Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yardage or Total Weight of Yarn??? I am confused!

I am asked all the time, "How many yards is in that skein?"  The question baffles me.  I can spin up 1 oz of fiber and get all kinds of different yardage depending on the wpi (wraps per inch).   And the wpi determines what size hook/needles I need.  However, one ounce of fiber is one ounce of fiber.

Comparison of fiber:

All the photos below are Merino Wool at different weights:

Shadow Tonal Lace Yarn

440  yards/50 gram hank

 Knit Picks Worsted

Swish Worsted Yarn

110 yards/50 gram ball

Handspun Thick and Thin Yarn

Yellow Tan and Pink - Lemonade Stand

 Approximately 63 yards/ Weight: 68 grams

So, if I buy 50 grams of Merino Wool, it will work up the same size regardless of weight.  Yardage is not helpful to me; weight is way more important.  It is important to understand that different fibers will be heavier and others are lighter... So weight in that case is a variant; but again if I am comparing the same kind of fibers; the yardage doesn't matter.

So, why do we state how many yards?  I think because patterns state "so many yards" and it has become a standard.   And yards are an easily measured thing.  But what about how many yards of yarn does it take to make an adult hat?  Well that is not a simple answer.  I can make an adult hat with 60 yards, 90 yards, 120 yards, 200 yards, and if I want to go down to lace weight or thread even more yards would be required.   

I am not sure if I have muddied the water, or helped clear up the mud a little.   But it is important to understand that yards are not always the important information when buying yarn.

What are your thoughts?


  1. YES! I totally agree! When someone says they need 80 yds of yarn . . . *headdesk* Tell me the WPI or gauge of yarn you want (lace, fingering, DK, sport, worsted, bulky, super bulky) and the number of oz's and you'll get what you need every time.

  2. Very interesting! I never thought about it that way :)