Do I Have Enough Yarn??!!

Now that we’ve finished the sleeves….are any of you our there wondering if you have enough yarn?!

This is very approximate and requires some digging back in the brain for some formulas for calculating area for certain shapes. But, it will give you at least some idea of whether you have enough yarn, and perhaps plan for some modifications if you are running short.

First, we’ve already knit the sleeve. The sleeve is a trapezoid. The area for a trapezoid is calculated using the formula: 1/2*h*(b1+b2) where h is the height of the trapezoid (and in this case the length of the sleeve), b1 is the length of one end of the base of the trapezoid (in this case the circumference around the wrist) and b2 is the length of the other base (in this case the circumference around the top end of the sleeve).

You also know how much yarn you have used, either because you have kept track, or because you can weigh the sleeves and convert that into approximate yardage because you know how many yards of yarn there is in 1 gram/1 ounce of yarn.

From the above, I know that I can knit “x” square inches using “y” yards. Divide that yardage by the square inches to get the y/x yard/square inch.

Using the schematic, I know that the body up to the yoke join is a rectangle, and I can calculate the area of that area of the sweater. I can also approximate the top back as another trapezoid, and the two fronts as 2 more trapezoids. Add these, and remember to calculate the edging band (another rectangle) and add that. You will get total area in square inches to be knit. Multiply this by the yard/sq. inch  rate of your yarn usage, above. Now you know how much yarn you need to knit the rest of the sweater. You can weigh the yarn you have left (or add up the yardage on the label assuming that is correct) and you can see if you have enough yarn.

What if you don’t have enough yarn? Here are some options:

1. Order more. Hope the manufacturer/store has the same dye lot.
2. Think about shortening the body. The amount by which you need to adjust this length can be calculated by doing the above calculation backwards.
3. This sweater has a edging band. Is there a contrast yarn you can use on the edging?

And then, more dramatically,
4. Can you modify sleeves to 3/4? Short sleeves? This would probably require re-knitting of at least the upper portion of the sleeves, depending on how dramatically you are changing the sleeves.
5. Can you do all the ribbing and the edging band in another yarn/contrast color? This would require some yarn surgery — snipping the ribbing off the sleeves, picking up the live stitches, and knitting the ribbing in the contrast color, and of course, doing this for the body (or ripping out the body and starting the ribbing on this different yarn, depending on where you are in your project.

IMG_8911The result? Sometimes good! I actually do this quite a bit, with mixed results, but here is a recent example of a fingerless mitt I was making out of handspun…Sure, I could have spun a bit more yarn, but I like the orange accent.

More often than not, I do buy extra yarn and deal with the leftovers….later.

Hope that is helpful!

Here are some WIP photos from some people who have told me that they are following along on this KAL…Remember to PM me on Ravelry if I can use your photo on my blog!

Nice going, everyone!!




  1. That’s a really helpful post, thank you – not just for this project but for all my sweater knitting in the future. (And there’s no way I could have worked all that out for myself – I am in awe of your brain!).

    Lovely to see the project photos – all those beautiful cables!

  2. alisa said:

    Wow…..That is some great info! Thanks so much for sharing….and everyone’s projects look great!!

  3. fryxie said:

    Help! I can’t find the answer anywhere. I love this sweater and just completed the first sleeve. The pattern never tells you to make a second sleeve. I mean, obviously, you need a second sleeve, but do I use the left cable like I did on the first sleeve or do I switch over to the right? Any help would be awesome. Your sleeves look divine!

    • Hi there. I chose to twist the cable in the opposite direction because I want them to match how the cables are twisting in the body of the sweater…but, if you go by the letter of the instruction, I think you make 2 of the same sleeve.

      • fryxie said:

        Thanks! That’s what I was thinking too. Opposite direction here I come. Great blog btw! I just became a follower on bloglovin!

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