Most guides for yarn substitution are aimed at projects that need to fit very specific measurements, like sweaters or socks. So how much of that applies when substituting yarn for something where final dimensions aren’t terribly important, like with the Ice Fire Wrap? Wraps and scarves have some flexibility to their final measurements because they can have a range of sizes that are several inches different and still be perfectly functional. When choosing your yarn for a project like that, here’s what you need to keep in mind!
When substituting a different color or brand in the same yarn weight and fiber, you can expect very similar results. This is one of those times where it’s okay to skip a swatch and work off knowledge of your knitting style to either use the suggested needles or go up or down a size based on what you most commonly do. Most Knit Picks team members who are not using regular Chroma Worsted for their Ice Fire Wraps have chosen worsted weight yarns, like Regan’s Wool of the Andes Worsted or Alexis’s Chroma Twist Worsted, paired with the suggested US 9 (5.5 mm) needles, and none of them chose to make a gauge swatch because fit is not an issue. Their yardage use will also be very close to the pattern’s yardage listed.
Heavier yarn will produce a wider wrap if no other modifications are made, and it likely will not require as many repeats of the primary stitch pattern to hit the target length. Alena is using Wonderfluff and Wonderfluff Ombre, bulky weight yarns, and US 10.5 (6.5 mm) needles to make her Ice Fire Wrap, and she will be making an extra wide wrap by following the instructions as written, but she expects to only need 5 stitch pattern repeats to reach her desired length instead of the pattern’s 8. She likely will use less yardage than the pattern lists.
Lighter weight yarn will produce a narrower wrap that’s more like a wider scarf if no other modifications are made, and it will likely require more repeats of the stitch pattern to hit the target length. Andi is going this route with her Ice Fire Wrap by using Capra DK paired with US 9 (5.5 mm) needles. To reach the suggested length, she expects to need to add at least one more repeat of the stitch pattern and has 2 extra balls of yarn in each color to accommodate that. She likely will use more yardage than the pattern lists.
Modification-free yarn substitutions work best when the fiber content is relatively similar. The original yarn for the Ice Fire Wrap, Chroma Worsted, is 100% wool, and using a yarn with mostly wool or other animal fibers will produce wraps with similar drape. If you want to substitute the fiber, look for worsted weight yarns with some loft and elasticity, like Brava Worsted a 100% premium acrylic yarn, and avoid yarns that are dense and have limited elasticity, like most plied 100% cotton yarns.