Note to self – how to buy yarn


I am enjoying this week’s yarn purchases and even though I didn’t have a plan for all of it when I bought it, I realise I’ve grown. I have bought a lot of yarn in my life. A lot I tell you. Some of it is wonderful and some of it is, well, a little difficult to work with, to put it mildly. Some yarn I don’t have enough to do almost anything with and some have been just perfect. I have tried to learn from my mistakes and I try to have a plan for my purchases (most of the time, yarn that is intended for something is hard to make something else with. Even though the first plan is no longer on the table, the yarn is still designated somehow) to know how much I want need and so on. Even with a plan, mistakes still occur though.


This time I really do believe I’ve grown though. I’ve been looking at my new skeins and I know I can make a lot from this and I doubt there are any mistakes there. In the upper picture there is still a few skeins “for fun”, where there were either only one skein left (and of course I had to adopt that one, we can’t have a lonely little skein left in the store when I have so many at home that want a new friend (completely disregarding that the store still has much, much more yarn than I do so far) or I was making up for previous mistakes or the color was just irresistible and I plan to make a lot of wrist warmers. But looking at the lower picture though, we can draw a few conclusions on how to think when buying yarn.

1. Buy yarn in meters or yards, not in skeins. Most yarn come in skeins of 50 or 100 grams (I don’t know how much that is in ounces) and a lighter weight yarn will have more meters/yards per 100 grams than a heavier weight yarn. For a lace weight shawl it’s common that it only requires 400 meters and one skein will be enough but another shawl in, say, DK weight might still require 400 meters of yarn but the skeins only have about 200 meters and therefore you need at least two skeins. The rule is, the heavier the weight, the more skeins are needed.

2. If buying more than one color, try to pick colors that go together. This is useful if you realise you haven’t got enough yarn for a project. Most projects can be done in a  two color version and voilà, you all of a sudden have enough yarn. This is also good if you don’t think you want an entire garment in, for example, hot pink (I don’t have a problem with this but some people might look upon hot pink more as an accessory color), with a calmer contrasting color you can still make pretty much any project.

3. If you are thinking of making something bigger, buy enough yarn for the project. This really don’t need an explanation and is so elementary and still I have failed to do this. Look through the pattern, or look at similar garments if you haven’t fixed on a pattern yet, and see how much yarn is needed for your size. Order that amount or a little more if you are unsure. Yarn chicken is never fun (but can be very satisfying if you win, which you rarely do), better safe than sorry!

4. All of the rules above can be used simultaneously. In the upper picture there are some red and green skeins next to each other on the first row of yarn. When buying this I used both rule #2 and #3 (and also rule #1 since it was a chunky weight yarn). I looked at patterns that interested me, realised I needed at least 8 skeins of chunky weight yarn, added one extra for good measure, and saw that there were only six skeins left of the red I wanted. So I picked all those and added three more skeins in a contrasting color. Stripes always works!

These are a few things to think about when I’m about to make a big yarn purchase. I will try to remember this in the future, now that it seems I’ve managed to crack the code, I’ve grown and I’ve managed to make wise yarn decisions. Yeah. Good plan.