Let’s say you finished a project awhile ago and need to know but can’t remember how many skeins of yarn you used. Or you want to wind one skein of yarn into three equal balls. Or you have most of a skein left over from your last project and think it miiiight be enough for that hat pattern you’ve got your eye on, but aren’t sure. How do you solve these problems and others like them? With a kitchen scale. Every yarn is labeled with the weight of the skein and the yardage, so with those two numbers, the weight of whatever you’re questioning, and a calculator, you can get to the bottom of anything.
Scenario 1 up there: Let’s say the yarn you used came in 50g skeins. If your sweater weighs 460g, you used 9.2 skeins of yarn. (If each of those skeins was 140 yards, and you have .8 of a skein left, you have 112 yards.) Scenario 2: Wind until your first ball weighs 1/3 of the skein, repeat for the next two balls. Scenario 3: That little nubbin of yarn in the photo above is all that was left when I finished Bob’s sweater! It’s O-Wool Balance which is 130 yards per 50-gram skein. I have 5g left, one-tenth of a 50g skein, so that’s 13 yards. (Enough to knit a new neckband if needed? Dicey! But more than I would have guessed from looking at it.) If you know what the yarn is but no longer have the label for the weight and yardage, consult the yarn company’s website or the Ravelry yarn database.
Although I can’t find any supporting evidence, I’m pretty sure the very first time I ever saw mention of weighing yarn was Jane Richmond (a role model where maximizing yardage is concerned) blogging about how to use every inch of your yarn for a Rae shawl, which is a long triangular shawl knitted from one wingtip to the other. She said to knit until your ball weighed exactly as much as your knitting, which would mean you were exactly at the halfway point of your skein, so that would be the exact center of your shawl (in this scenario). I was a brand-new knitter at the time, and the notion of weighing anything seemed like the most brilliant thing I had ever heard! No more guessing at how much yarn was used or left over when filling in Ravelry projects, or casting on with leftovers without knowing how far they would go.
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