Newbie with self striping yarn question

Hi all
New lockdown knitter here.
I knitted 2 sweaters about 30 years ago and started my third sweater last week.
My question is about the yarn. I bought 5 balls of the same batch of merry-go-round for a child’s sweater.
The back and sleeves look fabulous. The colours are clean and bright, the stripes are great, I’m so happy with it. I joined a second ball in that section and you can’t see the join or see any change in the quality and cleaners of the colours. Just great.
But then I knitted up the front. I started a new ball for the front and took care to match up the stripes so that it would line up at the seam (or thereabouts, its only my third ever knit).
The front looks horrible. It looks patchy and dirty, there is dark dye on all the light colours making it look really grubby.
I might have just shrugged it off if it had all been like that but the difference between the front and back is really disappointing. My child will just look grubby rather than bright and cheerful.
Is this to be expected from self striping yarn that it is unpredictable in this way or have I got a dodgy batch that hasn’t been dyed well?

I’m thinking of starting the front over again with a fresh ball of yarn but is it likely to look grubby again?


Ohh, I see what you mean about the dirty looking blotches. With machine dyed self-striping, I wouldn’t expect that from yarns of the same dye lot. Are you sure the balls all have the same dye lot number? If so, it’s possible you just got a bad ball. But the only way to know is to start knitting up a new front with a different ball. If it still has that dirty look to it, you might want to consider getting a different yarn altogether.

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Thanks for your reply.
Its good to get some one else’s opinion, especially from someone more experienced.

Yes the batch numbers are the same. I checked when my order was delivered and checked again when the front came out blotchy.
I keep inspecting the different balls of yarn looking for the patches of dye to see if I can work out if a fresh ball is going to look grubby or clean but I can’t really tell. I’m not sure how ‘clean’ the yarn looked on that first ball which knitted up great. There seem to be some colour bleeds on all the balls but some knit up looking clean and fresh and some grubby and blotchy. I suppose it depends how much bleed there is in the individual ball or section.
I’ll start again with a fresh ball and see how it goes.

I’ll let you know.

Did you buy this yarn recently? I’m wondering if a lot of space dyed yarns are similar now, in respect to having unexpected bits of dye in places. I had some Caron Cakes yarn (aran weight) only a couple of years ago with something similar going on with the colours, not as severe but I’d see little spots of a darker colour in the light sections, and I did wonder if it was meant to be that way. I had several cakes of it in a few different colours, they all seemed to have that going on.

Thanks for your reply.
Yes I just bought it a week or so ago.
I have emailed the supplier to ask their opinion too.
If it had all come out that grubby way I would have just thought that’s to be expected from this type of dyed yarn hut the contrast between the front and back is very distinct and disappointing. I’m not even sure it shows fully in the photos the way it looks in real life.

I would say in this case it might be a bad ball - I looked at the picture again and I do see a definite difference. What a shame to have done that much work though and it turns out looking like that.
I would try a fresh ball, next.

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Bad ball. You did a great job matching up the stripes, though! For you newbies, sometimes you have to pull out a lot of yarn to get the colors and stripes to match up.

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I must admit I was really pleased with matching up the stripes. The 2 sweaters I’ve made before (30 odd years ago!) Were just a single colour so matching stripes, and working out which bit of a new ball to join in when my first ball ran out took a little bit of extra thought, yeah I was really pleased with it.

I have now knitted up the front 3 times with 3 different balls of wall and all 3 are grubby and horrible. That first front (photo) was about 100 rows, I didn’t go that far with the following 2 fronts, about 45 rows, enough to see that it’s grubby and doesn’t match the back and sleeves.


I’ve definitely gained experience with self striping yarn though!
The shop rang and said it shouldn’t be like that. They’re going to send out some replacement yarn but they don’t have any in stock just now and when their new stock arrives it won’t be the same batch lot so while the replacement yarn won’t have these dye errors (hopefully) it means if I knit up the front in the new batch the colours might not match the back from the original batch…so really I need to ditch this whole thing and start the whole project again with the new batch.

For now then this project is on hold until the new yarn arrives and I restart the whole thing.
I’ve got 3 bits of sweater on holder’s waiting to be pulled apart.

That’s awful how different the balls are from each other!! I came up with a possible solution if u don’t want to try new balls of yarn.

Maybe you could undo everything and save all the really nice yarn for the front!!! Use the grubby yarn for the back where it’s less noticeable.

I know, I know it means undoing everything!!! But it’s one possible solution.

Hth, Knitcindy

Usually the only place where front and back differs is around the neck, so one would not have to rip everything out, but just enough to redo the differences.

Thanks. I also considered this, you’re right, I would prefer the front to be the best side (but really the yarn is so dirty I don’t even want it on the back!).
I haven’t tackled it yet.
I’ve got some new balls but a different dye batch, need to knit some up and see what the colour looks like and if it’s a good enough match.

