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Substitution in Knitting

This topic is a far reaching as there are colours of yarn with which to knit! And the possibilities only begin with colour! But colour does make a HUGE difference in the vibe your knitting gives. Just look at the two different versions of the Pomaika’i shawl. Same yarns, different colors. Completely different moods.

Substitution in knitting matters. I have been preparing for some time for a class I am teaching at the Carolina Fiber Frolic on this very subject.

There are so many reasons to knit a pattern in the yarn recommended. The designer often has a host of thoughts and insight for pairing the pattern with the yarn. Obviously they make a great team.

When you dig in to the reasoning behind that and understand the yarn to pattern relationship it really frees your creativity to twirl and leap and dance…without falling off the stage in to the orchestra pit. Have you been there? Are you feeling me? Yeah buddy! That has been me so many times. (Ever substituted faux fur or eyelash  for wool? I know I can’t be the only one who thought that would be a great idea….)

Perhaps you haven’t made alterations to a pattern before, except the colour of your yarn. Or maybe you switched brands but kept the fiber content identical not feeling that taking that big leap was something you were prepared to do. Or it could just be you haven’t had the need or seen a reason to substitute.

I want to learn together, experiment alongside you, if you are interested. No pressure, just a bit of learning at our own pace.

And then maybe later you’ll join me for a bit of stretching and leaping…maybe? For now lets just enjoy learning a bit together.

Let’s start the conversation, here and on Ravelry.

For here, let’s try a poll! (I know! I know! POLLS! But they are fun to make and quick to get an overview from and so I made one up below!) It is just 2 quick questions, so let your voice be heard!

And once you are done with that, head over to the Ravelry group! There are some fun things to share on the forum thread marked Some New Fun: Substitution in Knitting.

As always, thanks for dropping by and Aloha Friday!


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6 thoughts on “Substitution in Knitting

  1. I think it is lovely both ways.

    I hate to leave “tech” information in the “comments” section, but not sure how else to do it. I wanted to let you know that your site is being blocked for me when I try to view it in Chrome. All I get is a blank white page with a warning symbol by the url.

    I will be more than happy to give you all the technical details if you like (warning message, screen shot etc.) but didn’t want to clog up your comments. Just let me know.


  2. Don’t get me wrong, I love to use the yarn a pattern is designed for. Once upon a time, probably 2006BR (before ravelry) I usually knit patterns with the yarn the designer had in mind. This was because I’d go to my LYS, tell the owner I wanted to knit a sweater, she’d show me what patterns she had in and then she’d sell me the yarn.

    Now though, Rav has opened up a whole new world of fabulous designers. The internet has provided me with unplumbed depths of new yarns to try.

    I still go to my LYS. Now I’m more likely to have found a gorgeous pattern from a foreign designer using yarn local to her/him. I shop for yarn I think will work well with the pattern. I look at other peoples’ projects. See what their yarn choices produced and go from there.

    I’m lucky to have a knowledgeable LYS owner who can confidently recommend her yarns. I’m building my own knowledge base too. Growing in confidence and I enjoy trying out all those beautiful new-to-me yarns

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great blog today (as always really) and especiwlly addressing an issue I am going through presently with a new KAL. Most timely and I will be happy to share my “dilemma”. Thisbirdknits on Rav is hosting her first KAL using her design “Sloane Shawl”, pattern calls for worsted, I have a lovely green shade (perfect for Spring wearing) in Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light (a sport weight yarn). To begin with my yarn weight is lighter, secondly the yards I have available lacking as well. To avoid going to our storage unit where most of my yarn is I am going to cast on using this yarn and keeo you updated as I progress along. We all know fron the get go my finished project will be more of a shawlette vs shawl, right? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a really interesting topic! I often use a different yarn than the designer used for the pattern, usually because a) i can’t get the specified yarn or b) the designer’s patterns are usually humongous/ginormous on me. I make a 6″ X 6″ swatch using the pattern repeat and the needles appropriate for the yarn. If I like the fabric, I carry on with the project or if not, find a different yarn for that pattern. Right now I am working on an MKAL that the designer has said is ginormous and she is recommending fingering weight yarn; I love her patterns but am making it in lace weight in order to get an end result that will be useable for me. It is fun to be adventurous, but it is also fun to use the yarn the designer has chosen.


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