How Much Yarn Do I Need? (Tips for Planning Crochet Projects)
Learn the factors to determine how much yarn to make a blanket and other popular crochet projects.
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Fortunately, most crochet patterns include a list of materials, including how many skeins of yarn you will need to complete the project. However, sometimes we have to ask the question, How Much Yarn Do I Need?
These tips for planning crochet projects will help you figure out the averages of yards needed for each type of popular crochet project squares, dishcloths, hats, socks, scarves, shawls, ponchos, sweaters, baby blankets, and afghans. We will also go over how many yards are in a skein of yarn, tips for deciding how much yarn to buy, and free crochet patterns for each type of project.
Because every pattern is different, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding how much yarn to buy. These suggested numbers of skeins and yards to buy are approximate estimates, but use as much knowledge as you have to determine how much yarn you will need to purchase for your project.
PLUS! Learn how to choose colors of yarn for your next crochet work of art by listening to our resident crochet expert, Chris, go over ways to pick the best yarn. This video below is such a helpful watch for crocheters of all skill levels!
Tips and Factors to Consider When Determining Yarn Amounts
- What weight of yarn will you be using? The higher weight, the fewer yards/skeins you will need. So, if you're using a lightweight yarn, like fingerling, you may need two or three skeins of yarn when you would only need one or two of a worsted or bulky yarn.
- What is the size of the item you are crocheting? For clothing, consider whether it's a child or adult size before buying yarn. As far as crochet blankets go, you're also looking at a lot of size options. Even for baby blankets, there are at least 8 different types and sizes, as is detailed in AllFreeCrochetAfghanPattern's article, How Big is a Baby Blanket (Crochet)?
- What types of stitches will you be using? Every stitch uses up a different amount of yarn. A Single crochet is going to use a lot less yarn than a bobble stitch. Be aware of the "yarn eater" stitches and buy more yarn if needed.
- What size crochet hook will you be using? If you crochet, then you know that using a different size hook on a pattern will change the size since the stitches are closer together or farther apart.
- What is your typical tension and gauge when crocheting? Or, what is the recommended gauge for the crochet pattern you're using? The gauge and tension is going to make a difference with the amount of yarn used because it allows for more or less space between stitches.
How Many Yards in a Skein of Yarn?
"The yardage given is an estimate and is the least amount of yarn you will encounter in the skein; the actual amount may be more. Since yarn is sold by weight and not by yardage no two skeins of yarn will have the exact same yardage."
A typical skein of worsted weight yarn is roughly 364 yards and weighs 7 ounces.
The fact that yarn is sold by weight and not length makes it slightly more difficult to determine how many yards you will have when buying skeins and balls of yarn, but the estimate on the packaging label helps.
As mentioned earlier, you also have to consider the weight of the yarn and the type of stitches you will be using for your project. When in doubt, round up.
You can also find yarn calculators to help do some of the difficult math for you.
Crochet World magazine online has a great calculator that does weight conversion, helps you determine if you have enough yarn in your stash, as well as how much you need to buy according to the information you provide. Find it here.
The Crochet Crowd has a yarn substitution calculator that will help you figure out quantities for substitution. Find it here.
There is so much helpful information on yarn labels. Learn how to understand them with this informative article, How to Read Yarn Labels
Yardage Yarn Chart
How Much Yarn Do I Need to Crochet a Dishcloth?
Have a small project you want to make, like a granny square, coaster, headband, or dishcloth? You will probably only need less than one skein of yarn for each of these projects since they don't take much. Of course, many patterns use multiple colors, so you may still have to buy multiple skeins. But you'll have plenty left over for your next project!
According to the chart above, you will probably need about 25–200 yards, depending on the weight of yarn.
Looking for a small crochet pattern to make? Check out any of these free crochet patterns (they all use less than one skein of yarn):
How Much Yarn for a Crochet Hat?
Crochet hats are one of the most popular projects in crochet. They typically only use one or less skein of yarn but, again, it's dependent on the pattern.
Most crochet hat patterns use worsted weight yarn, which means you will probably need about 200–250 yards of yarn. But, it also depends on the size - a child's hat will use less yarn than an adult's hat.
Looking for a crochet hat pattern to make? Check out any of these free crochet patterns:
How Much Yarn Do I Need to Crochet Socks?
If you want extra warm and thick socks (or slippers), then you will probably be using a higher weight yarn, like 4-6, but you may want thin, delicate socks, which would be weight 1-3. We're still looking at a small project, though, so you shouldn't need more than one or two skeins of yarn for a crocheted pair of socks.
The approximate yardage will range from 250–400, depending on the weight, size, and stitches used.
Looking for crochet sock patterns to make? Check out any of these free crochet patterns:
How Much Yarn Do I Need for a Scarf?
Scarves are a little trickier since they can be practically any thickness and length you desire. You can also use nearly any stitch available for a scarf. Most scarves will use one to two skeins of yarn.
According to the chart above, you will probably need about 300–650 yards, depending on the weight of yarn, the colors, the stitches, style, and length amongst other factors.
Looking for a scarf crochet pattern to make? Check out any of these free crochet patterns:
Never run out of ideas for scarves with this impressive collection of free patterns: 202 Crochet Scarf Patterns: The Ultimate Collection of Free Crochet Patterns for Your Neck
How Much Yarn Do I Need to Crochet a Shawl/Poncho?
When it comes to shawls and ponchos, you are most likely going to need three to five skeins of yarn. Although these two types of projects are different and each requires unique details, they are similar enough in size that the amount of yarn needed for a shawl is probably similar to a poncho.
For simple shawls and ponchos, you are looking at an approximate yardage of 400–700 for your yarn of choice.
Looking for crochet shawls and poncho patterns to make? Check out any of these free crochet patterns:
How Much Yarn to Make a Sweater?
Sweaters can be light or heavy, depending on the season or style. There are also a lot of different sizes for sweaters, from newborn to men's. Then there are cardigans. A cardigan is probably more closely related to a poncho when it comes to how much yarn you will need. Most crochet sweater patterns use about 4–11 balls or skeins of yarn.
According to the chart above, you will probably need about 1000–3500 yards of yarn to make an adult size sweater.
Looking for a crochet sweater pattern to make? Check out any of these free crochet patterns:
How Much Yarn for a Baby Blanket?
Baby blankets can range from loveys to crib or bed-size blankets, so when crocheting a baby blanket, it's important you pay attention to size. If you're following a pattern, it will tell you how many skeins to use but otherwise, use this information to help you make an educated guess on how much yarn to buy. Small baby blankets may only use one skein of yarn whereas the bigger ones could be up to three or four.
Most crochet baby blanket patterns use worsted weight or bulky yarn, which means you will probably need about 900–1500 yards of yarn.
Looking for crochet baby blanket patterns to make? Check out any of these free crochet patterns:
How Much Yarn for an Afghan?
Afghans are sort of a vague category because it can include throws, lapghans, any blanket, and those patterns that are considered afghans. For a full-size blanket, you will need quite a bit of yarn, probably around 13-18 balls or skeins of yarn. Usually, afghans are very colorful, so you may have one skein of each and, if it's it's really colorful, that can add up. If the blanket only has one or a few colors, it may only be 10 skeins.
According to the chart above, you will probably need about 2000–4000 yards, depending on the weight of yarn, the size, and the number of colors in the blanket.
Looking for a crochet afghan pattern to make? Check out any of these free crochet patterns:
How do you plan how much yarn to buy?
Let us know in the comments!
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