If a knitting pattern calls for DK weight yarn, can I use worsted weight?

There’s little choices in DK yarn…I’ve looked at knitpicks and using their merino wool, it comes out to about $ 40 (14 balls).
But there’s more variety in worsted weight.
My pattern is for a lace/cabled cardigan from Creative Knitting (March 2010 issue).
Thank you!

4 Responses to “If a knitting pattern calls for DK weight yarn, can I use worsted weight?”

  1. Donna S says:

    You are absolutely right that there is more variety in worsted weight. Since worsted weight is larger than DK weight, you will definitely need to made a gauge swatch to figure out how to adjust your stitches so the resulting cardigan will fit. I wouldn’t try it, but if you’re an experienced knitter, you should be able to adjust the pattern so it will fit. It may be something as simple as using the counts for the next smaller size sweater than you actually wear (since the stitches will be larger).

    Good luck!

  2. Marie L says:

    You can change types of yarn, but first make some calculations and do a swatch to check your gauge and also how the pattern will look and feel. Different weights of yarn may change the look of the stitch pattern and perhaps the drape of the garment from the original.

    Here are some web sites that will give you some information to help:

    http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/weight.html — standard yarn weights
    http://www.lionbrand.com/cgi-bin/yarnInfo.cgi?yarnByClass=1 LionBrand yarns by weight class
    http://www.lionbrand.com/faq/14.html?language=&utm_source=20100730_July30th&utm_medium=Emails&utm_campaign=Weeklynewsletter&utm_content=FAQ-SubstitutingYarn — LionBrand Substituting One Yarn for Another

    If you cannot access the LionBrand website pages, you will need to create an account (free).

    Since you are doing a lace pattern, be sure you keep the right stitch multiples as you make changes. You may have to add or subtract a few stitches to keep the right multiple.

    Another trick I learned is — after making the gauge swatch, begin by knitting a sleeve since it is the smallest piece (or a pocket if your pattern has one). You can knit it quicker than the back and will be less work to rip and reknit if necessary.

    Also, this information I think will be very helpful. I have it saved as a Word document and just tried to bring up the website, which apparently no longer exists. I used this info to create a spreadsheet to do the calculations for me.

    Converting Sweater Patterns to Fit Your Swatch Gauge
    For any method, step one is always, MAKE A TENSION / GAUGE SWATCH.

    You will need to know:

    How many stitches are there in an inch of your swatch? This is your STITCHES PER INCH: __________

    How many rows are there in an inch of your swatch? This is your ROWS PER INCH: __________

    A pattern that has diagrams with exact measurements is the easiest to work with. You simply multiply the horizontal line measurements by your stitches per inch, and the vertical line measurements by your rows per inch.
    (Stitches go left to right, and rows go up and down.)

    If you are using a hand knitting pattern, you need a calculator to re-calculate the stitches and rows given. I find the easiest way is to photocopy the pattern, and write the new number in the line space above the old figures. If that seems confusing, white out the old numbers, use the original to fill in the new, as follows.
     Divide your stitch gauge by the pattern stitch gauge to get the multiplier. (your gauge divided by pattern gauge = multiplier.)
    Example: Your swatch is 9 stitches per inch, the pattern gauge is 8 stitches per inch.
    9 divided by 8 = 1.125

    Now everywhere the pattern gives stitches you multiply by the multiplier (Example = 1.125)

    If the pattern says cast on 100 stitches, you would multiply 100 x 1.125 = 112.5 stitches. You decide whether to use 112 or 113. One stitch usually doesn’t matter much.

    If the pattern says decrease 7 stitches for the underarm, the formula would be 7 x 1.125 =7.875, decrease 8 sts.
    If the pattern says the shoulder is 24 stitches, use 24 x 1.125 = 27 stitches.

    Now we do the same thing with the row gauge.
     Divide your row gauge by the pattern row gauge to get the multiplier. (your gauge divided by pattern gauge = multiplier.)
    Example: Your gauge is 12 rows per inch the pattern gauge is 15 rows per inch. 12 divided by15 = 0.8

    Everywhere the pattern tells you to knit rows, you multiply by the multiplier. (Example=0.8)

    If the pattern says to knit 10 rows, use 10 x 0.8 = 8 rows.
    If the pattern says to knit 33 rows, use 33 x 0.8 = 26.4, decide whether to knit 26 or 27 rows to fit the pattern.

    The only time this is tricky, is when there are complicated sleeve increases and decreases. Try to make them match the rows to be knit. Often you may have to double up on the decreases in order to have all the decreases finished by the last row.

    A useful time saver is the Knitting Companion by Jim Simmons

  3. Miz T says:

    There is a lot of variety in DK or “light worsted” as well. Yarns that are put up using the 7-category scale for yarn size and stitch gauge would have DK or light worsted in the Category 3 group. Some sport yarns are in that group as well. Look for the “Category 3″ weight marker on the ball band or look for yarns knitting to a gauge of 21 to 24 stitches in 4” on 3.75 mm to 4.5 mm needles (US 5 to 7).

    The real issue is whether or not you can get gauge and produce a fabric in that pattern in that gauge that you like for that cardigan. DK or “light worsted” yarns are more likely to give you the fabric you want than are worsted weight (Category 4) yarns, which typically knit to 16 to 20 stitches per 4″ on 4.5 mm to 5.5 mm needles (US 7 to 9).

    You didn’t say which KnitPicks merino DK yarn, so I assume you’re looking at Merino Style at $ 2.79 for a 50 g ball containing 123 yards, which knits up to about 22 sts per 4,” and 14 balls equal 1722 yards. That’s a nice yarn for the money and should give good stitch definition for a lace/cable pattern.

    It’s hard to beat Cascade yarns for value. Cascade 220 Sport might work for you. It comes in a huge array of colors (http://www.cascadeyarns.com/cascade-220Sport.asp ). At 164 yards per 50 g ball, it would take 10.5 balls to equal 1722 yards. If you don’t need the full 1722 yards, 10 balls equals 1640 yards and comes in 10-ball packs for about $ 39. Here’s one seller: http://www.fiber2yarn.com/catalog.php?category=Cascade%20Yarns

    You might also like Brown Sheep Company’s “Top of the Lamb Single Ply Sport” (24 sts = 4″ on US 5 needles, 50 g = 154 yds, 1722 yards requires 12 balls at about $ 60) or “Lamb’s Pride Superwash Sport” (24 sts = 4″ on US 5 needles, 50 g = 180 yds, 1722 yards requires 10 balls at about $ 50) or “Top of the Lamb Sport” (24 sts = 4″ on US 5 needles, 113 g = 350 yds, 1722 yards requires 5 balls at about $ 38). http://www.brownsheep.com/yarns.htm

    If you can use a blended yarn, Plymouth Encore DK (75% acrylic, 25% wool): 22 sts = 4″ on US 6 needles, 50 g = 150 yds, 1722 yards requires 12 balls at about $ 39. I’m using that yarn for socks right now, and I really like it. YMMV.

    If you can use one that’s all synthetic, Berroco’s Comfort DK (50% nylon, 50% acrylic) might work. It comes in a huge color range. 50 g = 178 yards. 1722 yards requires 10 balls at about $ 32.50.

  4. Nina says:




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