Spring Lace-Along Week One: Cast-On

balled yarns on a table

It’s cast-on day for the SweetGeorgia Spring 22 Lace-Along! I have a new scarf pattern coming out later this year (to pair with a dreamy limited-edition sock blank that will launch in July, I believe) that features the perfect amount of beginner lace embedded in a fabric of broken rib. After a weekend mulling over what to do for my Lace-Along project, I decided to try my hand at a stole version of the scarf using a skein of Tough Love Sock in Silver and the ‘Royals’ Party of Five set.

I thought you might like to walk through some of the processes it takes to go from a single-skein scarf to a multi-skein stole. It’s mostly a process of math – haha! And a bit of prayer that I did my math correctly.

There are, of course, several ways you can go about estimating yarn, but since I’m working with a Party of Five set (which contains 5 mini skeins containing 105 yards each), I need to pay a little more attention to the estimates so that I can spread those mini skeins out without playing *too* much yarn chicken. It all starts with figuring out how many stitches are used in each section of the scarf.

Original Scarf Math

The Lace Section is broken up over a total of 296 rows x 38 stitches across = 11, 248 stitches total

The Broken Rib Section is broken up over a total of 374 rows x 39 stitches across = 14, 586 stitches total

11, 248 lace stitches + 14, 586 rib stitches = 26, 130 stitches worked over a 425-yard skein of yarn. Well, almost – I take off 10% of the yarn before even starting so that I ensure I have enough left over to account for a bit of gauge fluctuation. Now, we want to take those total stitches and determine what that equates to in yarn percentage.

Lace Section: 11, 248 stitches / 26, 130 total stitches = about 43% of the total stitch count. I’m going to round that up a smidge to about 44% (again, for safety sake) and from there, estimate that 44% of 425 yards = 187 yards used in the lace section.

Rib Section: Since I know I used almost the whole sock blank, I can assume the rib section used about 56% of the remaining yarn (100 – 44), but just to confirm for brevity’s sake – 14, 586 stitches / 26, 130 total stitches = 55.8%. So, let’s round up to 56% for 238 yards used in the rib section out of the 425-yard skein.

Knowing those percentages and stitch counts means we can play with some stole numbers.

Stole math

All right – our Tough Love Sock is 425 yards and our Party of Five is 525 yards, giving us a total of 950 yards. We’re going to try to keep the final stole below this, of course, by about 10%.

With a stitch gauge of 6.25 per inch in lace and 6.5 per inch in rib and a goal of about an 18-inch stole in width, I need to aim for around 110/111 stitches. The question is: will we have enough yarn to keep the row lengths the same in that width?

Let’s first confirm the stitch count and percentage relationship.

The Lace Section is broken up over a total of 296 rows x 110 stitches across = 32, 560 stitches

The Broken Rib Section is broken up over a total of 374 rows x 111 stitches across = 41, 514 stitches

32, 560 + 41, 514 = 74, 074 total stitches and that needs to fit in our 950 yards available. Lace = 44% and Rib = 56%, so our ratios seem the same.

44% of 950 yards = 418 yards. That’s definitely less than the Party of Five 525 yards, but will we have enough of each colour for the gradient effect I want to do in the lace?

418 yards / 2 halves of the shawl = 209 yards.

209 yards for each half / 10 lace strips = 20.9 yards per lace strip. Round up to 21 yards.

21 yards per strip x 4 repeats = 84 yards, about 8% less than each mini skein of 105 yards, so we should be good there! Woot!

But, there’s a red flag warning … If 44% of 950 yards is already 418 yards, then that means we know right off the bat that 56% is going to be MORE than 425 yards of Tough Love Sock. So, we have some decisions to make.

Option 1: Adjust the stitch counts AND row counts. We could, but I don’t really want to go much narrower than what we have.

Option 2: We can even out the Broken Rib rows to be about the same as the Lace Section rows. Not a terrible idea and it is the one I’m leaning towards.

Options 3: Add a second skein of Tough Love Sock (which would defeat my purpose of using this stash yarn).

Going with Option 2 would also mean the stole wouldn’t match the scarf *exactly* in look, but … I think that would be ok. The general feel would be the same and since the lace part is the highlight, the loss of some rib rows is all right in my mind’s eye. Let’s see … 32, 560 total stitches / 109 stitches = 298ish rows to work out … crunch some repeats in my head with 39, 49, and 59-row section breaks … 294 rows at my row gauge of 8.5 per inch = 34.5 inches + 39.5 inches for lace section = a nice long stole still, so …

I think I can make that WORK! Yeehaw! Welcome to my brain, folks. It’s not always shiny, but it’s functional. Haha!

Ok, so with that, I’m ready to cast on! Now, what I want to hear from you is – What are you making?? Share some links in the comments below so we can all be enabled. I can’t wait to see.


Oh, and remember, to be eligible for one of the faaaabulous prizes, you must:

  • Use a SweetGeorgia Yarn or a SweetGeorgia pattern
  • Cast-on after April 4 (that’s today!)
  • Post a progress picture on Instagram with the yarn, pattern, and hashtag #sweetgeorgialacealong.

Grand prize: a signed copy of Dyeing to Spin & Knit by Felicia Lo, winner’s choice of a 2 skein pattern + yarn set, a $50 gift card to SweetGeorgia Yarns, and a 3-month subscription to the School of SweetGeorgia
Second prize:  a signed copy of Dyeing to Spin & Knit by Felicia Lo, winner’s choice of a 1 skein or Party of Five pattern + yarn set, a $25 gift card to SweetGeorgia Yarns, and a 1-month subscription to the School of SweetGeorgia
Third prize: a signed copy of Dyeing to Spin & Knit by Felicia Lo and a 1-month subscription to the School of SweetGeorgia


About Tabetha Hedrick

Tabetha Hedrick is a knitwear designer and writer raising a family just outside the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee. As the Design Director for SweetGeorgia Yarns, her days (and heart) are filled to the brim with knitting, art, writing, editing, planning, and finding ways to put it all together. In the midst of that fibre-filled life, you'll find her living simply in the sweet spot where creativity, discovery, parenthood, and life intertwine.

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