For want of a little

On Saturday night I had big plans.  I was going to pack to fly to Port Ludlow on Sunday, and with my wool as my witness I was going to finish the Jacob Damask before I went.  This was my Saturday night plan because I am a party animal.  A friend actually said something like "Now that you’re middle aged, do you ever look at your plans for a Saturday night and think that your 17 year old self would be ashamed of you?" – and all I could think was that my 17 year old self was likely to think that finishing a shawl was a pretty awesome Saturday night, but I decided not to tell her lest the shame and dorkiness of my youth be revealed fully.  (Truthfully, I think she’d get over the knitting. It’s the AD&D I don’t want her to know about.)  I sat down to knit in the afternoon, and after a few rows, I started to get a feeling.  A bad one. One you’ve maybe had before. A feeling of slightly impending doom. 

I was looking at my yarn, and looking at how much knitting was left, and it didn’t seem good. It seemed like just a little bit of yarn… but, I reasoned, there were only a few rows left, and they were getting shorter with each right side row and maybe…

A few rows later I didn’t feel any better. I tried knitting slowly (haste makes waste) to try and stretch it out… I tried knitting quickly so that I could outrun the yarn and maybe finish before it ran out… because that, my friends, that was the end of the handspun – and running out would mean going back to the raw fleece, which couldn’t mean finishing that day, which would throw off my whole plan.  (I hate that.)

It was all for naught.  I ran out with eleven ever diminishing rows to go, and that my friends – I estimated to be a handspun shortage of…. and you have to brace yourselves, 

About 3 metres.**

Do you hear me? Three metres.  I lost my mind. I thought about biting the shawl.  I used unladylike language.  I phoned people.  I said something roughly like  THREE METRES DO YOU HEAR ME I WOULD BE DONE WITH THIS SHAWL EXCEPT I AM NOW SHORT THREE METRES OF HANDSPUN.  HOW COULD I HAVE UNDERESTIMATED BY THREE METRES, SON OF A BITCH I WOULD BE LESS ANGRY IF I NEEDED FIFTY METRES. DARN IT ALL TO H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS.   To which my non-knitting friend said "Can’t you buy more?" and my knitting friend said "Do you need me to come over?"

I set about trying to fix my situation.  I pulled the Jacob fleece out of where I’d put it away, I dumped it out on the kitchen floor and I started sorting through the multicoloured fleece for locks I thought would match best. 

Then I washed them, then I tried to figure out what I could do to dry a dozen locks of wool in no time. There was zero chance that I had time to let it dry by themselves because I still had the spinning and knitting to do and was still determined to finish by bedtime. This proved to be the trickiest part – once I had the locks dry it only took a little more time to spin it, and a little longer to ply it, and then only about 20 minutes to knit it because it really was only eleven rows.  The drying though, that took me a while to figure out. The furnace wasn’t on, so I couldn’t put it on the heating vent.  (I did consider jacking up the heat even if it did turn the house into a sauna – but even I thought that was a bit far to go for a few locks of wool.)  I tried the hair dryer- because wool is just hair, right?  Turns out that works a bit better when the hair is attached to something.  It wasn’t a great solution.  I could have put them in the sun, but it was cold and rainy and getting dark, and I could see that this shawl wasn’t going to happen that day… when it  hit me. 

8 minutes at 250.  Worked like a charm.

**It turned out to be a rage inducing mere 2.6 metres.
Shawl is done.  Pictures tomorrow.

196 thoughts on “For want of a little

  1. Never stand between a Harlot and a determination to finish a project.
    But good to know on the baking part. I can’t say that I would have thought of that myself!
    Can’t wait to see it!

  2. Well, I almost felt bad for you, until I saw that you had plenty more Jacob left. I hope you could replace your rage with relief, and perhaps eventually delight.

  3. WOOHOO!!!!! I love the shawl (from what you’ve shown for pics of it). I have yet to try knitting lace… I’m not someone who normally wears shawls (although that may end up changing if I’d actually sit down and knit one!) but yours are absolutely gorgeous!

