How to read a Yarn Label?

I guess you have come across signs that seem to communicate something, but you can't make head or tail of it.

Not to mention whoever came up with these universal signs wanted them understood easily.

And as a yarn company, we have such signs on our product labels too. In this post you will learn how to read yarn labels.

If you are new to the craft world like knitting or crochet you might want to select the perfect yarn for your knitting project. And for that getting some clarification about yarn labels is very important. Getting the right yarn when you have no idea from where to start can be a bit frustrating if you don't quite understand how to read the yarn labels. Most yarn labels have important pieces of information. So, to choose the perfect yarn, you should consider all the info and understand how they will work together to bring your knitting project to life.

Here are are a list of items that will feature in a yarn label. The details it provides will help you choose the perfect yarn for your knitting project:

1. YARN COMPOSITION

One of the most important information one needs to understand when selecting yarn is understanding which fibers were used to create the yarn.

Many things can affect the fiber. The fiber content will affect the garment's feel regarding softness, texture, and breathability. You will notice that different yarn labels have the yarn composition info in different places, but you will be able to spot this information. Each company has their own label so the information may not be in the same place. Some also give more information than others. 

Below are some fibers to look for:

Silk
Cotton
Linen
Merino
Wool
Cashmere
Alpaca
Angora
Acrylic
Rayon
Tencell
Nylon
Polyester

2. YARN WEIGHT

 

 

The thickness/thinness of the yarn can affect your knitting and weaving projects in some ways.

For, eg.
1. How is the output going to look and feel?
2. How long will it take you to complete the project?

If you pick a thicker yarn, you will complete your project faster than you usually would with thin yarn. For example, a thicker yarn may be suitable for a blanket or a warm sweater for an adult, while a thinner yarn is a better choice for delicate shawls or baby clothing.

The yarn label recommends the needle and hooks size to use with different yarn weight, so you should easily match the yarn to the needle size.

You can check the Standard Yarn Weight System by the Craft Yarn Council here!

3. YARN LENGTH

Yarn size can get complicated. Measurements and terms can vary by country. Yarn is typically measured by the yard and will always be specified on the yarn label. The length of yarn your project requires can vary with yarn weight and gauge.

If you're following a specific pattern for your project, always go with how many yards or meters the pattern calls for and not by how many skeins it calls for. 

Different yarns have different amounts in each skein, and the yarn you're using may have much more or much less than the yarn they used in the pattern. Also, the length of yarn your project requires can vary with yarn weight and gauge.

4. SIZE OF KNITTING NEEDLE

Just like yarn, knitting needles too come in different sizes with different materials. For beginners, bamboo or wooden needles are recommended because the stitches don’t slide off of the needles as easily as they do with metals or steel.

It’s also a good idea to buy multiple sets of knitting needles so you can experiment with different materials until you find which type you like best.

Most yarn labels display both the metric and US size, so make sure you are looking at the correct number. Following the knitting needle size guidelines will make knitting with a particular yarn much easier.

5. YARN GAUGE

Yarn gauge size on any yarn label is a piece of information as a general guideline because many factors can affect the yarn gauge. The Gauge on the yarn label is the typical number of stitches and rows one can expect within a 4/4 inches square patch knitted in stockinette stitch with needles of the size suggested on the yarn label.

P.S. Your Gauge may be different; perhaps you are a tight knitter, or you tend to keep your knit loose. Remember no two Knitters will have the exact same Gauge.

6. YARN BRAND

Once you become a more experienced knitter, you will develop preferences for certain yarn brands and get a sense of which yarn brand to go with for different yarn fibers/materials.

Like any brand, yarn brands also carry different fibers, special yarn counts, and fiber blends. etc

Once you decide which brands you love and which you aren't too fond of, it will be essential to pay attention to the yarn brand.

7. YARN CARE INSTRUCTIONS

 

 

The most important piece of information on a yarn label is the yarn care info. Once you have invested hours of care and labor into creating your garment, you want it to last for many years.

So make sure you follow the yarn care details carefully to maintain the quality of the fibers.

Below are the most frequently used laundry care instruction signs that you see on tags of your clothes. And as a yarn company we have these signs on our product labels too.

Bleaching: Bleaching is usually done to remove stains from fabric. Bleaching agents range from chemicals like chlorine-based sodium hypochlorite to oxygen-based sodium perborate or sodium percarbonate. These bleaching agents can damage the fabric.

Do not Iron: When heat from the iron can damage the fabric, it is mentioned as 'do not iron'. Sometimes the correct knowledge of how-to iron is equally important. To know the proper heat selection, steam or dry or even a decent ironing board matter.

Hand wash: Suggested laundry sign when machine washing is too rough and can damage the fabric. Handwashing generally ensures delicate application when washing the fabric.

Gentle Wash: Gentle wash calls for extra care even while hand washing.  Some might scrub rigorously which can stretch or rip the fabric.

Drip Dry In shade: Wringing fabric can cause it to lose its shape and even add to pilling (lint ball formation). Drip drying may be slow way of drying fabric, but it will ensure longer life.

Drying in shade and away from the direct rays of the sun keeps the fabric fresh as the colors don't fade. If you experiment with a humble newspaper kept in the sun for a day you will know what I'm talking about!  You will notice how the print fades.

There is a lot of vital information on every yarn label! It will be confusing at first, but once you get used to the symbols and terms, you’ll be able to read one with ease and ready to make a decision about which yarn to purchase for your next knitting or weaving project.

Hope this helps. Happy Knitting!

BTW, did you know you can 
knit with our Eri Silk Yarn?

P.S. If you’d like to read more about yarn labels, I recommend this post from the Craft Yarn Council


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