So many knitting and crocheting patterns these days list a specific brand and type of yarn, but what if you can't find that yarn or don't want to use it? How do you know another yarn is going to work with the pattern you've chosen? Read on for some general guidelines on replacing the yarn listed on the pattern with one of your own choosing.
Things You Will NeedJust your imagination and creativity!
The first thing you need to consider is whether you want to use natural fiber or acrylic yarn. This decision will depend somewhat on what you want to do with the finished product. If you are looking to sell your product you may want to use a natural fiber as these sell much better in today's market. If you are using the yarn to make a gift then you may want to consider who the recipient is, would they notice or care whether you used natural or man-made fibers?
One of the big deciders for me is the cost. Natrual fibers are going to be much more expensive than acrylic fiber. If you are making an afghan and will be needing 10 skeins of yarn and you spend $8-25 per skein, this could get very spendy by the time your finished! Most acrylic yarns will range from $4-7 per skein and usually contain more yardage. I personally use mostly acrylics with a few exceptions because I can't justify spending twice the money on something I'm making that it would take to buy it in the store! One of these exceptions is if I'm doing something small for a baby - natural fibers are generally much softer and if I only need 1 or 2 skeins then I may opt for the nicer product. Hobby Lobby makes an AWESOME cotton yarn called, "I Love This Cotton" that you can buy online. It is super soft and comes in great colors and I love working with it. The best part is that it's much cheaper than most other cottons you'll find! For acrylics, I love working with Red Heart yarns as they are very economical. The Red Heart Soft Baby is a great yarn for blankets and hats for baby. Another of my favorites is Bernat Softee Chunky Twists, it comes in great colors and washes well. If you can find a pattern that calls for a bulky yarn, especially baby clothes, this stuff looks great!!!
The next thing you'll want to consider is the weight of the yarn called for in the pattern. Yarn comes in different "weights" or thicknesses and this is extremely important in determining the look and size of your finished project. Unless you are very experienced in yarn substitution, I wouldn't recommend using a different weight of yarn. Sometimes the pattern doesn't tell you what weight the suggested yarn is. In this case I would either look the yarn up online (most yarn labels list websites) or find it in your local craft store and get the weight off of the label. Then you'll want to choose a yarn that matches the weight of the one listed on the pattern.