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Substituting Yarn

Substituting Yarn

One of the pleasures of knitting is to be able to create something absolutely unique and one of the easiest ways of doing this is to use a different yarn than the one suggested in your pattern. (Note; I didn’t say different weight of yarn – it can be tricky substituting, for example, an aran weight for a double knit unless you want to get into a pattern re-write!) However, as long as you check your tension by knitting a tension square before casting on, yarn substitution is just a bit of know-how and maths! For this “how to” were going to use meters but the same method obviously applies to yards.


Your first step is to calculate the meterage of the suggested pattern yarn. If it doesn’t give metres per ball in the pattern a quick “Google” on the internet should enable you to find the yarn details. is a great resource for this.


Multiply the ball meterage by the number of balls given to make the correct size. This is the total meterage required for the project.


Now find the meterage of your substitute yarn. Divide the total meterage by the substitute meterage and you will get a figure which represents the number of substitute balls or skeins required. In the following example I am using substituting baby cashmerino for 4ply artesano alpaca.


STEP ONE: The pattern requires 8 balls of Baby Cashmerino yarn. The website tells me there are approx 125m per ball. The total meterage required is therefore 1000m.


STEP TWO: There are approx 184m per ball of Artesano 4ply. 1000 divided by 184 equals 5.43... Therefore you require 6 balls (always round up) of the substitute yarn. What could be simpler than that!