If you knit some specific pattern there is usually specified how many yards (meters) or skeins you need for each size and you should buy yarn according to that number. However, if you are just knitting a pair of vanilla mittens read further.
The answer to this question depends on four factors:
- hand & cuff length and the circumference of the mitten
- yarn weight (the thickness of the yarn)
- gauge (density of the fabric)
- stitch pattern (stockinette, ribbing, cables, lace, etc.)
How do I know my yarn weight?
First, check the label of your yarn ball. There is usually specified how much the skein weighs and how many yards / meters there are. Based on that information you can use the table below and roughly estimate the yarn weight.
Many times also the manufacturer’s website provides that information. You can also go to yarnsub.com and try to find the information from there. Also, Ravelry has quite an extensive database of yarns but you need to register in order to be able to search their database.
How many yards there are approximately / 3.5 oz / 100g:
|Yarn weight (from thinnest to thickest)||Yards / 3.5oz||Meters / 100g|
|Fingering (super fine)||360 – 460||330 – 420|
|Sport (fine)||300 – 360||275 – 330|
|DK (light)||240 – 290||220 – 265|
|Worsted (medium)||200 – 220||180 – 200|
|Bulky||110 – 142||100 – 130|
How does the stitch pattern affect?
If you use some other stitch pattern than stockinette such as cables or a slip stitch patterns you’ll need more yarn. The rule of thumb is also that the denser the fabric the more yarn you need.
- For cables add 15% more yarn
- For stranded colorwork add 25% more yarn
So how much yarn do you need for a pair of basic mittens
Because a yarn ball usually weighs 50,100,150 or 200g, on the table below I have listed what amount of yarn is usually enough for a pair of basic mittens rounded to the nearest 50g. For instance, if I make a pair of mittens for myself I use 60g of worsted weight yarn so I have to buy two 50g skeins or one 100g skein but I’ll end up having some leftovers. On the other hand, if I make mittens for my husband I use almost all the 85g and have much less leftover yarn.
If you are unsure whether you have enough yarn or not I recommend that you knit your mittens top-down because it’s easier to adjust the length of the cuff than the hand. Of course, you can also work your cuff up and buy an extra skein.
If you are making large men’s mittens select the amount of yarn from the higher end and vice versa.
|Yarn weight (from thinnest to thickest)||Child’s||Women’s||Men’s|
|Fingering (super fine)||50 – 100 g||100 g||100 g|
|Sport (fine)||50 – 100 g||100 g||100 g|
|DK (light)||50 – 100 g||100 g||100 g|
|Worsted (medium)||100 g||100 g||150 g|
|Bulky (chunky)||100 g||100 g||150 g|