(found through Flickr, not my work, but the same pattern I used)
Recently, I crocheted a doily as a thank you gift for some friends. The pattern was from a designer whom I really like but whose work I had not yet tried. Moreover, the thread was an unmarked skein I had lying around. I thought it would have enough yardage for a doily of the size I was making, but I found out three quarters of the way through the project that I was very wrong. What was I to do?
First, I had already put a lot of work into the piece, so I was frustrated at the thought my efforts might be wasted. I put it aside for a few days (or a week) to let myself think. I didn't want to act out of emotion. Then I went back to it with fresh eyes.
I had stopped work when it became apparent that I had insufficient thread, rather than waiting until I actually ran out. So, looking at the pattern photo, I tried to visualize which rows (other than the final one) would make good stopping points.
I then looked at the pattern itself. Because the doily was round, it didn't have specific increase points. One row would involve a ridiculous amount of increasing and then be followed by several rows with no increases (until the piece went from ruffled to flat). Most lace patterns that are worked in the round provide information at the end of each round for the purposes of stitch counting. But because stitch counting can be difficult in crocheted lace, numbers are often provided in terms of "ch-3 loops per round," "shells per round," or some such.
I looked at the rounds in my pattern that I had not yet worked, and searched for numbers that were similar to the numbers for the last round I had completed. My last completed round included a lot of chain loops, so I looked for something with a comparable number of shells. I found a round about three rounds down in the pattern that fit the bill. I skipped to it, worked it, and then went around the whole piece in crab stitch. It worked beautifully, and I actually wound up with a few yards to spare.
The doily was smaller than I had planned, but definitely big enough to serve a purpose (about 12 inches across), and the recipients loved it. Being able to work with the unexpected is an important skill in needlework, but often involves working with numbers. However, learning that skill is incredibly satisfying and can produce surprisingly good results.