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.