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Learning how to substitute yarns

There is a lot of conversation on Instagram and FaceBook about designers and indie dyers. Some people feel discriminated against because they can’t use expensive yarn. I think I am hearing that some knitters feel unseen by the knitting industry.

There is a lot that goes into a collaboration between a designer and an indie dyer and even more when you think about farm yarns. There is the cost of the yarn and the marketing of the pattern along with the yarn. And sometimes, the yarn recommended in the pattern becomes unavailable. There are so many choices of yarns and many of those choices are regional.

New fingering weight Cormo farm yarn

Because of this it is important to learn how to substitute yarn in a pattern. That way you have all the freedom to use yarn in your stash, yarn from a big box store or yarn from a fiber farmer like me. I just published a podcast all about yarn substitution. You can find it on itunes or you can click here to listen.

Here are the highlights:

  1. You can measure the size of the yarn in your stash with this tool.
  2. You can search for patterns that would use this size of yarn on Ravelry.
  3. There are times when gauge counts and times when it doesn’t. Know which is which.
  4. If you are making a garment that needs to fit, you have to swatch….Sorry! You just have to.
  5. I give you a couple of easy swatching hacks so you don’t feel like you’re wasting time, money and yarn.
  6. I also show you 2 patterns where I totally changed the needles and the yarns and you can see how they turned out.

And if you like the podcast, I would appreciate you leaving a review on itunes. I’ll be addressing more on this topic in the future. Have a question? Let me know what it is. I’d love to have some Q & A sessions as well.

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Sweater Knitting

Sweater Knitting

 Have you knit yourself a sweater? I have made a couple and I’ve had a few made for the shop in the last few months. It seems like the knitting community is making a turn towards sweater knitting. Oh there are still plenty of shawls to make.

Sweaters seem especially daunting because they are supposed to fit. And that adds a level of difficulty. How do we make sure that sweater is not too big nor too small, to make sure it’s just right.

First of all you need to take your measurements. And so gather your bestie and take each other’s measurements. Secondly, you need to get gauge. You MUST make a swatch. You have to. I know what you are saying. It wastes time and yarn and therefore wastes money. But if your gauge is off, then your sweater will not be the same size as the designer’s sweater and it will not fit. If you do these 2 things, you will have success!


Just one more thing about sweater knitting and really knitting in general, it’s OK to ask for help. I’ve had a sweater mentor and I also had a sock mentor. Someone who can walk with you step by step through the hard parts. Having mentors (thank you Ellen and Terry!) gave me added confidence to step into something new and to be successful. Go out and find a sweater pattern to make. Check out Corrine Walcher’s designs on Ravelry. She designs great cardigans!!