  4. I was genuinely worried until I saw you had fleece left. Oven was a brilliant call (I used it to dry painitngs that were …a little late when I was in college).
    The tale of the 3 metres was priceless & the final 2.6 measurement made me spit tea on the monitor. Looking forward to the finished shawl pics though.

  5. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.
    Running out of yarn with less than three meters to go is just a “mother”.

  6. You would be one of the people I’d select if I was ever marooned on a desert island! Were you a Girl Scout (or whatever the Canadian equivalent is to that program)?

  7. What a wonderful idea! Drying the wool has always been the sticking point for me, keeping me from doing more with my own wool. (Difficult to dry wool with 2 dogs, 3 cats and 3 small children always wanting to “help”)
    Congratulations on a well spent Saturday evening 🙂

  8. Seems like a Saturday night well spent to me (and my not-so-17-year-old self!). I love your drying solution – did your house smell like sheep? Congrats on finishing the shawl. Your handspun is lovely!

  9. Sheer bulldogged stubbornness is one of the most useful things I’ve learned from knitting.

  10. I have heard of putting wool diaper covers in the oven to dry in a pinch but I was never brave enough to try that (too much hard work went into knitting them!) let alone lovely locks of fleece. Glad it worked – can’t wait to see the finished shawl!

  11. I was reading your post thinking ‘OVEN! OVEN!’ I’m glad you figured it out too 🙂
    It could have been much worse than 2.6 meters short. It could have been 2.6 meters short and NO MORE HANDSPUN. Shudder.
    So glad you got the shawl done-it is bound to be lovely, and I’ll be checking back for the promised pictures.

  12. Thank Heaven you just happened to have some more fleece laying around. Not to mention the genious to dry it in the oven. (I never would have thought of that!)

  13. It’s easy to see how you get so much done. Never has so much knitterly determination been exhibited for so little yardage. Now I know why I don’t spin. Looking forward to the finished result.

  14. Necessity is the mother of invention, n’est ce pas? Brilliant! For future reference, on a warm day, a closed car dries things very fast!

  15. Just to let you know – I actually got the AD&D reference. So don’t feel too bad. 🙂

  16. Your oven is sparkly!!! I couldn’t post a picture of mine…and yes, lovely that it worked and your shawl got done…Hooray

  17. I’m with knittinginmind… if was feeling really bad when i thought you had no jacob. I still feel pretty bad for you, but I would have totally understood crying if you had no more Jacob and the same thing happened.

  18. Gods. I would not have refrained from unladylike language either. My mouth might have been a sailor’s in a previous life.
    And there is nothing wrong with AD&D. I like THAC0, misbegotten geek that I am.

  19. I’ve put my wool in the oven, on top of the teapot and coiled on top of the slow cooker. I’ve dried a sample of handspun cashmere down my bra because at the time it seemed like the quickest way of getting it dry.
    3m – you have my deepest sympathies.

  20. Hooray for having more fleece at the ready!
    I had a similar experience recently except the handspun wasn’t from a fleece, just painted roving. And I needed more of it. And I had to kluge the solution cuz I was out of that roving. Which led me to say (quietly) “that’s why I have a stash”. Turns out my handspun is imperfect enough that substituting a different fiber, dyer, and spinning lot just doesn’t really show that much.

  21. Oh…it is going to be a real beauty! And running out 3m shy in handspun would have been a real teeth-grinder for me too. Good thing that we are spinners, and can just whip up more yarn on the spot, eh? 😉

  22. Old adages are always best….
    “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
    Great inventing, Stephanie!
    (And at 2.6 M I would’ve slit my wrists!)

  23. I held my breath the entire time I was read this. I finally let my breath out when you said you have more of the wool. I’m glad you finished in time.

  24. What makes you well, you… is that the end of the yarn did not cause you to call it for the night. It caused you to wash fleece and dry it in your oven. Of course. I am, once again awed by your mad skillz. And also, your madness.

  25. I am so impressed with your dogged determination to finish in spite of what you had to accomplish to do so! Thanks goodness you had more fleece! I sympathize because I never think I have enough yarn! I’ve never run out, but I always obsess about it.

  26. I hereby admit that I am never patient enough NOT to dry felted things in a very slow oven.
    My daughter burned up a bag of moo shu pork in another application of this method (luckily it was winter so we just threw the bag out the window into the snow), but I have not incinerated a pair of clogs yet.

