I have this problem all the time. I seem to be running short on yarn. I choose a project, I order just exactly the amount of yarn they (the yarn gods) tell me to, and somehow, inevitably, I end up here. Cursing the yarn gods because they tricked me again. I am looking at this tiny little ball of yarn in the palm of my hand, thinking, "There is no way this little bit of yarn is going to finish the top of my hat."
The pattern (meaning the yarn gods) told me that I should take care to not leave too long of a tail when casting on because this is a one-skein project, and it would use up exactly one skein of this particular (Shine Sport, from Knit Picks, if you care) yarn. So no waste, people! I cast on perfectly, leaving only a few inches of tail. And let me tell you, I've had many projects where I've underestimated (misunderestimated?) the yarn I needed and ended up with a 10-inch tail (ha, ha, very funny) dangling.
How does this happen? Maybe I accidentally knitted an extra couple of rows in the pattern (this is where Mara would cast me a knowing look and say "Well, DUH, didn't I TELL you you should get a row counter?"), using precious extra amounts of yarn, of which--MAY I REMIND YOU--we have none to spare.
Or maybe? (and this is really the story I'm sticking with) The yarn gods are out to get me. They will not be satisfied until I have pulled each individual hair out of my own eyebrows in frustration because I seem to run out of yarn on every freaking project I knit.
I admit, there have been cases (e.g. the First Poncho) where my math was probably just off. Because, you know, I'm a writer. Math is not my forte. Sometimes I choose a pattern, and then I pick a different yarn than what the pattern (read: the yarn gods) want me to use, and that requires calculation. And really, in these circumstances, I should consult a math-friendly friend (e.g. my husband) to make sure I did it right.
But this? This is ridiculous. I bought the exact yarn and the exact amount that the pattern (yarn gods) told me to buy, and I am still going to run out.
Oh.... maybe it was those extra four mystery stitches that I ended up with at the end of the round. They were not kidding when they said that no waste would be tolerated.
So now I have two options, and only one of them is truly feasible. I could:
a) unravel the whole hat, back to the beginning, do another perfect cast-on, eliminate the extra four mystery stitches, and use a row counter to be sure that my counting is flawless... because apparently, I don't only have problems with calculating, but also counting to seventeen.
b) order another damn skein of yarn.
Is it obvious to you what I am being forced to do now? Anyone who wishes to buy me gift certificates to knitpicks.com may do so at any time.