YDKWYDK: Deciphering a yarn label

Have you ever looked at a skein of yarn and wondered what all the information meant? Do you still confuse the bleach and dry symbols? Well have no fear because the Craft Yarn Council is here to save the day! Check out this handy guide to reading yarn labels and you’ll never be confused again!


Knowing what to look for on a yarn label can help you quickly find what you need, especially when you’re in the store shopping. The below guide from Lion Brand shows you the main things you need to look for.



The first is the yarn weight or thickness of the yarn: certain projects require certain weights of yarn, whether that be fine or bulky. Yarn weights range from lace (size 0) to jumbo (size 7). Head over to this page on our website to find the size hook or needle generally recommended to use with each yarn weight.


Next is the physical weight (ounces/grams) and length of the yarn (number of yards/meters in the ball or skein). Oftentimes a project will require more than one skein of yarn and knowing the specific amount of yarn in a skein can help you figure out how many skeins to buy.


Fiber content is also one of the main components of a yarn label. This tells you what materials make up the skein, whether it be acrylic, any type of wool, cotton, or more.


Last are the laundering symbols and gauge information. Later in this post you’ll find a detailed laundering chart, which shows what each of the laundering symbols mean. The gauge shows you the manufacturer’s recommended  size hooks or needles to use with the yarn and the number of stitches to the inch.


A lot of times a label will also include a free project pattern on the inside. Make sure to check the inside of the label on every skein you purchase so you don’t miss out on a free pattern!


Now that you know what each part of the label means, you may find yourself wondering about all of the different laundering symbols and what they mean. This next picture helps you decipher the (many) laundering symbols:


It can be a little confusing at first because there are so many symbols and components. Even though I’ve seen these charts dozens of times, I still don’t always remember what everything means when I’m in the store shopping for yarn. But the more you look at these charts and get used to what the various symbols mean, the more you’ll remember and understand!


This last chart gives you an in-depth look at additional information a label will include. It may take some time to become familiar with everything, but in time you’ll be a yarn label expert!