You purchased a new pattern and now it’s time to look at the specific yarn requirements for the patterns. But oh no even though your yarn stash might pass as a yarn shop in disguise you don’t already own the required yarn. This means either placing a new yarn order and helping your yarn stash grow even further or as an alternative you might want to look at substituting the required yarn with something that you already got in your stash. This is something I prefer to do as at the end of the day I’m one of those people that like to add more yarn to their baskets just to make sure that I hit the free-postage threshold :)

So given that for this year I set myself the task of pro-actively decreasing my yarn stash I might have to get thrifty with how to use it up. One way is to design more patterns (watch this space!) Another one is to actually start on the projects I bought the yarn for in the first instance. But what about those mystery yarn packs I bought in the past? Yes, I must admit I really like those too as a special treat for myself. This however lead to an increased amount of yarn, which has been discontinued by now that is still sitting in my stash. This yarn I would usually not use this for designing a new pattern (as you wouldn’t have the chance to replicate the same item). But how would you deal when a designer used yarn in the past which is nowadays not available anymore? Does this mean that you can’t make the pattern anymore? Don’t worry, you can easily substitute yarn with my helpful guide on how to substitute yarn so that your next project is a success even when you don’t have the yarn on hand the pattern is calling for.

Reasons why you might need to swap yarn

There are multiple reasons why you might need to change the yarn used compared to the one recommended in the pattern. There might be others which aren’t listed here but I tried to summarise the most common for you

Yarn has been discontinued

Depending on the type of yarn used in the pattern this can be something this can happen on more regular basis than you might think. I used to design patterns with Deramores yarn and while some of the lines are still available on Lovecraft others were discontinued. Same for my all-time favourite Debbie Bliss yarn, which nowadays doesn’t have the selection anymore it used to have.

Your go-to yarn shops do not stock the suggested yarn

This one is especially common when the pattern is designed by a designer in a different country. I remember always recalling when Red Heart SuperSaver was used on patterns when I first started out on my crochet journey. Something super commonly available in the US, but very difficult (if all!) to get hold of in the UK. After spending some time in Canada and having the pleasure of exploring the yarn shops, I bought some and quickly learned that there are nicer yarns to crochet with. However, I also learned that I liked some Bernat yarns which I couldn’t buy after coming back to the UK. Luckily nowadays the more commonly used yarns can be ordered from sellers that ship worldwide. This might come at a cost, so you might choose to go with something more local. If you want to support a local business my yarn shop finder might help you with that.


You might be allergic to a specific type of fibre and therefore might have to swap the yarn to make allow you to enjoy your project. My hands get really dry when I crochet with 100% wool yarn, so I tend to not use it too much in projects.


Sometimes the yarn which is specified in a pattern might be expensive. One of my designs – the Midcentury Blanket – uses Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarn for a single-sized blanket. While this is a rather luxurious piece and I loved creating it I’m fully aware that it also comes with a big price tag. I wouldn’t have been able to afford the yarn on my student budget so would have had to swap it for something more affordable.

Dye Lot Issues

You might be working on a bigger project that requires multiple balls of yarn. However, you might not be able to source it all of the same dye lot and using a different one might be very obvious. Sometimes there might also be differences in thickness between different dye lots. I noticed this on Stylecraft Special DK before.

Personal Preference

You may simply prefer to use a different yarn. When I crochet something for my vegan friend I make sure that the yarn I use is vegan-friendly so depending on the project I might have to swap the yarn for her.

Practical Reasons

I’m thinking of those gorgeous merino baby jumpers here. Those amazing masterpieces in hand-dyed yarn. I remember having one for my little boy. I was too scared to put him in it as it was a hand-wash-only item and he was a rather messy baby. When the items would have been made out of a fibre that would have been easier to care for it would have gotten more wear out of it. A real shame as it was a gorgeous jumper!

Those were all of the reasons I’ve come across myself in the past. Did you have to substitute a yarn because of something else? Please let me know so that I can update the list in the future

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Happy Crocheting!

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I’m San and I’m the voice behind Loopsan. I’m a scientist by day (oh-no nerd alarm ;-)) but at night I turn into a crafter with heart. I love to crochet, bake, travel, keep memories in photographs and love everything DIY.

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