Pattern: Doppler: Men’s by Marnie McLean
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Chestnut (8 skeins, 880 yards) and Hollyberry (1 skein, 110 yards)
Needles: US 7
Date started: March 1, 2015
Date completed: July 5, 2015
Let me tell you about this sweater.
I received the Chestnut yarn from a friend in my knit group about two or three years ago. She gave me this yarn and the yarn I used to make my Whirlwind cardigan. I had 880 yards of the Chestnut yarn, which wasn’t quite enough to make a sweater for myself, at least not one with long sleeves. I showed the yarn to Tim to see if he liked it, since a sweater for him would take less yardage than a sweater for me. He did like it, so we started looking for patterns.
Eventually Tim settled on Doppler, which comes in two versions: crew neck and turtle neck. Tim liked the turtle neck. I looked at the yardage requirements printed on the pattern, and was surprised it was so low, especially since the yardage for the women’s version was much higher. I wasn’t the only one who thought that was weird – someone had left a comment on Ravelry asking about that. The designer said the women’s version was knit out of a different weight of yarn, and that’s why the yardage requirements were so different. It gave me some pause, but I figured I had more than 200 yards more than the pattern called for, of course I had enough yarn! I cast on.
I knit the entire body and got through the sleeve cap of the first sleeve when I realized I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to finish the sweater. As I was working on that sleeve the skein I was using at the time seemed very low, but I kept getting more and more done on the sleeve, so I thought I might win this game of yarn chicken. If not, I would need more yarn.
Just in case I started looking at Ravelry. There were a couple of people who had the Chestnut yarn in the same dye lot in their stashes. One looked like she wasn’t very active on Ravelry, so I worried that if I sent her a message she would never see it. I can’t remember why I didn’t think the other would work out. Maybe I didn’t think she had enough? Or there was a project attached to it? I don’t recall, but I remember thinking getting someone else’s stash yarn was a long shot.
I asked the members of the Puck This! group on Ravelry whether it would look good to knit the collar out of a different color of yarn than the rest of the sweater. A couple of people said yes, but that I should try to incorporate that color somewhere else such as the sleeves. I thought that made sense, so I brought it up to Tim. I pulled the other colors of Wool of the Andes I have, as well as some other worsted weight yarns. At first Tim didn’t seem too keen on them, but then he picked the Hollyberry as well as a blue worsted weight yarn, and he would decide when the time comes.
So I kept knitting with the Chestnut yarn. I finished the first sleeve, but it became clear during the second sleeve I was definitely not going to have enough yarn for the collar, but I also might not have enough to finish the second sleeve. My original plan was to rip back the first sleeve by about an inch to make the cuff out of the second color, and thought I could apply that yarn to the second sleeve and I would be okay.
I ran out of yarn with maybe three or four inches to go in the second sleeve, two or three inches if you figure the bottom of the sleeve was going to be in the other color. Ugh.
Oh, I remember now the ultimate reason why I didn’t want to ask a Ravelry user for the yarn. I had no idea how much yarn I would need to finish the sleeve and the collar. I had already used more than 200 yards than the pattern had called for, so I had no idea how much yarn the collar was going to eat up. We made the decision to order more yarn from Knit Picks. Since I had no idea how much yarn I needed, I ordered three skeins. I knew I would need at least one, figured maybe two, but I really didn’t want to run out of yarn again. I was hoping the dye lots would match and we would have a one-color sweater.
The dye lots didn’t match up well enough. Oh well, I will be able to make a nice cowl for myself out of the yarn!
Back to the sweater. At first Tim picked the blue yarn, but I had a sense that it wasn’t what he wanted. I finally got him to admit that he only chose the blue because there was more of it, and that he liked the red better. I told him we would try the red and see how it goes. I had a little more than one skein of the red and hoped I would have enough.
I started by counting how many rows I needed to finish the second sleeve, then ripped back enough rows of the first sleeve to be able to make the brown portion of the sleeves the same length. I put both sleeves on waste yarn and knit the collar in Hollyberry first. That worked out. Then I knit the bottom of both sleeves. It took almost the full skein of yarn, but I was able to finish the sweater.
Tim likes the sweater. You may note he doesn’t look too happy in the photo. That’s because it was 85 degrees outside when I asked him to take the picture. He was a very good sport and didn’t complain once. I took the photo as quickly as I could so he could take the sweater off right away.
All in all I ended up using more than 300 yards more than the pattern called for. I looked at the comments on Ravelry and saw that someone else had the same issue (I did this while I was still knitting the sweater, before I ran out of yarn). The designer thought it could be due to the fact that the gauge swatch (which I did) was ribbed and supposed to be blocked with a little stretch, and I probably stretched it too much. Oops! I will have to keep that in mind if I make anything else where the gauge swatch is ribbed.
It ended up working out fine. I think the sweater is more interesting with another color, and it required me to be creative to come up with a solution. I really like how it turned out. I showed this picture to a few people who comment on how much they like the red in it, and I have to chuckle a little because it certainly wasn’t the plan!
So I used 990 yards of yarn for this pattern, but purchased 330 yards from Knit Picks in the hopes the yarn would match. I have now used up or destashed 6,747.4 yards of yarn, and acquired 8072.2 yards of yarn, which brings me to 83.6%. Not shabby anymore, at least until I bought two sweater quantities of yarn last week. More on that in an upcoming post.