Knitters Math

Confession Time:

Math was not my favorite subject in school.  In fact, I pretty much hated it until I reached algebra.  Thanks to some great teachers (Mr. Boettcher being the best of the best), algebra just made sense to me.  It was math in puzzle format and just made sense to my brain.

Since I’m confessing, I will tell you that I still can’t do math in front of people.  It brings me right back to 3rd and 4th grade timed math tests.

So when someone asked me how to determine how much yarn was left in a partial skein, it made sense to me that I would use algebra.  By the look on the faces of the two smart women who were talking to me, I lost them at the word “Algebra.”

So here’s how I figure out how much yardage is remaining in a partial skein.  Hold onto your handknit socks, because we’re about to do a puzzle.

You will need:

A scale

The yarn tag or information off of Ravelry or Yarndex about the yardage in the original skein.

The leftover skein of yarn

Paper and pencil

Calculator if you’d like

yarn on scale

First, you’re going to weigh your remaining yarn.  A kitchen scale will work.  My scale weighs in grams, so I converted it to ounces using an online converter.  (Just google “convert grams to ounces”)

My Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Worsted weighed 3.36 oz.

The original skein weighed 3.5 oz and was 195 yds.

Now the puzzle part.

Divide the original yardage by the original ounces.


That gives you the number of yards per ounce.  (55.7)

Then, multiple that number by the weight of the yarn you have remaining.  In our case this is 55.7 x 3.36

Our answer is:  187.2 yards

knitters math

Is that clear as mud?

By the way, the pretty yarn up there on the scale?  That’s the yarn I dyed during the yarn dyeing party at Three Irish Girls.  I promise I’ll tell you more about that soon.

Make a List and Get Over It

imageMy internal voice has been rather whiney lately.  To be honest, September has completely kicked my you know what.  It’s always a busy month and this year seems busier than normal.  The best way to stop the whiney voice is to make a list and start working.

  1. I finished another Ponchini that just needs to be washed, blocked and seamed.
  2. I made yet another cowl out of some Sublime merino, cashmere, silk and leftover Three Irish Girls.  The cowl is destined for a silent auction for my Rotary Club.
  3. Speaking of cowls, I have some stashed away already for Christmas presents.  It feels really good every time I tuck one away.
  4. I won a dyeing party at Three Irish Girls here in Superior!  The party is for myself and three friends to dye either scarves or yarn.  We’ve got a date scheduled and I’ll be sure to blog the experience.
  5. Stockinette in the round has been my friend.  Normally I would say this is boring knitting, but right now it’s very comforting to just pick something up and not worry about finding my place in a pattern.
  6. My socks for Addie have stalled out now that we’re not going to soccer games twice a week.  I got quite a bit of knitting done in the 2 months that the girls were in soccer!  The Regia Ombre that I’m using was perfect for seeing progress from game to game.
  7. Lily is very interested in starting a mother-daughter knitting podcast with me.  We’re working out the details and timing might be tough as she’s only 9 years old and is in bed when I do the majority of my knitting and blogging.  But since she is a 35 year old in the very petite body of a 9 year old, I think we’ll do just fine.  And I’m pretty sure her matter of fact style will crack you up.  Some of the segments we’re thinking of include:
    1. What we’re knitting
    2. What we’re reading
    3. In our world (what’s happening at our house or in our lives)
    4. Our favorite things
  8. What would you like to hear us talk about?
Lydia Cowl in progress.

Lydia Cowl in progress.


Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

So I sort of won Stash Dash.  I say sort of because I finished over 4,000 yds of knitting.  Which is more than enough to qualify for the 3K.  However, since I was up knitting until midnight on the day of the finish, I did not post everything to Ravelry.  Which means that in the eyes of the Stash Dash Commissioner, it wasn’t really finished.

I’m really ok with this.  I don’t need any prizes.  All I need is the satisfaction of getting things cleared off the needles (and your comments telling me how cool everything is).

Hygge Baby Cardigan – 294 yds – DONE
Hygge baby

Lettuce Pullover – 1880 yds

Haruni Shawl – 440 yds

Solaris Cardigan – 1680 yds DONE Solaris

Hitch Pullover – 1120 yds DONE  – this is the most current photo I have of it.  I’ll post more once  it’s been bathed and is photo ready.  stashdash2015-2

Wabi-sabi – 924 yds

Zephyr Cardigan – 1200 yds

Remnant Love – 850 yds

Marin – 385 yds

2nd Zick Zack – 831 yds

BLT Scarf – 346 yds – DONE

Lydia Cowl – 200 yds – DONE Lydia Cowl

Lydia Cowl Longer & Better – 380 yds – DONE – again, photos of this to come as I get it bathed and beautiful. 

