Last night I made the first of two yarn substitutions in 12 hours. I did it so that I could start a project from the Filament, No. 1 collection from Kathleen Dames and Anne Podlesak. I am doing a review of the collection, so I wanted to try out the patterns. I looked at what yarn was used, but I really needed to grab something from my shelf so I could get started. I noticed Targhee-Columbia was the fiber in their yarn, and remembered that one of my Sheepspot Yarn Club yarns was a Targhee-Columbia, so that’s what I grabbed. I’m actually pretty sure both yarns are from the same mill, but that is probably irrelevant to making a substitution. The pattern I’m working is a shawl, so I really don’t care if it is precisely on gauge.
Why We Make Substitutions
So I’m thinking about yarn substitutions today. I began this morning in my studio staring at the “islands of chaos” that remain on my floor. I wondered why the four Lisse Hat samples were sitting there and what I should do with them. At the same time, I spotted a cake of yarn I’d had on hand for a couple of years; they company just announced that they were no longer going to be dyeing, so I grabbed that to do another collection review. I knew by looking at the needles used in the pattern that my yarn wasn’t going to get gauge–and I wasn’t really interested in making socks at 8.5 sts/in anyway, socks not really being my thing. I’ll just make a smaller size (yay!) and adjust length. I’ve made yarn substitutions that are situationally okay, but that are not going to get me what I know the designer had in mind.
Why We Should Make Substitutions
As a designer I find these substitutions completely understandable, and at the same time annoying. No way is the knitter going to get the same thing I showcased, yet I feel I will be blamed for any deviations that result from the substitutions.
But we are all sitting with stashes of yarns we acquired because we loved/wanted them. They are classified in the same yarn weight as the pattern, and that desire/need to start that project is hitting right now. By grabbing what we have on hand or is readily accessible to us, we can use up our stash yarn, satisfy our urges, and be that much better off for not having spent time, money, energy, getting the yarn used in the sample.
What Happens When We Make Substitutions
I offer my Lisse Hat samples as evidence. They are all great. They each yielded a completely different hat. Just as a note, they are not all knitted the same size. This is a great hat if you are looking for a small project.
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