Thursday, August 23, 2012

Do I have enough?

The project around which I am procrastinating is another Best-of-Both--a combination of yarn + fabric, this time for a flowy, dressy jacket. The problem is that I found the perfect fabric and the perfect yarn . . . but don't know if I have enough of the latter. So it has sat . . . and sat . . . and sat.

Before it sat, I actually began the work to find out if I had enough yarn.
  • I knit a swatch (and figured gauge).
  • I wrote up a rough version of the pattern.
  • I began knitting and stopped with the completion of one ball of yarn.

So here is what I now need to do.
  1. Calculate # stitches one ball produced. (This is pretty easy: # stitches wide x # rows tall = # stitches one ball produced.)
  2. Calculate # stitches each piece demands. (This is not as easy, because I have shaping in some of the pieces. But if I take the # stitches at a piece's narrowest point, and add the # stitches at its widest point, then divide by 2, I'll have the average # stitches in the piece's width. So average # stitches in width x # rows in length = # stitches in shaped piece.)
  3. Add # stitches for all pieces, then divide by # stitches one ball produced = # balls the project will demand.
So this is what I have been avoiding. Why? In case I don't have enough yarn. What will I do if I don't have enough? Re-design the project: make some part of the garment shorter (the sleeves?) or narrower (the hem of its A-line?). There is always a solution.

For those of you who are in the middle of a project and not sure if you have enough to finish?
  1. Find a place in the knitting where you used one ball of yarn.
  2. Starting at the beginning of that ball and working to the end of that ball, calculate # stitches one ball produced (see step 1 above).
  3. Calculate # stitches needed to finish: # stitches that remain x # rows that remain = # stitches needed to finish (see step 2 above, if the piece is shaped).
  4. Divide # stitches needed to finish by # stitches one ball produced = # balls the finishing will require.
If you don't have enough? Can you give the piece 3/4 sleeves? Can you forgo the sleeves altogether? Can you rip off the edgings, use that yarn to finish, then work the edgings in another dye lot or yarn? Can you go on Ravelry to find more yarn?

There is always  a solution! When you work to find it, you flex your creative muscle (which is always a good thing). And when you find it, the sweater is often improved (becoming the piece it wanted to be all along).

Our knitting really does talk to us. We just need to learn how to listen.

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