Hello! I'm here to dive into the topic of yarn substitution this week! It's something which is very easy to do if you follow a few important tips. I very rarely use the specified yarn for a pattern. This is sometimes because I want to put my own unique stamp on a project, sometimes the yarn has been discontinued, sometimes because I want to stash bust and occassionaly it's because the yarn called for is out of my price range or geographical reach.
Whatever the reason, substituting yarn needn't be complicated and, like all things, with practice and experience it gets easier! So, here are my top tips for you;
- Yarn thickness. Look at the meterage/ yardage of the suggested yarn. It will usually give you the number of metres/ yards per 50g or 100g. When substituting yarn you want your yarn to be as close as possible to this figure, 20 metres per 100g over or under is within range, anything above or below this will alter your outcome.
- Fibre content. Take a look at the type of yarn called for in the pattern. It should tell you if it's merino wool, cotton, alpaca etc. When substituting, try and go for something as similar as you can because the yarn type impacts the drape, stitch definition, stretch and after care of your project. Many yarns use a blend of fibres, so for example if the specified yarn is 100% Blue Faced Leicester you can happily swap for 70% Blue Faced Leicester/ 30% Alpaca.
- Stretch. This one is a combination of tips 1 & 2; the type of fabric that yarn creates when knitted or crocheted up varies depending on yarn thickness and fibre content. My biggest piece of advice to you is to swatch (please don't hate me!). This way you can see how your chosen yarn behaves and decide if it's too floppy or too stiff. Does it drape the way you expected it to?
- Where to find help. For me the most useful source of help is a website called yarnsub.com. You can search for your specified yarn and it will come up with multiple suggestions for you and give you a match percentage rating. If Ravelry is accessible to you, project pages are super useful because you can look up the pattern that you want to follow and see the yarns other people have used. Finally Instagram can be helpful because you can either look up any hashtags your pattern has associated with it or ask your followers for recommendations.