Whether I like it or not, math is an integral part of designing and aside from my crochet hooks, is probably the tool I use the most. It’s used in everything from figuring out stitch count, sizing, and finding the yardage of yarn used in my designs or projects. This last point is what today’s tutorial is about.

If you design patterns, it’s useful to note in your pattern how many yards (or meters) it takes to make your design. Finding the yardage used in sewing is fairly easy. In yarn crafts? Not generally as easy.

Sometimes it is easy to find out the amount of yarn you used in your project, such as when you use an entire skein in your project. Then you just look at the label and however many yards were in that ball is the number of yards you used. Nice and easy. Done.

But what about when you only use part of the ball / skein and things aren’t so easy? You may think it’s incredibly difficult to calculate, but it’s easier than you may think. You don’t have to rip out your hard work and then measure the yarn with a tape measure to find the yardage you used. With some (really) basic algebra, you can find the amount of yarn used and save yourself a lot of time and headache.

I never thought that I would be writing a tutorial about a math formula, yet here I am, because I realized that other people might not know this quick and uncomplicated way of figuring out the amount of yarn used.

This formula isn’t just limited to designers, and is useful for anyone wanting to calculate their yarn usage and it can also be used to find out how much yarn you have left.

Without further ado, let me show you my secret formula for calculating yarn yardage:

For this tutorial, I will be using the imperial system of measurement, but you can use this method with both the metric system and the imperial system. Just use grams instead of ounces, and meters instead of yards.

This method will work for both knit and crocheted items made out of a single yarn of any weight.

You will need a kitchen scale, a calculator (the one on your phone is fine and is what I use when I’m not using my phone to film blog tutorials), and a piece of paper and a writing implement of choice to write down your weights. If you would like a quick overview, I have linked my quick reel below. for a more in depth tutorial scroll down.

First, you will need the skein of yarn’s starting weight as well as its starting yardage. This information can be found on the yarn band / label. If you can’t find the label or threw it away (as I am guilty of doing more than once), the same information can also be found with a simple search on the yarn brand’s website or on Ravelry.

Divide the yardage by the weight to find your yards per ounce. In this case 153 yards / 3 oz (if you’re using metric system, just sub in meters / grams).

The resulting product is the yardage per ounce. In the example above the result is 51 yards per ounce.

Next, get out your scale and weigh the item that you are trying to find the yardage of. Take note of how much it weighs in ounces (0.30 oz in the example).

Now multiply the number you got from your scale by the yards per ounce measurement you figured out earlier (example: 0.30 * 51 (yards oer ounce))

The answer will be the total yardage used in your project (in the example, 15.3 yards)

As I said before, this method is useful not only for when you’re designing but also for when you’re trying to figure out how many items you can make from a ball of yarn.

For instance, if I wanted to find out how many bows I could make from the ball of yarn used in the example, I would take the total yardage (153 yards) and divide it by the amount of yards used to make one (i.e. 153 / 15.3) and this would give me the closest number of times I can make that item out of one ball of yarn (in this example I could make 10 bows out of this particular ball of yarn).

A couple of variables to take into account:

Yarn is sold by weight, not by the yard like fabric, this means that there is no “standard” yardage per ounce, so you will need to use this formula to test any new yarn you use. Some yarns can weigh the same, yet have vastly different yardage.

If you have attached any embellishments to your project such as buttons, weigh a similar size embellishment separately and subtract that weight from your yarn item to obtain the true net weight.

That’s it for today’s tutorial, be sure to save this post for future reference and let me know in the comments if you have any questions about this method.

Happy figuring!

This post first appeared on yarn-bending.com