Tips for estimating amount of yarn needed for projects?

Hi, folks.

I have been knitting sporadically for a few years, but still have millions of questions. One thing I struggle with is how to estimate the amount of yarn needed for a project – especially when I’m knitting without a pattern. For example, if I want to make myself a basic scarf using seed stitch, how do I determine how many balls/skeins of yarn to buy?

I’m considering a yarn online with the following info:

							 									Chunky Wt.
								5.5-8 mm needles (9-11 US)
								3-4 sts per inch
								94% Wool / 6% Silk 								
						 								 									Available in:
								50gr Balls (88yds) 								

How many balls should I buy to make a scarf?

Also – if I find a pattern I like, but I don’t want to buy the yarn suggested by the pattern (because it’s out of my price range, or I just can’t find it), how do I convert it into a yarn I have or a yarn I’m interested in?

Thanks for any tips you can throw my way! :mrgreen:

You’d need 2 or 3 balls, depends how wide and how long you want it, and you can use larger needles too, to make it larger. If you use thinner yarn, you’ll need more to get the same size. A scarf can be made with 150 to 300 yards of yarn, depending on the yarn and needles used.

If you’re using a pattern that calls for ABC Yarn and you’re not going to use that yarn - sometimes the pattern will tell you that ABC yarn comes in 100 gr ball and has 235 yards. So if the pattern says you need 3 balls, you need 3 x 235 yds = 705 yds total. Even if the pattern doesn’t tell you the yardage of the called for yarn, you can usually find it elsewhere - find the manufacturer’s website or even an on-line store that sells it and they will give you the yardage.

Then you look at the yarn you are going to use - say it comes in 200 yds per ball - you’d need 4 balls.

If I’m subbing a different yarn, I would probably get 1 ball more then I thought I’d need, just to be sure I had enough (but I am nurotic that way).

If you are shopping in a yarn store, chances are that they have a chart with estimated yarn requirements. They can look up the project and the yarn weight and tell you an approximate yardage for what you want to make.

There are several charts available. This is oneand here is another. You can also purchase this.