Would you consider this to be ethical?

Hi everyone,

I’m still fairly new to the world of knitting and fiber arts in general, so I hope I’m not asking an inappropriate question : is it ok for an individual to buy a few undyed skeins in one place and commission an indie dyer to dye them? That would be for personal use only.

I knit mainly non-Superwash and minimally-processed yarns. That means that I buy mostly from small commercial brands or small producers that make or carry these types of yarns, and almost never from Indie dyers, because in my country (France) most of them work on Superwash bases that I (really) dislike. Particularly SW merino - which feels like 80% of the indie market in France. I found an indie dyer who I know loves rustic wool as well, but she too offers almost only SW bases, otherwise she can’t make a living. Since I really do love her work, I was wondering if I could just provide her with the yarns I want. I have 0 intention to learn how to dye yarn myself.

I’m not asking whether or not it is legal, because the answer might be country-specific (but if you have insights on the legal aspects, that’s interesting too). I wonder about the ethics of it. Any thoughts?

I don’t see any problem with doing that. The original seller is getting the price they want for the undyed skeins and the dyer will be paid for his or her work. You might choose to dye the yarn yourself or pay someone else to dye it for you.


If it were me, I might refuse to dye it because my dyes are formulated for the SW type of yarn & I would not want to take the risk of inconsistent results with other yarn. If you were unhappy, there would be the question of who is responsible for replacing the yarn. I don’t think either of you would feel responsible. It could be an ethical conundrum. Other than that, I can’t imagine it being a problem at all.


Oh good! Relieved to hear that. There was something to it that felt too good to be true!

Thanks - that’s a great point. I’m very ignorant about the dyeing process in general, so that’s something to consider. But honestly, I don’t see why the dyer should bear the risk if I ask for a customs order. I’d pay at least 50% in advance, if not full prepayment. As long as she makes me aware of the risks, that’s on me if I want to give it a go.

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Well that would go a long way toward reducing potential differences on views.

I have dyed, but I really dislike it. My favorite method is the continuous pot. Starting with one color & you keep adding other primary colors to achieve many different shades that are all related to each other. That gives maximum variety with minimum mess. But even so I don’t enjoy it.

I’ve admired one woman’s work. I’ve seen her videos. She achieves beautiful deep colors with multicolored specks throughout. I love it. But she runs at least 5 dyebaths at the same time. And each skein is dyed multiple times using differing resists. Then she steams it all to set the colors. I cannot imagine doing that. But it’s beautiful when done.
I have pictures on old SD cards of my endless pots samples. I’ll try and find it.

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I personally don’t see a problem. Have you ever asked any indie dyers about what you like? If you want it then you can bet others will. I’m in Spain and since Brexit I rarely buy from the UK now because the customs charges are insane. Because of that I’ve been seeking indie dyers and I found Monalaina
She sells on etsy and is so nice have a chat to her and see if she has or plans anything you like. With you being in France you wouldn’t get hammered with customs either.


Thanks, I’ll look her up! For now, I am sticking to commercial yarn - actually having a phase where I’m really into undyed yarn.