How to Sub Sandnes Garn Alpakka Into a Pattern

How to Sub Sandnes Garn Alpakka Into a Pattern

I recently knit myself a jumper using Sandnes Garn Alpakka, in the shade Isbla (I used Sunday in the same shade as the trim).

Alpakka is a DK weight yarn, although it is a bit finer than Double Sunday. It works up to 22 stitches per 10cm on 3.5mm needles or 21 on 3.25mm needles and is 110m per 50g ball. That happens to be a very convenient gauge to sub into many patterns that use a fingering weight yarn held together with silk mohair. Think the October Sweater, Monday Sweater or Teddy Bear Sweater by PetiteKnit. Further down I'll explain why Alpakka is a great substitution in children's sweaters.

Those patterns are typically knit on 4mm needles, but using Alpakka you'll likely need to go down to 3.25mm to achieve the same gauge. But of course checking gauge should be part of any project kick-off :)

To make the substitution you'll need to do a little math because being DK weight each ball of Alpakka is a lot shorter than a ball of fingering or lace weight yarn.

The math:

For example if I was making the Teddy Bear Sweater for a 2-3 year old I would require 100g of Sandnes Garn Sunday and 50g of Tynn Silk Mohair.

First we work out how many meters of each that we need (multiplying the number of balls required for the project by the number of meters in each ball)

2 balls of Sunday = 2x235m = 470m

2 balls Tynn Silk Mohair = 2x212m = 424m

We can take the shorter of those two measurements and use that to work out how much Alpakka we will need (dividing the meters needed by the number of meters in a ball of Alpakka,110m).

424m/110m = 3.8

So instead of needing 2 balls of Sunday and 2 balls of Tynn Silk Mohair, you will require 4 balls of Alpakka to make a 2-3-year-olds Teddy Bear Sweater.

But why would you want to do this? Sunday and Tynn Silk Mohair are a beautiful combination.

1. Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic, meaning people with a wool allergy can wear it

2. Alpaca wool is as warm as merino

3. Alpaca wool is incredibly soft

4. Alpaca wool has a nice sheen to it

5. Alpaca wool retains insulating properties when wet

6. While expensive compared to pure wool, it is cheaper than mohair - in the substitution example above the original jumper would cost $66 for the yarn, while the alpakka version would cost $56

7. To try something different, part of knitting is experimenting and understanding different fibres.

But there can be some downsides to using alpaca

1. It's not as elastic as merino so might not be the best choice for fitted garments

2. Some people with sensitive skin may still find it itchy

3. It's less common so you may not find the exact colour that you are after (and it's not as commonly listed as the recommended yarn in patterns)

I really enjoyed my experience of knitting with Sandnes Garn Alpakka, my jumper is light weight and comfortable, I'm able to wear it directly against my skin with no irritation and it was lovely to knit with. In particular the sheen and drape of the finished jumper appeal to me. 

Shop Sandnes Garn Alpakka

Teddy Bear Sweater by PetiteKnit


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