  27. LOVE that the oven is so clean. Just like mine. Only MINE is clean because it’s where I store all the pots & pans I don’t use. Keeps the dust off.
    Can’t wait to see the finished shawl!

  28. I admire your perseverance. If it had been me I would have given up. Worse yet, I would have been so deflated I probably would have shoved the project in a closet and forgotten about it. I love the baking for 8 minutes at 250 bit. 🙂

  29. How funny; I think you have just about as many comments on how clean your oven is as you do about running out of yarn :). You are as funny as ever by the way. Can’t wait to see the new pictures!

  30. You probably don’t remember, but I was the one who suggested that you use your oven to dry some knitting several years ago when you were having a similar quandary. Anyway, I’m glad it worked then as it did now.
    BTW, I also ran several yards short of finishing my Damask Shawl several months ago. My LYS had to reorder the yarn (Cascade Heritage). So I will knit socks with the (considerable) leftover yarn one of these days.

  31. On the bright side, you had fleece left! And I love your stick-to-itve-ness. Because of course you washed, dried, carded and spun what you needed and stayed up late to finish it. I’m sure it’s lovely.

  32. I was starting to think smugly, “This is why I buy my yarn instead of spinning it” when I remembered I recently did a frantic Internet search for one skein of a particular yarn that had been in my stash for years because I was a few yards short. Not really different! At least you only had to go back to your fleece…

  33. The part that had me laughing out loud is the observation that hair needs to be attached to something in order to dry it with a hair dryer. I had this image of you chasing tufts of wool around the room with a dryer in hand – the image slays me! (I was cracking up just writing this when I pictured it again!)

  34. Brilliant! I have to admit, when I realized where your story was going, I shouted at the computer, “Knit faster, Steph! KNIT FASTER!!” but then I saw you tried that. 🙂 Can’t wait to see your shawl!

  35. Considering the state of my oven and the post you had a few days ago that I totally embraced about cleaning laundry and all that jazz not being the be all and end all of our lives I am humbled by the cleanliness of your oven. Great Idea for a dryer!

  36. I <3 that you thought about ‘biting your knitting’! That made me laugh out loud, ’cause, really, who hasn’t? Thanks for that, and this post, and for the pictures you’ll post tomorrow that are sure to be lovely.

  37. Ha! This whole post struck me funny!
    Next time I see someone weeping, wailing,and gnashing their teeth, I’ll be mighty tempted to say, “Her? Oh, she’s a few yards short of a shawl.”
    P.S. I know why your oven is so clean, I have friends who don’t use theirs either…

  38. Glad that it wasn’t just me that noticed the clean oven! I would have had to clean my oven before I could take pictures.

  39. I love knitting friends. Did they also offer to bring liquor? Because that would have been the absolutely most appropriate consolation prize. I’m glad there was more fleece, and I am excited to see the FO.

  40. I’m guessing that your blocking fix that Dinah’s helped with is also related to this project.
    Welcome back to my part of the world. If you stay till Friday we’ll even try to get the weather back up to normal and throw in some sun.
    I’m just trying to figure out the best way to wash fleece form my mother’s sheep. Your quick recovery was way out of my league.

  41. I’ve tried the knitting faster trick, but it never works for me. Funnily enough, I once mentioned that to my Mom and she told me with a laugh that she did the SAME THING! LOL! We should totally do a poll and see if it’s one of those (nearly) universal knitter things. 🙂

  42. Darlin’ don’t ever change. This is why we read your blog. Just sayin’.

  43. AD&D? Accidental death and dismemberment? Advanced Dungeons and Dragons? Alcohol, drugs and…? I had some crazy idea that you could finish the shawl by knitting a lot tighter at the end. Or maybe just leaving out the last few rows. Your idea was much better, and I’m so glad you were able to finish it, instead of it finishing you.

  44. My husband’s pretty good about coming home to the smell of wet wool & vinegar. The day I start cooking it, however….

  45. Way to solve a problem! I’m glad you were able to finish. 🙂 Go Harlot!

  46. This is why I don’t spin–so I can’t do crazy stuff like this. I was never worried. I knew The Yarn Harlot would prevail.

