As a knitting teacher I am asked all the time if I can change a pattern to fit the yarn I want to use. Or in this case I only had 648 yards of yarn and I wanted to make something out of it besides a hat or two. So here is what I did. First let me tell you about the yarn. I was given this yarn a year or so ago from a secret swap or something. Well I had never seen this yarn so I knew was I not going to be able to get more if I needed. So I have been looking for something that would take 648 yards. Well I wasn't able to find anything I liked. By the way the yarn is called Goddess Yarns Ellen. Its a deep purple and each ball has 81 yards and it suggest I use a size 8 needle.
Well after looking and looking I found a really neat vest pattern from Plymouth. The pattern called for Turino Silk, which by the way is a discontinued yarn. The pattern called for a size 5 and 7 needle with a gauge of 18 stitches for 4 inches. It also called for about 900 yards. So what to do. Well I did a swatch with size 9 needles and it turned out to be a gauge of 14 stitches to 4 inches. The fabric was a bit looser but not bad. The yarn is a55% cotton, and 45% wool so its very soft so a soft fabric is just fine with me. Now that I had my gauge I needed to adjust the pattern to get the fit I was looking for. I usually wear a 44 because I am a 42 1/2 well I knew that if I made the vest with my gauge my regular size would of course end up way to big, so what I did was knit the small instead of the large. What was the result. I had plenty of yarn for the vest, I was even able to make it 3 inches longer then the pattern called for. The best part was its fits great and I have about 1 1/2 balls left over to make that hat some day.
I have learned over the years that for me its easier for me to change the gauge to either larger or smaller then the original pattern called for then make either the size smaller or larger to get the end result I want. The beauty of doing it this way is I don't have to change any of the numbers of stitches and I usually have some yarn left over. One thing I do when using this method , when the pattern tells you to knit for say 10 inches for a small I will knit for the length of the larger or even the extra large. I want it to be sure its long enough.