The perils of yarn substitution

Hi! Long time no blog, because [reasons]. But I’m back for the moment. I have several FOs to post about at some point, as well as a couple of WIPs to talk about. The latter have been, well, full of hiccups, but I think I’m finally ready to deal with all of those. So! Let talk about one of those troublesome WIPs today.

I had a little less than a full skein of Baruffa Cashwool when I started the Chamomile Tunic. Which is less yarn than the pattern calls for in my size. But I figured I’d be fine, since I often knit sweaters with significantly less yarn than called for.

Except this time around, I made a couple of fairly boneheaded mistakes. While my math did include calculations for a different gauge and for my desired waist shaping, I completely forgot to account for two things:

  1. I wanted LONGER sleeves than those of the pattern (as opposed to shorter, which is my usual modification).
  2. There’s crochet in this pattern. Which uses more yarn than knitting. How much more? I had no idea, because I had never seriously crocheted in my life, which meant I had no point of personal reference.

So, as you’ve probably figured out, I ran out of yarn. After I’d already attached the sleeves and knit 18 rows with 550+ stitches. And cannibalized my swatch. Whooooooops. What’s a knitter using a discontinued yarn to do?

Well, I figured I’d lower the neckline a bit, so I calculated how much more yarn I’d need to finish the shorter version (thank you, yarn scale!). And then I removed the sleeves and unravelled them (down to about as long as the original pattern called for!), before unkinking the frogged bits and winding them up for reknitting.

And now, here’s what it looks like, with the yoke but without any sleeves.

I haven’t reattached the sleeves yet because I wanted to wait until I was done with the neckline, just in case I needed to cannibalize even more yarn. As far as I can tell, I’ve got two options, neither of which I particularly like the prospect of:

  1. Graft the sleeves back on.
  2. Pick up stitches around the armhole and knit/crochet back down.

I’m actually leaning toward the first one, as daunting as that sounds, because I think it might take less time than unravelling the sleeves entirely, picking up stitches around the armhole, and then knitting and crocheting rounds and rounds of 150+ stitches. But we’ll see.

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One Response to The perils of yarn substitution

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