Oh, the holiday season, the time for getting creative with presents and learning how to DIY so many different projects! Store-bought items are nice and all, but what really feels meaningful on Christmas morning is a handmade gift full of love.
No one likes a mess of a DIY present, though. So maybe you’re stressing over the fact that you need the blanket to turn out perfectly, and you don’t want to make more than one trip to the craft store, and maybe the yarn you’re looking at is only on sale today, and you need to order it all now before it’s gone!
Well, never fear, because we’ll get you sorted with this guide. It isn’t as easy as “This much yarn for x,” because it all depends on the quality of the yarn you use and inches per stitch. But, we can guide you through and get you on your way!
Just pull out a notepad and a pen–because there’s some math involved, yikes!
Number One Factor: Quality of Yarn Used
Yarn is sold by weight, not by length. The quality of the yarn is so important because it determines the weight. The heavier the yarn, the less you need.
On average, queen-sized blankets are 90 by 100 inches. To avoid buying tons of yarn and to ensure a blanket that is thick and durable, we recommend buying heavier yarn.
However, buying yarn that is too thick can lead to a bulky blanket that lacks the finesse and professional quality of thinner blankets. So, we recommend sticking to a medium-weight yarn like worsted yarn.
Is Worsted Yarn For You?
Worsted yarn’s name comes from an English county in Norfolk known as Worstead. It is yarn made from wool that is fine and smooth. Worsted yarn is thicker than athletic attire and socks, but thinner than bulky yarn. This makes it ideal for making sweaters, hats, and, of course, blankets!
Items made from worsted yarn tend to be close-textured and have no “nap,” which is the raised fibers over the blanket when you brush your hand along it. If that sounds like your ideal blanket, then that’s the yarn to use!
Find the Right Size For Your Hook
Let’s say, after my lengthy worsted yarn pitch, that you decided to use it. Yay! Now we need to decide how big your hook should be. Hook size depends, once again, on the quality of yarn. But seeing as we’re using worsted yarn in this instance, we can determine a set size.
If you do not want to use worsted yarn, how dare you. Just kidding! However, we’re going to be figuring out all of the measurements based on worsted yarn because it is simply the best yarn for the job in our humble opinion.
If using a different quality yarn, you can still read on and use our measurements as a guide.
For worsted yarn, the best hook size would be an H-8 or 5mm hook.
Self-Evaluation: How Many Inches Per Stitch Do I Do?
Inches of yarn per stitch are not set in stone. Depending on your own level of experience, skill, and even technique used, it will range. Typically less experienced crocheters will make larger stitches, but that will be determined shortly.
We’re going to do a little self-evaluation test! Don’t worry; it’s not a math test. You’ve probably been reading very cautiously, waiting for the math to come in.
No, you just have to do what you love best (I’m sure): crocheting! …And then measuring. But it doesn’t take math, just a tape measure!
The typical inches per stitch for our beloved worsted yarn is 1.8 inches. To get your exact number of inches per stitch, begin crocheting a sample patch with your yarn, ten stitches in length and ten rows in height.
When finished, take out the last row of stitches and measure how many inches it took to create the 10-inch piece. Divide it by ten, and this will be your inches per stitch measurement.
Now you can tell all of your friends and compare stitches per inch sizes!
Big Picture: For the Whole Blanket, How Many Stitches Will Be Needed?
This is where the math comes in, guys. It’s a little scary, but I find that if I have my good friend Mr. Calculator by my side, life isn’t so scary anymore. But it does get a little confusing.
We just figured out how many inches per stitch, but now we need to determine how many stitches per inch!
Time for another little self-evaluation pop quiz! Get out your yarn again. Make a sample size, or swatch, that is 5 inches in length. Use a pin to mark where you wish to begin measuring. Mark from the pin down four inches, then mark that with another pin.
Count the number of stitches in between the pins, and divide that number by four. This is the gauge of your stitches, or how many stitches per inch. Like inches per stitch, this is unique to you based on preferred technique, experience, and skill.
Let’s Put It All Together
Now, combine it all together! Take the inches per stitch and the stitches per inch (“gauge,”) and multiply them together. Take this number and multiply it by 1.8, the average amount of inches for a worsted yarn project.
Now we need to figure out the yardage. Take this number, which is in inches, and divide it by 36. And there you have it! That’s the number of yards you need to crochet a queen size blanket!
Just make sure to keep in mind that this is all dependent on the quality of yarn you used to get your measurements (1.8 inches is based on worsted yarn), the hook size used for your experiments, and your own measurements of inches per stitch and stitches per inch.
Now That I Know How Much Yarn I Need, Where Can I Buy It?
Many different craft stores are ideal places to buy yarn, and it all depends on where you live and what options are available to you. Search for craft stores on either your computer or phone to find the best and nearest options.
A quick and effective way to do this would be going into Google Maps and searching for “craft stores.” It will give you a list of options and the distance away from where you are staying.
Then, you can go to that store’s website and look at the yarn selection they have. Ensure that they carry the quality of yarn you wish to use, the color you like and that it is in stock before you drive all the way to the store.
If it happens to be on sale, preorder online for in-store pickup or hop in the car and drive over now before it is all gone!
A safe bet for crafting stores all-around would be either Joanne’s or, a personal favorite, Michaels. Joanne’s is primarily a place to buy fabrics for quilting but will still have yarn options.
Michaels is a more general crafting store, which makes it essential for all of your wacky DIY Christmas present needs! They usually have a great selection of yarns to choose from.
Just remember to look online before going. Guarantee they have what you want, and that it is in stock. During the holiday season, all types of things are selling fast, and you don’t want to waste the trip!
I’ve Got the Yarn! But How Long Will It Take Me to Make This Huge Thing?
That, once again, depends on technique, experience, and skill. It will definitely take a DIY newbie longer to make the blanket as a present than a hardcore crochet master.
It will take longer to stitch an intricate design as opposed to a simple one, so if you are a beginner, stick to simple stitches if you don’t want to be completely overwhelmed!
It also depends on the weight of your yarn. The bigger the yarn, the faster it will go because the stitching will not be so small and fine.
And finally, how long it will take hinges on how many hours you can dedicate to the project. If you have time to shut yourself away or sit in front of the TV watching Christmas movie after Christmas movie, it will not take as long. But if you’re running around doing all kinds of holiday activities, it will take much longer.
So keep in mind your personal Christmas agenda. If you’ve got lots of downtime leading up to Christmas, schedule a few days when you can hunker down and work on it. If your holiday season is crazy busy, make sure you leave plenty of weeks to chip away at your project.
If this is your first time attempting a project like this, always make room in your timetable for warming up and for mistakes. You’re going to learn as you go.
You want to be proud when your loved one opens their gift on Christmas morning, not embarrassed at what you had to settle for in your race to finish on time! Time management for this type of project is key.
Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newbie just wanting to make a clever present for Christmas, following the steps above will get you an accurate count on the amount of yarn you need.
Once you know, you can start making your queen blanket with less stress and more love going into your crocheting projects. Merry Christmas!