What is a Yarn Meter?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
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  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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A yarn meter is a tool used by crafters and fabric artists who work with yarn. The purpose of a yarn meter is to quickly and accurately measure a length of yarn. This tool comes in handy for determining if there is enough yarn to complete a pattern, especially if the original label is missing, and also to eliminate wasted yarn. A yarn meter can also be used to measure the amount of yarn being loaded to a take-up device.

A typical yarn meter has two posts mounted on either side of a slotted, visual counter, which yarn is threaded through. Mounted on a base, usually made of wood, the entire yarn meter can be mounted or clamped to a crafting table or workbench for ease of use. A digital yarn meter, which is typically used in textile manufacturing, measures the length of yarn being uploaded to a mechanical take-up device before production begins.

For fabric crafts such as knitting and crocheting, a yarn meter allows users to measure the lengths of leftover or mystery yarn, helping them to determine if there is enough yarn to complete a pattern. A yarn meter measures yarn in lengths of feet, most measuring up to 999 feet. Yarn is threaded into a slot and pulled through, guided by tiny rollers inside that count the number of rotations, translating into the length of yarn as displayed on the counter.


Pairing a yarn meter with a ball winder, users can also make balls of yarn, label them, and thus, quickly and efficiently organize yarn remnants in their crafting supplies. A typical yarn meter can be purchased at many fabric and specialty craft stores, as well as online. Pricing varies, but is typically between $50.00 and $60.00 US Dollars. Most varieties are sold with a case of some sort for storing or transporting to classes or group projects.


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Post 5

Measuring yarn with a niddy-noddy can be aided with a pedometer clipped to your sock or shoe. First learn how much of a heel tap gets a consistent count. Then, using the niddy noddy, learn to tap your heel each cycle. Instant yardage count.

Post 4

The fish line counter gives a short count on yarns bigger than small crochet yarn. You cannot use the counter's clamp down wire unless you want to damage your yarn. Mechanical counters cause you to tension the yarn to work. Less tension with counters with a larger, lightweight wheel and larger guide loop wire.

Post 2

Yarn length can also be measured using a niddy noddy, skein winder, or any thing else around which yarn can be wound and the strands counted. Just wind the yarn, count the strands and multiply by the distance around.

Post 1

A line meter designed for fishing poles can be used to measure most yarns. There's also a tool called a McMorran Yarn Balance that is used to calculate yardage without rewinding yarn which is useful for larger quantities of yarn.

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