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LAD Yarn Alternatives

Hello lovelies!

How are you?! I hope the sun is shining where you are, and you’re starting to meet up with friends again after a long few months! Three of us actually worked together in the studio this week (Helen, Sally & Claire) and it was so lovely to see other humans again 😂 I hope you’re able to do the same.

This week I am talking about yarn – and specifically yarn alternatives for LAD Super Chunky Merino. We get a lot of questions about it so I thought I’d do a little bit of market research for you all…

LAD Super Chunky Yarn

Obviously, we are ALWAYS going to recommend our own yarn for our knits – it is what our designs are based on, we adore the quality, we are passionate about using 100% merino because we believe it is the best and we rate it so much higher than any other yarns on the market – which is why we stock it. We’ve also got a great relationship with our suppliers who know how strongly we feel about the welfare of the sheep too.

BUT. There are quite a few times when we’ve been asked if there are any good yarn alternatives – this could be for a variety of reasons… Lots of our customers live abroad and it can be costly to send heavy wool overseas. Many of our customers are wanting to chuck their knits in the washing machine for ease, and most love our Super Chunky Merino but want cheaper options for the amount of knitting they do.

We know knitting can be costly and like all things, the better the wool, the more expensive it is. So in the spirit of encouraging the joy of knitting for everyone at all times, I decided to test out some of the wool alternatives out there!

How to Compare?

We have a lovely active Facebook group where lots of our members ask about yarn alternatives so I thought I’d start there with some of the previous recommendations. I bought 7 different yarns and knit up swatches of 10 stitches by 11 rows (using 12mm needles) alongside a swatch of our own Super Chunky Yarn. This helped me to check quality while knitting, the gauge and finished knit. I tried to keep them all of a similar colour so as not to distract and to be able to focus purely on the knitting. I also compared size of ball, length of ball, price, delivery, colour options and whether the yarn is washable. Also where the brand is based too.

I hope it will give you a good feel of some of the different yarns on the market. Of course there are plenty more out there but I chose those which seemed to be the most popular.

Things to remember

When you’re shopping for a different yarn to the one suggested on the pattern you do have to remember a couple of things – we wrote about them in a previous blog about our SCY but as a quick reminder;

  1. Keep an eye on not only the weight of the yarn you’re buying but also the length of the ball. Our SCY is 200g and 130m but you can get other 200g balls which will be less than that – this means you’ll have to buy more weight to get the same length of yarn.
  2. Because of the above, you’ll have to check the gauge of your new yarn. If your yarn is thicker than suggested your finished piece will be bigger, if the yarn is thinner your finished piece will be smaller.

What were our chosen Yarn Alternatives?

  • THE WOOL by We Are Knitters
  • WOOL-EASE THICK & QUICK by Lion Brand
  • BIG WOOL by Rowan
  • HAYFIELD BONUS SUPER CHUNKY by Sirdar
  • CRAZY SEXY WOOL by Wool & the Gang
  • BIG VALUE SUPER CHUNKY by King Cole
  • SERIOUSLY CHUNKY by Cygnet
  • All alongside our Lauren Aston Designs SUPER CHUNKY YARN

Let's look at each one...

yarn alternatives
LAD Super Chunky Yarn

Weight of Ball: 200g (also available in 100g)

Length of Ball: 130m 

Price: £13 (cheaper in bundles)

Delivery Cost: £3.95 / Free over £60

Type of Yarn: 100% Merino Single Yarn

Colour Options: 25 Different colours available

Washable? No

Gauge: 10cm = 8st x 11 rows 

Location: UK

Further Info:

Our Super Chunky yarn – and what we will be comparing the other yarns too. Please see the swatches on each yarn alternative to compare the finished knit size.

We sell this yarn in 200g, 100, 50g and bundles. All 25 colours are in stock and available and we have limited edition colours available too.

The Wool; We Are Knitters

Weight of Ball: 200g 

Length of Ball: 80m 

Price: £15

Delivery Cost: £9.90 / Free over £70

Type of Yarn: 100% Wool Single Yarn

Colour Options: 32 (only 8 available at time of ordering) 

Washable? No

Gauge: 10cm = 6.5st x 9.5 rows 

Location: Spain

Further Info:

I ordered The Wool from We are Knitters website. It’s expensive delivery if you are only buying a couple of balls but also note that even though WAK send you a returns form to send the yarn back if you aren’t happy with it, they do take a further £9.90 off your refund. So if you buy a couple of balls and change your mind, it will cost you £19 in delivery and returns alone.

It’s a really beautiful yarn but does knit up a lot thicker than LAD yarn so any of our patterns you make with this wool will end up bigger and heavier – it will also cost you a lot more in yarn as a 200g ball is 80m long compared to our 130m. So – if you’re using this yarn for one of our knits, you’ll need to size down and buy more wool 👍

I also found that the yarn was exactly the same as Wool And The Gang’s Crazy Sexy Wool.

Wool Ease Thick & Quick; Lion Brand

Weight of Ball: 170g 

Length of Ball: 97m 

Price: £7.79

Delivery Cost: £2.95 / Free over £25

Type of Yarn: 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool Ply Yarn

Colour Options: 34 (only 18 available at time of ordering) 

Washable? Yes

Gauge: 10cm = 7st x 10 rows 

Location: Turkey

Further Info:

I Bought this yarn from Wool Warehouse, but there are other stockists available. The cost of yarn and delivery charges therefore are based on Wool Warehouse. You can find out more about the yarn on Lion Brand’s own website.

This is a really nice thick yarn and knits up well, and has some nice colours however they weren’t available at time of ordering. If you use this yarn for one of our knits it will end up bigger than the pattern states – I can also imagine this yarn knits well on size 15mm needles. Not a bad price and it’s a similar length and weight as LAD. It’s not as soft as some of the other acrylics I used though, but a decent chunky wool.

