A Question

for the mathematically minded among us: if I knit a certain project using a certain yarn on a particular size needles, and then knit the same project again (edit: knit to the same dimensions {Thanks, Will!}) with the same yarn but on larger size needles, which version of the project will use up more yarn?


Thor's picture

I believe that if you do the pattern exactly the same - changing only the size of the needle... the project knitted on the larger size needle will use more yarn. The right hand needle is the one that determines the size of the stitch as we knit and the larger the needle, the larger the stitch, the larger amount of yarn needled to create the stitch.

At least this is what logic (my logic, mind you, does have a tendancy to skew) tells me.

robinhoodvandal's picture

It depends on it you are doing the same number of stitches with the larger needles or making the piece the same dimensions on the larger needles.

If it is the same number of stitches, the the larger needles will certainly take more yarn as the item will be larger.
If it is the same dimensions, but on larger needles then the item will probably take less yarn as it will be a hole-ier fabric and have less stitches.

Thomasknits's picture

I second that opinion. Larger needles, means more holes, so in the same dimensions it should take less yarn. Fewer yards.


mrossnyc's picture

What are you doing in this picture that we can't see? Sitting down, leaning forward, gritting your teeth...

MMario's picture

ripping the pedals off a piano?

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

WillyG's picture

I can't quite wrap my mind around it, but I think if you did a microcosmic version of what you're asking, you could figure out a bit about it. Try swatching. Knit on small needles a swatch to a certain dimension, say 4x4 inches. Then, rip it and, using the same yarn, try to knit the same size swatch on larger needles. Probably better to use a single-tail cast-on to make sure that your tail is the same. If you run out before you reach 4x4 inches, or if you have extra, you have your answer. I think.

chipsir's picture

If I am trying to determine the amount of yarn needed there is always the tried and true method. Cast on a number of stitches and unravel it and measure, then cast on the same number of stitches on different sized needles unravel and measure. When I am working out a project I figure out the number of stitches and then divide it by that number and it is pretty accurate, I think we are all saying the same thing just going about it in a different way lol.

jwhassjr's picture

It does seem logical that larger needles would require more yarn, than smaller needles, when knitting the same pattern.

Depending on what you're making, the amount of extra yarn needed may not be very significant (such as a hat), but it could require a substantial amount (such as an afghan or sweater). One of the best ways to get an idea of how much yarn it will take would be to measure the number of wraps per inch. If you get 15 wraps per inch on the smaller needles and say 12 on the larger needles, then you would need about 25% more yarn.

Another thing to keep in mind about "the same yarn," is that yarns from separate dye lots can vary and throw off gauge. So you may knit a project in your favorite yarn in lavendar, and then decide to knit the same project in the same yarn, but this time in blue and get a different gauge. Thus the ever so cumbersome gauge swatch must be knit when fit matters in this case.

mrossnyc's picture

I think all of these comments make sense, but of them all I think this one makes the most sense to me. But who am I to say?