What is a ball of yarn?

Hello there,

I was wondering if someone can help me here. I have been searching the internet to find out - What exactly is a ball of yarn? Patterns I see call for a ball of this and and / or 2 balls of that. What is this standard of measurement? I’m certain it’s not a skein of yarn because I have just bought a skein thinking that’s what I needed and had PLENTY left over for several of the same project.

Thank you for your time

There isn’t a standard for that. Different brands will come in different sizes.

Say a pattern says to use 2 balls Lionbrand Organic Cotton. If it doesn’t tell you how many yards are in a ball of that yarn, you may have to go somewhere else and look up that info. You may find that one ball of that specific yarn has 65 yards. So you know you need 130 yds of yarn for the pattern. Say you want to use a different brand of yarn that will give you the same guage but it comes in a ball of 50 yds - you know you’d need 3 balls of that yarn.

Yes, each yarn is sold in slightly different weights and measurements, so you need to look up the yarn if the pattern doesn’t give you the details. One way is the company’s site, or you may be able to find it at www.yarndex.com.

Definitely use the yardage on a pattern not the number of skeins/balls/hanks listed especially if you are using a different yarn the the pattern writer used.

Although skeins and hanks are actually different all three terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Also remember, please: If I need one ball of yarn by pattern, that does not say that you need the whole ball. So it may be that there are a few inches only, sometimes you need it all.

WOWSERS! I had no idea it was this way. I thank you all so much for your answers. You have been very helpful. My daughter has a pattern that called for 2 balls of yarn and I was telling her that it doesn’t mean 2 skeins. That’s as far as I knew. The yardage information is wonderful. Thank you so much!

If you go to a good knitting shop, bring your pattern and ask for help if you want to use a yarn that is different from the original. There will surely be ladies to assist the calculations.
And ask if you can take some yarn and bring back if unused. My favorit shop does that so you can get back up, just in case.

If you go back later to get more, it may be a slight variation in color (check the nubers on the tags!!!) or be sold out.

European balls of yarn are most often packed as 50 g. (I am German). Some big coils come in multiples of that. Very few only (baby sock wool, e.g.) come in 25 g.

And then European coils measure in meters, not yards. But that you can calucalte, too. Pretty much add 10 % of the yards and you are there.

Hereis a really handly little calculator as well. It asks you certain things about the project and then will give you an approximate number of yards based on the gauge. It’s not perfect, but it can at least give you a jumping point for your projects.

Yarndex is fantastic. Except when it taunts me with yarn that is no longer made. But then ravelry becomes my best friend, so that’s ok.