Knitting – A guide to replacing yarn
Have you ever found a pattern that you love but could not find the suggested yarn? What if you just aren’t in love with one of the colors on offer? Or are you allergic to the alpaca recommended by the model writer? Or the yarn they used is just too expensive! Situations like this are not uncommon – and certainly not a reason for you to throw your hands in the air and send your new favorite pattern to the paper shredder!
Replacing yarns can be a fun and exciting experience if you follow a few simple rules:
TRACK. You need to find a yarn whose natural stitch strength is similar to that recommended by the pattern. In other words, if the pattern says that the 8sts / 4in size is above the st (stockinette stitch), you want to find a thread that also shows that stitch size on the label. We tried to support this process by grouping all of our yarns by starch so you can at least limit your options. For example, if you look at the Rowan Big Wool page, you’ll see a link in the upper right corner that reads “Show Other (1.5 – 2.5 M. / Inches) Super Bulky Yarn”. Clicking this link will take you to a list of yarns of similar thicknesses … The difficulty with this step occurs if the specified pattern thickness is in a stitch other than the stockinette stitch (e.g. a lace or rib stitch) is measured. In this situation, it is imperative that you find out what the “natural strength” of the yarn used in the pattern is. When I say “natural strength” I mean the strength indicated on the yarn label. That is the number you need for a comparison.
DRAPE. Finding a yarn with a similar case is critical to the intended flow of the garment. For example, you probably don’t want to knit a heavy fisherman’s sweater out of cotton or ribbon because it sags much more than animal fibers.
YARDAGE. Almost every type of yarn has a different mileage. That said, we can’t just buy 10 balls of Rowan Wool Cotton if your pattern requires 10 balls of Karabella Boise. Each has a natural strength of 5.5 m / inch, but the boise is 40 meters more than the wool cotton. Find out how much wool cotton you need for the Boise pattern here. The pattern provides 10 balls of Boise, which corresponds to 163 m. So you need a total of 10 x 163 = 1630 m. If you now want to use the Rowan Wool Cotton (with 124 meters per ball), you need 1630/124 = 13.14 balls. Rounding is always advisable, so you should buy 14 balls of Rowan Wool Cotton.
CREATIVITY. You can double a fine yarn to make a heavier … or combine a few fun yarns. Just don’t forget rule 1 and measure your meter … and be careful if you buy enough mileage. If the pattern requires 1000 yds of the original yarn and you decide to double something thinner, you will need 2000 yds of this thinner yarn.
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