Substitute yarns

I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction when it comes to substituting yarns out of patterns.

I am going to make my first ever sweater (yikes)
and was looking to find a more frugal substitute for yarn (especially since this is my first attempt at a sweater)

I started off looking for another worsted weight yarn that has about the same gauge and found Knit One Crochet Too Angora Soft closeout for $2.99/ball. I know that I would have to buy enough to allow for the yardage difference, but is there anything that I am missing?

Has anyone worked with this yarn before? did you like it?

You can use the website to compare yarns - to make sure the stitch guage is the same size and such. Be sure, even if you are using the yarn called for in the pattern to carefully check the guage through a swatch to make sure your garment will be the correct size.

thanks for the help. I tried using the yarndex, but it can’t find the yarns I’m trying to look up. Any secret to using that site?

I just started something with Angora Soft, and I HATE it. The angora is woven in very sparsely, so it really just seems like a cotton with a few stray cat hairs…know what I mean? Also, the first ball I used had FOUR knots.

The real key to subsitution is making sure it’s the same weight. There’s usually a weight (worsted, sport, etc.) and/or gauge listed on the yarns. If you’re getting a close weight or gauge, it should work fine. The other thing to consider is fiber content. There’s no reason you can’t use a cotton yarn on a sweater that calls for wool, as long as you understand that it will drape differently. Wool’s got more elasticity, so it will hug and stretch more. When cotton stretches, it doesn’t really spring back, and it tends to hang in a more boxy way.

Hope that helps!

ETA: Duh! You already get the gauge stuff. :slight_smile:

i was just about to post this same question. i know how to substitue when i have the yarn in hand, but i’m really confused on knowing what yarn i can sub in, and how much of it i need. do you just need to choose the same weight and then get the same yardage? if it’s the same weight it SHOULD be the same length right? when they do sweater patterns, do they leave a buffer so you have enough? i don’t need to buy an extra ball just to be safe do i?
i want to order yarn off knit picks for my next sweater, but i’m dragging my feet because i’m scared i won’t get it right!


i always used my lys when i bought subs before, but i can’t afford the prices now…that and the last time i went to buy sock yarn there, the person helping me confused me SO much because she was trying to convert mesurements and stuff over from a foreign yarn band, and i was completely lost! i’m very visual, so having someone explain it to me by doing math in their head just makes matters worse.

is there a website or book that explains it well?

You’re on the right track. :slight_smile: If you have the same weight, the yardage will be pretty similar as the original, but if it’s just a bit off it won’t matter (I just bought skeins that were 100g/242 yards to sub for another that was 100g/260 yards). Just make sure you order the same total yardage.

I do, yes, usually order an extra ball just in case. I’ve found myself a few yards short before! I think whether there’s a buffer probably depends on who’s writing the pattern. Better safe than (trying to match dye lots later) sorry!

RE: a book or web site, I don’t know of one…just trial and error speaking here, but someone else may have more ideas!

Also, Knitpicks is great, and even if you were to get your yarn and find it’s all wrong, they’ll let you return it. Go for it! :thumbsup:

Weight does NOT necessarily equal yardage (although it would be helpful if it did!). Different fibers are heavier than others (for example, cotton is heavier than wool). Also, some yarns are spun tighter than others. One may be a bulky weight with lots of air in it, while another with the same weight may be spun tightly and knit up finer.

As for a website or book to tell you exactly how to measure it…other people would know better than I would. But it wouldn’t hurt to buy an extra ball of yarn, would it? :teehee:

Oooh! Yes, good point!

thanks all for the help, and also for the heads up about the angora soft. I’ve never bought yarn online before, so am nervous about getting a product i’m unhappy with. and chances are slim to none that a return is possible since it’s a closeout.

how heavy is wool compared to acrylic?