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Calculating Yarn for Weaving a Scarf

How much yarn do you need for Weaving a Scarf?

A 3-yard warp is sufficient for a 72″ scarf, allowing 1 yard for take up and loom waste, including fringe, on a shaft loom. On a rigid heddle loom, a 2.5-yard warp is sufficient.
Scarves are generally between 4 and 10 inches in width.
Sett is hard to determine, although you can usually wrap a few strands around your finger to roughly figure out how many strands are in one half inch.
Weft yardage is about two thirds of the warp yardage.

Do your best to estimate a sett by wrapping a finger for about a half inch.

I normally do the math in my head but you could use your phone’s calculator to do a better job.

If you want to use the skein only for warp: Divide the number of yards in the skein by 3 yards for a shaft loom or 2.5 yards for a rigid-heddle loom. That number divided by your sett will determine the width.

An example: A skein of 250 yards divided by 3 yards yields about 80 warp threads. If you sett it at 10 epi, that would mean an 8-inch-wide warp. The same skein of yarn would yield about 100 warp threads on a rigid-heddle loom, or a 10-inch wide warp (250 divided by 2.5).

If you want to know how many yards you need for warp and weft, approach the calculation a little differently. Multiply your estimated sett by the desired width; then multiply by 3 yards or (2 .5 yards) to see how many yards you need for the warp. For weft, estimate two thirds of the warp yardage. Add the 2 together for the total number of yards needed for a scarf.

An example: If your estimated sett is 10, and you want a 10″ scarf, multiply 10 by 10 to get 100 warp threads. Multiplying 100 warp threads times your 3 yard warp length equals 300 yards. Two thirds of 300 is 200. Therefore, you need 500 yards (or 2 skeins of 250 yards each) to weave a 10 x 72″ scarf on a shaft loom.

For a rigid heddle loom, multiplying 100 warp threads times your 2.5 yard warp length equals 250 yards. Two thirds of 250 yards is roughly 160 yards. Therefore you need 410 yards to weave the same scarf. You’ll still need to purchase 2 skeins but you’ll have more left over for your next project.

These types of calculations are estimates at best but if you are at all flexible in length and width they will help you buy your next souvenir skein or skeins with more confidence.

Susan E. Horton

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