Every single ball of yarn I have ever seen, purchased, oogled, or heard of has a band, tag or other packaging. The sole job of that ball band (other than to remind me who made it) is to remind me of one simple fact: Dye Lots Vary. Like Gravity, this is not just a good idea; it's a LAW. Its truth is verifiable and incontrovertible. Not Kidding: If you get one skein of yarn from one pot of dye, and another from a different pot of dye, even if they are allegedly the same color, the hue of the two skeins WILL differ. Mathematically certain. Everyone, from the most experienced yarn dyers in the world (some of whom, I actually even know), to my neighbor's cat, understands this unyielding law of the universe.
So of course, I figured it didn't really apply to me, personally.
It all started when my friend gave me this sorry, bedraggled old sweater. She had rescued it from a thrift store, where she'd found it languishing, with a big hole right in its chest. Recognizing its handknit wool yarn as an authentic Aran tweed, she couldn't leave it there, unloved. Time passed, though, and she never quite got around to frogging the poor thing out of its misery. So she offered it to me, as a possible rehab project. It was really a specimen that only a mother could love, but something told me the poor old beast deserved my attention. I decided that if I couldn't help it to be reborn, I would at least give it a decent burial. So frog it, I did:
Another pal of mine sat with me, patiently picking out its seams, while I pulled out all 1,560 yards of cables and moss. Pretty satisfying, actually. Funny how easy it is to gut a sweater that's not your knitting. And once it was washed, it leapt back to life, as all great yarn will, ready for its reincarnation.
News to nobody: I'm not a fan of earth tones. This Butterscotch, or Toffee Beige, or whatever 1970s back-to-nature slice of hell you wanna call it, was not my idea of the color it should remain. Not to worry, I thought, I own a dyepot!
And it's true. I do. A dyepot of ample size to tint, say, 700 yards of yarn at once. Not 1560. Let me reiterate: I KNOW BETTER than to attempt what I did next. The only explanation is that I found the perfect pattern for this yarn while it was drying after its bath, and the resulting fit of Start-its clouded my judgement. Yeah, let's go with that.
I decided to dye it in two (2) batches.
I was SO precise! I was SO careful! I measured. I timed. I was clinical in my obsessive concern to treat both batches of yarn EXACTLY the same.
Yep. Two completely different colors. Both lovely, and neither one enough to make that perfect sweater pattern I now have my heart set upon.
So I'm gonna knock on the door of a friend of mine who has BIG dyepots, as soon as I can get up the nerve to admit to my foolhardy ways. I'm lucky to have some friends that are both smarter, and better-equipped than I am. I'm hoping they will know the right sort of magic for this situation.
And in the meantime, I'm taking comfort in this undisputable fact: There are things in this world upon which we can absolutely count: Babies are born. The Tax Man gets paid. Politicians and gauge swatches lie. And in case you ever wondered (though I know you never did) I've proven it once and for all: Dye Lots Vary. Duh.