Converting Knitting Yarn Measurements to Yards Per Pound

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn
Hello Madelyn,

Yarn stores seem to be carrying more and more knitting yarns.  Is there a simple way to convert the grams given with knitting yarns to yards per pound or to convert 8/2 and 10/2 cotton to grams?
I like to shop local when possible.


Hi Sandy!

There is probably a shortcut for this, but here’s what I do:

When I look in the Weaver’s Companion,  I see in the Weights and Measurements Conversions chart, page 43 (a very useful chart) that 50 grams equals 1.75 oz and 100 gm equals 3.5 oz. Most knitting yarns give the yardage per 50 or 100 grams.

Then I use these equations.

For 50 grams:

350 yd divided by 1.75 oz = x divided by 16 oz (i,e, 350 yd/1.75 oz = x/16 oz). (Being able to work proportions like this is probably the greatest thing I ever learned in algebra.)

Therefore: x  equals 350 yd times 16 divided by 1.75, or 3,200 yd/lb.

If the yardage is per 100 grams:
800 yd/3.5 oz = x/16 oz.
X = 800 x 16 divided by 3.5, or 3,657 yd/lb.

To make it simple without looking this up every time, I should remember to  multiply the yd given on the yarn label by 16 and then divide by either 1.75 or 3.5 depending on whether the label says 50g or 100g.

I’m not sure you’d ever need to convert in the other direction, but if you did:

1 lb equals 454 grams. So 10/2 cotton would have 4,200 yd in 454 grams; 8/2 would have 3,350 yd I 454 grams.

Hope this helps!

Do remember that knitting yarns are often loftier and stretchier than weaving yarns, and the only way to tell what setts and finishes work is to sample, sample, sample.


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