Yarn usages calculations in a stranded multicolored sweater

I’ve given yarn usages a lot of thoughts for the last two weeks. My aim was to estimate yarn usage in a sweater without knitting it. I wrote functions in the program to count all the stitches and strands in a multicolored sweater recipe. By strands I mean the yarn between stitches in pattern of the same color in a multicolored pattern.

I read somewhere that in a single color sweater you should count the stitches and multiply them by 3 times the stitch width. I’m having trouble verifying this because I can’t find a recipe for a single color Lopi sweater.

So I want to find the right index to use as a multiplier.

Each stitch can be divided in to 4 equal parts. And each of them a sector of almost a circle. The sum of the sectors add up to 1,52 rounds. Then we need to find the diameter of the circle.

When the yarn is totally slack the strands are very close, so you could estimate that stitch width is equal to 4 times the yarn diameter. To test this I used the pencil method. I used Lett-lopi that gives the gauge of 16 stitches to 10 cm with a 4 mm needles. I wrapped it 4 times a round a pencil and measured it against one stitch. One stitch is less than 4 rounds it’s probable somewhere between 3 and 4 rounds. A gauge of 16 stitches to 10 cm gives a stitch width of 100 mm / 16 = 6.25 mm. Then I measured the diameter of the yarn by wrapping it a round a pencil until the rounds filled 50 mm. I counted 23 rounds so that would give yarn diameter of  2,17 mm. That is more like 3 times the stitch width.

So now I have the diameter of the curve that makes up the quarter  either by extracting the yarn diameter from the stitch width or as this stitch is 3 times the yarn diameter I can say that the diameter is 2/3 of the stitch width.

At last I have a formula I can try :

Yarn for one stitch =  stitch width  * 2/3 * Pi * 1.52 = >  stitch width *  3.182 .

And then for the strands I’ll use multiplier of 1.2 because there needs to be a slack in them. I will make a test in the software and compare them with as many classic Lopi recipe as I can.

Please comment on this post if you have any knowledge that might help me. In the next post I will wright about the results.


About Knittingpatterns

I'm developing software for knitters to design their own sweaters. It's easy, fun and free.
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4 Responses to Yarn usages calculations in a stranded multicolored sweater

  1. Kay says:

    As much as I love Lopi Alfoss wool I find that many people shy away from anything that reads handwash and flat dry.
    I love to knit icelandic sweaters using not the Icelandic wool but a combination of wool25% and acrylic 75% (Aran type) basically for washing purposes, it can be machine washed 40% and cool spun dried. Knitted (main colour) on 5.mm needles 18sts – 24 rows (10cm) over stocking stitch.
    Will your software incorporate other tensions using other yarns? A big ask as a tension 10x10cm is always necessary. I look forward to your software.
    Thank you. Kay.

    • Hi Kay
      The software supports different tensions.
      On the “New pattern” window in the center left section you can select different tension and needle size.
      In the future I hope to add features to the software so users can add their own yarn.
      Hope this answer your questions, if not feel free to reply.
      Happy knitting.

  2. Kay says:

    Hi Sverrir,
    If you could persuade Lopi, who have such a wonderful colour range far greater than other manufacturers of wool/yarns, to combine their lovely wool with a % of acrylic to appeal to the washmachine/tumbledry customer I would be thrilled!
    Using your software, their lovely designs would then be easier to convert to 18sts/24rows. At the moment the colour range of Aran weight wool is very limited.
    Your happy knitter,

  3. Kay says:

    Hi Sverrir
    Lett Lopi. ( Icelandic wool equal to Aran weight) I have only used patterns for Alafoss Lopi, converting to Aran. I have ordered Lett.from Iceland to try softness etc.
    You are calculating on 16sts per inch. Below it gives 18-24.

    Lett Lopi – Wool Yarn
    Weight: Aran / 10 ply / 8 wraps per inch.
    Texture: Single ply
    Gauge: 18-24 sts = 10 cm (4″) on 4½ – 5 mm (Old UK 7 – 6) (US 7 – 8).
    PS. I am not a mathmetician, just an iquisitive mind. 🙂

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