Handspun yardages

A question that I get quite often is; “How much yardage will I get out of this fiber?”

That’s a loaded question. How are you spinning it? Woolen or worsted? Do you spin dense? Do you spin airy? What weight of yarn are you making? What type of fiber is it? How many plies are you doing? And so on.


You just want averages?
Lets add some control here and I’ll give you averages.
Fiber: Average is considered something like Corriedale or Falkland. You will get slightly more yardage out of Merino and slightly less out of Romney
Density of draft: Average is not dense at all. But it’s not super airy. The more air (woolen long draw spinning) in your yarn the more yardage you’ll get. Generally. So think something in between really heavy yarn and super light. Most people fall in this average category. (Obviously, that’s why it’s called average, right?)
Plies: This doesn’t matter a whole lot unless your plying tends to be really dense and with lots of twist (slightly unbalanced). This makes a fine yarn but it will give you slightly less yardage because you’re making the yarn dense. For our purposes here lets assume you’re making a simple low twist single, average 2ply.

Here are your averages for 4 ounces of fiber:
Lace 600-800 yards
Fingering 400-450 Yards
Sport 320-380 yards
DK 260-300 yards
Worsted weight- 200-230 yards
Aran 160-180 yards
Bulky 90-110 yards

Now that I gave you that, let me talk about how to be accurate. You’ve embarked on a sweater project. Gorgeous cabled thing. It’s one sexy piece of knitting and you go by the chart above, buy your fiber, spin your yarn and you’re almost done, just need 6 inches on one sleeve and you’ve run out of yarn….and the fiber has been discontinued in that color….

First solution, always buy at least 4 ounces more than you think you need unless you have your control down to a ‘T’. No. Even if you have your control perfected. I’ve made plenty of BFL, Shetland, and Falkland yarns for sweaters so I pretty well know what 1 lb of fiber is going to get me. I still get extra. I may not spin that last 4 ounces but I get it just in case I mess up or change my mind and want to add length or girth somewhere that I hadn’t originally planned for.

Second solution, spin a sample. Spin, make your control card with your singles and your plied yarn (if you’re plying), wash your yarn and add that to the control card. Now measure the weight against the yardage. Calculate. If you use your control card and you keep your spinning controlled throughout the project, this is the most accurate way to know you’re going to have enough for the project.

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