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The art of yarn labels

 In my last post, I shared the materials you need to get started on crochet. 

Today I will introduce you to the yarn labels.  As a beginner, it is useful to read them for your yarn selection.

There is the name of the yarn. 
This allowed you to search for yarn projects that use this yarn specifically.  It allows you to see what other people made using this yarn and how the finished product looked like on (Ravelry is a knitting and crochet community where you can post your masterpieces, get inspired by other people's work, search for patterns, buy patterns and yarn.) 

The weight of the yarn.
Yarn are usually worn in balls or in sold in skeins.  The patterns will state how many grams of yarn are needed for the garment and you can use this information to gauge how many balls of yarn you need for your size.  

The country it is made.
It is always good to know where the yarn are from.   

The composition of the yarn and the material of the yarn.
I like merino however it is expensive so this blend has 48% acrylic thus making it less expensive.  
I am still experimenting with yarn and thus am not willing to pay for too expensive yarn as yet.  Hopefully as I progress further in my skills, I can invest in more expensive yarn to improve the feel of my wearables. 
So far this yarn is easy to work with.  Despite the acrylic inside, it feels soft and comfortable. ^^

The meterage of the yarn.
This shows how long is the yarn in the ball.  A 100g of a thick yarn has a lower meterage than a 100g thin yarn. 

The suggested hook yarn and the suggested tension with how many rows and the size of the swatch.   
I usually work with the suggested hook first. 
It is always a VERY GOOD idea to do a swatch (a piece of the standard stitch eg. a 10cm by 10cm swatch of the 12 dc which stands for double crochet should occupy about 15 rows here.) This allowed you to check your tension against the pattern maker so that you do not have a rude shock when you are halfway through the pattern and realise your garment is way too small or too big to fit you.

The lot number. 
This refers to the dye lot.  If you are making a piece of garment, you should make sure all the yarn balls come from the same lot so there is no colour difference.  Though the colour usually matched up, it can differ if the yarn lot is from very long ago.   

The care instructions for the yarn.
This is the basic care for the yarn.  As there is wool, it is not machine washable.  

Often times when I see yarn balls of a material or colour that I like, I felt compelled to buy them.  However, sadly most of them sat on the shelves waiting for me to find the perfect project for them.  As I progress nowadays I am slightly better.  Recently I am into making wearables and only have a weakness if it is merino thus I don't accumulate yarn as fast.  

There is no perfect formula, it is easier if we find patterns of items that we want to make first then look for yarns of the same weight. This is a simpler process as you can follow the suggested amount of yarn balls as requested by the patterns.  As a rule of thumb, it is always good to round up the number of balls you need just in case.  
However, if you are like me who gets carried away by the colours and feel of the yarn, we can still make it work though you have to read the pattern and labels more carefully to substitute the yarn of your choice.  Let's take for example this pattern from forthefrills (I really love her designs).  

From her breezy summer top pattern, I used her measurement at the bottom for each size and I am a size medium for her pattern.  
She uses thick sport/5ply/fine(2) yarn and its yardage was 300m per 100g using a 5mm hook.  
I checked that it used the same needle size so it should be roughly the same weight.  
In her post for medium size, you need 3 skeins which are 900m so with my 115m, I will need 900/115 = 7.8 which comes to about 8 balls.  

I managed to complete my top but I only used about 6 balls of yarn.  This yarn is still slightly thicker than the ones she used and I had to follow the crochet count for small size instead.  Morale of the story is to make a swatch with your yarn choice especially if it is a totally different yarn as suggested.  I was lazy and I didn't, therefore I paid the price with extra yarn.  
Of course you can always buy half the number of yarn first then as you progress through the pattern, you can go buy the yarn as you need.  Yeah to another reason to go into a yarn shop.  

So there you go, I hope this post is useful to you.  

Note to self: I guess I will always take about 2 hrs to write a post.