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How To Read A Yarn Label (For First Timers)

You have finally decided to learn how to knit. You are on your way to the craft store to purchase your materials and there, you are overwhelmed with the hundreds of yarn options. Which yarn should you choose? How to know which yarn is suitable for your project?

First of all, if you have one of our DIY kits, you will not have this issue as we will pack the right kind of yarn and the right amount for your project.

If you are following another pattern, it will usually say which needle size and which yarn brand to use, which will make your material purchase easy.

If not, they will suggest to use a yarn that follows the same gauge (we will explain what gauge is later on). This is when knowing how to read a yarn label comes in handy.

Example of yarn label

1. Net weight and yardage

This is the weight per ball, in oz and grams, as well as the total length of the yarn, in yards and meters.

2. Yarn weight size

Yarn is classified according to its weight. There are 8 official categories, going from 0 (Lace), which is a very thin yarn, to 7 (Jumbo), which is the chunkiest. This gives you an idea of the thickness of the yarn. On this label, we are in the category 4 (Medium), which not too thin, nor too thick.

3. Needle and hook size

This is the most important piece of information on this label. It tells you what size of needle and crochet hook to use with this yarn. For this particular label, you can see that for knitting, it is used with 4mm needles (or US size 6) and for crochet, a 4mm crochet hook (or US size G-6). It is recommended that you follow the right size of needles or hook for your yarn, for the best results.

4. Gauge

Gauge is a term you will come across a lot in patterns, although we never use it in any of our kits and patterns at The Knitting Room. We do not consider it a beginner-friendly practice, although if you follow an outside pattern that mentions it, you will have to do it to make sure your knit turns out well.

Gauge is a swatch, in the shape of a 10 x 10 cm square, that you make before starting a project. Then, you count the number of stitches and the number of rows that you managed to make in this 10 x 10 cm square (for example 14 stitches per row and a total of 10 rows). Your gauge should match the gauge provided in the pattern. If not, you will have to adapt your tension (knit more tightly or loosely) or switch to another yarn with a more suitable gauge.

How to read gauge on this label?

For a 10 x 10 cm (or 4 x 4 inch) gauge, you can see on the label that with 4mm needles, you should be able to knit 20 stitches per row, and 28 rows. With a 4mm crochet hook, you should be able to crochet 14 stitches and 19 rows. This gives you an idea of the size of the gauge so that you compare it to the pattern, without actually having to knit the gauge.

5. Composition

This is the material of your yarn. This one is 100% cotton. You will most likely encounter acrylic, wool, polyester, merino wool, etc.

6. Care instructions

This tells you how to take care of your creations made with this yarn: whether you can use the washing machine, dryer and iron.

We hope this information was helpful for your next yarn purchase. Do you usually read labels? Is gauge important to you?

7. Lot number

Last but not least is the lot number, which is usually found near the barcode. For a project, it is recommend to use yarn balls coming from the same lot, as different lots, even if it is the same shade, can have variations in colour.


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