Thanks for all the great comments on Roam. Now to answer a few questions!

One warning: Alexis has very awesome things in her wardrobe that are often the product of being in the right place at the right time (random stores in toronto, at random times over the last few years) – so they might be kind of hard to come by!

The BOOTS, the BOOTS!
Alexis writes:
“My boots are made by a company called Eject. I bought them in Toronto last year at a store called Shoon which has now become Trove on Bathurst just south of Bloor. So random!”

I checked the Eject website and no sign of the boots. You guys might be out of luck on that one!

The Crime-Fighting Utility Belt
Alexis also writes that the belt is from Roots, but from last year – again, no sign of it on their website. I’ve always loved their leather, but never got around to buying any of it – I love the belt too, but somehow Alexis just carries it off the best.

and now…the Very Important Info –

Yarn Substitutions

Now. I know a lot of people are a bit aghast at the price of the yarn that I used for Roam, Handmaiden Great Big Sea. I received the yarn for free, as designers sometimes (or often) do, and it was fantastic. I received six skeins, and at first thought I’d only use maximum five – but then the seed stitch, and the hood, ate up all the yarn.

The yarn I used is 50% wool, 30% silk and 20% seacell, and is the only yarn of its kind on the market, so far as I know. It’s DK weight, with 250 m per 100 g skein. And of course, it’s handpainted.

I must admit that sometimes I’m a bit stymied as to why some knitters take the suggested yarn so seriously – I mean, sometimes it’s necessary especially where specific colours or something is concerned, but otherwise there are so many wonderful different yarns in the world that you needn’t limit yourself! I hardly ever even consider using yarns suggested in patterns – I only look at it for the fibre content and yardage.

If it so happens that I have access to the yarn and like it, I might consider using it – but more often, I find a yarn that I like and then think, “That pattern would be great in this yarn!”. I guess I’ve been doing that pretty much the entire time that I’ve been knitting, and I know it doesn’t come as easy to think of substitutions for some people. I guess I’m also helped along in that department by my yarn-monkey work!

Anyway, onto the substitutions. The yarn is quite drapey, so for a similar drape a wool-silk, wool-alpaca, or wool-tencel yarn would be appropriate. I wouldn’t use something like 100% alpaca or 100% silk, because then it would likely be *too* heavy and *too* drapey.

BUT, you could also change up the look and feel by knitting it in a yarn with more body, like a 100% wool. This would create a more substantial-feeling sweater, thicker, with much less drape (which can be a good thing as well). I’m thinking of knitting another one in a woolier yarn.

You could also knit it at a tight gauge, with a thicker, drapey yarn for something inbetween – more body, but some drape. Or a 100% wool yarn at a looser gauge (thinner yarn) for more drape than a 100% DK weight.

See what I mean? The possibilities are endless! Anyway, since I know lots of people just want a list, here’s a bunch that I think would work (using Yarndex and my yarn-store brain).

More drapey yarns (most similar to the one used):
Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK
Elann Highland Silk
Fibre Company Savannah DK
Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3ply
Filatura di Crosa Zara
Handmaiden Lady Godiva
Knitpicks Swish Superwash or Swish DK
Knitpicks Andean Silk
Knitpicks Gloss, held doubled
Knitpicks Elegance
Louisa Harding Grace
Noro Cash Iroha
Regia Silk 6ply
RYC Cashsoft DK
Sublime Cashmere Silk Merino (or whatever the order is) DK

More wooly yarns (more body):
Debbie Bliss Merino DK
Knitpicks Merino Style or Wool of the Andes
Filatura di Crosa 501
Elann Highland Wool
Elann Luxury Merino Superwash
Araucania Nature Wool
Rowan Felted Tweed
Fleece Artist Blue Face DK
Karabella Aurora 4
Artyarns Ultramerino 6
Briar Rose Fibers Fourth of July

Does that help? It’s not even a drop in the exhaustive pool. For the vegans (or non-wool-wearing-people), a blend is important – cotton/rayon would probably be a good bet, or cotton/modal like Knitpicks Shine.

All that seed stitch will kill me!
I implore you to try Continental-style knitting! It is so easy to switch between knit and purl (it doesn’t require a whole half-a-stitch-movement) that my ribbing and seed stitch are almost as fast as my stockinette. Really.

22 Responses to “answers and substitutions”

  1. Carrie

    You are so awesome to address all the questions, especially your fabby list of yarn substitutions. It’s a beautiful sweater!

  2. ann

    Congrats on publishing a great sweater!! I think it’s great that you’re being so forthcoming about different yarn ideas. I’d add Brooks Farm Four Play to the list – it’s 4 oz for 270 yards for $17 — and has a similar variegation as the Great Big Sea. Might need to rejigger slightly for gauge, but it’s very similar and I can attest – heaven to work with.

  3. Jill Adams

    Thank you so much for all this info. I know it takes time to write a blog post that long, and that you didn’t have to do it. I love Roam. It is the standout pattern from Knitty for me. Thanks for encouraging people to substitute if they need to – it would be a shame not to make the pattern just because they didn’t like the yarn. Knit on!!

  4. Adee

    LOVE this pattern so thank you very much. thanks also for giving vegan subs.

  5. Erin

    I’m really excited about this sweater! Thanks so much for the list of substitutions; I still don’t know much about drape and choosing yarns to achieve the same effect as the yarn used in the original. You’re fantastic. :)

  6. Amber

    I don’t understand why people get so upset about yarn choices, either. But I’m more like you and just get a sense of the kind of yarn a pattern is calling for.

    Also, are you still looking for blue heron metalic rayon? Which color was it? Or did you frog the top you were working on?

  7. Frances

    I have been looking for a great hoodie pattern forever! THank you for supplying the answer! And also for looking up all the substitutions!

  8. Suzanne V. (Yarnhog)

    That was a really excellent explanation of substituting. I don’t think I’ve ever used the actual yarn for a pattern, and I often use completely different yarns for a deliberately different effect, because who wants to knit the exact same thing someone else had done? But a lot of people have questions about how to choose a similar yarn, and you’ve done a great job of clarifying it.

  9. gleek

    i was going to say brooks farm four play as well.. and maybe even brooks farm acero would work too. i do like this pattern a lot laura! i wish that i had made kyoto so recently. lots of seed stitch :) give it a year and i may tackle this one!

  10. Jodi

    Laura, you rock! Thanks for posting all those answers, esp. your yarn substitution suggestions.

    Beautiful design, gorgeous yarn, and fabulous photos.

  11. cranberry

    Thanks for being so gracious with your knowlege and time! Looking forward to your other designs (and hopefully, a book?)

  12. Nubiancraftster

    Thanks for the wonderful pattern and details on yarn substitution. I am not a slave to the yarn suggested but sometimes we are lazy and want to expert opinion of the designer. I also love the detail you added about drape versus body, sometimes that can be forgotten when just looking at the details of a design. You are truly a gifted knitter!

  13. Jennie

    Love the pattern and substitution ideas! Any idea where to buy the Brooks Farms yarns? I’m having trouble getting to their website. Thanks!

  14. Amy

    This is so Awesome!! Thank you!!

    I was just cruising around looking at my que at Ravelry and was thinking of Roam (again) and went a hunting for the yarn only to find out that I don’t think I want a $200 hoodie and lo and behold your blog came up on google under the yarn search. I’m thrilled because literally moments ago I was wondering where you got your fab clothes and such… and here! here are all the answers to my silent wonderings!

    there is a knitting goddess and she is a benevolent soul.

    thanks for putting an awesome pattern out in the world for us to partake of :-)

    love and laughter,
    Amy

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