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Old 03-10-2008, 03:25 AM   #1
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Guage/Selecting yarn+needles for pattern
I'm a new knitter and in trying to find patterns for socks for my kids my problem is that a lot of the patterns will recommend their own yarn (patterns by Paton, patterns by Bernat, etc.) This pattern book calls for Patons Astra. Well, if I can't find their yarn how do I know which yarn would be comperable for a project? I mean, they don't say it in english - 4 ply worsted weight...they give it to you in ball weight - 50g per ball, and that doesn't even tell me how many yards/ball so I could do dimensional analysis to compare it to the skeins the stores sell here (US, California)

It seems that the general recommendation is US 6's for worsted weight yarn, but also it says or size needles to obtain guage, but will it be funky if the needles are too small for the yarn?

I'm just generally confused! How do I know if they are looking for a sport or dk weight or worsted or what? As far as I can tell the only way is the knit a guage swatch, but then what? You say, well, this yarn won't work for this pattern? Or you just go down or up a needle size? And what if your guage isn't off by enough to switch an entire needle size, then what?

To make matters worse, I can't seem to find any of the fine sock weight yarn in the craft stores around here. I guess I'll have to order online or go to a yarn store for it. Will it be advertised as "sock weight" or "fingering weight" or what do I look for?

I just want to knit some darned socks for my kids! Arrrgggghhh!!!!
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:45 AM   #2
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Try googling patons astra, and see if you can find some shops with the weight/meterage/needle size recomedation. You can then use that to compare. That's what I do.
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Old 03-10-2008, 04:11 AM   #3
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Hi! I'm a new knitter myself but I'll try to help anyway. Go to the company yarn site, for example Bernat. I think they show the yardage in the description of the yarns. If not, go to They have tons of yarns listed there which will give you the yardage. I think you need to compare yardage if you want to know how much to get. If what you want to use is, say sport yarn than try to find another sport yarn. If you are substituting, you may need more skeins than the pattern says. As far as sock yarn I haven't made any socks but I don't think it's as easy to find as other weights--worsted for example. You might well need a yarn store or try to buy it online. Google sock yarn and see what comes up. Also when yarn descriptions are given at the sites they often say what needle should be used. Size 8 is often given for worsted. But you may need a different size depending on how tight or loosely you knit. Needle size is usually on the wrapper also. I'm sure the experienced knitters here can tell you a good place to buy sock yarn online!
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Old 03-10-2008, 05:04 AM   #4
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I did what you said and googled the astra, here's what I found:
Patons® Astra Yarn
Find Patons® Yarn including Patons® Astra Yarn here at! Patons® Astra yarn is a quality sport weight acrylic for wearables, afghans and more. Great range of shades for the whole family including cool brights for kids: mango, blueboy, koolaid and more.

Weight Category: 3 - Light
Ball Weight: 1.75 oz / 50 g
Length: 133 yd / 122 m
Content: Solids/Varigated: 100% Acrylic, Crystal: 89% Acrylic - 11% Olefin
Gauge: 22 sts - 28 rows = 4" (10 cm)
Suggested Knitting Needle Size: US 6 (4.00 mm) needles.
Suggested Crochet Hook Size: US G/6 (4.00 mm) hook.
Fabric Care Instructions: Machine washable and dryable.
Note: We do not guarantee dyelots.
So would this then be comparable to most sport weights or does it differ from brand to brand? Is the 3 - light the # of ply? Do I need to figure the g per yards and compare it that way or can I just buy something in the same description (sport weight). Also, if it is not acrylic sport weight, will it be heavier in g per yd but not necessarily thicker? Does that make sense? I'm just trying to see how should I be thinking about this when I'm trying to compare? How do you do it? I'm sorry if this seems dumb...

My pattern guage is 25 sts and 32 rows =4 in. with size US 3. Does that seem right if the yarn co says on 6's you get 4" from 22 sts and 28 rows, even though that's a 3 needle size difference? My guage swatches so far have been dead on, so I don't think I knit tight or loose (not that I will try to skip the swatch). I just want to be able to buy a yarn and be reasonably sure I'll be in the ball park on the guage.

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Old 03-10-2008, 12:02 PM   #5
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It's close enough to other sport weights that you could sub it. Most sport wt is knit on size 4-6 needle, but for socke you need to go down to 3s for a denser knit. It's hard to say if you'll get pattern gauge until you try it with the yarn. If you knit tight with this yarn you may need 4s; if looser go to 2.5s. You may always need to adjust the needle size in order to match the pattern gauge if the yarn is a similar weight.
sue- knitting heretic

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Old 03-10-2008, 01:46 PM   #6
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Thank you for answering Suzee! I feel so dumb about all this but I don't want to have to be limited to using the brand who makes the pattern so this helps me a lot.

And I'm glad you said to use the 3's for the socks for denser socks, I didn't know that. Next pair I do w/ Silver's tutorial I think I'll try the 3's. I still want to do the toe up on circs tutorial.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:51 PM   #7
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Another suggestion is to sign up at Ravelry. Then you can see if your pattern is on there and look and see what other people have used for yarn. Some people will even comment on quirks in the pattern or difficulty or ease in the yarn used. I've already picked up a lot of info on a new yarn (to me) Elann Esprit and how to work with it. It's cotton with some elastic so it's very stretchy.
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