Knitting

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.

Crochet, Karen's Korner, Knitting

Working With Hanks Of Yarn

Working With Hanks Of YarnI have previously not had much experience working with hanks of yarn, but was recently asked to knit a jacket for a friend’s little girl. I suggested she check out the range available at The Wool Company. I really love their yarns and the fact that they are high quality and locally made. The wool she chose comes in 200g hanks.

Working With Hanks Of Yarn Working With Hanks Of YarnMy original plan for winding the wool into balls was to use one of the dining room chairs but then I decided to try something else. The back of the chair was not quite the right width and was a bit high for me to work with. It occurred to me that one of the back cushions off my sofa might be more suitable and it was. The cushion was just the right size and it was easy to move around too.

Working With Hanks Of Yarn Working With Hanks Of YarnAs I started winding the wool I started wondering about how I was going to get an idea of how much I was using as I was knitting the garment. I came up with the idea of using the kitchen scales. I wound the wool until I got to 25g then turned the ball 90 degrees and wound on another 25g, making a total of 50g. I repeated this procedure, turning after every 25g, and it has worked really well.

I have a tendency to change patterns a bit as I go (see “Using Patterns as a Guide”) so it has been very useful to know my yarn usage. I have made the garment significantly longer than the pattern and have been able to be confident that I will have enough wool to complete the garment.

I hope these tips can be useful to others of you who are working with hanks. I would love to hear any stories and tips that you might like to share.

Knitting

I Should Know Better By Now!

“Check your tension before starting” – every pattern says it. You would think that after more than 50 years of knitting I would have learned this lesson by now. Apparently not!

I recently purchased some a knitting pattern and some clearance wool. The pattern was for a specific yarn and, while the yarn was similar, and in the same range by the same manufacturer, it was not the yarn recommended. The recommended needle size was the same for both, and the meterage was only slightly different, so I thought it was worth trying.

I started knitting the back of the garment and it very soon became clear that it was not big enough. I pulled it undone and restarted using a size larger needles and the instructions for the next size up. This produced the right size but created another problem.

I usually purchase an extra ball, especially with clearance or sale yarn. I had checked the amounts for this garment and saw that the next size up required the same number of hanks, so decided I was safe to get the amount the pattern recommended. Unfortunately, as I am now using the instructions for the next size up, I am going to run out of wool before I finish.

A quick check with the store confirmed that, as you would expect for clearance yarn, they had no more left. They searched their computer data base and found there was only one hank left in the whole country, and it was in Dunedin. I live in Wellington so this could have been quite a problem. Fortunately I have a very good friend in Dunedin, so a phone call for help resulted in her managing to purchase the wool for me. It should be in the post very soon.

The two take home messages here are:

  • ALWAYS check your tension and
  • It is always safer to buy an extra ball.