  47. So the oven cleaning elves had been there the night before, or did you have to…you know… clean the oven before you took the pictures? Amazing! the wool is pretty too:)

  48. You’re a better woman than I will ever be. I would have cast off 11 rows short and convinced myself that it was OK. Good for you.

  49. All I can say is WOW! I think I would have hurt someone! Can’t wait to see the finished work of art.

  50. I know what you mean. Hair needs to be attached to something for a blowdryer to work. I’ve tried using a dryer to develop stamped embossing – and been at a loss for words strong enough to describe my feelings at the results.

  51. Knitting faster has never worked for me, but I can see myself ending up with crispy brown wool! (that’s the way my life goes) I’ve successfully clothes pinned a mesh bag (of wool) to the front of a box fan. it was dry in no time.

  52. Your urge to knit faster to outrun the yarn made me laugh, it reminded me of the urge I get when I’m low on gas to drive faster to beat it to my destination. Your stick-to-it-iveness is truly awe inspiring.

  53. Is the pattern to the shawl available somewhere? I would love to make one like it. Blondell

  54. I am really excited for you. I can’t wait to see it!
    I also confess to being a bit itchy now to play with fiber. May actually have to card some tonight, in between knitting.
    Enjoy Port Ludlow!

  55. Wow! That’s too much like living on the (VERY) edge for my heart to handle! Whew, I’m glad you had enough!

  56. Genius!
    And you don’t have to be embarrassed by the AD&D. I recently started gaming (I’m a tiefling elf, if you must know). Some of the very friends I was most anxious about “coming out” to said they’d been thinking about trying it for a while. Two of them even joined our party.

  57. Glad you had that option. Me, I just realized I didn’t have enough thread at about Round 58½ of 60 rounds of a crocheted doily/centerpiece. I bought it at least three years ago and the dyelots have changed. A lot. AND it’s an oddball thread. Yes, I checked on Ravelry. Precisely two people have this thread in this color. They neither one have very much and they both live on the other side of the earth.
    I’m frogging.

  58. Great idea to put them in the oven. A food dehydrator works well too.
    And WOW is your oven clean!

  59. loved this post. i have often tried to outrun the fact there is not enough yarn to finish by knitting as fast as i can. my oven is also that clean and YES it is because it is never used! grill used year-round and have large toaster oven so no need for stove oven other than storage.

  60. I’ve used my excalibur dehydrator to dry gifts that are, ahem, finished on the same day they need to be given…. Less chance of add me burning them…. Soo glad you’ve finished-the yarn you spun looks sooo gorgeous, and I’m dying to see the shawl pix!! Very happy you were so determined to finish!!

  61. While I feel your pain at running a few metres short, this post gave me a wonderful laugh (and I needed a laugh just now). I am also glad to know that I am not the only one who has used the oven to dry things…

  62. Like Lara I am impressed by your sparkling oven; I already know you are blessed with ingenuity.

  63. I am not unsympathetic. I had to rip out two entire rows and fudge the ending to a shawl for want of……9 inches. I was not a happy camper.

  64. I would never have dared post a picture of my oven, even if I had come up with that solution! Glad it worked out for you and eagerly awaiting the pictures.

  65. This is impressive on a number of levels: That you ran out in the first place, that you had more raw fleece on hand, that you used your oven to Easy Bake it, that you then spun it, plied and finished knitting with it (not to mention took pictures along the way!)…
    I think if it were me, I don’t think I could have found my way out of the blue air that would have surrounded me from the swearing that would have commenced…then again, I’m not well-known for an even temper…you, on the other hand, are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for being you.
    I’m going to go clean my oven now.

  66. You are simply an awesome professional knitter! You kind of make it look easy: washing fleece, drying fleece (even that looked easy), spinning, plying the exact amount, and then swiftly knitting to the last stitch!
    (Knitting swift in my house is the device that holds the skein while I wind.)

  67. Ah-ha. Just found that missing stitch marker above the 5 on my keyboard!
    I love the way you can spin a wonderful tale out of life’s little bumps. Love your fiber spinning, too!

