How to Read a Yarn Label

how to read a yarn label

Table of Contents

Your favorite sarcastic crocheter is here to help you figure out how to read those pesky yarn labels, figure out what all the symbols mean, or if they really mean anything to you depending on what you’ll be using the yarn for. Welcome to my crochet tutorial on how to read a yarn label.

Because I know nothing about knitting, I’ll mainly be focusing on crochet terms for this post.

First, let’s talk about what “Art #”, “Name/Color “, and “Lot #” mean!

“Art” actually is an abbreviation for “Article”. Article # refers to a code that the manufacturer uses to keep track of different products. Not every yarn label will contain an Article #.

Each yarn color is given a special name and color number.

Lot # refers to the batch (or lot) in which the yarn was dyed. So that colors match perfectly when working on a project, make sure you purchase yarn from the same lot. Different dye lots may have slight (or major) differences in color.

Now, let’s dive into all of those symbols and numbers.

I took pictures of two different yarn labels that I had on hand. These are the same company, just slightly different types of yarn that happen to have slightly different labels! I wanted you to see some variations in labels. Different companies will have different layouts, but all of the same information should be there.

Numbers & Symbols

You’ll notice the slight differences in the two labels above. The layout is a bit different, and one of the labels doesn’t even mention crochet hooks! Let’s start with the meanings of the numbers and symbols. This might eve help you learn how to read those pesky clothing labels ;).

how to read a yarn label

The physical weight is provided in the upper left corner of the top two photos.

The yardage or length of the entire skein/ball of yarn is provided in the upper right corner. When purchasing yarn for a project, be sure to check out your pattern to see the yardage required.

The fiber content can be seen below the physical weight and yardage. This is required on all yarn labels by law.

The yarn skein with a number on it represents the the thickness of the yarn, which is also referred to as the weight. These range from 0-7. For more information on yarn weight, find The Right Hook for Yarn Weight.

Next, you’ll find a lot of symbols that look familiar if you’ve ever looked at a clothing tag. Click the link for details. There are so many different options when it comes to these instructions, like numbers, dots, drying, not drying, etc.

Washing Instructions, Bleaching Guidelines, Ironing Guidelines, and Drying Guidelines.

Needle/Hook Size – How to Read a Yarn Label

This next part of the label is pretty straight-forward, but let’s talk about it anyway. Need to know what size needle or hook works best for your chosen yarn?

It’s not the same between knitting needles and crochet hooks. Like I said, I’m not too familiar with knitting, so I’m unsure what the difference is. I’ll keep researching and maybe have a future post on that, or update this post at that time. 

Each yarn label has a suggested hook for yarn weight. If you tend to hold a tighter or looser tension when you crochet, you may need to adjust your hook size.

Gauge – How to Read a Yarn Label

Moving on!! What do the pictures of the needles and hooks with numbers around them mean?

These square represent the gauge for knitting and crocheting. Notice one label only has a gauge for knitting. We’ll talk more about that in a second.

The first example provides a gauge for knitting needles and crochet hooks. For purposes of this post, I’m just going to reference the crochet gauge. As shown in text above, you would want to use a 6mm (or J-10) hook to get a 4″ x 4″ (10cm x 10cm) sized piece.

The other numbers around the box represent how many “stitches” or “crochets” and how many rows you need to reach that 4″ x 4″ size. For the CROCHET example, you would need 15 rows of 12 single crochet stitches to get there! If you need help reading abbreviations when it comes to crochet, see Basic Crochet Terms & Abbreviations. 

As seen above, the second example only provided a knitting gauge on their label. So how do you figure out gauge to crochet with that yarn? That’s where it gets a little more advanced, but it may just take playing around with your stitches to figure out. To begin, here are some tips.

What other questions do you have about how to read a yarn label? Do you feel a lot more confident now in choosing yarn and knowing for what and how you can use it? 

how to read a yarn label

Now that you know how to read a yarn label, try out your new crochet knowledge on a free crochet pattern!


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