Slow Learner

I think I was just excited.  That’s the only explanation for where I find myself – a few days after the cast came off, and in some knitting trouble. After struggling with knitting for weeks, and only being able to manage big needles and yarn, not only was I really looking forward to pounding out some fine gauge knits, I was behind on an important project. My niece Savannah’s baby will be here soon, and so of course there should be a blanket – although there has already been a sweater, and as I’ve mentioned, this baby’s Grammy will be my sister-in-law Kelly, who is a fine knitter herself. Care must be taken not to bury this wee one in wool, though we can scarcely contain our excitement.  Not just a new baby, but a fall/winter baby! While the cast was on, I was planning, choosing stitch patterns, and getting yarn together. I went into the stash and flung yarn around with one hand until I came up with this.

It’s gorgeous, and I love it, and I thought to myself that it must be enough wool for a blanket. I mean, it’s a Ton of Wool.  I glanced at the yardage, saw that it had four digits, and felt great about it. (300g/1056 meters) I swatched,

I washed the swatch,

I loved it, I cast on…. I knit.  Now I’m about halfway through the body, the yarn is being eaten up at a shocking rate and it is rather completely clear to me that I don’t have nearly enough of this yarn to do what I want. Wait. Let me type that sentence again so that the problem is clearer.  I don’t have nearly enough of this discontinued yarn to do what I want.

I’m not really, really panic stricken (I mean, this happens with almost every blanket, I’m clearly not bright) because I’m knitting this blanket in the Shetland style, so the body is worked back and forth, the borders are picked up and knit around, and the edging is applied – that means that there’s a few points where I can change colour/yarn if I want to, so it I can see a way out. Still…

Anybody have some of this yarn kicking around?

109 thoughts on “Slow Learner

  1. This must be an enormous blanket if 1000+ m isn’t enough! I wish I could help you out with more yarn, but I got nothing. I’m sure you’ll come up with something, though!

    • I think that we’ve been down this road enough times that we should up the quality of our spectator snacks. I vote caramel corn.

      • Oh, man, have you met Creators Chicago-style popcorn, a mix of cheddar and caramel corn?? Sounds weird–is TOTALLY awesome!! Be wary of that huge bag it comes in…I’m just sayin’…

        • I prefer a mix of caramel and salt and vinegar. It doesn’t come pre-mixed, but you can get them to do it at those popcorn stands (Kernels?)

        • Oh yes indeed! Creator’s rock the cheese and caramel popcorn. My husband thought it sounded gross until he tried it. Now he’s totally addicted. I’m definitely going to have to buy more for the baby blanket adventure.
          I’m currently knitting a blanket for a new nephew and while I have enough yarn, I’m rapidly running out of time. I wish I could knit as fast as Stephanie!!!

        • I lived in Chicago and made fun of my colleagues who ate this horrendous mix – until I finally (after years) tried it. YOWZA!!!! Totally addicted. Keep trying to replicate it now that I don’t live there and nothing quite tastes the same. All I want from Chicago is the cheddar cheese/caramel pop corn.

          • (I wish I could come to the rescue, but I don’t have anything even close to the yarn you need, YH.)

      • A co worker used to bring home made caramel corn with chocolate and BACON. Oh, my. I had to just, NOT….because if I once started, I’d never have been able to stop. I still think the entertainment should ace the snack so maybe this one is a tad over the top.

      • This is just a suggestion but have you ever tried milk duds in popcorn? The heat from the popcorn (do wait a minute or two or it’ll be a complete mess) will warm up the milkdud and thus make it a fresh chocolate/carmel popcorn when you pop it in your mouth. I suggest 3-4 kernals per milk dud for appropriate mixture.

  2. Cliff hanger!!!!!
    I had a knitting student who went on a phone search for discontinued yarn (tight knitter, cable sweater) She not only found the yarn, it was the same freekin’ DYE LOT!!!!

  3. Ah!! One of THOSE stories … I am expecting delivery by Mounties, border drama, last minute tension, wine and curses, good Samaritans, and a final hurdle over the last few rows. I do love a good melodrama with a happy ending!!! Go for it!!!!!

    • Glad I’m not the only one picturing Mounties whenever one of these *situations* crops up! Now back to my own game of yarn chicken….

    • Sadly, the Mounties no longer even deliver lost children back to their homes any more; let alone running an errand of mercy involving yarn. But I admit, the fantasies around that are picturesque, especially if they’re wearing the Dress Uniform of red serge, stetson and boots. Shades of Nelson Eddy.

