How Much Does It Cost to Knit a Sweater?

You’re ready to tackle the big one–a sweater pattern–but before you dive in, you need to know how much does it cost to knit a sweater?

It’s a complicated answer, but I’ll get you started with a ballpark cost in a few different price ranges. Then I’ll dive into how to get the exact numbers using the yarn and pattern you choose!

How much does it cost to knit a sweater?

How Much Yarn Do I Need for A Sweater?

Yarn WeightYardageMeters
Fingering, Sport, & DK1500 yds1370 m
Worsted & Aran1200 yds1100 m

(How did I get these number? Scroll to the bottom!)

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to be dealing in yards, but the same price applies to meters, as do the principles.

Now that we’ve got that established, let’s get some numbers!

How much does it cost to knit a sweater?

How much does it cost to knit a sweater with DK weight bargain yarn?

Using the median yardage needed for a sweater and Lion Brand Truboo, a yarn you can find at your local Walmart or Michaels, a knit sweater would cost $48.93. Now let’s break that down!

Truboo has 241 yds/220 m in a skein. 1500/241 = 6.22, but since you can’t buy a partial skein, you’ll need to buy 7 skeins. A skein of Truboo at Michaels is $6.99. So 7×6.99=$48.93.

Now if you shop sales or have a good coupon, you may be able to get it even cheaper!

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How much does it cost to knit a sweater with worsted weight bargain yarn?

Red Heart Super Saver & Caron One Pound are the grandmothers of bargain yarn. You’ll be hard pressed to find a cheaper dollar per yard. And while I can’t in good conscious recommend knitting a sweater in bargain acrylic, I want to give you the cheapest price out there for knitting a sweater—which is $17.96.

Red Heart Super Saver has 364 yds / 333 m per skein, meaning you’ll need 4 skeins to complete a 1200 yd project. At $4.49 per skien, that brings your project price to $17.96.

How much does it cost to knit a sweater?

Why do I not recommend knitting a sweater in a bargain acrylic?

  • It’s going to feel like wearing a trash bag. Acrylic = plastic, so making a sweater out of a heavy weight acrylic is going to make you sweat… a lot.
  • It’s going to wear out fast. You’re going to put a lot of time and effort into this sweater and you don’t want it to pill to pieces after the first few wears.

Now I don’t want to just dish on inexpensive acrylic, it’s great for blankets, accessories, and any item you plan to donate. And there are also good acrylics out there that are soft and anti-pilling so they can stand up to the hard wear of a sweater.

I just want you to have the facts. Knowledge is power people!

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How much does it cost to knit a sweater with DK weight mid-range yarn?

I always look to Knit Picks for a great mid-range yarn. You can get natural fibers at reasonable prices. Knitting a sweater in Knit Picks Swish DK—a scrumptiously soft Merino wool—would cost you $90.87.

At 123 yds per $6.99 skein, you’d need 13 skeins.

Knit Picks has a wide range of yarns from bargain acrylic to bargain luxury (think cashmere for $9.99 a skein). You’ll see every kind of fiber and fiber combo. You’ll see a range from unbelieveably soft to not so much and hard wearing to suited only for accessories.

If you’re looking for something specific, let me know and I’ll be happy to make a recommendation!  Otherwise, of all their yarns I’ve worked with, my favorite is High Desert for both softness and hardwearing. A worsted weight sweater would cost you $113.94.

How much does it cost to knit a sweater?

How much does it cost to knit a sweater with worsted weight mid-range yarn?

Blue Sky Fibers is a great little company that sits somewhere between mid-range and a bit more luxury. The depth of their colors is phenomenal—especially the heathered shades of their Woolstok Worsted yarn. How much does it cost to knit a sweater in Woolstok Worsted? Why just $85.

At 123 yds per 50 g skein, you’ll need 10 skeins to complete the median sweater. You can still find Woolstok Worsted for $8.50, which will give you the $85 sweater. But some places are raising their prices up to $9.25, which would bring your price to $92.50.

A note on Woolstok Worsted, this is a woolen spun yarn meaning it’s got a lot of fluff and air due to how they prepare the fibers prior to spinning. This type of yarn is super warm, but it also doesn’t feel as soft on first touch. And while I wouldn’t consider Woolstok Worsted next-to-skin soft, I will say that after washing and wearing my Fire Line cardigan a few times, I was truly amazed at how much the yarn had softened.

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A Note On “Luxury” Yarn

There are many, many degrees, types, and price points in luxury yarn. It could be luxury because it’s hand dyed in small batches by a small but dedicated team of indie dyers. It could be luxury because it has a high end fiber like cashmere, yak, or vicuna. Or it could be how it’s spun—creating handspun-like colorways.

