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 Estimating actual yardage used
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2totangle
Permanent Resident

1212 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2008 :  11:43:47 AM  Show Profile Send 2totangle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
While cleaning yesterday, I was daydreaming about knitting when the following thought popped into my head: Shouldn't you be able to get a rough estimate of the yardage actually used for a project if you simply weigh the FO on a kitchen scale and multiply the weight in grams by the ball band's yards per gram information? I'm planning to recycle yarn from an "ugh", and would like to estimate the yardage used so I can write up a pattern.

Does the rest of the knitting world already estimate yardage this way? Is there a better way that doesn't involve equipment I don't have? If this works, it shouldn't be affected by felting, right? Thanks for any insights.


Suzanne

A few pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2totangle/

KS
Seriously Hooked

862 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2008 :  12:40:54 PM  Show Profile Send KS a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yes, that will work, but first you will have to do a bit of division to get the yards/gm because the ball band states it as yards per ball.

There will be a bit of error in it, but not a whole lot.
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Ceil
Permanent Resident

USA
1703 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2008 :  1:54:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit Ceil's Homepage Send Ceil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a very funky Excel document set up so that I can tell how many stitches go into a pair of socks! In another part of that doc, I have all the yarns I've used and the gauges I have for them. One column states the number of stitches obtained in 1 foot of yarn. I stick a stitch marker in the plies of the yarn 1 foot away from the right needle (without stretching the yarn) and then knit. From this, I can guesstimate how many stitches I can get from that skein, plus or minus a yard. Maybe there's more math in that than anyone can stand, but it could well give a rough idea. I also have a scale that measures to hundredths of a gram.

Ceil
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llinn
honorary angel

USA
1650 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2008 :  7:05:03 PM  Show Profile Send llinn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Theoretically this works. Reality bites, however and you will always need to keep a good fudge factor in mind.

The reason yarn is sold by weight and not by yardage is because the yardage per oz or gram varies from batch to batch, even with the same fiber and the same equipment. One of the biggest factors is humidity. Some fibers (like wool) absorb a lot of moisture out of the air and can be very short on a humid day compared to the yards you would get on a dry one.

Small kitchen scales are only so accurate also, although the new little digitals are pretty good to start out. You can work yourself into a state trying to fix everything and get perfectly accurate results or you can just create a fudge factor you can live with and underestimate yarn at hand and overestimate yarn needed for any project. I always allow 5 percent either way and wind up with a whole lot of little bitty balls of yarn leftover.

Of course, I sleep better at night knowing I have leftover balls. Better to have extra balls than none.

Llinn
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aprilshowers
Chatty Knitter

295 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2008 :  11:29:14 AM  Show Profile Send aprilshowers a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hee hee, I had this "ah-ha!" moment a year or so ago. Maybe I am strange but it really changed the way I work (more knitting from the stash which was just what I needed at the time). There is a website, onlineconversion.com, which helps with switching between grams & ounces, yards & meters, or whatever else you may find you need.
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elizf
Chatty Knitter

118 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2008 :  1:20:49 PM  Show Profile Send elizf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ceil, you're not the only one. I too make excel spreadsheets of total stitch counts. I do it for lace shawls. I can then track the number of grams I've used (on a digital postal scale), and decide if I will have enough yardage to do one more repeat before starting my edgings!

I've found it is important to weigh the full skein before I start, since individual skeins can vary wuite a bit.

Liz
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Eleanor
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
583 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  03:31:44 AM  Show Profile  Send Eleanor a Yahoo! Message Send Eleanor a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think the best way to go is the "yardage meter" and in particular - the fishing line yardage meter mentioned in this group, which is cheaper! I have yet to find out how to order the fishing-line one, because when I went to the site that was recommended I couldn't find it. I hope that someone who has ordered it can help me out here.
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droeder@gmail.com
New Pal

USA
11 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  04:14:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit droeder@gmail.com's Homepage Send droeder@gmail.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is something that I struggle with because I sell yarn produced from my own and local sheep. I recently had a large amount of wool spun up for socks and found that the yards per pound, measured my way (not under tension) was far less than what I had asked for. Yet there seems to be plenty of yarn in each skein for socks. Having measured several times, I've come to several conclusions.

1 If you go by the weight of the skein of yarn, there can be some variation due to humidity.

2 If you're measuring with a meter while skeining the yarn or using equipment to create a center pull ball, your yards per pound will calculate to a higher number than if you lay the skein out, count the number of strands and multiply by the length of the yarn skein.

3 Any inaccuracies involved in measuring a small amount will be increased as you multiply (measuring the length of one ounce, then multiplying by the weight of the skein, for instance).

4. Therefore it's a good idea to err on the generous side. Also helps to knit a swatch to gauge and weigh it. And if you're planning to full your knitting you should determine how many square inches your swatch measures after fulling it. Right now I'm having a sample knitter knit a pair of socks toe up so that we can really get a sense of how far the yarn will go.

Hope this makes sense and is helpful.

Diane
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KS
Seriously Hooked

862 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  07:12:31 AM  Show Profile Send KS a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Very well put, Diane. Another thing that can vary the results is blocking yarn. If hand dyed yarn is dried under tension it is going to have more yards/lb than if it is just hung to dry. Once you knit your project & wash it, the yarn puffs back up & gets shorter again.

KS
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Bobbiesocks
Chatty Knitter

116 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  09:33:24 AM  Show Profile Send Bobbiesocks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Holy Cow!!! You guys are a bunch of "knitting techies". I agree with Eleanor about using the fishing line meter (I think they call it the "Line Counter"), which by the way, can be found at www.basspro.com and other outdoor/fishing websites. Having one of these gadgets and a ball winder has changed my knitting life in so many ways. I can't imagine keeping up with everything in my stash and in projects in a spreadsheet. It's just a hobby.

Bobbiesocks
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ljapple@crocker.com
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2008 :  10:24:45 PM  Show Profile Send ljapple@crocker.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
All good ... but what if the ball-band info is missing, or you're recycling a vintage sweater or other item? A McMorran yarn balance (available in many LYS) can help you figure out how many yards per pound your yarn has. Then weigh the item (a digital scale really helps!) and multiply the weight by yards per pound to figure out how many yards you have available (minus a few yards used in seaming, etc.). Best of luck!
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knit1purr2
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2008 :  09:59:16 AM  Show Profile Send knit1purr2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There might be one more step involved here. Weigh the object, and then divide by the number of grams in each skein of the yarn used. This gives you the number of skeins you used of this yarn. Then you must multiply the number of skeins used by the yardage per skein. That will give you total yardage. Remember to take off the buttons if there are any!
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