Yardage. It’s one of those tough things when you’re a knitter – how much yarn to buy? The obvious answer is, “all of it”, but usually you’re a little more limited than that! How much fabric will this skein of yarn make? Well, that depends on what you’re knitting, the needle size, the gauge, the stitch pattern, and tons of other factors. Once you’ve followed a few patterns with yardage requirements, you can start to estimate how much yarn you need for something, or at least have a vague idea that a hat doesn’t take a lot, while a sweater usually requires multiple skeins.
When I started knitting sweaters, I quickly learned that it takes somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1000-1500 yards (900-1350ish metres) of worsted weight yarn for myself. Skinnier yarn uses up more yardage but fewer skeins, since there’s lots of yards in each. A longer, cabled, or tightly knit piece requires more yardage, while something lacy or cropped requires less.
I mostly buy yarn in sweater quantities these days, save the occasional odd bit of sock or lace yarn, and generally I’m able to do just fine with whatever the yardage is. Sometimes a limited amount even inspires my design in one direction or another. In short, I know how to work yardage. In knitting, anyway.
This is a roundabout way of saying, I’m a novice seamstress/dressmaker/sewist, and yardage has given me a good hard pinch on the backside. I didn’t follow a pattern, so I didn’t have any fabric requirements to follow. I drew up a quick chart of the top and calculated out how much area I would need of each fabric, but I didn’t really understand how much I could get out of a yard of cut fabric. Plus I made a few learning mistakes along the way.
So it turns out I didn’t order enough of the blue fabric to do the last row of chevrons. Boyfriend and I decided that a grey chevron on the front, in the same fabric as the backing, would work well. Then I made a crucial error. Instead of picking apart the blue/red half square triangles that I’d already cut and using them, I cut a new set of red squares to piece with the grey. Then I finished the grey chevrons and it looked great!
Except that the top is too short. You can’t really see it in the photo, but it’s just the top of the bed, and I really think it needs to go down over the foot of the bed to be properly useful. I decided on some additional red sashing at the top and bottom. Then I finally realized that I just didn’t have enough red fabric left.
The lesson? More planning and/or less rushing! If only I had picked apart that last row of red/blue squares instead of cutting new ones, I would’ve had enough to finish the top and I’d be quilting it now (I’m really excited for that part). I caved and ordered more red – more than I need, because it was really nice to work with. Now to stay focused on the project, I just have to twiddle my thumbs until it gets here, right?