I sometimes have that problem too. I usually fix it by knitting the first stitch on the next row tightly, and giving the piece of knitting a little tug. I don't know if knitting the first and last stitch tightly is helping or hurting you.
I substitute yarns quite often. If gauge is really important, for something like a sweater (that has to fit), I will compare the manufacturer's recommended gauge on the yarn I want to substitute to the gauge on the pattern, and I will also compare the weight and yardage of each ball/skein. While gauge is important, the second piece of info can be useful, too.
For example, my knitpicks wool of the andes color card says that the yarn knits up at 4.5 - 5 stitches per inch. Wool of the andes is a light worsted weight yarn. But if the pattern calls for a chunky yarn that is knit tightly to 5 stitches/inch, you would probably want to know that before beginning the project. Of course you could probably use the WotA anyway, but at least you would know that you would be getting a different look.
Also, check the fiber composition of the recommended yarn. A lot of the time, different fibers will knit up differently. You could certainly substitute a cotton yarn for a wool one, for example, but just be aware that the finished product will have a different drape to it.
As for a specific sub for LP, I guess I would recommend WotA. I know that there are other possible subs out there, but I've got on the brain, I guess, since I'm in the middle of a project with it right now. I've heard people claim that WotA is not that great in terms of softness, but I would have to disagree. It feels softer than some wool yarns I've worked with in the past, and I have pretty sensitive skin.
I've been following this thread since it started, and debating about whether or not I wanted to do this. I've finally made up my mind. I'm in! (Unofficially, though, cause I don't have a blog.) My main requirement was that I not have to buy more yarn. I've put myself on a yarn diet until I use up most of what I have. (This could literally take years!)
I was leaning towards doing the Must Have cardigan, but that wouldn't really have been a challenge for me because most of my projects incorporate cables. What I really need work on is stranded colorwork. So I've decided to do the Favorite Carryall, a free pattern from Interweave. (Bonus: This project also requires steeking!) I bought some TLC Essentials for this project ages ago, but I've been putting it off. Pattern here (pdf file): http://interweave.com/knit/interweave_knits/pdf_files/Kristins_Carry-All.pdf
I don't even think I'll make a swatch, but I will just start on the 10th. Since It's not a big project, like a sweater, I'll give myself the extra challenge of making sure that it's done correctly with short floats and whatnot.
I don't have a blog to post updates on, but I'll post my completed project here on craftster on the 26th.
How's everyone else coming along? I'm almost done with mine. I just have to finish the crochet bind off on the front band and do the pocket bands. I'll post pics next week!
I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed with it. The jacket is so heavy that it hangs a bit oddly on me. The weight pulls at the seams and makes it look like there are holes there. (This could also be because of my seaming skills.)
It also looks a little transparent. I noticed that the ball band suggests using 13s to knit this yarn, but the pattern calls for 17s. I can actually see my shirt through the jacket when I put it on. I can also see the ends that I wove in. I'm hoping that giving it a soak in clear water might make the fabric a little denser. Any suggestions?
One more note about the yarn req's. I made the 39" size, which calls for 5 hanks of burly spun. I've used 4 already, and it looks like I'm only going to need a few yards from another hank to finish. If I hadn't lengthened the arms quite a bit, I wouldn't even have to open the 5th hank. Hope that helps anyone thinking about this project.
So now I'll have almost 2 full hanks left! (I bought 6 just in case.) I'm planning to make a 2 tasseled hat like the one in hip to knit (with maybe a different cable), and maybe wrist warmers to match. I most definitely will not be wearing all these items together, though. I think I mentioned earlier in this thread that I HATE matching too much.
Also, when you get to the hood (if you're doing a hood), pay really careful attention to the lower hood shaping. I don't know what I did to mine, but it looks like I have two lumps at the bottom of my hood. Otherwise, I love it!
Sorry it took so long. I had to sort of work backward from what I did to get some numbers.
I did use US 13 needles (9mm).
So, I'm going to start with the top part because that's what I've done so far.
A word of advice: if you're thinking about knitting the whole thing top down, try the lace pattern upside down on a swatch first. I didn't really like the way the leaves looked after I had knit them upside down, and I had to rip back a lot of work.
And, keep in mind that this size fits me pretty good, but it might not work for everyone.
Upper body: CO 48 sts. (This was kind of a trial and error process for me. To save yourself some work, I'd recommend measuring the opening of a sweater that you like the fit of, and use that measurement to get your stitch count.)
I didn't change any of the rest of the upper body instructions. The only thing to keep in mind is that your stitch counts will be different than those printed in the pattern.
For the lower body, just cast on the number of stitches that you end up with for the upper body. For me, it was 90 sts. Follow the rest of the instructions as given.
Sleeves: CO 19 sts. Follow the pattern. The sleeve with the lace pattern will not be centered on the back of the hand like it looks in the picture. Casting on fewer stitches kinda makes the pattern wrap around your wrist a bit.
If it helps any, I'm knitting it in Woolease Thick & Quick. I got a bunch at 40% off, and decided to try it on this pattern. I had a few misadventures with guage at first, but now I'm almost done, and its great! It looks like I'm going to be using just at 6 balls for approx. a 41" bust.
The yarn is very soft and cushy, which surprised me because I'm in the middle of something else using WE Sportweight, and I don't particularly like the feel of that.
And one of the best things about it is that it's machine washable!