Selecting Yarn for a Pattern

I have a lot of patterns. I have a lot of yarn. I don’t necessarily buy yarn for every pattern I have that I want to make. That would be a bit much, even for me. So what do I do?

First, I go through the yarn I already have (and can access because some of it is in storage in the garage). Honestly, I usually find something to use in that. If I don’t, then I go yarn shopping.

It’s such a hardship.

I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.

But seriously, what do you do if you have a pattern you want but you don’t have the yarn that goes with it? Read the pattern and find the recommended yarn. Then check the labels on the yarn you have. Is any of it comparable?

Check the fiber. If it’s a wool blend, do you have a similar yarn? What weight does the pattern call for? If it’s chunky and you only have worsted, can you hold two strands together and make it work?

I do this often enough that I honestly don’t really think about it. I’ve even substituted different weights of yarn. I have one pattern that calls for DK or sport yarn. I don’t have any. Instead, I’m using worsted weight yarn (probably what you think of when you think of yarn) and went up to a larger crochet hook to accommodate it.

The only advice I have for selecting yarn for a pattern or for substituting yarn is this: If you like it, use it. You might need to experiment to get the right hook or needle for the look you want, but it will (usually) work out.

Why usually?

It doesn’t work so well if you’re making garments. Then you do want to use as similar a yarn as possible to what the pattern calls for.



A Tale of Two Shawls

Two shawls, one in jade green on top of one in gray and mint greenIt’s no secret I like yarn. (And beads, ink, paper, stationery, etc.)

I don’t usually have more than one crochet or knit project going at once, but, well… I do now. You can see part of both of them in the picture here. Here’s how they came about.

Yesterday, I had an appointment. I didn’t know how long (or even if) I would have to wait. I didn’t take anything to work on. That’s unusual for me. I bought some yarn (Lion Brand Mandala in Echo Caves) and a size J/10 5.75mm hook. (Now I have a spare J hook since I gave my other spare away.) I started what is known as the “Virus Shawl.” It works up fast and is pretty no matter what type or color of yarn you use. (Here’s a link to the pattern’s Ravelry page if you’re interested. It’s easier than it looks. The hardest part is counting to 10.)

Then today I got to go to a JoAnn’s Fabrics and Crafts (the closest one to me is at Sooner Mall in Norman, Oklahoma). I shopped there a little while my mom and brother were with my niece to get her eyes checked and get new glasses. I had taken my new project with us and worked on it on the way up, but I left it in the pickup (it wouldn’t fit in my purse). Instead of going out to the pickup to get it–you guessed it!–I bought yarn and a crochet hook. This time, the yarn was Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Cake in the color Jade Pool. I bought a size K/10.5 6.50mm hook (now I have a spare of that one, which I didn’t before).

With this yarn, I’m making a variation of this shawl. I’m using the same weight of yarn (3, light) but a different hook. The pattern calls for a size M/N, which I used in the first shawl, but I wanted to experiment with the different size this time around. This shawl also works up quickly.

Since I started the first shawl yesterday, I will finish it before I continue working on the second one. I love the colors of both of them. I find them soothing and inspiring at the same time. It’s interesting how it’s possible to create something from, basically, nothing in a relatively short period of time.

What are you currently working on? Do you have more than one project going at a time?

Happy creating!