When you're planning a knitting or crochet project, it's essential to know how much yarn you'll need. There's nothing worse than running out before you've finished! This guide will help you decide on the quantity you need to buy before casting on.
The exact yardage that you need for a project will depend on a number of factors. In general, though, here's more or less what you can expect. Please note that this table is in metres, not yards:
Yarn Weight4 ply/Fingering
Yarn WeightSuper bulky
Deciding how much yarn to buy
If you're making a project based on a specific pattern, then it will usually have suggested yardage already. Before you buy your wool, though, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Are you using the same weight of yarn as the pattern suggests? Sometimes knitters and crocheters like to personalise a project by going for a different weight of yarn. Be aware that if you do this, you will need to change the yardage.
Is your gauge the same as the pattern? If you tend to knit very loosely or very tightly, you may need to buy more or less yarn accordingly. We always recommend doing a gauge swatch before starting. It's a nuisance having to do this sometimes but if you are making a larger item/garment then its best to know before you start.
Are you buying balls/skeins of the same size as the pattern suggests? Some balls of yarn weigh 50g, others 100g, others more or less. Always buy according to yardage, rather than number of balls or skeins.
Does the pattern list yardage in yards or in metres? You can usually expect European, British or Australian patterns to use metres, while Americans tend to prefer yards. Be careful here, particularly if you need a lot of yarn, as the difference can be very big!
It's better to err on the side of caution and buy slightly more yarn than you think you'll need. If you run out halfway through and have to buy more, sometimes it can be difficult to find the same dye lot again.
Yarn quantities for crochet projects
If you're asking yourself "how much yarn do I need for crochet?" then be careful! Before you start, be aware that a crochet project will usually use around 30% more yarn than a knitting project of the same size.
How much wool do I need to knit a scarf?
The table above gives you some ideas about how much wool you'll need to make a scarf, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, how long do you want your scarf to be? It may be obvious, but a very long scarf will need more yarn than a short one. The pattern will also affect your requirements. For example, lace knitting does not generally need that much wool, but cables or colourwork will need more.
If you're really not sure how much yarn you need, and you're working without a pattern, you can refer to our table at the top of the page for guidance.
You could also have a look at scarf patterns that are similar to your desired item. They should give you a good idea of how many 100g balls of wool to make a scarf.
How much wool do I need for a baby blanket?
Baby blankets are popular presents for newborns - and, as they're quite small, they don't take nearly as much wool as a full blanket. See the table above for a general idea. Remember, if you're wondering how many balls of wool to crochet a blanket, you should add around 30% to your yardage.
Generally, if you're working on a baby blanket, it's a good idea to use a finer yarn, such as sport weight. Bulky yarns knit up faster, but they can be too hot and itchy for a baby's delicate skin. Be sure to use superwash yarn, too, as it can be thrown in the washing machine. Some handwash-only yarns may look very nice, but they are not practical for little ones!
Be careful when choosing a stitch pattern for a baby blanket. Delicate lace can look lovely, but if the holes are the wrong size, the baby might catch his or her fingers in them. Fair Isle knitting will create loose threads on the wrong side of the work, which the baby could tug on and ruin. With this sort of project, practicality has to be your first consideration.
How much yarn do I need to make a blanket?
For a full, adult-size blanket, you might prefer to use bigger yarn. If you use 4-ply or sport weight, you could spend years working on the project!
There are even some special giant yarns made specifically for blankets. These are designed either to be used with very large needles, or to be arm knitted. Wondering how much yarn to arm knit a blanket? Get your calculator out!
You can figure out how much giant yarn for a blanket by considering the weight. As a rule of thumb, 1 kg of mammoth-size yarn will knit up to about half a square metre. Work out how big you want your blanket to be, and go from there.
The question of how much yarn to crochet a blanket is hard to answer. Many crocheted blankets are brightly coloured, making them a great project for using up odds and ends of balls of yarn that you have left over.
One of the most popular styles of crocheted blanket involves granny squares. These are ideal for using small amounts of many different colours. When choosing yarn to crochet a blanket, just make sure that all the balls are of the same weight.
It isn't easy to mix 4ply and DK, for example - and the same composition. Using some balls of wool and others of cotton will give you a rather strange result.
How much wool do I need to knit a jumper?
The table above gives you some ideas about how much wool to knit a jumper. There are a couple of other things to keep in mind, though. Yardage will vary depending on the clothing size that you're making and the height of the wearer, as well as the ease. It's important to understand this before you get started.
Ease is the difference between your body's measurements and the measurements of the jumper or cardigan. Because knitted garments are stretchy, they can be made with negative ease, which will give you a very tight, fitted garment. If you prefer something looser, you'll need more ease.
Patterns will usually give you an idea of how much ease to take into account, but you'll probably have your own preferences depending on how tightly you like your clothes to fit.
How much wool do I need to knit a hat?
Hats don't usually take up much wool, so they're ideal projects if you're on a budget! A knitted hat should usually fit snugly, without much ease, so not much yarn is required.
The only thing to remember is that if you want some decoration, like a cute pompom on top, you'll need to have some extra yarn to make it!
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