Ponchini – 330 yds – DONE  ponchini

The grand total planned yardage = 10,150
Finished yardage = 4350


Whew!  That’s a lot of knitting.  Now, had I actually stuck to the plan I think I could have made it to the 5K goal.  The problem was I kept getting distracted by new and shiny projects.  While knitting is knitting, knitting 380 yds on a sweater to finish it would give me better meterage than knitting a brand new project.  Oh well.  Que sera sera and all that.

Now I’m feeling a bit of a let down after the rush to get projects finished.  I’m debating about finding another KAL to work on or just doing my own thing for a bit.  I’ll keep you updated on what I decide.

In the meantime, I found out that both my girls like wearing tube socks (ick!) so I might have to make some.


The Glitterati

image I’m a big believer in continuing ed for knitters.  You take a class and you get so much more than just the skills to make a particular project.

  • Tips and tricks for better knitting/finishing/etc.
  • Inspiration
  • Comraderie with other knitters
  • And sometimes, just a good old fashioned wake up call.

I had the pleasure of taking 2 classes from Stephen West and Steven Be this last weekend.  Yep, it was fabulous.  Yep, it was extremely high energy.  Yep, I was wiped out at the end of the weekend and just wanted to curl up in a ball without anyone throwing anything neon or glittery at me.  (And that’s ok because that’s just how I roll – as an outward extrovert, I need alone time to process.)


And it’s a big BUT.

I came away with a ton of inspiration.  Like, it’s ok to use color.

Let that one sink in folks.  Because here in the Midwest, we tend to use a lot of greys and blacks.

  • Color makes our eyes pop.
  • Color gives us (yep, you guessed it) Color in our cheeks.
  • And lets face it, color is just fun.


So I started a project that I am stunned that I love.


It’s a Ponchini by StevenBe out of Be Sweet Bamboo and lace weight Noro.

And I bought yarn for a yet to be determined Stephen West pattern.  In colors that would normally be “too bright” for me.  Somehow, surrounded by neon and glitter in the classroom, this didn’t seem so bright at the time.  But they’re beautiful and they remind me of the Gulf of Mexico.

And I’ve decided that I kind of want to take Stephen West home and feed him pasta and chocolate chip cookies.  He’s just that NICE.  Seriously sweet and nice.  And talented to boot.

So my dear readers, don’t be afraid to take a class.  You might just come away with something that you forgot you knew!

A Cardigan Built for Two

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true.  I’m half crazy over the love of you……

…You’ll look sweet.

Cuddled up neat.

In a cardigan knit for two.

Really?  Those aren’t the original lyrics?

As you might remember, my girls have sort of a love hate relationship with my knitting.  They love receiving the knits, but hate the time I spend knitting.  When I brought my Solaris sweater out of hibernation to knit, I realized just how big the fronts are when they’re spread out.  I mentioned to Lily that this was a cardigan made for cuddling.  The fronts are large enough that I can spread them around the two of us.  All of a sudden, whenever there was a cool wind blowing, Lily asked me when the sweater would be finished.

Well stick a fork in it, because this sweater is DONE!

It’s actually been done for awhile now, but somehow summer arrived.  With summer came a visit from family, a play that Addie was in and a LOT of walking outside.  It just hasn’t been sweater weather.  So the sweater got blocked and put away until a cooler night.

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So I can either post this somewhat crummy iPhone photo of us snuggled up in the sweater, or I can wait until the weather cools down enough.

Pattern:  Solaris by Berroco Design Team

Yarn:  Rowan Lima

Modifications:  I used the Executive Knitter’s variation on this pattern.  Basically I did a border of k1 p1 then knit in stockinette instead of the pattern stitch throughout.

Yardage:  roughly 1680 as I wrote 14 skeins in my Ravelry Project page, and I think I used almost all of the skeins.


This, along with a Lydia Cowl that I finished on Sunday, brings me to my Stash Dash total of 2174 yds.  I think I’ll make it to the 3K finish line, but I’m not sure that I can eek out a 5K finish.  The summer has just been way too nice to not spend a lot of time outside enjoying it.

Synonymous in my World

I asked Adam which pattern he liked better, the chevrons or the stripes.  He looked at me blankly and replied, “those are synonymous in my world.”

