Tag Archives: dye lot

True Colors

So you guys remember when I finally bought some yarn a few weeks ago? Well, it came.

To refresh your memory, I’ve decided to finally buy myself some new yarn for the first time in… years. I’ve been just stashbusting left and right since the pandemic began, and to be honest, my stash was never that impressive to begin with. Needless to say, I’ve been feeling less than inspired by my knitting of late.

Anyway, I ordered 3 skeins of Berroco Vintage (a favorite of mine for soft, cozy, easy-ish care garments) in the colorway Okra. A cute, fresh green that I thought would look good on my red-headed 2-year-old. Here it is:

Well, you can imagine how excited I was when I saw the package in the mail- new yarn for a new project that I’m actually excited about? What could go wrong?

Well, look at it:

It’s fully a different color! And this isn’t a case of “Allison doesn’t know how to take pictures!” It’s truly this gray-green sage color, not the cute, chipper Okra color I thought I was ordering. (And, yes, I’ve checked the label- they didn’t send me the wrong color by mistake.)

I guess this is just a great reminder of two things:

  1. Dyelots matter- a lot. There’s a ton of variation in colors, even with a big industrial dyer like Berroco.
  2. Buying yarn online is always a bit of a crap shoot.

Is this the color I picked out? No. Was I bummed when I opened the package? A little bit. Am I still going to use this yarn to make an adorable sweater for my kid? Absolutely.

What’s the wildest color mismatch you’ve come across?

OK. New Plan.

I’ve finally got my act together.   I’ve sulked long enough, and I think I figured out a solution.  I think I can make this sweater work.  I’ll live to knit another day.

But first, I had to rip an entire sleeve.  It was… an unfortunate amount of ripping.   I poured myself a nice stiff drink and went to town.

God… look how different that yarn is.  (New yarn is on the right, old, scraggly yarn is on the left.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI remembered someone telling me, or maybe reading somewhere (not sure where… I just know I didn’t make this up), that if you had two different dye lots that you had to make work, you can work them in stripes to blend the two colors together.  It was worth a shot.

First I tried 2-row stripes, but that ended up looking really stripey.  (I didn’t even bother taking a picture of this one- it didn’t look good.)

But, when I tried narrow, 1-row stripes, I managed to get a pretty even color.  And, since I’m using a big circular needle, I can slide the needle back and forth after every other row.  That means I don’t have to break my yarn or juggle extra balls of yarn!  Winning!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee?  The sleeve (the bottom portion of the picture) is pretty close to the rest of the sweater.  It’s still a smidge blue-ish in real life, but only so much that someone looking really closely would notice it.

The only problem is that the combination of new yarn and old, frogged yarn makes the fabric a bit of a mess.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut at this point, I’m just going to cross my fingers and hope that it looks OK after blocking.

Have you ever had to get creative to get around poor dye-lot matching?


I’m completely heartbroken.  My hopes have been dashed.  My best plans of a simple, fun, and easy sweater are completely falling apart.

My yarn came in the mail.  (Actually it came in the mail a few weeks ago, but I was so disappointed, I threw it into the closet and pretended it hadn’t showed up yet.)  Usually new yarn is a source of joy, but ugh…


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOK, it’s kind of hard to see in a photo, but take a closer look:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe ball of yarn on the left is the new yarn- it’s significantly more blue-gray.  And the half-finished sweater is on the right- it’s a lovely pink-y lavender.

I know they look pretty similar in these photos (it’s been established my photography skills are lacking), but in real life, they’re significantly different.  Even my husband commented.  I’ve got the whole sweater finished with the old yarn, except for the left sleeve.  I can’t have a sweater with one different color arm!

This, boys and girls, is why you buy all your yarn at once.

Now I’m going to go drink a lot of coffee and come up with a plan.

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’.