  4. Playing Yarn Chicken AGAIN??? The mind boggles. We need to tell your LYS that you are only allowed to buy yarn if you need a fork lift to get it home…;-)!

  5. Indeed yes. Suffice to say, crisis averted, and if anyone else needs yarn, several wonderful knitters have come forth after doing a mass email. I’ve asked those wonderful knitters to comment here and/or destash on ravelry so that folks can find them.

  6. I don’t have any of that yarn. I just to say how funny the posts above me are! Knitters with great senses of humour! Hope you do find the yarn. The blanket will be gorgeous!

  7. Does anyone else besides me feel mildly miffed at the FALSE ADVERTISING of this company calling this “A TON of Yarn” when it isn’t even enough for a Yarn Harlot baby blanket?

  8. You know, folks, we may have gotten through this installment of blanket drama but Stephanie shared on Instagram that someone is engaged, so I’ll bet there will be a wedding shawl in the future…and those can get pretty freakin’ dramatic too.

  9. I’ve had this issue, as well. Not necessarily with blankets but with discontinued yarn that I apparently don’t have enough of….I’ve had to go hunting for two different projects in the past 9 months (and luckily found someone with enough to finish said projects, and yes, one was a blanket).

  10. I wish I could swoop in and rescue the day but alas, I do not own any of this yarn. I fully expect someone to come to the rescue though! #TheWoolMovesInMysteriousWays

  11. I sense (and see from the comments) that your yarny crisis will be averted– so I’ll just stick to saying: a) your swatch is lovely, and the yarn is gorgeous, b) I’m so excited that you’re anticipating another lovely baby in the family!

  12. Yay! I am so glad you are feeling better. Because I am such a slow knitter, your blanket drama is way more amusing than it should be. The pattern is beautiful and I will definitely watch this space.

  13. Whew! When I saw the beginning of the post I feared that the wrist was acting up and not letting you engage in the knitting level that you’d hoped. BUT – I see it’s “just” a yarn problem, so I’ll join the crew in following along. Favorite popcorn popper: Whirly Pop, flavor: Old Bay.

  14. last time I knit a baby blanket, diagonally in garter stitch, with baby-weight acrylic (because dammit, it needs to be easy to wash), I used 500g. (I still have 500g. It was a bag of 10 skeins on sale at a now-closed LYS.)

  15. Stephanie: I’ve been on a knitting hiatus and have taken up painting. However, whenever I catch up on your blog, I feel the need to knit again. Thank goodness I haven’t cleared out ALL my stash to make room for art supplies. Thank you for being you and for sharing your life and adventures with us!

  16. Just a thought. Why not weigh a couple of the blankets you can get your hands on and keep the weights for reference. That way you know how much yard you need for the next queen size baby blanket you make. And face it, you always make the things that big. Just means there is more of it to love.

    • Great suggestion: when she gets close to some of those blankies she’s already created, weight them for a reasonable finished total for future predictions and plans!

  17. It’s cormo, my favorite wool! How did I not know about this stuff and how can it be discontinued now that I do?

    The blanket is lovely and will be perfect, as they always are – rock on, I have faith.

  18. Okay. As I recall, the last time we went through this adventure– when you ran out of yarn and one of your readers had some, and you made a mad dash over the border to collect it , with all of us rooting for you breathlessly, it was so exciting! When it was completed, it covered your king-sized bed! For a newborn! I remember thinking, why not just make it a little smaller?
    Now I have the same question.

  19. Lovely patterns, Ms. S! And I feel your pain re both running out of now-discontinued-yarn, and a wrist fracture. Had the latter in combination with a fractured elbow, fractured/dislocated leg after falling from the staircase of a DC3; the ortho said I’d never straighten the arm, but knitting was the answer – it’s perfectly straight now! And thanks to internet I hunted down the extra skeins of Shibui Silk Cloud in Lime (such a gorgeous colour – why would they discontinue it?) and while awaiting that packet have managed to knit 10 Churchmouse Jolly Wee Elves. You’ll find the yarn, the knitting will be therapeutic for your wrist, and you’ll finish a beautiful baby blanket that will be an heirloom for your family.

