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[Crochet] Tips and suggestions for yarn substitutions

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Post time: 2021-2-19 10:13
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Edited by BoingBoing at 2021-2-19 13:39

For those of you who would like to a substutue for a yarn that is no longer made, or is hard to get in your area/country, or you just don't like the feel of the yarn that your pattern recommends, here are some helpful things you can do to help figure out what would be a good substitue in no particular order...

Check out the book, Yarn Substitutions Made Easy by Carol J. Sulcoski which is here on PinDIY.  It goes into great depth on how to substitute yarn.


If you have a pattern, which states the brand, weight, gauge, and needle size, you can use the site YarnSub dot com.  All you need to do is enter the yarn name that you are supposed to use, and it will suggest substitutes from best to worst match.  I've used this site with great success especially trying to knit up a pattern from another country where the wool is not available where I am located.


A third option is if the pattern is on Ravelry.  Once you look up the pattern, you are given the details of the pattern, and several options to look at yarn ideas, projects, comments and forum posts.  If you look under yarn ideas for the pattern, all the yarn that has been documented in projects used in this pattern will be displayed, starting from the most number of times used to the least number of times used.  I've found thisto be one of my go to resources to trying to figure out what to use in a pattern.

Another option, which you may find more frustrating, is to take the yarn weight, gauge, and needle size from the pattern, and try to find something that is similar in your stash and swatch.  No matter what if you are substituting a yarn for the original in the pattern, you should swatch to ensure you are getting the correct gauge for the pattern.  Without the correct gauge, you can not be sure the sweater/pattern so it is important if you are doing a substitution.

Don't discount your local yarn store(LYS) and the knowledge that they have built up over the years.  My LYS has extremely knowledgable people working there are they are willing to give me a hand if I run into a substitution problem and will invariably recommend something that will produce a fantastic piece.

These are just some of the options you have when you need to make a substitute for the yarn recommended in your pattern.

Feel free to add more substitution options and I hope it helps those that have to make substitutions for whatever reason.



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Post time: 2021-6-24 04:57
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Edited by Silverlea at 2021-6-24 05:05

@toomuchreading

Thanks for all the info ♥  Unfortunately our labeling is pathetic.  Yes, I do look up the weight of the yarn required in the pattern, let's say it's worsted, right off the bat, we don't get worsted weight here.  So I have to make a plan to purchase DK and a 3/4ply to knit together to equal a worsted weight.  There are no gauge recommendations on our labels.  I get so upset at guessing what is required and having to purchase yarn that is total off gauge.  Yes, I do know how to change needles/hooks to get gauge but if the yarn is wrong all I do is end up with a cuboard full of useless stash.

It seems to me that they still market yarn the old fashioned way.  By that I mean you walk into a yarn shop and say 'oh look at all the pretty colors, let me buy bundles and then decide what I should make'!  

I am more of a person that sees a pattern, looks up the yarn, chunky/aran at 8WPI in a certain color way.  It would be heaven if I could walk into a yarn shop and ask them to show me their range on what I require.  When I do request what I am looking for, I get blank stares and an arm vaguely waved in the direction of all their shop stock!  When I do request to use my WPI gauge I am told NO, not allowed to un-wind their yarn and they won't do it either.

When I got hold of the supplier of yarns I asked them why they call themselves ABCD International when their labels are NOT international.  They told me they were under no obligation to do so!

