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Thursday, February 13, 2014

JOURNEY knit along || Yarn Substitutions

It's not always easy to find the yarn recommended in a pattern and choosing a substitute can be difficult if you don't know where to begin. A few things to keep in mind when choosing an alternate -- consider the characteristics of the original yarn : gauge, fiber content, and how the yarn is spun can greatly effect the knitted fabric, choosing a yarn that closely resembles the original ensures predictable results.

Yesterday Shannon posted some great suggestions for her patterns from JOURNEY, today I've put together a short list of yarns that I think could make great substitutes for my patterns in the book.

SPATE || worsted
SPATE by Jane Richmond || Yarn substitues
Original Yarn: Sincere Sheep Bannock

Spud & Chloe Sweater
One of my all time favorite yarns! It's the perfect blend of wool and cotton and is a so lovely to knit with. It also produces perfect stitch definition -- ideal for a pattern such as this -- just check out Alisa's mitts and you'll see what I mean.

Quince & Co Lark
Another of my favorite yarns to knit with. For me Lark is everything a wool should be -- it's smooth without loosing it's woolly quality, it's soft and buttery but wears really well, it has lovely stitch definition and the colours are subtle and perfect. Check out Sushipie's mitts in egret, the neutral colour really shows off the stitch pattern.

Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label Aran Weight  
For multifaceted colour and stitches that pop I recommend TFA Green Label -- the tonal quality that makes this hand died yarn so special also makes the stitch pattern luminescent. Just check out Misocraftyknits mitts and you'll see what I mean!

I've seen these mitts knit up in both TFA's Orange Label (worsted) and Green Label (aran) and although both yarns produce stunning mitts the original yarn is a heavy worsted which makes the aran a better match.

CLIMB || fingering
CLIMB by Jane Richmond || Yarn Substitutes

Original Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll

SweetGeorgia Yarns 
Everyone knows I'm in love with SGY sock yarns! All four sock yarns would be excellent substitutes for this pattern: the BFL Sock is soft and woolly, the Superwash is durable, the Tough Love has the best of both worlds -- slightly woolly and certainly sturdy, or use the Cashluxe Fine for the softest most luxurious socks ever. A perfect example are Jeni's awesome Climb socks in Tough Love!

Cascade Yarns Heritage 
Cascade makes some of my favorite yarn, the 220 is a staple in my stash because it's soft yet hard wearing and best of all it's affordable. I chose the Heritage as a substitute because it's a good sturdy yarn with the right blend of fiber -- 75% Merino / 25% Nylon -- and comes in classic colours perfect for a pair of Climb socks.

Patons Kroy Socks 4 Ply
I've chosen Kroy Socks for the same reasons as the Heritage, it's a workhorse yarn available in classic colours and has the same sturdy blend of merino and nylon.

INLAND || chunky
INLAND by Jane Richmond || Yarn Substitutes

Original Yarn: Quince & Co Puffin

Patons Classic Wool Roving
It's no secret I love working with this yarn, I've designed many patterns with it and knit my very own Inland cardigan using this yarn. It's not as hard wearing as the Puffin (as the name would suggest - it is roving) but what it lacks in sturdiness it makes up for in softness!

Bernat Roving 
Although I've never used Bernat Roving before it's very similar to Patons Classic Wool Roving. I am a big fan of 100% wool which is why the Patons would be my first choice but the acrylic content in this yarn would make for a more durable garment.

Knit Picks 
Knit Picks has a few bulky yarns I would recommend for this project: Biggo is soft and bouncy with lots of twist, Wool of the Andes is a more traditional wool and would make a nice warm tunic to ward off the cold, and Swish Bulky would also work well, it's soft and perfectly squishy with great stitch definition -- it's also one of my personal favorites but sadly has been discontinued.

Of course these are only a few of the endless possibilities! Want more? I highly recommend using Ravelry's advanced search -- don't forget to input your gauge for better accuracy! 

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  1. Love the yarn recommendations! Inland was a challenge to substitute and Brown Sheep Nature Spun Chunky seems to be working out very well - I think it's pretty similar to Wool of the Andes, so I was happy to see that on your list.

    And... thanks for the "shout out" on my mitts! *blushing* I adore the entire Spud & Chloe line, but the Sweater just makes the stitches really 'pop'!

    1. Alisa your mitts are what inspired me to put it on the list -- although it's a long time favorite! I knew the Inland would be a challenge, the Puffin results in a very specific look to the knitted fabric that ultimately needs to be substituted with a single ply yarn to achieve the same results.

  2. Awesome suggestions! I've seen a few sets of Spates knit up in TFA and they all make me want to cast on for my own pair asap!

    1. Tanis the first pair of mitts I saw using TFA blew me away! It really is a perfect match for a stitch pattern like this! Your yarns take this project to the next level.

  3. I am a total dropout when it comes to learning how to substitute and I hate to ask for help. Hoping you will help me this time! I have your patterns, Shannon and Marian. Also 2 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky and 1 Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande. Can I use either in these patterns? Thanks, Judy
    PS I have made several of your hat patterns and granddaughter loves, loves, loves them.

    1. Judy -- it can be tough and it's always good to ask for help! I've looked up both yarns you've mentioned and found that the Baby Alpaca Grande, although classified as a super bulky, knits up at 12 sts per 4 inches and wouldn't be heavy enough for either of these patterns (Shannon and Marian). The Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky on the other hand, at 8 sts per 4 inches, would be perfect for either one!

    2. Thank you Jane for all that research. I appreciate it.