Yarn Hacks: Calculate the Remaining Yards in a Skein

Do you have some partial skeins of a certain yarn lying around that you’d really like to use, but you have no idea how many yards are left? All you’ve got to do is some simple math to figure that out. We’ll show you how here!

What you need:
  • partial skein of yarn
  • yarn label (or knowledge of what the yarn is)
  • scale
  • paper and pencil
  • calculator (or good old-fashioned math skillz)

To start, weigh your skein. The skein in the video currently weighs 70 grams. The yarn label tells us that the original weight of the skein was 100 grams. So, here we’ve written 70 grams over 100 grams. Write down the weight of your yarn over the original weight, like we’ve done here.

Next, write an equals sign and then a question mark or an X over the original yardage of the yarn. In this case, the original yardage was 210 yards. Now, harken back to the days of early algebra and cross-multiplying fractions (I know, fun, right?).

Multiply the bottom number on the left (the original weight) by the variable on the top right (which will be your current yardage, the ultimate number we want to find). In our example, that would be 100 times X.

Then, write an equals sign and multiply the top left number (current weight) by the bottom right number (original yardage). Here, 70 times 210 equals 14,700.

You’ll then divide that big number by the number of the original weight in order to find X. In this case, 14,700 divided by 100 equals 147. Therefore, there are 147 yards left in this skein of yarn!

That wasn’t so bad, right? I do wish that in my K–12 career, any of my teachers would have told me just how important knitting is in math. Oh well, it’s never too late to learn!

Happy Hacking,

> Check Out More of Our Yarn Hacks! <


  1. Barbara B at 8:41 am May 17, 2017

    Your instructions for figuring how many yards are left in a skein are very useful. But I found them condescending as well — if I were in a worse mood I’d say insulting. I wish you had not perpetuated the silly myth that knitters are math-averse Barbie dolls for whom “oooooh, math is hard.” Some of us are not especially math-educated (I never got beyond high school algebra) but I am certainly not afraid of calculating gauge, working out pattern adjustments, etc. Please, next time how about giving us the instructions without the commentary?

    • Nancy S at 7:41 am May 18, 2017

      As a retired Math teacher I know that this seems simple to you Barbra B. but there are so many people who need a refresher course on simple ratios. I still get phone calls from former students who want help.

  2. Loretta C at 9:19 am May 17, 2017

    I totally agree with Barbara B. I am grateful for new information but I don’t need to be patronized or insulted.

  3. Barbara G at 9:22 am May 17, 2017

    I see you did the “new” math. If you start with 100 grams and you have 70 grams left, you have 70% of the total yardage.
    210 X .7 = 147. What’s so hard about that? Why do that additional step?

    • Harriet S at 1:45 pm May 22, 2017

      I have to agree with this one-step method!

      You also could do it in two simple steps: divide total yards by total grams for yardage per gram, then multiply that times the number of grams; e.g.. 210 yds / 100 gr = 2.1 yds; 70 gr x 2.1 yds = 147 yds left.

  4. Kim M at 10:19 am May 17, 2017

    Why all the snarkiness? Condescending, Patronizing, Insulting??? None of those…I think she took a topic several people are hesitant to approach, and added some fun and humor to it. I, too, know how to do the math, but I still appreciate her sense of humor, and in no way took offense at her presentation to teach others. Lighten up, ladies.

    • Bonnie F at 11:54 am May 17, 2017

      The real math problem is getting to grams from fractions of a pound–which I have to do because I have no metric scales.

      • Kim M at 10:23 pm May 17, 2017

        I bought a food scale at Crate and Barrel that you can toggle back and forth between grams and ounces/pounds…use it only for yarn weighing. I have had it about a year, cost around $20-25. It has more than paid for itself by the time and frustration it has saved me.

    • Kathi T at 6:39 am May 18, 2017

      Well said.
      Although many of us do math very well, many do not, and are even terrified at the mere mention of fractions/percentages. There is no reason to belittle those who don’t. Well, unless you enjoy coming off as petty and sanctimonious.

      • Kathi T at 6:42 am May 18, 2017

        Having problems editing — previous comment was an agreement to a comment, not a dis on a cute & well written article.
        Just wanted to clarify.

  5. Sue L at 11:25 am May 17, 2017

    Oh my gosh! Just say thank you for the info and move on!

    • Rickiann B at 2:24 pm May 17, 2017

      I agree with Sue L. If someone takes the time and trouble to try to help other knitters it’s pretty mean to dis her. Thanks Hannah, this was nice.

  6. Cassandra W at 5:34 pm May 17, 2017

    Why comment if you watched and don’t like it then go to the next one and no need for nasty comments. There are some of us who need the info maybe

  7. Mary Jo B at 8:14 pm May 18, 2017

    Being secure in who I am and what I do and do not know, plus not being easily butthurt, I found your instructions a good refresher and your commentary funny. Don’t ever change your style simply to accommodate a bunch of insecure uptight biddies who definitely need to spend more time with their yarn because, quite frankly, their people skills suck.

  8. elizabeth C at 6:59 am May 19, 2017

    Math no problem. Lost the label now what?

  9. Carol D at 4:26 pm May 20, 2017

    Thanks for the great info! I have several partial skeins in my stash and was wondering how to do this. The video was really helpful too.

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