Yarn Weight & Everything Conversion Chart

It's a bit of a mission trying to guess how much yarn you may need for a garment when you don't have a pattern... yet.

If you're anything like me, you tend to innocently fall victim to the charms of that fabulous skein that you quickly realise you absolutely MUST have (along with its immediate family and maybe a few close cousins) when you're minding your own business and not even looking (we can pretend) - and you DEFINITELY don't need any more yarn (hahaha!)...

And then there you are, trying to work out what that pattern was (and where you saw it and how to find it again) to help justify making the inevitable purchase (like you need justification).

"Oh no... how much will I need??" The perfect pattern often makes itself apparent later... so it becomes a guessing game of hit-and-miss as you turn your attention to working out how many skeins to liberate on the spot.

This chart is intended as a guide only, to help you estimate on the trot the amount of yarn you will likely need to complete a knitted or crocheted hat, scarf, socks, shawl, adult jumper, baby blanket or afghan/throw, depending on your chosen yarn weight. All the recommended tension gauges and needle and hook ranges for each yarn type are included too.

It may not an exhaustive list, but it'll give you a starting point. For your crocheted garment, use the upper limit as your closest guide; the lower limit for knitted garments. 

The quantities err on the generous side; better to end up with an extra ball in your leftover stash than to fall tragically short for the main event.  Of course, the only way to really be sure you have the right amount is to do it the logical way (yes I know, go with me here) and find a pattern first...

To be safe... (if that's how you prefer to roll)

Ultimately, the safest and most accurate way to establish how much you will need is always to select your pattern, calculate the meterage from the recommended yarn, and if possible, purchase that amount of the recommended yarn. You will also need to ensure your tension matches that of your pattern. If in doubt, purchase an extra ball or skein of yarn than recommended.

If substituting yarn, keep in mind that you will need to ensure:

  • your chosen substitution has the same tension/gauge as the recommended yarn
  • your tension with the substituted yarn matches that of your chosen pattern
  • you calculate the correct meterage for the garment size before purchasing your yarn - because yarn types differ in weight; for example, 50g of Naturally Classic DK Magic Garden Pure Merino has an approximate meterage of 138 metres, whereas 50g of Nevalea Alpaca 8ply comes in at approximately 111 metres. So although you can easily substitute the Merino with Alpaca for your pattern, ball-for-ball you will need more Alpaca yarn than Merino as it is a heavier yarn.

How to calculate equivalent meterage for a substituted yarn (and the number of balls/skeins you will need)

  • identify which size you will make on the pattern
  • note the number of balls/skeins required for that size (e.g. 10 x 50g skeins)
  • note the meterage of each skein recommended in the pattern (e.g. 140 metres)
  • multiply the meterage by the number of skeins required for your chosen size (e.g. 140 mtrs x 10 skeins = 1400 mtrs)
  • DIVIDE the total meterage required by the pattern, by the meterage on your substituted yarn (e.g. if your substituted yarn meterage is 135 metres per skein, you would divide 1400 metres by 135 metres = 10.37 metres, so you will need 11 skeins of the substituted yarn).

I cannot stress enough.... Your tension gauge may not match the gauge on the pattern or that of the recommended yarn, so it is safest to buy an extra ball or skein to ensure you are not caught short, unable to get another of the same batch.

DISCLAIMER: If you decide to make major pattern alterations on the fly (that average-length jumper becomes a bum-warmer instead), these yarn estimates will need to be adjusted accordingly. Equally, an oversized afghan or throw will need more yarn than that suggested below. Thus there are no guarantees that these estimates will always suffice, so please employ sensible caution when using this table.

Credit where it's due - I found the original chart referencing these here on the Lion Brand site. I have added info on the types of yarn we typically find in NZ (we tend to talk ply rather than laceweight, sport, fingering, etc.), as well as translating the yardage to metres. Recommended metric and US needle and hook sizes have also been added, courtesy of info from the Yarn Council website, and equivalent UK sizes from various other sources. Corresponding recommended tension gauges also from Yarn Council.

How much yarn will you need for your projects (on average)?

