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My daughter-in-law picked out a baby blanket pattern using worsted weight yarn. They live in the south and would like to use a lighter weight for the blanket. How would I calculate how much yarn to purchase. I think I would be able to add the pattern sequence to make the blanket wider and longer to accommodate the smaller stitches.

She also would like it to be in a natural fiber. What combinations of natural fibers or not would be good for baby items?
 

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Refiguring the yarn amount is simple...make a swatch of the new yarn, get your gauge, (New Gauge). Compare the gauge on the worsted label. Old Gauge per/inch divided into number of inches wide = X.
New Gauge per/inch times X = # of sts needed to make the same width.
Compare the two total number of sts (for one row). Ex: Old Gauge = 100; New Gauge = 125. Divide Old gauge/New Gauge...= .8 (move the decimal 2 places to the right= 80%) You will need 20% more yarn...check the labels...the yardage should be on the label.

The length of the piece will also be affected by the change but is much easier to adjust as you simply knit to the desired length...so I would by 20% more yardage and then add 1 or 2 balls for the length needed.

Remember that it's a baby blanket and the eventual measurement is not important.

As for the fibers, you will get as many opinions as you do answers. I like the synthetic baby yarns simply because of possible allergy problems, they are smoother (less fuzz for little fingers and noses), and that if the blanket is used, it must be washed frequently. There are many soft, pliable, baby yarns to choose from. I never give natural fibers to a new mom...they do NOT have the time to hand wash and block baby blankets.
 

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If your daughter in law wants a natural fibre, what about cotton or wool, or a blend of either with something like silk or cashmere if price is not a concern? Either wool or cotton will be good in a warmer climate as they absorb any dampness and do allow ventilation, especially if knitted in a lacey, open pattern. Depending on the stitch pattern used, wool will be stretchier than cotton.

You might only have to change to needles one or two sizes bigger to achieve this. You could do two gauge swatches using the same number of stitches and rows, then measure and compare the difference in size. So if the yarn you choose gives you, say, 20 stitches per 4 inches with the recommended needle size and the next size up gives you 18 stitches per 4 inches, on a project needing to cast on 200 stitches you will get a width of 40 inches with the smaller needles and 44 inches with the larger size. You then stop knitting when you reach the length you require. You would probably need at least a couple of balls extra, but any leftover yarn could be used to make a pair of booties or a little hat.

Also I would check that any yarn you might buy is at least able to be machine washed, if not also machine dried, to eliminate or at least minimise the possibility of shrinkage.
 
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