Beginner Weaving – Calculate yarn

How to calculate how much yarn you need, part of a 10 Step series of articles on warping your loom

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10 Steps to Warping – Step
Even if you have a pre-determined pattern, it is a good idea to double check that you have sufficient yarn to complete your project.
Take-up and Shrinkage
To calculate the length of warp required, take the length of your finished project and add 10% – 15% for take-up and shrinkage.

e.g.

  • Finished project: Table Runner length = 36″ + 2 inch hems = 40″
  • Take up and shrinkage 15% = 6″
  • Total length = 46″

Loom Waste
You will need additional warp length to be able to tie the warp ends to the back and front of the loom. This is called loom waste. Loom waste is generally about 27″ but I add a full yard for loom waste. This gives me a few additional inches of warp for sampling and playing with new designs or colors.

So, for this project you would need:

46″ + loom waste 36″ = Total 82″ or 2.3 yards warp length.

Make More

Because there is always a considerable amount of loom waste in a weaving project, it is usually advisable to make more than 1 item at a time.

To make 2 table runners, the warp length would be:

2 x 46″ = 92″ + loom waste 36″ = 128″ or 3.5 yards.
Width of Project
Next, you will need to know the desired width of your project. Add 10% – 15% for take-up and shrinkage.

  • Project width: 17″
  • Takeup and shrinkage – 15%: 2.5″
  • Total width: 19.5″

EPI
You will now need to calculate how many ends of yarn you require. Using the sett that you figured out above, multiply the sett (number of ends per inch) times the total width of the project.

  • Sett: 20 epi
  • Total width: 19.5″
  • 18 x 19.5″ = 390 ends

Total Warp
Each warp end will be 3.5 yards long and you will need 390 ends. To calculate the total warp length, multiply the total warp length x the total number of ends.

  • warp length: 3.5 yards
  • # ends: 390
  • 3.5 x 390 = 1365 yards

YPP
Yarn is usually sold by weight, in number of lbs. or grams. The yardage measurement is sometimes shown on the cone of yarn, or you can ask your yarn supplier how many yards per pound there are in the yarn you purchased. The hemp yarn shown above has 1500 yards per pound (ypp). So you would need 1365/1500 = .9 lb. of yarn for the warp.

Table of Yarn Measurements
Weft
Don’t forget that you will need yarn to weave the weft as well. If you are using the same yarn for weft as well, you will need approx. the same amount to complete the two table runners – 1.8 lbs.

10 Steps to Warping

Step 1. Choose your project and yarns.

Step 2. Determine the sett of your cloth, or how many threads per inch the fabric will be.

Step 3. Choose the correct Reed

Step 4. Calculate the Yarn requirements.

Step 5. Wind the Warp using a warping board or warping mill.

Step 6. Remove the warp chains and place them on the loom.

Step 7. Sley the Reed.

Step 8. Thread the heddles, following the draft plan.

Step 9. Wind the warp onto the back beam

Step 10. Tie the warp ends to the front beam.

Congratulations! Now you a ready to Weave!

Hand Weaving Books
Weaving on a Little Loom (Everything you need to know to get started with weaving, includes 5 simple projects

The Key to Weaving: A Textbook of Hand Weaving for the Beginning Weaver
The Weaver’s Companion (The Companion Series)
Learning to Weave
The Big Book of Weaving: Handweaving in the Swedish Tradition: Techniques, Patterns, Designs and Materials
The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory
A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns: From the Friends of Handwoven
Krokbragd: How to Design & Weave
Doubleweave: On Four to Eight Shafts
Double Weave: Theory and Practice<
Magic of Doubleweave: The Best of Weaver’s (Best of Weaver’s series)
Weaving In the Arts: Widening the Learning Circle
DIY Woven Art: Inspiration and Instruction for Handmade Wall Hangings, Rugs, Pillows and More!
>On the Loom: A Modern Weaver’s Guide

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Author: Paivi Suomi

I've had an interest in weaving, looms, yarns and textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about tradtional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts. Paivi Suomi