Planning yarn amounts for top-down knitting


Before the winter issue of Knitscene had even gone to press, I started knitting Melissa LaBarre’s Tereza Pullover. This simple top down pullover had a lot of appeal to me—chunky gauge, interesting lace pattern, the ability to add custom body shaping, chunky gauge. I was feeling antsy and wanted a fast-moving project, one that I might be able to wear for my upcoming trip to Colorado. So, I cast on with some old stash yarn, Classic Elite Duchess.

I’ve had this yarn in my stash for years. I often pull it out and consider it for different projects, but in the end always decide that there’s just not quite enough of it. But as I scanned the stash for materials for the Tereza, I paused to do the math—the size 46.25” required 780 yards of the original yarn. I had just under 800 yards of the Duchess. I decided to go for it.

What I did not consider back then, at the dreamy cast on stage, was that I would need to add width to the lower body. The silhouette of the Tereza is an hourglass, with the hem measuring the same circ as the bust. I did work waist shaping in my version, but increased to make the hem several inches larger than the bust, since I am VERY-PEAR-SHAPED.  I also made the body longer. Oops.

So with 3 measly balls left, I have to knit the sleeves. I don’t think there will be enough for two full-length sleeves. My strategy is this: knit one sleeve til a ball runs out, then do the same for the other, and see where I am, with one ball to spare. Of course, the yarn is DISCONTINUED.

Two lessons here: don’t leave yarn to languish in your stash for years and years, letting it surpass its “expiration.” And two, think about how mods will affect yarn requirements before you start knitting!

And oh BTW, I used Amy Herzog’s coordinates to plan my waist shaping, spacing the shaping lines around the body instead of all at the side seams. I think it creates a really lovely, subtle shape. For her tips on placing shaping, see the Fall 2011 issue of Knitscene. 


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