Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What to do when you don't have enough

I'm sure at some point in planning for a project you have come across this problem. Where you have the perfect color yarn or some handspun that you think will make a great sweater but you don't have the amount of yarn that the pattern calls for. Case in point. I have been working on the Oatmeal cardigan from Spin Off winter 09. Well I bought 2 pounds of Romeny wool, spun it into a wonderful 3 ply. By the way I spun it by using the on the fold method. Which is were you take a lock of fiber and fold it over your fiber finger and spin from that. It is a great way to spin as it adds softness and loft to your yarn. Anyway when I had finished spinning I ended up with 1200 yards. Which was great however, the pattern called for 1550 on a size 6 needle.

By the way there are two reason I didn't have enough yarn for the project, both being my stupidity and not the pattern. First I bought 2 pounds of RAW wool. I forgot to take into account that there would be loss in the processing. You can expect to lose up to 1/3 in cleaning and preparing the fleece to spin. Also I didn't read through the pattern all the way. The directions called for a pound and half for the small and 2 pounds for a XL. So I really should have bought 2 and half pounds to insure I had enough. I would like to think I don't do this again but I can promise I won't do it in the near future, anyway.

So the question is what can I do. I really like the yarn and its the color I wanted, can I make it work? The answer is YES you can. So here is what I did. I moved up 2 needles sizes to an 8 and knit and smaller size. I wanted to end up with a size 40-42 which was the XL ( By the way I don't think a 42 is an XL but that is here nor there. But by using a larger needle and making the 38 I ended up with a sweater that fits and I even had an extra ball of yarn left over. There are a couple of things that you will need to know when you give this a try.

First off you still need to make a gauge swatch as a matter of fact make sure you make at least a 4 inch square one. Don't cheat and make an inch or two. The reason is you really want to know how the fabric feels. Is it too loose? Can you see through the fabric or do you like how it feels.

Also when you are knitting a pattern that you have changed the needles size be sure to knit the length for the size you are shooting for. For example. In this pattern the XL called for me to knit the body 14 inches long and the sleeves 18 inches. The size small called for a couple of inches shorter. I knit my sweater 14 inches long and the sleeves as for the longer size too.

Another thing you need to think about it if your pattern has a cable or color work in it be sure to knit a sample to make sure the cable isn't to loose to show up like you want and also in the case of color work the stranding from behind doesn't show through.

Now for a bit more info on the sweater. I was really worried through out that I wouldn't have enough yarn but like I said I ended up with about 150 yards left over. I did change things a bit. I didn't want to do buttons because I usually don't button a cardigan anyway so I added a metal frog. Now when looking at the picture its not the best as a matter of fact its terrible. I had to use my camera from my phone to take the picture and the true color doesn't show up. The Romeny fleece was a medium grey and I over dyed it dark blue. So in real life the frog doesn't stand out as much in this picture. I had to lighten so that you could see it. My regular camera crapped out a couple of months ago and I haven't had the funds to buy a new one yet. I am really happy with how this cardigan turned out. Its the size I wanted, you can see the cable really nicely and the sleeves are long enough.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year Goals

I really didn't wait until now to make up my 2010 goals. I made my list on Jan. 1 and I am happy to say I am still working on all of them. Now not all my goals are fiber related nor are they all self improvement either. So with out more a due here's the list in no particular order.

1. loose 40 pounds by summer. ( the real goal is to where a pair of capris I bought 5 years ago and have never been able to fit into, This is the year.)

2. Read through the Bible in a year. Daughters number 1 and 2 are also reading along with me and several ladies on Pacific NW Christian Needle Crafters which is an email group on Yahoo groups.

3. List a blessing each day.

4. Buy NO yarn. ( Yea I know that one sounds crazy but I really have so much that has been waiting for me to get to , so this is the year)

5. Attend at least one Fiber fair.

6. Open a Etsy store. ( I have some ideas in the works already so look for more on that )

7. Learn to use natural dyes

8. Try to grown cotton and flax. ( this one will be hard as I have no green thumb)

9. Create a sweater. ( more about this one is coming)

10. Knit a Christmas afghan and new ornaments for this years tree.

11. Spin a fleece study. More about this one later this week.

I usually try to stick to 10 goals for the year but this year is a bit different. I have some other things I want to do this year and will be coming in late weeks and months. One thing I want to do is make this blog more educational instead of like so many that drone on about what new yarn was bought or see what I have. So look for a bit of a different tone to this blog in the coming weeks and months. So that's about it for the goals of 2010. Can you believe its already mid Jan 2010.