How To Estimate Needlepoint Yarn Quantity

How much yarn or thread will I need for my needlepoint project? How to estimate needlepoint yarn quantity is a question every stitcher needs answered sooner or later. There is a 'right' way and a 'quick' way of going about this.

The Best Way To Estimate Needlepoint Yarn Quantity

First we'll talk about the 'right' way of estimating thread amounts for a needlepoint project. Stitch a square inch on the needlepoint canvas you plan to use, using your chosen thread or yarn, and the stitch you plan to use - Basketweave or Continental, for example. When you have this square-inch stitched you can calculate the total yarn amount required by multiplying out from the amount used to cover this square-inch. This method gives you the most accurate measure of how to estimate needlepoint yarn for your needlepoint project.

The problem with the 'right' way of doing things is that you may not have a little bit of the thread to test out on the canvas. If this is the case you can use the 'quick' way to estimate how much needlepoint thread you will need.

The Easiest Way To Estimate Needlepoint Yarn Quantity

estimate needlepoint yarn quantityThis is not highly scientific, which is why we call it the "Fist Method". Make a fist and place the flat part of the fist to the canvas. Move your fist along and count how many "fists" of each color your design has. Each "fist" uses about 9 yards of tapestry wool - that is an area of approximately 2 inches by 3 inches. So, it takes about 9 yards of needlepoint tapestry yarn to cover 6 square inches of canvas.

You should buy at least 10% more yarn than you have estimated you will need. There are some other things you will need to consider before buying your yarn:

  • If your design is made up of a lot of small color areas you will need more of those colors than the estimated amount might indicate. This is because you will be dragging the thread across multiple stitches and/or tying off the yarn more often.
  • Smaller mesh canvases will need more yarn than larger mesh. So if you plan to stitch a 14 mesh then perhaps be a little more generous with the amount you buy than if you are stitching a 10 mesh canvas.
  • Basketweave stitch uses almost a third more thread than Continental stitch. More exotic stitches will use even more!

So, estimating needlepoint yarn quantities is exactly that - an estimate. But this information should help you decide how much yarn you will need for your next needlepoint project.

Click here to get information on which needlepoint threads go with which needlepoint canvas.