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Interesting! Can I assume that you went through something like this when doing Irish Moss? I've been looking at the yarns knitters on Ravelry used in place of Bainin and Scottish Heather.


Thanks for your thoughtful analysis. You and Aswiminknits are on a roll today!

Rachel H

I just picked up Clara's book last night, but love this overview you've given on substitution here. Great job.


Great post! I have definitely learned the hard way how important it is to make good decisions when substituting yarn, and the more tools available to help us out the better. I got the Knitters Book of Yarn for Christmas and I just love it. Those snail mitts are on my list for sure.


Yeah, those sleeves are a little loosey-goosey, aren't they? :o) It IS a beautiful sweater, though, and I'm glad your husband is wearing it!


I have an amazon gift certificate burning a hole through my virtual pocket, and I was dithering between the Clara Parkes book and some sort of traditional stranded knitting something or other (Selbuvotter, Latvian mittens, Folk Mittens...). Your recommendation tipped the scales in favor of the Clara Parkes book. And, while Adrian's mittens are not traditional, perhaps they will help scratch the stranded itch. She's just too clever. Your Arwen looks like it will be amazingly comfortable -- how much more to knit?


Nice post. I guess I'm a somewhat dare-devilish new knitter because I have done this instinctively in my knitting. The problem that I have is that I'm vegan and allergic to most animal fibers and it's hard to know what a particular pattern will do if you switch to cotton or a synthetic. I also have a hard time knowing which cottons will play nice and which won't.

sara l

have the book...check
read the whole post ...check
saw the mr & W's picture - cute - nice toaster! ..check
will still f'up something re:gauge....double check
Happy New Year!


great post. I've also used that technique to upsize or downsize garments as well. all you need is a few swatches and you get so much flexibility!


Is it wrong that I was looking past the sweaters to the wine bottles?


Hey, this technique is just what I am doing with a sweater...after frogging it nearly in its entirety. Thanks for an excellent post.


My house sweater has corn-on-the-cobs double knit into it. Yup, it's a Thanksgiving sweater. I embarassed my roommate by hanging Christmas lights in it last year.

Thanks for the advice... you are so good. Always appreciated. I am about to embark on my own Great Sweater Project, and I look forward to choosing yarn, etc. :-)


Thanks for the great post. Gorgeous sweater on the handsome Mister.


It's a good lesson, and yes, a good book. And that's a good Mr.


Thanks for this post. You have confirmed what I was hopefully it works for me!


awesome thoughts and i'd like you to know that because of it i ordered that Yarn Book!! Thank you!

Seanna Lea

I've had this problem (the substitution problem) more times than I want to think about, mostly because I really want to make the sweaters in Loop-d-Loop, but most of them are from hugely bulky yarns I just haven't found in the area. So, I have a few finished pieces, but nothing I feel I can regularly wear.


Thanks for this post. Yarn substitution is such a tricky, magical thing to a garment ingenue like myself. And last year I had a sad, painful experience subbing a tightly twisted yarn for a cabled pattern that would have been much better in a looser spun yarn; it wrecked my hands and ruined the sweater. Live and learn. But, not to be deterred, I'm applying your lesson to the Cobblestone I'm making for my husband right now. Hopefully this time subbing won't bite me in the ass.

Awww, look at your menfolk. Lovely photo.


I've used a modified version of that system when I substitute yarns (since I almost always substitute yarns). I know that you mentioned that it works in this case because of block construction, but even so I have run into problems with sleeves because of the row gauge... Is there a solution for that? Or am I just pushing things too far?


Excellent post! Eminently sensible advice. And amusing too.


Great post. I had to do this recently with the Tangled Yoke cardigan. Unfortunately my gauge was a little larger, and I would have already been at the smallest size. So I had to figure out once size smaller. Luckily this pattern was pretty straight forward to do so. Hopefully it'll turn out right!

Deborah C.

I had the same yarn problem - I had a fairly bulky yarn and wanted to make the Emerald raglan cardigan from Knitty. I did some math and found that the medium size when worked with my gauge would give me the correct size. I had to fudge a few very minor details, but otherwise used the pattern as written and wound up with a wonderful cardigan jacket. Clara Parkes' book is in my Amazon wishlist - it is a great reference (and the patterns are nice, too!).


You caught me, I've become a skimmer. (Blame Ravelry.) But I made it through the whole post. Thanks for the sweater photo. Beautiful!


Aaaahhhh... I'm sort of getting caught up again, removing some nonrewarding feeds, and then I got a reminder to "buy Clara's book" and "keep reading, there might be an awesome picture hidden in there." The house sweater is gorgeous and I love the moment.

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