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How Much Yarn Do I Need?

These handy charts will help you figure out exactly how much yarn you'll need for your next project!

Updated September 25, 2019
How Much Yarn Do I Need

Whether you're planning your Christmas knitting patterns in advance, doing some quick calculations at the yarn store, or figuring out what kind of garment you can knit with the scraps in your stash, every knitter needs to do a little bit of math for calculating yardage at some point.

The thing that makes this particularly hard to find out for knitting, in particular, is that there are so many factors that go into the final number of yards you'll need for your patterns. Things like seed stitch and brioche stitch take a lot more yarn than your standard stockinette. You also have to take into consideration the yarn weight that you're using for your project. And if there's colorwork involved, you'll likely need specific lengths of yarn in multiple colors.

The charts below are a great resource for knitters who want to figure out how much yarn you should buy for your next project if your pattern doesn't indicate how much is required.

How Much Yarn Do I Need for a Hat?

Hats are some of the more universal kinds of knitting patterns. There isn't that much variation in terms of size, although if you're curious about recommended sizes and cast on numbers, be sure to check out our how to guide for casting on stitches for a hat.

Most hat patterns (including for adults) only require one skein of yarn or possibly two. When you're doing your yarn shopping, here are the yardage estimations to keep in mind based on yarn weight:

Yarn Weight Adult Hat
0 - Lace 350 to 400 yards
1 - Superfine 300 to 375 yards
2 - Fine 250 to 350 yards
3 - Light 200 to 300 yards
4 - Medium 150 to 250 yards
5 - Bulky 125 to 200 yards
6 - Super Bulky 75 to 125 yards

How Much Yarn Do I Need for a Afghan?

When calculating the amount of yarn that you'll need for an afghan, you're going to run into some of the same problems that you would if you're doing the math for a scarf or a shawl. There are many different factors that go into the amount of yarn that you'll ultimately need, and it really comes down to the final size of the project.

Most afghan patterns are going to give you the information about the amount of yarn you will need in the list of notions, but if they don't, the factors you will need to consider are the dimensions of the blanket, the stitch or stitches used, the needle size recommended, and the weight of the yarn that the pattern calls for.

Yarn Weight Afghan
0 - Lace 3,500 to 3,750 yards
1 - Superfine 3,000 to 3,500 yards
2 - Fine 2,500 to 3,000 yards
3 - Light 2,000 to 2,500 yards
4 - Medium 1,500 to 2,000 yards
5 - Bulky 1,500 to 750 yards
6 - Super Bulky 500 to 1,000 yards

How Much Yarn Do I Need for a Sweater?

The process of designing and hand knitting a sweater is already an odyssey of mathematics even before you get to the yarn buying process. For the most part, any sweater pattern worth its salt will tell you all of the information you should need -- the type of yarn used, the weight of yarn, the knitting needle size(s), the gauge, and the yardage.

If you're not that lucky, here are some general guidelines for how much yarn you should buy for a sweater. And remember, if you aren't sure of exact yardage, it's always better to round up.

Yarn Weight Adult Sweaters
0 - Lace 2,000 - 4,000 yards
1 - Superfine 1,500 - 3,500 yards
2 - Fine 1,250 - 3,000 yards
3 - Light 1,000 - 2,500 yards
4 - Medium 800 - 2,000 yards
5 - Bulky 750 - 1,500 yards
6 - Super Bulky 500 - 1,000 yards

How Much Yarn Do I Need for a Scarf?

Calculating yardage of yarn for a scarf pattern is particularly tricky because the sizes of scarves aren't as standard as they are with other garment types. Infinity scarves tend to use much less yarn super scarves, for example. And cowls, which could be considered a subcategory of scarves, use even less yarn!

Luckily, most patterns like this will give you a rough estimate of the yardage needed for that pattern. Alternatively, scarf patterns commonly use specific brands and lines of yarn to get an intended look and will, thus, list the yarn and number of skeins required in the pattern itself.

If you're not so lucky to have that listed, here are some rough ranges for how much yarn you'll need for a scarf:

Yarn Weight Scarf
0 - Lace 350 to 850 yards
1 - Superfine 300 to 800 yards
2 - Fine 250 to 750 yards
3 - Light 200 to 600 yards
4 - Medium 150 to 550 yards
5 - Bulky 100 to 500 yards
6 - Super Bulky 50 to 450 yards

How Much Yarn Do I Need for Mittens?

Mittens are a fan favorite knitted garment of AllFreeKnitting readers for a good reason -- they're so much fun to knit, and they're pretty easy, too! If you've never browsed our cowl patterns, we definitely recommend you give one a try. Luckily, they're all mostly the same size, which makes calculating the amount of yarn you'll need pretty straightforward.

There are different sizes of mittens out there, but really the things that will make the biggest difference with this are the stitch used and the weight of yarn that the pattern calls for.

Yarn Weight Mittens
0 - Lace 200 to 350 yards
1 - Superfine 150 to 300 yards
2 - Fine 100 to 250 yards
3 - Light 75 to 200 yards
4 - Medium 50 to 150 yards

How Much Yarn Do I Need for Socks?

Some knitters are sock knitting fiends. They're portable, easy to work, and they make great gifts, so it's no wonder that sock patterns are so popular with knitters. The thing about calculating yarn lengths for socks, however, is that most heavier weights of yarn don't lend themselves well to such fine garments. These patterns also often call for intricate colorwork designs that can drastically change the amount of yarn required for them.

Yarn Weight Socks
0 - Lace 400 to 500 yards
1 - Superfine 350 to 450 yards
2 - Fine 300 to 400 yards
3 - Light 250 to 350 yards
4 - Medium 200 to 300 yards

Download This Chart

Want to save these handy charts for the next time you need to calculate yarn? We've compiled them into this handy infographic below. Download and print it to keep it around for your next project!

Download This Chart
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