How Much Yarn Will You Need?

How Much Yarn Will You Need?A very common question most of us will have encountered when starting a new project is “How much yarn will I need?” The obvious answer is to check your pattern, but this may not be as simple as it seems.

Patterns give the average quantities required by someone working to the recommended tension gauge and who is making their garment to the measurements stated. Hopefully you will have checked your tension (see “I Should Know Better By Now!“), but if you are adjusting the length of your garment, or using a different yarn to the one stated, it is a bit more difficult to estimate.

I am trying to use up some of the wool that has accumulated in my cupboard. Some of this yarn came to me from my mother’s “stash” some years ago, so quite a lot of it does not have current patterns available. Having worked in a wool shop many years ago, I am familiar with the importance of checking the yarn length in a ball as well as its weight. Some of the older yarn does not have the length on the wrapper so I have tried to check it online.

My mother gave me some very useful advice early on in my knitting “career”. She recommended making the back and one sleeve of a jumper first because this should use about half the amount necessary for the finished garment. If knitting these two items uses more than half your yarn then you have a problem. If you are working on a different kind of project it should still be possible to work out a similar way of dividing it up to help you get an estimate of your total.

How Much Yarn Will You Need? How Much Yarn Will You Need?The vest I have just finished (see photos) was a good example of this. I had originally wanted to make the cardigan but it became obvious halfway up the sleeve that I would not have enough wool. Consequently I pulled the sleeve undone and made the vest front instead. I am actually very happy with how it has turned out and it will probably end up being more useful than the cardigan would have been too.

Karen's Korner

It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

It's Hard to Say GoodbyeIt’s hard to say goodbye to people we love. Recently my very special friend Heather turned 60. I designed and stitched a special cross stitch piece for her (see “The Magic of Outlining”). At the time it was very special to be able to give her such a personal gift, but I am even more thankful now that I did this for her. Heather died on the 1st of July and I attended her funeral on the 7th, along with hundreds of others whose lives had been touched by her.

Heather and I had been friends since we were 12, nearly 48 years. We went through high school together, got married and had children at around the same time, and shared a special bond. As life became busier, and we both shifted around a bit, there were often times when we did not see each other for quite a while. Each time we met up again, though, it was like we had only been apart for a week. There was a strong thread that wove through both our lives and now that thread has been broken.

I created my “Karen’s Korner” page to have somewhere on my site to share significant events or inspirational happenings. At the time I never dreamed that this would be the first thing I would be sharing with you, but somehow it seems the right thing to do. We all have a few very special people in our lives and, at various times in our lives, we all face the loss of loved ones. How we work through these times determines how we continue to live our lives.

Heather was a very special person with a wonderful gift of friendship which she shared generously with everyone around her. She was always cheerful, in spite of battling with several painful illnesses, and always eager to help people. Her family were her treasure here on earth and she loved them dearly. She was a gift to all who knew her.

After hearing all the memories people have shared about Heather, and knowing how she lived her life to the full, it is very tempting to think “I should try to be more like her and live more like her”. In some ways this might be a good thing, but something else has been becoming clearer to me over the last few days.

It is right that we should be inspired to live better by the example of someone like Heather, but it is not right that we should try to become them. Only Heather could be Heather, I am the only person who can be me, and you are the only person who can be you. The best way that we can honour the memory of the special people who have passed on from our lives is not by trying to be like them, but by striving to be the best version of ourselves that we can be.

I believe we are each unique and have been created to fulfil a role that only we can play. Heather has fulfilled her role here, and now I must strive to fulfil mine. It’s hard to say goodbye, so I choose to say farewell to my special friend until we meet again in our eternal home.