Stuff Jenn Likes:

YarnSub - a database for yarn geeks like us

If you have ever

  1. spent time wondering how a yarn will work up instead of actually working it up, or
  2. arranged your yarns by which make good lace and which make good cables, or
  3. been disappointed that your sock yarn doesn’t have that perfect springiness that you like then you are a yarn geek.

Yes, you are. Don’t try to deny it. Most people, as in 99.8%, never notice anything about yarn besides its color. You are a hopeless yarn geek and I like that about you. So let me tell you all about

YarnSub is for us.

Its a yarn database managed by Wendy, a fellow hopeless yarn geek. Wendy writes on the Muddy Sheep blog and she is addicted to swatching. Her addiction has led to a searchable database of yarn with all the information you need to make guesses about how it will work up. Also… she has a pretty good idea which commercially available yarns make good substitutes. Thus YarnSub was born. - a database for yarn geeks

I’ve been using YarnSub since it was in beta. It in full release now and gets bigger every month. Recently there have been a few informative articles. Pictures are slowly being added. The search mechanism has really expanded. But at its core, YarnSub is for finding a good substitute for a yarn you don’t have or can’t afford. Here is a sample.

I’ve made this graphic small because I don’t want to rip-off YarnSub’s content. If you want those details, the link below should take you right to the search that produced these results!

In the lead-off image I have the database entry for Malabrigo Silkpaca. If you look that up you’ll find a long list of substitutes starting with its closest match. There are notes on difference in yarn ply, fiber content, and how skeins/ball to yardage ratios. Its a pretty detailed catalog and its irresistible to a yarn geek like me.

How does she get this information? Well, some of it is straight from the yarn manufacturer but not all of it. Her tips and recommendations are based on swatching. The keeper of YarnSub does LOTS of swatching.

A comparison of S-on-S plied yarns swatches from

The image above is from an analysis on S-on-S plied yarns (a plying technique that leads to a bouncy springy yarn!) of all different price ranges. With the exception of the cheapest yarn, which had quality issues, they all seem to work up very much the same. This is why I go back to YarnSub again and again. Its advice based on the results of a crafter’s hands-on experience and you just can’t beat that.


So when you are about to buy over the internet (and can’t lay hands on the yarn), or when you want to check to see if what you have in your stash will work, or if you are just burnt out on the yarn-porn of Pinterest and etsy and want actual information… - for yarn geeks like us

Click a link and say goodbye to getting anything productive done today. (And you are welcome for that!)

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14 Comments on "Stuff Jenn Likes:"

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OMG where has tis been all my life?! If I had had this when we bought yarn fort eh jacketI was knitting I bet I wouldn’t be having the gauge issue I am currently dealing with (per inch width wise is right, but length-wise is a little short). Thanks Jenn, you rock!!


Its a great resource and you are very welcome!

Hope you get that gauge worked out. Sometimes if you need more length but not width you can fudge it by going up a needle size every other row. Like say… do the purl side with a bigger needle. Just tossing that out there.


Oh boy, do I need this. Thank you! I hate it when I fall in love with a yarn before I see the price of $50 for 100 yards, and can’t find -or feel- a substitute.
Btw, does it make me less of a yarn geek because I obsess about color? I don’t even bother to look at the fiber content if the color makes me want to puke.


lol. You are a yarn geek, girl. I’ve read your blog and there is no denying it!


So…I’m a yarn geek. I guess that’s why I hesitate to buy yarn that I can’t feel, touch and squish. And yes my yarn IS somewhat organized. Thank you SO much for this wonderful info. I would never have found it by myself. Have a wonderful day….you made mine!


Ahh you’re welcome. Hope that yarnsub brings you many happy hours of browsing!


Yarn porn! LOL!
You are too much!




I just tweeted a link to this post, Jenn. Thanks for the tip! Don’t know how I missed this great resource 🙂


happy to help. I hope that site gets plenty of traffic and all the support it needs to keep going. I for one would hate to see it close.