January 3, 2012

Mark My Words

So, here's the thing.  Bolstered by my wild success with Megan's sweater, the fact that Samantha wanted a vest seemed like a walk in the park.  I should have known that something was up when we entered intense negotiations about the type, size and colour of the vest, but really, all that got sorted.  We had a three hour Ravelry marathon a while ago where we looked at a million vests, and narrowed it down to about eight patterns. Sam had comments about each of those patterns like "Like that one, but longer, and with pockets, and Mum, add those argyle cables, but remember it should be baggy, because the eighties are back and don't make a face like that - they're back in a good way" and then, right then when I thought there was no possible way I could make the kid happy without contacting the costume designer for Duran Duran videos - whammo - she found it. It's the Flourish vest. (It doesn't have pockets, which is a point of possible flaw, but I'm still figuring that out. I've decided to move forward as thought an almost eighteen year old wouldn't choose to lie to me when she said it didn't matter.)   Next point of negotiation was colour.  (She knew she wanted wool, so we got to skip that, heavens be praised.)  The colour question got solved when Sam said she wanted the colour to be "Blue, or grey, or Jeans colour... or black" and the next thing I knew, Tina had sent me three skeins of Gaea in a colourway that was exactly that. 

Pattern and yarn established, I swatched, got gauge, and started in, only to admit that I am, and have been from the moment I started this a few days ago,  completely and totally dogged by the certainty that there is no way on earth that I have enough yarn.

This, by the way, is crazy. The pattern calls for five balls of Rowan Pure Wool Aran, which is  850 metres of yarn, and I have three skeins of Gaea, which is  834 meters,  and I understand that 834 is 16 less than 850, which could be why I'm worried about not having enough, but here's the thing. When was the last time that you finished something, and it took all of the last ball?  It doesn't. There's always leftovers, maybe a few metres, but usually more.  I've had a couple of super close calls, but really, what are the odds that when the designer says that a pattern takes five balls of yarn, that she means that she used exactly all of five balls?  Plus - two of the sizes on the pattern take five balls, which means that there has to be some play in there, and every ounce of experience I have says that there is a better than excellent likelihood that this vest will use 16m less than it says it does.  I'm betting, based on years and years and years of knitting, that one of two things happened - that the designer had at least 16m of yarn leftover when she was finished knitting, or that the yarn amounts are padded on the pattern because it makes people crazy insane lunatics when they run out of yarn, so most of the time, the yarn amounts on a pattern are generous, and both these things mean that I am fine.  This is what my experience tells me.

That said, my intuition, my knitterly spider sense is tingling, and all it says is "You fool.  You don't have enough yarn and you know it.  Stop now, before your error is public" but I have kept knitting, because I believe in the power of mathematics and experience over "feelings" and later - when this turns out exactly the way we all know it's going to, and I get my arse kicked all the way up knitterdom and down the other side, you can all bloody well remind me that I shouldn't be surprised, shocked or hurt, because I thought from the start that there wasn't enough yarn, and there won't be, and I know that... and I'm knitting anyway. 

(PS.  This vest has a buttonband and armhole edging worked at the end that could be in another dye lot of this yarn if  things do get ugly.  This is probably making me bold)

(PPS.  It turns out that when Sam said "Argyle cables" she meant diamond-ish shaped ones. It's not a real knitting term, so don't worry if you haven't heard it, and for the love of all things woolly, don't repeat it at the yarn shop.)

Posted by Stephanie at January 3, 2012 10:32 AM