Eye Candy Friday: dye lot edition

We’ve all experienced the woes of the dye lot. You run out of yarn, you go back to the shop, there are no more skeins of your dye lot. You squint, look at the balls of yarn under every possible source of light, and select the skein which is the closest to what you were originally using. Only to realize that, once knit up, it stands out like a sore thumb.

Alternatively…

Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock | Cranberry | Linda’s store

You raid your stash and are thrilled to find two completely different reds for your next colorwork project! The newer stuff is still in the skein, the color is called cranberry. The older stuff is… left over from what? A quick visit to the FO gallery reveals that you used it for those cute Sockapalooza socks. You read the entry, and… what?!? It’s also cranberry?!? How could those two entirely different reds be the same colorway?!?

It’s true. This is the beauty of hand-dyed yarn. Each lot is entirely unique!

What is the biggest difference you’ve ever seen between dye lots?

42 thoughts on “Eye Candy Friday: dye lot edition

  1. deborah

    Wow – quite a difference, but aren’t they both so pretty! My biggest dye lot difference was in Mission Falls 1824 cotton in “charcoal.” It was after the line was reborn from a different company. Fortunately, the two lots only came together in the bottom circle of my yoga mat bag (from Knit Wit). ;)

  2. Dove

    I’ve never run into that huge a difference in dyelots with yarn, but I have with beads, of all things! Yes, glass seedbeads apparently can have alot of variation among lots! Thankfully, I didn’t need all the beads for the same project, I just originally liked the color and ordered more.

  3. aliceq

    I’ve experienced this difference, even though I haven’t seen it, also with Lornas Laces. I ordered 4 skeins of navy blue Lornas Laces from Simply Sock Co to knit Knitty’s Henry. The next day, Allison emailed me to say that, while she did indeed have 4 skeins in stock, they were from 3 different dye lots that were really different, and did I want a different color? She had 4 skeins from the same dyelot in a different blue, so I went with that.

  4. SockPixie

    I am a hand-dyer, and I experience the problem on a regular basis. I mix my dyes rigorously, but no matter how hard I try, one dye lot is always a little different from the other. In a way that is what makes hand-dyed yarns so beautifully unique.

    Caroline, the SockPixie

  5. Suzanne V. (Yarnhog)

    Wow. That is startling. Explains the really warning-sign yellow hand-dyed silk I got, when the color I ordered was such a beautiful combination of green, red, and gold. Normally I don’t mind the differences, especially in a variegated yarn (it’s just part of the fun), but sometimes the results are just ugly.

  6. Chloe

    Well I have to put in my two cents too, because I had the same experience with Lorna’s Worsted- another cranberry-ish color, Manzanita, and you can’t see the colors all that well in my Ravelry stash shot:

    http://www.ravelry.com/people/cmartinez/stash/shepherd-worsted-solid

    but three skeins are purply-red and one is pinky-red. Different dye lots. I don’t remember how that happened. So they are sitting around endlessly waiting for a project that won’t look bizarre with two similar-but-not-the-same colors. Still, they are lovely!

  7. stariel

    I had two skeins of Artyarns Supermerino which were supposedly the same dye lot. One skein was blue, two shades of green, and burgundy. The other was blue, two shades of green, and *purple*.

    There’s a picture of the socks here where you can see where I changed skeins on the toes.

  8. stariel

    I had two skeins of Artyarns Supermerino which were supposedly the same dye lot. One skein was blue, two shades of green, and burgundy. The other was blue, two shades of green, and *purple*.

    There’s a picture of the socks here where you can see where I changed skeins on the toes.

  9. Anne P

    Which all makes it all the more odd that when my father was playing with hand-dyeing silks for weaving that he found that he really had to alter the dye proportions a lot to make any significant difference to the colours.

    I expect that it’s the difference between holding single strands next to each other and having large blocks of colour. And with the weaving he was doing (beautiful leno lace shawls and scarves) two threads of the same colour were rarely next to each other, so dyelot wasn’t really an issue anyway.

  10. Debi

    I’m knitting with LL shepherd sport now…2 skeins, same dye lot, quite different! No so different that I won’t finish and gift the socks but quite different to my OCD/Virgo heart :)

  11. Samantha

    I have to ask: how do you get such clear, crisp pictures? Especially of red! Do you use special lighting? We’re going to try to get shots of various FOs and skeins today since it’s sunny (and in the 40s, woohoo!), but having some way to take pictures indoors would be nice.

  12. Carolyn in MN

    This is the biggest difference I’ve ever seen in dyelots. But, at the same time, I’m convinced it’s a labelling error, not an actual dyelot difference. Does it count?

    As for real dyelot differences — these socks were made from one skein, with a knot in it. The sock after the knot seems to be from a different dyelot than the first.

  13. korinthe

    “Dyelot-free” yarn is just as prone to this problem, Michelle. It’s buying big hanks of the yarn that’s protecting you. :)

    I was working a single-color afghan up in TLC Amore (“no dye lot”) and ran out… and then ripped the whole thing back so that I could use two strands held together to hide the dye lot difference.

  14. beadknitter

    It is not uncommon for yarn manufacturers to change a color completely and give it the same name. When I had a yarn shop I carried Patons Canadiana. I had a beautiful pale lavendar that was quite popular. Once when I had to reorder that color what came was more a medium orchid. Talk about dyelot difference! I put one skein of each lot up on the wall with a sign that said “Make sure you buy enough of your dye lot to finish your project!”

