What shall we do with the Striped Bolting?
February 1, 2018 1:57 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to knit Stephen West's Striped Bolting shawl, and need help figuring how how to deal with his unreasonable yarn requirements.

The pattern calls for 500 yards of Color A (which I take as an indication that West doesn't buy his own yarn). I have four skeins of beautiful yarn to use, but each of them is 463 yards.

It requires:
Color A - 500 yards
Color B - 160 yards
Color C - 390 yards
Color D - 280 yards

If you're familiar with this shawl, what do you suggest I do? How should I reallocate yarn to the shawl? Could I add stripes of another color and subtract from Color A somehow?

My skeins are a neutral white; a white with flecks; a solid green; and a blue with other bits. I don't have anything useful in my stash.

I think the blue will be Color A; green will be the B; grey will be C; white will be D.
posted by The corpse in the library to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
Best answer: I suspect you can make the color B sections larger by two rows (one each of stockinette around the eyelet rows) and make the color A sections comparably smaller. The effect of that color pop would be different, but could redistribute maybe 50-75 yards of yarn. Is that enough to get you from the Color A suggested yardage down to what you have? Depends on how the yarns compare/behave. See also gauge stuff.

Another thing you could do is progressively make the color B sections bigger as you get away from the neck of the shawl. This will definitely change the design, but it will help you gain shawl depth as each of those rows takes more yarn, so you could maximize your color A.

That said, I didn’t pay attention to the skein sizes of what you have and I’m on my phone so I’m not sure you have >200 yards of your color B.

You could also add a fifth color, even just to replace on of the bigger color A stripes. I’ve got some bright pink Madeline Tosh single fingering weight, maybe 70% of a ball. If you want to add it in, I’d happily send it off! (You know you can also ask folks on ravelry about leftovers from their projects? Knitters are usually at least nice about saying no if they don’t have any left...you might even get lucky and find your same dye lot....)
posted by bilabial at 2:26 PM on February 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I love this show and now I'm looking through my stash! Surprise knit-along!

One thing I also like to do is to look at the yarn amounts people actually used. Some people track precisely. You usually have to look through quite a few projects to find people who tracked their exact yardage.

West's patterns are really fun and funky and are very ammenable to cheating. So in this pattern I would take the big stripes that are all color A now and I would put a four row stripe in the center of color B. So you'd have more stripes in the shawl and you pull out that colour-pop that only is in the lace eyelet right now. Or, you could switch to color B a few rows early and then do the eyelets and then follow with a few rows of B after, on each A stripe between eyelets. It can be fun to kind of sketch out different ideas using crayons when you're modifying a pattern like this.
posted by sockermom at 4:42 PM on February 1, 2018

Best answer: I've knit a couple of his earlier patterns and found that the yardage estimates were fantastical lies (it caused much discussion in one KAL), so you might just do fine with the skeins you've got - how brave and reckless do you feel? Just make sure you're hitting gauge or just under, as long as you like the feel of the fabric you're getting.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:07 PM on February 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've heard more than one designer say they add 10% to yarn allowances for their published patterns. This is to allow for personal variations in gauge/loose-tight knitters, so depending on how you knit, 455 yards instead of 500 may well be enough.
posted by jaruwaan at 3:37 AM on February 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Personally, I would take two rows out of each Color A section and do them in pattern in the colors C&D sections instead. It'll change the overall balance of the wrap considerably, though -- because instead of stripes of relatively similar size separated by colour pops, you'll have much broader stripes of the patterned sections on a plainer background.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:48 AM on February 2, 2018

Usually, designers do add 10%. But as noted above, West is notorious for under-estimating his yardage. It almost seems like he knits and then kind of makes up how much yarn he thinks he's used. I believe he has gotten better at this in recent years (and this pattern is more recent, 2016) but I would always be cautious believing his estimates in particular.
posted by sockermom at 8:15 AM on February 2, 2018

It does look, on browsing through the patterns, that many people added a 5th color and did alternating stripes for the large stockinette sections. I might consider that option if you have a fifth yarn.
posted by sockermom at 8:16 AM on February 2, 2018

If you don't want to modify the design and are open to buying more yarn, it's possible to get single skeins of 500+ yds that are priced around the same as a fancier hand-dyed yarn. E.g. this yak/silk/merino singles is 523yds/120g (I'm using it right now and can say it's comparable in weight to a 440yds/100g sock yarn). Or a 150g XL skein from Invictus Yarns (I think she has the XL size on a couple other bases too).
posted by serelliya at 9:51 AM on February 2, 2018

I'd risk it, but be a little more careful with my tension to make sure it wasn't kniiting it too big and therefore using more yarn. If I got to the end of the last stripe, and I was a few rows short with a, I'd unravel back and put a small stripe of one of the other colour side in the center of the last stripe of a. It'd make the last solid stripe more of a border, but I think it'd look fine.
posted by kjs4 at 4:04 PM on February 2, 2018

Response by poster: Thank you for talking me through this, and the yarn offers. Since we're doing a KAL: I dropped down one needle size (I tend to be on the relaxed side of gauges) and am going to proceed full speed ahead, but will reevaluate my yarn A when I reach the final A stripe. I might make it thinner, more like a border.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:19 PM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I took liberties with the repeats and it turned out fine.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:42 AM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

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