Maybe it is not like that

Re-entry was, as far as re-entry goes, as epic as the time away was.  I knew things were going to be decidedly bumpy when my plane landed at 1am, and by 1:30 I was in a 24 hour Sobey’s with Joe, because I was totally wrong about Joe and Sam being perilously low on toilet paper. They were not almost out – they had none.  (Sam was away with a friend, and her absence had allowed the toilet paper problem to reach critical.)

Since that horrible shopping trip (during which I was the absolute model of patience, only coming ever so momentarily undone when Joe suggested that since we were in a grocery store at 1:30am, we might as well nail the weeks shop, instead of just grabbing the paper and leaving)  I’ve done just what I said I would. Moved slowly, moved deliberately,  I’ve started cleaning up the house, moving from one room to another creating good, deep order out of chaos. Done right, I realized that I can dovetail my re-entry plans and my Christmas plans and have the whole thing come together faster than a teenager can spot hypocrisy – which is pretty damn fast.

I am not, however, off to a magnificent start. I was short knitting at Port Ludlow, but Port Ludlow was not short of yarn, and so I bought two skeins of a gorgeous grape coloured bison from Judith with a plan to make Lyrica Euterpe.  (That second word is pronounced Ewe-ter-pee. I looked it up.)  The yarn I got was Buffalo Gals 70% bison, 30% merino, and it’s a two-ply a little thicker than fingering weight.  Now, that pattern calls for 393m, and two skeins of my yarn came to 394m, and a metre of leeway seemed a little tight, especially when you’re changing gauge and dealing with a hand-dyed yarn that it’s hard to put your little hands on, so I panicked, grabbed one more skein from Judith, and scampered it back to the house.

Once there, I wound up one of my three, and started knitting.  I knit fiercely, taking advantage of the free time at the inn, and then the free time in the car, and then the free time on the plane. 

Somewhere over Regina, my first ball ran out, and I joined the second one.  I knit quickly, thrilled at how fast it was all going, delighting in the fact that it was likely only going to take a few days to knit the beast.   I knit all the way home on that dark plane- then all the way home in the car, then tucked it inside that pretty bag (courtesy of Leslie at Stash-ems, Mark-ems, by way of the goodie bags. No website, but she’s heyillini on Ravelry) and left it there until the next evening.

That night, I powered through the rest of the first chart and half of the second (and last) chart, and felt pretty good about it too. I admired it often, checking for mistakes.  Back into the bag it went. 

Yesterday was Sunday, and I had time to knit in the daytime – such as it is. There’s not a lot of daylight this time of year, and so even if you knit a lot, not a lot of it happens in good clear light – and I took the knitting out, snuggling up on the chesterfield with tea and good intentions.  Two more days, I thought.  I can be finished this in two more days, and I spread the lace out on my leg to see all that I had wrought.  That’s when I noticed.
Right there, just where the garter stitch began to give way the lace… an odd shadow.  I peered at it again, not quite believing what I was seeing. For a minute, I thought that it was a mistake – that I’d somehow knit a line in, but as I looked closer I realized it was something far worse — I moved over to the window and there it was.

A clear line of demarcation between the first and second balls.  They are not the same dye lot. Not even close, and considering that it’s all I can see now, I can’t believe I missed it. Now that I look, I can see it in the picture of the skeins – now that I look it’s the most obvious thing in the world, but oh no, it’s winter in Canada and that means that it was too dark to tell for days, and now here I am, a few weeks out from Christmas with that scene on the needles.  I checked the skein in the bag – the one I hadn’t used yet, maybe wouldn’t use, and it’s the darker shade as well.  That was disheartening, but before I ripped it out and started again,  I sent the picture off to a whack of knitting friends – relying on knitter instinct. 

Now, knitter instinct is a good thing.  Knitter instinct does a lot of great stuff for us, like get you to grab that third skein, tell us (mostly) who is knit-worthy and who is not… but the best thing that knitter instinct does is get you out of ripping back.  Ripping out work is the last thing your instincts want you to do, and even if yours is off kilter, other knitters will often be able to tell you that you can get away with it, or just rip back part, or come up with a solution. Heck, lots of the time other knitters will point out that it’s only obvious to you, and that you’re being that crazy person again, and that you can just keep going because the two dye lot thing? It’s only you who can see it.  So I sent off that picture, and I waited.  I didn’t even tell them what I thought was wrong.  Maybe they wouldn’t see it, I rationalized, and then I’ll know. It’s just me, and I don’t have to rip back.

