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  1. How-To
  2. Before You Begin
  3. How to Read a Skein Band

How to Read a Skein Band

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Want to learn about a yarn? Look at the skein band or ball band on it! Keep reading this blog to learn how to read a skein band.

Follow along as we read a skein band! We're using Super Saver in our example. To start, position your yarn so the Red Heart logo is facing you.

Outside of Band

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The big red heart on the skein band tells you this is Red Heart Yarn! Underneath the Red Heart name the logo tells you that this particular skein is our Super Saver yarn.

Above the logo a line says that the yarn is worsted weight, or a 4 weight in the Craft Yarn Council yarn classification system that we use.

Underneath the heart you can see the small American flag in the left hand corner indicating that the yarn is Made in the USA. On the right-hand corner is the fact that Super Saver does not have dye lots in solid colors. You can see this written in English, French, and Spanish. To meet regulations the copy on the ball band must be in multiple languages.

Turn the skein slightly away from you so you can see the picture of the free pattern. Your picture may be different than the one in our example. One type of yarn may have the same pattern on all of the skein bands or it may have different patterns on different skein bands. Which pattern is on any particular skein of yarn is just due to chance.

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At the top of the skein band in this shot you can see a red line where it gives the net weight and the yardage for this skein. In the US yarn is sold by weight, so this skein is 7 ounces or 198 grams. The yardage given is an estimate and is the least amount of yarn you will encounter in the skein; the actual amount may be more. Since yarn is sold by weight and not by yardage no two skeins of yarn will have the exact same yardage.

The picture shows the free pattern available on the inside of the ball band. This particular free pattern is for the Double-Sole Slippers; the picture has the pattern number superimposed on top of it. The white box to the left of the pattern picture has a crochet hook, so you can tell this is a crochet pattern. Other skein bands may have an image of crossed knitting needles to tell you that the free pattern is knit. The numbers printed in the white box indicate the size of the crochet hook (or knitting needles, for other patterns) used in the free pattern. This particular free pattern uses a 5.5mm [US I-9] crochet hook. Below the white box the number of skeins needed for the picture and the color shown in the picture are listed. This pattern uses 1 skein of 319 Cherry Red.

Social media logos are listed below the pattern information. If you go to YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, you will be able to find Red Heart Yarns accounts.

Below the pattern picture is our website, then you get to the technical information: the manufacturing details of the yarn, our address, manufacturing and recycling information for the paper, and the importing information for our business in Mexico.

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If you continue turning the skein you'll see a white sticker holding the ends of the skein band together. The sticker gives the name of the yarn color above the article number and the color number. For this skein the color is Cherry Red, the article number is E300, and the color is 0319. The other numbers show when it was manufactured. Super Saver does not have any dye lots in solid colors, but yarns that do have dye lots have the dye lot information also printed on the skein band. The bar code allows the skein to be identified and for you to buy it at the store.

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If you turn it away from you again, underneath the "No Dye Lot" notice are the yarn information, gauge, and washing instructions.

Left to right, the boxes are for:
  • This yarn has a weight of 4 in the Craft Yarn Council classification system.
  • The gauge of this yarn with 5mm/US 8 knitting needles is 17 stitches and 23 rows in 4"x4" (10 cm x 10 cm).
  • The gauge of this yarn with a 5.5mm/US I-9 crochet hook is 12 single crochets and 15 rows in 4"x4" (10 cm x 10 cm).
  • This yarn can be machine washed.
  • This yarn can be tumble dried.
  • You should not use an iron on this yarn.

The general laundry instructions and the fiber content of the yarn (100% acrylic) are listed next.

The next set of pictures shows you that this yarn is a skein, and that you can pull it from the center. For more details on this, please see our blog on the difference between balls and skeins of yarn. Now you're back at the beginning!

Inside of Band

To look at the inside of the band, slide the band off of the skein. At the white sticker carefully pull so the band opens flat without ripping. The inside of the band has a written pattern for the image on the outside of the band. The pattern is given in French and English. You can also find the pattern on our website by searching the number that is shown on the picture.

What other questions do you have? Let us know in the comments!

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