Hand-Dyed Yarn for Handmade Toys

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Using hand-dyed yarn for handmade toys is a true gift. After reading this post you will not only fall in love with Timbercreek Farm, but find that hand-dyed yarn doesn’t have to bust the budget. I’m also sharing some yarny gifts all the way from Holland and a new Nativity Crochet-a-Long from Crochet To Play.

I was having a particularly tough day last month. Missing my son who had left for college and feeling weary from everything 2020 has thrown at us all.

I was surprised to find not one, but TWO packages sitting on my front porch.

I was expecting the one from a farm in Maryland, but the other had traveled all the way from Holland and was a total surprise.

Teddy Bear pattern from Little Cotton Rabbits

Hand-Dyed Yarn for Handmade Toys

When Janet, from Timbercreek Farm reached out to see if I wanted to try her new hand-dyed yarn, I jumped at the chance.

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I’ve long admired Janet’s gorgeous farm and keeping up with all the antics her animals constantly get into. Check out her Instagram account to see what I mean.

When I opened my package from Janet, I was so surprised to find four skeins of hand-dyed yarn. Eeeeeekkkkk!!!

I’ve used 100% wool before and I’ve used hand-dyed yarn before, but I had never used yarn personally made from a farmer’s sheep.

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Timbercreek Farm Wool

I really enjoyed testing this wool and seeing how it compared to the two yarns I typically use to knit toys from the Little Cotton Rabbits.

Normally I make toys with Berroco Vintage Worsted and Paintbox Wool Mix Aran, two fantastic commercially available yarns.

But knowing that this yarn came from lovingly cared for sheep made my day.

Check out the Timbercreek Farm Etsy Shop to get the wool for yourself!

I could not be happier with how my little teddy bear turned out. The colors are gorgeous and the yarn doesn’t split, even a little bit. It has a bouncy texture to it and feels so good in the hand.

As I worked with the yarn I found a few differences that I think will be helpful to note for those familiar with knitting toys.

First Difference

First, my finished teddy bear worked up a bit smaller than the toys I’ve knit with other worsted weight yarns. This isn’t a bad thing at all, but something to note.

My teddy bear came out about an inch shorter than other toys I have made from the same patterns, using the same size needles for the body.

I did use the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino for the clothing. But, I ended up using 2.5mm needles to knit the sweater and shorts, which is a slightly smaller size than what the pattern calls for.

I would highly recommend doing that if you are using Timbercreek Wool for a Little Cotton Rabbits toy and the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino for the clothing.

Bunny, bear and fox patterns from Little Cotton Rabbits

Second Difference

The second difference is that the hand-dyed yarn is not quite as soft as the other yarns I typically use. But do not think for one second, that’s a negative.

I actually found it to be a positive.

For knitted toys, shaping is very important. You must shape as you stuff to achieve the desired result, you can’t just stuff and go like you can with crocheted amigurumi.

I was able to shape the teddy’s face quite easily and I think it gave him a better look and a lot more personality.

Third Difference

The third and final difference is a biggie.

The stitch definition with this yarn is incredible. I stopped using cotton yarn about two years ago due to tendonitis in my elbows, I’ve missed the definition that cotton yarns give to a project.

Check out my post: 10 Ways to Stop Pain from Crocheting & Knitting

Now you can have all the beautiful, clear stitches you want without the pain that cotton can cause. Since this yarn is 100% wool, it has a beautiful stretch that doesn’t stress my old joints and bones.

Affordability

One of the best features of this yarn is that it is extremely affordable. Most of the time hand-dyed yarn is outside of my price range for making handmade toys.

Typically, ethically sourced, 100% hand-dyed wool costs a small fortune, but not with the yarn from Timbercreek Farm. It is also dyed from natural botanical dyes, how amazing is that?

I used approximately 100 yards of the Timbercreek Farm wool to knit my little teddy and for only $8.50 that’s a real deal.

Hedgehog Fibers – Merino DK

The only other time I’ve used hand-dyed yarn for handmade toys when I designed Magik Kitty.

Although I’ve never published this pattern, I really did enjoy creating my bright and playful kitty.

I splurged and purchased the gorgeous hand-dyed wool from Hedgehog Fibers. This is not budget friendly yarn. It’s quite the opposite, but it was a dream to work with.

The variegated colors are vibrant and gorgeous. There was something very exciting about crocheting with this yarn and seeing what color popped up next.

Gifts from Holland

A true friend knows when you need a little pick-me-up…. and by pick-me-up I mean crafty gifts and chocolate.

The second surprise package came all the way from Holland from my Instagram friend, Dawn.

If you don’t already follow Dawn, she shares her crafting and daily adventures as a Brit living in Holland with her family on Youtube. Her channel is one of my favorites and I never miss an episode.

You can find Dawn’s Youtube channel here.

She sent me the most beautiful project bag and zippered notions pouch. The pink and white polka dots are soooooo sweet.

You can find Dawn’s Etsy Shop here.

Dawn also made me a beautiful pincushion and needle holder. Surprisingly I have never had a pincushion before and I am vowing right now to actually use this one (I have a bad habit of not using handmade things because in my mind I think they are too special).

And like a true girlfriend she sent me the most yummy Dutch chocolate. Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about delicious. I even shared a teeny tiny bit with my family.

What a treat it was to feel a little spoiled for a day, just when I needed it most.

Nativity Crochet-a-Long

And finally, have you seen the Nativity crochet-a-long that Jennifer from Crochet to Play is hosting?

I’m so excited about this project. I’ve been wanting to make this Nativity Set for over a year and I think a crochet-a-long will help me get it done once and for all.

It begins on September 27th and lasts through December 19th. From now until 9/26/20 you can get 20% off the pattern with the code CAL2020 on Ravelry or NATIVITYCAL on Etsy.

Link to Pattern on Ravelry – use the code CAL2020 for 20% off

Link to Pattern on Etsy use the code NATIVITYCAL for 20% off

Make sure to also join the Facebook group as a way to connect with the hundreds of others who are all joining in, sharing their Nativity sets and encouraging one another.

Hand-dyed Yarn for Handmade Toys

I hope you enjoyed this little crafty update. I really enjoyed this teddy bear project and hope you will try the wool from Timbercreek Farm.

Also if you join the Facebook group for the Nativity Crochet-a-Long make sure to say hello!

Happy Stitching!

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