Coming Up Short
March 5, 2013 § 4 Comments
Ooof, I am sick again. No, not another flu, but I have had a stuffy cold since Friday. I guess that is what happens when you get really sick, then never really rest. But when you have a Little Buckaroo that is just super busy, what are you supposed to do? I have been taking cold medicine with pretty good degree of effectiveness, though I feel like I am just suppressing as opposed to really getting better. So yesterday I decided no more “band-aids” to treat my symptoms, the real problem—the cold—needs to be dealt with and go away. Unfortunately with the impending move I really don’t have time to stop, so I guess I’ll just have to get through it.
Then, for the first time, something has happened in Yarnville that I still can’t believe. I am working on a project where I have not just sort of run out of yarn, but really, REALLY run out of yarn. How did this happen?
It is hard to believe that with all of the sweaters, hats, cowls, and everything else that I have knit that I have never really run out of yarn before. Okay, well, it is not exactly true that I have never run out before. But I didn’t lie, exactly. A few times I have come to the end the second sleeve of the beloved sweater of the moment, and Kablammo! One row from the end and I am out of yarn. Well, this doesn’t exactly warrant buying a whole new skein, and chances are that I have another skein lined up and ready to go, it is just a matter of principal. I usually just finish the sweater’s sleeve one row short of the other, and figure no one will ever notice. *Spoiler Alert* no one ever has.
So last week after the worst of my flu had passed, and before getting this nasty cold, I started the super adorable springtime friendly Cara Cara Pullover by Amanda Bell from Knitscene, It was on new stands last year, and I bought the digital edition to save space and paper. And then, of course, then I go and print out the patterns as I want to make them. Why don’t I just buy the physical copy? Well, I guess it is still a lot less paper than buying the whole issue. I looked and I looked for the yarn I wanted for this project. I have been using a lot of KnitPicks Comfy for spring projects. It is super affordable, super soft, and comes in so many colors. The only problem was, I couldn’t find a color for this project in the weight that I needed. The Cara Cara pullover by Amanda Bell should have some weight, and a little drape. It should be warm, friendly and spring-ey. At last I settled on buying the worsted weight version of Knitpicks Comfy, as opposed to the Sport weight, which would have been perfect for the project. I looked carefully at the materials list for the pullover, and for the size that I wanted to make 5 skeins of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece at 215 yards per skein. This comes to a whopping 1075 yards. For a 3/4 length sleeve pullover that seems like a lot, but it is on size 5 needles with sport weight yarn. So I ordered up my 10 skeins, as there are 109 yards per skein, coming to a total of 1099 yards. Perfect, a little extra, but not so much that I will be wasteful.
I was finishing up the body of my Cara Cara pullover and I realized that I was almost out. How could this be? I know I ordered enough!
I have always said that I can do basic math, meaning addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I prefer the use of a calculator.When I was at the plant nursery over the weekend I was delighted to find Green Globe Artichoke plants. Now, the thing with Artichoke plants is, no matter how much you freaking love artichokes, they just aren’t going to produce artichokes until their second year of life. So, they had plants that were clearly very young, this season. Plants in gallon pots that are about 2 feet in diameter, and plants in 2 gallon pots that are also about 2 feet in diameter but very bushy. I asked the fellow if the ones in the gallon pots were one year old. “How should I know?” he responded. Um, because you work here?
So I went home without a plant. I really want artichokes in my new garden at our new, beautiful house this year. The bigger plants were $25 bucks, and see this is where I prove to you that I do no basic math, the smaller plants were marked $7.50 on each pot, and then there was a sign that said, 2 for $15! Wow, what a steal … um … really? You need a sign to say that the plants cost exactly twice as much for two plants?
After talking with my mom we concluded that the big bushy ones, and the smaller $7.50 or the super steal 2 for $15 plants were both started last year, and the price difference in the two, $17.50 doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll be getting artichokes growing—and then yummy in my tummy—anytime sooner. So I went back the next day and snatched up one of the few remaining gallon sized plants. The day before there were quite a great deal more, but I think that people were awed by the amazing 2 for $15 deal … just kidding.
While I was wandering around there, as the Buckaroo was thoroughly enjoying his shopping cart outdoor adventure, I came across the bonsai trees.
