patterns, yarn info

One Bird Is Not Like Another: Substitution of Sparrow for Chickadee


Wings, feathers, beaks. Songs, colours, sizes. Big, small, darting, swooping.

All give opportunity to pause, enjoy and learn.

The two birds I want to share today take shape in yarn. One wool, one linen. Both delightful, unique and perfect.

Pomaika’i was originally knit in Chickadee, a sport/dk weight 100% American wool yarn. I knit this pattern twice and I know how the yarn and pattern work together, a point to remember later in this post. It is fluffy and light, but warms and fills spaces between stitches with so much energy.

As I searched from my Quince and Co. hoard collection, I kept being drawn to my favourite of Quince’s offerings: sweet lovely Sparrow. This yarn is 100% organic linen and though it starts off as a crisp bit of knitting it relaxes in to itself and mellows, softens, delights.

But there are things to notice and consider when substituting one for another! I plan to share a bit deeper in days ahead how and what affects substitution of Sparrow for Chickadee yields.

Today I want to just get YOU thinking! I am a firm believer that if you tell me something important I might remember it. If you share with me ways to discover something important and then leave me to it I will remember it always.


I find using a good hydrating salve non-negotiable when knitting with linen. Instead of feeling dryness, there is a reminder to pamper hard working hands!








Here is Chickadee on the left. Good old trusted Chickadee that knit up 22 sts and 46 rows = 4″ [10 cm] in garter stitch, after blocking on US 5 [3.75 mm] for Pomaika’i.


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And here is Sparrow on the right. Simple in content. Complex in behaviour. Perfect to me in all ways. Sparrow’s tag shared that she will work up 6 sts per inch on US 3 [3.25 mm].

So, should one knit per recommended gauge for Sparrow or attempt to try bigger needles as per the pattern? What do you think? Not rhetorical, DO SHARE your thoughts in the comments!

Why not join me in an adventure in substitution either by doing Pomaika’i in the yarn weight and fiber content suggested to trying it in the lighter alternative of linen? Grab the pattern here. Investigate the yarn here. And let us discover the incredible possibilities we can find from one pattern. We start with Pomaika’i and then we GO BIGGER!



5 thoughts on “One Bird Is Not Like Another: Substitution of Sparrow for Chickadee

  1. I think that I’d do a swatch on both needles and see which swatch I liked better. Because we are knitting a shawl, size doesn’t matter quite as much. That being said, I think I would do some math ratios to see how much smaller the shawl would be and if it would still be workable at that size.

    Have never knitted in linen but was thinking of doing something for my mom who is in Florida for the winter and up north in the summer…always in warm weather so wool doesn’t work so well for her.


  2. grace says:

    I would probably swatch to get the 5.5 st/inch because the linen will not fill in any spaces like the wool. But swatching is absolutely necessary when substituting yarns.


  3. Pingback: Ides Of March | WITH∞MEL

  4. lindatytko says:

    Mel, I like your Pattern names in Hawaiian. I think you should keep them that way and explained the meaning of the words , Americans need to learn different languages. Most only know one English.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Pattern Longevity: Simple Substitution! | WITH∞MEL

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