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For all knitters

Hints and tips for machine knitters
For machine knitters

Hints and tips for hand knitters
For hand knitters

Estimating Yarn Quantities (1)

When you're designing your own patterns, one of the most difficult tasks is working out just how much yarn you'll need to complete the project.

One shortcut you can use is to take the quantities from a similar pattern, knitted in the same yarn, and make some allowances for any different design features.

But often, this method is just not possible, so how can you make your estimates?

Here's one solution:

  1. Knit a tension swatch in your chosen yarn and in the same stitch structure that you intend to use for your project.

    The larger the swatch, the more accurate your yarn estimate will be.

    For ease of calculation, the best size to knit is a piece 100 stitches wide by 100 rows long.

    This yarn won't be wasted. You can always unravel it and use it again when your calculations are complete.

  2. Weigh your knitted swatch and make a note of the weight in gms.

    Say, for example, the swatch weighs 70 gms.

  3. Calculate the total number of stitches in the swatch by multiplying the stitches by the number of rows knitted.

    If you knitted 100 stitches by 100 rows then multiply 100 by 100 giving you a total of 10,000 stitches.

  4. Calculate the number of stitches in the actual garment to be knitted.

    If the back and front are almost the same, work with the back section and take the highest and widest numbers.

    In the example shown on the right, the largest number of stitches for the back is 150 and the total number of rows is 260.

    Multiply these two numbers together to calculate the stitches:

       150 x 260 = 39,000 stitches

    Make the same calculation for the sleeve:

       110 x 240 = 26,400 stitches

  5. Add up the stitches for each piece:

    Back = 39,000 sts
    Front = 39,000 sts
    Sleeve 1 = 26,400 sts
    Sleeve 2 = 26,400 sts
    Total = 130,800 sts

  6. Divide the number of stitches in the garment by the number of stitches in your swatch.

    In this example, divide 130,800 by 10,000.

    This gives a result of 13.08

    Multiply this result by the weight of your tension swatch from Step 2.

    Using the example weight:

       13.08 x 70 gms = 915.6 gms

    If your yarn is sold in 100 gm balls, then you would need 10 balls.

    If your yarn is sold on 400 gm cones, then you would need 3 cones.

Garment Example
(Stitches and Rows)

Yarn quantity for body

Yarn quantity for sleeve

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