crafts · Crochet · knitting · yarn

The pain of substitution

One of the main reasons that I so often have extra yarn to sell is that I rarely use the yarn called for in a pattern. And since I refuse to force a yarn to work where it doesn’t want to, I often end up with yarn I bought as a substitution that just doesn’t work for some reason. Sometimes I end up using this yarn for another project, but more often I hold a grudge against it for not working the way I wanted.

My current yarn sub problem is for the printed silk cardigan in the new IK. I’m not buying the called for yarn, which is too expensive, and at any rate would pill in about 10 seconds. But I’m having some trouble finding a yarn to work. I bought silk from Colourmart, but I think it isn’t the right yarn for the pattern.

First of all, let me state that it’s lovely yarn, and really a great bargain at the price. However, in no way should this yarn be called DK weight. I’m not even sure it qualifies as a sport weight. The swatch above is 26 st/ 4 inches, and it’s a little on the loose side for my taste. I really think it should be knit to 28 st/in. This yarn is made up of many tiny strands of their laceweight silk twisted together. It’s a little splitty, but not excessively so, at least in the stockinette swatch above. However, I tried swatching the twisted stitch pattern, and oh my lord… I stared at my hands and still managed to snag plies of the yarn. I did learn, though, that the pattern is not as complicated as it looks, and it won’t be a problem with the right yarn, ie one that doesn’t split!

I think this yarn could work for the sweater, but overall I think it would irritate me. I’m also not so enamoured of the color, mostly because it’s too similar to the color of the comfi cardi I’m making right now, even though it is really pretty.

As for my yarn search, it continues. I know now that the stitch pattern will look best knitted tightly, which is why the gauge is so small even though la luz is a dk weight yarn. My problem is that I have trouble knitting tightly – I wanted to use Shine Sport, but I cannot get 25 st/ 4 in with that yarn no matter how hard I try, and it’s an actual sport weight! I may try a few swatches and see if I can ever manage that gauge with a dk weight yarn, although I have my doubts.

In happier news, my Comfi cardi is nearly finished! I tried to get a picture, but the cat had other ideas.

I’ve actually completed half the ribbing since I took the photo, and I expect to finish it tonight!

And also… I am ashamed to admit that I started another sweater. It’s the hexacomb cardigan from the new IK.

The yarn is Classic Elite 4 seasons, and this is an example of a yarn that subbed easily. It’s actually more yellow than it looks here, and it’s going to be great for spring!

I haven’t touched the lush cardigan, but as soon as I finish the comfi cardi I will go ahead and finish it up. I always feel sort of scattered when I have this many projects, so I want to focus on them one at a time to actually get them done.

10 thoughts on “The pain of substitution

  1. Have you thought of shine worsted. If you are a loose knitter wouldn’t the worsted weight work out closer to the dk they are asking for? I don’t know just a thought I’m sure you will figure it out all of your projects turn out so pretty.

  2. Also have you tried or thought about any of the yarns from Elann? I was going to look there first for a sub yarn for that sweater. I would love to get the blue silk, but alas I must pass at the moment. I’ve made too many yarn purchases lately!! 😉

    The Hexacomb cardigan will look beautiful!!

  3. Ohh, I hope I can get the silk to work! I ordered the same yarn for the Printed Silk Cardigan last week. I’m a naturally tight knitter, though, so maybe it’ll work. If it doesn’t I guess I’ve got some yarn for a nice silk shawl or scarf!

    Lolly is making a Printed Silk Cardigan out of Frog Tree Pima Silk, BTW.

  4. Hi, the designer of the sweater used Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk yarn in the original swatch — you might want to try it. The info along with design pictures is in her blog knitilation.

  5. I did the same thing! Ordered the yarn last week and then read your blog this morning, and got the yarn in the mail a few hours later. I’ve been knitting it every way possible this afternoon, but am fast coming to the conclusion you did– I don’t think it will work. When you do find a project for this yarn, let us all know! 🙂

  6. No no no no!! 😛 This yarn must work! I can’t afford to not have it work! I’ll have to swatch later this week to see if I can get it to work out… I really hope I can!
    Damnit. And it’s so pretty, too!

    (Love the comfi cardi by the way. Looks great on you!)

  7. WOW, you are incredible! I hope that I can be as good as you one day. I have been wanting to do lace knitting lately so I purchased some lace knitting patterns. I like to spend a lot of time doing a bunch of different projects so I have a hard time getting good at one thing. I need to buckle down and get really good at knitting! Thanks for the post!

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