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How to Calculate Yarn Length from Weight

How to Calculate Yarn Length from Weight - tips from FreshStitches and Shiny Happy World

We’ve all been there. We’ve got a big pile of yarn (inherited from a family member, the result of frogging a project, or maybe even a thrift store find)… and we have no idea how much yardage there is!

Since most patterns specify the number of yards you’ll need, determining the yardage of your yarn is crucial. Fortunately, it’s not too tricky! In this post, I’ll show you how to use a scale to calculate the yardage of your yarn.

Materials required

To calculate the yardage of your yarn, you’ll need:

  • the yarn (duh!)
  • a digital scale
  • a box or bowl (to hold the yarn on the scale if you’ve got a lot of little bits of yarn)

Step-by-step: How to determine yardage

Got your materials together? Okay, let’s get started!

Find out the yarn’s yardage per weight information

I lucked out a little bit: I had a big bundle of yarn that came along with a label. The label tells you how much length/weight a particular ball of yarn is:

If you aren’t lucky enough to have a label, you have some options, that’s not a problem! Just cut off a small length (maybe a yard or a meter) and weigh it. Boring, but easier than measuring the entire amount of yarn!

Calculate length per unit of weight

Now I know that my yarn has 100 meters in 50 grams. I want to calculate how much length there is to each gram.

So, each gram of yarn is 2 meters long. We’ll keep this in mind!

For your formula, of course, you’ll be plugging in the length and weight from your yarn label or the small sample you cut and weighed. 🙂

Weigh your yarn

Since I have a lot of little balls of yarn (the result of frogging a sweater), I’m using a box to keep them all together on the scale. Put the box on the scale, and zero the scale:

It’s important to put the box on the scale before you zero the scale, so that the box won’t be included in the weight. Zeroing the scale just means that you’re telling the scale to start at zero… and it’s easy to do. On my scale, I just hold down the ‘tare’ button. See how it’s now reading ‘0’?

Since my yarn label listed the length/weight in metric, I’m going to weigh my yarn in grams.

Put the yarn that you want to weigh in the box:

And weigh it!

And it weighs…

472 grams. Good to know!

Calculate the yardage

Now all we need to do is calculate our yardage! We know (from before) that each gram is 2 meters long, so we multiply 472 (how many grams we have) by 2 to get our total meters.

To do the final conversion from meters to yards… you don’t even need to do any calculations! Just type ‘convert 944 meters to yards’ into Google, and it’ll give you the answer!

What will you make now?

Now that you can determine the length of some of your mystery yarn, what are you going to do with it? I turned mine into a Kyuu cardigan.

Crochet an adorably cuddly hound dog. Get the pattern here.

45 COMMENTS

  1. I’m not sure how you figured this out (well I have an idea, and it’s more math than I care to think about!), but I’m so glad you did! Now I’ll be able to tell if I have enough for two socks or just one! Thanks for the great tip!

    • SARAH SAYS...

      It’s not exactly rocket science lol

      • Southingtonian SAYS...

        When you are discalculic, as I am, doing math is like trying to put smoke in a box.

        • Kim Quinn SAYS...

          Thank you! I have a pattern for a crocheted sontag in worsted weight yarn of 760 yards.
          My neighbor wants it delicate. Using MelodybyWolltraum-
          Skein is 840 yards. Will it work? Heeeelp.

  2. I have some mystery skeins – I hadn’t thought about measuring and weighing a small amount! Doh! Thanks heaps!!!

  3. This issuch helpful information! Thanks Saceyfor continuing to make crochet (and other such yarn work) fun to do! ^_^

  4. I always have this yardage problem with the local made yarn, since there is no yardage info provide. I did exactly the same way you mentioned about to actually roughly calculate yarn length too and I just happy to know that you recommend this method too.

      • Anonymous SAYS...

        this is so helpful i love your reqest

  5. So how do I calculate if don’t have the gram to meter info?

    • That’ll be more difficult. I would determine the thickness of the yarn (by calculating wraps per inch), and then determine the fiber (google ‘fiber tests’), and then find a similar yarn. The weight/yardage info of yarns of similar thicknesses and fibers will be very close.

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  7. GIGal SAYS...

    I have a pattern I want to make for an afghan without instructions. I need to calculate how much length of worsted weight (4) yard I will need using size 10 needles using 2 strand of yarn at a time.
    How do I do that calculation so I buy enough of one dye lot?

    • You’ll need to crochet a swatch, and calculate how much yarn is used in the swatch. Then, figure out what proportion the swatch is in relation to your afghan!

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  10. Marion SAYS...

    I’m finding that I can’t trust the information on the yarn label! A yarn I bought for a pattern comes out to a very different yardage per gram, despite that the label indicates the same wraps per inch. I’m comparing the purchased yarn to the yarn used for the pattern.

    Comparing the purchased yarn, labeled as DK, to other brands of DK and sport yarn, I’m seeing that the purchased yarn is very thin (fine) more like a fingering yarn. Yet, the grams per yard calculates to a heavier yarn than an Aran I compared it with. As a result, I don’t trust the purchased yarn’s manufacturer.

    This makes me very hesitant to start working on the pattern with this yarn.

    • Staci L McClendon SAYS...

      Work up a swatch… best gauge for how it will work up. Then weigh the swatch. Then unravel the swatch and measure, or do a wraps per inch on a standard pencil, or Bic pen.
      Swatch will give you gauge, weighing, then measuring, will give you grams per yard.

  11. Christine Bornstein SAYS...

    I have Lace yarn 1lb 9.2oz total weight. I am trying to calculate the yards in this skein since I did not spin it. How do I arrive at the yards. Thank you so much. I have been trying to find a way to calculate it for a prospective client.

