Estimating the amount of yarn required to use on your needlepoint project is not an exact science. There are many factors that can play in how much yarn you will need. With that said, here is a list of suggestions that can certainly help you get a very good estimate on how much (or little) yarn you need.
- Measure the area of your needlepoint design (Length x Width) – To do this correctly, measure the stitches and not the actual length of your canvas. Multiply the number of vertical stitches by the number of horizontal stitches and that will equal your total area. (an 18 point canvas will have more stitches than a 10 point canvas in an equally sized space).
- Determine the size of the yarn you will be using. This is where some subjectivity comes in. Different yarn manufacturers are different in size. Most popular brands list their weight or ply counts to help you get an idea. You don’t need to be super precise and often you can get an idea visually and distinguish between fine, medium and heavy yarns.
- Calculate the the amount of yarn you will need based off the wight and area of the design. As a general rule, you can expect to use anywhere from 1-1.5 yards of yarn per square inch. Less yarn if you have more stitches per inch & a heavier yarn and more yarn if you have a fine canvas (16-18 pt.) and fine yarn. eg: If your area is 100 square inches (10″x10″), you will need anywhere from 100 to 150 yards of yarn depending on your canvas density and yarn thickness.
- Plan for surprises – It never hurts to have a little extra yarn left over than to have too little to account for mistakes and unexpected design changes.
Appletons Needlepoint Wool comes in two weights
To add, different needlepoint stitching techniques will affect the amount of yarn you need for a project. Typically, more complex or dense techniques will require more yarn than simpler or more open techniques. For example, a needlepoint design that uses a lot of half stitches or French knots will typically require more yarn than a design that uses mostly full stitches.
To recap, keep the following variables in mind when stocking up on yarn for your next project:
- The type of needlepoint canvas.
- The size of your design.
- The size or weight of your yarn.
- Your design complexity and stitching technique.
With these variables in mind, you can make a confident decision on the quantity of yarn you’ll need to complete your next needlepoint project!