How much yarn should I buy and why?

Simple Answer: Less is NOT more.

Anyone who has been crocheting for a while can tell you, that running out of yarn for a project that is incomplete can be pretty devastating, especially if you haven’t recently purchased the yarn.  That I why I always lean towards buying extra yarn for projects.

1. Yarn Can Sell Out (Shocking I know).

The first, more obvious reason that running out of yarn for a project can be devastating, is because yarn can sell out and you may not be able to get more of the kind you are using for that project.  You can try to find something comparable if this happens, but it can be pretty difficult to do this, so I wouldn’t rely on this solution. Even yarn that is labeled the same weight and same color from different brands, can look very different when used next to each other.

2. Yarn Color Can vary by Dye Lot.

Yarn Label Dye Lot Identification

The second, less obvious reason to a beginner, is because of dye lots.  Dye lots refer to the batch of yarn that is made at the same time. Even yarn that is the same brand and product can vary slightly in color.  When buying multiple skeins of the same type of yarn, check that the dye lot number is the same whenever possible.

What do I Do If I Run Out of Yarn!?

But what do you do if you don’t buy enough yarn for your project?  This happens to even the most advanced crocheters, but don’t completely abandon your project.  What I have found to work best when this happens is to bring a small clipping from the yarn I was working with to the store with me along with the label from the yarn. Then I do the following:

  1. First, I try to find the same yarn I was using and check to see if there is any more from the same type/dye lot left.
  2. If there’s some of the same type but not the same dye lot, I compare the clipping to the yarn the available skeins in the store to find the one that is as close of a match as possible. If I find a close enough match, I go with the same type of yarn.
  3. As a last resort, I would find another brand’s yarn in the same weight and color, that has a similar look and texture to the one I was originally using. It’s not ideal, but I’ve done this before and it worked out fine.

One other thing to note, when buying yarn for a pattern, note the yardage/meters on the skein label.  Most patterns will tell you the type of yarn used with details like weight, recommended hook size and yardage/meters.  If the yarn you end up using is less yardage/meters per skein than the one used in the pattern, make sure you buy enough to equal the yardage/meters recommended by the pattern.

Yarn Label Yardage/Meter Identification