Yarn Substitution Tips

All fiber enthusiasts are sad when favorite yarns are discontinued.  Equally frustrating is the search for the designers choice of fiber and color.   To compare yarns, consider a few basic factors:  fiber, weight, total yardage, color, gauge, and stitch pattern.  Here are a few tips to make your substitute yarn purchase a happy experience.

1.  Calculate the weight per yard for both the designer's choice and substitute yarn.  Formula:  weight per yard=total weight of yarn divided by total yards=weight of 1 yard of yarn.  Try to get close to the designer's choice.

2.  Consider the fiber content.  Animal and plant fibers have different characteristics that affect the drape of the fabric and the look of the stitch pattern.  Do not stray far from the designer's choice.  For example, if the designer has chosen merino wool, do not purchase cotton. However, if you want a blended yarn, choose something that has a high percentage of merino wool.

3.  Consider the color (solid, tonal, tweed, heathered, variegated, hand-dyed).  Deviating from the designer's choice can have an effect on the look of the stitch pattern.

Other helpful formulas:

Number of skeins/balls of substitute yarn required to complete project=total yarn requirements of project divided by the yardage of one skein/ball of desired yarn. (note-round up to a whole number)

Stitches per inch=number of swatch stitches divided by the width of the swatch.

Rows per inch=number of swatch rows divided by length of swatch.

Note:  If your gauge swatch results in fewer stitches/rows per inch than the pattern, your finished project will be larger than the designer's choice.  If the swatch has more, the project will be smaller.

Ease=garment measurement minus actual body measurement (note-standard ease is 2-3 inches more than actual body measurement)