Mermaid Miscalculations

Have you ever felt frustrated with a project? Or not satisfied with the result of hours of work? The mermaid tail which I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks is causing me a headache! The pattern, which is free and really well backed up with videos, has fallen out with me. I had 600g of yarn, and realised after using 400g that I was in a game of yarn chicken. You see, the pattern it’s worked from the top down to the bottom, where it decreases and joins.

I measured what I’d done against my 5 years old as his cousin is the same age. It came to his ankles so I began the decreases, knowing I still had the tail to make. I’d estimated how many rows I could work with the yarn I had left, including making the fin. What I failed to take into account was that the decrease rounds (the clue is in the name) had less stitches and therefore used less yarn. My panic was unnecessary as I finished the body and the fin. I then persuaded my son to try it on again. (Bribery was needed this time, he wasn’t impressed with the girliness!)
It was too short. Not by a little bit, but by a lot. I also had ‘quite a lot’ of yarn left. So now I had a ‘finished’ project that wasn’t finished, and half of a ball of yarn that wasn’t enough to make anything else with. I’d followed the pattern carefully, but perhaps my hook size was different or my gauge was out compared to theirs. I can’t fault the pattern, which is by Yarnutopia.

Now was the time to let my inner perfectionist have a battle with my practical mind. I had three choices.

1)  I could have frogged it but it was ‘done’, and there was no way I was going to give all that work up; it wasn’t that bad. 

2) The first row of the top was treble crochets, before the shells were worked. I could add more shells to the top of the ban, thpugh they would mirror the rest of the shells rather than going in the same direction.

3) Do the same as in step 2 but with a different stitch to avoid the mirrored shells looking odd.

In the end I went for option 2 as I couldn’t think of another stitch with the same count. I used the other shells as a guide for the first row so that they matched perfectly. I then mirrored the shells and used the same pattern until I ran out of yarn. Simple!

The band about three quarters of the way along marks the original too edge which I added to.

I was worried initially that it would look ridiculous with shells going in both directions. Then I decided that, since it was done neatly and mirrored the others, my niece would probably not notice (or care!) Also, it helped to fix the problem, I no longer had ‘spare’ yarn and it had a shell top rather than a straight one. 

All done!

It was a tricky one at the time, but I’m choosing to see it as an adaptation to the pattern rather than a total failure! 

Have you ever modified a pattern? Was it through necessity or choice? What did you do? 

Proudly linking up with Wool on Sundays with Janine at Rainbow Hare. 

52 thoughts on “Mermaid Miscalculations

  1. I think your mermaid will be happy as a clam with this! Absolutely nothing wrong with the shells going in a different direction. A bit of water resistance is vital to a mermaid. It’s like an inbuilt swimming braking system!

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  2. The tail looks beautiful, gorgeous colours πŸ™‚
    Years ago I had a knitting pattern for a sort of neckwarmer thingy, as I started to work the pattern I realised it would only fit around my neck if I was prepared to stop breathing! There were several versions of the pattern onlne, the one I had said DK weight yarn, but it was actually for chunky yarn, but I’d already lost interest and never bothered re-knitting it!

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  3. I enjoy playing with patterns to make them work, but i only got the confidence to do that when I first worked with a pattern that was wrong and I started to figure it out but then had help to shift the rest of it. Then I played with the pattern for my slippers as my feet were too big fot their biggest size. There is a huge sense of satisfaction in modifying something so it works how you want it to.
    I love how you fixed the mermaid tail, and with all the colours I don’t think it looks odd at all. I love your phrase yarn chicken!

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      1. Thank you. I’m going to have to adapt it again when I make a pair for my friend, in order to make the cuffs fit a bit more snugly… Think I’ll write out what I plan to do first and try to make sure i get the maths right!

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  4. You did a great job – well done! Yes, I have had the same situation – a short sleeved cardigan came out too short and too narrow across the chest – I bought more yarn and added a bottom border and a wider button band!

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  5. I looked at that photo for like 5 minutes trying to find the original edge, and I’m still not entirely sure I’ve got it! I’m positive your little mermaid won’t notice it – she’ll be too busy admiring the gorgeous colours!

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  6. I love Yarnutopia patterns – Nadia is very talented! Every project I start seems to end up either playing yarn chicken or for some bizarre reason my hook develops a mind of it’s own and goes rogue! I think it came out lovely – the ends always justify the means – and then you get to weave them in!! πŸ˜€

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  7. Oh it turned out beautifully!!! Your niece will love it and I don’t even think she would notice the difference. You did a great job and handled the mishap professionally! I would not have attempted to try to fix as I am not that confident with my crochet skills. I would have to tear it all out and re-start. But you handled it well and it looks fabulous!

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  8. Wow. It looks amazing. I’m a knitter, not a crocheter but am concerned a project I am working on will be too short too. I’d have gone for option 2 as well and I think the finished item is amazing. She’ll adore it!

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  9. The mermaid tail is gorgeous! Thank you for this. The other day I had trouble with two projects in a row. It’s nice to know even veterans occasionally have problems :).

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  10. Your mermaid blanket is wonderful, the yarn is amazing! I love your improvisation, I’m always fiddling with patterns because I never check my gauge or I rarely use the right size yarn, so I always have to do something to fix it lol. I think it just makes it more personal, it’s unique now ❀

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      1. Don’t know yet. I try to escape the pink as much as possible but they do love it so! I’m very limited in yarn choice where I live but I want to start soon, I’ll make the 60k round trip to our only ‘big box’ for 100s of kms and see what’s available this weekend – I do despair of their lack of choice (and have started ordering yarn online instead) but I have a voucher to use so they got me this time πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It may well be. I think it’s hard to calculate the final length when working from the top down as you don’t know how long the decrease part will be.


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