How many yards of yarn do I need to make a blanket?

Quick Answers

The amount of yarn needed to make a blanket depends on several factors:

  • Blanket dimensions – Width x Length in inches
  • Yarn weight – Thicker yarns use more yardage
  • Yarn fiber – Natural fibers like wool tend to use more yardage
  • Stitch pattern – Complex patterns use more yarn
  • Gauge – Number of stitches per inch

As a general guideline:

  • For a baby blanket 2 feet x 3 feet – 300 to 600 yards
  • For a throw blanket 4 feet x 5 feet – 800 to 1200 yards
  • For a queen size blanket 5 feet x 6 feet – 1100 to 1700 yards

Use these yardage estimates as a starting point. It’s always best to purchase extra yarn and return unused skeins rather than run short mid-project.

Calculate Yardage Needed

Follow these steps to accurately calculate how much yarn you need for your specific blanket project:

1. Determine Blanket Dimensions

Measure the intended width and length of your finished blanket in inches. Include any panels, edgings or borders in the total measurements.

For example, if you want to make a baby blanket that will measure 30 inches wide x 36 inches long when complete, those are the dimensions you’ll use.

2. Choose a Yarn Weight

The thickness and density of the yarn you choose will significantly impact total yardage needed. Standard yarn weights are categorized from laceweight (thinnest) to super bulky (thickest).

Here is an overview of common yarn weights:

Yarn Weight Knitting Range Crochet Range
Lace 0000 – 1000 No2 – 800
Super Fine 1,000 – 1,600 800 – 1200
Fine 1,400 – 1,600 1200 – 1600
Light 1,100 – 1,700 1500 – 1800
Medium 1,400 – 1,600 1500 – 1800
Bulky 600 – 1000 600-800
Super Bulky 400-500 400-500

The numbers refer to yards per 100g skein. As you move up the weights, the yardage per skein goes down as the yarn gets thicker.

In most cases, a medium weight yarn is a good choice for blankets. It provides nice drape and density. Go lighter for lacy patterns or heavier for extra warmth.

3. Select a Fiber

Natural fibers like wool and alpaca tend to be “thirsty” and soak up more dye, requiring more yardage than synthetic yarns. Stick with acrylic or cotton if yardage is a concern. Blends can provide a nice balance.

Some fiber guidelines:

  • Wool – Provides great stitch definition but uses more yardage
  • Alpaca – Extremely soft with great drape. Also uses more yardage.
  • Acrylic – Budget friendly synthetic with good stitch elasticity
  • Cotton – Natural fiber that is not as “thirsty” as wool
  • Blends – Mix different fibers to get the best qualities of each

4. Determine Your Gauge

The gauge refers to the number of stitches and rows in one inch of your knitted or crocheted fabric. This number can vary based on yarn, needles, and stitch patterns.

Gauge is most often measured in “stitches per inch” for knitting and “stitches per 4 inches” for crochet.

To measure gauge, create a decent sized swatch at least 4 x 4 inches using your selected yarn, tools and pattern stitch. Count the number of stitches across one inch horizontally, and rows over one inch vertically.

For example, a knitting gauge of 5 stitches per inch means 5 knit stitches horizontally occupy one inch. Combine stitch and row gauge to determine a single number like “20 stitches over 4 inches.”

Matching gauge is crucial for getting the right finished dimensions on your blanket.

5. Calculate Yardage

Now you have all the pieces to determine how much yarn you’ll need!

Use this formula:

Blanket width in inches x Gauge (stitches per inch) = Number of Stitches
Blanket length in inches x Gauge (rows per inch) = Number of Rows

Number of Stitches x Number of Rows = Total number of Stitches
Total number of Stitches divided by yards per skein = Yards needed

Let’s plug in our example blanket dimensions and assumptions:

Blanket Width: 30 inches
Blanket Length: 36 inches
Medium Weight Yarn Gauge: 20 stitches over 4 inches

30 inches x 5 stitches per inch = 150 stitches wide
36 inches x 5 rows per inch = 180 rows long

150 stitches x 180 rows = 27,000 total stitches

Medium yarn has approx 400 yards per skein

27,000 stitches divided by 400 yards per skein = 67.5 skeins

So you would need approximately 68 skeins of a medium weight yarn with a gauge of 20 stitches over 4 inches to make a 30 x 36 inch blanket. Always round up to the next full skein to be safe!

Estimating Leftover Yards

What should you do with any leftover yarn after completing your blanket? Here are some options:

Knit or Crochet a Matching Item

Use yardage leftovers to create a matching hat, cowl, mittens or scarf. Having accessories in the same colors and yarn as a blanket can make for a beautiful coordinated set.

Add Knitted or Crocheted Trim

Add a fun popcorn stitch or crocheted scallop border along the edges of your blanket, using leftovers for accent colors. Pretty blanket edges can hide small size inconsistencies too.

Knit or Crochet Squares for a Patchwork

Knit or crochet small square swatches in various leftover yarns. Then stitch them together into a patchwork throw or scarf. Mix colors and textures for interest.

Felting Leftovers into Decor Items

Felt extra wool yarn scraps into fun decor items like pillows, poufs, bowls or plant pots. Blend colors for a vibrant, pixelated look. Felt yardage does not need to be calculated or measured.

Save Scraps for Future Projects

Store any leftover yarn for future use. Even small amounts of yarn can be incorporated into knitted stripes, accent colors or texture interests. Yarn leftovers make great stuffing for children’s toys or amigurumi too.


Calculating the exact yardage required for a knitted or crocheted blanket involves measuring dimensions, gauging swatches, and doing some simple math. While it may sound complicated, you’ll get the hang of yardage estimates with practice. Start with more yardage than you think you need, then enjoy the creative possibilities of working with leftovers once your blanket is complete.

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