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every last yard

October 12th, 2010

Every Last Inch

Sometimes, you get this perfect yarn. It’s gorgeous. Just the right color. A lovely gauge. But oh, there are only a few skeins. Say, 900 yards or so. About one skein short of the sweater you thought you’d design.

This happened to me last month at Wool and Company when I was teaching in St. Charles. I fell in love with this color of Tosh DK, Kale, and bought up the last 4 skeins. 900 yards. What would I do?

I swatched right away, but put it on the back burner while I finished up that deadline knitting. Still, the swatch called to me. I went for a looser gauge than perhaps intended; about 4.25 sts per inch on 5mm needles. It makes a lovely fabric in stockinette, soft and flexible without being too loose, too floppy.

But when I cast on, I knew I had to design a bit smarter than usual. I absolutely, positively, could not run out of this yarn before I was done.

Naturally, I went for a top down raglan. (Far easier to make a shorter cardigan if I run short.) But the collar and front details caused me a bit of contemplation.

In the end, I decided to knit a ribbed border while working the body of the cardigan. To shape the neck, I knit the ribbed section from a provisional cast on, using short rows to shape the corners at the front of the neck. I then picked up along one edge to begin knitting the yoke.

At this point, I’m nearly done with the yoke and ready to split for the sleeves. I’ve just begun the second ball of Tosh DK.

I think I’m going to knit the rest in a few stages. I want the body to be plain up until about 7 inches before the lower hem; that part will be all lace from a chart I’m developing. I think it will work well with the simplicity of the front ribbing.

I don’t want sleeves shorter than 3/4 length, so once I’m finished with the second ball of yarn, I’ll use the third to do as much of the sleeves as possible. Then, back to the body and see how that goes.

My challenge is to use, as closely as possible, every last yard of yarn.

(And also to have something new to wear to work this month!)

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6 Responses to “every last yard”

  1. Tanis Says:

    It looks great so far, and I don’t blame you for wanting to use up every last yard, that colour is really beautiful!

  2. Pantea Says:

    Good luck! That yarn just looks like this Malabrigo sock yarn I’m using for a shawl, in colorway Rayon Vert. I’m sure your sweater will turn out beautifully.

  3. kelly-ann (on ravelry) Says:

    Can’t wait to see the final product since I am always cutting yardage short!

  4. juniperjune Says:

    good luck! it looks great so far!

  5. Adriene Says:

    That is a challenge I run into constantly! I’m sure that you’re the one to pull it off!

  6. Rhonda Says:


    I bought this pattern thru Ravelry. I’ve found one mistake early into the pattern. After knitting 15.5 inches for the collar, I began the short rows. On Row 1, it says to slip the first stitch then continue in pattern to my W&T which leaves me 4 sts. On the 2nd row, it tells me to slip the first stitch and continue in pattern ending with P2. When I slip that first stitch and continue in pattern, that leaves me with only 1 stitch to purl, not 2. I did this 4 times thinking I was doing something wrong ending up with only 1 stitch to purl. I removed the 1st stitch slipped and knit it instead and got the last 2 stitches to purl.

    Just thought you’d want to know.

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