How to Calculate How Much Yarn You Need

How to Calculate Yarn Needed

Free Pattern: Cluster Stitch Wrap

Figuring out the amount of yarn you need when you are forced to do a yarn substitution is much easier than you realize. Grab that trust old calculator and let’s figure out the math.

For this example, I am going to use Red Heart’s Cluster Stitch Wrap.

In most reputable patterns, it will tell you the amount of yarn you need to complete the project.

Pattern Provided This Info:

RED HEART® Boutique Unforgettable®: 2 balls of 3965 Candied.

Patterns may tell you the yards and weight of the yarn. In this case, Red Heart provides that information usually in a side note.

Here’s what the patterns says. Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable, Art. E793 Available in 3.5oz (100g), 280 yd (256m) balls.

If the pattern doesn’t give the yarn ball weight and yardage breakdown, you can usually check at most of main website for most of the yarn companies. This helps, especially if you love the pattern and don’t have the particular yarn it asks for.

  • We also know, according to the pattern that it’s a MEDIUM 4 Weight of yarn. This means, if I am looking to substitute, I should be looking for the same weight to keep the project looking very similar.

REMEMBER: Changing the hook recommendation will also change the amount of yarn you need and it can drastically change the sizing of the project.

To make the wrap above:

1 Ball = 280 Yards x 2 Balls for this project = 560 Yards or 1 Ball = 256 metres x 2 Balls for this project = 512 Metres

Let’s say I don’t have Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable on hand. I have Red Heart Super Saver instead from Walmart. Note that variegated yarn or anything off the solid colours of most yarn brands are different weights and lengths. The yarn is always packaged to a price point and not provided usually the exact same length.

Again, I can either look at a Super Saver Label to tell me the length of the yarn… or I can get that information online at You have to determine what type of Super Saver Yarn you are going to use.

  • 1 Ball of Super Saver  Solid Colours = 364 Yards or 333 metres.
  • 1 Ball of Super Saver Prints and Multis is 244 Yards or 223 metres
  • 1 Ball of Super Saver Flecks is 260 yards or 238 metres.

We know that the Super Saver is also a MEDIUM 4 Weight which helps us know the sizing will be exact or close to the pattern.

To figure out how many balls you will need for Super Saver:

Total Projects Yard (metres) divided by the Super Saver Ball Yards (metres)

  • 560 yards / 364 yards (Super Saver Solid) = 1.53 Balls required
  • 560 yards / 244 yards (Super Saver Prints) = 2.30 Balls required
  • 560 yards / 260 yards (Super Saver Fleck) = 2.15 Balls required

If you prefer metric for figuring out the balls required, just substitute the yards for metres in the above equation.

You can do this with virtually every pattern out there. When you are switching weights of yarn, the story changes as thicker yarn wraps around the hook in a greater distance that is so small. Over an entire ball of yarn, this can be a significant distance reducing the amount of yarn length you had planned for.

Does this information help you? Leave me your feedback below? Do you have another method of figuring out how to substitute yarns? Share with me your thoughts by leaving a reply.


About Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

I am Mikey, owner of The Crochet Crowd Blog. I'm a 'hooker' at heart with the passion to crochet. I am from Ontario Canada and teach how to crochet online through YouTube Video Tutorials. From a simple idea and being at the right place and time in my life back in 2008, the concept of The Crochet Crowd was developed. I'm here to hook and share. Come follow my crochet journey and share yours with comments here and you are most welcome to share your creativity within our Facebook page.
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11 Responses to How to Calculate How Much Yarn You Need

  1. This is VERY helpful! I’m “re-teaching” myself to crochet again since my childhood days. Before now, I hadn’t crocheted for the last 27 yrs (when I was pregnant with my 1st child) and I Only knew how to chain & single stitch. I made a few baby blankets then but that was it. I’m 47 now & expecting my 1st grandchild in Feb 2014. Your website videos have been an EXCELLENT learning tool, but, I had Always wondered what a “ball of yarn” was? Meaning, the measurement of a “ball”. I was taught, as a child, that a “ball” of yarn was called or measured by the “skein” (skein: A quantity of yarn, thread, or the like, put up together, after it is taken from the reel.) So….when you would say a ball of yarn and then I would see in your videos that the yarn wasn’t actually rolled into a ball, I was a little confused, but, also, I didn’t want to seem totally stupid as to what a “ball of yarn was”. haha
    So, Thank You very much for your teaching me the many ways of crochet!!!

  2. patti says:

    Thank you! This is very helpful

  3. PKS says:

    Love, Love, Love The Crochet Crowd. I have been crocheting for about 61 years. I have learned a lot by reading The Crochet Crowd. When I am making something with unspecified yarn usage I make an educated guess + 1 or maybe 2. As a result I have lots of extra yarn I have yet to decide with what to do. I understand my best guess doesn’t help those beginners and sometimes it doesn’t even help me. Your “How To Calculate…” is a REALLY big help. Thank You !

  4. This was very helpful! Usually I just guess…or start a project and buy more yarn if needed!

  5. Mary says:

    This info was very helpful. I was just wondering if there was a way to figure out how much yarn is needed if a different weight or hook is used. I have an idea of how to figure it out but not sure if it is the best way. My idea is to crochet a 4 x 4 swatch using the recomended yarn and hook and then one using the substituted yarn. this would give you the difference between to reccomended and the substitute.

  6. Carla says:

    First off ~ love! love! love! The Crochet Crowd. I’m a self-taught hooker from the ’70s & it’s wonderful to have your video tutorials as my “go to” for answers & new learning. In the last 2 years, I have upped my skill level from basic to intermediate/advanced in stitches, yarns, and projects beyond afghans & scarves. I have also gained the confidence to work with thread, which I was unable to do previously.
    This is very helpful info. I knew there was a way to do the math; was unsure of the exact formula.
    Is there a general formula or rule for buying yarn/threads if substituting different weights? Buy less/more if using finer/chunkier weight? Swatching a gauge is kinda hard while standing in the local Michael’s lol. Lots of times I like a pattern but want to change the weight recommended knowing the overall appearance of the finished project will change with a selected yarn/hook combo.
    Thank you a million times over for all you & the team do, Mikey! ❤

  7. Jennifer says:

    Thanks Mikey, I usually try to go by a pattern but if I am buying a stash just to make something in the future I never know how much to buy and this also helps me in that way.
    Love all you tips and tricks.

  8. I just buy as much yarn as possible, several of each kind, and hopefully have enough on hand, or if planning on something bigger, buy more. Taking hubby along insures I get much more than I would buy alone. And adds in colors I usually don’t buy. Even if it’s only one skein a trip, it adds up eventually. I do like this article, thanks!!!

  9. Tara Kamiya says:

    Ooooh, this was a good one. I am a 3 ball villain, no matter what I am going to make for some reason I only buy 3 balls. LMAO

  10. Julia says:

    Thank You for this Mikey! This was a huge help! If anyone belongs to Ravelry, you can also go there, click on yarn, and type in the brand you have and it will tell you all the ounces and yardages too.

What do you think? Is Mikey bang on or out to lunch? Leave your thoughts here.

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