I should have known. It’s one of those knitterly rules, right up there with the Boyfriend Sweater Curse: If the yarn you choose for a project is some super-special, one-of-a-kind thing, you’ll run short.
I try to keep that truism in mind when I choose my projects. Much of the time, I buy a skein or two of something intriguing, without a specific project in mind, and knit it up months or even years later. I buy the yarn knowing that there’s very little chance I could ever go back and buy more of the same to finish up a project. So, for these yarns, I usually choose projects where I’ll have plenty left over, or where I can end the project when the yarn runs out, such as a scarf or cowl.
I thought I was being conservative with my Cedar Leaf Shawlette. This is a crescent-shaped shawlette with a neat leaf border. I chose it well after I’d purchased three skeins of leafy-green Mountain Mohair by Green Mountain Spinnery.
I figured two skeins of yarn for the shawlette and one for the border, and Bob’s your uncle, I’d have another Christmas project added to the gift pile.
I started knitting. The first skein went more quickly than I’d expected, but with the ever-decreasing short rows, I figured the second skein would be plenty to see me through the body of the shawlette. I knitted and knitted, and my concern for my yarn supply grew as the second working ball diminished.
A few days ago, I was closing in on those final short rows. Decision time came. I could 1) add that final skein, keep knitting, and see where I ended up, or 2) call the LYS where I purchased the yarn and find out if a miracle happened and they still had some left, even though it’s been half a year since I bought my supply, or 3) if 2) failed, order more from the Spinnery, deal with the fact that it wouldn’t be the same dye lot, and consider that the difference in color between the shawlette body and the border as a design factor.
Complicating matters, I’ve got travel coming up. Adding the leaf border is a little more complex than I’d like for airplane knitting, but it makes for good hotel room knitting at the end of the day. I needed a path forward so that I could decide what knitting to pack for my next two trips.
I discounted option 1). If I needed to use a different dye lot, I would at least want the difference to be the same for the entire border. I followed through with 2). I called the yarn store. “Green Mountain Spinnery? Oh, I’m sorry. We don’t carry that yarn any more,” said the yarn store owner. Bummer, I thought. Serves me right for playing fast and loose with yarn requirements. Option 3), here I come, I thought.
“Oh, wait a minute,” continued the owner after a brief pause. “How much do you need? I have one skein left in the clearance bin.”
One skein? She had one skein left? It was exactly what I needed. “I’ll be over in a little bit,” I exclaimed, relieved.
I drove over on a busy Saturday and another miracle happened — I found a parking spot right across the street from the store. The yarn was the same dye lot and was discounted because it was on clearance. “You really should buy a lottery ticket,” the owner remarked as she handed me my yarn. “This has got to be your lucky day.”
Lucky, all right. Buying that extra skein about guarantees that I won’t actually need it. Some lucky person will wind up with a shawlette and matching mitts.
And now, off to pack.