Every Last Drop.
Months ago, I told myself that I wasn't going to bring any "unfinished business" with me to the new house. I had planned to finish all outstanding projects prior to packing. I had hopes for a clean slate upon moving. It didn't work out that way. I didn't finish any of them. Not one.
As I continue to unpack my supplies, I came across my box of WIPs. And, I was posed with the choice to either A). Find a new area to store all these abandoned endeavors, or B). Finish them.
I went with the latter choice. I really need the satisfaction of finishing somethings. Lately, all I've been doing is starting new projects. Everything is in various stages of completion. Truthfully, it's a little chaotic. Most of the projects exiled to my WIP box are close to complete. For instance, this Effervescence Cardigan. Poor thing was banished to the box, because of bad math.
Often, I buy yarn before I have a project in mind. When I come across a sale or have the option to buy a bag, I have a hard time passing. When I'm aiming for a sweater quantities, I try to buy at least 1k yards. It's pretty easy to find a pattern to pair with that amount of yarn. But, it's not always enough to get the job done. Sometimes, a girl has to improvise.
I bought the remaining stock of this Louisa Harding Kashmir Baby on a whim during a knit night last winter . Eight Balls; 1144 yards. I arrogantly estimated that I would be able to squeeze-out an Effervescence Cardigan. I didn't crunch any numbers. I avoid math whenever possible. I decided to go with my gut and knit. I felt pretty good about my decision until I reached the sleeves. That's when I got the sinking feeling. I'm sure all you knitters know the one I'm talking about. The, "there's-no-way-I-have-enough" feeling.
Instead of stopping to evaluate my yardage situation, I determined I would cheat the pattern and knit 3/4 sleeves instead. I kept knitting. Long story short, my cheat provided me the perfect amount of yarn to knit mid-forearm length sleeves for my sweater- And, absolutely no leftovers for the neckline and button band. As you can imagine, I felt pretty defeated. Like a gambler whose lucky streak ended on an all-in hand. In that moment, I didn't have it in me to RIP and re-knit.
A smarter knitter would have known from the start that she was playing a losing hand. The largest size of this pattern uses 60% more yarn than the smallest size (1086 yards /1810 yards= .6 ). There are six patterns sizes spanning between the largest and the smallest sweater sizes. Therefore, we can reasonably assume that each size between the smallest and largest sweater sizes requires approximately 10% more yarn (60% / 6 sizes) than the size preceding it. The "37 sweater I chose to knit reasonably requires 10% more yarn than the "33 sweater, which we are told uses 1086 yards. SO, I should have expected to need ~1195 yards (51 yards less than what I had.. ARGH!). I would have spared myself a lot of headaches had I started from this point instead of working backwards.
When I reached in and rescued this sweater from the WIP box, I knew I needed a new plan of attack. I started with the neck and button band. Pretty easy stuff. Then, I took my remaining yarn and divided evenly using my gram scale. I use my scale ALL THE TIME for weighing yarn. They're very inexpensive and a true lifesaver for figuring yardage on leftover balls of yarn or in instances like this.
Once I had my yarn portioned, I reworked my sleeves from the top-down. I wanted to maximize the length of my sleeves, so I used Tasha's tutorial for a seamless set-in sleeve and knit until I ran out of yarn. It was a fantastic option for the predicament I was in. I do think I could have decreased a bit quicker to gain an inch or so, but overall, I'm pleased with the way things turned out.
I feel like I regained a little bit of the luck that I'd lost earlier in this project. Because, after I'd finished knitting, I found some vintage buttons from my stash that are a perfect match to pair with my new sweater. I think they are from the 1940's, but I can't be sure. They're some form of primitive plastic but look like glass. They're manufactured by Costumakers, and the bottom left corner indicates that they're from Western Germany. If you've got any good button resources, I'd love to know more about them.
The moral of this story, math is a friend, not a foe. What are your tricks for beating the odds against yardage shortages? Are you the betting type, or do you play it safe?
2/10/2014 01:05:21 am
I finished up a project last night that I was sure I would run out of yarn for. The unfortunate part is that it wasn't like I could just go to the yarn store to buy more. The shop in question went out of business last month...and they did all their own yarns and dyeing. Sooooo, I had to stalk Ravelry for someone with the same colorway. Luckily, I found someone willing to sell me more...but I didn't actually run out. I had about 2 yds. leftover at the end of it all. The yarn was purchased before I had a plan for it and I got a toddler sweater and a toddler vest out of it. I'd say that's pretty good :)
Yay! I love how the sweater looks so I'm glad you powered through! I tried this weekend to finish my own UFO and was so disappointed that I couldn't finish it (it's now way too big and I made an error in the body that even Nick could see). Sigh.
2/10/2014 01:12:13 am
2/10/2014 01:35:19 am
I fly by the seat of my pants and usually end up fudging length or decrease faster. Lovely green buttons! I love vintage buttons. The sweater is gorgeous and looks like you planned it all along.
2/10/2014 01:42:39 am
wow i love this and much prefer your version to the original - partly to do with the colour but i think the shorter sleeves are much nicer.
Knitting maths...argh indeed! Like you, used to buy yarn in 2K yards for sweaters. Nowadays, I try to do a rough gauge of how much I need especially if I'm substituting yarn, which I do a lot. I also try to buy an extra skein or two because I add length to the body and sleeves. I fell in love with 3/4 and bracelet length so that took care of the sleeve issue for me.
2/10/2014 02:43:38 am
IT TURNED OUT BEAUTIFULLY!! You did a marvelous job, and I am super proud of you for returning to it and finishing it. The buttons are stunning! You should wear green ever day - it's so striking on you :)
2/10/2014 03:36:53 am
Your sweater looks great. and just in time for St. Paddy's Day!
I think we've all been there at some point, so take heart. I did exactly what you did when it happened to me on a project, and divided my remaining yarn for the sleeves on my kitchen scale. It is my favorite sweater, ever. Yours is gorgeous, and I really like the color. I'll have to look up that pattern!
Oh boy - we've probably all been there! I know I have! I usually try to convince myself I'm saving money by knitting the same yarn twice :-) Doesn't always work though.
2/10/2014 10:36:54 pm
Well done! The sweater is gorgeous on you - I love that green! I hope I don't find myself in the same fix. I cast on an Olympics project using stash yarn, and I am going to be cutting it very close as far as yardage goes.
Oh it's absolutely gorgeous! The color is stunning and the buttons are a perfect match. I'm so happy you didn't have to frog the whole thing. I love this so much and now I really want to work on mine! After the Ravellenic Games I will. ;)
2/11/2014 06:42:46 am
Love the colour and the pattern. I play itself, buy more yarn... Unless it gets discontinued because it takes me 2 years to finish one cardigan... I had to finish the arms first to see how much yarni had for the collar..
Glad to hear that you stuck with it and even through all the ups and downs with the yarn shortage (believe me, I get those moments too!) and made the pattern work for you. And I think you made that green color associating to me with luck, to turn your luck around into a beautiful result!
8/13/2014 06:58:19 am
What a pretty sweater! I've definitely had that "there's-no-way-I-have-enough" feeling before, ugh that's the worst. Especially when the yarn (fabric in my case!) is from a vintage shop or something and there's no way of getting more. I LOVE the 3/4" sleeves though, seriously love them and I never would have guessed they were that way just because of yarn-shortage. Great call definitely, I'm trying to follow along in what you did to allow for enough yarn to finish but truthfully I know nothing about knitting and am so lost, haha so I'm just going to sit back and admire your handiwork instead and leave the math part up to you. :) haha
12/15/2019 09:28:01 pm
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