How to Measure the Yardage of Leftover Yarn
Updated: Oct 25
When you finish a knitting project, you usually have some yarn left over, right? I know I do. I'm going to show you how to calculate how many yards or meters are left with reasonable accuracy so you can plan your stash-busting projects with confidence.
After finishing a project
I recently finished a big project - my Channel Cardigan. I still need to update the yardage in my stash. Now, I keep all of my yarn organized digitally in my Ravelry notebook. I have a really old video about that here. You can go back and check out if you want to know HOW to do that, but to calculate how many yards you have left is a little bit complicated you might think, right? Wrong. It’s easy.
All you need is a digital scale. That's it. Please note though: this method is for when you know how many yards per gram or ounce or whatever are in a skein of this yarn. If you've lost the label and you did not take note of it and you don't remember what brand or kind of yarn it is, I'm sorry but this is not gonna work for you quite so easily.
Grab any partial skeins that you have left, and then make sure there aren't any others hidden anywhere. Sometimes I have a tendency to throw my knitting projects in a bag when I'm on the go and then leave partial balls different places.
This one is optional, but if the yarn won’t fit completely on the scale, a bowl will keep it all contained. Just make sure you zero out the weight on the scale after placing the bowl and before putting the yarn it it.
And Now We Weigh
If you have your stash and knitting project in your Ravelry notebook already, open up the project and scroll down to the yarn information. It will say how many yards or meters were originally in your stash. Click that, and note the original gross weight. (When you started the project)
Then weigh your yarn. Subtract the current weight from the original weight; take note of how much that is, because that's how much you used. Go back to the project page, click 'edit project' then go down to the yarn again and click 'enter totals' then you're going to enter the difference, so, the amount that you used. Click 'save changes' and bam! now your stash is updated with the amount left over and your project reflects how much yarn you used.
The reason I choose to do this through the project page and not the stash page is because it not only helps you buy the correct amount of yarn should you ever want to knit this pattern again, so you can know if you have enough, but it also helps other knitters who might want to make this pattern and might be curious how much yarn it's taken other knitters to finish a particular size.
If you just want to know how much is left, you can still calculate it manually with just a little bit of math. Look at what the label says and divide the length by the weight, and then multiply that by the current weight. Make sure you're using the same unit of measurement so you don't throw off your numbers. Et voila! That's how much you have left. See? I told you it was easy.