Casting on question

Is there a formula for how long a piece of yarn will be needed to cast on a certain number of stitches? I always seem to run short and have to rip and start again.

I would imagine it varies with type of yarn and size of needle.


Cast on 10 stitches, and measure how much yarn it takes. Then use that amount as a multiple. Remember to add a little extra for the tail.

Well, that sure makes sense! Thank you!

Don’t forget that the amount per stitch will change with the needle size. That I learned the hard way several years ago, when i kept casting on with what i was sure was the correct amount of yarn. After all, it had worked for size 2 needles-why wouldn’t it work for size 11/ :doh: :doh:

I take the length I need to start with
and triple it for the long tail cast on
works for me 90% or more of the time


ecb, I don’t understand what you said.


She means to measure out a piece of yarn 3 times the width of the piece to be knitted. If it’s 20 inches, use 60 inches.

I’ve heard of that, or to use 1/2 inch per stitch, plus 6 inches. I use that roughly (don’t really measure it out, just estimate) and it works pretty well. And it probably comes close to the 3x width measure too.


I think that ecb means if your finished work will be “X” inches wide, measure enough yarn for “3X” inches. For example, if it will be 8 inches wide, measure out 3 times 8, or 24, inches.

I do something similar. I look at the final measurement in the pattern or schematic and cast on 3 times that amount. So if the item is 5 inches across, I pull out a tail of 15 inches plus 2 03 three, and if I’m short, I just knit or purl on the remaining needed stitches via the Lily Chin method–works like a charm.

OH!! Ok, got it!!! Thank you all!!! It only took 4 people explaining it to me!


Instead of casting on ten and using that length as a fraction, try just winding the wool round the needle once for each stitch. It’s faster than casting on however many you want to use for the estimate, or you could even do the entire cast-on number. Just add a little bit more than you think you’ll need.

You know, I used to do it that way, but my yarn often got annoyingly untwisted that way. Does that happen to you? I’ve read that rolling the needle so that the yarn wraps around it instead of winding the yarn around the needle prevents that but it’s so awkward to do. To me it’s easier just to cast on 10. :shrug: To each her own I guess.

Oh, oh, oh! Another method that I almost forgot about is to use the yarn from both ends of the skein as your two strands instead of just using one doubled over. If you do it that way, you don’t have to estimate anything at all because after you finish casting on, you just clip off one end. There’s no possibility of running out of, or wasting any yarn that way. The only downside is that you’ll have more tail to weave in later. It’s most worthwhile when you have a whole bunch of stitches to cast on.

Terrific ideas! Thank you everyone.