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 Switching from worsted to dk weight?
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Warming Up

67 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  07:52:51 AM  Show Profile Send anngem a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a pattern for a kimono which calls for worsted weight yarn. I have a large amount of dk weight yarn that I'd like to use for it. Is there any way to substitute one for the other? Would I be able to just change needle sizes or is that too easy? I know I could probably double the yarn but I don't have enough for that. Is there a formula for this?

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Benjamin Franklin

Permanent Resident

2033 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  08:16:30 AM  Show Profile Send maribelaprn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There isn't a formula, other than you need to get the gauge the pattern requires. DK weight is lighter and thus you get more stitches per inch than you would with worsted weight. If you want to substitute, you need to make swatches (and wash and block them) to ensure you are getting the correct gauge the pattern requires. You can't just change needle sizes without ensuring that the needles you are using give you the correct gauge. You may not like the result, however, as the result may be a much looser fabric than the designer intended. You can't double the yarn either as that will give a lot more stitches per inch than worsted.
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Gabber Extraordinaire

444 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  08:35:34 AM  Show Profile Send Kathleen-NYC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I switch yarn weights all the time. I select the needle size that gives me the "fabric" result that I want.

I just choose a different size to knit. Thinner yarn - larger size, thicker yarn - smaller size. Just be sure your measurements match the schematic.

Sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error - but always works out in the end.
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Permanent Resident

1995 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  12:04:05 PM  Show Profile Send Dicksie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When switching from one weight to another, I create a "conversion factor" by taking the gauge of the suggested yarn, in your case the worsted weight, then after knitting a gauge swatch to get the desired fabric I divide the worsted gauge into the dk gauge. The result is a conversion factor, which I then multiply each set of numbers by. For instance, if your worsted gauge is 4 st/inch and your dk is 5 st/inch, you get 1.25; if your pattern tells you to cast on 50 st, you would multiply by 1.25 and get 62.5. Obviously you need to round this up or down. Sounds fiddly, but it works. Don't forget to include your row gauge, although you may be able to just use the number, or fractions, of inches rather than rows.
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Guardian angel

9776 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  2:44:05 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I frequently substitute dk weight for worsted weight yarns. It will give you a fabric that is lighter and a little more drapey than worsted weight. I happen to prefer this. Work up a swatch in the gauge of the pattern in your yarn and examine it after laundering and blocking. If you like it, just follow your pattern. If you don't like it continue experimenting with different gauges until you do like the fabric and then convert the pattern. There is really not much difference between the two yarns.

Doubling the yarn will give you a bulky weight and double your yarn requirements. I don't recommend it.

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New Pal

45 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2008 :  07:58:44 AM  Show Profile Send persimmon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
great advice here from everyone! A couple of other considerations when substituting yarns are the length of your garment and the construction and fiber composition of your yarn. If your kimono is going to be longish, the weight of the garment might cause it to be too stretchy if you just knit your dk yarn at a worsted gauge. In that case it might be better to increase the number of stitches as others have described and knit it more firmly at dk gauge. But if your dk yarn is airy or lightweight, the weight may not become an issue as it might for, say, a cotton yarn.

Hope this is helpful. I'm thinking of this long cardigan I knit a few years ago from a Rowan pattern that called for aran/worsted (4.5 st/in). I used Cascade 220, figuring that since the label says you can knit it at either 5 or 4.5 st/in, I was all set. I knit it at the looser gauge, but that was not the best choice. It's kind of unstable and stretchy, and it hasn't worn as well as Cascade 220 generally does at 5 st/in.

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New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 04/14/2011 :  10:39:34 AM  Show Profile Send PMRosen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know these are old posts...but I just want to say THANK! I've been looking all over for guidance on how to use a lighter weight yarn and how to create a conversion formula. You all are terrific!
Pamela in NYC
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