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Topic: How can I tell if this is enough yarn?  (Read 716 times)
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« on: January 18, 2005 07:47:10 AM »

Sorry that this is a bit of a dodo question...A store near me has some laceweight cotton/silk yarn on sale.  They only have odd skeins (no matching or even coordinating colours) although I do like some of the colours they have.  The skeins are 350 yds.  They also have a few balls of laceweight wool tweed that are 550 yds (again, no matching colours, only odd balls).  I have NO idea how to figure out how much yarn I need for projects if it's not right there on the pattern but I saw these skeins and wondered if I would be able to get an openwork shawl out of one of them. 

I'm super new to knitting.  Is there some kind of "knitter's math" that I need to know that will help me figure these things out?  I learned to knit from the book "Ready, Set, Knit" and I've been doing some simple pattern work but nothing other than scarves sans pattern.   If there is a beginner book that explains how to determine how much yarn is needed for items like shawls and afghans I would be grateful to learn its title.

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« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2005 07:50:52 AM »

I don't think such a thing would really be useful, since it depends on what stitch pattern you want to use in a shawl or afghan.

A lace shawl with many holes and whatnot takes less yarn to complete than a denser one (ie stockinette). Same thing for an afghan.
Also, size can vary far too much with either of these items so it's hard to say that, "A shawl will take XXXX yards of YYYY weight yarn."
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« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2005 08:10:28 AM »

here are a couple of pages that list average yarn requirements for sweaters based on yarn gauge and sweater size
Here are some patterns for lace shawls for sale that list how much yarn they need:
And this is a handy leaflet that contains info on yarn requirements for all kinds of stuff for different yarn weights:
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2005 08:28:01 AM »

I don't think such a thing would really be useful, since it depends on what stitch pattern you want to use in a shawl or afghan.

On the contrary, I've found such estimates to be really useful, bearing in mind that they're just ballpark figures, especially when combined with yardage estimates for roughly similar patterns.

If you know that you're going to use a yarn-hungry stitch pattern, one with a lot of texture or a stranded one, adding a third more to the yardage will probably take care of it. For lace, you can probably subtract a quarter or so.

That said, I always try to work in a margin of error (kind of like the "one for the pot" rule with tea). I don't have a hard and fast rule about how much "extra" yarn I buy, it's usually determined a combination of how much I feel I can afford, and how big the project is. For larger projects, I increase the margin of error.

Here's another page with yardage estimates:

Of course, the best way to judge when you don't have a pattern is to weigh a similar project made in a yarn made of the same fibre. This isn't always possible, but when it is it works like a charm. I use my digital kitchen scale as much for knitting as for cooking!

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« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2005 09:21:50 AM »

It's probably easiest if you had a pattern in mind with the yardage needed.
You could always do stripes to make it stretch.
I can't resist a bargain, so I'd go and buy all of that yarn!
There's a great pattern called the urban folk shawl, that calls for varied yarn and is a simple yo pattern that is done on circulars (i think size 9)
It's a great book. I got it from my library a couple of years ago, but you can buy it online through that link. There's alot of beautiful patterns in there that are really easy to follow and very hip!
And it solves the problem of needing a specified amount of yarn because you are using different textures and colors of yarn. I'm currently working on a version of this (using bigger needles and all of my leftover's).

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