Have you ever found yourself needing to know how much yarn (in yards) you used in your crochet or knitting project? This number might come in handy if you’re a seller, and wanting to keep good track of inventory and cost (for instance, how many scarves you can make and sell from those 20 skeins of yarn you just bought at the big sale). You can check the pattern designer’s notes for an estimate, but what if you use a different yarn than she did, or your tension is a bit different than hers? What if you didn’t even use a pattern? As a designer, the total yardage of a project is a number I have to figure out every time. It’s crucial info for you, my readers, so that you know how much yarn to buy to make my patterns.
Figuring it out might seem complicated (am I supposed to measure all the yarn left in the skein on a yardstick or something?) …and not worth the effort.
Lucky for us, it’s not that complicated at all. In fact, it’s pretty simple! I’m kind of a math nerd, so I made a fun little chart that will walk you through the process, step-by-step!
Figuring out the total yards used in a project is actually quite simple. You just need your finished project, a calculator, a scale that weighs in ounces or grams (a food scale or a postage scale will work), and the information on the label of the skein you used (or if you’re like me and threw it away early on in the project, you can look up the yarn’s stats on the company’s web site). Using the diagram below, follow the directions to quickly find your answer. (If you aren’t a fellow math nerd, don’t let the diagram scare you away. Just follow the directions. It’s easy, I promise.)
So, let’s walk through this with an example. I’ll use a new slouch hat pattern that I just finished my sample for.
Step 1: Fill in the info for the pink and blue boxes. According to my food scale, the hat weighs 2.3 oz, so I’ll plug that into the pink box on the bottom left. I also have the skein’s label right in front of me, which tells me that one full skein of the yarn I used has 312 total yards (pink box on the top right), and it weighs 5.3oz (blue box). Here’s what I have so far:
Step 2: Multiply the numbers in the pink boxes together. 2.3 x 312 = 717.6
Step 3: Take the total from step 2, and divide it by the number in the blue box. 717.6 / 5.3 = 135.4
Step 4: My total yardage for the slouch hat is about 135 yards! (As a designer, I always add a bit so that if someone is really cutting it close, and their gauge is slightly more loose, they won’t run out of yarn at the very end. So for this pattern I’ll probably recommend 140-150 yards of the suggested yarn.)
Easy peasy, lemon squeezy (as my 5 year old would say)!
Thanks for this formula! Is there a way to calculate for multiple colors? For example, a striped version using multiple scraps of yarn?
Thank you so much!
If I come out with a decimal, would I round to the nearest whole number?
Hi, I’m kinda new to crochet. I want to make an afghan using granny sq. I brought 6 skeins of 100% cotton(brand, I love this cotton). Oz 3.5, gms 100, yards 180, meters 165. Label says use 5.5mm hook. 1. What dimensions will the afghan be using the 6? I want it to be at least 43″X 43″. I’m sure I didn’t buy enough. 2. How many more should I purchase? Also can you give me a simple way to determine the dimensions using the granny sq. Thanks.
Hi Carol! Unfortunately I can’t really answer your questions. Every afghan will be different so it really depends on what pattern you’re following. Once you choose a pattern, it should have the yardage needed listed in it and then you can easily determine if you have enough.
Hi, My name is Christine.
I’m new to your blog and this is the first article I’ve seen. While it seems a great help for projects that only use yarn, it lacks for projects that use material/fabric. I realize it may seem that I’m criticizing you but I am not meaning to. I was only hoping that you could possibly help me with finding yardage for projects that do call for material/fabric. I understand if it’s not possible to do that but any help you can give would be great. Thank you.
Welcome Christine! I’m not sure what you mean – are you talking about yarn projects that also include fabric, or fabric-only projects? The latter, I have no idea. If you’re talking about yarn projects that include fabric, then it wouldn’t work exactly because the fabric has weight, too, and it would skew the numbers. However, most yarn projects I know of that use fabric use only a tiny amount and it wouldn’t make that much of a difference.
Yes, that’s exactly what I was talking about. Thank you for response. I’m trying to create my own patterns and thinking of a book in the future. Is it necessary to have the finished size in the book? If so, do you think I could get away with making the piece without the fabric and giving the finished size for that while mentioning that the finished size is for the crochet piece only? I’ve been crocheting for awhile now and I thought I’d start making my own patterns. The pattern is simple, it just so happens to have fabric included in it. Thanks again!
Without knowing what type of item you’re talking about it’s hard to answer, but as a general rule, you’ll want to include as much complete information in a pattern as you can, especially if you’re going to sell it; people get really frustrated when they feel like a pattern is incomplete 🙂
Okay, thank you so much for your help! I really appreciate it!
OMG what a god send, I have so much left over yarn and want to make another project but have had no idea how to figure it out Thanks
Thank you so much for this guide. Is there also a way to calculate the yardage that you need for a project before starting?
You would need to check the pattern information for that. 🙂
Thank you for this formula for figuring out yardage! I’ve been trying to figure this out for a long time! You make it so easy and big be example that is very helpful.
Love this, now I will know just how many I can get from a skein or if I need a super size. Thank you for the hard work.
I don’t know why I never thought of this! What a great idea! Thank you. 🙂
What a wonderful idea. I’m always guessing and usually guess way too much! Thank you so much.
Can I somehow download this so I have it on hand to figure things out quickly. I would like to thank you for making this up it helped me a lot.
I’m sure you can right-click on it, and copy and paste it into a Word document, then print. Or, right click and save it to your desktop if you want to save it on your computer.
Thanks so much! You made it so easy to understand!
I cannot even tell you how much time this will save me!!!! I would literally crochet 5 or so stitches, unravel, measure, and update this extensive Excel spreadsheet with all of my calculations in how many stitches I have in my scarves or earwarmers, multiply it out…. Thank you so much for posting this!!! =D
Thank you, this is great and easy to understand. It will definitely come in handy although I am spoilt in that Ravelry will work it out for me if I input the right data :).
I must admit though even when I do this I don’t tend to weight my finished project, I weight any balls of yarn I used instead. I know what weight they were before my project and then I weigh afterwards. By knowing what’s left I know how much yarn I used. I prefer to do it this way as then I can keep a more accurate account of yarn I have left as when I’m making any project I might have yarn waste from seeing and cutting yarn tails for example.
Luckily even my way I can use your formula as all I do is work out the weight of yarn I used as I always do and input that number where you say finished project weight :). I think what you’ve done is great and I hope my reply is helpful to others who do what I do :).
Rosie / Bedcrafter