Ah. It happens. We follow the pattern directions for buying yarn, or we think we did. We start it, then move on to another project, pick it up months/years later and resume. Then we realize that one skein is missing and the project can’t be finished or our size has changed, or we never purchased the right amount to begin with.The reasons go on and on, but the bottom line is there is not enough yarn.
One of my idiosyncrasies is that I NEVER buy more yarn no matter what. I like to challenge myself and get the creative juices flowing when I realize that there is just not enough. It’s an opportunity to be the designer and work with what you have. Think Project Runway. Here is my list of tried and true solutions.
If the yarn has been around for a while or discontinued, go on Ravelry (www.ravelry.com), eBay or even the manufacturer and see if anyone happens to have what you need in the color and dye lot, and is willing to sell or trade. This sounds like finding a needle in a haystack, but it has worked for me. On Ravelry, search in Stash and then contact the owner. Or search Yarn and see if anyone made something from your yarn. Maybe your fellow Raveler has leftovers tucked away. Ravelry is the social media site for knitters and crocheters.
If you are not registered, get on it now. This group is so helpful. If they have it, they will share. Any Raveler worth her salt has a stash she is willing to dive into to support another. The manufacturer may also have samples or extra skeins available that they will share. [I once contacted a manufacturer in England and 3 months later, a huge hank of yarn appeared at no cost! I finished the project.]
Search for a yarn substitute at www.yarnsub.com. Type in your yarn name and the site delivers a list of current yarn in a similar weight, twist and fiber content. Search the Internet for the list of colors available in the new yarn. Getting a match is going to be tough but choosing a complementary color may be the solution. Then search for a local shop or on-line that sells that brand.
Think about enhancing your project to use color blocking, meaning using the same yarn but in another color on a certain part of the project. Do this in such a way that it enhances the design and at the same time frees up the yarn you need. Ideas: Make sleeves or sides in another color. Color blocking is trending everywhere. Look in magazines for ideas.
Instead of color blocking introduce a similar yarn in the same color. Follow the same instructions as the color blocking.
Frog it, meaning rip-it, rip-it, …get it. Choose another pattern that uses your yarn or a pattern with the same gauge and drape, AND needs the same or less yardage than the total yardage available. No need to repeat the same problem.
Removing kinks from the freed up yarn. No one wants to knit with old/used yarn. This can be easily remedied. Once the yarn is unraveled, do not make it into a ball, but make it into a hank by wrapping from your hand to forearm as if you were bundling a long extension cord. Gently remove it from your arm, keep it in a circle and then use scrap yarn to tie it in 4 places… north, south, east, west so it cannot
tangle. Then soak the entire piece in tepid water. This will relax the kinks and ready the yarn for knitting. Squeeze out the water and then roll in a towel to remove excess. Remove and hang over a hanger to dry fully. Once dry, (it may take a day or longer), wind into a ball. That’s it!
I must confess, I once bought a Dale of Norway pattern for an official Olympic sweater. It was an extremely detailed Norwegian design in 6 colors knitted in the round. I got about halfway up body when I realized that I misread the pattern and did not buy enough yarn in any of the colors. The shop had gone out of business, the reason I splurged on the purchase, and I was sunk. A friend talked me into giving
up and she frogged the sweater. I could not bear to watch. That was 10 years ago. The yarn is still in my stash. The end.
Carolyn Hanson is a local knitting and crochet designer, teacher and fiber artist. She can be contacted at email@example.com.