Honestly I’ve been totally put off self patterning yarn. I don’t have enough of the old or the new to make one stress free item so it’s not as relaxing or fun as it should have been.

If the store wont take it back & refund your hard earned $$, I bet you would like the yarn done in fair isle patterns - with black or tan or some neutral. Then take the “good” ball & do one motif or whatever it takes to use up 1 repeat. You could make the clear bright part go across the bust or shoulders - whatever you want to accentuate. There is a woman who has made a career of that. She calls it “knitting to dye for”

It’s good they’re going to do something to make it right, but I’m so sorry all your work has been for naught.

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Thank you for sharing this great idea.
I’m not sure I can manage the patterns but I love this idea for using up the yarn. It’s really made me think. I’ll definitely keep this in mind.

I found a few pictures of the technique:
She machine knits blanks to dye in stripes but most of the patterns are hand knit.

Right. I’m back on this nightmare sweater.

I have now knitted up 5 different balls trying to do the front.
3 of these were from my original order, all dirty and blotchy in the dye.
2 of these were with the new balls the shop sent as replacement for the bad balls, these are a different dye batch. Both are dirty and blotchy!

If it was just for myself I’d give up and do something else but it’s for my son and he adores the back and sleeves which came out bright and clean. So I think I’m going to attempt to patch at front and sleeves up with what I’ve got.

The very last of the balls appears to have less damage, shorter section of damage and mostly on the yellow, bit on the orange.

I did a trial of knitting past the damage by knitting up to it, creating a loop of damage to bypass it and continuing to knit with the following clean section. From this loop I wove in as I was knitting the following 7 stitches which leaves the other part of the loop just being carried across.

Just wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this as a possible solution?
I’m trying to bypass without pulling out any extra to weave in because if I wear in 2 ends I’ll lose a lot of yellow.
Would it be better to find short clean sections of yellow in the other balls and add those in instead so that all ends are fully oven in?
Some other method where I can secure this loopy bit that I’m carrying across? Maybe weave in as I knit with one thread and then switch and weave in with th other so that each carry loop is only across 3 or 4 stitches and not 7?

I bought this wool so it would be easy!

Rather than loop out the yarn when you need to, you might also try weaving in the new strand about 4-6 sts before the point where you would loop out the blotchy bits. Then at the point where you would loop out, pick up the new strand (you’ve already woven it its end) and start knitting now weaving in the old strand end.
This yarn is such lovely colors it’s worth the effort. What a pain those blotches are!

Thank you salmonmac
Yes, I see what you mean, like when just joining a new ball mid row.
My concern is that this uses up some of the cleaner yarn during the weave in which results in losing maybe twice the length of colour (half the new cleaner coming in and half the dirty being avoided but woven in) and over the course of the full body I’ll end up with less yellow overall and the stripes will match up less and less as I work through. If that makes sense.
I think if I can do as you’ve suggested with salvaged lengths from another ball then I might maintain the colour patterning a bit better, although I’ve just spent an hour huffing and puffing over ALL THESE BALLS grrrr looking for the cleanest bits that might be used and there is a major shortage of yellow.
Yellow isn’t the only colour with problems but on the “best” ball it’s the most defective.

Another question if you don’t mind.
Where a blotch is only 1 or 2 stitches (some very dark but short blotches) do you have any suggestions for bypassing those?
Would it still be best to salvage a longer length from another ball and weave in as I knit, or is there a way I can bypass it? Any little trick that I could try?

I was also thinking that at the very end if there are a few bad bits I could (don’t know the term for this) try covering it up with a false stitch sewn in in the right side over it. I saw a video for this, can’t remember the purpose of it, maybe for adding a motif or something? I didn’t watch the video closely enough to know how to do it yet but I could learn when the time comes.
Eek my easy sweater got a lot more complicated.

You don’t have to lose some of the clean yarn coming in. Cut so that the weave coming in is dirty yarn just before it comes clean. Same as at the other end of the clean color. The result is that only dirty yarn is used to weave on each end.

An alternative is a Russian join with acrylic yarn:

Other than cutting out the blotchy bits and creating new ends or living with a blotch or two, I can’t think of a way to avoid them. Your suggestion for covering them is a very good one however. Duplicate stitch can be used to repair a mistake in color work or knit/purl errors.

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Thank you so much.
I’ll keep all 5his in mind as I limp way way through this knit!
Would you believe I can’t even get my cast on row in one piece and having woven in from the new ball to try to get to the end of the row I discovered the dark blue is not as dark due to this being a different dye batch. I’ve already undone section 4 times before I’ve cast on and now I’m going to search for a better bit of blue!
This sweater will be one stitch at a time!

Thanks for the video link and info.
Much appreciated.

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