Making the most of your yarn

I just finished a new knitting project with this much yarn left:

It’s only a couple of yards and it’s all that’s left of my lovely skein of Nyoni. I had a small skein (350m/125g).

I used a few techniques to make sure that I’d have enough left to finish the final repeat and bind off of this project, so I thought I’d share how I do it & perhaps you can tell me how *you* try to make sure you use most of your yarn without running short.

1) overall yarn weight: You need a scale for this, but I periodically weigh what is left of the ball to find out how close I am to the end of the ball.

2) amount of yarn for <x> stitches: When I think I only have a couple of repeats to go, I measure how much yarn one repeat takes. I measure a known quantity of arm lengths (at least 5 or 10), then I put in a slip knot. When I reach the knot, I figure out how many rows/stitches/repeats I can do with that many arm lengths of yarn. Then I measure how much yarn is still left to figure out how much more I can do. Yes, there is some math involved, but it’s fairly painless.

3) overestimate amount of yarn needed for bind off: I’ve been hit by this in the past. It always seems to take more yarn to bind off stitches than it does to knit them. If you’re doing a particularly loose bind off where you work each stitch more than once it’s going to take even more yarn. Depending on your bind off, allow for 2-4 times the amount of yarn it would take to knit the stitches.

Keep in mind that different types of stitches/techniques can use different amounts of yarn, so these guidelines don’t help as much if the stitch pattern changes a lot.

So what do you do? What are your secrets for making sure you have enough yarn to finish your project?

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2 Responses to Making the most of your yarn

  1. Lulu says:

    I ask my friends and then ignore them….thinking no really what are you on, I’ll have enough, I’m sure I will. I’ll just keep knitting….and then in end I should have listened. One day I’ll learn.