When you suddenly realize you don’t have enough skeins for your intended project, whatever the reason. Your dog ate your final skein, you thought you had enough yarn, your math was off, you realized the dye lots are different after the fact, you have a dye lot dilemma!

There are a few different solutions if you know there is no more of the dye lot you need available, depending on where you are in your project.


Solutions and Compromises!

Bombus Bath rug made with Hikoo Tee Cakes Recycled Cotton Yarn from Recycled T-Shirts find the free pattern: by Jody

If you haven’t started your project or you’ve only just started:

  • You can always start over. From the beginning, with enough of a different color yarn to finish your project.

If you can’t find the dye lot you were using and you want to use the yarn you have and the same color and not contrasting, the best thing to do is to take your yarn with you to the store and try to get the best match. Look at it in natural and artificial light if possible, use your camera to take pictures with flash to find the best match.

  • Use a contrasting color to separate the slightly different dye lots. If you have a striped sweater of a repeated color you can shift dye lots between stripes. It can even look like it was on purpose.
  • Change the stitch pattern for the odd lot. This creates a different texture that would explain the slightly different color.
  • Use the odd lot for a border or for a separate or contrasting element:
  • If you’re knitting something that has several pieces, use those different dye lots strategically. A purse made of multiple pieces can have 2 sides of one color and 2 of a different. Or you can use the odd lot for a handle or boarder. This way, the two skeins will be totally separate or look like they are meant to be different.



malabrigo green
Malabrigo is a yarn that is only dyed in lots of 10 so if you are making a large item more likely than not you’ll be working with a mixed dye lot.

Alternate your dye lots:  If you haven’t started, and just noticed that you have different dye lots or your working with variegated Hand Painted or Kettle dyed yarns.

Alternating every few rows help to create a consistency to your works if you are working with a hand painted dye or a colorway that is less uniform and you can have a piece that is showcases both the yarn and your knitting

  1. Count the number of balls of each dye lot that you have.
  2. If you have even amounts of each dye lot – half of one dye lot, half of the other dye lot:
  3. Work the first two rows with dye lot A.
  4. Work the third and fourth rows with dye lot B.
  5. Work the fifth and sixth rows with dye lot A.
  6. Work the seventh and eighth rows with dye lot B, and so on.
  7. Continue alternating the dye lots for the entire project.

If there is a huge variation between dye lots, this will give you a subtle striped effect. If there is not much variation between the dye lots, you might not even notice the stripe at all. Either way, this technique will ensure that your shift from one dye lot to the next doesn’t look like blatant mistake.


You have the option not to worry about it, only you know where the mistakes are. If people notice the changes in the varied colors just tell them it was on purpose and that it is a hand-made item. Real art has imperfections, but generally only the artist knows where they are.