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How Much Yarn Do I Need? How to Determine Yardage in Crochet

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Are you planning a large crochet project and trying to figure out how much yarn you need to buy? If you’ve ever asked yourself (or Googled ad nauseam) how much yarn you need for a particular project, this article is for you! I have been using this method for determining how much yarn I’ll need for years, and it is always fun (and remarkable) to see how close I get!

How much yarn will I need

How Much Yarn Do I Need?

Trying to determine how much yarn is needed for a blanket, scarf, baby blanket, or other crochet project can be daunting. You don’t want to overbuy but you certainly don’t want to risk not having enough yarn, especially when it comes to matching dye lots and product availability. There are many charts online that have general yardage estimates based on intended blanket size, but there are so many other factors that contribute to yardage that these charts are simply not as accurate as they could be. For example, some crochet stitches require much more yarn than others, so while those estimates can be close, the method below is a sure-fire way to determine how much yarn you need to buy.

One question that is posed over and over again is “How much yarn do I need for a blanket” (or baby blanket, or scarf, etc). The truth is that you can estimate yardage with little more than time and a kitchen scale.

How to determine how much yarn I need

How to determine yardage

This method works best when you’re starting from scratch. If following a pattern, and your gauge closely resembles that of the designer’s, the amount of yarn needed should closely resemble that of the designer.

If A (gauge) = A and B (pattern) = B , then it’s safe to say that C (yardage) will most likely = C.

The problem here is that you’re not always following a pattern. So, let’s math it out! You will need a kitchen scale with accurate readings. Mine works great, and you can find one like it here.

First you’ll need to decide which yarn to use, then decide which crochet stitch (or stitches) to use, then work up some swatches to nail down your hook size. For the sake of this tutorial, we are going to pretend that we are making a 50″ wide x 60″ tall blanket using the double crochet stitch.

By nailing down your yarn choice, hook size, and stitch, you can easily determine how many yards you’ll need to finish said blanket.

1. First, decide which yarn you’ll use. For this example I am using Red Heart With Love, one of my favorite yarns, and the recommended I/5.5mm crochet hook.

2. Decide which crochet stitch you’ll use. In this tutorial we are using double crochet, but perhaps your blanket will contain a stitch set worked in multiples, either by stitches or by row. While this method of determining how much yarn you’ll need can be used with virtually any stitch/yarn/hook, the simpler the stitch, the easier it is to calculate. We will discuss more in-depth stitch sets below.

3. Work up a swatch using your intended yarn, hook size, and stitch. This is very important in any project, not only because it allows you to see the drape of the fabric (how stiff or flowy it is), but because this is how we know how much each stitch weighs. The larger the swatch the more accurate your calculations will be.

When determining yardage, you want the most regular stitches possible (not turning chains, or outside stitches as they are differently shaped) in order to get an accurate depiction. For the sake of math, I personally like to keep my stitches an even multiple of 10. As stated above, the larger your swatch, the more accurate your yardage estimate will be. Start with 30 double crochet stitches.

Row 1: Ch-32, dc in 3rd chain from hook and in each to end. (30)

Rows 2 – 10: Ch-2, turn, dc in each st to end. (30)

how much yarn do I need for a blanket

Once you’ve got a swatch, and you’re happy with the fabric, hook size, yarn, etc, it is time to calculate the weight of each individual stitch. To get as accurate a read as possible, make sure that the loop left over from the last stitch made is not super long (so as to not skew the weight).

If we have 30 stitches per row and 10 rows, we have 300 stitches total. Take the total weight of your piece and divide by the number of stitches in your swatch.

how to figure out how much yarn I need

weight / number of stitches = weight per stitch

.61 oz / 300 stitches = 0.0020333333333333‬ per stitch

Because of how small this number is, keep track of all of the decimals. Allll of them. Now that we know the weight of each individual stitch, ask yourself how large you want your blanket to be. In this tutorial we are pretending that we want a blanket that is 50″ wide and 60″ tall. Because most gauge swatches are measured in 4″ squares, that is what we’ll use to determine width and height of each stitch.

determining yardage for a blanket

If, in 4″ of double crochet stitches, we have 13 stitches, each stitch is approximately .307″ wide. We want our blanket to be 50″ wide, so we divide 50″ by .307″, telling us that we need about 162 stitches to equal 50″ width.

If, in 4″ of double crochet rows, we have 7.5 rows, each row is approximately .533″ tall. We want our blanket to be 60″ tall, so we divide 60″ by .533″, telling us that we need about 112 rows. (More on counting your crochet rows here.)

This means that we need 162 stitches per row for 112 rows, or 18,144 stitches total. Now all that is left is to multiply that out using the weight of each stitch.

18,144 x 0020333333333333‬ = 36.89 oz (or about 1950 yards, more on that calculation here)

Red Heart With Love comes in 370 yard, 7 oz skeins, so we will need approximately 5 and one quarter skeins. Ta-da!!!

For more difficult stitch sets, or those that span many stitches and/or rows (such as the Argyle Shell), you’ll still work up a small swatch and weigh it. Instead of going off of total number of stitches, you’ll want to determine the weight of the repeat, preferably several repeats and/or several rows of repeats. Again, the larger your swatch here, the more accurate your estimate will be.

