Dye lot caution

With all my homework finished last weekend, I was finally free to swatch Arabesque.

Arabesque swatch

It’s hard to tell but there are actually three colors of green in the background; chartreuse, pistachio and marjoram. The arrow is pointing to a band of chartreuse. Pistachio is just below chartreuse and marjoram is in the center (with the pink).

Jamieson's pistachio

Here are the skeins laid out from light to dark (left to right) with two skeins of pistachio in the middle. The one on the left was purchased at the mill (and used in the swatch) while the other was purchased at a local yarn store. Can you see the difference between the two skeins of pistachio?

Ever since my problem with “Irish Moss” I’ve know that dye lots of the same color can vary significantly but I never stopped to think of the ramifications for a Fair Isle garment. These two skeins are so different that it’s hard for me to tell what pistachio should look like.

Karen was kind enough to indulge my curiosity this weekend and brought skeins from her stock for comparisons. It looks like my lighter skein of pistachio is similar to hers but my skein of chartreuse is a bit darker.

Gosh, this type of problem sure makes Fair Isle knitting even more tricky than I ever imagined. The right colors can be rather elusive.

5 thoughts on “Dye lot caution

  1. Hmmm, that does seem really tricky. I find that the variations in dye lots have totally destroyed past projects. What if you alternated the two different dye lots? I’ve seen people using varigated yarns with fair isle, and it looks amazing, If you alternate, it will look like a subtle varigation. Just a thought.


  2. Wow, dye lots are tricky little fellows for sure! How frustrating for you 😦 Your swatch on the other hand is just stunning! Can’t wait to see how the sweater turns out.


  3. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for the suggestion.
    I’m not sure if that will work in this case. The shading from light to dark should be noticeable but not hinder the design. I’m going order some chartreuse from Karen and hope it’s lighter when knitted. By the way, my AS color card shows chartreuse as a very light green/yellow that not nearly as dark as what Jamieson seems to be producing these days.
    Karen also suggested trying a light yellow which I might also consider doing.


  4. What a beautiful swatch! The differences in the greens are subtle, but certainly discernible.
    Just wondering…did blocking help smooth out the 1×1 ribbing on your beautiful green pullover? Did you get any input from Jean about this issue? I cast on tubularly and have the same effect so I’m wondering if it is an issue with the tubular bind-on/off. I didn’t find that knitting combined had much of an impact.
    Thanks for a lovely–and informative–blog!


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