on the needles: yarn chicken

One of my big missions this year is to really crack on through my stash of scrap yarn.

Thanks to well-meaning friends, family, and coworkers, I've acquired a lot of hand-me-down yarn - great when I first moved to the UK and had no money to buy anything knitting related, not so great now when I have lots of single balls of mystery yarn lying about my house.

To combat this, I've made a pledge to myself to not buy any more yarn until I work through all of the projects I can possibly think through using my current stash.

It actually feels really good; it's better for the environment as I'm cutting waste, it's better for my budget as I'm not buying more stuff, and it's much better for my household storage.

But what it does mean, is that I end up playing Yarn Chicken WAY too often.

Yarn Chicken is, for those who are fortunate enough not to know, is that terrible game where you're in a race against your dwindling ball of mystery yarn to see what comes to an end first: your project, or the yarn. Since I'm committed to not buying any more supplies, this means a lot of head scratching and design alterations to make sure I can see a project through to the end.

One of the ones I'm struggling with at the moment with Yarn Chicken is a baby blanket I'm working on for a friend. I'm using an awesome  V-Stitch crochet pattern, using beautiful sky blue, sunny yellow, and cloudy white acrylic yarn to make it. I ADORE the colour combo, it's so nice to pick it up and see the pattern emerge.

Crochet, however, is a complete yarn-eater when compared with knitting, which means that at the moment I'm in an uncomfortable position where I'm staring at shrinking balls of yarn, and a blanket that's not quite big enough and getting that terrible knot in my stomach. As with any game of Yarn Chicken I'm being faced with several impending options, and I haven't yet decided on which route to take:

  1. Fake it with a border: I wanted the blanket to be rectangular, but at this point, I'm lucky if my remaining yarn gets me to a square. It was always my intention to do a border to give it a finished look (it is a gift after all), I may end up turning to some decorative edging to give me the extra length I need. This all depends on how short (or not) yarn chicken leaves me...
  2. Scrounge for other colours: I don't really want to do this, but I know I have a lot of extra acrylic hanging around my house. Worst case scenario, I may need to look for some extra colours to add to either side to get the blanket to size. Babies love bright colours, so if I can find a look I love, this is an easy way to make up the length.
  3. Take it out & restart: This is probably the number 1 reason why I always start gift knitting really far in advance. It gives me plenty of time for restarts. While I really don't want to do this (I LOVE the way the V-Stitch looks and it's so squidgy),  I've been lucky, in that I've carried the yarn up the side. Worst case scenario I can always rip back, and have three fresh, full balls of yarn
  4. Bite the bullet, buy the yarn: The whole reason why I'm making my friend this blanket, is because I love her dearly, and I'm so excited about her new little-person-to-be. I want to greet them with something special and handmade, that they both will treasure for years. The most important thing in this project is making something wonderful, and if I'm not happy with the way the alternative suggestions look, I'll just have to abort my mission and get more yarn. At the end of the day, I'm putting her happiness first.
Yarn Chicken is so stressful, I'm almost dreading making any more progress on the blanket, but I'll persevere, and keep you updated on the option I choose!

What are your best Yarn Chicken tips?
Happy stitching,
Molly x


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