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Monday, August 29, 2016

Monday Mini Tip - Will I have enough yarn?

Have you ever played a game of yarn chicken? You're knitting faster and faster, hoping you can out-knit your yarn and you run out of yarn with one row to go. Yes, we've all been there.

Today, I'll show you how I work out if I'll have enough yarn to finish my project. I'm mainly talking about shawls here. I've got a spreadsheet set up for working out how much yarn is required for garments. But for me the most difficult designs to work out yarn amounts for, is shawls where each row gets longer.

I've got an easy method I use, and it works for me. There probably are more mathematical ways of doing this but I like to keep things as easy as possible as maths isn't my favourite subject, despite doing maths every day to grade and write my patterns.

So here's what I do: 

  • Measure your yarn. Make a note of how much you've got.
  • Work a couple of rows or a repeat - if you're getting towards the end of your shawl, you may wish to check yarn amount every couple of rows but earlier in the shawl I tend to weigh the yarn every time I start a new repeat.
  • Weigh your yarn again. Make a note of how much yarn you've got and how much yarn you used since you last weighed your yarn. Divide that amount by the number of rows you've worked and that'll give you an average per row.
  • Weight the yarn again after the next couple of rows or repeat and work out how much yarn you used per row or repeat again.
  • Repeat this until you get a good idea of how much yarn you use per row or per repeat and how much more you use for each subsequent row or repeat.
  • Use this information to work out how many rows you can work before you're likely to run out of yarn.
There are a few things to keep in mind. You will need more yarn for the cast off. How much you need depends on which cast off you use.

If the shawl starts with stocking stitch or garter stitch then transitions into lace, you may use more yarn per row for the lace section.

Does that make sense? It's basic and simple but it works for me. 

You may also be interested in a previous Mini Tip blog post on making a shawl bigger or smaller. Read it here.

Please ask any questions you have in the comments below. You can see all the previous Monday Mini Tips and other tutorials on my Tutorials page.

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