Have you ever started a project and worried that you don’t have enough yarn? Unless you’re very new to knitting, I’m guessing you have. Isn’t that just the worst sort of feeling?
I like to pride myself on not being a worrier, but I gotta say- running short to complete a project fills me with anxiety. It takes all the fun out of knitting. And if it’s not fun…
So how do you determine how much yarn you need for a project? One way is to compare other projects that are similar in size and patterning. Ravelry is a great resource for this kind of research. They even have an advanced search based on yarn amounts, so if you know how much you have you can search for other projects with the same yardage.
There are also various yarn calculators floating around on the internet. Most are limited, showing only socks, hats and scarves. Or just a few sizes in sweaters. The most thorough one I found was on Elizabeth’s Fiber and Yarn Store’s website. It shows socks, hats, mittens, scarves, afghans, vests, and sweaters all in various sizes and fingering to bulky weight yarns. The one from Lion Brand also has a wider choice, but not quite the range- although they do show crochet amounts, too.
I also found a nifty yarn calculator on the Jimmy Beans website that you can embed on your own website! As you can see, I did it here! You just enter in your gauge and size; it calculates how much yarn is needed. Pretty cool.
Of course, there are software programs that have this built in to them, too. But with the software usually comes a hefty price, so unless you’re looking for sweater design software, you probably don’t want to make the investment just for the calculator.
And I’m sure there are also a lot of knitting apps that do this, too. The one I most recently became aware of is Knit Handy from Ann Budd of Interweave. For those of you not familiar with her books, do take a look. She is known for creating basic patterns in a range of gauges and weights. It takes a while to get used to the format, but once you do, you have hundreds of patterns in one book. And, of course, I can’t forget to mention her Knitter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements.
All of these aides will give you a rounded off amount. For more accuracy, there IS a hands-on method. It involves swatching and measuring and math… more on that next time.
I’d love to know what method you use!