Although we all know that with the same yarn small needles will produce a smaller piece of knitting than bigger needles will, and likewise using the same needles with a fine yarn will make a smaller piece of knitting than a thick yarn will, but what is the relationship between length of yarn and area of knitting when using different yarns or needles?
I knitted three test swatches, wetted and blocked them and then made a few measurements. Each swatch was 20 stitches wide, long-tail thumb method cast on, 11 rows of knitting and regular cast off, making a total of 280 stitches.
The yarns I used were King Cole Zig-Zag 4 ply which I measured at 21 wraps per inch and an unknown Aran weight acrylic which I measured at 14 wraps per inch.
(Ravelry suggest that 4 ply is 14 wpi and Aran is 8 wpi but I can never measure as few wraps as they suggest.)
|4 ply - 2mm needles||4 ply- 4 mm needles||Aran - 4mm needles|
|width of 10 sts||3.4 cm||5.8 cm||6.8 cm|
|Depth of 10 sts||2.4 cm||3.7 cm||4.0 cm|
|Area of 100 sts||8.18 sq cm||21.46 sq cm||27.2 sq cm|
|Length of yarn for 280 sts||2.38 m||5.06 m||5.89 m|
|Length of yarn for 100 sts||0.85 m||1.81 m||2.10 m|
|Area covered by 1m of yarn||9.62 sq cm||11.86 sq cm||12.95 sq cm|
Whilst just three swatches and sets of results does not constitute a proper scientific experiment it does suggest that increasing the needle size has more effect on the size of a piece of knitting than increasing the thickness/diameter of the yarn.