  15. Rachel

    Hmm, lots of LL stories here. Mine was LL Shep Sock in “MT Creek”: same dyelot, same colours, but completely different colour distribution. Something strange also happened to Rowan’s Felted Tweed in Treacle – not just different tone between dyelots, but the wpi and texture of the yarn is different too. All part of the rich tapestry, or rather knitted fabric, of life.

  16. Susan

    I can’t think of the biggest difference between dyelots at the moment, although comparing the difference between two skeins of white yarn or ecru yarns never fails to amaze me.

    I am however surprised and strangely amused by the fact that both of the colors of your two skeins (at least as they appear on my monitor) could equally qualify as a cranberry color. I do lean toward the darker as a true cranberry even though I’ve seen real cranberries in both shades.

  17. Susan

    I can’t think of the biggest difference between dyelots at the moment, although comparing the difference between two skeins of white yarn or ecru yarns never fails to amaze me.

    I am however surprised and strangely amused by the fact that both of the colors of your two skeins (at least as they appear on my monitor) could equally qualify as a cranberry color. I do lean toward the darker as a true cranberry even though I’ve seen real cranberries in both shades.

  18. Susan

    I can’t think of the biggest difference between dyelots at the moment, although comparing the difference between two skeins of white yarn or ecru yarns never fails to amaze me.

    I am however surprised and strangely amused by the fact that both of the colors of your two skeins (at least as they appear on my monitor) could equally qualify as a cranberry color. I do lean toward the darker as a true cranberry even though I’ve seen real cranberries in both shades.

  19. Robin

    Lorna’s Laces Lorikeet is my all time big disappointment dyelot-wise. My first order was great ~ deep vibrant colors. Having knit a pair of socks for my niece I ordered more yarn from the same eBay store to knit myself a pair, only to receive a washed-out colorway by comparison. HUGE difference.

  20. Lynn

    I once knit a dark purple vest and didn’t realize until I tried on the finished vest that the ball right at chest level was a lighter color than the rest. Fortunately, I’d knit in the round, so it became a design element. The yarn was Plymouth cotton, bought at 2 different stores, and yes, two different dye lots. I just never checked them.

    I bought a single skein of Manos that I loved and when I went to try to find more, the other skeins of the same color had a yellow spot in them that the original didn’t. It’s still sitting in my stash waiting the perfect one-skein project.

  21. Beth S.

    Those two shades of red together remind me of a project or two in Norsk Strikkedesign. The effect of using two very low-contrasting reds in stranded knitting is gorgeous–the knitted fabric looks like an old tapestry.

  22. Mindy

    I’ve never seen a huge difference in dye lots, personally. I did once have a yarn store employee not know what a dye lot was and try to convince me that dye lots really don’t exist.

  23. Shaina

    A couple months ago at the shop a customer had a ball of Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Lustre and wanted me to grab her another out of the back. I looked it up in our inventory and it said we had four more balls, so I went into back stock and tore the entire place apart trying to find them. It wasn’t until I went through and checked every color number that I realized this bag I had passed over multiple times was of the same color – the ball she had given me was a burgundy color, and the four in the back, of a different dye lot, were practically bright orange!

    Colinette, as someone mentioned earlier, is completely ridiculous with its dye lots. It’s not that they’re just variable, they aren’t even remotely the same colors! One lot will be pink, green and brown and the other will be orange, red and tan. It’s enough to make a LYS employee crazy.

  24. Louise

    My experience has only been positive with Lorna’s Laces – last year I ordered a single skein of Shepherd Sock in Daffodil (I was alost finished the second sock of a pair for my mother when a Doberman ate the first sock.) My original yarn had been marinating in stash for over a year, the replacement was EXACTLY the same colors, although the spacing was different so that the colors striped differently.

  25. Julia

    This is the biggest difference I’ve seen, but all it takes is a very subtle difference to be a problem. Twice now I’ve had issues with yarn purchased in the same dyelot at the same time for a single project. The first was Twisted Sisters Daktari (which came out in three colors! and which I will never purchase again!) and the second was RYC Cashsoft – a subtle difference and probably a fluke.

  26. Beth

    Mine was with Koigu, but no surprise there. I fell in love with a single skein of #856 at my yarn store and had to have it. I knew I was treading in dangerous water when I ordered another skein from somewhere online but I was so much in love that I didn’t care and decided to take the risk. When the new skein arrived in the mail it was dramatically different. The skein I’d bought from my LYS was soft and muted and subtle (which was what I loved about it). The one I’d purchased online was brassy and almost shiny and did not appeal to me. If I’d seen that one first, I would never have bought it.

    I decided to forge ahead with my project anyway. Since it was entrelac, I just alternated the skeins and treated them as two different colorways. I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out. The two wildly different #856’s complement each other and the #844 I’d also chosen. But of course I don’t have any pictures to prove it. :)

  27. Thomasean

    I don’t have any pictures to share or stories to tell yet ….BUT…..

    All of your stories and illustrations really piss me off.

    That yarn cost a lot… I mean a lot of money

    (especially considering the state of the U.S. economy). Those are big examples of “I just don’t give a dayum” from those manufacturers. Wouldn’t that be a part of quality control. Good freggin grief Charlie Brown!!!!!

    I’m trying not to be a booty-head, but, I’m getting to the place where I don’t care how pretty I think yarn is, I’m gonna stop paying all of that money for yarn. I’m starting to think it’s all a racket.

    I’m seeing my LYS starting to introduce lots of new yarn at more reasonable prices lately.

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