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Hmmm… guess I’m on my own with this one.  I bought this Pepperberry Knits yarn at Yarnover in April.  The colorway is Beachcomber.  It’s 100% cashmere sport weight and it is super squishy and yummy.  The question I was asking Adam (to be fair I had visual aids) was which cowl I should knit from these options.

In the end, I decided to knit the 12th Man Cowl.

FYI:  If you’re planning on knitting this pattern, don’t wind your ball into a center pull ball.  You’ll do the same forehead smack I did last night.

You might ask, “Jess, is this on the plan you made for winning Stash Dash?”

The answer my friends, is a resounding no.  It’s not on the plan.  It’s 200 yds of indulgence knitting which will count towards Stash Dash but won’t get me to the finish line quickly the way a 1500 yd sweater does.  I have a craving for soft and squishy and simple right now.  Oh simple stockinette stitch, you make my heart sing.  At least right now you do.

Since we were talking about Stash Dash, here’s the run down on my project status.

The Plan:

Lettuce Pullover – 1880 yds

Haruni Shawl – 440 yds

Solaris Cardigan – 1560 yds  DONE

Hitch Pullover – 1120 yds ONE SLEEVE AND COLLAR LEFT

Wabi-sabi – 924 yds

Zephyr Cardigan – 1200 yds

Remnant Love – 850 yds

Marin – 385 yds

2nd Zick Zack – 831 yds ABOUT HALF DONE

The grand total yardage = 9190 yds.

Off Plan:

12th Man Cowl – 200 yds.

Sweet shawlette pattern gifted to me from the fabulous Diane – 330 yds

Edited to add:  Hygge Baby Sweater – 294 yds.

With a month and a half of Stash Dash left to go, I’d better get moving!




2015-06-07 21.22.58Mwa-ha-ha!  (That’s my evil laugh)  I will win Stash Dash!

I am one sleeve away from having a finished Solaris Cardigan.  That’s it.  One sleeve.  Well yes, one sleeve and a lot of seeming.  Yes, I know in this picture it looks as though I am one sleeve and a half of a front away from a finished cardigan, however that front is done.


I am really (probably unreasonably) excited that as the temperatures get into the 70’s and 80’s that I will have a finished cardigan to wear.  I know, I’m crazy, my kids tell me that all the time.  It’s really more about the fact that I will have a finished cardigan in time for fall.  And that I will use this sweater to help me win Stash Dash.


2015-06-07 21.23.24

It’s a pretty sweater too.  And it matches my rug.  Oh my goodness, look at how that front drapes.

I’ve decided that having this little beauty in my living room is sort of like having art.  No one in my house even batted an eye that the girl came back up from downstairs and is wearing a partial cardigan.  Is that weird?

It’s so close to being done.  Nothing could possibly go wrong now! (This would be the point in any movie where the scary scissor wielding demon comes in).


2015-06-07 21.23.55

I’m going to knit very very quickly so that I don’t run out of yarn for seeming.  After all, we all know that in order to win a game of yarn chicken, you need to knit fast before the yarn runs out.

Gauge, My Nemesis

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Oh Baby that’s a big sweater!

The Hygge Baby Cardigan is finished.  Ends are woven in, buttons are sewn on, photographs have been taken.  Done.  That’s 294 yds of Stash Dash completed for those of you who are keeping track.

Just one problem.  I’m pretty sure this 6 month size baby cardigan can fit a 5 year old.  Some of you long time readers might ask, “Jess, did you do a gauge swatch?”


Rooky Mistake!

The knitting was going so well.  The sweater was so pretty as I was knitting it!  Everything went so effortlessly.  Right up until I blocked it and it grew (no kidding) 300%.  OK, OK, maybe I thought it was more of a 12 month size right up until I blocked it.  I mean, it did seem a tad bit big.

After blocking, I even tried it on Lily to see just how big it was.

2015-06-01 18.08.59-1

Now Lily is a size 7 – mostly because she has long and legs – but can also fit into size 6 tops.  While trying this sweater on, she put in an order for a white version for herself!  Lily feels it has a certain Star Wars-esquee quality to it with the buttons along the side.  But back to the green sweater.

Somewhat nervously, I put the sweater in the dryer to see if that would help the problem.  Malabrigo Rios is machine washable, so I wasn’t sure how well this would work.  Turns out, it worked like a charm!  The hand of the fabric is squishy and soft.  The sweater came out definitely smaller than it had been.  I think it’s still probably a 12 month size, but that is certainly better than a size 5.  A word to wise, despite the superwash label, don’t put Malabrigo Rios in the dryer unless you want it to shrink.

