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Choosing patterns and yarn

My skill level is beyond beginner and I would like to move into more advanced projects (both knitting and crochet). When I am shopping around and see yarns I like, I don't seem to be able to match them to patterns that I want to do. The patterns I find call for very specific yarns and brands and these aren't the ones on sale at knit picks or at the store. I am accumulating yarn and getting tired of just making hats and scarves! Am I looking in the wrong places? Is there a way to match up the yarns I have with compatible patterns without being limited to the yarn manufacturer's patterns? Any advice is appreciated.

I think we all have picked up some patterns and Yarn/Thread
and said WHAT can I use this for ?

I have made many boo boos doing the nice pattern and the Yarn/Thread match
But we can always Rip it Rip It !

I just made a Breakfast Jacket ( 1st time for a piece of clothing - other than Scarves )
and I used a Vanna Tan - Pearl yarn and it is as heavy as a Bear on my back.
Another friend did the same thing and we laughed > We said It was made to stay in bed and Have Breakfast there > cause it is soo heavy !! HA ha he he he

I end up making all sizes of SQUARES with the Yarn/Thread that has caught my eye !

S ooooo > you are not in the questioning alone !

When looking to substitute yarns, look for a similar type of yarn made by another manufacturer. I would look for similar fiber (wool, cotton, silk, acrylic, bamboo, rayon, etc.) and similar thickness (worsted, fingering, DK, etc.) Unless you are looking at a pattern made with an unusual novelty yarn, you should find many similar yarns made by other manufacturers or even by the same company but with a slight difference. For example, Red Heart and Bernat make many worsted weight, acrylic yarns but they have different lines. The same can be said for Berroco, Classic Elite, Cascade, Brown Sheep, etc.

It can get trickier when you want to use a different fiber because fibers have different characteristics that can affect the look and drape of the finished garment. For example, silk can be shiny and using a wool yarn will give a different appearance. Wool has great elasticity and memory whereas alpaca does not.

The best way to learn what works for you is to experiment. I used cotton to make a wool sweater pattern years ago that came out great. Had I known then what I know now about the characteristics of cotton versus wool, I might not have made that sweater.

Yes, 'rip it' is something I do often too when experimenting. I like the idea of squares--they can be assembled and used in different ways and I can use left-overs for that. I suppose experience often is the best teacher. Perhaps when I buy sale yarn I just need to buy more at one time so I have enough to make more than just a scarf or hat. I am thinking of making a knit sweater with a crocheted yoke that I'm looking at on Interweave (Mandalay Medallions # EP1140). It uses a silk blend yarn that will run me more than $80. That's a fairly big investment for my very first attempt at clothing. If it works out, it will be beautiful though.