I sent the picture, and I waited.  It didn’t take long before I got my first response. I heard my phone ding, and turned it over to read:

"That is interesting and quite lovely. Why are you doing it in two colours?"

That sound you hear? It’s the sound of heartbreak and bison in a ball winder.  I’ve started again.

122 thoughts on “Maybe it is not like that

  1. I can’t believe I am the first to respond!
    I can see a difference because I was looking for it, but it seems to get darker right when the pattern changes so it looks as if you did it on purpose—I wouldn’t frog—I made a wingspan and the same thing happened for a few of the triangles—but with the draping and wrapping that goes on it is hardly noticeable–
    Knowing you, it probably has already been ripped, however— LOL

  2. Yeah, been there done that. My husbands impossible-took-me-5-years sweater has one bloody skein that is a different dye lot… right in the middle of the chest. It’s a “design feature” because it TOOK ME 5 YEARS TO KNIT and I’m not ripping it out.
    It’s the only sweater I ever made him that I don’t borrow… because it makes me crazy…. and he loves it.

  3. It’s a feature! It happened in just the right spot that it totally counts as a feature. The lighter top will give it a nice extra glow when it’s all wrapped up.

  4. I think it looks quite good with the darker color at the bottom. A bit like those color-changing yarns with the super long repeats. It seems serendipitous that it happened to start at the beginning of the lace as well. I’d keep it, it’s interesting!
    I once knit a shawl with a single skein of a discontinued colorway of madtosh and ended up running out on the last few rows before the bind off, switched to a slightly deeper red color and just finished it with that (so at least I could say I had finished it, even meaning to rip it out). My mom saw it, decided it was really pretty as-is and even thought I had done it on purpose. She is now the owner of said shawl and is really pleased with it.

  5. I would also consider this a feature, since it happens *right* when the pattern changes. But I can also totally understand the need to rip the darn thing out and start over.

  6. It looks good with the color change! It’s i, a perfect spot to change!
    Don’t frog something on the first comment that you really don’t like. Wait for more opinions!
    I can tell that you’re going to get a lot of comments on this, and I’m certain a lot are going to say “It looks good!”
    It looks goregous BTW!

  7. Is the third skein the same dye lot as either of the other two? Is there a way to rescue the project?

  8. I agree with everyone else, I thought that the color change happened in just the right spot. I would have left it and just finished said item.

  9. Which part was matched by your third ball? I would have put the lace on a stitch holder and ripped out the garter stitch if possiblle.

  10. I like it. I’d be tempted to simmer it when done so that the dye can kind of even out–I did actually have success with that a few times, on commercial sweaters I’d overdyed.

  11. Honestly, it doesn’t look bad at all. Many knitters deliberately choose a color change at the border of a shawl, so if you can bear to do it, I’d say to run with it. It will be lovely.

  12. You could totally have passed that off as a design element, seeing as it started right there where the lace section started! I think it looks fine!

  13. He suggested you do the weeks’ groceries at 1:30 a.m. after you have literally just gotten off the the plane, because HE hasn’t managed to buy toilet paper?!!! You deserve a medal.

  14. beautiful colours, like merlot and shiraz !
    In the design pics the top before the lace is stocking stitch, did you do yours in garter, or is whats showing just the back side ?

  15. I’m in the camp that thinks it looks like an excellent design feature. I vote you keep it in and consider it tonal. Particularly if you are going to give this as a gift. The recipient will never know it wasn’t intentional. And, even better, you won’t have to look at it every time you wear it and curse the evil that is different dye lots.

  16. You are a saint! How does anyone run out of toilet paper??? I was feeling pretty kindly to Joe until that – and the suggestion of doing the shopping. Don’t even take me there!

