How to figure out yarn needed

I would really like to learn when I walk into a yarn shop or store what type of yarn I’m looking for that goes with a pattern I would like to make.
How many yards in a pattern such as 190 yards, 4ozs/113 grams-
Just help in figuring out what I need.

Thank you

Every pattern is different. Check the pattern for the required yardage in the weight they recommend. If you have worsted at 190 yards, and the pattern calls for 1100 yds worsted, you’d need to buy 6 skeins. 6x190=1140 yds. If you switch out the weight, going down to DK or up to bulky the size of the item will change accordingly (assuming that’s something you’re willing to doing such as with a scarf). More difficult to sub when dealing with a garment. The same number of yards in DK won’t give you the same size/drape/look as worsted, if that’s what the pattern calls for.

Does that offer some insight?

ETA: also note the fiber content. You might not want to do a cardigan in 100% cotton as it’ll get heavy and there might be shrinkage issues. But a cotton tank might be just ideal for warm weather. You might not want to opt for 100% wool if you’re planning to toss the item in the washer/dryer on reg basis but it might be perfect for throw/afghan. Make sure the fiber content is consistent with the item’s use.


If you’re going into a yarn shop knowing a bit about the pattern (it helps to bring it with you) and you want to sub the yarn they use for something else, the owner or a worker there should be able to help you.

I’m having the same problem right now. I want to sup a worsted weight yarn for something not too expensive, but the yarn I have is a gauge of 20 sts per 4 inches and I need 18 sts per 4 inches on size 7 needles.

So yeah, take the pattern with you when you go to the yarn store.

Ooo, they did a segment about this on Knitty Gritty. I’m sorry I can’t remember the name of the episode, but you can go to the DIY network site and all the episodes are listed with descriptions. Hope this helps some.