Substituting yarns, finding yarns and picking yarns

zaphod42June 24, 2010

Hello all! This is my first time posting to this forum. I just picked up my knitting again after a three year hiatus (aka grad school). I'm pretty much still a novice. My greatest problem right now is finding the right yarns for the right project and substituting a yarn for the one they use in the pattern. I've had some bad luck with projects in the past (not getting enough yarn, not the right size, gauge issues). The worst experience occurred when a sales clerk actually helped me pick out a substitute yarn and it was the ABSOLUTE wrong choice. Anyway, can anybody recommend a chart, hint or process for translating back and forth?

Also, anybody use Zitron Nimbus worsted weight?

Another project calls for Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky Natural. I've got a third project with Morehouse Merino Bulky. Could I substitute Classic Elite Duchess or Princess or another Classic Elite for any of these? I've knitted with the Classic Elites in the past and have liked them, but am open to other suggestions. I tend to pick expensive yarns because I don't know any better so if there are recommendations for less expensive alternatives I'm open to suggestions. What on-line sellers have the widest range of products and/or best prices?

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Your knitting gauge ought to tell you if the yarn you want to use is a good substitute. I almost never use the yarn the pattern calls for. I know there are charts out there, but I don't know of any that are up to date. I am sure someone will post one. In the meantime, try Googling.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 5:06PM
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1. Buy 1 skein and check gauge. If that works....
2. Check yardage for the called for yarn and multipy by the number of skeins required.
3. Check yardage for the substitue yarn per skein and buy as much YARDAGE as needed for the called for yarn.

I always buy at least one skein more than what is called for, even if it is the called for yarn.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 8:57PM
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Good suggestions. Also, check the instructions for care and make sure all your yarns are compatible. I know this sounds elementary but, I was given a gift one time of a black and white afghan. The white part was washable and the black part was not. When I washed it, the black shrunk and looked like it had been felted. (I've never told my sister what happened.)lol

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 2:12PM
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A lot of the better known yarn companies have websites. They have lists of their yarns with guage and yardage and whether or not it is washable.

When you get a pattern and want a substitute go through a site and find one that has the GUAGE required. Write it down and go to the next site and do the same. When you are done then go back and choose a yarn. Note the yardage required and washability, and make a note of how many skeins you require. Then you can order either on line or take your list to a store.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 5:59AM
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Pris had something too (along with the gauge and swatch thing) can't "agitate" wool/natural fibre, but can acrylic. Many wools will felt. SO...
1. check weight of yarn (DK, Fingerling, lace, etc). THEN
2. Check gauge and yardage (only for amount to purchase)
3. Then when you buy the yarn, do a swatch, you may need to adjust your needles. When the swatch is right, you can begin.

ALSO remember...Cotton is MUCH heavier than a wool or acrylic. So that yarn will make something VERY HEAVY (i.e. an afghan that you can barely lift, compared to wool/animal fibre or acrylic)

If you are NOT a person to hand wash....make sure you check that too on the lable.

Ask when/if you have more questions.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 7:51AM
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