Can I substitute yarn, is a question we all ask ourselves. And I wanted to offer some insight via a new crochet project.

Story Time

You may have realized it by now, but one of my greatest crochet joys is making garments. I absolutely love creating my wardrobe, and sometimes my husbands, stitch by stitch.

However, for someone that loves garment making, I rarely have what I need on hand. It can all be traced back to 2017 and my lack of knowledge when building a cohesive yarn stash. I may have regrets, but also, it keeps one on their toes.

Anyway, the point is, that like many of you, I substitute yarns. Now I know that we touched on this topic in a previous video, but today I wanted us to explore, what happens if we substitute yarn? Or a better question, what happens when we just grab our hook, yarn, and start to crochet with no consideration for gauge, fabric behavior, yarn properties, etc. 

The straight up answer is that it really depends. But,  for this experiment I decided to crochet another monthly sweater. An oversized crochet sweater that uses a cotton, Nylon blown yarn (Snuggle Puff). Following the parameters set, I didn’t consider anything, just started to crochet.

What yarn did I substitute?

Saying that feels a bit misleading because as stated, I really wanted to explore the concept; what happens when we substitute yarns? In light of this, I purposely chose a fiber that was the complete opposite of the one recommended in the pattern.

For this experiment I chose Iona wool, a rustic dk weight wool that’s been in my stash since March 2018.

second monthly sweater this time substituting for a wool yarn.

Did I substitute yarn?

Snuggle PuffIona Wool
worsted/Aran weightDk weight
cotton/nylon blown yarnPlied yarn
Lightweight and softLight but very rustic
Some stretch no memoryStretch and memory
6mm hook4.5mm hook

So really, instead of substituting yarn, it’s more of a refactoring of the pattern to work with the new fiber.

While there are some major differences in the fibers, choosing a wool yarn still allows for a wearable finished item. Which in hindsight wasn’t what I wanted to demonstrate. However, spending 40 hours making a garment for it not to be usable, made me want to cry. 

Having expressed this sad reality, I still think the contrasts serve a valuable lesson. I actually remembered to measure the garments so we could compare, only to recall that I couldn’t crochet size 2 with the Iona wool?

Why, I hear you ask.

Some leftover covid brain convinced me that I could crochet the entirety of this sweater with only 200g of yarn… So, not only did I change the fiber and weight but I also had to combine fibers to complete the sweater.

According to my scale, which I’m not sure I should trust at the moment, it betrayed me when I made moka pot tea, the garment weighs 430g. I’m going to say it weighs between 430 – 445g just to be sure. Of course, we could simply weigh the left over Comfy Cotton Yarn.

Goes to weigh yarn

Time to math. Lionbrand Comfy Cotton brings 200g I have 77 left over, which means I used 123g of yarn.  I had 200 g of Iona Wool, used every last scrap of it. Which brings our total yarn usage to 323g… 

What differences did I see?

Even though I changed the yarns, I didn’t make any adjustments to the sweater. Well, other than having to crochet size 1 instead of size 2. Oh, and I also didn’t go for the high-low hem… 

Measurement size 1 (in)Snuggle PuffIona
Neckline9.8 = 106


Snuggle puff with 6mm hook = 10 rows x 11 sts in 4”

Iona Wool = 12 rows x 13 sts in 4”

So, can I substitute yarn?

I’m not here to preach a yes or no, but I will say that when we substitute we have to be prepared to adjust the pattern provided and of course to do a gauge swatch so that we are as informed as we can be about the effects our yarn had on the pattern.

can I  substitute yarn?

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