Thursday, July 18, 2013

Size Matters!

I'm betting THAT headline got your attention!

"How long does it take you to make an afghan?" (or a doily .... or a scarf ... or a poncho ... etc.)  The answer is always ..., let me repeat, always ... "it depends."

It depends not so much on the pattern, but on the size of the thread/yarn and the size of the needle.  In this article, I will try to help illustrate.  Be warned:  I love to "do the math"!

The squares in this picture were all made with the same pattern.  

Square #1 and Square #2 were made with the same size hook, a yarn hook size "E", but with different size yarns.  

Square #1 is 3.00" wide.  
Square #2 is 3.75" wide.  

How does this affect the time it takes to make an afghan? 

If we are planning a 48"x48" afghan, we would have to make 256 of the square #1 (16 squares per row x 16 rows), but only 169 of the square #2 (13 squares per row x 13 rows).

What non-crafters many times fail to understand is that it takes the same amount of time to make the square, regardless of the size of the needle/yarn. They assume the smaller square takes less time.  It is quite the opposite, when talking about the final product.  

The difference is the end result size, not the time it takes to make each square. Let's assume 45 minutes per square.  For square #1, 256 squares x 45 minutes each = 11,520 minutes or 192 hours.  For square #2, 169 squares x 45 minutes each = 7605 minutes or 127 hours. That's a different of 65 hours.  

I don't know about you but making gifts for my friends is not a full time job.  65 hours, assuming I get to spend 2 hours a day on my friend's project, means it will take me an extra 21 days .... 3 weeks ..... to make a 48"x48" afghan using square #1 vs. square #2.

A quick comparison/summary of the squares in the photo:

  • Square #1 and square #2 were made with the same needle (sizes "E") but different yarns.  #1 is 3" wide and #2 is 3.75" wide.
  • Square #2 and square #3 were made with the same yarn but different needles.  #2 was made with size "E" and #3 was made with size "H".  The size differences are 3.75" vs. 4.5".
  • Square #3 and square #4 were made with the same needle (size "H") but different yarn. The size differences are 4.5" vs. 6".

A quick summary of how this impacts your time on the project, assuming a 48"x48" afghan and assuming 45 minutes per square:
  • Square #1: will take 256 squares and 192 hours.
  • Square #2: will take 169 squares and 127 hours.
  • Square #3: will take 121 squares and   91 hours.
  • Square #4: will take   64 squares and   48 hours.

I will "do the math" on different yarn sizes in an upcoming article.


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