Money has been on my mind lately. Or rather the lack of it in my life. I know I am not alone in that. What with the Powerball jackpot at a record high, the U.S. 1894-S Barber dime selling for almost $2 million, and bills needing to be paid, it’s not a wonder that money is always on everyone’s minds.

Unfortunately, the love of all our lives is not free. No… Not talking about Adam Levine or Idris Elba. Yarn. Yes. Yarn. THAT love of our lives. How do we know we are getting a great deal if it’s not on clearance?

You have a pattern you want to make. Don’t want to buy the yarn used in the pattern because it cost way too much. You are on a yarn budget. Oh the horror! Oh! Here is a yarn that is rather inexpensive per skein/ball! Wait… It doesn’t have as much yardage as this other that cost more. Hmmm… How do you know that you are getting the best deal with your money? On just hold on a minute… Was math just mentioned? Well not yet technically. But yes. It’s math lesson #3. Now I have mentioned it.

For all of you who claim you have yet to use algebra as an adult, you are wrong again. Here is more algebra all explained step by step to help you compare yarn prices so you too can get the best deal for that next project.

**Yarn selections:**

Here are 2 examples of yarn for your next project.

Let’s say the project needs 1100 yards of yarn.

First selection of yarn cost $6.99 per ball and has 150 yards per ball.

Second selection of yarn cost $12.99 (WHOA!) and has 400 yards per ball.

Let’s see which is cheaper for this project.

*How do I compare yarn by price per yard?*

You only need 3 things to calculate this. The price of the yarn and the number of yards/meters in the ball. Yes that’s just 2. The 3rd thing is the calculator. Lucky calculators are included on smart phones. Or you can download one. Hang on to that calculator. You will need it later…

All you do is divide the price by the number of yards. Huh? Ok, I will break it down for you.

Each letter will represent something.

A = the price of the ball of yarn

B = number of yards or meters in the ball

C = the answer

The equation is as follows:

A / B = C

*What does / mean?*

/ is the symbol used for divide.

Example: Lets calculate using the first yarn which cost $6.99 and has 150 yards. How much is the yarn per yard?

A = the price or 6.99

B = number of yards or 150

Let’s put those numbers into our equation.

6.99 / 150 = .0466

This yarn costs $0.05 per yard.

But the second selection of yarn cost $12.99 but has 400 yards. Is it cheaper than the first we calculated? Let’s see.

A = 12.99

B = 400

Using the equation above

12.99 / 400 = .0324

The second yarn cost $0.03 per yard.

The second yarn is cheaper per yard than the first. Therefore you will need to buy less of the second than the first.

*How many balls do I need to buy?*

Going by the example, the pattern calls for 1100 yards. You will just need to divide the amount of yarn needed by the number of yards in the ball. For this equation, we will use

D = number of yards needed for the pattern

E = number of yards in the ball of yarn you will use

F = number of balls of yarn needed

Now for the equation

D / E = F

Same equation. Different numbers for a different answer.

Let’s do both examples from before.

The first had 150 yards per ball.

D = number of yards needed or 1100

E = number yards in ball or 150

1100 / 150 = 7.33

Since the answer is over 7, you will need to buy 8 balls in order to have enough.

For the second, it has 400 yards

D = 1100

E = 400

1100 / 400 = 2.75

So you will need to buy only 3 balls of the second yarn.

*Which is the better deal?*

I suspect you already know which is the better deal, but let’s discuss why.

To see how much total you spend, you will just multiple the cost of the ball by the number of balls.

G = cost per ball

H = number of balls

J = total cost of the yarn for the project

The equation (x means to multiply)

G x H = J

For the first yarn,

G = 6.99 cost per ball

H = 8 balls needed

6.99 x 8 = 55.92

The first yarn will cost you $55.92 for this project.

Now for the second yarn.

G = 12.99

H = 3

12.99 x 3 = 38.97

The second yarn will cost you a total of $38.97.

**Wait… What??**

Even though the first yarn was cheaper per ball, the second yarn is the cheaper for the entire project. You will save $16.97 by buying the more expensive yarn.

What have we learned from this little lesson other than math is still confusing and what on earth did she mean by that?? Hopefully we have learned that just because some yarns cost more than others, we save money by buying the more expensive yarn because it has more yards. Some don’t. Some do. Just be sure to check that label for the yardage before ignoring a pricier yarn. And never leave your calculator at home!

Never have an empty loom and Happy Knitting!!

Thank you for this information! Most of us need some helpful tips!

Thank you for the formulas or is that formulae? I forgot my Latin too.

Not all costs of WOOL yarn can be calculated simply with math. I own sheep and in no way can I compete with cheap overseas yarn, I’m not talking about the quality of the yarn, but the costs to produce it. I raise and shear my sheep humanely, the hay farmer and shearer make a living wage, and the environment is not negatively impacted. So, my yarn costs twice that from Peru etc. Not complaining (well maybe a little) just trying to shed a little light on the issue. Dye dumped in rivers, shearers that can’t feed their children, and sheep that are mishandled produce wool for 5 bucks a skein.