My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Decisions Decisions

Did you see that CeCe’s designer, the fabulous Bonne Marie Burns, just happens to be knitting herself another CeCe right now?

By the way, the other day, she posted on her blog a very helpful explanation of how to adapt CeCe to add buttonholes to the front band should you want a button-up version. The pattern is written with a one-button closure.

Bonne Marie pointed this out to me over the weekend and I thought about doing so, but decided against it. For this type of little cardi, I’d be very unlikely to ever button it up, so I’m sticking with the the original design. That reminds me — I’ll need to shop for a pretty button!

But it is early days — I’ve barely made any progress since I last showed you my CeCe.

This is what comes of spending the evening dozing off with your knitting in your hands until you finally give up and go to bed.

At some point I need to decide if I am going to make a short-sleeve or long-sleeve CeCe and I keep waffling about this. I think what I’ll do is a short-sleeve version that has slightly longer sleeves than pictured on the pattern — like have the sleeve end just a bit above the elbow.

Of course I’ll probably change my mind 47 times between now and the time I start the sleeves. I have plenty of yarn to do the longer sleeve version should I decide that’s the way to go.

Which brings me to a question from the comments. Trish asked:

I have a question about buying yarn — how much of a yarn do you buy when you just buy on a whim? I have a hard time knowing whether to purchase 2 skeins of something (a scarf?) or as much as they have left? Just wondered…so many of us have 1 off or 2 off skeins that ultimately end up not being enough for the project that we find…

That’s a very good question, and one that does not have a simple answer. For me . . . it depends. (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)

In the case of the yarn I am using for my CeCe (Rowan Calmer), I had a bag of 10 skeins in my stash. As I recall, I got it on sale somewhere, and bought a bag of 10 because I knew that would be enough for a sweater of some sort — Calmer has 175 yards per skein, so that’s 1750 yards of DK weight yarn.

But it depends. If it is a fabulous sale on a yarn I love, I will buy a ton of it. I haven’t done this sort of yarn shopping for quite a while since for the past few years I’ve been concentrating on socks and lace shawls. I know how much I’m going to need for a pair of socks, and know ballpark how much I need for different sizes and shapes of shawls.

What do you all do?

Lucy sez:



  1. A 41 pound loss?? That’s amazing. Congratulations!

  2. since all I really knit are socks, shawls, and scarves, I typically will purchase enough for the a shawl and can always use for multiple socks or scarves 🙂
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Spring Fling 2010 =-.

  3. I cannot believe I read one of your last sentences as “I know I need a pair of socks” instead of how you wrote it, and I about fell off my chair. Wendy cannot need a pair of socks! Good thing I went back and reread it. Thanks for the inadvertent chuckle.

  4. Lucy doing nothing is a beautiful thing! It’s a good thing to remember: how good nothing can be.

  5. Thanks Wendy…you were very nice about your answer…after reading it I realized that I need to understand the projects I like to knit better and know about how much each one will take…(need more knitting time in between life to wrack up more experience!)

  6. For a sweater I tend to buy about 1600 yards. For socks, only a skein or two. Since I don’t have much space for stash, I try hard not to buy yarn on spec. Well, there was the Wollemeise but that’s a special case.

  7. Unless it’s for socks, I try to buy 2000 yards of whatever. Then I have enough to do whatever I might possibly come up with, including dense cables. I use the leftovers for multicolored projects, mittens, hats, etc. I also tend to look for great quality, inexpensive, fine yarn on cones (Webs, I love you!) — that I can double or triple to get whatever weight I might want. Right now I am knitting a DK gauge sweater out of one strand each of fingering weight shetland wool and alpaca.

  8. I agree with @Mary – I usually buy 2000 yds of anything that’s going to be sweater-worthy – and just a couple of skeins in lace weight, fingering weight and the lighter weights – now, using it all – that’s another story!
    .-= margaret´s last blog ..A Brilliant Invention =-.

  9. Hi Wendy!

    You might want to look at Kim is a bead artist, and she also makes beautiful, unusual buttons.

