Tip Tuesday – Dye Lots

Today’s tip I think is an important one and sometimes understated for beginners or those new to crochet. Let’s chat and talk about dye lots.

What Is a Dye Lot?
Usually, most yarn has a dye lot. It’s a number or code on the label that helps to identify yarn that is dyed in the same batch. There are a few factors that could change the colour variation slightly from one batch to the next, which is why it’s important to purchase enough yarn in the same lot.

Why Are Dye Lots Important?
Matching up dye lots is important to keep your project colours/shades consistent. It’s not a huge issue (if at all) for small projects that only use one skein, but, for a big pattern like a blanket, having the colours match up can make all the difference in the finished appearance. Browsing in the store and seeing the yarn together on the shelf might give the appearance of being the same colour, but worked into your project, there could be a noticeable difference in shades if they have different dye lots. Always buy enough or if in doubt, try to purchase one or two extra.

These two hanks were side by side at the store. Same colourway and at a glance, don’t appear to be different. However, a closer inspection can show a slight variation in the hues of pink.
Looking at the labels, we can confirm the colourways are the same but the dye lots are different.
These dye lots match. Yay! The colour throughout the project will be the same.

Yarn Without A Dye Lot:
Some yarn does not have a dye lot which is fine but something to still be cautious about when working with multiple skeins of the same colour. Why does this happen? Yarn without dye lots are often coloured in very large batches in a mass produced fashion. But once all those skeins are distributed or sold in stores, another large batch must be made. And because of various factors that could potentially alter the shades, there could be a slight difference from one skein to the next. Generally though, I haven’t found this too be too much of an issue with reputable yarn brands. Just to be on the safe side though, even in a “no dye lot” situation, it’s probably best to purchase all your yarn for a particular project at once. Sitting on the shelf together, the skeins most likely came from the same batch.

This yarn does not have a dye lot.

Oops! I Didn’t Buy Enough and I Ran Out. Help!
Have no fear! This has happened to every crocheter at some point. Here’s what you can do:

– Take your label and start to search your local stores and online. Perhaps there is an extra skein or two hiding at the bottom of the yarn bin or at the back of the shelf in the dye lot required. If you’re out of luck and really need that yarn, do your best to match the colourway to a current dye lot. A small difference in shade is sometimes not noticeable.
– If you don’t have any luck at the store, browse the company website. They might be able to direct you to other retailers that supply their products and you could check out their current stock. The company might also have an online retail option.
– Connect with other makers either locally or online. There are Facebook groups, Etsy pages, Amazon sellers, etc. that often sell full, leftover skeins of yarn. You might have some luck and find exactly what you need!

I hope you found this Tip Tuesday helpful and informative! Don’t forget to save this post to your crochet Pinterest board to look at later and share with your maker friends.

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Happy Crocheting!

One thought on “Tip Tuesday – Dye Lots

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