Decrypting Yarn Labels

Knowing the information your yarn labels gives you if important.  There can be several things that can confuse people so I wanted to break them down.  We’ll look at several labels and what the different parts mean.

Fairy Tale Knits Yarn Label

Yarn Labels

So let’s start with one of mine.  Note: Not all labels will be in this order.  At the top you see my shop name.  Next is the base name, which simply is the yarn that I dyed this on.  I, like many other indie dyers and commercial dyers, name each of my bases.  Many will have themes (For example all of my Queen’s line is 100% Superwash Merino).  Some both indie shops and commercial shops choose not to name their yarn bases and just call them Superwash Merino or a common name that for the content like Kona for Superwash Merino or Cash Sock for a Cashmere/ Merino/ Nylon blend.  After that, we have the content on the yarn.  This is often times important so you know if you can felt the item, want to machine wash it, or if there’s a specific type of yarn you are looking for.

Then there is how much the yarn weighs and the yardage.  It’s important to understand that yardage is always an estimate and usually based on how many yards per pound.  Even when it is measured out before or after dyeing the yardage they get and you get can vary depending on how much it is stretched when measured.  I have found that yardages are usually listed with less than there really is but don’t count on that for a pattern.

Yarn Weights

Next is yarn weight, not how much it’s weight. Here it’s worsted which is between DK and Aran.  The Craft Yarn Council has a great page for looking up everything you need to know about yarn weights.

Last is washing instructions.  I recommend laying ALL hand knits flat to dry.  With all the effort you put into making them it’s worth the extra time to not machine dry them.  Then on the other side is the colorway name.  Not all companies name their colorways, some just use numbers.

Here is another Indie dyed yarn label

This one is from Wild Hare Fiber Studio.  The shop name is on the other side of the label.  The tops of this side is the yarn base.  Next is the colorway name. Then it’s the yarn content.  The next line starts with the yardage and it has the ply.  Plies are how many strands are in the yarn.  Last on that line is the weight and it ends with the shop info.

Symbols on Yarn Labels

First I want to cover the symbols that are just for yarn.

0 is as it says Lace Weight

1 is Fingering/ Sock

2 is Sport/ Baby

3 is Light Worsted/ DK (Double Knit)

4 is Worsted/ Aran

5 is bulky

6 is super bulky

7 is new, it’s for when you are knitting with roving

The page I linked to Craft Yarn Council before has all this information on it also.

Now for the other symbols.

Source: Dylan Roach/Business Insider

Many of your yarn tags will have some of these symbols on them so having this graphic handy will help.  Let’s look at a few

Knit Picks Yarn

This one makes it easy by having the washing instructions written and in symbols.

This one has symbols that give more information than what is written.  It’s hand wash and lay flat dry but it’s also no bleach, dry clean with any solvent except trichloroethylene, and low heat iron.

More Written Info

Sometimes you will have a needle/hook size recommended and a gauge given for that size needle or hook.  It might look something like one of these.


The first one has the gauge written out just like you’d see in a pattern.  This second one has a graphic for the gauge.  For that one in a 4×4 inch square, they are getting 18 stitches and 22 rows with a size US 8.  For the crochet side, they are using a K hook making a 4×4 square and getting 14 sc and 16 rows.  Unless it says otherwise for knitting the swatch is always in stockinette.

So I hope that has helped you better understand your yarn labels.  Don’t forget to share this post so all your fiber friends will better understand their yarn labels too.

Why I Tie Dye Yarn

The Start of my love of dyeing

I started off dyeing yarn for myself using only one color.  I loved it right away!  The next few times I stuck with tonal dyeing, but soon I branched out to hand painting and I liked how much more variation and the control I had over how the yarn would look.  I learned a lot about how dye colors came out, how they worked (or didn’t work) together, and how the yarn base effected my outcome.

Gumdrop Forest

Pooling Problem

Next I started trying kettle dyeing.  I liked that the outcome was less predictable and more random and because I had learned so much hand painting I was able to apply that to kettle dye.  For a while I did these 2, kettle dyeing and hand painting.  But with hand painting I didn’t like how there would be pooling often and I had many customers ask about dyeing yarn that was less likely to pool.  Kettle dyed yarn does fit this but will still sometimes pool.

At about this same time I was wanting to try something new and tried tie dyeing.  I knew at once that this was going to become my favorite.  I love the variety of colors, tints, tones, and shades.

Dyeing with Yarn Restricted

When I tie dye the hank is restricted in different ways (wrapped as a hank, tied in knot(s), etc).  This means the repeats of colors are shorter than with most hand painting and kettle dyeing.  It also means that the yarn on the outside takes up a darker color than yarn under it, giving more variety and depth of shade of each color.

Layered Colors

Each color is dyed in separate layers.  So there is more color mixing.  This often gives a whole new color such as when blue and pink mix to produce purple.  And because each pink and blue will vary the purple also vary.

All of these produce colorways that almost never pool.  It’s also a lot of fun to see how each colorways comes out and how the colors mix and work together.  One of my favorite things is unwrapping a new colorway and seeing it at the end of all the layers.

