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Calculating Wool Quantities

This can be very tricky to work out.  The information below provides a rough guide to calculating how much wool you might need for a project.


More wool is required for each colour when stitching a pattern, rather than a block of solid colour.  This is because there is more starting and finishing and the thread is carried on the back of the canvas between areas of the same colour. 


The table below shows two figures for each combination of canvas and stitch type, using a 10m skein of tapestry wool.  The higher figure represents the number of square inches/cm you can stitch in a solid block with a skein of tapestry wool.  The lower figure is a guide to the likely number of square inches/cm you could cover with a skein if you are stitching a pattern.  This is purely indicative as it will be very dependent on the pattern.


If using a stitch other than a tent stitch, the best option is to stitch a square inch/5cm square, keeping account of how much wool is used and using this as your guide.


If using a 25m skein of crewel wool, bear in mind that if used double, then the measurements will be approximately the same as tapestry, but if more or less than two strands are used in the needle, these measurements will need to be halved or doubled accordingly.

                                                      10hpi                             12hpi                              14hpi

Half cross stitch                        10.5-13" sq                       9-12" sq                             7-9.3" sq

                                                      26.5-33cm sq                  23-30.5cm sq                  18-23.5cm sq

Continental tent stitch            7.3-9.5" sq                        5.7-7.8" sq                         4.5-6.3" sq

                                                      18.5-24cm sq                  14.5-18cm sq                   11.5-16cm sq

Basketweave stitch                  6.8-9" sq                          5-6.5" sq                           4-5" sq

                                                      17-23cm sq                     12-16cm sq                      11-14cm sq

To use:

  • Work out the area of the finished piece.

  • Guess the proportion of each colour.

  • Use this guess to calculate the number of square inches/cm you need for each colour.

  • Use the table above to work out how many skeins you will need for each colour.

  • If you're using Appletons' wool, work out if you should get skeins or hanks.  Appleton hanks are equivalent to approximately 6 skeins.

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