Getting There: A Tale of Two Sweaters

By Kay Gardiner
September 8, 2022

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102 Comments
  • I know, I would re-do it. Otherwise I would never wear it, and that would be a sad thing – especially with this sparkly blue shade of this wonderful wool!

    • I’d have to rip it back. Either I’d never wear it, or, if I did I’d constantly be mentioning/showing the color line to everyone. Even if they were too polite to mention it

      • Me too. I couldn’t wear it without being consumed by the feeling everyone is tacitly judging me for being too lazy to do it right. Full disclosure: I’ve never made a sweater without serious frogging at least once. If I let the boo boos go, it sucks the joy and pride out of the work I’ve done. Can’t have that.

    • Redo! It saves a lot of looking at it in a drawer and never in the mirror. And I couldn’t even give it to my least-favorite sister and not feel guilty….

  • I, too, love my Old Friend… despite the fact that it has become the project I’m embarrassed to pull out at meetings prompting colleagues to exclaim “You’re still knitting that thing?!?” Knit on, Kay.

  • Rip it back! You will see it every time you look at it

  • I love the shade change and how it is expressing itself on your Main Squeeze. I would knit on.
    Reading this, I had to laugh. My Main Squeeze is hibernating because I hate how uneven my picked up stitches are in the front band. Sometimes it can take a year or two for me to be finally ready for tinking…smile.
    You have inspired me to finish it.
    Love both your sweaters!

    • Meant to say, also, that your Main Squeeze dye lot shift reminds me of blueberries…a lovely mix of colors. Nature tends to do this. For sure, make what you will wear!

  • Kay, I would rip it. This mistake is a relatively easy fix. I agree, you will see it every time you wear it. And if the other skeins are the same dye lot at the bottom one, there will be another shift when you join the next one. You have time.

  • At this stage I would rip it back. Another skein and it would stay. Knit on!

    • I wonder if the color difference will soften when the sweater is washed?

  • Obviously, rip it out if it will become a source of torment.
    However, it could be a small joy. I love a previous comment reference to blueberries. Another option might be to use a different dye lot in a couple random places on the sleeves, maybe near the neck. Whatever you do, be sure to show us. It’ll be the right thing.

  • I loved my Old Friend so much I knit a second one immediately and I never knit 2 of the same sweater back to back. I added stripes to the sleeves and a second pocket. I would probably rip it out and start over if I had noticed it.

    • I would rip it. It would drive me crazy. I am interested in what you make of the yoke instructions for this sweater. I have knit the body and sleeves and am now stalled on the instructions for the yoke. Perhaps you can prevail on the designer to clarify. As you will see from the comments on the pattern page I am not the only one who had a problem.

      • Hear, hear!

  • Rip. Otherwise it will RIP in your sweater drawrr.

    • Love this one!!! Might need to check the storage for the Dearly Undeparted myself.

  • Definitely redo it. It will irritate you every time you look at it otherwise and it’s relatively easy to fix at this stage

  • It’s a design element…. Go with it…. Sh— happens…. Unless you turn it inside out and go whoa…. That doesn’t look right and I gotta fix it…. Entirely possible but the lines of demarcation are at a good place to say design choice if you choose….

  • I suggest that you frog it because it will be obvious on the finished garment and you are — I am sorry to say 😉 — not past the point of no return. I estimate it will take 2 minutes to frog and after that it is just knitting, which you love so much!

    • If you decide to rip, check that you have enough of one dye lot to finish. Could you switch back at the yoke? I’m surprised it was shipped with different lot numbers in your order but, of course, you could have picked it up yourself! Since it’s a purl row on the right side, it will look different than this.

  • One thick stripe of a different shade in a solid sweater? That would bother me every time I saw it. I’d rip. And then go, go, go!

  • I’m in camp rip it. It would be too obvious for me and something that would always make me pause each time i put it on even if i could then move the way it.

    • I would leave the stripe here, go back to the original dye lot and knit. Then I might even alternate dye lots for a subtly striped sweater.

      • I agree. Leave what you have knitted, switch back now to the original dye lot. If you wish, you can make one more subtle stripe later, by switching again.

  • Rip it. A skein is fleeting, but a sweater is forever.

    • Isn’t that the truth!

  • Interesting responses – guess I’m in the minority: I love the “shades of blueberries” idea and maybe adding a similar stripe on the sleeves. It wouldn’t bother me at all – definitely a subtle design effect!

    • I totally agree!

  • It looks like intentional color blocking or shading.

  • Ever the optimist, I’m wondering if it is as obvious on the more texture-ey right side?
    I hear you – I have to get back to my Old Friend also — and my “shoulder, armhole, and neck” shaping of my Destination Pullover!

    • Suck it up and rip it out or you will never be as happy with the finished product as you might have been. And remember it’s just part of the beautiful process. A lesson in patience and accepting the inevitable setbacks along the way! So worth it in the end!

