Today I want to talk about yarn substitution. It`s an important topic because there are a million reasons why we substitute yarn.
– Maybe the yarn has been discontinued since the pattern was designed.
– Maybe the type of yarn listed is too expensive.
– Maybe you want to use yarns you already have in your stores.
– Maybe you prefer the feel of one yarn type over another.
Whatever your reason, it’s a fact of life that, sometimes, it can come in handy to know how to substitute yarn the right way. So let`s open up the topic.
I have some special tips and tricks to share with you, but first you have to understand what are the features you need to consider when finding a substitute.
YARN SUBSTITUTION BASICS
One of the most helpful sources while attempting to make a replacement is— the yarn’s label! You’ll find a host of measurements on these yarn labels that will allow you to make the most accurate substitution when properly matched. Try to substitute yarn that has similar, if not the same, measurements.
Another important tip is to always crochet a swatch, or a small practice patch, before you decide to continue with the full pattern. This way, you’ll have a fuller idea of whether your replacement yarn will work for your pattern or not before you put in all of the work.
GRAMS AND METERS
Even if you have no specific understanding of yarn weight, you can still understand the grams and meters. It`s the most basic information you can find on any yarn label.
So basically, you are interested in how many grams of yarn there is in a meter. This says a lot about yarn thickness. For example, 75 meters in 50 grams is way thicker than 150 meters in 50 grams.
Remember: The lower the number of meters, the bulkier the yarn.
If you need to find for a substitution, check the original yarn used in the pattern, and search for the grams in meters information. Then try to find a yarn as similar as possible to those number.
Another feature you should consider is the fibers. If the original pattern uses cotton and you want to achieve a result closest to the original, also pick cotton. The same goes to wool or any other mixtures.
WHERE TO SEARCH FOR YARNS WHEN YOU SUBSTITUTE YARN FOR CROCHET PATTERNS
Whenever I need to substitute yarn, I have 3 places I go to.
Yarnsub is a search engine that helps you find yarns that are close to the exact match. They have an enormous amounts of yarns listed in their search engine. It`s an easy online tool you can use for free.
The result you’ll get when searching is how many % exact match the yarn is. The top of the results will give you yarns that are about 90-99 % match.
Then they’ll tell you if the texture is the same, if the gauge on the yarn matches, if the yarn fiber is the same, if the yarn qualities are the same (drape, warmth, elasticity & durability), how long the yarn balls are & how much 1 yarn ball weighs. Depending on how many factors matches, you’ll get the score.
What I find a challenge when searching on Yarnsub, is that I sometimes would like to substitute for a yarn with a close to exact match fiber, not the exact. Then the search won’t help me.
I wish that I could specify which of the factors where most important to me.
On Ravelry you’ll find a really big library of yarns. For each yarn you’ll find information about yarn weight, yards & meters, unit weight & so on. Essentially everything that the yarn label will tell you.
What’s great is that on the yarn you’ll also find patterns that uses the yarn & projects that uses the yarn.
In that way you can dive into patterns that uses this yarn & find other patterns that suggest both this yarn & another similar yarn.
If another pattern suggests another yarn, it will most likely also work for the pattern you’re substituting yarn for.
Search on Google will also help you when you’re going to substitute yarn for crochet patterns.
A good old “yarn substitute for _______” will sometimes give you exactly what you’re looking for. However that’s not always the case.
Then I’ll start searching for “yarn fibre” + “yarn length (meter or yards)” + “yarn weight”. Then I’ll often end up with many great results.
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