Hello everyone! Tara here—
Last week we started talking about things to consider when you’re using a yarn that’s different than your pattern recommends. You can check out that post here!
The first (and most important point in my opinion) is to watch your yarn weight. The second thing to think about is your hook size. Changes to both can drastically change your finished project.
But what if you aren’t planning on changing the yarn weight? What if you only want to change the kind of yarn you’re using?
Figure out your Fiber
When I first learned how to crochet, I wouldn’t use wool because the only wool I could find in local stores was scratchy and uncomfortable. Then I developed a mild wool allergy and found that crocheting with wool left me with incredibly itchy hands (even wool-acrylic blends), so using yarn with a different fiber than recommended is something I do often.
I always substitute wool yarns for acrylic, cotton, or for a superwash merino wool like Scheepjes Merino Soft.
It’s important to know the fiber you’re working with, not just because of potential allergies, but because certain fibers are better for certain projects than others.
Wool is a favorite for fall and winter because it’s so much warmer than the other fibers.
Cotton is usually preferred for spring and summer designs because it’s lighter, it keeps you cool and easier to clean, which also makes it great for projects around your home that get used often.
Acrylic yarns and other synthetic yarns are great for blankets, home décor items, tops, and so many other projects. Premier’s Anti-Pilling Everyday line is one of our all-time favorites, and we love that it comes in so many different weights!
As versatile as acrylic yarns are, they can’t be used in projects that get exposed to heat because they will melt! You should never use them for a project like the hot pads below, which are made with a cotton yarn.
You could use wool instead of cotton to make hot pads and trivets, but wool is harder to clean than cotton so that’s something you’ll have to keep in mind.
Know Your Project
If you’re going to make a project with special stitches or cables that you want to show off, you’re not going to want to switch to a yarn that has texture. A classic variegated yarn could be too distracting too. You’ll want a yarn that is solid and has great stitch definition so the focus is on your stitches instead of the yarn.
The Ashton Gansey Stole by Lena Skvagerson, for example, has a beautiful cabled texture that would be completely lost in a bright, variegated yarn or a faux fur yarn.
Projects that have simpler stitches, like a wrap or blanket that’s made up of single or double crochet, would work really well with an interesting yarn that has a great texture or colorway. It will make the piece stand out.
A fun yarn for this kind of project is Bernat’s Casa yarn, which is a super bulky blend of faux fur, chenille, and boucle textures. Some of the shades are even self-striping!
If you keep all of this in mind, you shouldn’t have a problem selecting yarn from your stash to use in a must-make pattern.
Let me know in the comments below if you want to learn more about the differences between the different types of wool yarn!
– Tara Orchard, Editor of Crochet! Magazine
Have single skeins of yarn and need some inspiration? Check out Quick One-Skein Crochet!