I’ve got substitution fever. Hear me out.
Since our new batch of Studio Chunky arrived from Karida Collins of Neighborhood Fiber Co., I’ve been like a dog with a bone.
The colors are delicious. It feels kind of like rope. I love it.
Its weight is listed as chunky, in the same universe as Rowan Big Wool. But will Studio Chunky work for my Main Squeeze sweater?
To look at them, you’d think they’d never work for the same project. Big Wool is fluffychunky. Studio Chunky is twistedchunky.
Can my dream come true? I had to dig in.
I turned to MDK’s brilliant yarn dissector, Jillian Moreno, and read again her instant-classic posts, “Grist: A Secret Measurement for Substituting Yarn” and “Substituting: Thinking About Yarn.”
The main questions: can I get gauge for my Main Squeeze sweater using Studio Chunky? Is the fabric going to feel right?
How’s the gauge? I made a big swatch, 12″ x 19″ of Studio Chunky—a big swatch tells you a bit about how the drape will look. (Cat included for scale.) I washed it to see what would happen to this superwash yarn—would it stretch a lot? The answer is, to my surprise, no. The swatch is still 12″ x 19″ after wet blocking and letting it dry. The gauge: I got 10 stitches to 4″ with Studio Chunky. The Main Squeeze sweater calls for 10″.
Is the fabric nice? To me, yes. It is definitely different from the Rowan Big Wool fabric—stretchier, much more stitch definition, airier between the stitches, a bit more of a macramé feel. I like it.
That’s Rowan Big Wool behind the Studio Chunky. You can see the difference in the fabric. Big Wool: snuggly. Studio Chunky: smooth.
What about the grist? You know, the relative denseness of the yarn. Is Studio Chunky too dense, in contrast to the ultrafluffy Big Wool?
[Skip over this part if you’re not really all that into grist calculations.
Divide the yards per ball by ounces per ball to arrive at the number of yards per ounce. That’s the number you use to compare the grist of two yarns. If one yarn is a lot heavier, then that’s a factor to consider when thinking about substituting.
Rowan Big Wool: 87 yards per ball ÷ 3.5 ounces = 24.85 yards per ounce
Studio Chunky: 125 yards per skein ÷ 4 ounces = 31.25 yards per ounce]
The yardage for both versions will be the same, because I got gauge. But the grist is 20 percent lighter for Studio Chunky, which is fine by me. Conclusion: a Studio Chunky sweater will be lighter in weight than a Big Wool version.
I decided I really want to make the alternate version of the Main Squeeze Cardigan, a pullover that Cristina Shiffman wrote about last week, “Bang Out a Sweater: Main Squeeze Pullover.”
She talks us through the various modifications she made to end up with a cropped pullover rather than the original cardigan design by Jen Geigley.
It takes eight skeins of Studio Chunky to make a cardigan in the third size. So according to Cristina, my pullover version should use maybe four skeins. Stay tuned on this . . .
I’m using the color Oliver. In the background are two other contenders: the pink Cross Street Market and the red Bolton Hill.
But I couldn’t help myself! It’s only 104 stitches around, on a size 13 needle.