A yarn's Lot Number tells you which dye batch it’s from. It’s essential to use yarn from the same dye batch if you want consistent coloring in your knit or crocheted project.
You’ve probably been there before. You’re making good progress on your project, and suddenly the one thing that can’t happen happens … you run out of yarn. To your horror!
If you haven’t yet been in this situation, I guarantee you that it’s every crocheter and knitter’s worst nightmare. And when you thought that the situation couldn’t possibly get any worse, you realize that the color of your new yarn that you bought as a supplement doesn’t perfectly match the original color that you’ve already used to knit your sweater or crochet your blanket.
But why is it that two skeins of yarn that are supposed to be the same color aren’t exactly the same?
Let me introduce you to a small (but very important) detail: The lot number.
The Lot Number can be crucial to the color of your finished crocheted or knit project. The yarn is dyed in different batches, and even though they use the exact same color, the colors will differ ever so slightly from batch to batch. So, yeah … The number on the label is actually really important!
But why do these different shades occur, and what can you do if you end up with yarn in slightly different shades in your project? We’re here to help you, so just keep reading.
The dyeing process and varying shades
During the dyeing process, specific formulas or recipes are used to ensure that the color comes out the same every time. However, each batch is affected by several different factors, including materials, temperature, the amount of water, and the length of the dyeing process.
As a result, each batch will vary ever so slightly in the tone and shade of the color. Oftentimes, the differences will be so minute that they won’t even be perceptible to the naked eye. Other times the differences may be more obvious and bothersome.
Lot Number - what is it?
You’re probably already aware that you can find the name or number of the color of your yarn on the label. In addition, you can also find the so-called Lot Number (also called ‘Dye Lot’ or just ‘LOT’).
The Lot Number is the unique dye batch number. The number tells you what specific dye batch your skein came from, and this number will help you if you want to ensure consistent coloring in your projects.
Our yarn, Diablo. You can see the yarn’s color and Lot Number on the label. The color of this yarn is ‘33’, and it’s from dye batch ‘T1103484’.
How to ensure consistent coloring in your project
Most of the time, it won’t be a problem if you use yarns with different Lot Numbers in the same project, but sometimes the shade varies enough that it’s visible and ruins the look of your project.
My advice is to make sure that you buy enough yarn to finish the project the first time around.
It may be a little expensive at times if you’re about to start a large project, but wouldn’t it be awful to almost be done with your sweater - only to realize that you can’t get the exact same shade of yarn anymore?
That’s why I suggest that you buy an extra skein or two - trust me, you’ll find some way to use any potential leftover yarn ;)
Tip! If you have any unused skeins of yarn left over from a project, you’re welcome to return them within 3 months of purchase.
Compare dyes and check for flaws
Once you’ve bought the supplies for your project, it’s a good idea to check that the colors and Lot Numbers are the same. It’s actually a good idea to check it before you leave the store. But that’s not always an option when you’re shopping online.
Tip! It’s a really good idea to save the labels or use a project journal to jot down any important information about the yarns you’ve used in your projects, including the names, colors, Lot Numbers, and gauge
You should also check your newly acquired yarn for potential flaws. And if everything’s fine, you’re ready to start your project!
What to do if you don’t have any more yarn from a specific dye batch?
If you find yourself working on a project and you find out that you can’t get a specific batch of yarn anymore, you have two options. You can go all-in on finishing the project in the original color that you’ve used thus far, or you can use yarns from two different batches in the same project.
1. Finish your project with one Lot Number
Look at your pattern and get creative. Can you make some alterations so that you won’t have to use the skeins from a different batch? If you’re working on a sweater or cardigan, you could make a cropped version, or you could give it shorter sleeves.
2. Use different Lot Numbers in the same project
This is also a great time to get creative. You can use the subtle differences in color to separate the collar and edges from the rest of the sweater. That way, you can make the subtle color differences look intentional instead of accidental. You could also consider making a two-tone sweater.
Tip! It’s always a good idea to make a swatch before starting your project, especially if you’re planning on using yarn from two different Lot Numbers. It can be hard to tell the difference when you’re comparing two skeins, but the differences will become more evident once you start using the two shades together.
If you want the differences to show as little as possible, you can experiment with shifting between the different batches every few rows. That way, the different shades will blend better in the finished projects.
Alternatively, you could try using different patterns to help shift the focus from the different shades.
Former Lot Numbers will not be back in stock
As mentioned, there’s only one batch of each Lot Number, and the colors may vary from batch to batch. When all skeins from a specific batch are sold, we won’t get any more batches in stock with that Lot Number.
Sadly, we can’t give you the Lot Numbers of our yarns, just as we won’t be able to find a specific color batch for you.
That’s why it’s a good idea for you to spend some time figuring out how much yarn you’ll need for your project before ordering. If you buy yarn in a specific color at different points in time, we won’t be able to guarantee that you’ll get the same Lot Number in both orders.
Happy knitting and crocheting ❤️
Lots of love