My waving lace sweater is beautiful.

My waving lace sweater is cursed.

It took me at least 6 tries to cast on and get the right number of stitches for the number of repeats I wanted. At the time, I chalked it up to my general state of mind over the past week, but now I’m thinking it was an early warning sign.

After finally casting on successfully, I knit one and a half lace repeats in, and realized that the piece was looking a little wider than my swatch said it would be. That’s not abnormal for me; my swatch usually tells me what needle to use, and then the first few inches of knitting the actual garment are what gets me an accurate gauge. (I almost always rip back the first few inches. I just don’t knit the same way on a small piece as I do on a large one, and no reasonably-sized swatch seems to help.) I solve this by thinking of the first few inches as a really big swatch, and count myself lucky if I don’t have to pull back.

This time I did have to pull back, and took out half a repeat of the lace to make it a couple of inches narrower.

I cast on again, and knit a repeat and a half in. Then I realized that I’d shifted the lace pattern from my sketch when I started knitting, which then put the side shaping in the wrong place.

So I pulled out, and cast on again.

I’m almost done with the bust shaping, and tonight I was getting ready to move into the neck front shaping when I noticed that the ball is looking a little bit small.

I have 5 balls of yarn (1350 yards!), and this is one side panel of the sweater front, which is a little less than 1/6 of the knitting in the sweater. If I use a whole ball on this one piece, then I’m in trouble.

I probably called this curse upon myself when I typed the words “Since I am not short on yardage this time, I can make the fabric much more solid than before, and more like my original vision of the piece.” See that there? That bit about short on yardage? Hmmph.

The photo above shows the fabric as I’d imagined it for this sweater. The lace is barely stretched, making it look almost solid, but with a very three dimensional texture. I really like it. I weighed what I have knitted so far (50 g), and what’s left in the ball (21 g). That’s not good news, since I’m only to the underarm and still need to knit to the shoulder.

So, I looked at what I could get by blocking it harder.

Even dry, the piece stretches easily to almost 13″ rather than the necessary 10.5. I could take out a half a repeat to save yarn, if I’m willing to go with a more open fabric. (Of course, I’d have to knit the whole thing again, too.)

But something in the math didn’t quite add up. I was pretty sure that these were 100 g skeins, and I had a total of 70. That was odd.

Then I remembered the swatches.

Sure enough, a couple of dense stockinette swatches and a few repeats of lace add up to about 30 g.

So, I’m close. It looks like the sweater front is going to take about 70 g. If we assume that one front panel is about 1/6 of a sweater, that would mean that the whole thing would need about 420 g, which is 20 more than I have. 420 g is hardly an exact number, but it’s enough to tell me that I’m probably cutting it close.

Now I’m torn. Do I forge boldly on, and trust that kind fates will see me through? Keep knitting, and see how much the front panel weighs when I get to the shoulder? Or tear back now rather than knit another third that will need to be ripped in the end?

This feels like a case study in one of those popular non-fiction books that talks about the psychology of decision making and economics (I’ve read a few.). Some academic expert goes on and on at length about how our decision making isn’t rational, and how the decision you think you’d make isn’t really the one that makes good economic sense.

Those books always leave me feeling slightly less able decide. There’s always the question looming “yes, but is it rational??” in a slightly mocking father-knows-best kind of voice. The arguments are so counter intuitive and inside out that I can never quite remember which part is the rational part and which part is the one that most of us common mortals would choose.

I’m pretty sure in this case that it’s stupid (from an economic standpoint) to knit on. The probability of pulling back is high, and it’s very likely just my loss aversion getting in the way of ripping back now and being done with it. And yet, I still hope.

If I can get to the shoulder at under 65 g, I might just make it.

And, unless my intellect manages to stage a successful intervention, I think I might just try.

20 minutes later, edited to add: 5 skeins x100 yards = 500 yards, not 400. 420 is less than 500 (I think I can be completely certain about that). It’s totally possible that I could make it at this gauge, as long as the side panel is less than, say, 80g. Good thing I didn’t rip before going to bed…

Take that, economics brain!