When stashbusting, the question is not "Will I run out of yarn?", it is "When will I run out of yarn?" The answer: "Usually, when the yarn shop is closed."
This week, I set out to finally finish out that cone of Peaches and Creme yarn I've been hacking away at for (it seems like) months.
Well, I succeeded in finishing the yarn. Just as I was about to finish the cloth. So, the last few rows of my project were knit with a different color.
This is a very simple, stockinette stitch, round cloth, knit from the center. There are only a few things that are even vaguely interesting about it, and one of them is, really, a mistake, but maybe someone will finally learn from my mistakes.
I started out with a bellybutton cast on. I've raved extensively about this method of beginning before. So, that's interesting thing #1.
Thing #2 is that you increase by 8 every other round to create a circle-shaped cloth. You already knew that. But, did you know that your final size may not be what you're expecting?
First of all, you will need some sort of border to make the edges lie flat. I chose 4 ridges of garter stitch. Which means 4 more increase rounds - 32 more stitches around than I originally planned. More importantly, it makes the cloth about 2 inches wider than I really wanted.
You see, I could have not run out of yarn and saved myself the embarrassment of writing up a pattern for an overachieving 12" wide dishcloth, if I'd stopped to think about it.
I was planning the final size of the thing by thinking about the width of each of the 8 sections. This works great if you're making a cloth that's either square or something approximating a square. A circle is not a square. I know. Profound.
To reach my final size of 192 stitches around, each of the 8 sections of my cloth had to grow from 1 stitch wide to 24 stitches wide. That means I had 23 sets of increases, which means 46 rounds. Roughly, this makes the cloth 92 rounds wide (we have to leave out the idea that the edge stitches and the stitches at the very center of the cloth tend to be different sizes from the stitches that are in the main body of work, for simplicity). In this particular case, the round gauge for me came to about 7.5 rounds per inch. Yielding a cloth that is just over 12" across.
So, learn from my error. Measure your row gauge, and work backwards for the size you want. Say you want a cloth that is a more moderate 10" across. Pretending that you have the same gauge as do I, you would decide that you would want to end up with 10 inches x 7.5 rounds per inch = 75 rounds across. Round up to 76 (to get a number that divides by 4) and divide that by 2 to see that you will need 38 rounds worked. That requires 19 sets of increases, so you will end up with 8 sets of 20 stitches each - or 160 stitches total.
If you want 4 rounds of garter stitch on the edge of your cloth to keep it from curling, you need only begin working in garter stitch when there are 8 sets of 16 stitches - 128 stitches total. If you are feeling sophisticated, and not working off of a cone, as I was, please use this chance to try out Fleegle's method for No-Purl Seamless Garter Stitch In the Round.
To sum up:
Measure your work.
If that fails, you could stop and think about your work.
Lacking that, you might end up running out of yarn with the added bonus of making the biggest darn washcloth you have ever seen.
This is the last dishcloth pattern of the year for me. I'm going to start concentrating on a series of blocks and/or scarves that go together to make a blanket. Right now, all I've decided about it is that I will use Cascade's 128 Superwash in at least 2 dye lots of dark navy and it will feature Aran knitting patterns.
So, I will cover transitioning between different dye lots, probably in a few ways. I will also choose a great variety of stitch patterns. Instead of working in blocks, I will work in long columns, which could also be worked just as scarves. I'd like to try going from very basic pattern stitches to more complex ones, with transitional stitch patterns in-between. For example, I could go from a 2 x 2 ribbing to a section where the knit ribs on the 2 x 2 are crossed. In the next section, stitches cross and trip over each other to line up to 3 x 1 ribbing. Then, the 3-stitch knit ribs are crossed 2 over 1 in what Barbara Walker calls a "primitive" cable.
For cohesion, and also to make the more complex sections easier to work, I may also keep a 4-stitch-wide simple crossed cable all of the way down the edges of each strip. It would cross every 4th row, and could serve as a metronome to everything else.
If you would like to join me, I would love it. Please join the Math4Knitters Ravelry group or find us on Facebook under JG Crafty Living, so that we can all see each others' progress.
For starters, you'll need yarn, needles, some waste yarn, and a working knowledge of the tubular cast on. I'm aiming to start working these into the schedule in a few weeks. I promise to make each section bite-sized, so that you can still concentrate on your holiday knitting, if you do holiday knitting.
Belly-button cast-on method, by Rosemarie Buchanan
Fleegle's Post on No-Purl Garter Stitch In-The-Round