How to Calculate Yarn Count

yarn image by Liz Van Steenburgh from

Determine the yarn count of your unknown cones of yarn with a simple set of measurements and calculations. The yarn count is a measurement of how thick yarn is. Yarn with a lower count is thicker, while yarn with a higher count is finer. To calculate the yarn count you first need to know what fiber your yarn is made from, such as wool, cotton or linen.

Yarns come in different thickness.
yarn image by Liz Van Steenburgh from

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring Tape
  • Postage Or Kitchen Scale

Weigh 1 pound of yarn using a postage or kitchen scale.

Measure the length of the weighed yarn using the measuring tape.

Convert the total length into the appropriate unit for the type of yarn. For example, the unit for cotton is the hank, which is 840 yards. So, a cotton yarn with 8,400 yards in a pound would be 10 hanks. This conversion is approximate and should come to a round number. Choose the number closest to the conversion. So, a yarn with 7,980 yards in a pound would still come to 10 hanks.

Count the number of plies, or strands, in the yarn. The yarn count is the number of plies/number of units. For example, if the cotton yarn is two ply, its count is 2/10 cotton.


  • To speed up measuring, weigh out 1/10 pound of the yarn, and multiple your length measurement by ten.