Tag Archives: crochet

How much yarn do I need?

How much yarn do I need for…..?

It’s a question I get often.  And I get it.  If you’re purchasing new yarn, you want to have enough yarn and not run out, just like you don’t want oodles left over.  If you’re wanting to use stash, you need to know if you have enough.

yarn by Shelley Husband

So how do you work out how much you need if your’re making something from squares?  It’s a question you can answer yourself, you just need to make a few decisions first, make a sample or two and do a little easy maths.  I promise it’s not hard, you just need to be logical and work it out step by step.

I’m going to go through the process of working our how much yarn from start to finish with you, sharing a theoretical example.  You can use this  method for anything you want to make from squares.

What to Make?

It’s an obvious one, but you need to decide what you want to make.  Is it a scarf, blanket, cushion or something else?  How big do you want that thing to be?  Using a blanket as an example, it could be a small baby pram blanket or a lap blanket for the couch or a king side bed blanket.  If it’s for a bed, do you want it to sit on top or hang over the sides as well?  Work it out.  Write it down.

My example

I want to make a bag.  I am not all that fussed on the exact size it ends up, but I know I want it to be square and I want it different on each side. I think a 3 x 3 grid will work well.

What pattern/s will I use to make it?

You can do oh so many things when it comes to choosing a pattern or patterns to make your chosen thing.   You can choose one pattern,  all different patterns, 2 or more complimentary or contrasting patterns, solid or lacy or a combination of them.  I’ve designed over 200 and there are many many designers out there who’ve designed a whole lot more.  You really are spoilt for choice.  Have a look around and find patterns that you love.

My example

I’m using my Deco pattern from my book Granny Square Flair.

Deco from Granny Square Flair by Shelley Husband


If I choose more than one pattern, how will I arrange them?

It’s a good idea to roughly sketch out your layout.  Use your desired measurements of your project.  Divide your width and length by the size of your squares to see how many squares you need.  You can use grid paper or whip up a grid using a table in a word processing document.  Label each square with the name of the pattern you’ll place there.  If you’re tech savvy you can even use a photo app to create virtual layouts using photos of the patterns you are going to use.   We’ll use this layout more than once in the process as you’ll see.

Again there are many options when it comes to layout;

  • checker board style if you have 2 patterns
  • lacy in the centre and solid on the outside
  • florals separated by solids
  • random (very hard for me to do!)
  • any order that pleases you

My example

Here is my layout plan for my bag, created in Word.  Even if you’re only using one pattern, doing this can help if you’re going to mix up the colours.

What yarn will I use?

I go into this in more detail in my book, but basically you will need to consider your personal preference for how a yarn feels, what it’s made of, how it’s made, the cost and most importantly, the purpose.  You wouldn’t use a fine delicate yarn for a bag that will be tossed around.

My example

I am going to use Yarn and Colours Must-Have cotton for my bag.  This is a good yarn for the bag as it’s mercerised, which means it’s been treated to be more durable.

What colour/s will I use?

If you choose to use one pattern or many, there are so many colour possibilities.  Here are just a few;

  • use one colour for all squares
  • use one colour per square, but a different colour for each, from 2 to as many colours as you have squares
  • use the same colour progression for each square, eg rounds 1 to 3 in Colour A, 4 to 5 in Colour B, rounds 6 to 8 in Colour C.
  • use the same colours for each square but mix up the colour order
  • use different colours for every round and either keep them the same or mix them up

My example

I am going make one side of my bag in the same colour progression and the other in 2 colours, one per square in a checker board layout.  I’ve scribbled some notes on my layout plan.  The numbers are the colour numbers.  I chose them because they make me happy.  Nothing more to it than that.

What hook will I use?

Generally, you’d use the hook size recommended on the yarn label.  But, you are not bound by that.  Try it out and see what you like.  If you like more drape, use a larger hook.  If you want a stiffer fabric, use a smaller hook.

My example

I am going to use a 4 mm hook.  The recommended is 2 – 3.5 mm.  I am going to use a 4 mm hook because I tend to crochet a bit tighter than most and I do like a bit of extra drape.

How much yarn will I need…

Now you know all the what’s for your project, you can now work out how much yarn you’ll need.

If you want to be exact, the best way to work it out is by making a sample.  Sure, a pattern will most likely tell you how much yarn you’ll need for one sqaure, but this can vary for you for many reasons.  You may crochet tighter or looser, you may make some stitches at a very different tension to the designer, you may be using a thinner or thicker yarn or you may be using a different hook.  Of course, that difference won’t be much if you’re making something small, but the larger the project, the more difference you will find.

There are 2 ways you can work out your yarn needs for your project by making a sample.

  1. Weight.  Make a sample square and weigh it after you finish each colour. Multiply the weight by the metreage for your yarn.  You will need scales that measure down to 1 gram at least.
  2. Measure.  Make a sample in your colours, but don’t weave in the ends.  Unravel the square and measure each colour to see how many metres you have used.

Once you have worked out how much for each colour and square, you can use your layout chart to help you work our your total yarn needs.

