Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ishbel name is bmom and I'm an excel-aholic. It's sad....but I just love using excel for all sorts of things. You mean you don't track all your health plan deductibles? Or water/fuel oil usage (with charts)? How about knitting projects?

I'd seen many beautiful Ishbel shawls on Ravelry -- so jumped right onto the bandwagon. I had two skeins of Foxfire Fibers Fox Sox Bamboo yarn -- each 2.2 ounces, approximately 490 yards total -- that I got at the MA Sheep & Wool Festival earlier this summer. I wanted to maximize the size of my shawl -- or put another way, minimize the amount of yarn I had leftover. Obviously, a spreadsheet was needed. I had a row-by-row count of stitches, percent complete, etc, etc. It was working out really well......but when I got to the final bind-off row and clearly saw I wouldn't have enough yarn, I realized there were two fatal flaws in my technique. 1. I didn't weigh the two skeins of yarn before I started and "assumed" that the two skeins were exactly the same (note that both skeins must've been overweight -- total shawl weight is 4.7 ounces). 2. I didn't account for the fact that the bind-off row uses more yarn than the pattern rows.

Woops. So I had to tink (un-knit) that last pattern row and end the shawl a row early. Even so, I had just 30 inches of yarn left. But that's perfect. Enough for a small mending job if necessary. But not so much that I have to wonder what I could possibly do with it.

I did discover that on this shawl, with the needle used and weight of yarn, the actual stitch uses 50 percent more yarn than the circumference of the needle itself (on average). I need to do a similar calculation for other yarn weights/needle combinations to see if that ratio holds true in general.

I love this shawl too -- especially the curved wings (doesn't it look like Cape Cod?). That should help it stay on my shoulders....once it cools off enough to wear.

Now I just need more uses for pivot tables......


Karen said...

I use Excel A LOT . . . . but I don't think I'm quite the pro you are!! I wish I was though.

The shawl is gorgeous and I know you will get a lot of wear out of it. So cool to use up all of the yarn in one project too. I never do that. Maybe I could if I started using Excel even more than I do. :)

cpurl17 said...

It's beautiful!! Save that spreadsheet--if I ever make Isbel, I might come knocking on your door!