  • I just started knitting with Atlas which I purchased a while back. I love it! It’s so soft to knit and the stitch definition is lovely! I’m making the hood in the Atlas book. A sweater would be very cozy. Hmmm! How many sweaters does a 72 year old girl need??? And shouldn’t I be using up some of my massive stash???

    • I’ll let you know when I figure that one out

  • Is your remaining yarn the lighter shade? If so, I’d just keep going. A solid sweater with a darker band at the bottom would be nice. If it’s darker, maybe rip back. I would be compelled to point out the color change any time anyone complimented me on the lovely sweater…
    Also, I’d make the Old Friend pockets out of that lapis, they look great together!

    • I was coming to say exactly this – it all depends what dyelot the rest of your yarn is and whether you can make it look intentional.

  • Design feature! Beautiful knitting! Diane

  • I would probably rip it out to avoid the dreaded, “I am finished but will probably wear it once and then it will take up space in my closet.” That is assuming you can see it in real life. Photographs tend to make the color difference much more noticeable. If you cannot see it under various lighting conditions you might leave it but probably not – you are a rock star at Rhinebeck and when someone wants to take a picture with you, it is probably best if your response is not, “Hang on a sec; I have to change my sweater!”

  • I’m sorry. I saw it before I read it and thought, was that intentional?

  • Ugh on the color difference between two skeins. Happened to me, saw it in the sunshine, ripped it out without much thinking about it, and then reknit it. So glad I did. The suffering is in the debate! Just get it ripped out and move forward! If the plan was a solid, don’t settle for a stripe. Onward!

  • The color shift was apparent to me aa soon as I saw the picture, before reading about it. I would have to frog it. The shift is obvious, but I don’t think it’s enough of a difference that it looks like an intentional design element. If that my sweater it would bug me and I wouldn’t wear it.

  • I think it looks fine. Like an intentional stripe. Depends on your degree of OCD for this kind of thing.

  • Choose an even lighter dye lot for the top for a subtle color block look and knit on!

  • Oh boy, that would drive me mad. I’d have to rip it back or I’d never wear it. But that’s just completely anal me. Hopefully you’re more rational.

  • Leave it! It’s a Design Element. You don’t want it to look store bought. : D

    • I’m in the ‘leave it’ court! I like the grading; it adds interest.

  • Wait a week and then rip it. If you wait a week, you won’t mind nearly so much—it’s knitting amnesia.

  • Ugh. I hate dilemmas like this. I’m afraid I’d have to rip-and-reknit. But I’d be irritated about it the whole time. And I am so tempted to knit a Best Friend . . . So. Tempted.

  • Gorgeous sweaters. Sadly, I’d let her rip.

  • If you have enough of one dye lot for the whole sweater I’d rip and re-knit. Trying to blend dye lots or echo the stripe anywhere else would take more time, energy, and debate than a straightforward redo. Can’t wait to see them both finished and modeled!

  • I think you have to rip it back. Otherwise it will take some of the pleasure out of wearing it. You will always know that dye lot thing is there, and that will take the edge of! And besides….now the whole world knows!

  • This is why I read MDK the first thing every morning. There is so much unrest and upset in this country, the bad news can wait while true problems are pondered and solved. Stop mulling and rip. You know where to get more yarn!

  • Leave it! It’s a beautiful, subtle shade difference that gives it character.

  • Seriously Kay. Rip that back and reknit with the correct dye lot. There is lots of good advice here but that’s for ordinary humans in ordinary circumstances. You are Kay, of Ann and Kay, of MDK, and you are selling your fabulous new yarn Atlas. As such, you are a walking billboard not just another knitter.

    • You want everyone’s first thought to be, “I want to make that sweater.”

      Not, “Why didn’t Kay fix that sweater?”

  • Did you finish your Old Friend sweater with just the amount of yarn you showed on Instagram?

    As for the dye lot difference…If you have to ask, then it is clearly something that would bother you and that is what matters. At this point, it is a relatively quick fix.

  • The beauty of this sweater in this color is the sweet deep uniformity of the rich blue. Partly for this reason, I can’t think of any way to turn that line into a design component – I would definitely rip it back, especially since there still are 5 weeks until Rhinebeck. But YMMV!

  • “Walk fast no one will notice!” A quote heard often in our family whether critical of sewing, ironing or knitting. If it bugs you fix it.

  • You know you have to rip and redo. You would not have asked if you didn’t already know what you think about this.

    • Sadly, this is my thought as well. You wouldn’t be asking if it didn’t bother you.

      Related: I consider the reversibility of knitting one of its strengths. If I don’t like how something turns out, or I can see a mistake, I can always fix it. (I’m ignoring steeked things here, of course!)

  • I would embrace it and knit the yoke area with the dye lot used in the bottom and sleeves. Turn error into intentional.