My example

I have used each method to show you an example. You’d use one or the other in reality.

Weight.  Rounds 1 to 4 = 7.7 grams for colour 1, plus rounds 5 to 6 = 11.28 grams in total.  11.28 – 7.7 = 3.58 grams for colour 2.


The yarn label says 50 g = 125 metres.  So if I divide 125 by 50 I get 2.5 metres per gram.

Therefore, I need 7.7 x 2.5 = 19.25 metres for colour 1 and 3.58 x 2.5 = 8.95 metres for colour 2 for one square.

I need 9 squares for the front side of my bag, so 9 x 19.25 for colour 1 = 173.25 metres and 9 x 8.95 = 80.55 metres for colour 2.

Measure.  I made one square in one colour and unravelled it.  I then measured 1 metre and folded that on itself until I had some left over.  I counted the complete 1 metre strands and added the measurement of the smaller section to figure out how many metres I need for one square = 28.5 metres.  (pretty close to the weight calculations)

I need 4 squares of colour 1 so 4 x 28.5 metres =114 metres and 5 squares of colour 2 so 5 x 28.5 metres = 142.5 metres.

Total. Now it’s a simple matter of adding the requirements for each side to work out my total.

Front colour 1 173.25 + back colour 1 114 = 287.25 metres of colour 1 needed.

Front colour 2 80.55 + back colour 2 142.5 = 223.05 metres of colour 2 needed.

How much for joining and finishing?

You also need to allow for the yarn needed to join and border the project. You can work it out pretty easily. Work your planned border on one of your sample squares and use either the weigh or measure method to figure out how much yarn you used.  This is the calculation for 4 edges, so divide it by 4.  Using your layout plan, count how many edges you have to border and multiply your that by your 1 edge calculation.

I also like to add 10% for joining and “just in case” stuff.  You might encounter a knot you can’t untangle, mistakes might be made, kids or pets might “play” with your yarn.

My example

I made a simple border around one of my sample squares and worked out by weighing that I need 17.325 metres to work all the way around 1 square.  17.325 divided by 4 = 4.33 metres needed per edge.

Each side of my bag has 12 edges,  so 12 x 2 = 24.  24 x 4.33  which means I need 103.92 metres to border both bag panels.

Total.  Now to work out how many balls of each colour I need.

Colour 1  287.25 + colour 1 border 103.92 = 391.17 + 10% for  joining and “just in case” = 430.29 metres needed in total for colour 1.

Colour 2 223.05 + colour 2 border 0 = 223.05 + 10% for  joining and “just in case” = 245.35 needed in total for colour 2.

1 ball of my chosen yarn = 125 metres.  So colour 1 430.25 divided by 125 means I need 3.45 (4) balls of colour 1.  Colour 2 245.35 divided by 125 means I need 1.97 (2) balls of colour 2.

And you are all set to go.

But, but, but….

So yes this all works if you have some of the yarn you plan on using on hand.  But if you don’t, you can still use what you have to work it out approximately.  If you have a similar yarn in your stash, use that.  A great place to find similar yarns is yarnsub.com.  Simply type in the yarn you want to use and it will bring up a list of similar yarns.  Maybe you have something on the list.

The scales you use to weigh are important too.  You can use your standard kitchen scales. They tend to weigh down to 1 gram.  If you want more precise measurement, then you can get scales like mine that weigh down to under a gram here on Amazon. (affiliate link – see note below)

And another thing…

Just to really highlight how the yarn calculations can be very different depending on the yarn, crochet style and hook, let me show you a couple of examples of the same square made by other people with different yarns and hooks.  Thanks Nikki and Meghan for your help with this.

First up is Nikki W’s example.  Nikki used an 8ply acrylic yarn and a 4 mm hook.  The metreage for the yarn she used is 2.3 metres per gram and Nikki’s square weighed 11 grams.  So she would need 25.3 metres to make one square.  That’s 3.2 metres less than my example for one square.  Multiply that by 24 and that’s nearly 77 metres less she’d need for the bag panels only.  It would be less overall with the border and joining calculations too.   Interestingly, her square was exactly the same size as mine.  Now that’s not a whole lot in the scheme of things – about half a ball.  But if you were making something larger, it can make a real difference to your yarn budget.

Next up is Meghan’s Deco.  Meghan used an acrylic yarn, worsted weight (about 10 ply) and a 5.5 mm hook.  The metreage for the yarn she used is 1.71 metres per gram and Meghan’s square weighed 22 grams.  So she would need 37.62 metres to make one square.  That’s 9.12 metres more than my example for one square.  Multiply that by 24 and that’s nearly 219 metres more she’d need for the bag panels only.  That’s a big difference, even on my small scale project.  Her project would be bigger also as her square is 2 inches larger than mine.  So overall her bag would be 6 inches larger.

So you see, a different yarn and hook can make a big difference to the amount of yarn you need.  It’s worth taking the time to work it out for your project and your chosen yarn.

