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What to do when those dye lots don't match

Heather Best | 06 October, 2023

            What to do when those dye lots don't match

I was thrilled to open my email last week and see a lovely note from knitter and Happy Maker, Chris B. Chris shared with me that she had received a skein of Cider on Delightful DK in her recent Hand Dyed Happy Yarn Club box, and then a few weeks later she had ordered a second hoping to make a larger garment with two skeins.

The dye lots didn't match.

Mismatched dye lots is the number one challenge I hear about when working with hand dyed yarn. You get a colorway you love in the mail, and you can't wait to cast on, but you need more. So you order more, and guess what? The dye lots are different. Womp, Womp. 

As much as I would love, love, love to find a magic formula for making perfectly matching dye lots with every single batch, that is not the way hand dyed yarn works. There are so many factors involved in creating a batch of hand dyed yarn that it is virtually impossible to match skeins from batch to batch. Sometimes skeins in the same exact dye pot pick up the dye differently. 

I cannot solve the problem of varying dye lots, but it can be really fun to work with those beautiful, unique skeins of yarn in creative ways that result in magical outcomes. 

These images tell the tale. Chris knit the Anker's Summer Shirt by Petit Knit and gave the original pattern a whole new personality. She added a hand painted colorway to the yoke, and she alternated her varying tonal skeins of Cider to create a wonderful micro striping effect. She also added some fun stripes and slipped stiches to add texture and interested to the body of her sweater. Chris used her contrast color for the ribbing of her sleeves and the bottom of her sweater as well.

These simple modifications allowed Chris to maximize her yarn precious skeins of hand dyed yarn to the fullest. I absolutely love the way she took a challenge, added some creativity, and made a garment she will love for years to come. 

Creativity is not magic. The learning is in the doing. The best part about making our own clothes and accessories by hand is that we can create something truly unique just by working outside the box in simple, thoughtful ways. 

For more information and ideas for alternating skeins of hand dyed yarn, see this post