Mini Series: Substituting Handspun in Knitting Patterns

Dear Spinning Circle,

Throughout the fall, it was brought to my attention that a burning question from the community is how to substitute handspun in knitting patterns written for commercial yarns. 

While not an easy question to answer, I have a few thoughts on the subject that I thought I would share with you here!

As a community, if you would like to flush out this discussion further and delve into more detail, please comment below with your initial thoughts and reflections. If there is sufficient interest, this will become a series of posts and discussions in the Spring.

I look forward to hearing from you what your biggest challenges are when substituting handspun yarn in knitting patterns. What seems to be your BIGGEST stumbling block?



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  1. Such a huge and fascinating topic. I was wondering if you would say more about analysing what the commercial yarn is like in order to substitute a handspun (or another commercial yarn for that matter). Number of plies, construction, and base fibre all affect how the fabric will behave and I have gotten a totally different look by using a different type of yarn even if the gauge more or less matched the one listed in the pattern.

  2. Hello Rachel. I remember a recent post about how you subbed your hand spun when making the Alaska color work hat. How did that affect the depth of hat. Did you have to shorten or change the decreases.

    1. rachel Author says:

      Yes, I made major modifications and changed the number of chart repeats and decreases in the crown too. My gauge was completely different so it was a major mod to make it fit!

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