our readers and subscriber community!
Join Alyssa as she describes what it is like to hand-dye yarn, and the journey she takes while creating beautiful yarn for Happily Hooked Magazine – and the masses!

Happily Hooked Birthday Mandala

Happily Hooked Birthday Mandala by Kristi Simpson; yarn by Hand-Dyed by Yarn for the Masses

Meet the Maker

Alyssa McCullom of Yarn for the Masses

Alyssa McCollum of Yarn for the Masses

I am a mom, wife, music lover, and yarn enthusiast. If I am sitting (which isn't much with an active kiddo), I am normally crocheting or looking at patterns to start crocheting. I just started to knit, and I am the dyer behind Yarn For The Masses.

Hand-Dyed Yarn Expert: Interview with Alyssa McCollum of Yarn for the Masses

What was the inspiration behind the yarn colors you choose for the Happily Hooked hand-dyed yarn?

Courtney, Dennis, and I decided to use the three main colors of the magazine to create this colorway and celebrate Happily Hooked Magazine's 6th birthday. Each skein has pink, purple, and teal in it.

How long have you been hand-dyeing yarn?

I have been seriously dyeing yarn for about a year and a half. Once I decided to go for it, I did tons of experimenting and dyed lots of yarn.

Is dyeing yarn a passion for you?

I love yarn in general. Once I figured out how to dye acrylic yarn, I was hooked. I love being involved in more of the process to bring a project to life. Dyeing the yarn and then using it in a project brings me so much joy.

Is it easier to hand-dye natural fibers vs acrylic fibers?

I have only dyed wool once in a class I took. That felt easier to a certain extent because the dye stays where you put it a little better on wool and the process to heat and cool the wool was faster (especially since we used the microwave method). Dyeing acrylic takes a lot of patience and waiting. If you cool it too quickly, it gets crunchy which no one wants.
Placing color on acrylic yarn takes more time and sometimes the dye moves a bit more in the bath so you end up with mixed colors. Therefore, you have to be aware of what colors you could create should your dyes mix. Sometimes it ends up being beautiful, other times you end up with brown transitions.

Tell us about gathering inspiration for color combinations…

I get inspiration for colorways everywhere and I love flowers, so sometimes I will see a flower and work to match that color. Other inspiration includes ideas from fashion ads, inspirational posters, scenes in movies and TV shows. I love Hawaii, and I have found myself trying to capture the beauty of my many vacations there in my colorways, too. Basically, if I see it, and I love the colors, I am probably going to try it dye it.

Any tips for new yarn dyers?

Have fun and start with colors that make you smile. That will make the learning process fun and keep you motivated, even if something doesn't turn it exactly as you had hoped. Also, keep notes on what you did for every dye. When I started experimenting, I would just put colors on the yarn and see if it would work.
Alyssa, thank you for sharing your yarn-dyeing experience with our readers!  And thank you for creating such a stunning yarn lot for our limited edition birthday yarn
It was a raging success!
If you haven't checked out Happily Hooked Crochet Magazine…
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