Playing chicken while knitting

There may be some amongst my followers who pursue the gentle craft of knitting. If so, some of you may know that heart-stopping moment when you have a certain amount of wool left, and wonder whether it will be enough to knit to the end of that row, which is a preferred place to begin a new ball of wool. I used to call this “playing chicken”. Sometimes I won, often the wool did. Then, I was left with the choice of joining the wool in the middle of the row (ugh, it never looks neat), or ripping back and starting a new ball at the beginning of that row. Are you still with me, or have I cured your insomnia?

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Oh, good grief, is there enough wool to get to the other end of the row?   

Well, thanks to the wonders of the internet, I no longer suffer from this demoralising problem, and I’m going to share this happy knitter’s tip with you.

Here’s what you must do, beloved reader/knitter. Simply measure the width of the garment you are ruefully gazing upon. Multiply this width by 4. Now, measure the length of yarn dangling there. If it is greater than the result you had obtained with the mathematical exercise, she’ll be right, mate! (I suppose if you’re into doing complex patterns you’d better add on a bit more, just to be on the safe side.) I can confirm that it worked for me. I’m in knitting heaven! And, I’m hoping I’ll wear the finished project in Italy one day.

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I felt so smug

There, I’ve broken my blogging drought, and it’s nice to be back. 

 

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92 Comments

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92 responses to “Playing chicken while knitting

  1. Hi Yvonne, thank you for the useful tip! It is indeed very frustrating when you run out of yarn in the middle of a row… I also love the colors in this one and I’d love to see the final result!

    Like

    • Hi, Pete! I just rescued you from the Spam file, dusted you off and put you where you belong. I haven’t got the finished product with me (I’m in Naples just now), but I was very happy with the result, and will get plenty of wear out of it this coming winter.

      Thank you for your comment, and for following me.

      Like

  2. whereandknit

    This fear is all too real 😄

    Like

  3. Geez I know exactly how that feels I’ve been stash busting lately and keep thinking it’s not gonna be neat if I start in the middle, but this is great advice, thanks for sharing the tip 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this tip. I’m a newbie to knitting. I’ve been slowly learning/practicing for about 3.5 years but it’s always been flat work on straights. I’ve just in the last month gotten brave and started doing magic loop and have made some hats.

    Right now I’m working on a shawl on circulars.

    Since everything I’ve done previously has been handled with one skein of yarn, I had to watch some youtube videos to figure out how to join and I did find myself playing chicken with my yarn LOL.

    I’ve never used wool before but someday I’m going to try some out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alissa Head

    Hi! Thanks for the tip. If it’s wool (and it mostly is) I usually just Russian Splice it so I don’t have to worry about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. As someone returning to knitting after a very long absence, this is an extremely useful tip. So much has changed since I’ve been away, giant balls of wool, self striping colours, circular knitting needles, there’s been so many changes. I have the wool, I have the needles, I have the patterns, I just need to crack on with something!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, maybe I should start writing a helpful hints blog, eh? Have you decided what your first project will be, Jane? Have fun with your return to knitting. By the way, there are so many videos online for all sorts of things about knitting. I’ve learned a lot from them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I happened upon this while surfing #knitting and I am so glad I did. You saved many of us from agony and frustration!

    Like

  8. AJ

    Thank you so much for that tip as I often have this fear as I’m knitting along!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m playing it right now. Hope I win!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. TheRusticHook

    Good to know! It can be very nerve breaking when it comes this close..what a gorgeous piece by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. welcome back, Y!

    and I do not knit – but I know folks that do – and I have seen some assessing out loud whether they have enough left for certain things.
    I also recently just bought a vat of yarn on clearance to give to this little girl who knits.
    well I divided the lot up (almost 100 packs) and offered some to two adults. It was so fun

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Rob C

    It’s fair to say you’ve been missed!
    Welcome back!

    No Venice for us this Xmas, getting ready for a move to Amsterdam!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Teri Schnepp

    California knitter and stealth reader here. Happy to see you back, almost gave up on you. Knit on .
    Teri

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is terrific! And I do like to start a new ball at the end of the row but if I get caught out, I just start a new ball in the middle where the ball ends and toss an turn a little that night 😆🙋🏼

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Me, I just knit faster so I get to the end of the row before the wool has time to run out.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Don’t forget those steak knives. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for posting again! I’m glad you’re back and hope all is well healed!! The sweater looks fabulous. I look forward to posts from Italy.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Good tip. I was always told measure the leftover yarn by 3 times the width of the garment in stocking stitch, but it had to be more if it was any other stitch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In the case of my sweater, 3 would not have been enough. I might try it with the next ball change. You know that I will blame you if it doesn’t work. 😊

      I’ve had another knitter (aside from you) follow my blog. It’s a knitting grandfather!

