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“Can I Knit Another Sock?” How to Tell If You’ve Got Enough Yarn

Sometimes you need to know if you have enough yarn leftover to either complete a project or make more of something — like a second sock or mitten. You could roll the working yarn off the ball and measure it as you roll it, but that’s time-consuming and really annoying.

Instead, grab a food scale or postal scale and weigh your yarn!

Weighing a hand knit sock

It’s the easiest way to figure out how much yarn you have left. It’s also a fantastic method to make sure you have enough yarn when you’re trying to work from your stash.

And guess what? It doesn’t even involve any tricky calculations!

FREE Guide! Choose and Use the Right Yarn
FREE Guide! Choose and Use the Right Yarn

Learn everything you need to know about yarn weights and fiber types to make savvy selections and achieve superb stitches.Get the FREE Guide

“Can I make another one?”

Let’s say you have some sock yarn, and you want to know how many socks you can knit from it. If you already have a sock knit from the yarn and pattern you plan to use, you can use a scale to figure out if you have enough yarn.

I recently knit the sock above for my husband, and when I saw how it turned out I said to myself, “I’d like a pair of these socks, too!” But I wasn’t sure if I had enough yarn for two pairs of socks. (In case you’re wondering, I used Wild Hare’s Pinnacle Sock Yarn in Neon Lights for these amazing socks. And yes, they do glow under a blacklight!)

Here’s how to figure out how many socks (or mittens, or slippers) you can make:

1. First, weigh the finished knit sock. When I weighed my Neon Lights sock (pictured at the top), the scale told me it weighed 1 ounce.

1 Neon Lights sock = 1 ounce

Weighing sock yarn

2. Next, weight the yarn you have left. When I weighted my Neon Lights yarn (pictured above), the scale told me it weighed 2.6 ounces.

Since I know 1 sock = 1 ounce, then I know I’d need 3 more ounces of yarn to make three more socks. I only had 2.6 ounces, so in this case, I am 0.4 ounces short. (Don’t worry, though. I’m going to have a pair of Neon Lights socks for myself one way or another!)

Here’s where that basic math comes in.

How many socks do you want to knit? Subtract the total weight of the extra socks you want to knit from the leftover yarn and see if you get a negative number.

For example, if your sock weighs 1.2 ounces, you have 1.4 ounces of yarn left, and you want to knit one more sock:

1.4 ounces (yarn that’s left) – 1.2 ounces (weight of one sock) = 0.2 ounces

Hooray! You can knit another sock, and you’ll have .2 ounces left over.

But let’s say your sock weighs 1.5 ounces, you have 1.4 ounces of yarn left, and you want to knit one more sock:

1.4 ounces (yarn that’s left) – 1.5 ounces (weight of one sock) =  -0.1 ounce

Sigh. You come up with a negative number, which means you don’t have enough to knit another sock.

Tips to keep in mind

This calculation only works for this particular yarn and pattern.

For example, let’s say you weigh a sock knit in Cloudborn Merino Superwash Sock Twist Yarn, and the sock weighs 2 ounces. Then, you decide make the same sock pattern in the Neon Lights yarn. Unfortunately, you can’t assume  your Neon Lights sock will also weigh 2 ounces. The Cloudborn yarn might be heavier or lighter than the Neon Lights yarn. To get an accurate estimate, you need to use the same yarn.

The same applies for different patterns. A ribbed sock pattern, for example, might require more yarn than a seed stitch sock pattern. So even if you weigh the finished rib sock and it’s 1.5 ounces, you still can’t determine wether you have enough to knit a seed stitch sock. The comparison weight needs to be the same pattern, same sock yarn.

Bonus tip: If you love knitting two socks at a time, you can use the scale to wind two balls equal in weight.

We hope you’ve been inspired to dig into your sock yarn stash to weigh and hopefully knit more socks!

FREE Guide! Choose and Use the Right Yarn
FREE Guide! Choose and Use the Right Yarn

Learn everything you need to know about yarn weights and fiber types to make savvy selections and achieve superb stitches.Get the FREE Guide

14 Comments

Lisa Aherne

What an easy and great solution. I have just bought a skein of 100 grammes of sock yarn. I will knit one sock and soon know how much I need for a second. I can get more yarn, so not a disaster, but I can also look a pattern and the metreage/weight will tell me before I start. ??

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Marcia Clark

What an awesome idea! This wa a lot of help!

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Lois Marie

Great tip, thanks! Don’t know why I didn’t think of it since I frequently use my kitchen scale! Excellent article! Thanks!!

