A Crafter's Right To Choose! A Tutorial for Substituting Yarn in Any Pattern

Sometimes you see that PERFECT pattern calling your name, but don't want to splurge on the yarn it calls for, or simply don't like the yarn choice. Maybe you have some stash yarn calling your name, and need to find a pattern you can use it on. 

Here at Nordic Mart we answer lots of questions about yarn. How many yards? How much is it? Is it machine washable? Does it come in a more yellow-orange, instead of a gold-orange? You get the idea. :) One of our most common questions is "How much do I need?" This question happens a lot, sometimes it is a simple answer and sometimes it is a little more involved. So to take away some of the mystery here's a handy how-to!

Lush by tincanknits

To get started lets choose a pattern. We thought we would go with this cute cardigan called Lush by tincanknits

This pattern calls for a DK weight yarn. 

Two great options to choose from would be DROPS Karisma Superwash or Cascade 220 Superwash.

To find other yarns that would be easily substituted, we looked at categories by weight. You could use anything in the 

#3 Weight Yarn Category

DROPS Karisma Superwash - 109 yds / 50g

So lets say we are going to make a size Medium using DROPS Karisma which calls for 1100 yards of yarn. For this calculation you would take the yardage required (1100) and divide this by the yards per skein (109), the answer be the number of skeins needed. It's that simple! :)

1100 yards ÷ 109 yards = 10.09 skeins

For this number we would not round up. Most patterns count skeins not actual yardage, we would round up a skein if the decimal place was over 3. 10 skeins should be plenty for this project as long as the gauge is correct (see our blog post about checking your gauge).

Let's do an example with Cascade 220 Superwash. Here's a pattern for you crocheters from Ravelry!

This Chevron Stripes 3 Season Sweater by Esther Chandler is made using Debbie Bliss Rialto DK. 


Chevron Stripes 3 Season Sweater by Esther Chandler

What would we do if we wanted to make it in Cascade 220 Superwash instead?

First, you need to find the yards per ball of Debbie Bliss Rialto

Step 1: 

If we make a size 36 we need 4 skeins of cream, 2 skeins of purple and 2 skeins of Navy.

Debbie Bliss Rialto has 115 yds / 50g (you usually can find this info in the pattern, or by searching the yarn)

Step 2:

Multiply the skeins required by the yardage of Rialto

Cream: 4 x 115 yds. = 460 yds.

Purple: 2 x 115 yds. = 230 yds.

Navy: 2 x 115 yds. = 230 yds.

Step 3:

Find the yards per ball of Cascade 220 Superwash

Cascade 220 Superwash has 220 yds /100 grams

Step 4:

Divide the total amount of yards required by the yardage of Cascade 220

Cream: 460 yards ÷ 220 yards= 2.09 skeins

Purple: 1 skein

Navy: 1 skein

The purple and the navy require 230 yards, but the designer states that she had plenty of leftover yarn. This means that we only need one skein of purple and one skein of navy. We love an even exchange!

It's not rocket science, but we know that calculations can be a challenge. The best way to work out exchanges is to look at the yardages! Get enough yarn to fill the yardage, and you're on your way!

Once you've found out many skeins you need, you are ready to choose a color, which is the best part! 

We hope this tutorial helps more of you branch out and feel free to pick the yarn you want to work in! :)