Hooked on Needles

Monday, September 29, 2008

Skein Half Full or Half Empty?

When I started the little project for my recent Yarn Over Increase knitting tutorial, I began with a new ball of Sugar 'n Cream worsted cotton which consists of 2 ounces of yarn. I wanted to knit as shown in the Increase tutorial until I had used up half of the yarn, and then start decreasing so I could make the next tutorial showing one method of decreasing in knitting. I did not want to have an odd length of yarn leftover which I would end up throwing away, nor did I want to come up short and have to start in on a new ball of yarn for the sake of just a few stitches at the end. So what was I to do?

Usually I just eyeball something like this and hope for the best, but I also wanted my project to be of such a size as to be useful, so I really needed to knit as far as possible before starting to decrease.

While I was knitting, I had a revelation. These don't happen often to me, so when they do, I pay attention! Here's what I thought was a brilliant idea...

I pulled out my trusty postage scale...

Half Full? -- Yarn on Scaleand put what was left of my yarn on top of it. As you can see, I had 1 1/2 ounces left! That could only mean that I had used up just 1/2 ounce so far and could continue knitting towards the middle. Genius! Pure Genius!

Well now, wait a minute...I should really hold off on patting myself on the back just yet since I have not finished the project so I can't say that the idea paid off, but in theory it should be pretty accurate, don't you think? I'll let you know how it comes out.

Another way to work up to the half-way point of your available yarn which I came across recently is to find the middle of your yarn and tie a loose knot at that point. When you've knitted or crocheted up to the knot, you know you have used up half. The only problem with this is that you have to unwind all your yarn to find the middle. This could be quite a mess for some of us!

This method is good however for when you are doing something with short rows like a scarf and you want to use up all your yarn but you are not sure you have enough to do two more rows. You find the middle of your remaining yarn and tie a loose knot, then knit or crochet one more row. If you get to the knot before you finish the row, you know you do not have enough to do one more row. If you do not make it to the knot, then you do have enough for one more row. Keep in mind though with knitting that you always have to leave some allowance for binding off.

Do you have any other clever ways to make sure you don't come up short at the end of a project? I'd love to hear about them.

Happy Stitching!

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