Serrano – yarn subs

So. I know that it’s been frustrating for those of you who want to knit Serrano out of Schaefer Anne, and haven’t been able to find matching skeins! Anne is supposed to be a yarn where every skein is unique – leftover dyes, or something like that. However, the company has seen the pattern, and since they know there’s going to be interest, they’re going to start dyeing up matchng skeins! lettuce knit will be getting some, hopefully soon.

Of course, you might not want to knit it out of that yarn, or it’s too difficult to find, too expensive, or you just can’t wear the fibres in it. Thus, I present some appropriate yarn substitutions and thoughts.

I’m sorry about the dark photo; it’s just been all kinds of cloudy and dreary here the last few days! So from top, we have:

Koigu KPPPM (175 yards/50 g; 19 WPI)
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino (420 yards/4 oz; 20 WPI)
Knitpicks Essentials (231 yards/50 g; 20 WPI)
Louet Gems Pearl (175 yards/50 g; 20 WPI)
Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (215 yards/2 oz; 21 WPI)
Schaefer Anne (560 yards/4 oz; 21 WPI)(4 oz = 113 g)

As you can see, these are all wools; I don’t have any comparable non-wools on hand to show, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Anne is 60% superwash wool, 25% mohair, and 15% nylon – and as you can see, comes in one big honkin’ skein with massive yardage. I think it’s going to be pretty difficult to find a yarn that comes in the big skein like that, so you’ll probably have to buy a number of skeins of another yarn to make up the yardage. You probably won’t be able to match the yards per pound (2240 ypp) in a sock yarn; it’s more like a laceweight that way.

Anne is quite a light fingering weight, almost like a heavy laceweight. All the yarns I’m showing here are “sock yarns”, although of course there’s still a lot of variation! Basically you’re looking for something that would get you perhaps 32-36 stitches/10 cm in stockinette on say a 2.0 mm (US 0) needle if you were knitting socks. Since this is a garment, and obviously not as dense as a sock, knitting on the larger (3mm) needles would net a bigger gauge – what we’re aiming for here is 28 sts/10 cm unblocked.

This is quite a loose gauge for this yarn, and blocking makes it even more open – 21 sts/10cm. Because you’re blocking to size, there can be a fair bit of play in your unblocked gauge, although the length measurements and such given in the pattern assume that you have the same unblocked gauge (especially row gauge) as me.

You really must knit this in a natural fibre (or at least mostly natural; Anne is 15% nylon after all) so that the blocking is as effective as it needs to be – it needs to be able to stretch out quite a lot when wet, and stay that size when it dries. Silk, cotton, and wool are all great for this.

I’d have to say my personal pick out of the ones I’ve shown above is the Lorna’s Laces – it’s quite on the skinny side of fingering weight, and comes in lots of great hand-dyed solids. It’s also quite widely available. That said, I think any of the ones above will work quite well. With a slightly thicker yarn (like the Koigu or Louet Gems), the fabric won’t be quite a open as it is with a thinner yarn, but you can use that to your advantage – the sweater will give you more warmth and coverage! On the other hand, if you make the sweater from a laceweight yarn, it’ll be even more light and lacey – perfect for spring and summer.

As for silk and cotton suggestions, I can’t think of *too* many off the top of my head, but here’s a few, along with even more wool suggestions:

Handmaiden Sea Silk (heavy laceweight)
Brown Sheep Cotton Fine
Austermann Pharao (available at; laceweight)
Cascade Lace Weight Silk

Regia Silk
Lang Jawoll
Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Ultra
Baby Ull
Knitpicks Bare Merino Fingering Weight

I know there are lots more out there! If you have any questions about a particualr yarn, please feel free to email me!

How about some knitting content? Remember this?

Well, here’s some proof that it actually *did* become a fluffy bunny (part of a commission order):

Gotta go – still more of that order left to finish!



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16 responses to “Serrano – yarn subs”

  1. Shannon Avatar

    I’m a little confused about the blocked/unblocked gauge. Shouldn’t the blocked gauge be in the lace pattern? Or do you just see how much you can stretch the stockinette stitch?

  2. Natalie Avatar

    Thanks for the suggestions — and the pattern! What would you think about KnitPicks Gloss (70% merino; 30% silk)? It seems like the fiber content would make for a luxurious sweater, but I wonder if the absence of the nylon might hurt the stability of the lace once it was knit & blocked?

  3. Lauren Avatar

    Thanks for posting these. I am using Regia 4-ply (I think that’s what that word means?) which is 75% wool and 25% polyamide. Should I be worried about the 25%?
    I got gauge for the unblocked swatch. I didn’t block a swatch because I’m a bad person and I want to finish it by October 21. If it turns out too small I’ll give it to my sister I guess.

  4. gretchen Avatar

    I love your sweater and will be knitting it myself – yarn to be determined….but have you tried the angora valley fibers sock weight yarn? It comes in big honking 546 yard skeins and is thin sock yarn. it might work. i think their www is

  5. Sundara Avatar

    Total self-promotional plug here, but you could use Sundara Yarn sock yarn. :)

  6. Seanna Lea Avatar

    This piece is absolutely gorgeous. I have been trying to figure out what to make it out of. I was thinking of using the superwash bare knitpicks sock yarn and then dip dying it when I was done (not that I have had great experience with dip dying). Even using Gloss would be a decent $ value, because it is about 32USD for a medium size.

  7. Stephanie Avatar

    I started the Serrano after many months of contemplating using my beautiful 100% Baby Alpaca Wool from Peru {we visited Peru and this was one of my special gifts to myself}.

    Do you think Alpaca would work the same for the Serrano sweater? It seems to be working fine, and I had to bump it up to size 3mm for a larger gauge – the blocked peice was short by a half an inch on either side.

  8. Elizabeth Avatar

    I ignored all advice (well, I’m reading this after completion) and used completely synthetic yarn, Austermann Mayfair and I am very pleased with the result. I sized it to fit, with no negative ease and I obviously didn’t have to block it. The substitions never cease! You can see a pic on my blog. Thanks for a great pattern, I have gotten lots of complements on it.

  9. Eden Avatar

    Thanks so much for the gorgeous (and well written) pattern! I did use KnitPicks Gloss and it came out beautifully, although I wish I had either knit a larger size or used larger needles. I always have to go down at least 2 needle sizes to get gauge, which I did to get unblocked gauge, and it turned out quite short after blocking. It sounds like Gloss is somewhat heavier than the other recommended yarns, so maybe it didn’t stretch as much. And it is quite warm.

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