The yarns in this first image are as follows (reading from left to right, top row then bottom row). The red swatch is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK; 55% merino wool, 33% microfibre and 12% cashmere with 110m per ball. The green swatch is Sirdar Country Style DK; 45% Acrylic, 40% Nylon and 15% wool with 318m per ball (100gm balls). The multi-coloured swatch is Knit Cole Candy DK; 80% Premium Acrylic and 20% Nylon with 290m per ball (100gm balls). The cream/brown swatch is King Cole Big Value DK; 100% Acrylic with 290m per ball (1oogm balls). The raspberry swatch is Elle Elite DK; 50% wool and 50% cotton with 114m per ball. The cream swatch is Sirdar Snuggly Babybamboo DK; 80% Bamboo and 20% wool with 95m per ball.
The second photo includes 2 extra swatches that where not included in the article. (Again from top left). The green swatch is Wendy Mode DK; 50% pure Merino wool and 50% Acrylic with 142m per ball. The red swatch with moss stitch border is King Cole Landscape DK; 70% Acrylic and 30% wool with 254m per ball (100gm balls). The other red swatch is Patons Diploma Gold DK; 55% wool, 25% Acrylic and 20% Nylon with 120m per ball. The pale blue swatch is Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK; 75% extra fine Merino, 20% silk and 5% cashmere with 116m per ball.
All these swatches where knitted on 4mm needles (the size recommended on the ball band) and washed before measuring. They all gave a tension gauge of 22 stitches and 28 rows to 10cm, again the recommended gauge on the ball band.
The last group of swatches where also knitted on 4mm needles and washed before measuring. They all give a stitch gauge of 22 stitches to 10cm but the row gauge is different; they all need more row to knit 10cm.
The swatches in this final group are (left to right); the raspberry swatch is Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK; 100% extra fine Merino wool with 116m per ball. The cream swatch is Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK; 57% extra fine Merino, 33% microfibre and 10% cashmere with 130m per ball. The dark blue swatch is Sirdar Denim Tweed DK; 60% Acrylic, 25% Cotton and 15% wool with 170m per ball. The lilac sample is Patons Washed Haze DK; 50% Cotton and 50% Acrylic, and the last swatch is Rowan Wool Cotton; 50% merino wool and 50% cotton with 113m per ball.
As you can see I have sampled quite a wide variety of yarns both in fibre content and yarn supplier. The main point you have to remeber if you are going to substitute yarns successfully is that you match your tension gauge to that given in the pattern. The results for all these yarns are with me knitting but that doesn't necessarily mean you will automatically acheive the same gauge.
I hope this information helps some of you to experiment with the yarns you use to knit patterns. You don't have to be tied to the yarn (and colour) the pattern is originally knitted in. A little time spent doing a gauge swatch can save time and money later.