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Josephine

Ashley Little, your columns and e-guides are the BEST! Thank you!

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Cherie Thiessen

I never thought of using my kitchen scale to figure out if I had enough yarn….thanks for the tip!

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sarah

bear in mind that kitchen scales may only be accurate to plus or minus the nearest 5 grams…. that can be quite a lot of yarn! postal scales are often more accurate :0)

Reply
Cathy

Given the weight of a finished sock in one yarn and information from the ball bands of both yarns, you actually CAN work out an ESTIMATE of how much yarn you will need for a pair of socks (same pattern) in a different yarn, assuming that you have the SAME gauge in both yarns. I’ll give an example:

I have a pair of socks I knitted in Malabrigo Sock yarn; I want to know if I have enough yarn in Cloudborn Merino Superwash Sock Twist to make the same pattern again. According to the ball band, Malabrigo sock has 440 yards and 100 grams in a ball; the Cloudborn has 467 yards and 100 grams in a ball. (Note: It’s easier to do the weight measurements in grams, because most yarn is sold in 25, 50, or 100-gram balls nowadays. Most kitchen scales let you measure in both ounces and grams.) My finished sock weighs 39 grams.

First, figure out how many yards are in the completed sock:
The Malabrigo has 440 yds in 100 grams.

440 yards / 100 grams = 4.40 yards/gram

To calculate the number of yards in the sock, multiply the weight of the sock by the yards/gram measurement:

39 grams x 4.40 yards/gram = 171.6 yards

So, one sock takes about 172 yards of Malabrigo Sock.

From this, you know that two socks will take 172 x 2 = 344 yards. I would want to have 10-20% extra yarn just in case, so I would want to have 344 yards x 1.2 = 412.8 yards. Since the Clouborn Superwash has 467 yards in 100 grams, you know that you have plenty of yarn to knit that same pattern in the Cloudborn superwash yarn.

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Terry Hickman

Thanks for doing all the hard work there; I was thinking the same thing. One question that did occur to me, though: since the Cloudborn Superwash is lighter in weight than the Mal, would you get the same gauge for both? And if not, wouldn’t that throw your calculations off? (I’m hoping not – this is too nifty a trick not to be disappointed if it didn’t work!)

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J Diane

At the end of her 1st paragraph, she says that she’s assumed (or alternately you can easily verify by swatching) that she gets the same gauge in each yarn. It IS possible to get same finished stitch gauge from fingering yarns of different grams or pounds per finished sock because different fibers can have different densities due to fiber content, structure or yarn milling/ply.

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Sue

Wouldn’t your sock be smaller though?

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J Diane

Since she already said that she’s assuming SAME GAUGE in the two different yarns, no. You can verify gauge by swatching. Different fiber types can both be rated as fingering (or sock or sport or aran or…) and knit to identical gauges but still have different weights in grams or ounces per meter or yard or finished sock because different fiber contents will different density structures or different yarn milling ply.

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Terese

Hmmm? When I first read the title of the blog, I thought you’d be telling us how to know when we need to run out and buy more yarn for our stashes. Then I would have written proof for my husband that I actually need more yarn! …..Whoops, you wrote about something else, that I actually have been doing for almost a year, using a small digital scale. Oh well, I’ll look forward to your next blog and hope it will convince my husband. (LOL! Thanks for a great article.)

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Angelika Kitchiner

Great tip and I’ve used this method for a while.
However, even if it looks as though I haven’t got enough yarn, as I often knit my socks simultaneously, ie the section to the heel on both, then the heel on both etc. If I don’t have enough yarn, I just use another matching colour to do just the heels ot toes or rib, depending on whether I start my sock toes up or rib down. It works a treat and my (grown up) kids actually love their ‘designer’ socks

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Robin

I also use a scale before starting a project to split the yarn in half and make sure I have enough for both halves. I do this differently depending on the project.

For example, for a square baby blanket, I’ll keep increasing until I’ve used nearly half my yarn by weight and then I’ll start decreasing (I don’t use exactly half but slightly less because I’d rather have a little leftover than run out 6″ short!)

Or for a pair of leg warmers for my daughter, I’ll weigh the yarn, then set the ball on the scale in a bowl and wind it into a new ball with my ball winder. When the scale says I’ve used up half my yarn, I cut it and now have two balls of equal weight. I can knit each leg warmer until I’m out of yarn. This also works for toe-up socks or anything else that you can just knit until you’re out of yarn.

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