Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Do this & you'll never run out of yarn again.

Yet another customer wrote to me to say she had run out of such-and-such yarn. Did I have any of that color? She needs it for a project she is working on.

[banging my head against a wall]

WHY does it have to be that same color and same dye lot? Because she started with Famous Brand Boring Beige #111 and by golly, she needs to finish with Famous Brand Boring Beige #111 even though the results are going to be just as predictably boring as any of us can imagine.

I'm not trying to tell knitters or crocheters what to do, but honestly, if you please, please, please just CONSIDER this piece of advice, you will never have this problem again.

  • Look at your project and figure out how much yarn you need.
  • Find three or four color-coordinated yarns in the gauge you think you will need--keeping in mind that you will have to test that gauge and/or use a different size needle.
  • Buy a little more yardage than you estimated.
Now, it just so happens that I sell yarn at Life's an Expedition on Etsy in harmonizing color families. I have a huge selection in my own home, so running out of yarn is inconceivable to me. But if you get a whole gaggle of color-related yarn, you can use whichever yarns you liked best, add a pocket later, change the collar, whatever, and likely still have some leftover. Save the leftovers for a hat or something.

Today, I am wearing a brown sweater that I knitted from a vast assortment of brown yarns that I sell. Many of them were close in color or from the same color family, but many were not. They were just brown. And I could gaze at this sweater all day. I am gazing at it now as my fingers slip off the keys and my words are starting tu[om siffers as a resi;t/

Do you think it was hard to make this? My knitting skills are pretty basic. I never learned to do intarsia, cables, entrelac or any of that stuff. I just use straight garter stitch or stockinette or maybe if I'm in a really fancy mood, I will do a seed stitch. I knit while I watch TV and I scarcely look at what I am doing. And no one has sweaters that look like mine. Well, okay, in a few cases, that is probably a good thing, but no, I'm being falsely modest, because my sweaters are amazing.  I have the most creative sweaters in my neighborhood. And I never run out of whatever yarn I was using, because I use a wild hodgepodge of yarn from ONE COLOR FAMILY and make sure I have extra.

If I did not have extras--this doesn't happen, but if it did--I wouldn't hesitate to shift to another yarn that sort of harmonizes and just repeat that yarn somewhere else on the project. What is wrong with having a sweater with contrasting collar, cuffs, pockets? That is tame compared to some of my projects, where I make the sleeves different colors and the front and the back are different lengths. Or the hem deliberately slopes to the left.

You CAN get wild and funky, people. But if that is not your taste, that's okay. I know some people like classic, traditional clothing. But please, at least contemplate knitting outside the dull beige box. Please. You will never run out of yarn again, but more than that, it will be good for your soul!

dj runnels
Life's an Expedition on Etsy sells wildly creative yarn, craft supplies and finished goods.
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