Big Wool; Rowan

Weight of Ball: 100g 

Length of Ball: 80m 

Price: £8.99

Delivery Cost: £2.95 / Free over £25

Type of Yarn: 100% Wool Ply Yarn

Colour Options: 30 

Washable? No

Gauge: 10cm = 8st x 11 rows 

Location: UK

Further Info:

I bought this yarn with a number of other balls from Wool Warehouse, but there are other stockists available. The cost of yarn and delivery charges therefore are based on Wool Warehouse. You can find out more about the yarn by visiting KnitRowan.com

I think I was more surprised by this yarn than any of the others. That is, I was expecting it be to beautiful – Rowan is a great well known and loved brand but I was actually pretty surprised at the quality. It didn’t actually feel like wool – despite it being pretty identical in gauge to LAD yarn, it felt thinner and I actually thought it was acrylic to start with. 

The colour range is pretty good, and because it’s ply rather than single strand it won’t split as much, but it’s 100% wool so therefore not washable, it’s almost the same in price as ours, so I’d go LAD every time over this brand.

Hayfield Bonus Super Chunky; Sidar

Weight of Ball: 100g 

Length of Ball: 82m 

Price: £1.99

Delivery Cost: £2.95 / Free over £25

Type of Yarn: 100% Acrylic

Colour Options: 19 

Washable? Yes

Gauge: 10cm = 7st x 10rows 

Location: UK

Further Info:

Again, I got this yarn from Wool Warehouse, so the cost of yarn and delivery charges therefore are based on Wool Warehouse. You can find out more about the yarn by visiting the Sirdar website.

This yarn is incredibly soft for an acrylic. It doesn’t have that ‘squeaky’ feel that lots of acrylic yarns have and I was surprised as this was one of the cheapest. It was quite nice to knit up but I was disappointed in the colour options. For a good acrylic option it was a shame there weren’t more colours.

This yarn knits up slightly bigger than LAD yarn, but I don’t know how well it would hold its shape so I would think it would be great for blankets especially as it’s got the softness and you can pop it in the washing machine too!

Crazy Sexy Wool; Wool & The Gang

Weight of Ball: 200g 

Length of Ball: 80m 

Price: £17

Delivery Cost: £3.99 / Free over £70

Type of Yarn: 100% Wool

Colour Options: 40 (only 15 available at time of ordering)

Washable? No

Gauge: 10cm = 6.5st x 9.5rows 

Location: UK

Further Info:

This yarn is also available from Wool Warehouse slightly cheaper but I bought it from Wool And The Gang. There’s a really lovely collection of colours although not all were available at time of ordering.

This is the same wool as The Wool by We are Knitters. If you’re in the UK I’d suggest shopping from WATG and if you’re based in the EU then buy it from WAK. You’d have to check both sites for international postage.

Big Value Super Chunky; King Cole

Weight of Ball: 100g 

Length of Ball: 81m 

Price: £2.39

Delivery Cost: £2.95 / Free over £25

Type of Yarn: 100% Premium Acrylic

Colour Options: 34 (only 24 available at time of ordering)

Washable? Yes

Gauge: 10cm = 8st x 11rows 

Location: UK

Further Info:

Bought on Wool Warehouse but available elsewhere – here’s the King Cole site for wholesale.

This yarn is probably the closest in gauge to LAD yarn, and actually has a nice collection of colours – although lots of them weren’t available at time of ordering.

Not as soft as the Sirdar yarn, but softer than the Lion Brand. Knits up okay – although I’ve made a Sweatervest using this yarn and it doesn’t hold its shape as well as the LAD yarn – I suspect it would be better knit on 10mm needles. I would say this is a good cheap alternative if you’re after a washable yarn, but I would knit smaller than 15mm needles – stick to 10 or 12mm.

Seriously Chunky; Cygnet

Weight of Ball: 100g 

Length of Ball: 48m 

Price: £2.49

Delivery Cost: £2.95 / Free over £25

Type of Yarn: 100% Acrylic

Colour Options: 30 (only 23 available at time of ordering)

Washable? Yes

Gauge: 10cm = 7st x 9.5rows 

Location: UK

Further Info:

Bought on Wool Warehouse but also available elsewhere – and here’s the direct Cygnet link.

This is the least meterage per weight of the acrylic yarns so do watch out if you choose to buy this one – it’s almost half the length of the King Cole yarn of the same weight. It’s quite a decent acrylic in that it’s softer than most but it still does have that slight ‘squeaky’ feel to it. There’s a pretty good collection of colours though, and it does knit up chunkier than you would expect. 

Conclusion...

This was never going to be a ‘this yarn is better than this yarn’ kind of blog, but more of an overview of some of the more popular brands of Super Chunky Yarn out there. There are so many I didn’t look at, so I’d be really happy to hear any further thoughts you have on yarns you’ve used for our patterns before.

As I said above, we’re always going to recommend our own yarn for the patterns we design. And after trying out a few alternatives, I can honestly say it’s the nicest one to knit with! But I do appreciate that having a really good washable alternative is always going to be attractive. We’d love to be able to add to our collection of yarns with that for you, and we are looking for an organic cotton super chunky rather than an acrylic, but hopefully in the meantime you now have an idea of what else you can use.

If you’ve got any further questions about our yarn in general please do get in touch, but in the meantime, have a great week in the sun and Happy Easter (if you celebrate) Oh and watch out for a little promotion over the Bank Holiday weekend – something is back for a limited time only!! 👀👀

See you soon gang,

Helen xx

What a LAD

Chunky knitter, tea drinker, word writer. I'm Lauren Aston: bringing you 90% waffle and 10% useful information.

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