  68. My oven has been a lifesaving device many times over for all things yarnish and fibery. (Since I don’t keep mine as shiny-bright as yours, though, I generally put an old dishtowel or pillowcase on the rack first.)

  69. What a wonderful way to dry wool when you’re in a hurry. I’ve learned quite a lot from reading your blog faithfully. I can’t wait to see your shawl!
    By the way, I still play AD & D, 4th edition, AND I spin wool and knit it up. (I’m 50.) A very good friend that got me into spinning and knitting wool plays D&D with me every other Sunday. She will spin wool or crochet it while we game. Yes, I have geekness written all over me.

  70. I love people who can think outside of the box! What a great solution! You continue to be the smartest woman I sort of know 🙂

  71. Didn’t you hit on this realization when you made the Big Pink Thing and needed to block it?
    Also: you must have an awesomely large oven

  72. 8 minutes at 250. Duly noted.
    (I too am astounded by the cleanliness of your oven. I have never cleaned an oven in my life, as I believe they cook food just fine no matter what they look like inside.)

  73. I see I’m way too late to be the first to note how clean your oven is, but I don’t see anyone else admitting to my immediate thought: that one could never put clean locks directly onto my wire racks and know for sure they’d stay that way. On a cookie sheet, maybe… What matters, though, is I’m so glad you were able to finish! Determination is a wonderful thing.

  74. Biting shawls. Not my favorite hobby.
    And how can your oven be so darned clean? I have a self-cleaning one and it’s not that spotless. Or could it be that you just photographed a spot where there is no dirt at all! Yes that’s it: only that spot is clean while the rest is dirty! Of course!
    I can’t wait until tomorrow. 😀

  75. great solution for the drying!
    I totally hear you on the frustration front!
    but still an impressive spin and knit Ms Pearl-McPhee!

  76. My office (accounting office, lots of paper) was flooded once. I have experience getting things dry, food dehydrator, freezer and irons proved to be the best, least damaging way to get paperwork dry. I think they might work for fleece as well. I would try the food dehydrator or the iron prior to the freezer for the fleece, just for the time factor.

  77. Oooh, I always underestimate how much I need to bind off a mobius scarf. I definitely know the impending doom feeling.

  78. How do you do it? I would have made some insane cackle after the prolonged spate of swearing.
    Calling in question the legitimacy of the sheep which gave you this fleece. And then I would have run half nekkid to the nearest pub demanding whiskey.
    While you place damp wool in the OVEN….
    Sheer GENIUS!

  79. To which your non-knitting friends said “You’re baking WOOL???” and truly thought you were going around the bend. Your knitting friends said “Cool!” and took notes.

  80. Brilliant. My heart lurched at 2.6 metres – feisty words, feisty words.

  81. mmm fleece. Very cleva!
    I’ve done the drying yarn with a hairdryer thing. Can’t remember why, but I must have needed the wool *now*. Looking forward to the pics!

  82. The thing that astonishes me is that you appear to be able to put something on a bare oven rack without having to either spend several hours cleaning rack and oven first, or buy a new rack for the purpose.
    I thought you said you don’t ‘do it all’
    (I see others have mentioned this, but I just have to add my thoughts – it really is so extraordinary)

  83. The tension as the game of yardage chicken draws near to it’s ultimate conclusion. The plunge into deep despair as it seems the game of yardage chicken has been cruelly lost by a fibre’s breadth! Then, unexpectedly…salvation as our plucky heroine pulls a yarnie’s version of MacGyver. No…not another ‘half baked’ suspense novel, but merely a tale of yarn well spun.
    I felt your agony. And chuckled at the novel use of your oven.

  84. Apologies for the repeat post – first time posting, and having technical difficulties. *Blush*

  85. Congratulations!!!!! I laughed out loud (sorry), but I’ve so often been in the same place. I tend to knit as fast as I can because I just can’t stand the waiting to discover how bad I’m really in for it. :)k

  86. Briliant solution, good thinking! The pictures so far are absolutely tantalising. I think you have a big fat winner on your hands there and I can´t wait to see it…….

