How to Find a Good Yarn Substitution
Sometimes you will find a pattern from another Country and it is not possible to get the yarn used in the written pattern. In these cases you may want to try to substitute with a different yarn…but how do you find a good yarn substitution? and how do you know how much yarn you will need?
How to Find a Good Yarn Substitution
I want to use a different yarn than the one used in the written pattern.
Remember this calculation will provide you with the approximate yardage (an approximate length of yarn) you need but there are other important factors to take into consideration – especially for crocheting items like garments (i.e. clothing, hats, sized apparel) – because the yarn itself – being cotton, acrylic, wool, etc. will also play a large part in the drape and feel of the fabric you create.
Please note: You need to play CLOSE attention to the gauge you reach as this will determine if your finished project will meet the dimensions specified in the instructions. So make sure you try a gauge swatch and compare it to the one provided in the pattern.
I offer you no guarantee that you will be pleased by the end result when you substitute a different yarn for the one used in the written pattern. If you are willing to give it a try – you do so at your own risk.
I am not liable for the costs (physical or financial) you incur for the purchase of the yarn, nor the time you invest in your project!
Now that I have that out of the way – here’s how you calculate how much yarn you need!
The pattern indicates you need 200 g of Yarn A.
On the Yarn Label you see that Yarn A is sold in 50 g balls and each ball has 75 m.
So you would need to purchase 200 g / 50 g = 4 balls of Yarn A to have 200 g in total (200 g divided by 50 g equals 4 balls)
Each ball has 75 m of yarn. 4 balls x 75 m = 300 m of yarn (4 balls multiplied by 75 m equals 300 m)
Say you don’t want to use Yarn A or it is available across the Pond and the cost to get the yarn is not an option for you – so you want to use Yarn B instead… this is how you find out how much of Yarn B you need (approximately).
100 g balls with 156 m in each ball
You know you need 300 m of Yarn A from the above calculation.
So if you want to use Yarn B you need 300 m / 156 m = 1.92 balls of this yarn (300 m divided by 156 m equals 1.92 balls of yarn) and since we can’t purchase partial balls you will always need to round up – to the next whole number of balls of yarn. You will need 2 balls of Yarn B for the project.
One final point I want to bring to your attention – you can find out how many grams per meter are in the yarn (to give you a yarn ‘weight’). You obviously wouldn’t want to use a super bulky weight yarn in place of a light cotton weight yarn for an outfit because it would look completely different than the Design you wanted to make.
Yarn A (Scheepjeswol Stonewashed XL) : 50 g / 75 m = 0.667 g/ every m
Yarn B (Lion Brand Yarns: Vanna’s Choice): 100 g/ 156 m =0.641 g/ every m
These are pretty close 🙂
But if you wanted to substitute this yarn:
Yarn C: Bernat Softee Chunky 11sts
- Ball Size – Solids: 100g / 3.5 oz, 99 meters / 108 yards
100 g/ 99 m = 1.01 g / every m
It would be MUCH too heavy!
Yarn D: Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Size 10
- Ball Size: 400g / 14 oz, 2,240 meters / 2,450 yards
400 g/ 2240 m = 0.17 g / every m
It would be MUCH too fine!
I hope this is helpful 🙂
Hi Chris, I use Red Heart Super Saver in white – here are common substitutes for that yarn weight: https://yarnsub.com/yarns/red_heart/super_saver
You may also need to decrease your hook size to make the stitches smaller if your Angel’s head is still coming out too large when you work with a comparable yarn.
You are very right that Medium Weight Yarn has a wide range of yarns included. It can make it difficult to substitute. If you check the m/yds and g/oz though you can see how they compare – which is what this post teaches you how to do. You can also check the yarn sub site for ideas – remember all their links are affiliate links to yarn on lovecrafts specifically but if you see a yarn you recognize on there like Craft Smart from Michaels it should do unless you are crocheting with a very relaxed gauge/tension. There should be no spaces between your stitches when you are making your Angel’s head. Hope this helps a bit 🙂 Rhondda
Thank you Rhondda,
my question is medium weight (4)yarn doesn’t seem equal with different brands. ie I ze of a 2″zemade the little Angel pattern with Crafter’s yarn from Michael’s because it was the only one in white, Her head is the size of a 2″ golf ball. I’ve noticed if I use different brands of #4 in hats it is also a different size. Any suggestions?
Very welcome Sharon 🙂 I’m happy the Yarn substitutions post is helpful!
Thank you so much for this Rhondda!
Hi Liz, You are so welcome! I wish there was a more reliable system in place for categorizing yarn in all countries. It would make it so much easier to crochet the patterns we love! I’m happy I could help – I had to figure it all out myself to substitute for a pattern I wanted to do from the UK so I figured I best share when I was thinking of it 🙂 Have a lovely week, Rhondda
Thanks alot for this tips! I never understood those important (i get it now) numbers on the label of the yarn. I’ll rather ask the people working there and now i really understand why i get so many question in return 🙂
As always i learned something from you – but to be honest and say that i will use some time and practice before i really gets it! This is really what i feel is most diffucult when i am buying yarn here in Norway. I usually use english/US patterns and we have different yarn here and my english is not that good, but usually better than most working at the yarnshop, so i’m mostly left to myself to decide what kind of yarn i should try instead of what the pattern suggest. I also got why the gauge is so important ragarding the type of yarn! So again thanks a lot 🙂
Hi Rita 🙂 You are most welcome! I’m happy I have something on my website you find helpful. Have a lovely week, Rhondda
i get your info via Facebook. But this tip was just what I was looking for. Thanks so much for sharing.
I have yarn w/o label
How do I know what kind it is?
Very welcome Deborah! I had to do the calculations this week myself to substitute for Dedri’s CAL 🙂
Very welcome Brenda 🙂
Very helpful info Thank You:)
thank you for this.