One of the most popular types of knitting patterns out there is baby blankets. One of my first big projects ever, when I was in high school, was a baby blanket I knit for a friend of the family who was having a baby (I ended up keeping it after it won Grand Champion at the county fair, but that's another story).
And while there are tons of cute knitting patterns for baby blankets out there, it's not too difficult to go your own way and design your own baby blanket based on a simple stitch pattern or a smaller version of a large afghan design.
Or maybe you have a specific yarn already and you can't find a pattern to work with it and you aren't sure if you even have enough to make a blanket with.
General Baby Blanket Yardage Estimates
The first guideline when it comes to estimating how much yarn will need for a project should be pretty easy to grasp: the thicker the yarn, the less of it you will need. Bigger stitches take up more space, after all, so you will need fewer of them to make the same amount of blanket (or anything else) than you would of, say, lace-weight stitches.
That's a good thing to keep in mind if, for instance, you see a pattern you like but maybe it's written for sport weight yarn and you want to use worsted. You won't need as much yardage as the pattern calls for if you adjust the size down accordingly (because if you just cast on the number of stitches called for, your blanket will be bigger and thus need more yarn).
The other thing to keep in mind is that yardage estimates for blankets or anything else tend to be based on knitting Stockinette Stitch at the standard gauge for that yarn weight. If you're planning a blanket with a highly textured stitch pattern or cables, you will need considerably more yarn. If you're thinking lace or planning to work with much larger needles than usual, you might need less.
It can be a little tricky to estimate exactly how much yarn you'll need to make your own blanket, since patterns can vary widely, but here are some basic guidelines to get you started:
- Sock weight: 1,300 yards
- Sport weight: 1,200 yards
- Light weight: 1,100 yards
- Worsted weight: 1,000 yards
- Bulky weight: 900 yards
Again these are just estimates, and its always a good idea to grab an extra ball of yarn just in case, but these yardage requirements should give you enough yarn for basic a blanket around 36 inches/94 cm around.
A More Thorough Estimate
If you want to know more exactly how much yarn you need, knit a large swatch using the yarn, needles and stitch pattern you intend to use.
Launder as you will the finished blanket, then measure the actual dimensions of the swatch as well as your gauge. Determine how many pieces of knitting of that size you'll need to complete your blanket.
Example: if you knit a 6x6 inch/15x15 cm square and you want a 36x36 inch/94x94 cm blanket, you'll need 36 squares of that size to make the blanket (6 rows of 6 squares each).
Unravel your swatch and measure the yardage it took. Multiply by the number of squares you need to determine your yardage. If, say, your 6-inch square took 50 yards, you'd need 1,800 yards to complete the blanket.