I got a unique opportunity….I got to tour Madeline Tosh yarns. I was at an industry meeting in Texas, and one of the highlights was getting to see the behind the scene action at the company.
That means, all the steps in the process of them obtaining, dyeing, and bringing their beautiful yarn to the hands of crocheters and knitters everywhere.
What was most surprising to me was that this large yarn company still does everything by hand. The steps were the same as those I have witnessed many times when stopping by the chat at Lisa Souza Dyeworks. Lisa is the only employee, doing all the work herself, and Madeline Tosh does all the same steps and handwork, but with many more people.
Tour Madeline Tosh: How it starts
The process starts with winding yarn into hanks from cones. Fortunately there is a machine that can help to wind a few hanks at a time. It still needs human interaction, and someone to create the ties that keep the hanks orderly.
These hanks are then organized by fiber contents (the yarn bases). Now they are ready to make it to the process to be dyed. When an order comes in, these bases are pulled and taken to a dyers “kitchen”. The warehouse had several kitchen stations set up. Each with an employee that would fulfill orders, dyeing 2 hanks at a time.
Tour Madeline Tosh: The Extras
If the order has “speckles” there is an additional special dye room. There is another employee that adds these extras. Just imagine speckling yarn…as a job…that just seems so cool.
Color is then set, and yarn dried before being wound and labeled. All by hand. This is also where they have quality checks to ensure that only the best gets sent out into the world.
All the employees seems like they are family, with many working for the company for several years. They help in new color creations and naming. It seems like the place where people actually want to work, and that is always a nice feeling.
I was surprised at how it really was just a larger version of what Lisa Souza Dyeworks does. I guess when you find the formula that works, you don’t mess with a good thing.
Some different yarn dyeing techniques
If you want to check out some of my more unusual dyeing techniques, check out Tissue paper dyeing, and Easter Egg dyes.