Handmaker's Factory

The importance of dye lots

 Today I will be talking about the importance of dye lots when knitting. I speak from experience, a very recent experience!

I've been knitting the Lila pullover using Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca in Rich Red which had originally been intended for another project so of course I ran out of yarn and had to buy more. Unfortunately I was unable to get the same dye lot but hey, they looked the same when I compared the skein against what I'd already knit so I just keep on knitting.

I finished the yoke and blocked it as per the instructions before adding the neck band and discovered to my horror that the extra skein of yarn was indeed different to the rest. 

<insert furious foot stomping and cursing here>


I sent a photo to Leisl to ask what she thought, I knew she'd be frank with me and of course she pointed it out straight away. Damn it! 

So my friends, I just learned a very expensive and frustrating lesson. Don't knit from different dye lots! But what if you have no choice? Well, there are a few ways:

Alternate skeins - Knit a row with the first skein then a row with the second skein. It may be a pain to work from 2 balls of yarn at once but the variation won't be as obvious.

Strategic knitting - Knit different parts of the garment from the different dye lots. For example, I could knit the hem, cuff and neck band of my Lila pullover from one dye lot and the rest of it in the other. Or I could knit the sleeves from one dye lot and the body from another. The variation will be less noticeable.


So, to avoid unhappy surprises make sure you check each ball has the same dye lot number when buying your yarn or use one of the techniques above.

I'll be unraveling my Lila pullover and starting again when I can bring myself to do it. In the mean time I'm knitting a hot water bottle cosy because really, what can go wrong there?!


Tags: Knitting