I hope this rather long explanation of my method of working out the “how much yarn” question is of help to you next time you are ready for the exciting feeling of a new project.

xx Shelley

This post contains an affiliate link. If you make a purchase after clicking the link, I may receive a small commission that will help me continue to design & provide new patterns for you and keep this blog ad free.


KnitCrate – yarn and pattern subscription fun!

A little while back, KnitCrate contacted me to see if I’d like to try their monthly yarn and pattern subscription.  I had a look at their website to find out a but more and saw that saying yes was an easy decision to make.

What is KnitCrate?

KnitCrate is a monthly subscription out of the USA with free shipping worldwide.  Each month, you receive at least 2 skeins of premium limited edition hand dyed yarn along with 2 exclusive patterns you can use the yarn for – one knit and one crochet.

Here is what I received for the March 2018 KnitCrate – sparkly super lush pink speckled yarn called Pinkiwinkle  and 2 great patterns.

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Granny Square Flair – My first book Coming 2018!

Granny Square Flair

Happy 2018 to you!  I am so glad 2018 is here because it is the time I have put aside to write my very first, hold in your hands, pages to turn book!  I am going to call it Granny Square Flair.

So what kind of book is it?

Designing granny squares is my jam.  It’s what I love to do most and so my book, Granny Square Flair, will have 50 6″ granny square patterns for you to play with.

Granny Square Flair by Shelley Husband 2018 stack Continue reading

Siren’s Atlas – 52 fun crochet patterns

Siren’s Atlas Crochet Pattern Collection

The Siren’s Atlas Collection is your map to my year-long creative journey. This collection of patterns for 52 different crochet squares is the result of a challenge I set for myself: to create a new original square motif every week for a year.

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Siren’s Atlas Pattern 52 – Norwegian – the last one!

Hi folks!

Well here we are with the very last pattern of my Siren’s Atlas Collection!  What is Siren’s Atlas? It’s my collection of 52 new 6? patterns. I released one every week in 2017. Click here to find out more or check out the FAQ page here. To celebrate it being the last, there’s a special offer on it too!


This is Norwegian (I was going to call it Arabian but had to change the name to avoid silly issues)  so named for the Norwegian Sea which is a marginal sea in the North Atlantic Ocean, northwest of Norway. It is located between the North Sea and the Greenland Sea and adjoins the North Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Barents Sea to the northeast. It’s an appropriate one for this time of year as it kinda looks a bit like a present.

Norwegian from Siren's Atlas by Shelley Husband


Here’s what you’ll find in the pattern ;

  • a clearly written pattern
  • a link to a private video of me taking you through each round
  • a chart
  • round by round photos
  • a hints and tips page with photos and explanations of anything unusual or a bit tricky
  • the written instructions that can be printed alone to save paper

Norwegian from Siren's Atlas by Shelley Husband pba cup

Get the Pattern Now for half price!

You can purchase the pattern right here for half price until Xmas of A$1.50 by clicking the button below with your preferred terms. No code needed, discount will be automatic.



Would you rather get the pattern from Ravelry?  You can right here. I’d love to see your projects!

Norwegian from Siren's Atlas by Shelley Husband bwa cup


Where can I find the other patterns in the Collection?

To see all patterns from the collection, check out this page.

Want the Complete Collection, not just this pattern?

Do you know you just want to get all 52 patterns of Siren’s Atlas?  Well you can!  You can save heaps by making a one off payment of A$99.95 and have access to all of the patterns in the collection, no matter when you sign up. (If you’re in the UK or US the exchange rate means you’ll pay even less!)

Just click on the button with your preferred terms to be taken straight to Paypal and get access to all 52 patterns as they’re released!

Spincushions_Buy Buttons-SHOP_R0_buy now uk   Spincushions_Buy Buttons-SHOP_R0_buy now us

Need some yarn to make the squares?  Check out Wool Warehouse or Love Knitting/Crochet for lots of great yarn choices.

So there you go! The Siren’s Atlas is complete!

Thank you all so much for your love of this collection.  I have really enjoyed bringing them to you and I hope they’ve challenged you, taught you things, made you feel proud of your skills.

I love to see what you make so please share them with me in my Facebook Group, Ravelry projects, or by tagging your pics on Instagram with #spincushions.

Have a very Merry Festive season no matter what you celebrate or do.

xx Shelley

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may receive a small commission that will help me continue to design and provide new patterns for you.

Siren’s Atlas Pattern 51- Bismarck

Hi folks!

Well here we are with the second last pattern of my Siren’s Atlas Collection!  What is Siren’s Atlas? It’s my collection of 52 new 6″ patterns. I have been releasing one every week in 2017. Click here to find out more or check out the FAQ page here.


This is Bismarck so named for the The Bismarck Sea which lies in the southwestern Pacific Ocean within the nation of Papua New Guinea. It is located northeast of the island of New Guinea and south of the Bismarck Archipelago and the Admiralty Islands.  It’s an easy one and uses super big spike stitches for a new fun effect.

Bismarck from Siren's Atlas by Shelley Husband Continue reading