  17. Oh Stephanie… I actually love how it looks with the lighter on top and the darker on the bottom (and the fact that it switches over just at the beginning of the lace chart…)
    But I know that most of my knitting friends wouldn’t be able to live with it… and after a few more rows of cursing at myself, neither would I. *sigh*

  18. too late, as sounds like you have ripped already BUT since the lace was the darker it would have the ombre effect? no? would of been cool..

  19. Are you modifying the pattern? It looks from the photos that it is stockinette to lace. Are you doing garter? Love the pattern. And I may have let it go because of where the change was.

  20. The color difference is also pretty apparent in the picture of the skeins. That really is too bad and I wouldn’t be able to pass it off as a design feature, either. Every time I saw it, I’d think about what was wrong with it and how I didn’t want to rip back hours of work when considering how many years the garment will last is really nothing at all. I’d feel ashamed of myself and ashamed of it. Soooo what I am is saying is, go ahead and rip. We’ll be waiting for you on the other side.

  21. OMG. I am SO SORRY. Hopefully, it’s already re-started, and the pain of the ripping is beginning to recede. I probably would still have been talking myself out of the painful process of dismantling, which clearly extends the time of the pain!

  22. As they say in software development,”It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.” And it looks quite pretty.

  23. If I read the post and the pics correctly, you have two dark skeins and one light, so if the light one isn’t enough, you’re going to have to break into dark at the top. The current color break looks line a design feature, but a second one would reveal The Truth.

  24. I think it is right in line with the popular “ombre” look all of the celebs are wearing. I would have voted to keep going. It was lovely.

  25. Clearly, that’s what knitting withdrawal does to you. It makes you so woozy in the presence of yarn that you don’t even bother to check the dye lots…you just dive right in for a hit.
    Good thing you didn’t try to smoke it.

  26. Aw crap. I’d have said frogging was the only option too. They are a pretty combination, but you wouldn’t have been able to wear it, or give it away (because the person might wear it in front of you and the darn line would taunt you). Awwww.

  27. Interesting how there is such division of strong feelings in both directions- personally I like the colour difference at the pattern change, but I suspect you would not have been happy with it that way, no matter what we all say.

  28. Depending on the rest of the pattern, it looks like the line between colours is also the line between fancy and simple — like you planned it.

  29. I would have frogged, too.
    And cried.
    But I”m someone who is currently experiencing angst because one self-striping sock appears to be a needle “off” from the other (2aat, so I can see it) and should I undo to fix what nobody on the planet will ever notice.

  30. Are you sure you didn’t plan it? I’m a perfectionist so I totally get ripping it out. But I do have to agree with the others…Looks like a design element to me.

  31. I think it produces a rather lovely ombre effect, but I will also do anything to avoid ripping back.. so infer what you will 😛

  32. oh steph! I did wonder why you had 2 colours in the first photo and was waiting for the punch of the post…
    BUT if you were going to have 2 dyelots you couldn’t have asked for a better place for the colours to change! I would have kept it as a deliberate 2 coloured shawl with the lace just the little bit darker…
    but what’s done is done and i think you may just be more of a perfectionist than I!

  33. I think I would have convinced myself that the two colours look good together (they really do) and kept going. I did notice the lighter colour in the one skein in your first picture, but it’s very subtle. Just a shade or two lighter than the darker skeins, right? I would have kept going. But then I usually do keep going, even when it’s obvious even to the dog that I should have ripped.

  34. I didn’t want to say but, yes, the photo of the skeins caught my eye right away and I wondered why you bought two skeins in one dye lot and a third in another. I hope it all works out well for you.

  35. Overdye it! Finish knitting, get a packet of something subtle, and overdye that sucker! It’ll make the colors blend together, and even you won’t be able to notice the difference.

  36. Arse. But since the colours are so very different, can you not just choose to say that you wanted to do it in two different shades of the same colour? It still looks lovely.

  37. I would have had to frog it as well…or resign myself to hating it, which would bother me much more than the re-do.
    Though overdyeing might be a viable option!

  38. Could you overdye it once you are done with it? Or would that be sacrilegious?
    After reading for a while, I believe that it probably would have bothered you too much to even think about that. Oh well.

