Reading the Label

In all my knitting workshops I like to start off the workshop by highlighting the wealth of information you can get from the yarn label. Its so disappointing when you buy some yarn you’ve fallen in love with, made a gorgeous item and then accidentally “felted” (shrunk) it in the washing machine because you didn’t realise it was hand wash only ….

The label gives us information on the needle size to use (crochet and knitting), how to care for it (i.e hand wash or dry clean for example), the dye lot, shade number and weight of the yarn also. Often there is also a tension square and always you are told the fibre of the yarn which is what determines how you care for it.  Cheaper yarns will have mad made fibre in them such as acrylic and the more expensive the yarn the more natural it is. Remember though that acrylic can go in the washing machine and 100% pure wool can’t … think about this when you are about to start your project.

For example, a new mom won’t want to be hand washing a beautiful blanket you made her, she will want to be able to put it all in the washing machine with the other stuff …..

So here I hope to shed some light on the label and why its important to read the label first before buying it for a project.

Here is our label:


This is the weight of the yarn. This is an American symbol and there are many conversions on the internet. Medium worsted is what we call Aran yarn here in the UK.
Next up its the knitting needle size recommended for this yarn. Here you can see that they recommend UK size 5.5mm needles. The outside of the needles there is the tension square. This tells you that if you used 5.5mm needles and cast on 16.5 stitches and knitted up 20 rows your square should measure 10 x 10cm. Tension squares are always 10 x 10cm.
Same principle as above but this time its the recommended crochet hook size.
And lastly the label here (in order of symbol left to right) tells us that this yarn is hand wash only, lay flat to dry, do not iron and the P in the circle is a dry clean instruction which means “Can be dry cleaned only with perchlorethylene, flurocarbon or petroleum-based solutions”.
Here is a great website for interpreting laundery and dry cleaning instructions.
Happy knitting and crocheting gang and don’t forget to always read the label!


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