Hell hath no fury….

…like a crocheter who ran out of the same dyelot mid project.  Unfortunately, I am well versed in this catastrophe.  After it happening a few times though, you can bet your fantastic fiberart fanny that it won’t be happening again if I can help it.

Now, for those of you that are unfamiliar with the phenomenon called the dyelot, it is a number that is on the skein wrapper that tells which batch of dying it came from.  Dyelots are used on all types of fiber (acrylic, cotton, wool, etc.), but you will also find that there are certain yarns that don’t have them.  Don’t let that get your guard down though.   I have had a slight variation in color even with these, so be sure to check them against each other ahead of time.  Here is an example of same and different dyelots.  The purple are from the same dyelot, and they yellow are from different dyelots (which is a good example of 2 different dyelots matching quite well).

Purple has the same dyelot, yellow has different dyelot

You will find that while colors can differ drastically between dyelots, the change has a tendency to be much more noticeable with natural fibers (cotton, wool, etc.).  They take the dye differently and are less consistent since they are natural, whereas the acrylic/man-made fibers tend to be a little bit easier to control.  That doesn’t mean that you can find different dyelots (in any fiber) that match quite nicely, it’s just that it is risky when you mix them.  Below is an example of 2 skeins of the same brand, same color, different dyelot.  It might not be extremely noticeable to an untrained eye (as well as all the color distortion from a camera and computer screen), but if you look at the core of the skeins, you will notice the one of the right is deeper/darker than the one of the left.

Two skeins of same brand and color, different dyelot.
Two skeins of same brand and color, different dyelot.

So, since we have the concept of dyelots down, I can’t stress enough how important it is to check the dyelot numbers before purchasing and making sure that you buy more than you need.  Better to have too much than too little.  Just keep the receipt and return it after the project is done.  A good rule of thumb, I usually buy at least a quarter more than what I think need.  I do this for many reasons.  I have had dyelots that are actually different within themselves (that’s rare, but it has happened).  I have had skeins with tons of knots which means cutting and re-tying, which eats up your supply, albeit minimally.  I have even had the dreaded coffee cup explosion, thus drenching a portion of my project and rendering it suitable only for the garbage can.  Below you will find a very unfortunate example of running out of purple for an elephant I was making.  I took the photo under the “natural light lamp” I work under.  Yet again, not significantly noticeable without the natural light, but clearly different.

Leg different color than body (lighter)
Leg different color than body (lighter)

Well, such is the life of crocheting with dyelots.  I recommend that if you have a very large project you are planning on doing, like an afghan or tote, order your yarn online.  There are some websites that guarantee the same dyelot, but even if they don’t, warehouses have access to much larger quantities than continuously restocked store shelves and I have always gotten all the same dyelot.  I hope these tidbits helped and give you a little heads up on your next project.  Remember, match dyelots and buy plenty.  Cheers!


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