Thursday Tip: Win at Yarn Chicken

Posted by oharethey on

Your heart beating fast, your fingers moving faster – we all know the stress of playing yarn chicken, desperately hoping you have enough to finish your project. For today’s tip I wanted to show you a couple ways I used the Ravelry advanced search functions when planning recent projects to improve my chances of having enough yarn. (Not sure how to find advanced search again? Click the magnifying glass at the top of every page, it has links to all the sections of advanced search!)


view needle sizes in other projects

For my Marin shawl, I had swatched with a couple different needle sizes and was unsure which one to go with. I decided to look at versions in the same yarn and see what look I preferred in the FO.

To do this, from my project page I clicked on the link to all projects in that yarn.

Then I clicked the advanced search link in the top left corner. Next, I selected the pattern name filter and filled in the pattern. Here’s a link to my search. From there, I selected the two needle sizes I was considering (4 and 5) and compared the results.

One thing stood out at me – with a size 5 needle many entries with yardage listed needed more than 1 skein, while with a size 4 needle most entries were able to get by with a single skein. Since I only have one skein of that colorway, I cast on with my size 4s and feel pretty good that I’ll win at yarn chicken.


view yardage in other projects

The problem with Cadeautje was entirely my fault. I looked up in advance how much yarn the pattern called for, and picked out exactly the right amount at Rhinebeck. But somehow when I sat down to knit I realized that I wrote down the wrong number along the way and only had 125 yards, instead of the 190 called for in the pattern. Since sometimes patterns overestimate the yardage needed, I decided to look at the range used in knitting my size to see if I had any chance of making it.

This time I followed the projects link in the pattern box on my project page.

Then I clicked to get to the advanced search and entered my size (F, as it is called in the pattern), in the search field at the top of the page. I ended up with this search. Then, I called up the yardage filter and just looked at the data there.

It was possible I had a shot. 45 projects in the 1-150 yards range. I entered a custom range of 1-130, to confirm.

Sad trombone sound, it was unlikely. Okay, so if I didn’t want to lose at yarn chicken, what were my options? I filtered my stash for other yarns at the same weight (check out this tip to learn how) and success! I had some candidates. But how would I distribute the different colors throughout my project? Back to advanced search, I looked for projects with 3 or more colors (normally I’d look for two, but this project involves yarn and thrums so I figured 3 colors probably meant 2 yarns and 1 fiber). Satisfied I had a backup plan if I did run out of yarn, I was able to confidently cast on my project.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little about how I use the advanced search to plan my projects. If you have any great tips we’d love to hear them in For the Love of Ravelry!