Knitting: Calculating Yarn Yardage
November 22, 2013
When creating a new project it is always handy to have the correct amount of yarn needed to see your project to fruition. If you enjoy math (or can easily tolerate it) then read the following paragraphs. If you despise math and don't mind rough estimations or need the easy but less percise way of calculating yarn then please skip down to the * at the bottom of the page. If you are looking for a math-free and precise way of gaining your yardage then: sorry, you will have to settle or one or the other.
For the math/precise version you will need to first work a 4''x4'' swatch in the yarn of choice in the stitch pattern of your choice. Once completed determine how many yards you have left on your skein and substract that from the total amount. This will tell you how many yards it took to work up your 4''x4'' swatch. Now calculate the area of your desired finished project by using Length x Width for a rectangle or a circle with . If you are making a sweater, just think of it as a collection of rectangles (one for the front, back and one for each sleeve) (for determining area of different shapes see this site).
Once you have the area of your project you can determine how many yards of yarn you will need to work it up based on your swatch. Use this formula with the amount of yarn used to work up swatch is A, the area of your desired project is B and the yarn needed to create your project is X. The formula is (A *B)/16=x Here is an example:
It takes 3 yds (A) to work a 4'''x4'' sample (area = 16'') of your project which will be 36'' x18'' finished. This gives you an finished area of 648'' (B). Insert those numbers into our formula and we have x=121.5 yds.
* For those who like the easier but less mathy/fun way I have a collection of yarn calculator webpages for you to try out depending on your project.
Jimmy Beans (this is a great one and very easy but only gives an approx range)
The Knitting Fiend calculator features estimates for stockingette and broken rib
Lion Brand gives a chart that is very easy to read but only gives rough estimates based on a selection of projects. Your project may be a different size.
This method also works well for crochet as well. Have fun!
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