The garment in the pattern was knitted in 2 strands of Drops Fine Alpaca. The Fine Alpaca is about a 3 to 4ply thickness so when it is knitted double it is about Aran weight. A number of people have asked about an alternative yarn for this design so I knitted swatches in a number of Aran weight yarns to see if I could match the tension.
These are the swatches I knitted. They are all knitted with 4.5mm needles. The light pink swatch is the original yarn i.e. 2 strands of Drops Fine Alpaca and the gauge was 36 rows and 19.5sts to 10cm. The dark pink swatch is Debbie Bliss Fez and it knitted up as 36 rows and 21sts. The black swatch is Rowan Kid Classic which knitted up as 36 rows and 21sts to 10cm.
The dusky pink swatch is Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk and it knitted up to 36 rows and 20sts to 10cm. The first green swatch is Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed which knitted to 34 rows and 19.5sts. The second green swatch was Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton and this knitted to 32 rows and 19.5sts. The cream swatch was Wendy Serenity and knitted up as 32 rows and 19.5sts and the last swatch was Rowan Felted Tweed Aran which knitted up as 32 rows and 19.5sts to 10cm.
None of the swatches exactly matched the original tension but the ones that matched the stitch tension would probably be a better match than the ones that matched the row tension.
Substituting yarns and matching gauge is an age old problem with knitting because each individual person will knit to a slightly different gauge from the next person. someone else may take some of these alternative yarns and find they match the original gauge exactly. I offer this information as a guide to possible alternatives.
When people ask me about substituting alternative yarns I always suggest that they buy one ball of the substitute yarn to start with and knit a large gauge swatch to
- check the gauge they knit against the gauge given in the pattern
- get a feel for the yarn and how it knits i.e. if they like the way it feels when knitting with it. if you are going to knit a large garment you want to enjoy the experience.
- practice the stitch pattern used in the garment. This garment has a very simple stitch pattern but if you were knitting a lace or cables pattern it is a good idea to practice it first . If you find you don't enjoy knitting the stitch pattern you have spent out a lot of money at this point if you decide not to knit the garment.
As well as people asking about alternative yarns for this pattern some people have had problems following the construction of the jacket so I will knit a small sample garment and post images of each stage if you want to follow how this garment is made.