Cables and yardage

Does anyone know if there is a formula for how much cables increase the amount of yarn used in a pattern?

I’m probably looking for something that does not exist but I was hoping for something like X rows sts = 1 skein of yarn while Y rows cable stitches = 2 skeins of yarn (or whatever) You know, double the amount or some standard like that.

If this makes sense and you can help, thank you! If it doesn’t make sense… well, it is early and I’m still working on my first cup of coffee.

Thanks, Angela

I doubt there’s a formula since there are so many cable variations, not to mention yarn and needle sizes. It does use more, but how much???

Gosh it sure would be nice if such a formula existed, Ang. If you find one, please share! The hem and cuffs on Samus ate up almost an entire ball of Encore–that’s almost 200 yards! :shock:

:frowning: yeah, this was what I was afraid of. I suppose there are just too many variables to come up with a simple formula. One would have to suppose that a 8 stitch cable would take up much more yarn than a 4 stitch but… is it an exponential increase?

Isn’t anyone on here a math grad student looking for a theme for their thesis? Come on, this would be a great one! The formula for yardage increases when working with cable stitches!

:verysad: Looks like I’m going to have to actually do some math work now. There’s got to be some way to figure it out.

Thanks anyway, guys.

If you’ve got a cable pattern in mind, could you knit a swatch of that pattern, compare it to a swatch of stockinette, and then determine a ratio? Then you’d have to figure out roughly what percentage of your tank will be cabled… :thinking: I could maybe help with this if you want. I think it could work.

You could also compare the yarndage requirements for a plain sweater vs. a similar cabled sweater.

Of course, Ingrid’s idea is much better and easier. Go with that.

:roflhard: :roflhard:

Ingy does that all the time; my explanations/suggestions are convoluted multi-paragraph beasts, then she pops in with one sentence that solves everything!

I didn’t think of the sweater thing because of sleeves. I guess I’m not so good at thinking “outside” of the box. :rollseyes:

OK, Cate… here we go! A math challenge for you, my dear!

Using LB Kitchen cotton, size 7 needles, 20 stitches cast-on for swatch

Garter Stitch - 1 yard = 39 stitches - finished size 5" (continuing to end)

Stockinett St. - 1 yrd = 36 stitches - finished size 5" (continuing to end)

2/2 front or back cross - 1 yrd = 36 stitches - finished size 3.25" (to end)

3/3 front or back cross - 1 yrd = 36 stitches - finished size 3" (to end)

4/4 front or back cross - 1 yrd = 36 stitches - finished size 2.75" (to end)

Now, I tried these numbers MANY times to verify that you get the same exact # of stitches doing cables BUT the size of the knitting gets progressively smaller. Honestly, I must have done this a dozen times just to check that I wasn’t loosing it or changing my tension to make it work or… whatever. It worked every single time to exactly 36 stitches per yard - front or back cable didn’t change it. It even worked when I had to do ‘plain’ stitches on the ends of the swatch to make the number up to 20 total stitches. Now, I did not do combination cables or braided cables - that’s gonna have to wait until tomorrow!

With what I’ve given you… what can you do with it Cate? I have had too much beer to continue this any further. :blush: I have figured out that you do not actually use more yarn to create the cables but rather that the pull of the cables decreases the overall width of your work.

This is a start in estimating yardage for cable sweaters but… I’m thinking that tomorrow is soon enough to take it to the next step. Anyone can jump in any time and help with this. Cate, I fully expect that you will be able to make some sense of this. You are, after all, Amazing Brick Girl! :wink:

Until tomorrow!

Okay, I THINK I know what I want to try with that, but I think it may have to wait until tomorrow. I really want to go to bed right now, but there are people awake and watching movies in there. :mad:

:figureditout: Wow. I think I just figured it out. Obviously my brain does better when I’m asleep than when I’m awake because I’m pretty sure that I get it now.

Put simply - doing cables changes your gague.

If gague in st st is 4 st per inch then with cables (a 3/3 cable) it becomes 6.5 st per inch.

:doh: Dang! Now I can just decide what pattern and use the little info section on the yarn and make my adjustments when purchasing yarn! How cool is that?

:happydance: I can do this!

I’m very sorry for stressing anyone (Cate) out about this but I think I may actually get it now. Of course, I could be totally out of my mind and way off base in which case I fully expect Cate to explain things to me but… I think this might just work out pretty close.

Maybe I just needed to ask the question, see that there was no set answer and then work on it myself. Thanks for letting me do that.


AWESOME research, Ang!! This is so helpful for any project. :cheering: :cheering: :cheering:

Nope, your gauge thing seems right. I was thinking along the same lines, but I was going to do OCD and figure out how MUCH different it was for each type of cable and have some nice little percentages. :rollseyes:

:cheering: Yay for you! See, math isn’t THAT scary! :cheering:

Or you could just order lots of extra yarn. That’s what I’d have done. :wink:


Me too. Math and I don’t get along. I make it harder than it should be and, well, bad things happen. :shock:

:roflhard: Me too! I really got lucky hunting some extra down with my last cable project. I’ll always buy more now just to be sure…I think gauge is even harder on cables and much vary more than usual from person to person. Even though the sweater pattern I had was for cables and gave the yardage, it was a LOT more.

:thinking: See, my problem with buying “more” is that my version of more is never enough! :shock: I don’t know why I can’t seem to give myself permission to just go all out but… I’m almost always 1 skein short. :oops: I figured if I had a formula of sorts then I would be closer to the mark and not do the panic thing. My luck is that I run out at 7 PM on Sunday when NOTHING is open!!!