Happy Sunday, all!
Although, now it is almost Monday and almost time for me to work again, come Tuesday. Time does fly. At least that means my vacation (starting Friday) is just around the corner. I hope to pop out the most recent design I’ve been teasing everybody with during that time, but we’ll see how much work I can get done in the next couple nights.
With the testing of a new pattern just around the corner, yardage has been on my mind. Yarn yardage, that is. How much yardage of each color of yarn is required if you crochet just the way I do. This could well change, based on gauge (see previous post), but the yardage I list at the beginning of each pattern is approximately how much yarn I used of each color. I try to be a bit generous with my yardage — exaggerating a bit on the side of more yardage than less — which is good, since apparently I’m quite a tight crocheter.
It is also quite valuable to know what amount of yardage my testers use. As I mentioned before, I’m a tight crocheter. If I’m using 200-some yards of a yarn and all my testers are using 400 yards, I might mark the yardage advised in the pattern to more closely match what the testers used than what I used. Just to be on the safe side and improve customer satisfaction.
No knitter or crocheter likes running out of yarn in the middle of the project. At best, it’s annoying to wait for more yarn to arrive. At worst, the yarn cannot be obtained again and other, less than satisfactory adjustments must be made on the part of the crocheter.
Anyway, how does one — designer or tester — know how much yardage they use? It’s simple, but it does involve math. Let’s use Mike the Platypus as an example.
So, Mike was designed using Knit Picks Brava Worsted. Each skein contains 218 yards/100 grams. So far, so good. We are now going to determine how much of the light brown yarn I used in the crocheting of Mike. You will need a scale that measures in grams and ounces.
- Prep Work. Turn the scale on and measure your yarn in grams prior to starting your project. If you starting with a new ball of yarn and trust the ball band, you may be able to skip this step. So, in the case with Brava Worsted, you know that if you start with a fresh ball of yarn, you have 218 yards/100 grams per ball. If you don’t have a full skein at the start, you can use the math in Step 3 & 4 to determine how much yarn you do have. Basically you would multiply the weight of your yarn in grams by the yards/gram. But for this example, we have started with only full skeins of yarn.
- Keep track of how much yarn you use. For me, the easiest way to do that is to keep track of ball bands. I leave the ball bands in my project bag until the project is done and if I still have part of the skein left over later, I stick the yarn band back on the partial skein for use in counting for a later project, as well as for easy identification of the yarn. And that is something of a run-on sentence. (sigh) Oh, well. You know what I’m saying. In the case of Mike the Platypus, I had one skein-less ball band and one ball band that was placed on a partial skein. So I knew that my pattern followers would at most need 2 full skeins of Brava Worsted (436 yards, for the math naive) to complete my pattern. I could leave it at that, but not all skeins are made equal. Being as completely accurate as possible can mean the difference between buying way too much yarn to complete a pattern and just having a little left over (or not having enough, but that’s why I always try to estimate generously, but not too generously)
- Weigh your leftover yarn. I had 35.5 grams of Brava Worsted leftover in the Brindle colorway (the light brown we’re talking about. This is where the math begins.
- Find out how many yards of yarn per gram. Luckily Knit Picks makes this easy since each skein weighs 100 grams. So you divide the the yardage in each ball buy the weight of the ball. 218 yards / 100 grams = 2.18 yards. So for every 1 gram of Knit Picks yarn, there are 218 yards. So far, so good.
- Find out how many grams of yarn were used. Like stated in Step Three, 35.5 grams of Brava Worsted was left over. There was 200 grams to begin with. The math to determine the grams used is simple subtraction. 200 grams – 35.5 gram = 164.5 grams.
- Calculate how many yards of yarn were used. Remember, there is 2.18 yards per 1 gram. This is multiplication. And don’t worry, not only won’t you be graded on this, you are allowed to use your calculator. I do. You will be multiplying the grams of yarn used (164.6 grams) by the yards/gram in the skein (2.18). 164.6 grams x 2.18 yards = 358. 61 yards. I just round this last number up to nearest random number that makes me happy. In this case, 360 yards.
And I thought none of my math classes would ever help me in life beyond balancing a check book. Boy, was I wrong. Both my bread-and-butter job (nursing) and my happy little venture here require me to know some math. Go figure, right?