YARN FAQs


Yarn Buying Guide Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if a pattern and a yarn are suitable for one another?


Can a pattern that calls for cotton yarn be used with wool yarn, and vice versa?


How can I tell what a yarn will look like as a knitted or crocheted fabric?


How much yarn do I need?


Can average yarn requirements be estimated, if I don't have a pattern in mind?


How can I tell if a pattern and a yarn are suitable for one another?

The most important consideration in matching a yarn to a pattern or a pattern to a yarn is gauge, or tension, i.e. number of stitches per inch. Most helpful are knitting patterns which show a gauge in stockinette stitch, since recommended knitted tensions for yarns are always given for stockinette stitch. For crochet patterns, single crochet stitch can be used as a gauge standard. Once you have matched either the stockinette stitch or single crochet tension for both your pattern and your yarn, you know you have a match.

Can a pattern that calls for cotton yarn be used with wool yarn, and vice versa?

Yes. Any yarn and pattern that have the same gauge are potential matches. Once you have matched the gauge, you need only to think about the texture and drape. Most important here is thinking about the finished knitted or crocheted fabric a yarn will produce. Will it be compatible with the design of the pattern? Does the design demand a sturdy finished fabric to define its lines, or does it beg for softness and fluidity?

How can I tell what a yarn will look like as a knitted or crocheted fabric?

So that you can be 100% sure of the look and feel of a finished knitted or crocheted fabric, we offer sample skeins on a subscription basis. Use these sample skeins to test-drive our newest yarns by knitting or crocheting up sample swatches, to really see how your finished knitted or crocheted fabrics will look and feel, not just after knitting or crocheting, but after washing and drying too. We encourage you to wash and even torture our samples, so that you'll be 100% certain that the time you put into your knitting and crocheting will produce results you'll be 100% satisfied with.

How much yarn do I need?

Once you've matched the gauge and texture of a yarn and a pattern, use yardages to determine how much yarn to buy. For many knitters and crocheters used to buying yarn by weight, the idea of buying it by yardage may be a new one, but it is definitely an idea worth adopting, because weight alone is not a reliable measure of how much yarn you'll have to knit or crochet with.

Weight is an unreliable measure because all fibres do not yield the same yardage/oz. when they are spun. Some fibres, like angora and silk, for example, are very light-weight, and produce yarns with much higher yardages than yarns produced from heavier fibres like cotton. Only by focussing on the yardage of the yarn you buy will you ensure that you have enough yarn to complete your garment.

Once you are sure that the gauge and texture of your yarn are suitable for your pattern, make the following calculation to determine your yarn requirements:

Total Yardage Yardage of Each Total Balls
Required / Ball or Cone of = or Cones
by Pattern the Yarn of Your Choice Required

Can average yarn requirements be estimated, if I don't have a pattern in mind?

Yes. When you don't have a particular pattern in mind, use the following table to estimate yardage requirements according to the gauge of your yarn. It shows the yardage required to knit or crochet the average long-sleeved pullover or cardigan according to chest measurements. Yardage is shown in meters - to convert meters to yards, multiply by 1.1.

These yardages allow for a 2" wearing ease in the finished garment (i.e. finished garment chest would be chest measurement + 2"). For short-sleeved sweaters, reduce your yardage by about 20%, and for sleeveless sweaters and children's garments, reduce it by about 30%. Add 10% to 20% for textured & multi-colored patterns. Subtract 10% to 20% for openwork crochet and knitted lace stitch patterns.

Gauge   Chest Chest Chest Chest
(St/4")   46-48" 42-44" 38-40" 34-36"
30-32 (Lt. Fingering Weight / 3 Ply) 2875m   2550m   2275m   2025m  
27-29 (Fingering Weight / 4 Ply) 2550m   2275m   2025m   1800m  
24-26 (Sport Weight / 5 Ply) 2275m   2025m   1800m   1600m  
21-23 (DK Weight / 8 Ply) 2025m   1800m   1600m   1425m  
19-20 (Worsted Weight / 10 Ply) 1800m   1600m   1425m   1250m  
17-18 (Aran Weight / 10 Ply) 1600m   1425m   1250m   1125m  
15-16 (Chunky Weight / 12 Ply) 1425m   1250m   1125m   1000m  
12-14 (Bulky Weight / 14 Ply) 1250m   1125m   1000m   900m  
10-11 (Super Bulky Weight) 1125m   1000m   900m   800m  
8-9 (Super Bulky Weight) 1000m   900m   800m   700m