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Do you look at labels on yarn and feel nothing about confusion?

Well look no further! In this post we’re going to break down yarn labels and hopefully bring a bit of clarity next time you head to the yarn store.

When I first began knitting and crocheting the one thing I wished I had was a comprehensive guide to what all of it meant. I didn’t know how to pick yarn or hooks and needles. I didn’t know that yarn came in different materials or that you should use different fibers for different projects. So I compiled a list of things I wish I knew.

This is a guide showing how I break down a yarn label to the beginning of a new project.

If you are a beginner and have never picked up a crochet hook or knitting needles before check out this post first.

If you are in the right place, let’s get started!

In this post we will discuss how to read a yarn label and what to do next.

If you are working from a pattern all these questions will probably be answered for you. Most patterns will give you at least an idea of how much yarn you will need, the kind of yarn to use for the project and what size needles or hooks to use. Some patterns will even give you the best alternatives and other yarn options to try. For some tips on how to read a pattern check out this post. Patterns will even give you a gauge, which I’ll discuss here.

But even if a pattern will answer these questions, it’s important to still know how to read a yarn label and how to pick a yarn for a project if you want to substitute what’s called for in the pattern or try to make something from scratch. It’s helpful to be able to look at the yarn itself and the yarn label and understand what you’re looking at.

YARDAGE

Every yarn label will tell you how much yarn is in the skein (rhymes with rain) or hank you’re buying. The amount of yarn should be shown in ounces and grams and yards and meters. The label might also include a guide to tell you approximately how many skeins you need for different projects.

Almost all skeins have a different yardage so be sure to check the label. Your pattern will tell you how much yarn you will need, but you may need to use a bit of math to figure out how many skeins to get.

Ex. How to figure out how much yarn to buy

The pattern calls for 450 yards of yarn and your chosen yarn has 120 yards

450 / 120 = 3.75

Go ahead and round that up to 4

You’re going to need four skeins of yarn

YARN COMPOSITION: WHAT’S IT MADE OF?

Yarns can be made of many different fibers. They can be natural, artificial, or a blend.

Natural fibers can be animal or plant fibers. Animal fibers tend to be more pricey than plant fibers or artificial fibers. Animal fiber is wool, and can be sheep or alpaca. Plant fibers are made from things like cotton or bamboo. These animal fibers are great for garments and home décor items. You can use 100% natural fibers for things like dish cloths, which are a great beginner project when you’re just learning to knit or crochet. These fibers are also great for the environment.

Artificial fibers are often made from acrylic or polyester. These fibers are great if you or whomever you’re making for has a wool allergy. These fibers are more affordable and are available in many more colors than natural fibers. This makes them way more accessible. These fibers make long lasting and durable projects. You can find artificial fibers almost anywhere that sells yarn.

Natural and artificial blends bring many of these qualities together for one fun yarn. Wool blends are my personal favorite to work with. Blends come in different compositions like 80% / 20% or 70% / 30%. These fibers tend to be more of a mid priced option, more expensive than artificial yet less than natural.

Acrylic – versatile, affordable, durable. Easy care and machine washable

Wool – very warm, machine washable and sustainable fiber

Cotton – strong and soft, light weight. Great for home décor projects, like dishcloths and trivets. Often used for summer knitwear items.

YARN WEIGHT OR SIZES

This is the most important part, in my opinion. Also it can be the hardest to understand due to all the different ways yarn size can be explained.

Yarn weight DOES NOT refer to the actual, physical weight of the yarn skein, but rather the size of the strands themselves.

Check out the chart below to see some explanations on verbiage.

Different sizes of yarn are used for different kinds of projects. Most patterns call for size 4 (Medium) or Worsted Weight, 5 (Bulky), or 6 (Super Bulky) weight yarn. Projects made with smaller yarns tend to take longer to knit or crochet and use a smaller hook or needles. The larger the yarn the larger the tool you will use.

HOW TO CHOOSE A CROCHET HOOK OR KNITTING NEEDLES

Choosing your fiber tool comes down to one main thing, size. There are many different types of hooks and needles but when it comes to what material you should use, it’s really up to you. Different people prefer different materials. Some prefer aluminum and others prefer wood or plastic. I personally prefer Clover branded products for both crochet hooks and knitting needles.

Their crochet hooks are ergonomic, which just means it has a padded handle. The handle helps prevent hand pain and cramping, which means you can crochet for longer! Crochet hooks come in many different sizes but your yarn label will recommend the size to use with the yarn you purchased. If you are following a pattern, it will also recommend a crochet hook size. There is tons of room for experimentation but we’ll save that for another day.

Look below for a chart on which hooks go with which yarns.

Knitting needles also come in many different sizes and your pattern will recommend which needles to use. The label will also recommend a size for you to use.

The chart below shows recommended hook and needle sizes for the different yarn types.

Crochet hooks and knitting needles have a metric measurement and US size (because America will never use the metric system), which makes it kind of confusing to understand. Crochet hooks are especially confusing to me because the US sizing is in letters and numbers.

CONCLUSION

There are the basics of deciphering your yarn label! Some parts are a bit tricky but once you get the hang of it you’ll love it, I promise.

Understanding how to read and interpret yarn labels is a crucial skill for any knitter or crocheter. While it might seem daunting at first, breaking down the components of a yarn label can help you choose the right yarn for your project and ensure a successful crafting experience. From determining the yardage to understanding the yarn composition and weight, each detail plays a significant role in the outcome of your creation.

Remember, the information on yarn labels is there to guide you, so don’t hesitate to refer to it when you’re exploring new projects or looking for suitable yarn substitutions. Additionally, if you ever find yourself confused, there are always resources available to help you navigate the world of yarn crafting.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need further guidance!