February 2012

Measure your mystery yarn

Yarn has always been measured by weight. However, it is hard to figure out how much yarn you need based on the weight. It is highly dependent on what the yarn is made of or how thick or thin the yarn is. For example, a 3½ oz. (100 g) of cotton yarn has less yardage than the same amount of wool, and 100g of fine weight yarn has more yardage than medium weight.

Nowadays yarn-bands mention not only the amount of yarn in ounces or grams, but also in yards or meters. This notion is much more helpful than just mentioning the amount in ounces or grams. However, if you have a ball of yarn without the yarn-band, or leftover from a project, how can you tell how much yarn you have?

There are several ways to figure it out:

  1. Use a yarn meter. A yarn meter is a small device that can measure the yardage of your yarn when you pass it through it. You can place it right between your yarn swift and yarn winder and it will tell you how much yarn you have on each ball.

  2. If you do not have a yarn meter, you can use a chair. Simply measure the back of the chair and make a note of it. Start winding the yarn around the chair and count how many rounds you have wrapped the yarn around the chair. Multiply the number of wraps by the chair-back length times 2. That will be the length of your yarn.

  3. If you have a niddy noddy you can use it to measure your yarn. This is the device that hand spinners use to measure their yarn. For more information check out: http://www.knittersreview.com/article_tool.asp?article=/review/profile/050818_a.asp

  4. If you do not want to wind your yarn, you can use your math a bit more. You will need an accurate scale like the ones that are used for weighing letters for postage. Then cut a piece of about 10 yards/ 10 meters of the yarn. Weigh it on the scale. Divide the amount by 10 to figure out the weight of one yard/ one meter. Then weigh your ball of yarn. Divide this number by the weight of one yard/ one meter. The number you have is the yardage of your ball of yarn.
Use Needlecraft University library "Metric Conversion" section for converting inches/centimeters into yards/meters. Although in needlework we mostly use weight and length properties, in the "Metric Conversion" section of NU library you can convert almost all other common properties such as Area, Volume, Temperature, Mileage, and many more. You may not have use for these other properties, but your significant other might.

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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