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Friday, January 13, 2012
yarn shortage anxiety...
Just finished up knitting my third cardi for the POM - talk about cutting it close - I made it to test out the final pattern and to see how far a 500g/2000m cone will go... the first 2 were my size, so no problem, even with making bands and collars a few times, I had plenty leftover without having to ravage my swatches, but on this one, I’ve made a size larger and added an extra 2 inches to the length of the body and the longest sleeve version - I’ll confess, same yarn, didn’t make a swatch...so I didn’t have that to fall back on, but as I was making the second front, I was thinking ‘contingency plan’ in my head - you know, how would this look with, maybe a navy or black collar and front bands? Fortunately, we won’t know, but it was close!
Here’s my quick course on how to salvage a running-short-of-yarn project.
1. Get a good scale that will accurately measure small amounts. I have an electronic postage scale that is good up to 5 lb/2.2 kg.
2. Get the KNITWORDS index which will quickly help cross-reference other patterns using the same yarn and find the amounts used for comparable designs. This will give you an indication of how far the yarn should go. Keep in mind some stitch techniques use more yardage than others. For example, allover plain lace will use less yarn than stockinette, while a tuck fabric will use significantly more (1.5 to 2X more) than the same size and shape in stockinette.
3. Keep notes of your own projects and weigh each piece before assembly. Having this information is invaluable. I can usually tell from the weight of the back how much more I will need - approximately 2.5 to 3 times that again at least for front, 2 long sleeves and finishing (if back weights 130g, multiply by 2.5 = 325 g more needed) . If the back is done and you then realise there may be a problem, there is still time to revise the design and reduce the amount of yarn required. Changing the neckline, opting for shorter or more-fitted sleeves and the type of bands used for finishing are three ways of conserving.
4. If in doubt, start all pieces with waste yarn instead of making the band. This gives you the option of choosing bands that will consume less yardage or perhaps, using a contrast colour for the edges. Though it will change the finished look somewhat, at least you won’t be in the impossible situation of abandoning the project midway through the final piece. Unravelling and re-knitting an entire project is not my idea of the good life.
5. If you need to re-use the yarn from a laundered or steamed swatch, it will be virtually unnoticeable when incorporated into the bands, after the final garment has been laundered.