How to Make a Yarn Yardage Counter

by Bethany Seeley
Save money by making your own yarn yardage counter.

Save money by making your own yarn yardage counter.

Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images

For a knitter, few things more frustrating than putting hours of work into a sweater, only to find that there is not enough yarn left to knit the second sleeve. Most knitting patterns specify how many yards of yarn are necessary to compete a project, and most yarn comes with a tag indicating its yardage. However, there are times when a knitter may need to use yarn that has not been measured. Although you can purchase devices to measure your yarn, you can easily achieve the same results with materials you already have on hand.

Items you will need

  • Thin cardboard, at least 12 inches wide
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors or craft knife
  • Tape
  • Paper
  • Calculator
Step 1

Measure a piece of cardboard with a ruler. Start on the exact edge and measure 12 inches across. Make a small mark with the pencil at this spot. Draw a straight line from the edge of the cardboard to the mark by tracing along the edge of the ruler. You should have a straight line that is exactly 12 inches long. Turn the ruler so that it is perpendicular to the line. Draw a straight line down from the end of the 12-inch-long line to the bottom edge of the cardboard.

Step 2

Cut along the lines with scissors or a craft knife. Depending on how wide your cardboard is, you may want to cut some of the excess off. For example, if your cardboard now measures 12 by 14 inches, you can reduce it to 12 by 6 inches. The most important thing is to have a piece that is exactly 12 inches long in one direction. The width is not as important.

Step 3

Use a small piece of tape to fasten the end of your yarn to the edge of the cardboard so that it is parallel to the 12-inch-long side. Wrap the yarn around the cardboard, end-to-end. Count your wraps by twos. For example, one wrap all the way around the cardboard is two, two wraps is four, three wraps is six and so forth.

Step 4

Continue wrapping and counting until all the yarn has been wrapped. Write down the number of wraps you counted, for example, 120. This number is the length of your yarn in feet. Use the calculator to divide the number by three. A yard is equal to three feet. The number you get is the yardage of your yarn. 120 feet of yarn is equal to 40 yards.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cereal boxes and clean pizza boxes are good sources of thin cardboard.
  • Use caution when cutting with a craft knife.
  • Do not wrap the yarn too tightly or two loosely, as this will cause your measurements to be inaccurate.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images