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Eek! I Ran Out of Yarn! (Or How to Finish a Project with a Coordinating Color)

August 29th, 2011

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Darn that Zontee. I was looking through past blogs for something to send to a customer and I happened on her blog post from last summer about upsizing the Bebop Cardi by using larger yarn. I’ve actually seen her sweater in person and it’s fabulous. I meant to make it back then, but then I sort of forgot about it as other projects took priority. But when I saw the post again, I knew I had to go ahead and chain on.

In the original blog, Zontee notes that she went up to a category 5 yarn and made the small. I’m a little larger than Zontee, so my choices were to either go all the way up to a category 6 yarn, or stick with the category 5 and make a larger size. Since I had two balls of Tweed Stripes in Caribbean handy, I went with the latter option. I did my swatch, found that the large was going to be the size for me and chained on.

The yardage from the two balls of Tweed Stripes should have been plenty, but I remembered that I’d used a bit of it for another project awhile back. Not much, though–just a few yards. That wouldn’t matter, right? (Stop laughing. You know denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.) Sure enough, I ended up about 3 rows short. Grrr. They were three short rows, too!

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I could have just bought another ball of the Tweed Stripes when I got to the office the next day–it wasn’t quite the same as when you run out of a discontinued yarn that you just can’t get more of, or can’t find a matching dye-lot or something like that. Working at a yarn company does have its privileges and sitting on top of a warehouse full of said yarn is one of them. But I wanted to be done with this thing, and I was mad! How dare my yarn betray me like that! I’d show it! Who needs the original yarn when you can just finish up with a coordinating yarn?

So that’s what I did: grabbed a partial ball of Vanna’s Choice that I’d had laying around for a long while and that also happened to coordinate perfectly with one of the colors in the Tweed Stripes. I finished off my three rows and it looked okay, but just okay. What I really needed to do to make it look as if I’d planned this all along was add more of the Vanna’s Choice in another location. It’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s true: if it occurs once, it’s a mistake; if it occurs twice or more, it’s a design feature.

What I decided to do was add a border all the way around the outside edge (meaning the open sides and the bottom, since the color was already at the top of the sweater) and then also around the sleeves. I probably could have also done just a couple of rows of dc at the bottom of the sweater, obviating the need to do the sleeve edges. One more note: Vanna’s Choice is actually a category 4 weight yarn and not a category 5. I know this, but I also know that Vanna’s Choice is at the thicker end of the category 4 spectrum, so I was pretty sure it would work okay with the same hook. It did turn out to be a little tighter in gauge than the rest of the sweater — enough so that I ended up working one fewer round than called for in the pattern. So do definitely keep in mind your gauge and what weight yarn you need to work with to obtain that gauge when you’re choosing a replacement yarn like this.  (Just in case you’re wondering about the “design” I used for the border, it’s just a simple *sc, ch3, sk next sc. rep from * all the way around the sleeves and on both side edges. The bottom edge I just worked a sc in each stitch across.)

I really love the way this one came out–it might be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. So I guess instead of darning Zontee for leading me down this path, I should be saying, “Thanks, Zontee!”

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  • Randcbowie

    I had something similar happen when I was finishing up an afghan for a friends birthday. I ran out of Homespun Barley with like, 4 inches to go on the border…… I dug through my homespun scrap box and found some odd bit that was just brown enough for just the right length.  After I added it in, my daughter could not tell the difference…. that was a relief!

  • Elaine Lawrence

    I would like a copy of this post; I don’t have a working printer at this time. Can you send this to my email address? Thank you very much! My email is elena3408@aol.com.

    • http://www.ripitgood.net Calophi

      Couldn’t you copy and paste the article and email it to yourself? A lot of email programs will also copy all the links and formatting so you won’t lose too much of that when you copy and paste. Gmail is especially good at this, and I tested it just now and it even pasted in the picture.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Erika-Crick/659465997 Erika Crick

    I had just started to crochet when I decided to try a baby afghan for my cousin’s soon-to-be-born son.  I didn’t use a pattern, I just made it up as I went along…and since I preferred my blankets larger when I had my daughter I made it a pretty good-sized blanket.  Well, I get most of my yarn from my hometown variety store and when I went in to get a couple more skeins I was informed that was a discontinued color!  There was one skein left on the shelf, so I got another varigated color (that wasn’t discontinued) to match.  I made the middle of the blanket the newer color and each end in the discontinued color, with solid blue stripes running through the middle.  It turned out better than I’d originally planned!  In fact, when my boyfriend was looking at it he was like “This is one you MADE?”  Nothing raises a new seamstress’ spirits like a statment like that–especially since that was the first afghan I’d ever done!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Elaine-L-Bouranis/814629525 Elaine L. Bouranis

    Only one time I was using up scraps and ran short of one color, but found a tiny bit in another wad and filled in.  When I plan a project, however, I get carried away and buy so much yarn, I can never run out –I always have way too much left over. I make the planned project, a smaller project, and use the rest in an even smaller project.  Once I bought so much yarn for a baby blanket that I had enough to make two the same size–came in handy, though–so many nieces and nephews becoming parents!!!!

    • Lolliff

      I usually make a baby blanket and then make a stuffed animal with the scraps.  It makes a good gift.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1466483921 Ellen Stevenson

    I was making a doily in bright yellow and ran out. Fortunately, I had some coordinating purple and it turned out beautiful.

  • Donnaslittleloves

    i ran out of yarn and went back to the store and it has been discontinued in all the stores, lucky me i found it on Aunt Annies yarn i ordered, i paid extra shipping to get it faster ya nt, got it in 1 1/2 weeks

  • Diane Wiman

    When knitting a hat on my peg loom, I used a bit of Vanna’s Choice on purpose for 9 rows before turning under the cuff. This saved the nice Tweed Stripes to be the outside of the hat, making a lovely pattern. Used the leftovers to knit a baby hat.

  • pat

    Years ago I made my first son a baby blanket.  I did have plenty of yarn with the same dye lot but it took on a striped kind of look as the white in the varigated wasn’t exactly the same.  Recently I had to buy more yarn for an afghan but since it was squares I could get away with it, especially since it was different colors.  Must be inventive when crafting.

  • Girafderheide

    If I’m beginning a new striped lap robe for a charity in my area and am unsure if I have enough yarn, I make the chain and crochet along one side, then do 2-3 sts in the last chain and work my way along the other side of the chain. Then I begin the stripes on one side for a bit and switch to the other side. That way I can add some additional colors if I need to and when I’m finished, I have a mirror image beautiful cozy robe for a shut-in.

  • Cheryl Martin

    I crochet or knit a few rows and weigh them.  Then I can multiply and see if I have enough yarn for the number of rows that I need.  I also use this at the end of a project sometimes.  I weigh what I have left, crochet or knit a row, weigh the leftover yarn again, and I know how many more rows I can do.

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