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:

  • If you know the type of yarn you have, look it up in Ravelry’s yarn database. It’ll tell you the yardage/weight.
  • If it’s mystery yarn, you’ll have to manually measure and weigh a small sample. 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!

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… I’ll update you on that, later!

21 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

  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.

    • Great minds think alike! πŸ™‚

  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.

  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.

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