How do you know which substitutes to suggest?

Our software looks at:

  • gauge
  • texture
  • yarn weight and density
  • fiber content
  • fiber qualities (e.g. drape, softness)

...for every yarn in our database in order to come up with the best substitutes that it can find. It knows lots more too, like when a gauge difference might be okay and when it isn't. It knows lace-weight yarn can be used at various gauges and that a ruffle yarn isn't the same as a ribbon yarn. It's pretty clever even if we do say so ourselves!

If a yarn has been discontinued then you won't find it offered as a substitute. You can still search directly for a discontinued yarn of course, so that you can find substitutes for it.

We aim to offer you the best substitution suggestions, but the software can only work with the information it has. So if you think something isn't right about the information we have for a yarn then please let us know. There's a link allowing you to 'Report a data issue' on each yarn page. We'll put it right, and let you know we've done it.

Will you be adding more pictures?

Pictures are really important when it comes to deciding whether a yarn is right for your project. We're adding them as fast as we can. If you're a yarn manufacturer and don't mind us using the images from your website (we acknowledge your copyright on every picture), then let us know and we'll add them in.

Can I look for a substitute in a different fiber to the original?

Filters allow you to remove certain groups of yarns from the search results.

It's possible to remove:

  • Animal fibers (wool etc.)
  • Animal-derived fibers (silk etc.)
  • Synthetic fibers (acrylic etc.)
  • Plant fibers (cotton etc.)

You can also filter yarns based on our $ to $$$$$ price indicator.

Learn more about filtering.

If the filters don't offer what you're looking for, you can use YarnSub's search facility to help. As and example, say you have a pattern that uses Cascade Boliviana Bulky, but you don't want to use a wool yarn, though you're okay with other animal fibers. The YarnSub listing for Boliviana gives you the gauge and texture of the yarn, which are both useful when looking for a substitute. In YarnSub's search box, type: 8-10 sts, plied, not wool, not discontinued and you'll get a list of possible yarns.

Here are some more search tips.

Can I search based on the color of the yarn?

We've decided not to include individual colors, or shade cards, due to the amount of work involved. But we are working on adding different styles of color - solids, heathers, marls, gradients etc. You can search on the color types, but at this time only a small percentage of yarns have been classified.

Why don't you let users enter yarn details?

For the moment the software doesn't allow that, but it's something that might change in the future.

What does the price indicator mean?

Many of the yarns have a price indicator from $ to $$$$$. Choosing the price bands is somewhat subjective, but they equate roughly to the prices in US Dollars and UK Sterling as given below. Obviously exchange rates change and yarns are sold at different prices in different countries. Please use these price indicators as a guide only.

Price bands per 50g of yarn:

US Dollars (Approx.) UK Pounds (Approx.)
$ Less than $3 Less than £2
$$ $3 – $6.50 £2 – £4
$$$ $6.50 – $10 £4 – £6.50
$$$$ $10 – $17 £6.50 – £12
$$$$$ More than $17 More than £12

Can I search for organic yarns?

We're don't offer substitutes based on whether a yarn is organic or not, but you can search for organic yarns. Worsted organic wool for example.

How do you cover your costs?

Some of the yarn have affiliate links to online yarn retailers. If you're a retailer who's interested in working with us, do get in touch!

Alternatively, if you are able to make a small donation to help cover our costs, we are always grateful!

Does having affiliate links affect the substitutions that are suggested?

No, we always suggest the most accurate matches we can find regardless of whether they are available from an affiliate. When our algorithm rates two or more yarns as equally good matches we order the results by the popularity of the brand.

How can I unsubscribe from the newsletter?

If the Yarn Geeks newsletter is not right for you, you can unsubscribe at any time.

How can I get in touch?

We love hearing your feedback and suggestions - please send an email to hello@yarnsub.com