  39. I feel and share your pain. The same thing happened to me this weekend. A different color lot in the middle of a sweater’s back that I only noticed when I got to the next skein… Winter light is a bitch…

  40. I would have ripped it as well, cursing as I went. But when you’re making a customized piece of art, which is what you’re doing, you want it to be RIGHT. Why else do it at all?
    I hate the ripping part, but once I start over and it’s going along as it should, the angst from the ripping fades away, and the satisfaction that the process is going as it should gives me a happy glow. Totally worth it!

  41. Well, we all do fall into one of the two camps here, don’t we? I would have been in the “Oh shit,OK” camp, thrown it into the closet, and picked up something else. Not wanting to rip, and not wanting to keep going. Denial is lovely. I suspect you did better. But then, you knit faster than the wind, so…

  42. That must’ve been totally jarring. I get so worried about that sort of thing happening even when I’ve got the same dye lot! I agree with Yvonne though, couldn’t it be considered a darker stripe? I guess it all depends on the way you look at it.

    Lots of booze to deaden the pain, it’s the only way.

  44. Since you believe you likely need 3 skeins and you have two and one, won’t you need the other colour at some point anyway? (I’m a tapestry weaver, not a knitter, so perhaps there is some mathematical knitterly thing I don’t understand.)

  45. I actually like the different colors. It almost looks like a gradation change instead of two completely different colors. I’d wear it!

  46. To me, it looks like an intentional border. If I were knitting it, I’d leave it. But if I were you, I’d probably be crying as I ripped it out. IMHO, I’d choose to be me on this one.

  47. I feel your pain – I just started a sweater and halfway thru the ball I actually READ the label. It said “no dyelot, so we recommend you knit with two skeins at a time for ease in blending”. I figured what difference did it make? When I started the second one, yep, there it was. Looked just like your picture, only in green. I am now knitting with two skeins and alternating every other row.

  48. I’d leave it. It looks intentional and as some of the others have pointed out, what starts out as a “mistake” or a “is Mercury freakin’ retrograde AGAIN?” moment can often be an opportunity, a serendipitous blip that leads to a design feature and a better-looking project. Only you can decide if it’s design or disaster.

  49. I’d have left it were it me and deemed it a deliberate design feature. I was just in Port Angeles this past week and scooped up a beautiful skein of Buffalo Gals 50/50 Bison and Merino. Very much looking forward to knitting with it!! Welcome home btw.

  50. I’d leave it! It does look like you’ve done it on purpose and it’s pretty. Two-tone shawls seem to be all the rage right now and yours looks intentional.

  51. You know the yardage is going to be close… why not knit the garter stitch portion in stripes of light and dark? It would look nice and make sure there’s no chance of running out. Of course, it would mean ripping the whole thing out, so probably not a great suggestion, but I’d do it.

  52. Wait — this color conondrum seems like something out of the Twilight Zone. Or maybe it’s just deja vu?

  53. Total sympathy! Last year i knitted dd TWO birthday sweaters (the first was way too big thoguh she had tried it on several times as i knitted it).
    Luckily, it fit me. UNluckily, the shoulders were a puff-sleeved mess and i didn’t want a v-neck.
    So, after i made her the second sweater inrecord time, i spent longer dismantling and redoing the first one for me.
    Just rejoice that you are an extremely fast knitter!

  54. Awwww, man. I feel your pain. I just frogged an entire Cocoknits Liesel linen tunic which fit perfectly. Except that it stretched so much the first (an only) time I wore it that my tunic ended up a tea length dress totally not flattering on my 5’2″ frame. Will I knit it again? Yes I will. Because you have to be philosophical as a knitter.

  55. =8-0 That’s just painful. I’m so sorry. 🙁 But so excited that you’re knitting Lyrica Euterpe!!! May she behave better from now on. <3

  56. Oh, dear. I noticed the color difference in the first picture, and thought perhaps you did it intentionally. Sorry that you didn’t 🙁

  57. I liked the change at the beginning of the border, and it sounds like your last ball was that darker shade, too. I would have kept it. But it sounds like you’ve ripped it already.
    It will be lovely, whatever you do with it!

