Save My WIP!

Okay knitters, I’ve got a problem. Crowd sourcing is the thing now, right? So here goes. Can you help me save my WIP?

Project Objective: Make a shawl for my mother in law. It should be reasonably large but in a functional way (in other words, no crazy elongated asymmetrical triangles).

Yarn: I chose Ella Rae Classic Sand Art because the colors looked like something she’d like and, well, it was a really good sale. It’s worsted weight. I have four skeins of it for a total of about 875 yards.

Pattern: I searched long and hard for something that would work well. I decided a deep crescent or half circle shape would work best. I didn’t want anything too lacy because she mentioned she wanted something on the warmer side. I didn’t want something with a ton of texture because the colorway is reasonably intense on its own. I eventually settled on Betsey by Amy Miller. It’s a crescent with a 60″ wingspan and a depth of 26″. It’s all garter stitch. It has a series of scalloped stripes that give it visual interest without being busy. The catch? It calls for aran weight and I had worsted. I figured that was no big deal as they’re pretty close. Also, the pattern calls for 720 yards and I have 875, so I’d just keep knitting and make it bigger and everything would work out fine.

So, I got started. The pattern calls for US11s. I have a lot of needles, but virtually nothing in 11s. I don’t have anything longer than 24″ in US10s or US10.5s–not going to work. I figured since I was using a lighter weight yarn anyway, it would be reasonable to use US9s. I got out my 40″ circ and got going.

It worked up fast. I cruised through the first 219 yard skein in one day. I got close to the end of the second on the second day. It was looking awesome, to boot. The long and random color changes really do resemble sand art and I was getting the interesting contoured random striping effect I was hoping for. Win! My mother in law came over today (well, yesterday seeing as I’m up late) and I casually started working on it in front of her. She commented on it favorably. Double win! I started the third skein and then quickly ran out of pattern. For anyone counting, that’s something like 450 yards for a pattern that calls for 720. Hmmm.


About one skein in

I’m up to 368 sts at this point. Between that and the scallops, the shawl was bunched up on the needles so tightly that there was no telling how it was really shaping up. I considered just forging ahead and continuing in the same vein, but it was just looking a little…flouncy. Again I thought about just keeping on going–after all, it’ll block out, right?–but I just wasn’t sure. Nursing and knitting have both taught me to listen to that little voice in the back of my head. So, I put it on waste yarn so I could really stretch it out and see where I was.

Well, it’s on the small side. And looks a little ruffly. It’s about 15″ deep. The second skein added about 4.5″. Without increases, it would only get to about 24″. With increases? I’m guessing a lot less. Remember my project objective? Reasonably large. I want it to be able to cover most of her arms when she wears it. As it is now, if I put it on it doesn’t quite cover the sleeves of my short sleeve t shirt. Not good. Also, “ruffly” isn’t mentioned anywhere in my project objective.

As I see it, I have some options. I could:

a) Continue knitting on my merry way and trust in the miracles of aggressive blocking. Ruffles are totally in, right?

b) Pause and block it while it’s on waste yarn. Maybe it can be saved!

c) Let ‘er rrrrrrriiiip. Start over on US13s. I’m a tight knitter! Or just buy some freaking US11s for crying out loud.

d) Send it to the frog pond and start from scratch.

Well, lovely knitters…what do you think? One of the above, or a different route entirely? Full disclosure: writing this post has me leaning pretty heavily toward one of the above options. However, I’m not completely sold yet and there’s a chance I might listen to reason.


Stripey kitteh included for size reference.




  1. Carol E. Herman · January 3, 2016

    The yarn is really pretty, as is the pattern, and I think they work well together. I vote for c, starting over with either 13s or 11s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol E. Herman · January 3, 2016

      But really I vote for going with whatever conclusion you came to in writing the post. I believe in going with your intuition.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ariel · January 3, 2016

    Swatch and block on the bigger needles. See if you like the gauge. And then let it rip. Since it’s a worsted you’re going to have trouble really getting it to the same gauge as an aran, but big needles will help. If you don’t like how the gauge looks, if it’s too loose for the yarn for your tastes, at least you’ll know before you commit to a full re-knit.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sanne · January 3, 2016

    Fantastic colorway! It works super well with that pattern. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I very very very strongly recommend swatching. You don’t have to cut the yarn afterwards, just leave it on the skein and see if you’re happy with the drape you get. The less you need to block a garter stitch garment for the desired fabric, the better, right?

    This will also be an opportunity to add to your needle collection if your current needles don’t produce the desired fabric. I don’t know what kind of needles you’re knitting on right now – straight or circulars? I exclusively use 100cm circulars for everything these days, cause I can magic loop small projects but knit an entire adult sweater on the same pair of needles. Saves money and storage space. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you have trouble fitting a small shawl on your needles, it might be wise to consider investing in long(er) circulars while you’re at it.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Midnight Knitter · January 3, 2016

    Put that baby on the waste yarn and block it. If it is obviously too small or ill behaved at that point you can go buy the new needles while it is drying. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Beautiful yarn. The final project will be worth the extra work for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Stefanie · January 3, 2016

    Hmmm, after all that work I’d hate to frog unless you really, really, really wanted to get the shawl’s original pattern size. Since it’s so bunched up on the needles you can’t really tell and I say any shawl needs a blocking. I personally would stick it out and give it a good long soaking to loosen up the fibers and then block the heck out of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Paula @ Spin a Yarn · January 3, 2016

    I also vote for trying a swatch on the larger needles before frogging! That’s a lot of work to go back and redo. However, as others have said, go with your intuition. You know yourself better than anyone. I’m still in love with that yarn!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. afthead · January 3, 2016

    Alternative option. Go buy some 11s and switch to the larger needle and finish up the shawl. It will be tighter knit around her shoulders and then have some give and flow at the ends. Then block it to death .

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 1marylou · January 4, 2016

    I would go up a needle size for sure, but do a gauge swatch before you finally decide on the needle size.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Orange Smoothie · January 5, 2016

    I learned the hard way test knitting. If you use smaller needles, you increase the number of stitches per inch, using up more yarn. Also, if you look at Quaker Yarn Stretcher by Stitchnerds Susan Ashcroft, she gives tips to stretching your amount of yarn by using larger needles. But you have figured that out. :). I recommend frogging and doing a TGV by the same designer Susan Ashcroft and using larger needles. It’s a crescent shape shawl. You won’t regret frogging once you’ve completed a successful project. And I’ve made a few TGVs and a couple Quaker Yarn Stretcher boomerangs so I have experience with them.

    Good luck! I love your yarn choice and colorway!

    Liked by 1 person

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