  10. I don’t have a ton of yarn-buying experience (I’ve only been knitting about a year and a half), but lately I find myself buying mostly sock yarn. Therefore, I usually buy just 1 skein. If I’m going to make a sweater or cardigan, I have to plan it out and I don’t buy anything but sock yarn impulsively.

    That being said, last weekend I somehow came home with 3 skeins of Mochi plus, in 2 colorways. lol. A scarf, perhaps?
    .-= biomaj5´s last blog ..Finally finished =-.

  11. I’m with Lucy tonight.

  12. anne marie in philly says:

    sweaters get 2500-3000 yards of yarn for this big girl. 🙂 – whatcha waitin’ for? 😉

    I like what lucy is doing tonight!

  13. I decided a long time ago that I didn’t have the space or money to have a huge stash of random yarn, so I don’t typically buy on a whim. I also don’t wear scarves, so that eliminates that problem. 🙂 If I’m on vacation or just can’t resist, I’ll buy a skein of sock yarn. If I’m almost done with a sweater, I’ll buy the yarn for the next one. I typically buy around 1200 yards for a sweater due to my height and size.
    .-= julieanne´s last blog ..Boston: The day we walked around the world =-.

  14. I usually buy 1200-1400 yds for sweaters and 1 or 2 skeins for socks. I’m a sucker for the blue/purple/gray family.

  15. I am finding that I tend to buy yarn the same way I buy fabric; as much as I can afford at the moment. I am finding that I prefer fingering to dk weight yarns. Unlike with fabric, I do generally have a general project (like a shawl, hat, socks, gloves) in mind when I purchase yarn. If I buy a worsted or bulky weight yarn, it’s for a specific pattern. I don’t really do spur of the moment purchases with yarn. I think that is because I buy most of my yarn online.

  16. except for sock and now lace weight yarn I don’t buy yarn on a whim anymore. I have a stash full of whim yarn. When I do whim sweater yarn (has to be super good sale), I get at least 2000 yds of DK or worsted which is too much but I can always use left overs for hats, scarves, etc.
    .-= southparknitter´s last blog ..Visiting the frogs =-.

  17. Lucy’s tail is so fluffy… I had to zoom in because I thought she had “captured” a turkey feather duster and was toying with it before “killing” it!

  18. I have yarn for a Cece! In fact, a couple: one for me, and one (probably) for my mother.

    I only buy yarn, or at least try really hard to only buy yarn, with a project in mind. Unfortunately, I have a very creative mind….so it can be a project I am designing in my head, which may take years and years to come to fruition. But I still will have an idea of yardage based on similar projects I’ve made or seen or can look up on Ravelry or with charts of yardage/sweaters.

    Of course, I know about how much a small shawl/medium shawl/big shawl/scarf/mitts/hat take as far as yarn. Though for the sake of my burgeoning yarn storage, I still try to have a specific idea in mind for any yarn purchases….
    .-= Cathy-Cate´s last blog ..Sock Camp Onwards and Upwards! =-.

  19. I usually buy two balls / 1 skein, or approximately 100 grams. I used to buy just one ball, but that never was enough for anything useful! 100 grams are enough for a hat, mittens or a shawlette. Most of my projects are small anyway, so I hardly ever buy sweater-amounts of yarn without a project in mind.
    .-= Worsted Knitt´s last blog ..WIP Parade =-.

  20. I usually buy 1500 yards for a sweater for myslef and 2000 yards for a sweater for my husband and I really usually NEVER end up using yarn for the project I thought I was buying for…..
    .-= Jane Pollard´s last blog ..A WEEK =-.

  21. Wendy- My rule of thumb is to have the pattern first, then look for the yarn.

    Of course, years later, I never remember what pattern the yarn is for. So much for that system.
    .-= Lorraine´s last blog ..Does That Come in Size "Huge"? =-.

