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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Opus Spicatum

I recently went stashdiving and picked out two of the oldest skeins for this quick project:

Pattern: Opus Spicatum by Kate Gagnon Osborn
Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool in Light Grey Heather and Charcoal Heather
Needles: US4 / 3.5mm and US7 / 4.5 Plymouth bamboo DPNs, US7 / 4.5mm Clover bamboo circulars

The original’s a beret, but clearly my version’s more of a beanie, which is exactly what I wanted! I don’t get much use out of berets. (I actually recently reblocked my Beret Gaufre into a beanie shape, which is more my style!)

My gauge was different from that of the pattern. The pattern’s is 19 sts and 23 rows to 4“; mine is 26 stitches and 24 rows to 4”. I cast on 100 stitches for the ribbing, which in retrospect was too many. I then increased to 120 stitches for the colorwork, giving me 12 pattern repeats per round instead of 11. I knit an extra row of ribbing and four extra rows of colorwork before starting the increases, the latter of which may have been unnecessary.

I made a bit of an error – the contrast color should be a purl ridge at the edge of the brim, not a knit one. But when I finally realized it, I decided it didn’t bother me enough to rip back.

It was a super fun knit for me, and the pattern was pretty easy to follow. Quick, too – only took me two days!

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Change of plans

Installment #5 of my self-imposed sock club was supposed to be Cablenet by Ariel Barton, in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. However, I got one repeat in before I realized that this wasn’t my best yarn-to-pattern match ever.

It’s actually even less visible in person than it is in this photo. Which is kind of baffling, seeing as I’m actually using the yarn called for in the pattern. But somehow, the cabling doesn’t show up as well here as it does in the sample. Maybe it’s because of the color? I’m using a darker shade, after all.

So as I saw it, my options with this yarn were:

1. Keep knitting Cablenet anyway.
2. Knit Cablenet, but twist all the knit stitches.
3. Knit a completely different pattern.

I decided against #1 because, well, it’s an awful lot of work for a not-clearly-visible pattern! It’s not like, say, Spey Valley, where the pattern got slightly lost in spots but wasn’t much effort to actually knit.

I seriously considered #2. But then I remembered I just knit two sock patterns with twisted stitches in a row. And, I’d really like to knit this pattern as is someday – just with a different yarn, one that better shows off tiny cables.

Which left option 3:

I’m now knitting Evening Stockings for a Young Lady, from Knitting Vintage Socks. Which I’m going to shorten, because I’m pretty sure I don’t have enough of this yarn for knee socks. Ahh, much better!

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Twisted Flower

I finished my fourth pair of socks this year!

Pattern: Twisted Flower by Cookie A
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Velvet Plum
Needles: US0 / 2.0mm ChiaoGoo circulars

I’m clearly still behind schedule for my self-imposed sock club, but… whatever. I’m not completely without hope for finishing that on time. I’ve got plenty of travelling (aka knitting time) planned for December, and one of my two remaining pairs is just a 3×1 ribbed sock, so it’s possible, right?

Anyway, back to this particular pair of socks. I knit the small size as written. I’m a little sad that the pattern doesn’t show up better on my feet, especially since it showed nicely on the blocker in my WIP post. Oh well. I still like these.

It’s a pretty fun pattern, and more intuitive than it looks.

I have a surprisingly small amount of Jitterbug left over, and I can’t decide whether it’s due to the pattern eating up yarn, the yardage of the original skein, or both. Good thing I have short legs and average-sized feet, otherwise I wouldn’t have had enough of this yarn to finish the pair.

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Mindless out of necessity

I’ve mentioned this before, but I hate knitting rectangular scarves. And yet, I have one on the needles.

What prompted this? Well, my three other WIPs are in much finer yarn; the heaviest of those three is in fingering weight yarn. Which gets hard on the hands after awhile. I do better when I have several projects, with varying weights of yarn, in progress.

The other problem? None of those other WIPs are completely mindless. Well, actually, the Chamomile Tunic is now, but at the time I started this scarf, Chamomile required a lot of active attention, and was not a good project for me when I was trying to keep my main focus on other things like work, or TV, or a book. And the Spring Shawl and Twisted Flower both require charts. This scarf, on the other hand, has a single row repeat.

Another nice thing about this project is that it’s using some of the oldest yarn in my stash. I’ve had this Manos del Uruguay yarn in my stash for a good seven years – that’s almost as long as I’ve been knitting!

The bad thing is, I’m already excruciatingly bored with this project. But I guess you can’t have it all.

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