2015-06-01 19.43.55

What I’m Knitting:

I pulled out my Solaris cardigan out of hibernation and started working on that.   It’s got a very interesting construction.  You make the arms, a small short back, and a very long piece that acts as the fronts and goes around the back of the neck.  All I have left to do is 1/3 of the long piece and one sleeve.

I’m also still plugging away at the sleeve of the Hitch.

Stash Dash Update:

For those of you who are keeping a scorecard at home

Hygge Baby sweater – 294 yds.  – DONE

Solaris Cardigan – 1400-1500 yds.

Hitch Cardigan – 1120 yds.

I hope everyone is plugging away at their own projects.  It’s not too late to join Stash Dash.  You don’t need to have a bunch of projects on the needles to play along.  You can just knit new projects from stash yarn.

The shrunken sweater.

The shrunken sweater.

More of a Stash Stroll than a Dash

2015-05-25 15.38.24-1

I’m not fast enough to qualify for a dash.  I’ll give you the two minute update of what I’ve been working on:

I am about 6 buttons away from finishing the Hygge Baby sweater.  That’s the one I’m making out of Lettuce green Malabrigo Rios.  It’s under 400 yds of knitting, so I’m certainly not going to win anything with just this.  However, every yard counts so I’m just plugging away at it.  Plus, babies have a habit of continuing to grow regardless of the knitter’s schedule.  So it must get done and mailed off to the new little one.

I’m also working on the 1st arm (pictured above) of the Hitch Pullover.  I forgot how much fun cables can be!

We can’t forget the few rows I’ve put on the 2nd Zick Zack scarf.


Well Begun is Half Done

Mary Poppins: Our first game is called Well Begun is Half-Done.

Michael: I don’t like the sound of that.

Mary Poppins: Otherwise titled Let’s Tidy up the Nursery.

Michael: [to Jane] I told you she was tricky.

Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have liked that game as a child either.  However I do buy into the well begun theory when it comes to work and conquoring challenges.  I did tell you we were going to win Stash Dash, right?  Don’t tell me there is no winning something that is a personal challenge against myself.  I’m determined to win.  I will win.  I will conquor the stash.  (Ask me some time about the guy who last said something could not be done.  Mwah ha ha!)

So back to the well begun theory.  The idea of Stash Dash as I understand it is to complete all those half done projects and knit some of the pretty yarn that you’ve been saving for…. well whatever it is that you’re saving it for.  You can start new projects out of stash yarn if you’d like.  But that’s where the well begun comes in.  Because if you want to win (I do) and you want to knit a crazy amount of yarn (I do) then it makes sense that you would start with a half done project, right?  I think Mary Poppins would think this makes excellent sense.

So here’s the plan as I see it.  You can follow along with pictures waaaay down on the right hand side as all most of these are in my Ravelry Project Pages.

Lettuce Pullover – 1880 yds

Haruni Shawl – 440 yds

Solaris Cardigan – 1560 yds

Hitch Pullover – 1120 yds

Wabi-sabi – 924 yds

Zephyr Cardigan – 1200 yds

Remnant Love – 850 yds

Marin – 385 yds

2nd Zick Zack – 831 yds

The grand total yardage = 9190 yds.

Now I don’t think I can stretch to make a 10K, which would be 10,936 yds, so I’m going for a 5K.  That’s 5,468 yds of knitting.  Which means I would need to do the top 4 projects plus 1 more.  Once a project is finished, then all of the yardage in it counts.  If you spin the yarn, it counts.  If you spin the yarn, then knit a project with it, it counts twice.  Unfortunately this won’t work for me as I haven’t been spinning.  But for some of you it might work.

Stash Dash begins on May 22.  On your mark…… get set…….

What I’ve Been Knitting:

I’ve made some serious headway on the Hitch pullover.  I have finished the front and back and have started one sleeve.  The cables on the sleeve are slow going because I’m working off a pattern on my iPad.  The iPad gets used for more than just knitting (go figure) so it limits my time.

In other knitting news, I finished my Zick Zack!

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That little tiny ball of yarn is all that I had left when I finished.  It was a bit of a game of yarn chicken to see if I could cast off with the remaining yarn.

2015-04-27 19.37.40

I’m pretty thrilled with the way it turned out.  Thrilled enough that I started a second one out of JoJoland Melody and Noro Taiyo Sock Yarn.  This one has slower color repeats and is more harmonious in color – It will look like a completely different scarf!