Yarn Meter
Nancy's Knit Knacks is pleased to announce the introduction of the Generation II Yarn Meter

The Yarn Meter is out-of-stock until later in January

Yarn Meter 2013

Our new Yarn Meter has a built-in tensioner. This allows the user to add the correct level of tension on their yarn to ensure that the meter works properly.  This new unit can also be used to tension yarn in any application. It does not need to be used with the meter (simply remove the meter).


This is the original yarn meter with wooden guide posts. Over 10,000 of these were sold during the last decade. These will no longer be shipped.


Our yarn meter is useful whenever you want to measure the length of yarn, string, or other material. 

Accuracy - the meter measures the length in FEET. It does not measure in Yards, You simply divide the number displayed by 3 to arrive at the number of yards that have been measured.

The meter is a Fishing Meter and is used by fishermen to measure how far and/or how deep they have cast their line during fishing. It is not a commercial meter and its accuracy is less than 100%. If you need a meter that is extremely accurate, then look at our Electronic Yarn Meter which has been built from the ground up by NKK. It measures in meters and yards (as well as weight).

The Yarn Meter above, however, fills a need to enable knitters to measure the length of their yarn.

This new generation 2 version increases the accuracy and reliability quite substantially by means of the onboard yarn  tensioner. Prior to this development, the user had to run the yarn through their hand to apply back tension to the yarn prior to entering the meter. Or the user could use our Yarn Meter Plus which had an array of tensioning dowels. This new variable adjusting meter, however, replaces the Yarn Meter Plus as well as the standard meter.

 Yarn Meter   Yarn Meter

Price for Yarn Meter $60.00


Spare Parts

Table Clamp Assembly
"L" Bolt, Clamp Block, wing nut (limit of 1)
Note: this is already included with the meter assy. This unit is for anyone who needs to replace a lost clamp assy. $5.50
Replacement Meter (plastic meter only, not wooden base or clamp)  $19.00


Note: this meter is used in the fishing industry to measure fishing line. It has been produced in high volume for years. Because it is used by fishermen, it can be lightly rinsed out to remove yarn fuzz with no damage to the meter. We modify the meter slightly to better accommodate yarn. Do not use meters available in sporting goods stores since they will not have been modified for yarn use.


Available through shops and catalogs  nationwide plus online at Nancy's Knit Knacks.

Questions? Send us an email

Are you having problems in using the Yarn Meter?

The secret to using the yarn meter is TENSION. You need to add the right amount of continuous tension on both sides of the meter in order to ensure an accurate measurement.

We have diagnosed most all of the possible glitches that can occur when using the yarn meter and offer the following Do's and DON'T to our users.

Ideal setup

  • Yarn meter attached to table.
  • Ball winder positioned about 10-16" from the meter.
  • The yarn guide on the ball winder turned sideways toward the meter.
  • The swift should be inline with meter as much as possible*.
  • The yarn ball on floor slightly to the left of the meter yarn guide tower*.
  • This setup can be reversed if desired.

* - please note that the swift and ball winder can be positioned out of alignment with the meter since the meter can accommodate various angles of incoming and outgoing yarn from its yarn guide towers. HOWEVER, each time you change the direction of yarn, you apply tension to it and this will cause the ball to wind tighter and will produce more drag on the yarn making it more difficult to wind. THEREFORE, try to keep these devices in approximate alignment with the meter.

This section assumes that you have properly positioned the yarn in the meter and that yarn placement IS NOT the cause of the problem. Be sure that the yarn is turning the number wheels when it is pulled through. If it isn't, then the yarn is either not inserted properly OR the meter is defective**


Do not pull the yarn through by hand. Use a ball winder. The ball winder provides a more continuous and steady tension on the yarn and most importantly, eliminates the stop and go of manually pulling the yarn through.

  • At one time in the past, we indicated to users that they could measure their yarn while sitting and knitting. We have since retracted that recommendation because of the inaccurate readings that manually pulling the yarn through the meter can cause.

Do not position the ball winder too close to the meter. Give the yarn a reasonable distance to exit the meter and enter the ball winder, otherwise there may be too much tension on the ball.

If the yarn ball is too tight after winding it, that could mean that one  of the following problems exist:

  1. Something is obstructing the yarn from flying freely through the meter to the ball winder.
  2. Make sure the source of the yarn is not wound too tightly or has snagging problems.
  3. Make sure you are not holding the yarn too tightly prior to going into the meter.
  4. Make sure you are not changing the direction of the yarn too many times between the yarn source and ball winder.
  5. If using our Yarn Tensioner, make sure you do not have the yarn wrapping around too many of the dowels.

Yarn Measurements are inconsistent and short

Tension, Tension, Tension - you do not have enough tension on the yarn on either the yarn source end or the pulling end (or worse, on both).

Most users who report this as a problem are typically making one or more of the following mistakes:

  • Pulling yarn through by hand.
  • Not holding (and applying back tension to) the yarn prior to it entering the meter (not necessary if using our optional Yarn Tensioner).
  • Using really lightweight yarns (lace or lighter ) or threads. we recommend that you use our Tensioner if you are primarily using lightweight threads or yarns with our meter.
  • You may have accumulated too much fiber from the yarn around the drive wheel axle. Remove the front screw and inspect the axle. It should turn freely. If not, carefully remove any fiber residue in that area.

Remember, if you were simply ball winding your yarn, you would normally hold it and apply tension prior to the yarn being wrapped by the ball winder. Well, guess what? The same dynamics that affect the ball winder and the yarn come into play with our meter. You need to apply tension to the yarn or something will not work properly. In our case, inadequate tension will cause the meter to MEASURE SHORT because the yarn is literally flying over the drive wheel inside the meter and not making proper contact.

This drive wheel problem is made worse by thin or lightweight yarns. Fortunately, tension solves all of these problems.

You can apply tension by hand or with our Yarn Tensioner. Either way, the meter will record a very accurate measurement if the proper tension is applied to the yarn prior to going through the meter and by the ball winder pulling it through. So, if your meter is measuring short, you need to apply more tension.

Still having problems? Please call us!


** Defective Meter - if the number wheels do not turn at all and you are sure the yarn is engaging the drive wheel properly, your meter may be defective. We will replace meters during the first 90 days of use if they have not been abused by the user. Thereafter, we can sell you a replacement meter (the clamp and wood base do not need to be replaced). Please note that we modify each meter specifically for improved yarn usage and meters bought at your local fishing store will not have this important modification. 

Contact us for more info



Note: a Ball Winder is REQUIRED for proper use of this device

Yarn Meter Tips

Having problems
using the Meter?

Certain yarns which are "lumpy" may not work since their lumpy sections will not pass through the meter assembly properly. Wide Ribbon yarns may occasionally not work properly. We have run ribbon yarns up to 1/4" wide through the meter successfully (see ribbon yarn section below).


Yarn Tensioner
a great add-on product if you use lightweight yarns and threads or if you simply want to make the process easier (hands free ball winding)