Last time we talked about how picking the perfect yarn is important to making sure your crochet project is the best it can be. We talked about weights and what each weight actually means when it comes to yarn. We also talked a little bit about the crochet projects that work best for each weight.
This time, let’s talk about Dye Lots. This may be a refresher, but it’s important information for you, especially if you are just starting out.
How Yarn Is Dyed
When yarn is put in to be dyed at the factory, there’s a ratio of color used. It’s a bit like going to the home improvement store to have a particular color mixed.
Each time a “lot” is put into the dye it’s given an identifying number. Each ball created from that lot is tagged with that number because they’re all the same lot. Why is that important? Because sometimes a lot may look slightly different than the one before, so choosing yarns from the same lot ensures they’ll all match.
I know from experience (and mistakes) not having the same dye lot in yarn can change the look of a crochet project that was supposed to be one color. Sometimes you’ll have to mix the yarns together (harder or easier than it sounds depending on your experience) so the variations don’t show.
The best way to avoid having a problem is by making sure you buy enough yarn, of the same lot, before starting your crochet project.
What happens if you don’t know what you’re going to make yet? Because we all know we only buy yarn when we’re ready to make something. . .right?! 😉
If by some chance you don’t know what you want to make, buy enough yarn to make a large item, that way, you’ll always have enough to make smaller pieces. Personally, I always try to buy at least 4 balls of yarn in the same dye lot if I’m not sure what I’m making, so depending on the yarn that can usually make me something pretty cool.
Let’s talk about gauge:
The second thing I want to talk to you about is gauge. What is gauge? Gauge, in a nutshell, is what makes a sweater fit.
I don’t like gauge swatches because I always feel like they’re a waste of yarn. The problem with not creating swatches is that the small amount of yarn you’ll use for your swatch will save you more yarn in the long run because you’ll make the right size.
Just like in carpentry when you measure twice and cut once, gauge allows you to measure twice so you won’t have to “frog” at all (if you’re not sure what frogging means in crochet, ask a crochet friend).
Gauge is when you count the number of rows and stitches in a set measurement so you can find the right multiple to create the right size.
For example if you create a swatch (small piece of material made using the pattern stitch) you’ll want to measure how many rows are in an inch or two. You’ll also want to measure how many stitches are in an inch or two. That way you can know what the multiples will be for specific sizes.
Why is gauge important when we’re talking about yarn? Well, the weight of a yarn has a lot to do with the gauge of your piece. If you’re using a heavy yarn, you’ll have fewer stitches in an inch versus using a thinner yarn and having more stitches in that same inch. Gauge also depends on the size of your hook.
Choosing yarn for a crochet project depends on weight, hook and yarn.
So, before you decide fully what yarn to use for a crochet project, make sure to consider the weight, the hook and what gauge you get when working with it.
Next time we’ll start talking about the best yarns to use for various projects.
Until then, happy hooking and pay attention to that lovely yarn!
Did You Miss Part 1?
Did you miss Part 1 of this series? No worries, just click here to catch up.