a variety of yarns
Yarn Swapping
Part 2: Determining How Much Yarn You'll Need

Unfortunately, you can't simply go by the number of skeins your pattern requires. Different yarn manufacturers pack different amounts of yarn into their skeins.

Find the Magic Number
Your first task is to figure out how many yards/meters your pattern requires. Many new patterns include this information.

If your pattern doesn't show the total yardage required, check to see if it lists how many yards/meters are in each skein of the yarn specified in the pattern. If this is the case, simply multiply the number of skeins required by the number of yards in each skein. Voila, there's your magic number.

Keep your calculator handy because once you've picked your substitute, you'll need to convert your yardage

In This Article

back into skeins again. To do this, simply divide your pattern's total required yardage by the number of yards in each substitute skein. This tells you how many skeins you'll need. When in doubt, round up.

Working with Weight
For a while there, pattern designers had the frustrating habit of basing their patterns on yarn category and weight alone, with no mention of yardage. For example, they'd call for 16 ounces of worsted-weight yarn, period.

In most cases those patterns also specifed the desired gauge, which is a much more accurate clue. With this number in mind, visit any of the popular online shops, or go to your local store, and look at yarns that knit up at a similar gauge.

Once you've picked a yarn you like, simply divide the total required weight (in my example, 16 oz) by the weight of each skein. This tells you the total number of skeins you'll need for your pattern.

A word of caution: Yarn weights tend to vary more than yards, so you may want to add another skein to your stash to play it safe.

  Next page