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 an issue' on each yarn page. We'll get it put right, and let you know we've done it, within 24 hours.

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. We don't add pictures without copyright permission though, so if you're a yarn manufacturer and you 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?

At the moment it's not possible to directly find the best substitutes for a particular yarn in another fiber. But you can use our search box to help.

For example, say you're looking for a substitute for Rowan Big Wool, but you want something using machine-washable wool. With the details for Big Wool to hand, type: 9 sts plied superwash and you'll get a list of options.

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. If you have suggestions for color types for particular yarns, then we'd love to hear them.

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?

We are beginning to add a price indicator of $ to $$$$$. Choosing the price bands is somewhat subjective, but since YarnSub knows the UK market best, we've used bands based on the recommended retail price in GBP and below converted to USD for your information. Please use these price indicators as a guide only.

Price bands per 50g are as follows:

$ £0.01 - £1.99 $0.01 - $3.24
$$ £2.00 - £3.99 $3.25 - $6.49
$$$ £4.00 - £6.49 $6.50 - $10.49
$$$$ £6.50 - £11.99 $10.50 - $19.99
$$$$$ £12.00+ $20.00+

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?

We are gradually building up 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!

Will 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.

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We love hearing your feedback and suggestions - please send an email to