Monday, August 27, 2007

Out of Yarn

A strange and terrible disorder has afflicted my knitting recently. I have run out of yarn on three projects in a row.

Baby Surprise Jacket
The deadline on this project is now. I am right out of Louisa Harding Kashmir Aran in teal. I have a couple of orders placed with yarn stores, but no response yet. All I can say is 'grr'. It is on hold.

Purple Basketweave Socks
You know how when you are knitting socks from a 100g ball of 4ply, you always have about 8 miles of yarn left over? That's what I was trading on when I stole a whole lot of yarn from my two balls of Angel Yarns sock yarn in Chocolate Plum to finish off Perugino. I needed a fairly sturdy yarn to make all the tassels and sew them on, and the choc plum yarn was just the right colour. Well, I will never do that again. Finish the socks first before you start stealing 'leftovers' from the ball. Having worked on these socks since blinking April, I joyously approached the toe on Sock 2, only to run out of yarn just as I was about to start the decreases. Now, I know what length the foot on these socks needs to be, so just knitting a shorter foot wasn't an option. I was frustrated and didn't know what to do. Then it occurred to me that the ribbing on the cuffs was quite deep (I like a deep rib) and that I could unravel some of it to free up yarn for the toe.

I started to unravel one of the cuffs. Lordy lordy it took a *long* time. I invested hours patiently unpicking about two rows. It is of course the case that had I been undoing the sock from the 'top' of the knitting, the toe, where the live stitches are, I could have just pulled gently on the thread for it all to unravel. But I was trying to undo it from the bottom end, the cuff. The knit fabric is structurally engineered not to come undone that way, hence the struggle.

At last I did something I've never done before: I took a pair of scissors to my knitting.

Knowing that I might regret it later, I snipped a stitch about half way down the ribbing. I held my breath as I watched a hole appear in my perfect ribbed cuff. The hole got larger with no difficulty, as the cut yarn slipped through each stitch in the rows above and below. Eventually I realised what I was doing. I was not making a hole in my knitting, per se. I was detaching one half of the cuff from the other.

Well, you can see from the photos of the completed socks posted below that it turned out all right in the end. I basically caught up all the live cuff stitches on the circular needles and then cast off. I am making this sound simpler than it really was. On Sock 1 I didn't do the tidiest job of picking up the stitches (although they look all right cast off). On Sock 2 I unpicked the rib to what I thought was the right length to match the newly shortened Sock 1. I cast off. I realised the cuff on Sock 2 was noticeably two rows too long. I undid the cast-off, painstakingly unpicked another row and cast off again. Phew. Both cuffs and toes done at last, bar weaving in the ends which can definitely wait for another time.

Imken's Angora Socks
Can you believe I've run out of yarn yet AGAIN? Let me show you how nice these socks are and how frustratingly close I am to finishing Sock 2.

This time it is totally not my fault I've run out of yarn. The socks are from an Angel Yarns angora sock kit. I used the supplied needles and cast on the recommended number of stitches. I wasn't over-generous with the cuff and leg as I was worried about running out of yarn from the beginning (I never could quite believe I was going to get a pair of socks out of 50g of yarn, angora or not). In other words, I did everything you're supposed to. The recipient is a woman, size 7 feet so not excessively large, within normal range. When I realised I was going to run out of yarn about 6 rows from the end, I wondered about undoing both the toes and knitting them a bit shorter. But as it happens, I have size 6.5 feet. I tried on the one completed sock and it fits like a dream. I don't want to undo it and make it shorter when it is just the right size already. So there you have it, I have run out of yarn and I am stuck. I am going to contact Angel Yarns and see if they can let me have a scrap more yarn to finish off. I hope I can find the ball band!
Postscript: Within minutes of this post being published, Tess of Angel Yarns visited the blog, spotted the problem and contacted me to offer me some extra angora yarn to finish the job. How's that for customer service?

1 comment:

Fiona said...

Isn't Tess a star? It's so frustrating running out of yarn. I ran out of "Bamboozle" for socks. It was a faulty batch.