Seasonal yarn experiments

Have you noticed that in recent years Spring seems to be limited to a few dreary grey days in April, and then BAM! it’s hazy, hot, and humid? Does that affect your crocheting or knitting?

Many switch to smaller items: socks, blankets that are worked in blocks, hats for charity in the winter, and shawls. Some switch to “cooler” fibers, like linen and cotton. And a few of us, just keep trudging away on our over abundant list of W.I.P.s (I’m getting closer to finishing that red sweater… but need to start the next class project).

When I’m trying to plan for a summer project, I often use a pattern that gave me good results but with a yarn that is different from the yarn for which the pattern is written. For example, the “Stitch Sampler Shawl” calls for worsted weight yarn. But it makes a beautiful lightweight scarf when you use a fingering weight yarn. Remember to take your hook or needle size into account when doing this - if you use the hook or needle called for in the pattern, you might end up with something that looks like a fishing net, but if you use the size recommended for your chosen yarn, you will need to adjust the pattern, most likely by adding stitches or rows.

Both cowls pictured left were made using the same pattern! The pattern is Garter Gaiter by Purl Soho, it's a great fast knit, and as you can see, by switching up the yarn, you can dramatically change the look. The blue and grey one was made using the recommended weight (bulky) and fiber (wool) yarn and needles. The orange and multi colored one was made using a lighter weight yarn (worsted), different fiber (cotton), while still using the recommended needles.

And if you really like a pattern, but want it to drape differently, simply choosing a different yarn will changed the finished effect. The drape and structure differences between wool and bamboo yarns are quite obvious - what happens when you use bamboo yarn in a pattern that calls for wool? Another trick to changing the drape of something is to change your hook or needle size. If you want a looser, drapier structure, use a larger size hook or needle. And the opposite works too, if you want your piece to be more structured and have a tighter final weave, choose a smaller sized needle or hook.

Of course all this experimenting will change your gauge, which is important if it’s a fitted garment. But if gauge isn’t crucial, it can be a fun way to experiment and create a summery scarf or shawl. Your yarn usage will be altered too, if you use a different weight yarn, so take that into account - especially if you use a lighter weight yarn, as you will likely need more of it in order to make your piece a usable size.

For many, this is too much experimenting - and that’s fine. But if you do like to experiment in this manner, you might be to busy playing with yarn to notice if your stitching changed due to the seasons - or maybe the changing of the seasons affects your experimenting! Either way, be sure to share your projects with us! We love seeing them.

#woolyarn #yarnsubstitutions #cottonyarn #seasonalknitting #seasonalcrochet #trysomethingnew #reworkapattern #needlesize #drape #texture


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