Substituting Yarn

substituting yarnOne of the most common alterations made to any given pattern is when the knitter uses a different yarn than the one called for in the pattern. This can happen for a multitude of reasons – the knitter wants to use stashed yarn, the yarn isn’t available in his or her LYS, the knitter has an allergy – or maybe even just a preference – for a different fiber, the suggested yarn doesn’t come in the desired color, the suggested yarn has been discontinued – the list goes on and on. Whatever the reason, it’s a pretty safe bet that at some point in your knitting life, you’ll want or be forced to use a different yarn than recommended.

How do you know which yarns might be a suitable substitute?

There are a lot of things you should look at when choosing substitute yarn including:

  • Gauge. This one is very important. It is important to check gauge even if you ARE using the recommended yarn. Knitting is like handwriting, everyone’s is unique to them and even if you’re using the recommended yarn and needles, your gauge could be off no matter what and you’ll have to change something (usually needle size). When substituting a yarn, ALWAYS remember to double check your gauge.
  • Fiber content. Different fibers behave in different ways. They fall differently, have different memory capacities (this does not mean the yarn knows when your birthday is), block differently and react to wear in their own unique ways. If the yarn called for in the pattern is 100% wool, it’s unlikely that a 100% silk, even if in the recommended weight and even if the gauge swatch comes out perfectly, will be a perfect match because these two fibers produce completely different fabrics.
  • Yardage amounts. Just because the pattern recommends 5 skeins of the suggested yarn, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll need 5 skeins of the yarn you’re substituting with. Check the yardage amounts per skein for the suggested yarn as well as your substituted yarn, you may find that you need twice as many skeins, or possibly half! (but who would complain about having “too much” yarn? I’m not sure that’s even a possibility.)

This is just a brief overview, but I hope it helps some of you make decisions regarding which materials to use in the future! Have you ever substituted yarn when working a pattern?  How did it turn out? How did YOU choose which yarn to work with?

Pattern Release: The Forest Cardigan

Happy Friday knitters! Today I’m excited to announce that the Forest Cardigan is available for download on Ravelry, LoveKnitting, Etsy and Craftsy!

The Forest Cardigan was inspired by my favorite place – the mountains (I try to be really creative with my pattern names, can you tell?). The colors in my original sample, the woolly texture of the yarn, the stitch patterns are all reminiscent of the rocks and trees that I love so much. My buttons even speak to the inspiration being made of wood!

This sweater is knit from the top down with raglan shaping, then stitches are picked up at the end for the button band and collar – no seams!

Materials:
Worsted weight wool: 300 (350, 400, 450, 500, 550, 600, 650)yds in color A & 200 (250, 300, 350, 400, 450, 500, 550)yds in Color B
Size 9 (5.5 mm) circular needles (cir) 32-40” depending on size being made and set of double-pointed needles (dpn)
4 Stitch markers
Darning Needle
7 1.5”/3.75 cm buttons

What are the colors of your favorite places?

WIP Wednesday: Just the Yoke

I feel like I’ve finally made some interesting progress on the Cascades pullover! This past weekend I made it to the yoke and joined the sleeves to the body. It looks a little silly still but I feel like I’m finally on the homestretch with this project and I can’t wait to have it finished and in my closet!IMG_3182

My goal is to have it done within the next 2 weeks so I can wear it during a girl’s weekend with my momma and get some good photos of it in action. I think I can make that “deadline” ::knocksonwood::

What are you working on this week?

Purse Knitting

First of all, I want to thank each and every one of you guys – your support on my last post means the world to me (as does your support, well, all the time) and I want you to know you’re special.

Now, onto today’s topic:

When one becomes a knitter, at some point in time – whether that be early on or later in the process – one generally wants to bring their projects with them. Always. Wherever they go. For most ladies and some gents, this is called “purse knitting” (or “backpack knitting” “satchel knitting” “whatever-you-carry-your-knitting-in knitting”). Frequently these projects are smaller than an afghan and don’t require constant chart-checking or fiddling. Many knitters like to use socks as their purse knitting, some prefer hats and a large group of folks are obsessed with blanket pieces (hexipuffs, mitred squares, etc).IMG_2379

Me? I take whatever the hell I’m working on in my purse. Luckily/unluckily I have a large purse which means that even big projects (like my Cascades) fit in it. On the one hand, this means that being a monogamous knitter is that much easier. On the other hand, I’m the crazy lady carrying around a sweater-in-progress in her purse and sometimes projects like that get heavy. IMG_2380

I also carry around a toolkit with small scissors, stitch markers, darning needles, scrap yarn, spare dpns, tape measure, stitch holders, needle gauge and small Eucalan samples – you just never know what you’re going to need. I grew up with Boyscout brothers and a Troop Leader Dad, I know how to be prepared. Some might say it’s overkill but if you get stuck in the mountains because of a winter storm you don’t want to need any of those things and NOT have them . Then you just end up doing stupid shit like using a safety pin as a “darning needle” because you’re too excited to wait to sew up the seams of your sleeves and ::cough:: ahem.

You just want to be prepared.

What does your purse knitting look like?

Truthtime

Knitters, I knew this week would be a tough one to blog during – work was scheduled to be busy and things that happen after work were happening all week long. And then yesterday, after my work day, I got laid off.IMG_3147

It’d be easy for me not to mention it and to keep the blog all happy happy joy joy, knitting and pups and mountains yay! But. This year I want to make an effort to be more transparent in my blogging and this is a big thing that quite a few people have had – or will have – to deal with in their lives. At first I was upset, mad, discouraged and angry. I’m still feeling a lot of those things today but I’m trying to look at the bright side:

  • This creates more space for a more fulfilling, inspiring opportunity to fill its place
  • Dealing with tough shit makes you stronger

I’m a Law of Attraction person and am working on envisioning my dream job, what it looks like, feels like, inspires in me and allows me to be able to do. I’m going to go to networking events and talk to people and get past my shyness. I’m going to take care of myself and not get lost in the negative feelings spurred by the change.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay on the sunny side and get shit done? What are you working on this week?

On My To-Knit List

There are so many gorgeous projects out there that I want to tackle right.this.second and have in my closet. I’m not a solely monogamous knitter but I do try to stick to one or two projects to make sure that I actually finish them (as I mentioned the other week) and so I know that if I cast on all the things I wanted to knit, I’d feel guilty for having too many. Yarn brings feels, ya’ll and guilty is not one that I want. Here are some of my favorite projects that I’m holding off on for the time being – are you knitting any of them? Perhaps I can live vicariously through your projects!

  1. From Another Place Crop Top by Leah Coccari-Swift
  2. Lucca by Jared Flood
  3. Peony by Kat Riddell (I even already have the pattern for this one AND the yarn picked out!)

Do you have a waiting list of knits that you’re dying to get to? What are some of your faves?

WIP Wednesday: One Done & Onto the Next

Phew, I was finally able to finish up the first sleeve for the Cascades pullover over the weekend and immediately started the cuff of the second sleeve. I’m making a few mods to the sweater – especially in the sleeve area. I don’t like sleeves to be too tight on my upper arms and in the armpit area so I’m making the second size and will add a few more decreases to the raglan when I join the pieces together to help it fit the first size body piece.IMG_3128

I also added an inch or so of length – I don’t have extra long arms but I do like cozy “sweater paws” as Kat recently put it. Now I just have to wish and hope and wish and hope that I have enough yarn to make the mods (A-line body shaping, larger, longer sleeves) and make the sweater work!

What are you working on this week?