There you are, in your favorite LYS. It’s 10 minutes before you have to leave for that important meeting, and suddenly…there it is!!! That perfect yarn you have been lusting after, but it’s a tad over budget. And now it’s on a One Day Only Special, 50% Off!!! But you have no clue how many yards you need for a sweater, and there’s no time to try to find something in one of those many books the LYS carries…and you miss out on the perfect amazing yarn!
Or worse yet, you find a book with a pattern, and figure it out, but wind up with only half of what you need, because you counted wrong and got the figure for yardage for the size extra small instead of large.
Or (though this is not really something BAD to any knitter who appreciates a stash) you double the number or something. My Mom and I did that once. Instead of enough oiled Aran yarn to knit a sweater for me, we wound up with enough to knit one for me, one for her, one for Pop, one for my SIL, one for the nephew, a matcher for my brother, and then we put the rest away because, really, you can only handle so many Aran sweaters in a row!
There is a solution. If this is a problem you’ve had, or think you might have, feel free to copy this handy dandy chart, laminate it and shove it in your knitting bag. Or purse. Or you could get a tattoo!
Note that the chart is based on a plain, classic style sweater done in stocking stitch. The difference between yardage for men and women is mostly because of the length, so for a man or a tall lady, just add a bit (60 or 70 yards usually works). If you are doing ribbing or other simple texture stitch, add 10%. For Aran sweaters, add 25% to 50% depending on how dense the patterning is. For stranded work, I usually use the full amount for the main colour, and 50% of it for the patterning, as long as the ribbing is in the main colour. You may have some yarn leftover, but you shouldn’t run short!