I’ve seen $54 hanks of yarn. Yup. For real.

But most luxury or high-end fall in the $32-$35 range per skein… but the yardage varies greatly!

How much does it cost to knit a sweater?

How much does it cost to knit a sweater with DK weight luxury yarn?

I am more than a little obsessed with MCN—merino/cashmere/nylon—because it’s phenomenally soft and it’s got a great shine and drape. So it’s no surprise that for this comparison I picked Magpie Fibers Swanky DK.

How much would this artisanally-dyed MCN sweater cost? At $34 per 250 yd skein, it’s gonna run you $204 with not a yard to spare. To get that spare skein (in case you don’t hit gauge perfectly) it would cost $238. 

That’s why it’s a luxury!

I have 2 MCN sweaters only by the grace of all my family pooling their Christmas gift money on 2 different Christmases. I regret nothing 😉

How much does it cost to knit a sweater with worsted weight luxury yarn?

Spincycle Yarns is an iconic company produces unique and brilliant colorways that mimic handspun yarns. The colors are ever changing and self-striping. The yarn is absolutely gorgeous (though not especially soft). A sweater made entirely out of their Dream State yarn will cost you $288.

At $36 per 150 yd skein, you’d need 8 skeins to hit 1200 yds exactly. To get that spare skein, just in case, the sweater would cost you $324.

To Review the Ballpark Cost to Knit A Sweater

 DK Weight SweaterWorsted Weight Sweater
Bargain Yarn$48.93$17.96
Mid-range Yarn$90.87$85
Luxury Yarn$204$288

Now that you’ve got some rough numbers for each yarn range, let’s get you the exact figures to determine how much a sweater will cost using the yarn you want and the pattern you want.

So how much does it cost to knit my sweater?

If you want to knit Size 4 of Elderwild, a single-color, modified drop shoulder pullover in worsted weight yarn, you’ll need 1095 yds.

You have found the perfect shade of Malabrigo Rios, which is $16 for 210 yds and want to know how much it will cost/how many skeins you’ll need.

Here’s the formula for determining how much it will cost to knit a sweater:

(Yardage of the pattern)/(Yardage of a single skein)=(round up to the next number) * (price of a single skein)=Cost to knit a sweater

For Elderwild Size 4 in Malabrigo, this looks like:

1095 / 210 = 5.21 à rounded up to 6 * 16 = $96

How much does it cost to knit a sweater?

Determining the cost of a sweater with multiple colors

Sweaters requiring multiple colors usually cost you a little more money and the more colors they have the more they will cost. This is because you will rarely get exact yardage and will have leftovers in each color. To determine the exact cost, you simply repeat the formula above for each color to determine the cost (and the number of skeins you need.)

If you want to knit size 5 of Falling Up, a 2-color simple colorwork sweater, you’ll need 1160 yds of the main color and 420 yds of a contrast color in DK weight yarn.

Say you’ve found the perfect contrasting shades in Cascades 220 Superwash, which costs $13.25 a skein for 219 yds.

Color 1 will cost you: 1160 / 219 = 5.29 à 6 * 13.25 = $79.50

Color 2 will cost you: 420 / 219 = 1.91 à 2 * 13.25 = $26.50

So the total cost of the sweater will be $106.

How much does it cost to knit a sweater?

Go Forth And Knit!

Now that you’ve been armed with enough math to give you horrific flashbacks of 9th grade algebra, you have everything you need to ballpark the cost of a sweater or to get the exact numbers. Check out the sweaters below to find your first (or next) sweater project!

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How I Found The Numbers for the Sweater Yardage

I did a deep dive on Ravelry, looking specifically at pullover sweater knitting patterns to get you the averages you’ll see below. If you want to know why exactly I choose DK or the median yardage for each weight, read on! Or skip to the Bargain Yarn section for the first price.

Of 95,500+ sweater knitting patterns on Ravelry to date, more than 24,000 of them use DK weight (weight 3) yarn—10k more than worsted (weight 4) or Aran (weight 5) and much more all other weights.

When I looked closely, I found that the median length of yarn used fell into one of 2 categories, so I chose to provide concrete examples for DK (the most used) and worsted (the most widely available in the US).

But in case you’ve fallen in love with a worsted or fingering weight yarn, check out the handy chart below for the median yardage used for the different weights of yarn!

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3 Responses

  1. I don’t think the title of your article matches the content lol. Just kidding, mainly because I had some doubts after reading the article.

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