  87. Can’t wait to see the finished shawl. A happy finished project makes not knowing where your bra is a lark, doesn’t it? 🙂

  88. Well done on speedy spinning and knitting (also, microwaves can help dry things. I used to coil wash and nuke my son’s nappies when he had thrush, the steam came off very quickly).
    Last year I was part way through the second sock of a pair I wanted to enter into the local agricultural show the following week when I had that sinking feeling. I weighed the first sock – 65g. 35g wasn’t going to make the second sock. I unravelled and restarted the second sock on smaller needles while my train buddies unravelled the first sock for me. I knitted on the train, in the car, in work meetings, and finished grafting the toes the morning of the show. Sometimes you just have to finish a project.

  89. Me too, I am doing the faster knitting when suspecting running out of yarn. Oven, hmm, mine needs cleaning this week, but after seeing yours I’ll do it this afternoon. Only one person mentioned what I thought at first. I am a visual thinking person (is that a real expression?) I mean when I think of things I often see them happening as if it were real and I saw you chasing a Jacob that had not been shorn yet and that in the middle of the night, luckily, you had some fleece left. Think of the papers the next day “mad knitter with shears in hand caught catching poor jacob sheep, could not wait till the morning for want of a few yards of yarn”. Only we knitters would have understood. I know why I am not allowed to drink in front of the laptop (my husbands verdict) when I read your blog. I now know what the English term for “zweckentfremden” is: thinking out of the block, I am good at that too. And hair needs to be attached. I have a WWII story about that, it is a sad story. My parents owned a sheep in WWII and it died unexpectedly: loss of milk, meat not to be eaten in case of deadly contamination, but my father thought : I can at least sheer it. He did, spun the wool and… it appears you have to sheer living sheep for the wool to be warming. The socks my mother knit from the wool had no warmth in them, lesson learned, it does not pay to sheer a dead sheep.

  90. The last doily I made, I was 1 foot (.3 meters) shy to complete the last row. I ripped it out and re-worked it to make it work, but I was rather unhappy with it for a while.

  91. You’re right, 50m would have been less rage-inducing. But it’s good you’re done anyway :-).
    I never dry my hair, but I have a hair-dryer for such emergencies. Really useful when you want to see the true, dry, color of your dyeing efforts too. Wool -is- hair.

  92. *Snerk* “Rage-inducing 2.6 metres”–I hear ya, it’s the little things that bring out the beast in us. But all’s well, etc. Need pics!

  93. Exactly the same thing happened to a friend of mine also knitting the Damask. Well, not EXACTLY, she was knitting with commercial yarn, but some that was hand dyed by a friend of ours, Lost City Knits (check it out!), so that yarn was not readily available. Anyway, LCK got wind of her problem and delivered an extra bit she had that was not big enough for a full skein.
    Aren’t knitters the greatest! LOVE your solution, by the way.

  94. Now I’m dying to know: Would your 17 year old self be disappointed because you are playing too much AD&D, or not enough?
    If it’s not enough, you should check out the new D&D boardgames (google Wrath of Ashardalon). They have much of the joys of the old AD&D RPGs in a much shorter format and they are streamlined enough that you might get your family to play. Scratches the itch for me.
    Beautiful shawl though. Your spinning work is always so inspirational. I’d spin more if I didn’t spend so much free time gaming!

  95. I… I think I love you! You are a magnificent story-teller! The hair dryer bit made me laugh out loud! Extra fleece or no, I would have raged too!

  96. I actually had almost the same thing happen yesterday. I finished my second Clapotis, but for a long time thought I was going to run out. I have about 4 yards left over, and was going to offer you my sunset-colored fingering-weight yarn for the last of yours, but I think it might be noticeable. Congrats on getting it done!

  97. THIS. This sort of inventiveness and all-out crazy determination is why we need you, Steph! It makes us realize We Are Not Alone when it’s 2 am and *there’s just six more rows DANGIT*! (Or 4 am and *I just have to graft this toe*; or 8am and *if I stay on the bus, I can finish this hat, and then catch the next bus back two miles up the road and still make it to work on time…*)

  98. I routinely bake my handknits (on a low setting). They can take the heat for short times, and it makes the washing and drying so much faster so that I can get to the wearing so much sooner. However, I have to use a system of foil, pans, etc…. Because despite having a somewhat intimate relationship with my can of EZ off, my oven does not look like that. Nice work on the shawl and not taking it out on Joe!

