Need advice on substituting a cheaper yarn for silk yarn

I have been planning on making a sleeveless “high neck lace top” seen on page 92 of Vogue Knitting, Holiday 2005. It is made of silk yarn (category 3 of standard yarn weight system). The economical woman in me (OK, the cheap side of me) doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on silk yarn. And I feel better knowing I am using a renewable source of fiber that doesn’t involve killing the animal to get its fiber. Does anyone know a good substitute yarn I can use that will work as well with respect to drape and fit of the garment? Would cotton work, or a synthetic? I would appreciate any opinions, even if it is to convince me to just bite the bullet and buy silk yarn. Thank you.

Depending on the other properties of the pattern specified yarn, I have had okay results substituting a quality cotton for silk. I would suggest a mercerized cotton for sure. My 2¢ CAD would be to buy a test ball/ skein/ hank of the yarn you want to sub with and do a large swatch of the pattern with it. See if the finished swatch gives you the end result that you want.

I don’t have the pattern handy, but you would need to analyze what sort of properties the silk lends to the garment. Is it softness? Drape? You could posisbly substitute a yarn like Classic Elite Premiere, which is a blend of Pima Cotton and Tencel. Very soft and drapes well. Mercerized cottons have a crisp finish, which may or may not lend the sort of qualities you’re looking for.

For future reference, if you’re interested in sustainable resources, avoid buying acrylic yarns. Acrylic is made from plastic, and unless it’s a recycled yarn (which are expensive and difficult to find), is made from non-renewable petroleum. :slight_smile:

Thanks for your advice!

You could also consider soy silk, corn or bamboo yarn. They all have similar drape qualities as silk.

Along a similiar thought, does any one know of any where to get information on which yarn/companies/labels treat the animals humanely when shearing?
I found a blog or two that had some good comments, but nothing much online in the way of “This brand treats sheep/animals well.”

Any ideas?