Lots of Lots

Like I mentioned in my dying posts, it’s really really ridiculously hard to dye two skeins of yarn separately and end up with the same color finished product.  Even for companies who do nothing but dye yarn all day.  Point in case:

WP_20130802_009(Pardon the cell phone pic.  I had to start knitting, so there wasn’t time for finding my camera…waiting for the sun to come out.  Don’t judge me.  I know I have a problem.)

I actually bought these three nano-skeins as a single mini skein. They were the ends of a couple different batches (aka. dye lots) of yarn, supposedly dyed the same way.  See how the one on the right is more olive-y?  See how the left one is greener?  And the one in the middle has a lot more blue in it?  When you buy hand-dyed yarn, you have to expect there will be a bit of variation in dye pattern between dye lots.  (Even mass-produced yarn has some variation between dye lots.)  Sometimes it’s subtle, but sometimes it’s super obvious.

How do you avoid this?  You’ve got two options:

Option 1:  Buy all your yarn from the same dye lot.  Look on the label, and you’ll see information about the color.  The colorway (the color the yarn is supposed to be) will be indicated.  Usually the colorway has a descriptive name (like Heather Gray, or Sunshine Yellow, or whatever), but sometimes it’s a serial number.  It depends on the company.  The dye lot will be indicated by a number.  It’ll be written “Lot:###” or “Dye Lot:###.”  Usually yarn stores will stock mostly one dye lot at a time, but check anyway, just to be sure.

If you can’t find enough skeins of yarn from the same dye lot, you can move on to Option 2:

Stripes.  Lots of stripes.  If you mix your yarn together (changing the yarn you work with every row or two), changes between the dye lots will blend together and become unnoticeable.  If you’re working in the round, think about using my spiral technique from Friday.

This option takes approximately another metric ton of extra work, but if you’re talking about the difference between making a sweater that you will wear for the next ten years, or a sweater you’ll leave sitting in the bottom of your closet, it might be worth it.  Just sayin’.

 

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