The Switcheroo: Nua Sport and Felted Tweed
Over the past six months, a couple of things happened in the magical land of MDK: First there was all of the Felted Tweed love and stash enhancement that came with Field Guide No. 13: Master Class, then Field Guide No. 14: Refresh came out, and Nua Sport got grabbed up as quickly as waffles at brunch.
Some knitters were temporarily left without Nua Sport in their desired color, but were sitting on a stash of Felted Tweed and had an itch to start one of Carol’s patterns. This led some enterprising readers to ask whether Felted Tweed can be substituted for Nua Sport.
Think about the Parent Trap switcheroo. (spoiler alert) there’s a happy ending, but the fun is in watching how we get there.
The longer answer (because have you ever know me to give just the short answer?) is YES, but . . .
That’s A wound-up skein of Nua Sport in kitten fluff on the Left And a ball of Felted tweed in lotus leaf on the Right.
You can use Felted Tweed as a substitute for Nua Sport—the gauge works and that is the most important thing. But whenever you make a yarn substitution, you need to consider what will change about the finished piece when you swap yarns. I’ve written generally about questions to ask yourself about a pattern when you’re subbing yarns here. And I’ve written about the qualities of yarn in general (aside from gauge) to consider when you’re considering subbing here.
Now we’ll take a close look at Nua Sport and Felted Tweed side by side specifically for Carol Feller’s Transom Cardigan.
that’s Nua sport on the left and felted tweed on the right
Here’s a quick and dirty fact comparison of the two yarns:
Nua Sport: Fiber 60% merino wool, 20% yak, and 20% linen; Draft Worsted; Ply 4 strands in 2+2 ply; Grist 85 yds/oz
Felted Tweed: Fiber 50% lightly felted merino, 25% viscose, and 25% alpaca; Draft Worsted; Ply 2-ply; Grist 105 yds/oz
The Transom Cardigan in my size would weigh 1.2 pounds in Nua Sport and 1 pound in Felted Tweed.
Nua on the left and Felted Tweed on the right knit up in stockinette, lace, and textured stitch patterns
While the lace and textured stitch patterns aren’t exactly the same, we can notice some important differences looking at these swatches. Felted Tweed has a haze, and softer stitch definition. Nua looks sturdier overall.
Because I am pining for my own Transom Cardigan, I reknit Nua and Felted Tweed in stockinette and in a swatch of the design’s Left Diagonal Cable. Now we can compare apples to apples.
This is the part in the parent trap when the twins are forced to share a cabin at camp so they will learn to get along.
In stockinette, Nua has more stitch definition—the line of each stitch is visible. Why? Because ply and fiber. Nua is two plies of two strands per ply. Linen and yak is mixed in with its merino. It’s a yarn that has more structure over all. The Felted Tweed is fuzzy from the alpaca, and its 2-ply construction of single strands allows the fibers to spread and push away from each other, filling in the stitches and contributing to a softer look.
let’s zoom in, shall we?
In the Left Diagonal Cable, the difference in stitch definition is more apparent, but something else is at play. Some will say that while the individual stitches are more outlined in the Nua, the Diagonal Cable looks more defined in Felted Tweed. A plot twist, like the fiancée the twins weren’t expecting in The Parent Trap.
Here the twist is provided by the colors. Dark colors visually advance (especially when next to lighter color) while light colors appear to recede. That’s why the green cable looks taller.
When you take a peek at the swatches from a different angle, you can see that the gray Nua cable is actually more defined and taller. Cool, isn’t it? Every single thing about yarn is exciting to me.
I wish you could touch this yarn. They are equally soft, though in these comparison photos some might guess that Nua is not as soft because of its stitch definition. Either yarn will work for any of the patterns in Field Guide No. 14: Refresh (which also means you can use Nua for the patterns in Field Guide No. 13: Master Class) you simply have to decide what look you want. For me, I want my Transom Cardigan, with all the stitch definition I can get, but I’d like my Trellis Top to look softer.
Of course this means we can get together (yeah,yeah,yeah) and agree that either yarn would make a swinging sweater.