  58. Why I don’t understand how you run out of TP, I have to admit that if I were in the grocery at 1:30 am, I too would say let’s get it over with and do the shopping for the week.

  59. I made the same mistake once on a sweater but I didn’t notice until the thing was done! So consider yourself lucky in that: a.) you bought two skeins of the darker shade; b.) you started with the darker shade; and c.) you caught this in time to rip out the lighter shade. Still, I feel your ouch.
    BTW: If you have any musical friends, “Bison in a Ball Winder” would make a great song title! Sort of like the Police song “Canary in a Coal Mine.”

  60. Since the change came where the lace pattern begins, why didn’t you just keep knitting and make it in two shades? It looked intentional.

  61. I agree – I love the two shades! I’d keep right on knitting and let it be what it wants to be. Wrapped around someone’s neck or shoulders, it will look wonderful. So tell us … did you rip it all out or keep on?

  62. Well, it clearly is two colors in the picture. But it also looks rather interesting given where the transition happens. Too late now, you’ve already ripped it.
    My worry would be that you STILL NEED MORE SKEINS! Presumably you’re taking care of that for whichever color you stick with.

    Sorry, just wanted to be sure in your grief you didn’t neglect to get the extra skeins you will need to do this all in the same color.

  64. Oh man, it’s one thing to shop for TP at 1:30am due to mis-MAN-agement.
    But to find out not all yarn is of the same dye lot.
    That my dear woman is hell on earth.
    May the universe take pity upon you – SOON!!!

  65. Can’t the shop send you another dark skein – I’m going with design element. Bison in a ball winder…my heart stopped.

  66. Oh honey, I’d have finished it as it was. The color change right as the lace started was actually quite fetching, and no one would ever know otherwise if you told them it was on purpose!

  67. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is required to get setup? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty
    penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% certain. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  68. Ohoh…dare I even say I noticed it in the first picture before reading the post?! And then didn’t even see what was coming till you said so and posted the last picture?! Sigh.
    Knitting, you say…

  69. If it makes you feel any better I’ve just ripped out a mobius for the third time to start over yet again after I promised myself this was it I don’t care, what I get is what I get.

  70. Oh, that’s sad. I can’t believe your knitterly instincts didn’t say “It’s right at a pattern change, it looks fine and purposeful”. However, I know you’d forever think it’s a mistake.

  71. Ouch, that really is unfortunate. But makes me think of the last time I went into a shop to buy some yarn and didn’t pay attention to the dye lots. Fortunately the shopkeeper did, and looked if she had the amount I wanted from the same lot. Made me feel sooo stupid! My brain was not working, I had just fallen for the color and the texture…

  72. I personally always tink or frog whenever I notice I have erred. Couldn’t live with myself if I KNEW there was a mistake. Of course I prefer to find the mistake early but I have almost totally re-knitted whole projects when I find the mistake too late. When I was a beginner knitter at 12 years old my friend’s mom told me “if you’re going to be a knitter, you must be prepared to rip back.” I am now 63 and still remember Helen each time I start unraveling and rewinding. Thank you, Helen, for helping me make peace with that.

  73. Truthfully, Steph, I think it looks planned, but only because the change happens at the start of the lace portion. Sometimes the best results come as a result of accident. Rip back your thinking about it instead.
    I once knit an entire back of a man’s sweater before I realized it was way too big. But somehow it was less painful to knit the new one FIRST before ripping out the old. You don’t feel as defeated.

  74. Here is the story you tell yourself every time you feel like ripping: I had a friend in high school who wore gorgeous handmade fair isle sweaters and I coveted them, but they pilled. I happened to jealously mention that this annoyed me and she said, “Oh that’s the beauty of it.”

  75. I too, would have to rip it back
    I can’t live with an error even if other wouldn’t “notice”
    since I would know, it would be all I could see and never be happy with the piece
    I threw away my whole Colour Affection because of the too tight edge I thought I could
    “live with”
    nope couldn’t do it and no way was that wool going to unravel!

  76. Oh stephanie……..I’m sorry.I cant stand mistakes, so I would rip it and cry,lol! One day at a time Lady, one day at a time.

