This weekend I faced A Situation: I was binding off a huge cowl (about 250 stitches) when I ran out of yarn halfway through the second-to-last round. I painstakingly picked my way back to the beginning of the round and started binding off there. Once again, I ran out of yarn.
In the end, I finished it off by using an uncommon bind-off technique which may not be the best in all situations, but comes in handy when you Just Can't Be Bothered Anymore.
I accidentally discovered this bind-off as a brand new knitter, when I misunderstood my instructor's instructions for binding off the regular way. Basically, you just work your way down the row, passing each stitch over the next until you are done. Yarn Harlot has a great photo tutorial here.
The down side to this bind-off is that it is firm, which can be a problem for some items. I wouldn't use it for everything. But there are certainly times when this is just what you need.
What if you run out of yarn sooner, like before your item is done? Here are some options:
Need a specific yarn and/or dye lot that you can't find at the store? Search Ravelry users' stashes and find people who have it. Send a polite message explaining your situation and asking if you can buy the yarn from them. Many knitters will cheerfully give you a hand.
Find a similar yarn in a contrasting or complimenting color, and add stripes. Or just one big stripe, like a hat brim or sweater cuffs knit in a contrasting color. When people ask, tell them you felt the need to "spice it up a little."
3. Knit faster
Knit that yarn fast, before you run out! I'm just kidding obviously, but this is a thought that we all have. It's like driving faster before you run out of gas. Totally nonsensical, and yet it's a hard thought to shake.
Image courtesy Flickr/**tWo pinK pOSsuMs**