How Much Yarn Do I Need?

Ever stuck with how many balls of yarn you need to buy for a new project? Here are two easy to use yarn calculators to determine just that answer!

Working at a yarn/fabric shop, one of the most common questions I get asked is how much yarn they need for a pattern.

Why would they be asking that? It’s because the amount of skeins you need varies with so many factors! If the pattern was originally done in acrylic and you want to use wool, you’ll need more yarn.

Another common reason someone needs to figure out how many balls of yarn they need is because the pattern was using 100g hanks, and you are looking at 50g skeins.

Meterage can even just vary between two different 50 g balls of 4ply merino wool!

Whatever the reason, it’s a great idea to figure out how many skeins of yarn you’ll need before you purchase too much or not enough!

These calculators are only for based off using the same ply and needle/hook as the yarn states. If you change these, these calculations will not work.

yarn label of ashford yarn
Yarn label example

If You Know How Many Skeins You Need

This first calculator is based off if the pattern only tells you how many balls of yarn you’ll need. You will need to find out how many meters or yards are on the ball (which can easily be found by googling the yarn or looking up the yarn on You will also need to know how many meters or yards are on the yarn you’re looking at.

This information can all easily be found on the label around the ball of yarn!

Make sure to use the same units for all measurements – only use yards or meters, don’t mix and match!

Input the numbers into this calculator below!

orange yarn skein and cake

If The Pattern Gives Meterage

If the pattern tells you how many meters (or yards) you need, use this calculator! Simply fill out the top 2 blanks in the calculator to get how many skeins you’ll need!

neutral coloured yarn

Still Confused?

Here’s an example of how to use first calculator:

I’m looking at a cardigan pattern that calls for 12 balls of yarn, each ball with 125 meters on it. The yarn I want to use has 160 meters on each ball.

skein calculator example

Because it’s 9.375 skeins, it might be safer to go with 10 balls of yarn, just to be safe. If you’re at a local independently owned yarn shop, ask if they can hold that 10th one just in case.

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