Posted by: jinniver | July 5, 2008

Plan E

Yesterday I discovered I didn’t have enough yarn to finish the matching shrugs for Lexie and me.  So I came up with Plans A – D to solve the dilemma:

A. Buy more Judi & Co. Doodle yarn from Knotty Girl.
B. If there was no more yarn, see if Ann could order more.
C. If Ann couldn’t order more, try to find more online.
D. If there was no way to get any more, tink 6 rows on my shrug and 4 on Lexie’s, then reknit those rows in K2P2 ribbing and bind off.

By the time I went in to Knotty Girls today, I knew options B and C were highly unlikely.  I couldn’t find the yarn on Judi & Co.’s own website, or on any online store, even ones that sold other Judi & Co. yarns.  So if Ann didn’t have any more in that colorway, I was going to have two shorter shrugs.  Ann wasn’t in today, but Gloria quickly broke the bad news to me–there was no more, and she was pretty sure the yarn had been purchased soon after the store opened two years ago.  So…Plan D, right?

Nope!  Plan E!


As I was checking out the shelf where the Doodle yarns were located, I came across another Judi & Co. yarn: Luminesse ribbon yarn.  It’s not the same colorway–the Doodle yarn is Wisteria, with some greens; the Luminesse yarn is Delphinium, with no green but much more white–but it coordinates beautifully.  I couldn’t just add it to the end of the shrugs, because that would look funny and the ribbon yarn is a little scratchy to be the part snug on my arm.  But if I use the Doodle yarn on just the arms and the Luminesse on the back…now that would be cool.

One problem–I’d already knit well past the shoulder on my shrug, which meant a lot of frogging in my future.  But I didn’t want to rip the whole thing…

First things first–I had to wind my new yarn.  I wasn’t sure how well my makeshift nostepinne would work with ribbon yarn, but it wound up smoothly.  Jeffrey came up to watch, and after a few minutes said, “I want to do it!”  I explained that this was something that was a little difficult to do, and Mommy would do it.  He accepted my explanation…for a minute or two.  “Pleeeeease?” he asked.

I looked over at his bright, pleading face and quickly balanced the worst-case scenario (a knotted nightmare of a yarn pile) against the delight that helping would bring my son, and scooted back so he could stand in front of me and help me wind.  He was delighted.  The yarn was unknotted.  Soon, I had a yarn cake that wasn’t pretty but was perfectly serviceable.

Well, I’d dallied long enough–it was time to see if I could rip back to just a foot of knitting without completely ruining what I had done.  First, I did some research into lifelines. Most of what I read and saw involved inserting a lifeline while knitting, and I needed to put one in after the fact.  I understood the principle behind lifelines–my problem was figuring out where to put the waste yarn to lock in the stitches.

Once I’d measured the 12″ I needed to keep…

lifeline (2)

…I picked the row to put the waste yarn through. I’m knitting the shrug in a simple garter stitch, since the yarn is so textured anything more intricate would be lost. Unfortunately, that same texture made figuring out where the stitches were a little more difficult for someone doing this for the first time. Eventually, I decided to use the purl bump row, and it looked like it would be easier to run the tapestry needle through the lower bumps. So that’s where I started:

lifeline (4)

It took a bit of pulling and tugging to see all of the stitches, but eventually I had the waste yarn through the entire width of the shrug. I made sure to count that I had picked up all of the stitches, and I did have 44.

lifeline (5)

I took a deep breath, slid the stitches off of the circular needle, and…

lifeline (6)

…I was at the point of no return.

lifeline (7)

lifeline (8)

It didn’t take long until I neared the lifeline. The stitches were coming out a lot easier than I was afraid they would, and the stitches were standing up pretty well instead of running like with a smoother yarn. But there were times the boucle yarn was catching on the loops and I had to give it a good tug…and every time I did, a nearby stitch would drop back several rows. It was clear that the lifeline was going to be vital.

lifeline (9)

Another deep breath, another pull, and…

lifeline (10)

…Houston…we have a problem.

Obviously, I’d picked the wrong purl bump to run the needle through, and instead of locking the stitches, the would-be lifeline was pulling away with unraveled yarn.  Fortunately, this wasn’t a serious problem.  For one, it had occurred to me that when I’d measured initially, I hadn’t given the knit fabric that bit of a tug it needed, and I actually had more than 12″.  So I remeasured and picked a new row for my lifeline.  This time, I ran the yarn through the top purl bumps, since they were obviously the stitches, and started ripping again.

lifeline (11)

Now that is much better. The extraneous straight needle you see in there I needed to pick up 2 stitches that I’d missed with the lifeline–although I’d been counting to make sure I had all 44 stitches, I forgot that I’d actually cast on 46 stitches. And actually, I ended up with 45 stitches–I’d also forgotten that at some point I’d realized I’d lost a stitch (probably through knitting 2 together inadvertantly; the stitches tend to stick together) and need to add it back at some point. That was all minor, because at the end:

lifeline (12)


It was a very simple matter after that to slip the stitches back on to the size US15 circular needles–a pleasant surprise, since I thought the stitches might have tightened up enough to make sliding on to that thick needle a struggle.

lifeline (13)

Then it was just a matter of rewinding the frogged yarn with my DPN, and voila!

lifeline (14)

Let’s see what we can do now…



  1. you must have been getting butterflies in your tummy. Well done on getting it all back on successfully. Can enjoy the knitting part again now

  2. Color me incredibly impressed at your ingenuity!!!


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