  99. I am sorry for your frustration, but I am happy to benefit from the experience by now knowing that in a pinch I could dry my clean fleece in the oven at 250 for eight minutes. Thank you! I can’t wait to see the finished shawl.

  100. Woah. I am so going to borrow that oven trick – I’ve got half of a very petrified fleece to wash and no idea how to explain to the cats that they really shouldn’t touch the drying wool, please and thank you. (It’s my very first! I’ve got Beth’s store open in another tab to acquire Power Scour*!)
    * and also possibly a longwool sampler and some English Leicester. Mmmm, longwools.
    Can’t wait to see the shawl! The pictures so far look absolutely lovely.

  101. The first time I read the last sentence of the post, I thought you meant that after everything you went through to create more handspun, you only ended up with 2.6 meters when you really needed 3. THAT would have been a kick in the pants!

  102. Whew! Necessity is the mother of invention. Such a frustration to be so close, yet I’m impressed with how quickly you were able to manufacture yarn to finish!

  103. See, it is exactly this sort of logic that has ensured that I’ve attended every major event of my adult life with purple, green, red and blue splotches up and down my arms….but wearing beautiful garments, mind you.

  104. You always impress me with your knitting speed but this time you simply blew my mind! Fleece to yarn to finish the last 3m of your gorgeous shawl in one evening? You so rock, girl! Kudos to you!

  105. All I can say is that all of your actions here make perfect sense to me. You are understood by your fellow knitters/spinners! 🙂

  106. I’m a new spinner, and haven’t ever washed a fleece. Thanks for the tip, I’m much more inclined to buy and try a fleece knowing that I could use the oven to dry it.

  107. Bet drying wool smells better than drying out the newspaper in the same manner. Way to go!

  108. From the pics it’s absolutely lovely. So interesting the feedback from knitting friends and non-knitting friends. Have a safe trip to Washington.

  109. I just hate it when knitting mocks us! Makes you want to slap the fuzzy right off of it.
    Good job, though. I’m so glad you had a bit of the fleece left.

  110. I once tried to dry a paperback book in the microwave. It was one of those really thick ones, and the glue melted.
    Then there was the time my kitchen was under construction and i needed to take a dessert somewhere. I made some sort of candied or spiced nuts that were supposed to be lightly baked in the oven after they were coated; I put the sweater rack in my clothes dryer (allows one to dry something flat without it being spun around) and put the cookie sheet of nuts on that. It worked, and made for good cocktail party conversation.
    Can’t wait to see the shawl.

  111. I am so glad that you were able to finish the shawl. I will have to remember the oven trick for when I need to dry fiber really quickly. Does this trick only work with wool, or does it work with other fibers as well (like alpaca)?
    Can’t wait to see the shawl!!

  112. I knew you’d find the perfect solution. I am a firm believer that the faster you knit, the more yarn you have. Me? I would have had to clean my oven before daring to take a picture of the inside to show the world. Can’t wait to see final product.

  113. On the up side, “She’s about three meters short of a shawl” accurately described both (a) the source of your rage and (b) your mental state after you’d made the unfortunate discovery. And thus was a fabulous new knitter’s metaphor born.

  114. Great shawl and great idea for drying locks fast. As for my dorkiness and love of D&D my kids already know and think it’s cool.

  115. I feel better now. I kept twisting my first circular row for a sweater and knitting several rows before discovering it. And I’ve knitted for more than 30 years! I finally used 2 parallel circ needles on the 3rd try. This worked. And I blamed my extremely lightweight and twisty yarn on this situation.

  116. @Rebecca, it works for felting too? Excellent!
    Yeah, I can’t imagine running out so close – usually I’m missing a whole skein, even when I’ve followed the pattern with the proper yarn – that’s sort of a whole other side of irritation. I’d flip too if it was “just” a few metres.

  117. Now really, Dear Harlot, aren’t you glad you didn’t have to go buy another fleece? 😉 Can hardly wait to see it blocked!

