Readers, don't let this happen to you.
I was minding my own business at the Circle Craft Fair (it's a local artists' co-op that famously runs a massive craft fair in Vancouver's Convention Centre shortly prior to Christmas), when my difficult-to-shop-for* sister pointed out a throw blanket, and said something like "I like that."
I can't remember how much the artisan was asking for it, but I knew I could easily knit up something similar. It was super-bulky yarn (or larger, I mean simply huge, the kind you need ridiculous needles for), so it should knit up quickly. There aren't any clever stitch designs or increases or decreases to keep track of. It's, in a word, a cinch. So I mentally added to my Christmas List "knit blanket, neutral colour," and enjoyed the rest of the fair.
The next weekend I went to my LYS* and got two cones of their absolute biggest yarn, plus ridiculous needles.
In about half an hour I'd finished the first skein and was on to the second. And that's when the horror struck:
I'd knitted a stretch of fabric about three feet wide and 4 inches long. That's it. On to the second cone (it really was a cone, with the yarn wrapped around a firm cardboard cone on the inside, so I wasn't getting as much yarn as I'd thought). And those 144 square inches of blanket had cost me $85, not including the needles.
I knit up the second cone, ka-ching, now I've spent $170 and have a 3 foot by 8 inch blanket. That's great, if you only expect your blankets to cover your neck. I suspect most people think blankets ought to make a concerted effort to reach their feet, at least. Sigh. Back to the LYS, another $85 gone, a third cone bought, and at last, after $255, I had only a foot-long blanket. And sadly for me, "foot-long" doesn't actually mean "to your feet." It now extended as far as the clavicle.
I carefully wrapped up the blanket (keeping enough yarn to bind off still attached), and presented it to my sister for Christmas, with options: I could bind off, and she'd have a lovely, organic, hand-made clavicle covering, made from some of the world's most expensive yarn (or so it was starting to feel to me), or, I could find much, much cheaper giant yarn with which to finish it, for an eventual present of a decent blanket with a stupidly pricey border.
I expected to find some large acrylic washable yarn at our local chain store, but I just happened to be at a different LYS and lo-and-behold, on sale, 6 skeins (no misleading cardboard cones inside) of giant speckled indigo yarn for, get this, a mere $10 each. So eventually, I'll have a finished blanket at $315.
How big will my final blanket be, after all that? There are online tools that sort of help. I went to Jimmy Bean's Knitting Calculator and discovered that for a 3 foot wide blanket by 28 inches you need 325 metres of Estelle's Big Time-sized yarn--which is 45 metres per skein. So that would be 7 skeins' worth (325/45 = 7). And 7 into 28 inches is 4 inches, which is approximately the amount I was getting from my original expensive yarn. 6 (my skeins) x 4 = 24 inches, + my original 12 inch border, so essentially I'll be gifting my sister a square blanket of 3 feet x 3 feet, and there I stop. I can do no more!
I'm not a brand-new knitter. I can't believe I somehow suckered myself into thinking this could be accomplished with two measly cones. I'd never dream of doing the same for, say, a sweater project--I'd measure it all out, be certain, and buy two extra. I expect Christmas fogs the brain--at least, it does for me. Lesson learned! Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Off the Needles
On the Needles (and actively being worked on):
Sophie's Universe crochet project #1 (Part 18: Round 113, final round of the official pattern (and then I add extra rounds, to turn it into a queen-size bedspread))
Sophie's Universe crochet project #2 (Part 6: Round 46)
Another Bookmark (1/2 through)
Ridiculous Giant Blanket, finished the border, on to the body.
Persian Dreams Blanket (round 28 of Hexagon 7)
A Dream of Steam and Brass (added a second ball, will bind off when close to end)
GGN Norwegian Ski Sweater (finished the torso, currently well above the cuffs of Arms One and Two (I'm knitting both at once--but on separate needles, I'm not that clever yet))
*difficult-to-shop-for = outrageously fussy
*LYS = local yarn store