No Dye Lots Here
Larger projects using multiple skeins of yarn are an investment of both your time and money – so of course you want the outcome to be phenomenal! A hand-dyed yarn will produce unique results, and there are a few simple tricks to maximize the natural color variations that result from this type of yarn.
First, making sure you have enough yarn is key – a good guideline is to purchase an extra “safety skein” of yarn so that you avoid playing “yarn chicken” while knitting your project. You can always use this skein to make a coordinating accessory!
Next, there is a simple method for minimizing the subtle variations from skein to skein: alternating skeins of yarn as you work. While Manos del Uruguay yarns are hand-dyed at the same time in the same dye pot, the color saturation can be uneven, and so we recommend this technique for projects requiring more than one skein of yarn.
Such color differences may not be plain to the eye until the yarns are knit up side by side in the fabric, so by alternating skeins, you will minimize them because your eye will naturally “blend” the colors together.
Two Skeins of the Same Color
Here we have two skeins of Manos del Uruguay Clara in the Obispo colorway. They look similar enough in the hank and in the yarn loop, but if you look close, you’ll see that each has different lighter and darker spots. This is most visible in the wound skeins on the right: the skein on the bottom clearly has more lighter, pinker spots than the one on top. Knitting each skein one by one in succession will result in a visible line where the new yarn began.
Alternating Skeins Makes the Colors Blend
The simple solution is to alternate skeins to blend the color variations. When knitting flat, you will work two rows from one skein, then two rows from another skein (as shown above). Note: you do not have to cut the yarn! Let the first yarn hang down, and gently pull the second yarn to the outside to begin using it on the next two rows. Then, drop the second yarn and pick up the first yarn to work with once more, continuing in this manner until you’re done! For a project where you work in the round, you can use one skein for the first round and the other skein for the next, alternating in perpetuity.
Applying a black and white filter to your swatch photos will help to show the tonal variations you may otherwise miss. The top two swatches are both knit from different skeins of the same color; the top left has areas that are darker and the top right has areas that are much lighter.
The bottom swatch was knit by alternating both of these skeins, which blends the lighter and darker areas together to avoid flashing and pooling. The result is a swatch with more even color distribution.
The time and effort put into a hand knit or crocheted garment should feel satisfying. You can find a rhythm in alternating skeins as you work, and the finished result will make it all worthwhile!
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