View Full Version : Money and Yarn

11-05-2007, 09:20 AM
I have never knit a sweater before. I have the yarn for a shirt, but since the yarn was from A.C. Moore it was relatively cheap. I found the perfect pullover to make my boyfriend. It requires 19-21 balls of Rowan Wool Cotton (50% merino wool, 50% cotton, dk weight), which costs around $10. So..that's a $200 pullover there.

My question to you is...do you usually use the recommended yarn for a sweater (and spend $200 on it) or do you substitute for a cheaper yarn of the same weight? Or is there another route to sweater making?

11-05-2007, 09:37 AM
Well sometimes I use the yarn suggested for a project but not that often. Take for instance my Christmas present list, I think I have subbed the yarn for most of the projects to reduce cost. I just make sure it is the same weight. Swatching is really important when you sub just to make sure you don't have to go up or down a needle size.

11-05-2007, 09:46 AM
I subbed yarn for the sweater that I am making for my mom. I was in the same boat - the Classic Elite yarn for the pattern is pretty expensive for my little wallet. I went with a Knit Picks yarn of the same weight and spend $50 instead of $200.

11-05-2007, 09:51 AM
My approach to knitting is different, so the question doesn't usually apply. That is, I generally start with the yarn. I discover a yarn I like, and then I find a project.

In the minority of cases, when I have a project in mind, for example, the sweater I just started for my husband, it's similar. I knew he wanted a V-neck cardigan, but I looked for a suitable yarn first. THEN and only then did I think about the details of construction.

Sometimes I see a wonderful pattern and I want to make it. Those projects don't usually end up my favorites. My favorites have always started with the yarn.

11-05-2007, 10:22 AM
But hey, if you've got the $ and you want to use it, go for it.

(Did I mention that I don't know how to knit a sweater, anyway?)

11-05-2007, 10:53 AM
Only spend the $200 if you really want to, but yeah it's okay to sub another yarn. Most wool/cotton blends aren't cheap, but you might find some on ebay. Or sub another DK weight yarn.

11-05-2007, 11:27 AM
I almost always start yarn first and search for a pattern to fit.

There are so many patterns out there it is typically not a problem.

Sometimes I frog a lot until I find a project that works right.

The only time I've ever bought the yarn for a project was after my husband watched me want to knit this one project and I started and frogged it so many times trying to find a yarn to match.

Finally he handed me $40 and told me, "for Pete's sake (my mom's nickname, its a family joke) go and get what you need!"

Otherwise... yarn then pattern!

11-05-2007, 11:55 AM
I would try going to Webs to look. They have yarn listed by weights. Perhaps you can find something that will work for you there and there yarn is discountable if you buy enough which isn't hard to do.


11-05-2007, 12:10 PM
I had to lok on Webs anyway. They actually had your Rowan for 9.95 each but when you order oveer $120 on webs you get 25% off. That would be a good deal even with shipping. They take 20% off of orders over $60. You just have to make sure the yarn doesn't say that it isn't discountable and that is usually sale yarn.
Good luck with your sweater.

11-05-2007, 12:12 PM
I don't think I have ever used the recommended yarn for a pattern. In fact, one of the very first patterns I ever tried called for a yarn that was discontinued, so I got to learn about yarn substitution, yarn weights, yards per skein, yarndex.com, and gauge swatches very early. There are lots of reasons to substitute -- cost, discontinued yarns, machine wash vs. hand wash, color selection, what's available locally, whether you're willing to wait for a shipment -- I think it's fun to research and learn about the various fibers and yarns. Good luck!

11-05-2007, 12:32 PM
I also rarely use the suggested yarn for a project. I'm a student and my tiny budget doesn't really allow for the sometimes expensive yarns recommended. I do however have a love for luxury yarn...so sometimes I treat myself. I spend hours and hours on Webs and Royal Yarns (they also have the category divided by weight) and trying to find a good substitute.

11-05-2007, 12:36 PM
Knitpicks has some cotton wool blend http://www.knitpicks.com/Main+Line_YD5420141.html it's worsted, but you could maybe sub it with larger needles and use a smaller size pattern. It may still be about $100, but that's half what the Rowan is.

11-05-2007, 02:23 PM
half the time I couldn't use the recommended wool anyway, because my choices for wool are what's available at walmart and what is available in the oddball store downtown. I'd like to see if the oddball store would let me take gauge swatches right in the store. I hate when I have to do a lot of math to adjust a pattern to fit the gauge.

11-05-2007, 02:29 PM
I usually try to use the recommended yarn - substituting sort of scares me too. So if a pattern calls for super expensive yarn it tends to get pushed to the back burner. I have subbed for Schaefer and Lorna's Laces and they turned out fine though....

Lisa R.
11-05-2007, 02:37 PM
I started out with a project or two suggested by the lady heading our group, and followed that pretty much to the letter, although the yarn wasn't specific ("worsted weight feltable wool").

To learn more knitting, I searched online and tried to find patterns to use with the yarn I had. However, because I'm on a tight budget with a fairly small stash, all my projects have been pretty small, too--hats and that sort of thing.

I haven't done a sweater or an afghan yet because of the cost involved. There's no doubt whatsoever, that I would never make the sweater in question. I can't possibly justify spending that much on one garment. If money were no object, perhaps. But for now, I'll have to carefully plan and budget for my first sweater and hope that I can find one to make that much cheaper than that!

11-05-2007, 02:46 PM
I hardly ever use the yarn recommended because it's usually wool or a wool blend and I'm allergic. I usually have to sub by weight and forget about fiber.

11-05-2007, 02:54 PM
Knitting for me is all about the process, and if I have to 'process' using a less expensive yarn, so be it. Having said that, I love the more expensive yarns and if I'm making a gift, I'll budget around them.

11-05-2007, 04:10 PM
I dont think I've ever used the recommended yarn. I'm also allergic to wool, so I usually end up subbing acrylic for most animal fibers. And I only buy yarn for a project if I really need to. If I see a pattern I want to try, I go through my stash first and usually use whatever's there.

11-05-2007, 05:34 PM
I have to admit, I now think I buy yarn first and then find a project. Knowing the amount I would roughly need for say a sweater, making sure I get enough for it.
Something that just happened to me, I knit a sweater with a wonderful yarn that I loved, and now that I look at it, the yarn would be better in a different pattern which I could wear more often. So, guess what, I am taking apart the sweater and re knitting the yarn into a different pattern. And I already love it.
Cost is a big factor, just make sure you are happy with the yarn you decide on, because no matter the cost, it is a lot of work to make a project, and you want to be happy with the finished result.

11-05-2007, 05:41 PM
While I love luxury yarns, I love to knit more and simply cannot splurge on some of the really expensive yarn, so I substitute. Also, I'm just bought yarn to make my son's Harry Potter Gryffindor Scarf and Hat (Charmed Knits Pattern, Year 3/4 House Scarf and Hat) and I subbed on it due to scratchiness & a 9 year old and for the price combined with a 9 year old, who could possibly lose the items. . .