  22. If I like a yarn and the price is right, I may buy all of it. Did this last winter with some Cento, then spent the next month trying to use it all up – it was only six balls, but those six balls went on forever…and ever…and ever… That said, since I don’t do much sweater knitting, I usually buy 3-4 balls/skeins at a time unless it’s something like sock or lace yarn that I know 1 skein will be enough for anything I’ll want to make.
    .-= Laurie´s last blog ..What could be more random than a Monday? =-.

  23. Here’s my 2 cents:
    900-1000yds bulky
    1200yds worsted weight
    1400yds dk
    1600yds sport
    1800-2000yds fingering
    All based on a medium size dumb dumb sweater.

  24. I, too, would get more wear out of a one-button version. Where do you usually find your buttons- online? Or better success in person?
    I noticed you are paying alot of attention to your “clean eating.” I always thought that my family ate well, we grow our own food, get our locally grown meat from our trusted butcher, don’t buy dailry with hormones or additives. All along I thought I was eating well and I started taking a “healthy eating” type course and learned all sorts of things that I had no idea about. That citrus fruits are sprayed with dye to make them pretty, that apples are often coated with shellac… both of which are made from crushed bugs. Odd, but true. Sometimes I wish that I knew less about food.

  25. If I go in with a sweater in mind (still on a whim mind you), I will buy at least 800 yards on the theory that is enough for a tank top or a small sweater. The last time I bought Calmer, I bought either 6 or 7 skeins (whatever was left). When I went yarn shopping this weekend, I knew that I wanted enough for a sweater and I remembered I wanted to make the Owls sweater and mathed out enough yardage for the lighter weight yarn I wanted to use.

    Of course, most of my splurge yarn purchases are crochet cotton, sock yarn, and yarn for small shawls (single balls every one).
    .-= Seanna Lea´s last blog ..leveling up =-.

  26. I’m mostly a sweater knitter, and I like to do my own designing. So for sweaters for me (women’s medium), I’ll always get at least 1500 yards of DK and 1700 yards of worsted. My sweaters usually have cables or some texture. If the yarn isn’t terribly expensive, I’ll add in an extra skein or two. I justify this by saying that the $10 to $20 “extra” is worth avoiding the anguish of running out. And I do need a skein for swatching (although I often undo this if I need yarn for seaming). If I have extra, then someone ends up with a hat or scarf. There have been years when finances were tight, and I was glad to have the stash leftovers for presents.
    .-= marjorie´s last blog ..Philosophical Differences =-.

  27. Helen Wyld says:

    I’m a scarf / shawl knitter : about 400m. for a long slim scarf. 1500m fo a decent size laceweight shawl.
    Alternatively, if it’s something I MUST HAVE and there’s not a lot left then I buy all of it at random. I can always find something to make and all leftovers are useful for baby sox or freeform knitting or stripes!

  28. for me it depends on the yarn, if it’s something very luxurious and expensive, I usually get enough for a scarf, if it’s yarn that lends itself to something more sweater/cardigan like I try to get enough for that. but I’m terrible at that and have lots of yarn in my stash where I’m sort on sleeve or a button band or something. Which is why now (GASP) I wait till I have a project in mind before actually buying the yarn!!! I know… I know…

  29. Theresa in Italy says:

    A rather large portion of the stash is made of up yarn bought for one specific project but then deemed not to be suitable for some reason (can’t get gauge, didn’t buy enough, etc.). If it’s lucky, it’s reincarnated as a scarf. Lately I’ve been trying to stick to sock yarn. If worst comes to worst, I can always use it for socks.

  30. Leslie F says:

    I have been a one/two ball person for a long time…and have lots of one or two balls that will make a hat or so.

    If I am buying sock yarn, I always buy at least enough for a pair of socks.

    And now, I am putting off impulse purchases and purchasing a larger quantity for a sweater.

    We will see if that remains true the 1st weekend in May, tho’ ;-D

  31. THAT is such a CUTE sweater! With raglan sleeves so no sewing pieces together…. I MUST resist starting yet another project and resist buying yet more yarn! Have a great weekend in St. Louis and can’t wait to see how much you get done on your cardigan! (oh, and kudos on actually doing a swatch!)

  32. Have a safe trip and a wonderful Fling!