Over-the-Counter Colors:
Hand-Dyed Yarns From Pine Tree Yarns

multicolored blue slubby yarn  A smoother multicolored blue  multicolored pink slubby yarn

The impetus for this entire color series came from a visit with Elaine Davey, owner and creative mind behind Pine Tree Yarns. Her hand-painted yarns produce some of the most stunning visual effects I have yet to see.

Painstaking Process

Elaine paints each skein by hand, rather than dipping entire cross-sections into the dye pot. The result is a multicolored yarn that doesn't produce awkward color stripes or blotches, which means you don't have to hassle with alternating skeins every other row.

The yarns have truly random color combinations, like a Jackson Pollock painting. The top right photo is an example using her thick-and-thin wool.

Creative Colors

Elaine finds color inspiration in her daily surroundings. One skein may have been inspired by a tidepool, while another came about after a particularly lovely sunset. Her ability to re-create these colors in yarn is uncanny.

Like Maie Landra and Koigu, Elaine isn't afraid to combine unusual or potentially chaotic colors. At the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival last spring, she had an outrageous mix of green colors in one sweater kit. Although it was too bright for me, I watched a customer zoom in on it and gleefully take it home with her.

Recently Elaine has been experimenting with a more minimalistic approach to her dyes, playing with the white space that is left if dye doesn't saturate the fiber completely. The middle yarn in the above photo is an example of this technique.

A Bargain at Twice the Price

Each skein takes four days to complete. Yet her yarns are reasonably priced.

One- and two-ply skeins are $20 and hold 350 and 250 yards, respectively. The thick-and-thin skein shown in the far-left photo was $28 and holds 160 yards, more than enough for a toasty scarf.

Elaine's work is elemplary of the best that hand-painted yarns can offer. She has been profiled in Vogue Knitting and is the secret source for many New York designers. Anything you make with her yarn is sure to be one-of-a-kind.

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