When I’m tech-editing patterns, one of the things I need to do is figure out the exact amount of yarn needed to make a garment. It’s one of my favorite parts of the process because it seems a little bit like magic and involves some fun, easy math and my kitchen scale.

The first garment is easy. I weigh the knitted sample and divide the total number of grams by the number of skeins used. If you want to know meters v. weight, you can multiply that resulting number by the number of meters per skein.

The fun part comes when you’re figuring out yarn amounts for the other sizes. We all learned how to do this in junior high school algebra class, but until I needed the skill for crocheting I had lost it in the reaches of my brain.

You set up cross products by turning what you know into a fraction, i.e. take the bust measurement of the garment you have and make that the numerator (the top number). Take the total number of grams and make it the denominator (bottom number) like this



The other fraction uses the garment you’re trying to figure out the yarn amount for as the numerator and “x” as the denominator. We’ll find for “x”


So the calculation looks like this:

32 38
--- = ---
486 x

Do you remember what to do next? Maybe this looks a little familiar and you just have to shake the cobwebs away for a moment.

1) Multiply 486 x 38. (18468)
2) Divide 18,468/32 (577.1)

Now you know you need 577.1 g of yarn for the 38″ garment.

3) Divide 577.1/50 (or however many grams are in each ball of yarn you’re using).

You’ll need 11.5 (or 12) balls of yarn (of course it wouldn’t hurt to buy 13 just in case your tension varies).

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Down to the yard…