This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dye Lots & Disappointment

One of the first lessons a new knitter learns about buying yarn is to buy as much as you need for a given project, in the same dye lot. I am not a new knitter, and I have this rule engraved on my brain somewhere next to Do not steal, and Don't kill people, and Never mix plaids and stripes. As a yarn whore, I will often pick up a couple of skeins of some yarn, with absolutely no idea what I'll do with it, but that it might make a nice hat or scarf, and truth be told, I do make a lot of these items.

It is not a secret that I am a big fan of Madeline Tosh yarns. And that I like making cowls. And that I have a lot of Tosh in my stash, almost exclusively in small collections of two or three skeins of each colour. Now, to be fair, Tosh doesn't label the yarn with dye lots. And I have noticed a very wide variation in colour shades from one bag of yarn to another. In short, with Tosh yarns, while quite lovely and knitting up beautifully, the colours are almost never true. One of my favourites is the colour terra, and the first time I bought it, it looked like the terra cotta I grew up with in Italy, from the flower pots my mother used, to the terrazzo floors we walked on. The next time I saw terra, it was a bright orange. Pretty, but as far from terra cotta as a shade of pink.

I am currently working on a honey cowl in cove. About an inch and a half of knitting ago, I added the second skein. I bought both skeins from the same store. I know they came from the same bag, because the shop had only gotten one bag with the colourway cove in it. And unless Tosh yarns are perpetuating some horrible hoax on knitters everywhere, I assumed that these two hanks came from the same dye lot.

And the Universe said, “Hah!”*

It is obvious that these two hanks are not only not the same dye lot, it is observable to me that the colours, while very similar, and definitely in the same colourway, are not the same colour. And this is disappointing, because they came from the same bag.

This is the wrong side, and where I added the second skein of yarn. The obvious colour difference can be seen. Also, the pretty teal blue which shows up every now and then in the first skein is largely absent in the second.

This is the right side, and the arrow is pointing where the skeins changed. I can see a definite colour difference. I'm so disappointed.

This is a bird's eye view of the whole thing (so far), and I can see the colour difference. I am the type of knitter who wants to rip this whole thing back, but I don't feel like I have time to do so. I have so much other knitting to get through for the year. (Plus, I'd really like to make something for myself this year, too. Maybe a sweater.)

I have determined that in the future, when I make the other honey cowls, that I will use both skeins simultaneously. I'll do the knitted rows with one skein, and the purl/skip rows with the second. That way there will be some colour consistence through the entire garment, especially since the knitted rows are not all that visible.

*Actually, the Universe said something quite else, which I shan't write here, because it's Not Nice.

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