  20. Yay for baby knits, Steph! I have a new baby cousin–I knit a bonnet for him (Tin Can Knits “Beloved”) and another baby cousin on the way soon too. I was glad when I read your last blog announcing you got your cast off. If it was me I’d just go find a complementary color in same weight (as in fingering or lace or whatever) and do that–it’ll still be just as pretty.

  21. Dearest Stephanie, so glad you are back to your usual shenanigans. It is such a grand thing to see you playing yarn chicken! Sending wishes for quick arrival of the yarn, and a perfectly timed baby. The world is spinning true, once again.

  22. So here’s the thing. I would read the pattern through, love the pattern. Until I get to the part that you have to pick up ALL the friggin border stitches. That, my friends, would bring my plans to screeching halt, which is really stupid when I love doing entrelac, which is technically nothing but picking up border stitches over and over and over again!

  23. Maybe next time measure the yarn used to knit the swatch, and do the math. Oh, and knit it smaller than the last one. 72″ x 72″ takes 44 percent more yarn than 60″ x 60″. Just sayin’

  24. Most of my son’s baby blankets were too big for stuffing into a diaper bag, The one I used the most fit around him in the car seat, tucking edges in. So maybe sometime, when you are short of yarn, consider a smaller blanket. Of course, you’d have to know in advance that you’re short on yarn. Did you see how fast this thread disintegrated from a yarn crisis into a popcorn and chocolate fest?

  25. Potential change for next time:
    Step 1. Like usual, make a swatch of meaningful size. Measure the weight. Block it now if you’re going to block the blanket before adding the edging. After blocking, get meaningful numbers to use for sizing estimates. Maybe it will be length and width of swatch, number of stitches and rows. Consider making a conservative estimate of pattern repeats per swatch.
    Step 2. Put an edging of meaningful design and width on one side of the block. Measure the weight again.
    Step 3. Do the math in your preferred way. I start with a picture and wiggle my numbers around.

    For this example, let’s say my main swatch was a 10-inch square, and weighed 10 grams. Let’s say the border weighed one gram. 10 inches of this border weighs one gram.

    Then, experiment with the numbers.
    I’ll start with a 30 inches square. In this example, that would hold 9 of my swatches, laid out in a 3-block by 3-block square. I’d estimate 90 grams for the center. 30 inches per side, and 4 sides, so the skinniest possible outside edge would be 120 inches long. My edging (1 gram for 10 inches) would need at least 12 grams. Plus another gram for the corners. So, 13 grams for the edging. 103 grams total, From 100 grams of yarn. (which is 89 grams of yarn, plus your 11-gram swatch.) Likely to run out of yarn after doing only 3/4 of the border. Don’t undo the swatch yet. It could be useful for figuring out a different border.

    A 20-inch square center will be around 40 grams for the center, and 9 for the edges. 49 grams total. Enough, but lots left over.

    Choices now,
    1) get more yarn
    2) Make a baby sweater, too.
    3) Wiggle the numbers around, and maybe make the center around 25 inches square, with pleasing placement for the pattern repeats within in the center and also on the edging
    4) Knit the first half of that 30-inch center. Weigh it. Weigh the remaining yarn. Is it enough to do the rest of the center, plus your planned edge? If not, go back to your swatch. It has three more edges. Weigh it. Swatch a different border. Weigh it again. Do the math. If the weight works, double-check the repeats, to make sure your corners will be pretty. Proceed accordingly.

  26. I love how knitters connected to get Steph the yarn. I love us. Yarn Chicken is a great term – I won’t forget it when I stumble into my next short-on-yarn-maybe-maybe-not project. Doesn’t mean I won’t end up short, but what a funny term.
    Stephanie, I’m very happy your wrist has healed and you are back to creating with wool.

  27. Stash yarn totally fits the pattern: fern lace. Ferns are one of the oldest plant species on the planet.

    Whatever you end up doing with the blanket will make anyone who doesn’t have a knitter in their lives wishing they did.

  28. I see that the yarn is cormo wool. As a spinner, cormo is a little difficult to spin as it has little “grip.” But in my opinion, it rivals alpaca or cashmere for softness!

  29. I have done many Shetland-style baby blankies with a colored edge. Looks cute, and end of yarn chicken. To each their own.
    Julie in San Diego

  30. I’m going to be a great auntie in November. I am the ONLY knitter for this baby! I am at outfit number five for this future great niece!! I still have two more planned! I am swaddling her in yarn!!

    You’ll get that yarn… of course you will!

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