How much yarn will I need?

Using this method of estimating yardage for projects, I am usually off by no more than 20 yards in either direction. Pretty darn sweet if you ask me! 😛 Let me know how this method works for you!

More fun with yarn:

How to Calculate Yarn Yardage by Weight

How to Add Ear Flaps to a Crochet Beanie

How to Make Stitch Markers and Hook Reminders

How to Make a Crochet Graph

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  1. How much yarn should I buy if I’m adding a 4” border on a small throw. I plan to just double crochet all around
  2. I appreciate your time in figuring out a formula for finding yardage. One problem is I'm mathematically challenged. I've been crocheting for about 40yrs so that's not a problem and I have a pattern. Its in a brochure "50 Ripple Stitches " by Carla Sims. The pattern I will be using is on the front cover & pg 12. Its a chevron using 3 colors. Its a multiple of 18 plus 16 - with all the math I'm terribly confused. This 72 yr old brain and chemo brain has my eyes crossing. Any chance you can lend a hand?
  3. Hi Ashlea, I am thinking I have a simpler problem for the question, 'How much yarn do I need for this scarf pattern?' I have a pattern for this scarf. It is just way to long & wide for me. I want to use the SAME yarn & STITCH as stated in pattern. Pattern will yield a 123" long & 11" wide Scarf. I could wear this elegant scarf/wrap if it was 60" long & 9" (or 8") wide. I just have an old, math challenged brain- Can you tell me how to go about adjusting the pattern for my proportions to the proper #t of skeins? Pattern calls for 6 skeins. Yarn is Red Heart Steller thick/ bulky. It is 4 oz. (113 g) / 80 yds. (73 m) per skein. I think they may be discontinuing the color so I am going to check eBay soon. Thanks for your help. GG
    1. Get 3 skeins. The finished area of the pattern is 123" x 11" = 1353 square inches, requiring 6 skeins. Your goal is 60" x 9" = 540 square inches, requiring X skeins. X = 1353/540 = 2.5 skeins.
  4. I followed you until almost the end. I figured out my oz needed 47.73. But I can not figure out how you came up with 1950 yards! I tried going to the "more on that "HERE". But that did not help at all. How did you come up with 1950 yard from your calculations of 36.89?
    1. Hi LaRita! I just use a kitchen scale similar to the one linked here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A8RMWEW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ll1&tag=deadetdiv-20&linkId=e975290904b2abe0746fd8edc65b2041&language=en_US
  5. This is not helpful at all since I am trying to figure how much yard to buy! I only have the information you can see on line which is usually how many grams and yards. I don’t have the yarn to try. I don’t want to buy one and find out I need so many more and that the colors don’t match. Its disappointing.
    1. I have a heavy blanket that my mom made years ago that is an oversized twin, maybe even a double and weight it at 4 lbs so Im thinking I have to buy 10 skeins of 7oz yarn. May have left over but thats my calculation. Hope this helps you. I do remember her saying to buy 27 skeins for a king.
      1. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Your post helped me the most. I was looking for a idea of how many skeins to buy for a baby bed blanket. You have given me around about number to buy! As well as for a queen size bed. Thank you very much happy crocheting . God bless you and yours!♥️
    2. 50x80 is my blanket and is nice and heavy with a shell stitch so as stated before 10 skeins is a safe bet
      1. And skeins vary in yardage, so saying 10 skeins for a 50x80 blanket is not an accurate statement unless you include the yardage of the skein you purchased. Thank you.
  6. So I’m making a rectangle C2C blanket using a 4mm hook and each skein is 310 yards/4.2oz and I’m using 12 skeins. I want to make this as big as possible to use up all the skeins. But I’m unsure how wide to go and figure this out to make sure I have enough yarn. Can you help me?
  7. This is amazing information!! You wrote this with pictures in a way that was so easy to understand! I need to print this for my binder! Thank you so much!!
  8. I’ve done my best to convert to meters and grams in everything I do that doesn’t involve speed limits or buying gasoline. My kitchen scale toggles nicely to grams. I prefer to cook with European recipes. Can you restate your calculations using metric measures? I’m cool with multiples of 10 stitches! Everything is easier in metric. Seriously.
  9. Hi Ashlea! Wowwee! This is an AWESOME explanation on how to calculate “how much yarn do will I need”! So clear, concise and easy to understand. Thank You So Very Much! Keep Warm under your hooks and crochet project. Kind Regards from Texas
  10. Thank you so much, it is very helpful . Always wondered how to calculate the amount of yarn to use. Thank you also for the graph
  11. This is so cool! Thank you! Both my boys have decided they want to have me make them blankets. I know the colors they want, I finally decided on a stitch to use, had no idea how to figure out how much yarn I would need. So again, I say thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
  12. Thank you so much! Have never known how to calculate the amount of yarn needed. Always playing yarn chicken:) I put the scale in my upcoming Amazon order! Much appreciation for the time you took to compile and share this info with us:)))