First, hello to all the visitors from the Carnival of Green Crafts! And for all fiber lovers, go to the link about the person who scored such an incredible bounty o' yarn from the thrift shop, it will make you absolutely sick.
This is the last in a series about stashbusting. Part 1 was about how to get started, part 2 was how to deal with huge bundles of yarn, part 3 was how to deal with little bits of yarn, and now this is how to avoid running into the horror of running out of yarn mid-project.
One reason why random extra balls, or WIPs, end up in the stash is that you get to the end of the yarn, but the project still isn't finished. So you stash it away, or you go out to the yarn store to get just that one more ball. (And while you’re there, you get some other yarn as well, and on and on it goes.) Then that ball never runs out, and ends up populating the stash. Obviously, if you’re trying to get rid of stash, you want to end up with just the right amount of yarn for any given project.
Rule #1: Know how much yarn you need for a project. Small people need less yarn than big people to make the same garment that fits properly. Keep track of how much yardage you're using, so that you can use that data for the next similar project.
Rule #2 (the worst): SWATCH! If your scale is accurate, weigh your swatch. Do the math, and figure out beforehand if your yarn will be right for the project.
#3: Knit socks toe-up, and gloves/mittens finger-up. Stop when the yarn runs out. Also, this gives you the option of adding a different color cuff if you do run out of yarn.
#4: Knit socks, gloves, mittens, and sleeves 2 at a time. That way you never have to worry about saving yarn for "the other one."
#5: Knit sweaters top-down. I am absolutely loving Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top and Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits, both of which are big on knitting top-down. If you run out early, you still have a sweater, it's just not quite as long. Whereas if you go the other way, you have no sweater at all!
#6: Knit seamlessly, if possible, so you don’t have to save yarn for seaming.
#7: Mix colors. Have a backup plan as you knit, and weigh as you go along. That way, you can switch colors earlier, if need be, to put in a stripe, and not have it look like you tacked it on at the end.
#8: Make projects where you can stop when the yarn runs out, such as afghans, rugs, runners, scarves, ets
#9: Know where to find extra yarn if you need just a wee little bit more. See: swatch. If you do double cast-on, use the extra yarn in the tail.
#10: Worst comes to worst, make a smaller size, and give it away.