  77. Oh too funny…but honestly I’m reading the whole thing and going, “Bison yarn? Bison yarn. I really need to try Bison yarn. By golly, it’ll be cold enough and I’ll need a Bison yarn hat, scarf, cowl.” So I’m obsessing about the Bison yarn, not really thinking your color dilemma. Still my aorta goes out to you…I’ve been restarting and restarting my Thanksgiving travel project. With luck I’ll get an obsessive inch or two out of it in the next few days. Hah hah!

  78. My husband’s life has been saved on several occasions due to my ability to vent rage into my knitting. I have just returned home to find my bras tangled up with jeans in the dryer – guess who took it upon himself to do laundry? After I expressly request that he NOT touch it

  79. I love it even with the two shades. I didn’t think it would be so obvious, because it felt subtle in the skein. However, you are right and not crazy this time. It is there.

  80. How is bison fibre ‘procured’? I don’t think they shear bison do they? I doubt a big ol’ bison would be down for that. The other option would be dispatching the critter (for bison meat?) I suppose. Inquiring minds…

  81. I know by this stage of the game…you have already ripped back….& probably “re-knit it” to your liking…BUT it looked like a ‘happy accident’ to me….LUVED the colour you chose!!(:

  82. 1:30AM, so that was 10:30PM for you? After sitting for hours on a plane and the prospect of no food for breakfast, I probably would have opted to shop too.
    Are you planning to take a chance and re-knit with the two dark skeins and hope there is enough? You could ensure you have enough yarn by alternating two or three rows dark with one row light in the garter stitch area. If you keep the light yarn purl bumps on the reverse side it will be less noticeable, though that would require some purling.

  83. For future re-entries, might be good to add “pack what’s left of the hotel room TP into your luggage” to your hotel checkout routine.

  84. Yeah, I would rip it out. If you need to use the lighter skein for the bind-off, that would look fine.

  85. What a bummer. You can see the difference in the photo of the three skeins together–that one skein is lighter. I’m so sorry. Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful pattern, though!

  86. You could have hand stitched a pattern of vines or something else decorative where the color changes and made it look like you meant it that way! I HATE ripping stuff out and can find almost any excuse not to. 🙂 Best of luck to you!

  87. Oh, please tell me you didn’t rip! It looks like a design feature! The color change is right where the pattern starts, and if the last skein is darker still, it will look like you did it on purpose, and like you bought beautiful, expensive, gradient-dyed yarn.
    Fingers crossed you didn’t rip, but realizing I am days too late…luckily I think other people already commented on the beauty of what you had, there, in the picture…

  88. dude, that’s a great pattern. And, yeah, knitterly denial re: dye lots let me get all the way through the 5 pieces of a not unchallenging sweater (Connie Chang Chinchio’s Sabbatical) before I had to admit that they were all slightly separate colors. That realization cmae when I lined them up after their blocking bath. I’m still not ready to try reknitting it, 3 months later.

  89. OOOpps! When you got scared and grabbed that third skein…we forgot to check to see that it was the same dye lot!! Well…it happens. Is that why the wheel came out?
    I understand. I have 5 projects that have stalled and are in time out. My Polinaise of dusted off, oiled and is making polworth singles right now. My loom has 55 ends of silk, bamboo and merino wool on it and is looking a lot like a nice scarf…..
    Time out is good for both if us I think….

  90. I realize I am days behind but the color change right at the place is nice. I quite like it.

  91. Hi, Stephanie,
    So sad. But I would not have ripped it out. I would have bought some pretty beads and matching sewing thread. Then I would have sewn a line of beads on top of the change row, on an effort to make the transition look more intentional.
    Whatever you decide to do, I’m sue it will be lovely.

  92. Oh that winter light. It’s no comfort to you to hear that this has happened to another knitter — but what a comfort to this knitter it is to recognize a plausible reason why I didn’t spot that the two fronts are a different dye lot to the back and sleeves of my current cardigan… the one I have been working on for the past ten or so weeks (fine gauge, more than one project, and in spite of incorporating your good advice, slow knitter…).

Comments are closed.