You’ve seen all of the different symbols and numbers on a yarn label. They’re all important for one reason or another. However, one of the most important numbers you’ll find on a yarn label are the yarn dye lot numbers.

What is a Yarn Dye Lot Number?

A yarn dye lot number is the number assigned to each skein of yarn produced from a single dying session. Every skein produced from a single session is marked with the same lot number on the label.

Finding Yarn Dye Lot Numbers

The dye lot numbers are really simple to find. Most manufacturers make it easy to see, as they know how important it is to fiber artists! Take a peek at the label shown below. You’ll see that the lot number (Lot #) is listed near the name of the color.

yarn dye lot numbers
Photo: Ronni of Noisy Critters Crafty Cabin

Why does it really matter?

Even though yarn manufacturers use the same ratio of dye in each dying session, the outcome can be affected by factors such as water temperature and variation in fiber production. This means that, despite the same ratio of dye, different dye lots can be slightly different shades. Actually, forget can be. It’s nearly impossible to produce the same exact shade again. Some may not be noticeable, but some definitely are.

Have you ever noticed that colors look different from your phone to your computer? How about in artificial light versus natural light? This also applies to viewing yarn in skeins versus in your project. The difference in shade may not be noticeable when you put the skeins next to each other; however, they will be once put together into your project. The difference may also be more noticeable once put under different lighting. Say you’re trying to take a picture of your finished product. All of a sudden, you look from your completed project to your photograph and notice something isn’t right.

Comparison of two different dye lot numbers

dye lot number comparison
Photo: Melissa Stewart – Next Wave Crochet
dye lot number comparison
Photo: Melissa Stewart – Next Wave Crochet

What if I can’t find the same lot number?

Buy it all at once

The first thing to avoid having to worry about yarn dye lot numbers is to find out the amount of yarn you’ll need for your project, and buy it all at once. You’ll still want to make sure the lot numbers are the same on the skeins you’re buying. However, dye lots are typically shipped together. Find out how much you need, and buy it all right then and there!

Keep your label

If you’re unable to purchase the required amount of yarn from the get-go, hang onto your yarn label. This way you’ll know the lot number, and if you can’t find it at your local craft store, you may be able to reach out to the brand. However, once yarn with the same lot number is all sold, that’s it. Each dye session is different.

Keep a list

This may be a better solution than hanging onto every yarn label you’ve ever used. Keep a spreadsheet on your computer, or a list in your notebook of the brand, color, lot number, and shade number (if provided.) Many labels do not have a shade number.

Modify your project

Sometimes you may not be able to get the same lot number of your yarn. In this case, you can try to modify your project.

  • Change the size: If you’re working on a blanket, maybe you can finish your project a little early; the blanket will just be a bit smaller than you originally planned.
  • Separate your colors: If you’re working on a multi-colored project, separate out the different yarn dye lot numbers. Use one dye lot number in a section, switch to a completely different color, and then go back to the new dye lot number. The separation with a color in between will trick the eyes.
  • Switch dye lot numbers every few rows: By changing up the dye lot numbers every few rows, you’ll minimize the noticeability of a shade change.

Happy crocheting, friends! Now, go buy all that yarn you need, but don’t tell anyone that I sent you out on that shopping trip.

yarn dye lot numbers

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