General question about substituting yarn

Hi gals.

Probably a pretty basic question, but is a little confusing to me. I am trying to make a 100% cashmere dress. The pattern calls for Anny Blatt Capella yarn and is listed as a #5 on the Yarn weight system. I decided because I have priced this yarn at my favorite store at $41.00 for a 25g ball that I would do some shopping around and try to substitute the yarn out with a less expensive brand but am trying to figure out how to do that. A couple of the people selling yarn on line have listed the yarn as 1ply, 2 ply, 12 ply etc. What does that mean and how can I make sure I am getting yarn comparable to what I need. Thanks for your help.

Well let’s see… #5 is chunky so you need some chunky cashmere? :thinking: You might try Yarndex. I put in a search for cashmere and bulky and got a few. Change or add to the search as needed. How many stitches per inch does it say? There’s a few more choices in the heavy worsted category. I’m not sure about the plys so someone else will have to help you there.


The number of plies is not an automatic gauge of how thick the yarn is. It’s just the number of strands that are twisted together. You can have 2-ply fingering weight yarn, or 2 ply chunky yarn.

A 5 could be construed as a heavy worsted, too. Your best bet is to get an idea of the gauge of the pattern and compare that to the suggested gauge of the yarn.

Thanks for the tips ladies. I found a seller on the internet that is selling 10 balls 130yds per ball for a little over $100. I am skeptical because that is a huge difference from the the $41 per ball I would be paying for the Anny Blatt my pattern calls for. Does anyone else find this hard to believe. Does anyone else know where I can get really cheap cashmere or is this something that you definately have to spend the big bucks on. Oh and what do all the little rubber duckies mean?

Remember the adage, “you get what you pay for.” But then again, you are wise to look for the bargain. Cashmere is expensive for a reason. If you buy cheap fiber, you’ll be very frustrated and have worthless yarn.

However, many people have recommended this eBay seller: colourmartuk. I’ve never purchased from them, but they have excellent ratings and you can see pictures of what customers have made. They also give detail about their yarns in the listings, so it tells me they know what they are selling. They even have a free sample pack, so you can try samples for yourself - very cool. I keep telling myself to get one, but haven’t yet. They don’t seem to have anything larger than aran.

Then there’s School Products. I haven’t ordered from them yet either, but they have a good rep. They have some bulky cashmereright now.
Not to mention some cash/merino on conesor in skeinsthat comes in lots of colors. They have Karabella cash too, but more $$.

That’s as much as I know (not much!) and those are the 2 places I would consider.

Just a thought: cashmere is a very warm fiber. A bulky cashmere dress in L.A. might be suffocating, unless it’s sleeveless and low cut and loosely knit.

Another option is that if you find a thinner substitute that you like, you can double it or triple it to get the recommended guage. That’s what I had to do with my Skacel pullover. Even with having to buy double the wool, it was still half the price {and a much better feeling fibre too} than what the pattern recommended.