How To Read A Yarn Label (Step By Step)

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In this post, you will learn how to read a yarn label.

Every ball of yarn you purchase will be packaged with a printed label that includes useful information.

This will help you to determine whether or not it is suitable for your project.

Everything that you need to know will be written on the label – you just need to know where to look!

How to read a yarn label

Reading Yarn Labels For Beginners

Yarn companies include important information on the ball band label including knitting needle sizes, crochet hook size, knitting gauge, and laundry symbols.

Reading the yarn label will help you to find out the following information about the yarn:

  • The brand name/yarn name.
  • The yarn weight – if it is worsted, bulky, or jumbo for example.
  • What is the fiber content? – If it is 100% wool, cotton, acrylic, or mixed fibers.
  • The yarn length/yardage – For example, is 100g/80 meters/121 yards.
  • The needle and hook size are suitable to use with this yarn.
  • Gauge information – how many rows and stitches are in a 4×4 inch (10 cm x 10 cm) square?
  • How to wash (hand washes only etc).
  • The color and dye lot number.

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how to read a yarn label

What yarn is suitable for beginners?

To find suitable yarn for beginners, look for chunky/bulky/12-ply or super bulky/chunky/14-ply yarn.

This is a thicker yarn, perfect for those of you who are just starting to learn how to knit or crochet.

When you are learning how to knit and crochet the thicker yarn will make it easier for you to see your stitches and look for any mistakes.

the wool in grey from we are knitters

Reading yarn labels from different brands

Yarn labels will differ slightly from brand to brand with information not all in the same place.

But they will feature the same information that you need to find out to see if the skein of yarn you are looking at is suitable for your project or a particular pattern.

Some yarn labels even feature a tape measure or a free pattern on the inside as a little extra.

yarn in baskets on shelves

How To Read Yarn Labels

Different yarn brands have different yarn labels, but normally all of the information you will see below will be present.

Here is a breakdown of how to read a yarn label.

How To Read A Yarn Label

  1. The Brand Name/Yarn Name

    You will see the brand name of the yarn company that makes the yarn on the label as well as the name the yarn may have.
    In the example below, you can see that the company name is We Are Knitters and the yarn name is The Petite Wool.
    Brand name on yarn label

  2. Yarn Weight Category

    Look for the category that determines the yarn weight.
    Some but not all yarn labels will provide this information.
    It looks like a yarn ball illustration with a number on it.
    This number is given by the Craft Yarn Council and tells you the yarn weight category.
    For example, the number 6 will tell you that this yarn is super bulky weight/super chunky/14-ply yarn.
    Lace weight yarn is mainly used for knitting socks (sock yarn can also be fingering or DK).
    Learn more about yarn weights here – Yarn weight guide.
    The image below shows a Lion Brand yarn label.
    How to read yarn labels yarn weight

  3. The Fiber Content

    The label will tell you what the fibers are made from, this could be 100% wool, cotton, nylon, acrylic, or mixed fibers.
    The mixed fibers will normally show a list of the fibers included.
    fiber content on a yarn label

  4. The Yarn Length

    The ball or skein will normally say how much in grams for example 50g/100g/170g etc.
    It will also say on the label how much there is in meters and yards too.
    In most patterns, the designer gives you the quantities of yarn you need in grams, meters, or yards.
    This information will help you to find out how much yarn you need for your project and if it will be enough!
    how much yarn

  5. The Needle And Hook Size Suitable

    There is a lot of information that is helpful for the maker on the label, including the recommended knitting needle size and crochet hook sizes.
    You can see in the image below that the recommended hook and needle size is 8mm / US size 11.
    needle and hook size

  6. Gauge Information

    The label will include yarn gauge and tension information also – this will normally be shown in a 4×4 inch / 10 x 10 cm square.
    You will see the number of stitches and rows you can expect using the yarn and the recommended needle size in that square.
    The information below shows the knitting gauge and the crochet gauge.
    You can learn more about creating a gauge swatch here – How to measure gauge in knitting.
    Gauge information on a yarn label

  7. How To Wash

    The label will show you yarn care instructions, mainly how to clean your knitted piece once finished.
    You need to know if machine washing is ok or if it is hand washing only etc.
    You will normally see the standard laundry care symbols.
    Different types of yarn will have varying instructions about the care of the fibers.
    You can see the little symbols below – telling you that this yarn is hand wash only and giving some drying instructions.
    Some types of yarn fiber can be washed only in cold water, others need dry cleaning.
    care instructions yarn label

  8. The Color And Dye Lot Number

    You will see the yarn color/color name and dye lot number on there too.
    It’s best to get skeins/balls all with the same dye lot number – because if you get a batch with a different dye lot there will be a slight variation in the color.
    When working on a knitting project like a sweater you will need to make sure all of the yarn you buy is the same dye lot so it can blend together.
    color and dye lot number

  9. Should I Keep My Yarn Labels?

    Yes! I would keep them and wrap a piece of the yarn around them so that you can remember what you used for a particular project.
    I normally staple the labels together that I used for larger projects like sweaters, so I know how many skeins or balls I needed.
    Plus you have any important information like laundry care instructions.
    You can store the labels in a couple of ways, for one skein project you could place them into a ring-bound notebook with a piece of the yarn next to it. This is also helpful if you keep notes and sketches.
    For a larger project, staple them together, then wrap a length of the yarn around them, and keep them in a basket.
    You never know when you will need this valuable information.

Close up of a yarn label

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Happy Knitting!

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