Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lessons Learned

I'm working on a sweater. It's not my first attempt at knitting a sweater, but I'm planning for it to be the first sweater that I actually finish for myself.

I picked a Nordic design I found on a Scandinavian website called Garnstudio. Compared to some of the other designs on the website, it looked relatively easy. I made a few adjustments to the pattern, picked out some yarn I had lying around from a previous project, and started.

It didn't take me long to come to a point where I needed to get additional yarn for the extra colors. I went to the store with my entourage, hurriedly grabbed a couple of balls from the same yarn maker, and continued on my merry way.

Drops Sweater Yoke

This is one of my first attempts at using multiple colors, so I was quite pleased with myself.

I continued down the sweater (this is what is called a 'top-down sweater in the round' which means that I knit is starting at the neck, work around in a circle, and then occasionally can try it on for fit. When the pattern ended, which you can almost see in the picture at the tip of the pink points, it continues in straight cream. I worked the single color with ease, then changed balls of yarn when I ran out. I worked that ball for several inches and put it down for the night.

When I picked the sweater up today, something didn't look right. There was a line across the middle of it, a clear demarcation of color. A subtle shade of difference. And it continued for several inches.

The new ball was obviously, but barely, a different shade of cream.


Now, each ball of yarn comes in a dye lot. The yarn is dyed in a big group, and the same dye lot should be the exact same shade. A different dye lot of the same color will seem to be the same color, but it might not be the exact same shade. Every knitting book, every knitter you will meet who knows anything, will tell you that you need to pay attention to the dye lot when putting together a project.

Since I've mainly knitted small projects (such as children's items), I'd never really paid attention to dye lots. And the times that I had paid attention, the dye lot was always the same, especially if I bought several balls of yarn at the same time. This is exactly what I did the other day, but, with my entourage, and in my excitement to continue my sweater, I just forged ahead with my sweater, paying little attention to dye lot or color.

Alas, I am surmising all of this as I THREW AWAY the wrapper to the first, original ball of cream colored yarn. So I'm just assuming that the dye lots were different, since the other balls of cream, which still have their wrappers, have the same dye lot. But I will never know. And since that first, fateful, unknown ball of cream yarn is the one that I used to do the lovely pattern, I really don't want to unto the entire sweater and start all over again.

That, or the color consistency of the yarn that I bought from the local big box craft store is just lousy. That could be it too, although I've never had problems with it before.

So the lessons, for today, are:

1.) Try not to buy yarn with your entourage.

2.) Always check your dye lot.

3.) Don't buy yarn from big box craft stores.

I'm currently reworking the sweater to accommodate this variance in hues, so look forward to seeing some self-designing!

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