11 comments on “Substituting Yarns

  1. Thanks for this video. I try to use Ravelry to help understand yarn weights and equivalents too but I still find it pretty confusing! More and more, I am buying patterns online from America and don’t feel confident when buying yarn here in UK. Our wool is categorised, 4ply, DK, Arran etc but they don’t seem to mean the same things in America?

    Thanks for all your videos and patterns. I am a teacher and have a whole raft of your projects lined up for me in our school summer holidays!

  2. Hi Ingrid – I think yarn weights between UK and US are the same, but I could be wrong. (I say this because I have no problem buying yarn from the UK, like Rowan). The important thing to think about is the gauge that is printed on the label. If the stitches per inch on the ball band is close to what you need for a pattern, you’ll be able to adjust your needle size to get correct gauge for the pattern. That’s really all you need to know, ultimately.

    S t a c i

  3. Hi Staci,
    . . . Another great video! On the topic of checking that gauge is correct, one area that I falter in is with knitting sample squares. What are your thoughts on the necessity of knitting a 4 or 5 inch sample square of the yarn with the suggested needle size before starting a project? I just picked up a sock pattern and the weight of yarn it calls for and am wondering if it is necessary to truly check the gauge by knitting the sample square? Thanks for your help and continued knitting guidance!

  4. That’s a great question, Jill. Here are my thoughts on that –

    If you’re knitting something where fit isn’t important at all, like a scarf, then there is no need to knit a swatch to check gauge. The only important thing there is that you like the fabric you’re creating.

    If you’re knitting something small (like a sock or a hat), you can just start knitting and check your gauge from your knitted piece. If your gauge is way off, you an easily start over on something small with a different size of needles.

    If you’re knitting a fitted garment, you MUST check your gauge. You don’t even want to get started on something big like this, where fit is important, until you know you’ve got the correct tension. The alternative to this (something I learned from Elizabeth Zimmermann) is to check your gauge by starting first on the sleeve of your sweater. That way you’re knitting something small, which is no big deal to rip out if your gauge is off.

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

  5. Love the video-I think you must have thought of me when you made this-since I’m always saying “Staci-can I use cotton-I don’t like wool”. Thanks again.

  6. Thank you so much for this video and all your videos. I often do not knit a pattern because I can’t find the yarn or it is just to expensive.

  7. Thank you once again Staci for a very informative video. You are really a gem. Your videos have helped me so much.


  8. Hi Staci,

    Is it possible to switch from one yarn weight to another when knitting something like a scarf? For example, let’s say I’m knitting a simple garter stitch scarf, if I start with a bulky yarn and then want to switch to a worsted weight yarn, how do I do that and keep the width of the scarf the same? I assume I would have to add stitches but how do I calculate how many and where would I add the stitches.

  9. Nadi – yes, you can change yarns in a scarf to work stripes of different yarns, different colors. If you’re changing weights of yarns and you want to keep the same width, you’re going to need to add/subtract stitches and/or change needle sizes to achieve this. To get it right, you’ll need to knit up a swatch of each yarn, and check your gauge to see how many stitches you get per inch of each yarn. Here is my video on checking gauge: http://verypink.com/2010/12/21/checking-gauge/

    Where you add/subtract the stitches in each yarn change won’t matter much – just work the increases/decreases evenly across the row.

    Good luck! I’m thinking this is probably a bit more complicated than you thought it would be!
    S t a c i

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