What kind of fabric is needed to get the right effect?
- What weight am I using?
- It is important to find a yarn that will match your hook or needle size to achieve gauge. This can be the most difficult part of substitution and hence the first question.
- Some projects aren't as gauge specific as wearable garments. In the case of a shawl or similar repeating pattern types you can change the yarn while making sure to change the needle size respectively.
- i.e. if I have a worsted weight scarf knit on US6 needles (the standard size for worsted) but I wanted to knit it on bulky, instead, I would have to make sure that I use US10 needles. Changing the yarn/needles up or down like this will have effects on the size of the finished product.
Does the recipient have any allergies or special fiber needs?
- Some yarns are chosen for a specific pattern because of the yarn's drape or loft. Wool is considered lofty while silk, some cottons, and alpaca have a heavy drape to them. The finished fabric can play an important role in how a garment behaves so consider the fiber content of the original yarn.
Will the yarn stand the test of time, cleaning, and use?
- Wool allergies are very real and I have seen them from minor to nearly scary extremes. Consider llama as an alternative to the warmth and loft of wool and double check the recipient is able to use llama.
- Some folks can't wear acrylic and some folks don't want to. Acrylic tends to be a heavy fiber and pure wools do well to replace many acrylics in patterns, however, cotton also does the trick.
- Another limitation I have encountered are customers who are concerned about where the fiber comes from and turn down many to all animal products. In this case one is limited to cottons (even silk is refused in these cases), bamboo, acrylics, tencel, etc.
- Some patterns are meant to be thrown around, washed, and loved until it disintigrates. Many of these patterns are written for children. Hoodies and stuffed animals need yarn that have staying power. Consider the use of the garment and the wear and tear it might experience before realizing you might not be able to wash out the grape juice stain from that ultra nice wool.
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