Do you ever struggle to read yarn labels? Even after years of knitting, I confess that sometimes, I struggle to understand the symbols, numbers, and what appears to be secret code. Most of the time, yarn labels are easy to read. I just grabbed a ball out of my stash and read the following: “5 – 5 1/2 sts/inch on size US 6 (4 mm) needles; 50 gram ball = approx. 131 yards; hand wash cold, dry flat.” I love that this yarn label, taken from a ball of Classic Elite yarn, is written in plain English. I don’t have to decipher codes or symbols.
Digging Deeper into Yarn Labels
Then there’s this ball of Lion Wool. It has no less than 8 different symbols. Some of them I understand; for instance, there’s a picture of a pair of knitting needles and a picture of a crochet hook with numbers along the sides. I know that these are referring to the yarn’s gauge: that on a set of US size 8 needles or a US size H-8 hook, 16 stitches and 24 rows (knitting) and 12 single crochet stitches and 15 rows will each equal 4 inches. There’s also a picture of a ball of yarn with the number “4” in the middle and the word “Medium” over it. This means the yarn has a weight of 4, referred to as “medium weight” or “worsted weight.” Then there’s a row of symbols that, I have come to discover, refer to the care of the project knitted with this yarn. There’s a water symbol with a hand reaching in, marked by 86 degrees Fahrenheit and 30 degrees Celsius. There’s a square with a circle inside and an “X” superimposed over it. There’s another symbol that appears to be a hand iron, also X’d out. There’s a triangle that has been X’d out as well; finally, there is an A inside a circle. Here is what those symbols mean: Water with hand reaching in: A project made with this yarn should be hand-washed. The temperatures refer to the recommended water temperature. Circle inside a square with X: Do not machine dry. Hand iron with X: Do not iron. Triangle with X: The triangle is a symbol for chlorine bleach. Therefore, you should not use chlorine bleach on a project made with this yarn. A within a circle: This means you may dry-clean anything made from this yarn, with any kind of cleaning solvent. Check out the Trend Setters Yarn site which will show you all the different kinds of care symbols used universally on yarn labels. Regarding yarn weights, while most labels are straightforward, occasionally you will see only a gauge recommended, without the trusty ball of yarn graphic with a number on it. The chart on the Dummies.com site should help. You’ll be able to see not only the common names for each yarn weight, the size of needle usually recommended for each weight, and the number of stitches per inch using the recommended needle for each weight, but you’ll also find common uses for each one. Armed with this information, you can now rest assured that you can read any yarn label with ease!