  • What a lovely window into the hearts of each and every knitter who has responded. We all emphasize… then you do you Kay. Which you do so well!

  • I’d re-knit. Sorry….

  • One question: if you leave the sweater as-is, will the mismatched dye lot bother you forever? Or will it make you smile?

  • I’d rip… the difference is not strong enough to feel intentional. And especially since the sleeves and bodies are two different textures, I think I would mind there being two slightly different colors as well…. Pulling the eyes to too many places….

  • Well, once seen it can’t be unseen – fix it! Maybe frogging back and alternating rows for a couple of inches to fool the eyes into thinking it’s okay — or better yet make sure you have enough of the correct dyelot to just replace and keep going. Still that requires frogging

  • I didn’t see it until you told me to look for it. I’d carry on

  • The wonderful thing about knitting is it gives us an opportunity to indulge ourselves in perfectionism with very little negative consequences OR it give us an opportunity to practice self-compassion and acceptance of mistakes. Which do you want to do today?

    • I love this

  • It might be something that would blend eventually with washing, but it depends on your personality. If you’re from camp this will drive me crazy forever, rip it. It’s just more lovely knitting. I, too am making the Old Friend, and used the pocket for a gauge swatch. Aren’t we clever?

  • Rip the Main Squeeze. The dye lots are just different enough that the stripe will drive you and everyone else crazy. If you have to have a stripe on it, use Clementine or Citron instead.

    You have plenty of options for the Old Friend. You could find the swatch and use it as the pocket. You could knit a new pocket using a different shade of Atlas. (Hint: try that odd lot of Lapis.) You could also omit the pocket and call the sweater done.

  • Could it be the back of the sweater?

  • Ugh I’ve had a sweater in time out for months for this same reason. I know I should rip it back but I haven’t been able to stomach actually doing it so the sweater sits there waiting. I think all of these comments have made me decision even more clear to me and maybe given me just the oompah that I needed to get started unraveling. Ugh I hate that so much.
    Thanks for this discussion today. It helps to see it in another knitter’s (a super fabulous knitter!) process.

  • When I first saw the shading difference I thought it was intentional and brilliant. I thought to myself, “I should try that for a subtle change in color that is interesting but not earth shattering. I still think it’s brilliant. If I had more of that yarn I would do the same on the sleeves. But, if I didn’t….You know, I think I would still keep it. Besides, it’s all blue and blue is my favorite color! I like it.

  • I like it!!! A lot!!!

  • Re-knit, for sure or you won’t wear it as often

  • I’d ikely leave as is, but hard to say. This happened to me on a shawl I knit but I didn’t realize until the end. Fortunately it was the middle section so (almost) looked like it was intended.

    Sleeves-i always do 2 at a time like socks. A bit slower of course but a) I get them done and b) I get the same length easily.

  • Great job Kay!! Go! Go! Go! As for the two dye lots, I’d leave it. Sure, a design element, but where it is, it may be in the ‘boob shadow’ area and you’ll never see it.

  • Do over.? You won’t be sorry! Colors is beautiful! Make it match otherwise you will see it not matching every time you put it on. Wonderful work

  • Ah, such beautiful WIPs! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who responds to sleeve knitting by casting on another sweater 🙂 I tell my daughter, knitting is ripping! Still, it used to be the “rip of shame” for me, where I brooded over my mistakes and inadequacies as a knitter with every row or round. But not anymore! Sometime around April or May 2021, I saw an IG live with Aimee of La Bien Aimee (which I can’t seem to find now). She wanted to redo a cardigan sleeve and needed to rip back several inches. She threaded a small (US 1 or 2) circular needle through the sleeve at the point she wanted to rip back to, picking up one leg of all stitches. Once the stitches were on the needle, she ripped back to that round and was able to carry on knitting the sleeve. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say this tip was life-changing for me! It may take a little finessing to get the stitches on evenly, but it’s ok if you miss a stitch or 2.

  • Oh my goodness, I would never rip that back because of the color shading, design element. Go with it!

  • Alice would say rip it. Even if you were binding off the neck, Alice would say rip it. With all due respect to AS, I would find yet another dye lot for the next skein and call it a gradient!

  • You must redo it or you’ll never be happy

  • You can do it!!!!! (I’m in a similar situation right now.) Knit like the wind!

  • Do you remember that saying “a moment on the lips, forever on the hips”, it seems this dilemma is the woolly version, a skein with a different dye lot. Unravel it. Or, dye it when you are finished. As it’s a solid colour, that will be easy to do. I like that other saying too, “They who hesitate are lost”.

  • I learned long ago that the in time I have spent waffling about what to do in cases like this, I could have it ripped out and redone correctly thus saving myself time and angst.

  • Design element!