      Like

  19. Nice palette. Keep away from Bruce’s farmer Phil

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Maxine

    Yay! Glad you’re back. What a great tip. It almost makes want to get back to knitting. I love the yarn you’re using. Very pretty gradation. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished sweater.
    ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Maxine. I’ve been really slack with the blog, eh? The sweater is going to be mighty warm, and it has a roll neck, as a bonus. 😊

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and Tom. 💕

      Like

  21. It looks warm, are you heading for Milan this winter. That’s the only place in which I have been cold, in Italy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brr, I can imagine Milan in winter. Trieste is another cold place, especially when the bora comes to visit. Neither of those places is on my list of places to go back to, Mari. 😊

      Like

  22. Given my heart started pounding as I was reading your post, yeah, I understand what you’re talking about. I once crocheted ants for the kids in my class as a Christmas gift (their favourite song was The Ants Go Marching) and as the last ball of wall shrank steadily while crocheting the last ant, i wondered if I’d make it. I did but I had about 30m of wool left… It was nerve-wracking!

    Does this tip work with crochet too do you think? I suppose I could ask Google….

    Your jumper looks lovely but how can you stand knitting in this weather? I find the wool gets sweaty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll probably also have to go and see if Signor Google knows about crocheting, you’ve made me curious. I’ll bet those kids loved their ants, what a cool idea.

      If the air conditioner is on, knitting is okay in the warm weather, otherwise, it sure is a no-no.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. The knitting group I attend at our local library includes a few ladies who crochet. Sometimes I just still my needles and watch them in admiration!

    The yarn is (retrieving label which is serving as a book mark), Cleckheaton California 8 ply, 100% wool.

    Like

  24. Welcome back, Yvonne. Great to see you here again. It’s the same for crochet, I never know if there will be quite enough. I think it’s easier to hide a join though. Nice yarn – what brand is it?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. YAY!!! It is SO good to finally have you back, Yvonne! 🙂

    I’ve made handmade quilts, machine quilts, all kinds of stitchery (needlepoint, creweling, cross-stitch) etc, but I’ve never learned to knit.

    My youngest daughter and my DIL both knit and crochet, so I will share your tip with them! 🙂

    I, too, hope you are wearing the finished project in Italy one day…soon! 🙂
    BTW: the colors you chose are beautiful together! Soft and peaceful!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You do do many interesting forms of handwork, it must be a source of satisfaction to you. I admire people who do handmade quilts, they are so labour intensive, so beautiful. Big hugs back to you. 😚

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Anne

    Ciao Y!! this makes me so happy, on several levels – a) You’re back! b) Naples! c) Unless your knitting style and mine are very different, there is some elbow and shoulder action happening here. And d) oh thank you thank you, as a perennial knitter of coloured squares for wraps, with 4 different colours per square, this is the best thing I’ve discovered today! Baci 😘😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Anne. Well, I have been of assistance to at least one person, that’s good. Yes, Naples to finished the rudely interrupted visit, and maybe some Rome on the way home. We’ll see. Are you in the ancient and wet city right now? 😚😙

      Like

      • Anne

        Yes we are! Although tomorrow, in anticipation of a certain American religious observance, we take a train to Napoli & transfer to the offshore haven which shall remain nameless lest it become infested with tourists 😄. But we’ll return here Saturday for another 10 days before we brave the Aussie heat for Christmas.

        Like

  27. I opened my email and saw your name there. ‘Hello World’ Yvonne is back. I was like going down the street for coffee and spying an old friend sitting at the same table as a year ago. I don’t give give a fig for knitting, but I am so pleased to see you again. Now life is returning to normalcy.

    Like

  28. Now I see you must just have been busy knitting and not lost in Italy or worse, the outback, while having forgotten this little blogging world…
    I admire your skills Yvonne—my grandmother was a huge knitter, crocheter, needlepoint—you name it. Mother got in on the act but not to my grandmother’s same level….me, I just like to cook. A button is about as good as I get with a needle and thread 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I’ll remember that next time I knit the potholder, Yvonne. Glad to see you back.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Jane

    So glad!!! And now the lead up to your next sojourn…where are you looking? The dreaming about it is good fun too!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Cate

    Ah that was so funny Yvonne! Very useful information. Are you in Venice again? 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • No, still in Oz. I hope to be in Italy early next year … time will tell. How are you? I see you’re heading for a heat wave in Tassie. Minx says hello, well she would if she were awake. 🙂

      Like

  32. Dare I say that was a pearl – I mean purl? It sounds like you have a modest improvement in movement, or are you just pulling the wool over our eyes? Lovely to hear you blathering on again… !!!

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Bridget

    YAY – Yvonne’s back! So happy to see you here. I don’t knit but that sweater looks gorgeous, love the colors. And yes, you need to be taking that sweater on a holiday very soon to Italia! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  34. nco4242

    Glad for your return Knit no shoe your horse yes

    Liked by 1 person

  35. It is indeed nice to have you back. Looking forward to the finished product.
    Don’t you just love what you can find on the internet?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You’re back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Well, if that is all it takes….. keep knitting! Lovely to see you again!

    Liked by 1 person

  38. And it’s nice to have you back, Yvonne. Yay! Funnily enough, I had just been looking at your last blog from Naples. I had forgotten that I get your new blogs in my Inbox, but it has been so long since you posted that I diodn’t expect to see anything new (and I didn’t), but when I clicked back to my Inbox, I found your new post. I don’t knit, but your post was interesting all the same. That garment (pullover/jumper/cardigan) looks very pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Great to see you back and what a useful return! I too have wasted time on this dilemma. I look forward with envy to seeing the final garment (on you).

    Liked by 1 person

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