The struggle is real :-)

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Thanks :-), yes got to the blog. I do have a measuring gauge but as I said above - not allowed to unwind yarn and owners/assistants won't unwind either.  Post time 2021-7-4 14:47
Just random browse on web and found this post & chart for approx WPI which might help from Knitpicks blog. Check it out to see blog.knitpicks.com/measuring-wraps-per-inch/ Hope links posts...  Post time 2021-7-4 07:19
@Silverlea Sorry I couldn't be of more help. That sucks that they don't label yarn with gauge. The only other thing I can think of is to go after your country's standards governing body, and ha  Details Reply Post time 2021-6-25 02:26
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 Author| Post time: 2021-6-23 04:22
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Hi @Silverlea
Manufacturers (in North America) of yarn nowadays, are following the Yarn Craft Council's Standard Yarn Weight System for labelling yarn.  Wraps Per Inch (WPI) is usually a measurement mostly used by weavers although hand spinners use it as well.  Your best bet to get manufacturers to change their labelling is to contact the Yarn Craft Council through their website (www dot craftyarncouncil dot com) and get them to change the standard for labelling.  It will be a long process though, unless it's already in the pipeline for an approved standard.  That still may not help you, because the yarn standards are voluntary in the US and Canada.  I don't know where you are, but the standards are different in other countries.  The Yarn Craft Council does have a page which roughly converts the gauge of yarn to WPI which may help you.  
If your pattern calls for a specific yarn, you can check the standard weight and gauge listed on the label and compare it to the yarns you have available.  If they are the same, you should be able to get a pretty close match which can then be verified by a gauge swatch.  I know it's not much, but I hope it helps a bit.  
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 Author| Post time: 2021-6-25 02:26
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Silverlea 2021-6-23 15:57
@toomuchreading

Thanks for all the info ♥  Unfortunately our labeling is pathetic.  Yes, I do loo ...

@Silverlea
Sorry I couldn't be of more help.  :'(  That sucks that they don't label yarn with gauge.  The only other thing I can think of is to go after your country's standards governing body, and have them mandate labelling yarn.  Each country in the world has a 'standards council' which governs things like labelling standards.  Some country's decide to go the easy route and just use the international labelling standard, and others like the US decide to do their own thing. It would be a lot of work on your part though.
The only other idea I can come up with is that on Ravelry, sometimes the WPI is listed on the yarn page under the Wraps per Inch line depending on who added the yarn entry.  Maybe with their larger user base, you can find a forum for the yarn manufacturer/supplier or under the comments tab for the yarn entry itself and ask other users for the WPI of the yarn you are looking at?  Just a thought...
Maybe someone else will come up with and idea to give you a hand...

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Post time: 2021-6-22 02:07
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Edited by Silverlea at 2021-6-22 02:08

Purchasing yarn is the bane of my life!  The main reason is our local supplier refuses to put WPI on the label and I find this infuriating.  Was looking for acrylic yarn (as per pattern) at 8 WPI (or nearest) and do you think ANY yarn shop could help? NO!!  Keep in mind these are shops that only sell yarn and they have no idea, I find this extremely strange.  I did contact the supplier and had a rant but I got nowhere fast :-(.  They told me to go by suggested needle/hook size on the label and I told them it didn't help as the garment I wanted to make uses a much bigger hook.  I have a WPI gauge but I am not allowed to use it in the yarn shops.

Yarm Sub site is good but yarn suggested is not available in my neck of the woods.  Any suggestions on getting the supplier to put WPI on the labels?  Keep in mind not all 4ply/dk/worsted/aran is not equal even with our supplier.
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Post time: 2021-3-4 02:30
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There’s a site yarnsub which is pretty good at offering solutions to this problem. I’ve used it quite often and found it useful.

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Yes they are good at offering substitutions, but I didn't want to post a direct link, so I spelled it out.  Post time 2021-3-8 09:25
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Post time: 2021-2-19 13:34
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Спасибо большое, за предоставленную информацию. Обязательно воспользуюсь Вашим советом.
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Post time: 2021-5-6 20:30
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i love it! it even has brazilian yarns, wich i find realy hard to find!
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Post time: 2021-9-6 11:07
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Great. A big thank for the info.
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Post time: 2021-7-17 07:00
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Muchas gracias por la ayuda
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Post time: 2021-8-21 20:06
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thank you for sharing
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Post time: 2021-4-29 04:35
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thanks for the tip,
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Post time: 2021-6-20 14:06
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Thanks so much
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