How Much Yarn Do I Need?

Hi There!

Final How much yarn KK Adv 003To state the obvious, a knitter needs to know how much yarn is required for a specific project.  I usually think of this in yards.  For example, I know that about 1600 yards of dk weight yarn will be enough for a long sleeve sweater for me.

Lately, though, I have found it helpful to weigh yarn to see whether I have enough.  I have two examples. 

I have to warn you that this takes a little bit of math; sometimes more than a little.

Beaded Cuffs

A few weeks ago, I showed you the green beaded cuffs I designed.  After knitting a pair of long cuffs, I wanted to know whether you could get two sets of long cuffs out of one skein of yarn.

I could have measured how many yards I had left and compared that figure to the 200 yards in a whole skein, but that is a hassle.  Instead I weighed a complete skein (87 grams) and weighed the amount I had left (35 grams).  I didn’t weigh the cuffs because the beads made the cuffs much heavier than the yarn alone. Since I had significantly less than half the yarn left, it would not be possible to get another set of long cuffs from the first skein. Fortunately it was possible to get a set of the short cuffs from the remaining portion of the first skein.

Europa Cardigan

I told you in a prior post that I was considering knitting a short cardigan with 3/4 length sleeves from Europa yarn as the test of Amy Herzog’s Custom Fit software but was concerned about whether I have enough yarn. (My group won’t begin testing until August 12.)

The swatch I knit was 5½ inches by 5½ inches and weighs 10½ grams. I have a total of 450 grams of Europa yarn.

Europa Swatch

The detailed explanation of calculating whether this amount of yarn will make the sweater I have in mind can be found in this document:

Using Weight to See if I Have Enough Yarn

I’m sorry to send you off to a separate document but it is the only way I have figured out to include diagrams and tables.  (If you know of a better way, please let me know!)

If the pattern generated by Custom Fit is close to the estimates I used, I should have enough yarn (1300 possible square inches vs. 1192 needed) but it is close enough to worry me.

I won’t know if I actually have enough yarn until I generate the pattern.  If it seems that I have enough yarn, I will knit the back first and then see what modifications will be necessary.  I might need to go without a closure in the front, shorten the sleeves, or lower the neckline.  Or maybe all three.

I actually have a third example of using weight to figure out whether there is enough yarn, but you’ve probably had enough.  As a treat for the few of you still reading, here are pictures of two versions of my new scarf and shawl pattern BK Collective will be publishing soon.

TF Scarf A 001Ebb & Flow Shawl 1A

Thanks for dropping by. I’m off to more KnitKnot Adventures.



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