November 01, 2018 3 min read


How much yarn is needed for Sweaters? Shawls? Socks? Find out here!

Determining how much yarn you need for a project is a very common problem we see in our store and with our online customers. You don't want to over buy but you also don't want to run short and not be able to match your dye lot or worse yet, find another skein if it is no longer available.

Fortunately, most knit and crochet patterns include a list of materials, including how many skeins of yarn you will need to complete the project. However, sometimes we have to ask the question, How Much Yarn Do I Need?

These tips for planning your knit and crochet projects will help you figure out the averages of yards needed for each type of popular project like hats, shawls, cowls, sweaters and gloves. We will also go over how to determine how many yards are in a skein of yarn, tips for deciding how much yarn to buy, and free knit and crochet patterns for each type of project.

Because every pattern is different, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding how much yarn to buy. These suggested numbers of skeins and yards to buy are approximate estimates, but use as much knowledge as you have to determine how much yarn you will need to purchase for your project. On our website we try our best to list the actual yardage for each yarn we sell. On our patterns we try to list the recommended yarn and the number of skeins needed for a typical size associated with the specific pattern.   


Things To Consider When Determining How Much Yarn You Will Need

These are a few of the key things I consider when choosing a yarn and determining how much to buy.

  1. What weight of yarn will you be using? The higher weight, the fewer yards/skeins you will need. So, if you're using a lightweight yarn, like lace, you may need two or three skeins of yarn when you would only need one or two of a worsted or bulky yarn.
  2. What is the size of the item? For clothing, consider whether it's a child or adult size before buying yarn. If it is a scarf with a repeat pattern, you can determine how much yarn you have left based on how much you user per inch of length. For socks, I prefer knitting toe-up socks so I can just knit the leg of the sock until I run out of yarn. (I don't like to waste yarn!) 
  3. What types of stitches will you be using? Every stitch uses up a different amount of yarn. A Single crochet is going to use a lot less yarn than a bobble stitch. Be aware of the "yarn eater" stitches and buy more yarn if needed.
  4. What size needle or crochet hook will you be using? If you knit, you know the needle size will have a big impact on how much yarn you used. Likewise if you crochet, then you know that using a different size hook on a pattern will change the size since the stitches are closer together or farther apart.
  5. What is your typical tension and gauge when knitting and crocheting? Or, what is the recommended gauge for the knit or crochet pattern you're using? The gauge and tension is going to make a difference with the amount of yarn used because it allows for more or less space between stitches. Also, if you are a tight knitter, you'll use more yarn.

Here is a chart to help you determine how much yarn you need for knit projects

Yarn Weight Number Yarn Weight Yarn Type Gauge (Stitches per Inch) Yards Needed for a Scarf Yards Needed for a Hat Yards Needed for an Adult Sweater
1 Superfine Lace 7-8 350 300-375 Yds 1500-3000
2 Fine Sock, Fingering 6-7 300 250-350 Yds 1200-2500
3 Light DK 5-6 250 200-300 Yds 1000-2000
4 Medium Worsted 4-5 200 150-250 Yds 800-1500
5 Bulky Chunky 3-4 150 125-200 Yds 600-1200
6 Super Bulky Super Chunky 1.5-3 125 75-125 Yds 400-800
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