  • My mother made me a sweater with obvious skein change. That was 50 years ago. I got rid of it as soon as I could. Yet I still remember it and exactly where the dye lots changed.
    My suggestion is to redo the section. I always feel that knitting is as much about the journey as is the finished item.

  • Sorry, rip it, rip it good! It is going to drive you nuts!

  • I want to be the carefree type who can knit on and smile every time they wear a sweater with an unintentional dye lot change – their sweaters are great and they seem stoked to wear them. Hooray for them! Sadly, I’m too rigid for that, and when I hit that problem (so many times!) the project usually ends up in a long timeout before I can muster the energy to frog it. :-/ You do you! But since you’re asking a crowd, it makes me think you’re not sitting easy with it and probably will decide to frog. Sigh.

  • Oh yes….redo! Your old friend has an issue. Go to the rescue.

  • I’d like to say “oh let it be, what does it really matter in the scheme of things”. Honestly tho if I left it it would drive me bonkers.
    I’d think about it in the middle of the night, when I’m out for a walk, grocery shopping. AND every time I put the dang sweater on it would be starring me in the face.
    So…that pretty much sums it up for me.

  • How about dup-stitching a row of a different shade right at the dye lot change? Wouldn’t have to be way contrasty, just different.

  • I like subtle color blocking. And if you can only see it in pictures, it’s like a little surprise on your camera roll. I’d leave it. Love the Old Friend!

  • Kay, at first I thought keep it in, especially if you can give the same treatment to the sleeves. Then I thought No. Keep it all the same; rip it back. However, now that I think about it having that one skein of a different dye lot could add interest to your sweater, keeping the rest of the sweater (including sleeves), the other dye lot.

  • I think you’ve had enough replies about whether or not to re-knit the piece with the different dye lot…. Good luck deciding what to do, although it’s pretty clear what you will do, if all the comments have anything to say about it!!

    I am just here to say that I do not understand why designers design bottom-up sweaters. Why not make them top down, since they are not going to be seamed anyway? I have knit a few bottom up sweaters and several times have been disappointed with the length they have turned out to be—and this is despite swatching and measuring another beloved sweater and all that jazz. Even with swatching, you can never be 100% sure of how something will look until it’s done, soaked, blocked, etc… and then worn! (And oftentimes you also cannot predict how your particular yarn choice might wind up affecting how you feel about the length of your finished object, and you cannot know in advance how this particular sweater in this particular yarn will wind up looking, feeling, hanging, etc.) For me, it is often only after wearing a few times that I sometimes decide I’d like the sweater/sleeves to be a bit longer or shorter, and although it IS a bit of bother, I can easily make the change on a top down sweater, but it’s basically impossible to do in a bottom up. I just would like to cast my vote for designers who, when designing a seamless “all-in-one-piece” sweater, choose to make it top down so that we end users can tweak it even after it is finished. I *love* the look of the Main Squeeze but I won’t tackle it because of the bottom up construction; I don’t have the patience or skill to turn the bottom up instructions into top down.

    • I couldn’t agree more!

  • Pocket swatch pro tip: roll it up and put it in the center of your yarn cake. If you’re a center pull from the cake kind of knitter, a ponytail elastic or scrunchie will hold that pocket swatch to the cake.

  • I would NEVER rip it out. So it has a subtle stripe…who cares? As my knitting friend always says, if a horse were galloping by and sees it, then correct it, otherwise leave it! It’s beautiful just as it is because your beautiful hands knit it. Be proud of it!

  • When I get in “situations” like this, I’d contemplate (1) leaving the stripe if it lands in a location where a stripe would look natural (like a stripe across the chest), then continue on with the darker dyelot, (2) try to find a skein or 2 of Lapis that are even lighter than the second skein and make a tonally-striped single-color sweater, (3) choose a totally different color or 2 and continue on in wide, uneven-height stripes (4)oh, oh! or maybe even find 2 more skeins of a totally different color, using one in a lot number that is darker and one that is lighter and continue striping or (5) rip it and re-knit the one skein 🙁

  • Yeah,so much to do and so little time. But you gotta Rip It. The color change is too slight to make sense as a “design element” even if you striped both sleeves in the exact same way. Carve out an hour for a good start, Turn on a favorite podcast, prepare a nice non-alcoholic beverage and sally forth! (As I am currently doing with the fourth iteration of one of the easiest projects I have ever knit.,,I would stab myself with a 0000-size Addi needle but I really want to wear this thing – as you do your Rhinebeck Old Friend…of course I have more time than you do so the stabbing doesn’t make any sense.)

  • For what it’s worth – and no doubt you have already moved on, Kay – I have often thought of using embroidery to disguise or fool the eye into not seeing a patch of wrong-dye-lot knitting. Since my embroidery skills are practically non-existent I would have to barter or pay someone to do the work. But I think it could look really cute or sophisticated (depending on the design) on the Old Friend.