Calculating the Required Amount of Yarn

Upholstered items, such as dining room chairs, can be fun to stitch.  Canvases with pre-worked centers are available, featuring motifs such as flowers, birds, animals and musical instruments.   A large background will be covered.   With simple arithmetic, you can figure how much yarn you will need with-in a matter of minutes. 

How much yarn is required to fill in the background?

To determine the required amount, you will need to know the size of the finished project. 


Measure the border vertically and horizontally of the area to be covered.  Multiply the two numbers.  Now, measure and multiply the area of the worked motif. Subtract the design area from the first number.  You now have the square inches to be covered.


If the canvas is Ten to One (10/1) and you are working with Persian yarn, divide this number by one and one half.  This answer is the amount of strands required. When you arrive with this number add ten percent for errors and waste.


For example, you have a canvas which has an area of 10" X 20" to be worked. The pre-worked motif is 5" X 10".   Let's do the math.


10" X 20" = 200" (Entire area to be stitched)

5" X 10" = 50" (Area of center motif)

200" - 50" = 150" (Stitching area)

150 ÷ 1½ = 100 (Persian strands* required)

100 + 10 = 110 (plus 10% for errors)


You will need 110 strands of Persian yarn.


* Rule: One strand is approximately 65 inches long. Remember, when working on a Ten to One (10/1) Canvas, 1 ounce (25 strands) will cover about 37 square inches.  Fourteen to One (14/1) canvas, 1 ounce covers about 44 square inches.


When you are working on Eighteen to One (18/1) canvas, measure

the square inches and then divide by 3.  You will have the number of strands required for your area.


The following is true for covering one square inch with tapestry yarn.  For Ten to One (10/1) canvas, you will need a 33” length of yarn.  Fifty three inches will cover Twelve to one (12/1) and 54” is needed to cover Thirteen to One (13/1) canvas.  When working on Fourteen to One (14/1), you will need 58”.  For a chart, click on Tapestry Wool Coverage.


The next page will explain how to measure odd shaped motifs.


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