Adjustable Shawl Tools: Love Your Kitchen Scale!

We all have this one particular skein of gorgeous yarn in our stash. This adorable hank we stumbled upon just browsing in our yarn store, or maybe this special skein of pure awesomeness you got your hands on during a yarn show nearby. But as it’s sitting there idle in our stash we keep feeling guilty – we need to knit something with it! But it’s just this one skein, so how to make sure not to run out of yarn while knitting? The answer is simple: We need to make use of the most important one of our adjustable shawl tools: Our kitchen scale. Let’s turn this precious yarn into something beautiful!

Love Your Kitchen Scale: It’s Not For Baking Only

Imagine you found a lovely skein of hand dyed lace weight yarn you plan to knit a shawl with, let’s say an adjustable square shawl for instance. Unfortunately, it’s one of a kind and you only got one. How do you make sure not to run out of yarn in the middle of your knitting project?

The answer is simple: as soon as you have used half of your skein. But how to know when you used up half of it – by magic? Counting yards? Or by measuring it?

Nothing sounds very practical so far. But we got the solution: The most useful adjustable shawl tool is nothing fancy, but just your ordinary kitchen scale.

Yardage And Weight Are Related

Before you start knitting, put your skein on the scale and weigh it. Take notes of its yardage (look on the yarn label for its yardage, or count wraps per inch if you’re using hand spun yarn) and its weight.Not because we don’t trust the yarn company and want to make sure we really got the four ounces we paid for, but to know exactly how much yarn we got for our project. These notes are the basis for all further calculations and will help you tremendously making sure not to run out of yarn in the middle of a project

The yarn label should state weight and yardage. By weighing your skein you now know exactly how many yards you got – because you now know its weight.

Using our previous example of an adjustable square shawl worked diagonally we now know we need to start working decreases when the kitchen scale reads half of the original yarn weight.

Kitchen Scales in Action

My kitchen scale is a cobalt blue beauty and displays weigh by grams (I could change that on its back but hey, I’m from Europe and metric units are used here). When I started to design the Blue Milk shawl the first thing was to weigh the hand spun yarn to know what my starting point was – 157 grams. That’s what the whole skein weighed before I started to knit a stitch.

Adjustable Shawl tools - use your kitchen scale

I took notes about weight and how many rows into the project during the design process. This looks like the picture below.

Adjustable Shawl tools - use your kitchen scale

By keeping track of how much yarn I already used up I make sure not to run out of yarn before finishing a project – ever. And the most important tool for this purpose is my kitchen scale.

Any questions so far? If yes, feel free to drop me a comment!

Tools for adjustable shawls: your kitchen scale is more important than you might think

10 thoughts on “Adjustable Shawl Tools: Love Your Kitchen Scale!

  • Kathleen Johnson

    A problem of using bought patterns is that They often do not give either weight or yardage actually used. That makes it still a guessing game if you are trying to use up stash. Say you have a remainder that weights 220 gms. but the weight of the yarn recommended is 2 balls of 115 gms, do you have enough? If designers or blogs would indicate how much was left over or the weight of the finished garment you would have a good idea how much yarn was actually used. Just a sore point for me!

  • I love your concept, and that you are sharing this common sense method. It gives much more freedom to be creative, better than a pattern and builds confidence. Thank you for the vision of “adjustable shawls.”

  • Mary-Margaret Schlais

    I purchased a digital postal scale to use exclusively for my knitting, especially socks don’t want to run out on the second one.

  • Susan Benesch

    Thank you very much for the reminder tip. I had forgotten all about this.

  • Denise Hofer

    Are you assuming the yardage is correct on the label? Or do you remeasure your yardage? Do you measure off one yard and weigh it? Not sure I trust the label for my yardage.

  • Do you have a tutorial on estimating the yardage needed for a shawl? I want to use expensive hand dyed yarn and don’t know how much to buy. I am making a rectangular shawl about 30″ X 72″ in fingering weight yarn. Is there a formula I can use? Thanks.

    • Julia Dressler

      Myra, I’m working on a tool for yardage estimation. I’ll let you know when it’s available!

  • I couldn’t knit without my scale! It’s saved me from many disasters.

  • Pingback: Knitting Adjustable Shawls and Making Shawls Adjustable - knitting.today

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