Yarn substitution and some ideas for Amy, Venturi and the designs from the book “Wrap your Knitting with Love”
It is very usual that a pattern suggests a yarn that we don’t like or that we prefer to use another one that we have in stash. To be successful replacing yarns, it is recommended to take some things in consideration:
- Gauge: There’s no doubt that in knitting, gauge is crucial. The more accurate you match the original gauge of the pattern, more successful you will be on your project. Knitting a sample to measure the gauge can take a few precious hours in our anxious state to start a project. However, this step can save us from tons of ripping-off or giving away that dream project for another person because it didn’t fit.
Patterns present gauge as a certain number of stitches and rows over a vertical and horizontal measure (usually 4 X 4 inches or 1 X1 inches) in a specific stitch pattern. When we cast-on and start to knit we have a certain tension. As long as we keep knitting and getting used with the relationship between our hands, the needles and the yarn, we tend to relax and produce another tension.This effect also occurs at the side edges and at the bind-off area, where we change our repeated motion to do something else. The result is that we create another tension. To get a more accurate gauge, it is suggested to knit beyond the gauge suggested area: at least 6 X 6 inches, leaving the sample resting in a flat surface for a while and taking measurements with a non flexible ruler (as a metal one) on the center of the fabric.
Tip 1: Sometimes the simple fact of changing your work needles to another one made with a different material it’s enough to reach the gauge measurements suggested on the pattern. Each needle material interferes in our tension.
Tip 2: Always take the measurements in a flat and stable surface with a non flexible ruler. Tape measures are too flexible and the measurements are not that accurate.
Another positive aspect to knit a bigger gauge sample is the possibility to check how the fabric “behaves”, how the fabric drapes.
- Choose a yarn with the same characteristics from the one suggested on the pattern, such as fiber, plies, yardage per grams or ounces.
Different fibers “behave” differently, despite the fact that they can have the same gauge. For example: we can have the same gauge with a wooly and a cottony yarn. If we knit a sweater with a wooly yarn, we will have a flexible fabric that bounces back after being washed. The same sweater knitted with a cotton yarn will not be that flexible and the fabric tends to grow.
What are the first steps to find a yarn that can replace the one from the pattern?
Along with four dear friends, we launched a book with simple and quick knits for Christmas gifts: "Wrap your Knitting with Love", for sale on Ravelry by clicking here or by bank deposit on the group's website, intrepid knitters, clicking here!
Some people have written asking about replacing yarn and our suggestion is:
If you are not familiar with the suggested yarn and you have yarns at home that would like to use, take a quick look at the photo of the pattern and on the indicated needle sizes. These two initial steps will now tell you something , will give you a clue about the thickness of the yarn, so you can start testing your yarn at home. Another useful tool is the feature on Ravelry that allow us to see what yarns other people are using to make their projects.
The Shoulder Wrap and Cowl Amy was originally knitted with a 100% merino wool yarn with 10 cables and each 100gr skein has 165 yds or 150m. The needles used were 5.5 mm and 6.0 mm and the sample has 16 points and 24 rows in Stockinette Stitch for 10 X 10cm. This information already tells me that some yarns, such baby and sock yarn, cotton yarn etc will not work well for this project.
Then I'll search on my stash for yarns that have composition with maximum amount of wool (if not 100%), that has 100grs approximately 150m, which has lots of cables (if not 10), and that the label suggests needles between 5mm and 6mm. I'll also take a look at the Ravelry page to see what yarn people are using: eg Dear friend Andrea Lederer used the yarn Lily from Circulo and her project looks fabulous!!!
That would be my starting point for researching and making samples to choose the yarn for knitting Amy.
The Venturi scarf was worked with our very Brazilian yarn by Da Fazenda! If you have the opportunity to purchase the yarn to knit Venturi Scarf, I'm sure that you will be amazed about the yarn, and also for supporting a Brazilian yarn producer! But if not possible, the suggestion is to follow the same steps outlined above for the Shoulder Wrap and Cowl Amy: the yarn is single ply 100% merino wool and each 200gr skein has 415 yds or 380m. The needles used were US8 / 5,0mm and US9 / 5,5mm and the sample has 16 sts and 20 rows on 4 X 4 inches of 2 X 2 Rib. In the same way this initial information indicates me that yarns such as acrylic, cotton etc will not produce one piece with the same characteristics.
This approach can work for all the other patterns from "Wrap your Knitting with Love"!
I hope this information can help you when replacing yarns for any patterns that you may like to knit!
Peace, Knit, Love...always! Paula