    Christine
    Florida

    • If you don’t have a label that gives a weight and length you’ll need to figure that out yourself by measuring and weighing a small amount (at least a few yards). From there you can follow the instructions in the post to calculate the total length for the weight you have.

  12. marilyn simonetti SAYS...

    I can I find out about how many ozs of dk yarn is in 3000 yards of yarn. I am used to buying ozs of yarn=hope you can help

    • You may need to measure off a piece and weigh it and then use that to calculate the entire weight of what you need.

  13. Elaine SAYS...

    Does this include crochet cottons eg. 50grm ball

    • This method of calculating will work for any yarn.

  14. Thanks, A very informative post. I have so many yarns without any label and it was so difficult to calculate how much is needed to make a new project.

  15. Charles W. Gill SAYS...

    I”m buying 2 ounce packages each of Hemp, Flax, Soy, wool, and Ramie fiber. I want to make a pair of pants and a shirt. I just wasted the last your trying to find the information on Google.

  16. Barbara SAYS...

    I always use Ralvery.com for my yarn description. I was trying to make Easter stuff for 2 preschool class. The yarn was donated. The yarn has what I thought was a symbol and ogart. Ralvery was stunned. I googled it, which I hate (you know why). At least a few people are selling it on EBay. Neither one tell how much yardage, but at least I found out the symbol is the letter v (Vogart). Went back to Ralvery, still stunned. All label says: 2 3/4 oz/78 grams.

  17. Lori SAYS...

    Thanks for the information. What I would like to know is this… Many of the patterns I use will only give you this information “50g/250m 100% Cotton” My problem is I know this gives you the weight of the yarn as far as how much that skein or ball actually weighs, and it tell me how much or how long that ball of yarn is, BUT what it doesn’t tell me is what “weight category” that yarn falls in. For example is 50g/250m considered Aran, DK, Worsted, Bulky??? Or does this information (the only information the designer is giving me) useless in regards to what KIND of yarn or what weight category this yarn is? Thanks!

    • The weight just tells you how much yarn – not what kind of yarn. A lot of designers don’t specify if it’s medium weight because that’s kind of the default. If it’s for a garment though, it’s really helpful for them to be as specific as possible. If they give you gauge information, you can guess a lot from that. This chart might be helpful for you. https://www.craftyarncouncil.com/standards/yarn-weight-system

  18. Judi Robins SAYS...

    Hi, Does this formula work, for example, if a pattern says to use “fingering” yarn and I only have “worsted” weight?

    • The formulas Stacey shows in the post are specific to the yarn she’s calculating (she was lucky and got some info from the label on one skein). If you don’t have that label she mentions that you can look it up on Ravelry – and if you don’t have any info to start with (just a random pile of yarn) you can measure a piece out, weigh it yourself, and go from there. The process to arrive at the formula is the same for any weight yarn.

  19. Cynthia S SAYS...

    The yarn weight is very important, but I don’t see that taken into consideration. If I have a bulky #5 yarn that weighs 50grams, versus a light weight #3, obviously the light weight yarn will have more meters.

  20. Sarah SAYS...

    Hello … I have a different problem …

    I have a pattern that says I need 4 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver … what is that in grams!? Or is it likely to be 1 skein = 100g ball? Please help if you can!

    • It totally depends on the company and the specific yarn collection. Skeins can be all different sizes – there’s no standard.

  21. I would like to know how many yards are in a skein of Mohair weighing
    1 oz. I have 14 skeins of this yarn and would like to know just how much I have to work with.
    Thank you.

  22. Wendy J SAYS...

    I cant see how this works for all yarn as mine is 4ply 250 grm but no length on label !
    Surely the weight of DK or 8ply would be less yardage ?

  23. Sally SAYS...

    I haven’t got the wool yet for this shawl project but would like to purchase the yarn but don’t know how many balls I might need because I don’t understand the measurements 1340yds/1225m worsted weight

    Could you help me please thank you

  24. Jess SAYS...

    Hi this was so useful but how does this information translate to a pattern. I need super chunky yarn that this pattern says has quantities based on 90m length per 100g and I’m struggling to shop for it.

    • If you have a length/weight conversion (that’s what you get when you cut off a small piece and weigh it) then you can always calculate either weight from length or length from weight – whichever you need to do for a particular pattern.

  25. I have 1500 grams of a bulky yarn. How many meters or yards do I have.
    Thanks

  26. Anonymous SAYS...

    I have 300m of dk whats that in grams please

  27. Shirley Ens SAYS...

    This is most amazing! Thank you for this formula. I have a few skeins and balls of yarn that I love, but had no idea how to calculate yardage as I have no info and no label. This will be a lifesaver for me.

    Now I need to get a scale.

    Thank you.

  28. Sandy SAYS...

    Thanks, this looks great. I wish you had included a non-label exercise too. I don’t have a label. I’ve cut a meter, and weighed. Do I still divide by 50??? My 1 mt weighs 0.2 gr. Thanks.

  29. 梅傲雪 SAYS...

    I’ve been wondering this and now i’ve just thought to my self duh! The best solutions are the most elegant and simple. thank you for saving me from my brain dead ignorance.. (feeling so dumb right now) Lol

  30. Marny CA SAYS...

    This type of mental exercise makes a steel door drop down in front of my eyes (aka brain).

    It’s no wonder that no matter what I have about 20,000 yards of different kinds of yarns – and never know what the heck to do with most of it. What I want to make is never in that yardage – so I buy more – and then buy ‘just because’ – and never use *that* because no pattern fits the criteria.

    Maybe I’m just a collector – and seldom a knitter/crocheter of finished projects.

    Oh, and then I find a pattern that is great and the yarn is discontinued – so can’t make that pattern again. Oh my and butterflies!