Yarn weight:

thread, 2ply, Lace

Sock, Fingering, Baby, 3ply, light 4ply

Baby, 4ply, 5ply, 6ply

Worsted, 8ply

Aran, 10ply

Rug, 12ply, 14ply

Super Bulky, Super Chunky,
Roving, 18ply

Knitting gauge:
(approx. sts per 10cm in stocking stitch)
33-40 sts (Note: often lace patterns w larger needles)
27-32 sts
23-26 sts
21-24 sts
16-20 sts
12-15 sts
7-11 sts
6 sts and fewer
Recommended needle size (metric):
1.50-2.25 mm
2.25-3.25 mm
3.25-3.75 mm
3.75-4.50 mm
4.50-5.50 mm
5.50-8.00 mm
8.00-12.75 mm
12.75 mm+
Recommended needle size (UK)**:
0, 00, 000 (10mm)
Recommended needle size (US)**:
17 and larger
Crochet gauge:
(approx. dbl crochet sts in 10cm; NZ terminology)
32-42 tbl sts (more commonly used in this yarn)
21-32 sts
16-20 sts
12-17  sts
11-14 sts
8-11 sts
7-9 sts
6 sts and fewer
Recommended hook size (metric):
* Steel 1.40-1.60 mm; regular 2.25 mm
2.25-3.50 mm
3.50-4.50 mm
4.50-5.50 mm
5.50-6.50 mm
6.50-9.00 mm
9.00-15.00 mm
15 mm and larger
Recommended hook size (UK):
00-000 (10mm)
Recommended hook size (US):
* Steel 6, 7, 8; regular B-1
B-1 to E-4
E-4 to 7
7 to I-9
I-9 to K-10.5
K-10.5 to M-13
M-13 to Q
Q and larger
250-320 mtrs
270-350 yds
230-310 mtrs
250-340 yds
230-300 mtrs 250-325 yds
180-230 mtrs 200-250 yds
180-205 mtrs 200-225 yds
115-180 mtrs
125-200 yds
115-135 mtrs
125-150 yds
25-55 mtrs
30-60 yds
595-820 mtrs
650-900 yds
480-755 mtrs
525-825 yds
410-570 mtrs 450-625 yds
340-455 mtrs
375-500 yds
340-455 mtrs
375-500 yds
230-340 mtrs 250-375 yds
230-340 mtrs 250-375 yds
115-180 mtrs
125-200 yds
365-595 mtrs
400-650 yds
320-455 mtrs
350-500 yds
275-410 mtrs
300-450 yds
250-365 mtrs
275-400 yds
250-345 mtrs
275-375 yds
230-320 mtrs
250-350 yds
180-230 mtrs
200-250 yds
160-185 mtrs
175-200 yds
595-870 mtrs
650-950 yds
505-780 mtrs
550-850 yds
410-640 mtrs
450-700 yds
365-575 mtrs
400-625 yds
345-505 mtrs
375-550 yds
320-455 mtrs
350-500 yds
320-435 mtrs
350-475 yds
275-365 mtrs
300-400 yds
3660-4210 mtrs
4000-4600 yds
3090-3660 mtrs
3375-4000 yds
1600-2400 mtrs
1750-2625 yds
1375-2060 mtrs
1500-2250 yds
1030-1485 mtrs
1125-1625 yds
870-1030 mtrs
950-1125 yds
755-1030 mtrs
825-1125 yds
755-1030 mtrs
825-1125 yds
1600-1830 mtrs
1750-2000 yds
1375-1485 mtrs
1500-1625 yds
1145-1375 mtrs
1250-1500 yds
1030-1145 mtrs
1125-1250 yds
915-1030 mtrs
1000-1125 yds
800-915 mtrs
875-1000 yds
685-800 mtrs
750-875 yds
575-685 mtrs
625-750 yds
3775-4210 mtrs
4125-4600 yds
3430-3775 mtrs
3750-4125 yds
3200-3430 mtrs
3500-3750 yds
2745-3200 mtrs
3000-3500 yds
2060-2860 mtrs
2250-3125 yds
1830-2060 mtrs
2000-2250 yds
1485-1830 mtrs
1625-2000 yds
1260-1485 mtrs
1375-1625 yds

* Steel crochet hooks are sized differently to others

** US needle sizes go up as sizes increase; UK needle numbers go down as sizes increase.

Yarn weights, gauges and needle sizes taken from Yarn Council website.

Yardages/metres are approximate for average sized projects and rounded up to account for differences between knitted and crocheted garment requirements.