Silk twisted darn good yarn roving

The most common question I hear is “What other yarn can I use for this pattern?” My answer is a non-committal “It depends.” because it does depend on what drew you to the pattern in the first place. Once you decide what attributes you like about a particular pattern, picking an alternative yarn becomes much less difficult. Let’s start with the basic question and work through one potential answer at at time, today we’ll start with the colorway:

Colors are introduced and discontinued regularly, that doesn’t mean you cannot find a suitable replacement, it just means you may have to look a little harder to find something which will yield similar results. Got a guild or group of fiber artists in your circle of friends? Ask around, you never know what someone else may have in their yarn stash.

After exhausting your personal fiber “knitwork”, it’s time to ask a professional. Grab your favorite mask and visit your local yarn store or a shop which carries the yarn you wish to use for the project, they might have some in stock or access to it in the exact color you want to use. Fun fact, business savy shop owners have a network of fellow local yarn store owners with whom they trade yarns just like you and me. In addition they also have access to the distributors and warehouses to potentially order what you need if by chance it is just something they don’t happen to have on hand. If the shop does not have access to exactly what you are looking for, perhaps they have a suitable substitute in stock. Whether in person or via video conference, your best ally in the pursuit of a particular yarn is always your local yarn store.

For harder to find colors you might have to reach a little further and search on line for the color you are trying to find. The first stop on this journey is your browser of choice and a query containing the details of yarn, color, code, and any other information that might facilitate the search. Use a minimum of three search criteria, still coming up blank? Search only on the yarn name and yarn company name in your search. Not all shops have their full inventory on line so if you do find a shop that carries it in another color, it never hurts to pick up the phone or inquire via email to see if they have what you need or access to it.

Still striking out on the purchase process? Never fear, YarnSub is here, on line at This is my favorite on line resource when someone gets stuck when choosing a yarn. Never visited? Do it now, you will be glad you did. Here you can enter the world of yarn substitutions like a pro. Wendy, the super woman behind the site has taken a scientific approach to fiber. Classifying yarns by texture, fiber content, gauge, color style and yes crocheters – S and Z ply information, is an incredible resource for fiber enthusiasts. Of course not every yarn is in the database however the big names are all well represented and if you are looking for commercially available alternative to an indie dyed yarn, give it a look. With a list of suitable yarns in hand, go back to your search process to check availability of colors the suitable substitutes.

In the end, there is always the chance you will not be able to find the color you want, in which case you are faced with the next decision, can you live with the finished object in another color? If so, warm up the project bag and fill ‘er up! Still stuck on a particular color? That’s ok, it happens, maybe the best thing to do is to pick a different project for now. It’s better to be happy with the work in process projects in your bag than to let them languish unfinished and unloved at the bottom of the pile.

Still hoping to find just the color used in the pattern? Contact the designer, there’s always a chance she or he has helped someone else with the same question.

blue and noro shawl
A Triangular shawl featuring the long color way transitions of Noro Obi


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