How to read a skein of hand dyed yarn -- Solids

Posted by Melanie Cheripka on

Truth be told it's really difficult for an indie dyer to get a truly solid color. More commonly referred to as "semi-solids" or "tonals" these yarns tend to have a subtle color change or varying shade effects as they knit up! In fact, when dyeing semi-solids for my personal stash, I purposefully dye them in a way that it won't be completely solid. I love to watch the different shades knit up! These gorgeous yarns gently shift from different shades of one color. The transitions are gradual, giving the yarn more depth and life than if it had been dyed a truly solid color. This gradual shift makes semi-solids the ideal choice when working with complicated stitch patterns or intricate lacework. These yarns are also great for pairing with your speckled and variegated yarns for those special colorwork projects.


  • Easy on the eyes; the gentle shifts in color are interesting but not overwhelming
  • Great for intricate lacework or complicated stitch patterns



  • Every skein is unique, even those from the same dyelot, so I suggest alternating rows (or every 2 rows) when using more than one skein

So what can you knit up with tonal yarns? Here are some lovely examples.

What do you think of solids--do you love them or hate them?

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