As many of you know I do get a good portion of the yarn I buy from independent dyers. This is not to say I don’t buy yarn from major companies any more; it is to say that when I have the choice and the money, the independent dyer often wins out.
I feel this way for a number of reasons:
1. I can build a real relationship with an independent dyer. Some of the dyers I use (I’m looking at you, Kellee and Melissa) have become real friends over the years, whether I’ve ever met them in person or not.
2. Independent dyers are primarily doing this because they love to create gorgeous yarns. Yes, when they earn money from it, it’s wonderful, but these are fellow creatives, and I will always support a creative over a corporation, given the choice.
3. The service. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I have never had bad service from an independent dyer. What I have had is friendly and excellent service, often accompanied by little surprises (of the pleasant sort) in my orders. I’ve gotten stickers, pencils, stitch markers, and once, I even was gifted with a travel kit of body essentials. Beats the heck out of a snarling clerk in a discount yarn store any day, let me tell you.
4. The yarn itself. I can order exactly what I want, in the yarn I want. And I have never had a dyer charge me more for a custom hank than they did for a hank they just came up with. I get the choice of yarn, too. That skein of Panda she did in DK – can I get it in sock or laceweight? Yep. And if she (or he, but most of the dyers I deal with are women) doesn’t have the particular weight I want, they will let me know when they are expecting their next shipment of it, as well as letting me know what they do have on hand in the weight I want.
5. Negotiating power. I am on a limited budget, and I have had independent dyers hold a color I fell in love with until my pension check comes in and clears. And if that is not possible, or if someone else has shown interest in the same skein(s), I have been able to work out deals where they would dye some up for me when I had the cash to spend on it. I have also been given wonderful discounts for being a loyal customer (and that also goes for independent pattern designers).
6. Finally, these are people who understand. They love fiber as much as i do; in all its colors, textures, and glory. They get it. There is an understanding between us, even when I am negotiating my first or second order, that their fiber is going to a good home, and that I will turn that fiber into something that I or someone else will love and cherish.
And I think that understanding is — quite possibly — the best part of dealing with an independent dyer. It’s what makes us sisters (and brothers) under the skin. We each understand and respect the effort the other one will put into creating our end result. And it’s a very seductive feeling. And it’s why I keep returning to independent dyers, spinners, and other creatives when I want really good yarn for something.