Thursday, 22 September 2016

A Tale of Two Yarns

Once upon a time, I decided to splash out and purchased the yarn recommended in the pattern, to knit a cardigan.
It is a lovely pattern.
It is a beautiful, naturally-dyed merino wool from Spain.

I bought the 3 skeins required for sizes 1 or 2 and set about knitting size 2.
I reached the end of skein 1 at the point where the garment is divided for body and sleeves, top down.

"Curious," I thought, "I wouldn't have expected to change skein so soon if I am knitting a garment with long sleeves."
With alarm bells ringing quietly but insistently in the back of my head, I kept knitting.

I knitted faster.
Because as we all know, the faster you knit, the more likely you are to have enough yarn.

I thought I might just about reach the end of the body with skein 2.
But I didn't.

I have knitted 25cm past the underarm and have 7cm still to go before the ribbing.
Skein 3 is starting to feel soft in the middle.

There is no way I am going to have enough yarn to knit full-length sleeves.
Remember - this is one-of-a-kind naturally hand-dyed yarn from Spain.  I can't just scoop up another skein from Lidl with my weekly shop.
I couldn't understand it.
My gauge and tension were spot on.

So I looked a little more closely at the designer's photo of the yarn she used, on Ravelry.

It doesn't look like the same base...

I followed a link on Ravelry and discovered an online shop in Spain which sells the single-coloured yarn.  It looks exactly like the yarn in the picture above.

Another scout through Ravelry, and another knitter shows a picture of her ball band:

Oh look:  50g equals 125 metres

I bought mine directly from the dyer.
My label says: 100g equals 200 metres.
It is not the same base.

So I don't have enough yarn.



  1. I feel your pain! :( Does the dyer do a solid colour in the same base, so you could have contrasting colour-block sleeves, maybe?

    1. Hi Karen, a good idea, though there is no dk at all in her shop at the moment. I am going to split my remaining yarn into two balls and see how far I can knit a sleeve. If I can get below the elbow I will settle for a cropped cardi!

  2. So illustrative of the need for patterns to tell us how many lengths of yarn -- or what total weight of yarn -- we need, rather that how many balls of yarn. In my dim and distant youth, a skein of DK acrylic yarn (no wool sold where I lived) was a standard 4 ounces. In my late teens, manufacturers went to a standard of 3.5 ounces (less yarn, more money, but who could blame them?) Now, translating old patterns by multiplying the presumed standard weight-to-yardage standard at the time of printing, and converting to current availability of yarns, has become a tedious but necessary part of knitting. It's true, students, you WILL use maths for the rest of your life, in very practical ways.

  3. Bummer! But I'm confident you'll come up with an ingenious solution. Pat :)

  4. That sucks! I am very familiar with those nagging bells in the head that you somehow don't actually hear until it's too late :)
    Too bad knitting faster didn't work LOL!
    I hope you can eek out some short sleeves - what you have so far is so pretty!

  5. Can you turn it into a vest? So frustrating!!

  6. I started following the dyer thanks to this very sweater and I think she said she does custom jobs? It's turning out so beautifully, it would be nice if it was a length you would wear all the time!

  7. Hahahahaha! Bugger, indeed! Not laughing at you...been there, done that. Argh!

  8. And therein lies the problem. I love the idea of using naturally dyed yarns, I really do. Having said that, I'm knitting Tevara from Pompom18 with commercial yarn. The original yarn kit was $278 (not including postage from the US, customs and other fees). Then I noticed from the photos that in the sample, there are at least 2 different shades of brown, in very large blocks, which would look good in an unstructured garment, but which doesn't lend itself to the pattern chosen. I think if I'm going to use naturally dyed yarn, I'm going to have to do it myself to make sure there are sufficient quantities. (Lovely knitting of your cardigan, though!)

  9. I like the idea of making the garment sleveless which would be practical for autumn, and knitting a cowl/hat/gloves with the remaining yarn.