How Much Yarn Should I Buy? – Morris & Sons Australia

How Much Yarn Should I Buy?

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Various balls of Felted Tweed Aran spilling out of a basket

One of the most often asked questions in our stores is how much yarn is needed for various knitting projects.

When shopping without a specific pattern in mind most people need a little help working out the quantities of yarn they will need. While we always recommend having a pattern in mind, we are also all too familiar with falling in love with a certain yarn before finding a pattern to go with it. Those impulse buys usually end up with random skeins of yarn in your stash that you can never quite make work for a project. With the guidelines below you can add to your stash safely knowing there are projects that can be made from your lovely new yarn.  

The type of stitch used, and the knitting gauge will affect quantities significantly but here are our general guidelines on how much yarn you should buy with a few notes to keep in mind.

 -Garter stitch uses more yarn that stocking stitch.

-Cables and bobbles will eat through yarn and use significantly more than a plain stitch.

-Stranded colourwork or Fair Isle knitting will use more yarn due to the floats on the back.

Hats and Beanies-

100gm of most yarn weights is standard for an adult beanie and depending on the stitch and the amount of turn up cuff you have you may even get a pom pom from that. Lush and full pom poms can take up more yarn than you would expect so if you would like quite a large one, I would buy an extra ball for the pom pom.

50gm will make a baby or child's size hat with another ball often needed for the pom pom.

Socks-

100gm of 4ply yarn is required for a pair of average adult socks and most sock yarns are sold as 100gm so only 1 ball is needed. Really large or high socks, however will require slightly more. 100gm of 8-10ply sock yarn, like our Manos Alegria Grande, will knit a sock above the ankle but not as high as the calf.

Shawls-

2 or 3 100gm skeins will make a lovely shawl. Lace patterns will often block out to larger dimensions than you would get with straight knitting.

Scarves-

Scarves can be hard to estimate because they vary so much in both width and length. Generally, 200gm minimum is needed for a scarf that you would like to be able to wrap around your neck twice. A fully ribbed scarf will use more yarn than flatter stitches, as will moss or seed stitch.

Mittens and gloves-

50gm can make a small pair of fingerless mittens. 100gm is needed for larger hands and gloves with knitted fingers.

Baby Blankets-

Between 300-400gm of yarn will make a nice sized plain cot blanket. Go up to 500gm if you are using an intricate stitch that uses more yarn. 

Children's Jumpers-

Here is a chart for yarn requirements on a select number of children's sizes. If you are knitting for a child inbetween sizes you can estimate metres in the middle of the ranges provided. After 10 years old you should be able to knit from the smaller chest ranges of the adult chart below. 

Age

4ply

8ply

10ply

12ply

14ply

Baby

350m

300m

250m

200m

150m

Toddler

450m

410m

375m

340m

260m

Up to 6

680m

560m

450m

400m

350m

Up to 10

820m

730m

650m

610m

550m

 

Women's Jumpers-

Estimating the quantity of yarn needed for a jumper can be the most challenging as they have a lot of variances in length of body, length of sleeves, amount of ease, and different stitches. When figuring out how much yarn you need for a garment you always want to work with meterage rather than grams because the weight of yarn can vary so much. Here is a chart with basic approximate meterage for a plain women's jumper in the most common yarn weights. For men's jumpers you can still use the chest sizes of the chart below and then add 10-15% more yarn to allow for longer arms and torsos and broader shoulders. 

 Size- Bust 

4ply

8ply

10ply

12ply

14ply

6 - 80cm

1080m

955m

830m

705m

580m

8 - 83cm

1120m

1000m

880m

760m

640m

10 - 88cm

1180m

1055m

930m

805m

685m

12 -93cm

1235m

1100m

980m

860m

740m

14 -98cm

1300m

1170m

1035m

900m

770m

16 -103cm

1360m

1260m          

1160m

1060m

940m

18 -110cm

1500m

1350m

1215m

1100m

975m

20 -122cm

1685m

1480m

1270m

1150m

1040m

22 -134 cm

1860m

1600m

1400m

1230m

1100m

24 -142cm

2030m

1700m

1500m

1350m

1200m

 

To figure out how many balls or skeins of yarn you will need from the chart above, simply divide the meterage for your size by the amount of metres on a ball of your chosen yarn. For example, for a size 14 in an 8ply using a yarn that has 125m in a ball you would divide 1170/125 to get 9.36. You would then know you need 10 balls for your jumper. If you ever need any help calculating how many balls or skeins of yarn you need for your meterage, just visit us in store or send us a quick email and we can figure it out with you. 

If you are in doubt about how much you will need, always buy an extra ball or two while the correct dyelot is available. Leftover yarn from a sweater can often be used to knit baby clothes or spark creativity and be combined with other scraps to become something new entirely.

Everyone likes their sweaters to fit a little bit different, some cropped, some looser, and others with different design features. Therefore while the above chart is really handy, it's also a good idea to start looking at patterns you like and make your own little cheat sheet with meterage requirements for your size in various plys. 

A Note on Crochet-

Crochet uses significantly more yarn than knitting and can be estimated as using 25% more yarn than knitting would. 100gm can still crochet a beanie but you will likely need extra for a pom pom. With jumpers we recommend looking at patterns you like and making up your own little chart of meterage requirements for your size. Just like with knitting, different stitches can use up more yarn than others so keep that in mind when thinking about what kind of jumper you want to make. 

Hopefully this guide is helpful the next time you fall in love with a yarn before finding the pattern. I encourage you to make a few notes in your phone or on a notepad to have with you at all times, you never know when inspiration is going to strike. Share with us in the comments below your best tips on buying for your stash!

3 comments

  • Posted on by Ina Tan
    Wonderful information, truly appreciate it.
  • Posted on by Sharon Siacci

    Very helpful. Thank-you.

  • Posted on by Marjory Bent

    This is REALLY helpful. Thank you so much

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