I have been on a citrus and fruit tree buying blitz. (Don’t worry, by blitz I mean that I have bought two tiny lime trees and one self pollinating Bing cherry tree). So when I came across the Bonsai trees I stopped and had to marvel at their unique beauty. So short, so cute, and so darn easy to kill. Reminds me a lot of Orchids. I started wondering about why the smallest of things usually take the most work. My seedlings look like they’re suffering from the Great Plant Plague of 2013. If you don’t get the watering and sun just right those sad sprouts just keel right over and whither away. But that is sort of the deal with starting your own plants. You have to plant many, MANY seed to get one viable goodie. That Little Buckaroo of mine, so short, so much work. My projects, with my tiny needles take far longer than something with huge needles, like say, US size 8! (Again, a joke). But I like the fine knits. I like my small needles. I loved my orchids, and I love my little seedlings—mostly the ones that are growing and surviving, and I really, REALLY love that Little Buckaroo, too, and watching him grow every day and learn new things is a rewards that I cannot even begin to describe. And with that, I picked up the bonsai tree. Those seductive blossoms, that trunk, so tiny, but with such an old soul.
With my Cara Cara pullover I felt astounded that I could get so much done in just a week. The entire body after it was divided for the sleeves and the body, I finished in two days! So why was I running out of yarn. Starting the collar I only had two skeins left, and that certainly wasn’t going to be enough for two sleeves a cowl neck/collar and a pocket! Off to the stash! I pulled out my ENTIRE YARN STASH looking for these two missing skeins. I knew I had them, but since I had taken to hiding my yarn in multiple locations over the year they could have wound up just about anywhere. After going through every ball and every scrap of yarn I have I came to the amazing realization that my yarn stash hasn’t grown in the past year, which also means that I’ve been knitting a hell of a lot. But no-where to be found were my missing two skeins. Crapper.
I went to my email, and found my receipts.
I ordered Eight. Not ten. I am ready for some humble pie.
I took my total yardage of 1075 and divided that by the number of yards in a skein of Knitpicks Comfy. Here is where the problem occurred. Originally I was dead set on Comfy Sport because it is the right size for the project and wouldn’t make it too bulky, and then I finally settled on a color I love, giving up some of the lightness and picked a worsted weight. Well, the two have different yardages, as they are sold by 50g skein. 50g of a Worsted weight will be less in total length than a “skinnier” sport weight yarn.
Eight times 109 does not equal eight times 137. Double Crapper.
This is a huge mistake, and after thinking about it for a while I am now able to admit that I am surprised it didn’t happen sooner. With longer days and spring quickly approaching I find myself feeling incredibly, lets say, optimistic about the amount of things that I am able to get done, or the things that I want to get done. In my mind I have this whole master plan for my garden at the new house, but if I stop and think for a bit I am able to realize that it is going to take years, and on-top of that it should be FUN to do. I have loads and loads and loads of knitting I want to get done, and I am a pretty speedy knitter, but it should be fun, at the same time. And lets face it, we all make mistakes! The little things take a lot more work, but the pay off can be so great. The let-down of failure, even only partial, can also be devastating though.
Pictured Above is my Cara Cara Pullover so far, with body and cowl completed, and sleeves and pocket still left to go. I am saving what I have left of my yarn, in case I need to stripe in into the sleeves if the die-lot of the new yarn doesn’t match exactly, to hide my yarn miscalculation.
I think that I should look my big yarn miscalculation with my Cara Cara not as coming up short, but as an opportunity to step back and evaluate. How long do I really want those sleeves? How much more do I really need to order? Did I just rush through this entire project and not enjoy it? When I got to the cowl, when I already knew I was going to run, out I took more time. I love seed stitch. It’s rhythmic, beautiful, and delightful to run your fingers across. Yes, it takes quite a long time to do, but I really enjoyed knitting the cowl. Maybe round after round of stockinette—which means just thousands of knit stitches in a row—is pretty darn dull, but I picked this yarn for a reason, for how soft it is, and for the warm gray which makes me smile. So yes, I am short on yarn. I need to place another little Knitpicks order very soon anyway! Now I just need to figure out how I want the sleeves to be on my dear Cara Cara.
My little sprouts aren’t coming up short, they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing: Trying to survive. The best ones will make it, and this is my FIRST TIME starting my own seeds, so I can’t expect perfection. My first scarf has mistakes, and my first *little* garden will, too. That is how it will grow, learning from what works and what doesn’t.
As for the Little Buckaroo? I really feel like I am not coming up short with him these days. I feel happy and focused on raising him. I feel that my much-needed break a week and a half ago, which turned into the flu, was just the right dose of medicine, and reality. Getting to take a step back and just watch made me really happy. And he’s not coming up short. He just is short, but really, really cute.
And what about the Bonsai? If I over extend myself with my projects and my gardening too much it is not going to be just my yarn yardage and my sprouts that come up short, but I will, too.
So, don’t worry, I put the bonsai back.