Yarning About Dye Lots

You might think purchasing yarn a simple matter.  I’ve had questions and heard comments from non-knitters that remind me that purchasing yarn is anything BUT simple.  Such questions as “So, what’s the difference between “craft” yarn versus yarn purchased at a yarn store or specialty shop?” or “Why do you order online?  Can’t you find yarn, locally?”

There are such a variety of answers I don’t even know where to begin.  One might answer with the price per ball/skein or the quality of the fibers or the specific yarn needed for the proper drape of the project being created.  And then the discussion would move to the weight of the yarn as all knitters know that the weight of the yarn gives the number of stitches per inch, or the gauge, which lends to the ultimate fit and feel of the garment.  But this post is not about any of that.

Rather the recent debacle I had regarding the dye lot of a recent purchase.  It is amazing how the same color of yarn with different dye lots will appear the same shade when bundled but will, in fact, be very different once the fabric is worked up.  Amazingly, you can literally see a line where you moved from one dye lot to another when knitting with mismatched dye lots.  For those of you who do not know about this, look below.  You will see on both balls of yarn, the shade color 29.  You are thinking, perfect!  However, upon further looking, the set of numbers following are different.  That is the dye lot number and must be the same when working up a project especially if that project is a solid color.  Of course, multi-colored projects easily hide dye lot mismatches.

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Now, today I will take the blame for the unhappiness of my latest yarn package.   In this recent purchase, I did not specifically state that the yarn had to be the same dye lot.  It appeared I was ordering from a reputable specialty yarn shop and any and all knitters certainly know about dye lot.  No?  After all, the yarn on the site was of high end name brands familiar to all knitters and offered a wide variety of choice.  So, I neglected to state to only send the yarn if all the skeins had the same dye lot.  Well, here I am with the purchase and a variety of dye lots before me.

Now, the story gets worse.  After a number of email exchanges, I am told the yarn cannot be returned due to dye lot issues.  Here is the exact email:  Returns for dye lot issues are only permitted if we can make the exchange.  WHAT!! I am thinking!  I cannot use this yarn for the project intended and now I can’t return it if they cannot send me more of one dye lot???  And, worse, I am thinking…. oh, so they DO know about dye lot!!  Come Monday morning, the first thing I will be doing is putting this yarn in its very neat package and shipping it right back from whence it came, authorization permission or not!

Heads up to all purchasers of yarn on-line AND to purchases made at local yarn shops.   ALWAYS STATE or check that you want/have the SAME dye lot for all yarn purchased to avoid this insult and inconvenience I now have.