Don’t Forget the Dye Lots When You Buy Yarn

We may forget the importance of dye lots when we’re buying a lot of yarn for a project. Never fear; you can work around differing dye lots with some clever tips

Let’s talk dye lots! Dye lots aren’t something that most of us think of when we’re buying discount or craft store yarn, especially if we’re buying variegated yarn or multiple colors of a yarn for a many-colored project. And in some instances, dye lots aren’t particularly important in those cases.

However, if you’re knitting a project that is all one color — a sweater or a knit-in-one-piece afghan, for instance — dye lots can become a lot more important to the look of a finished project.

What are dye lots, anyway? Dye lots refer to yarn dyed in batches together. It is impossible for all yarn that is dyed the same color to be completely uniform across the board. Tiny differences in temperature, length of time of yarn in dye, and so on can create differences in color saturation.

There’s a good chance you might not even notice the difference when you hold two skeins in the same color but different dye lots next to one another. (But sometimes, the difference is quite great indeed.) This article shows exactly what can happen when you use two different dye lots in the same project. You could wind up with a weird, faded-looking stripe in a place where it’s quite obvious.

So while it’s best for you to use the same dye lot of yarn throughout a project, sometimes it simply isn’t possible. When that’s the case, is there any way you can avoid disasters like the one in the article above? There are indeed. Many suggestions are offered in the three articles linked to below.

Ways to Use Multiple Yarn Dye Lots in One Project

Dye Lots: Why They Are Important and How to Work Around Them: This is the same article linked to above. It shows you why you want the same dye lot whenever possible, and it tells you how to get around it when you must use different dye lots, with a technique called stranding.

How to Knit with Different Dye Lots: This article explains how you can find out whether yarns in the same color are from the same dye lot. It also offers an explanation of a form of stranding along with “strategic use” of skeins in multiple lots. The latter suggestion, especially, is rather genius.

How to Knit with Yarn from Different Dye Lots: A very similar article, except it divides possible solutions into two categories: Multi-Colored Projects and Single-Colored Projects.

So if at all possible, use the same dye lot for your entire project. But if it isn’t possible, and you must use multiple dye lots, try these suggestions!