  118. Oh for the love of wool!! You have my deepest sympathy and admiration that you ever stopped with the rage.

  119. Didn’t you post a long time ago about drying in the oven after wet blocking? I swear I got the idea from you, but I do this all the time to dry my swatches. I’m glad it occurred to you in this instance, though!
    Did you pack for Port Ludlow? I assume that was way lower on the list of priorities.

  120. I can picture only one insufficient yarn scenario more painful that this: you could have run 2.5 metres short while knitting with a discontinued, utterly unmatchable purchased yarn. I bow down before the woman who runs out of yarn, sneers in the face of despair (cursing counts as sneering), and instead MAKES MORE YARN.

  121. Your oven is scary clean for a woman who is always talking about being behind on housework

  122. I love how you completely write out son of a b%$^#, but spell HELL. Too funny. I love your posts!

  123. I’m actually pretty impressed that you estimated your yardage so closely that you were *only* off by 2.6 metres! It’s true that it would have been much more gratifying and less stress producing if you had been that much over instead of under, but it was remarkable feat nonetheless! Way to go!

  124. Darling, your problems solving skills are excellent! You must be a knitting woman!!

  125. Okay, guess I’m not as geeky as I thought. AD&D? I know what D&D is…
    I am enormously impressed by your sheer determination to finish. The energy I would have spent being upset would probably have done me in. Going over to see the pictures now!

  126. Turning the furnace on would have really put you out of the running for not being the first to turn it on for the winter of 2011/12.
    Glad you managed it.

  127. Now that I know the shawl is done, and all is well, I don’t feel too bad saying this….
    This is favorite Yarn Harlot blog entry. Well done!

  128. Wow; you have a lot of that fleece left over. Might I suggest a fairisle sweater for yourself? Or something equally as warming. X

  129. I was terrified you were going to say that you were out of wool *completely.* I figured you’d have washed and spun up the whole fleece!

  130. You know, I *should* tell you I love you more often… When you post about working class breasts, and working women (*all* of us), and coffee and toilet paper emergencies, and Joe getting his truck stuck on the ice (which still brings me to tears of laughter, sorry, Joe), and sweet baby blankies and booties and sweaters, and organizing your collection of knitting needles (o.m.g’s.), and your down-to-the-finish-line adventures with Olympic sweaters and socks o’ the month, and felting multiple pairs of slippers in the bathtub, and when you share your wonderful photographs, and your wry sense of humor, and… I do. I just love you. And it was the baking of the locks that just brought me to my knees this morning. xoxo

  131. I’ve tried the knitting faster trick, but it never works for me. Funnily enough, I once mentioned that to my Mom and she told me with a laugh that she did the SAME THING! LOL! We should totally do a poll and see if it’s one of those (nearly) universal knitter things. 🙂

  132. Once upon a time my daughter knit this celtic knot aran sweater that took over 300 hours. She was knitting it with yarn from our sheep that had been spun at Green Mt. Spinnery and dyed at home (hence, unmatchable). When she got to the top we realized that she was a few yards short of being able to finish. The sweater had a band at the neckline before the actual finish, so we went to our friendly neighborhood yarn shop and the lady was kind enough to help us find a complimentary yarn that worked for that band. There was just enough to finish the sweater, but never enough to mend the frayed places that have now appeared on the cuffs after a decade of wearing. Moral of the story seems to be if the yarn is unmatchable you will almost certainly run out just before the end…

  133. If it’ll make you feel any better, all I could think the first two pictures were “Damn, that’s a lovely yarn. So sproingy. So lovely. I really like that yarn. Mmmmm.”
    Usually a hairdryer works for me if I hold the very tip of the fleece/locks or put them on a towel and hold the tip of them. But of course, I’m too scared of my apartment oven to even put food in there.

  134. weeks later I still feel the need to comment: what is it about us that thinks we can get a project done on the squeak? I started a sweater knowing I might be short, so why am I surprised it is three-quarters done and I am out of yarn? I tell we, we do it to ourselves!
    BTW: your Jacob Damask is lovely and the wool almost makes me get my spinning wheel out again. However, it will not fit in my vehicle whereas yarn and needles will (I am an over the road driver).
    Enjoy the lovely results.

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