Yes to Yarn Dyes

design, fabric, quilting, sewing

We get lots of questions about our Warp + Weft Premium Yarn Dyes from quilters who haven’t ever quilted with yarn dyes before so we thought it might be helpful to share some tips here.

What are yarn dyes? Are they different from shot cottons? How are they different from prints?

Prints are produced by laying a series of screens and inks on undyed cotton. The screens are applied to only one side so there’s a back and from to prints. Yarn dye refers to a category of fabric in which the patterns are woven, as opposed to printed. Each yarn is dyed a different color before the fabric is woven. The pattern is produced by weaving so the front and back of the fabric are identical unless one side has been brushed to create a flannel. Shot cottons are often a bit more coarse and nubby but are a category of yarn dyes.

Do you have to cut them perfectly straight and match the plaids over every seam?

This is a personal choice. In our Warp + Weft publication, we designed a series of patterns that allow the plaids, ginghams, and stripes to be used in ways that don’t require matching plaids or cutting the fabric totally straight. In addition, you’ll notice that the smaller the scale of the plaid the less noticeable it will be anyway. However, if you include yarn dyes in some patterns, you’ll have to decide how important it is to cut according to the weaving pattern. Our preference is to cut mostly straight but not worry if it’s 5% off. Some people love wonky angles in plaids and others will prefer to match plaids across seams. You be you!

Are they the same weight as shot cottons which are too thin for me?

Some of the yarn dyes on the market are thinner than quilting cottons and don’t hold their shape well when quilting. Warp + Weft Premium Yarn Dyes are the same weight as standard quilting cotton and slightly heavier with a tighter weave than other yarn dyes on the market. In prewashing, they shrink the same amount as standard prints. We recommend prewashing all fabric with Ivory Ultra dishwashing liquid and drying as you will the final quilt.

How can I mix them with other fabrics I own?

We designed this collection as we do all of our collections — to play well with others. Although the yarn dyes are multicolored, think of them as you would a print of the same hue. Focus on the color and mix them with abandon with batiks, prints, solids, chambrays, in every genre of fabric. These fabrics are chameleons. The magenta will look edgy with modern prints. The red will mix beautifully with feedsack or reproduction prints. Focus on color and mix it up! The more the merrier!

Please tag us on Instagram and Facebook and show us how you’re including Warp + Weft Premium Yarn Dyes in your projects!

One thought on “Yes to Yarn Dyes

  1. Love this quilt — I never cut my plaids straight — It is liberating! Remember grade 9 Home economics class and all that straightening — probably turned off a lot of potential sewers

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