I hope this has helped you understand tie dyeing and why I love it.  Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss out on any yummy squishy hand dyed goodness.

Cables Without a Cable Needle Tutorial

I don’t know about you but whenever it comes time for me to knit a cable I can never seem to find my cable needle. Which would mean I’d use a double point (even the smallest ones are really way too big), a paperclip (always snags the yarn), or a toothpick that I’m always poking myself with. None of which make working cables enjoyable. So when I heard about knitting cables without a cable needle I knew I wanted to learn how. There are a few different ways to work it but this is the way that works for me the best. Not only do I no longer need a cable needle, but I’ve found once I got the hang of working them this way, it’s A LOT faster! The first time you might want some chocolate and some wine (wait to drink any though). You’ll also want a sample with both a left-leaning and right-leaning 2×2 cable. More than one of each is fine. A dishcloth is good for practicing on.


Cable Knitting Without a Cable Needle

In this example, I’m first working a front cross or left-leaning 2×2 cable and then a backcross or right-leaning 2×2 cable. All stitches that are slipped purlwise.

Front Cross (Left Leaning) Cable

Work to the cable.

Cable knitting tutorial
Work to the Cable

With the yarn held in the back slip the first 2 stitches.

cable needle without cable needle
Slip 2 stitches

Knit the next 2 stitches being sure you do NOT pull the yarn tight.

Cable knitting
Knit the next 2 sts

From the front, slip the left needle into the first 2 stitches. I usually drop the working yarn at this point so I don’t pull on the stitches.

Knitting titorial
Slip needle into first 2 sts

Slip all 4 stitches off the right needle. Don’t panic! Those 2 stitches you just worked won’t go unraveling. This is why I drop the working yarn.

Cable Tutorial
Slip all sts off right needle

From the back, grab the 2 loose stitches you knitted with the right needle, slipping them back on the needle.

Grab 2 live sts

Now knit the 2 unworked stitches and admire your cable. If having those 2 stitches hanging there made you want to panic, have some chocolate. (Save the wine for after you work the other cable.) Work to the next cable.

Back Cross (Right Leaning) Cable

With the yarn in front, slip the first 2 stitches.


Keeping the yarn in front of first 2 stitches, knit the next 2 stitches. So your yarn is going to cross in front of the first 2 stitches.  (This is because these stitches are in the back part of the cross.)

Neddleless Cable Knitting
Knit next 2

From the back slip the left needle into the first 2 stitches. Again this is where I drop my working yarn.

Cable Knitting Tutorial
Slip needle into first 2 sts

Slip all sts off the right needle… Still, don’t panic, you can do this.

Knitting tutorial
Slip all off the needle

From the front with your right needle, grab the 2 knitted stitches that are waiting for you. If you need to eat some more chocolate.

Grab worked sts

Knit the 2 unworked stitches

Knitting Cables without cable needle
Knit 2 unworked sts

Admire your handiwork and some wine if needed.

See you can do this! You don’t no stinkin’ cable needle!! Keep practicing this and it will be easier and faster.  So what are you going to try this on?

Don’t forget to share so all you knitting friends can work cables without cable needles.

Hello! And Welcome!

Welcome! I am Dawn, the owner and creator behind Fairy Tale Knits and I’m looking forward to hearing from you and sharing anything and everything fiber related. Here’s some about me.


I am a homeschooling mom to 4 kids, 2 girls 13 and 10 and 2 boys 8 and 5. I love homeschooling and it’s a big part of my life and I’ll share some of that here. We also are part of an awesome homeschool co-op where we can all spend time with friends and learn a lot. One of the things I like the most about homeschooling is seeing my kids unique drives and personality unfold day by day.

Geek at heart

I am also a geek at heart. I love math and science. Algebra and Calculus are my favorite maths and Zoology, Microbology, and Chemistry are my favorite sciences.

A little about me as a knitter. My grandmother (Maw) taught me to knit when I was 9. I knitted some then but really picked it back up in 2001 and it became a (mostly) daily thing for me in 2003.


I am somewhat of a zen knitter. If I make a mistake that I can easily hide I will do that instead of ripping back. I usually only rip back if it is noticeable or it will bother me. Pooling usually doesn’t bother me so I just keep knitting instead of trying to make it stop pooling. I am also a process knitter, I enjoy making the item more than finishing it. This means I have lots of projects all the time (like 20 or more sometimes), though this has gotten better in the past year or so.

I take knitting with me all the time so I keep a mindless project handy for when I’m waiting in line or such. I love knitting lace and stranded color work. I prefer to knit both of these from charts and I will make a chart from written directions if needed.


As a crocheter I don’t have a lot to say because it’s still somewhat new to me. I tried for years to get even tension and couldn’t until I started holding the yarn in my right hand and throwing it like I do when knitting about a year ago. Since then I have crocheted some but not much. I very much prefer crocheting stuffed animals over knitting them.

I am starting this blog because I love the world of fiber and want to help other fiber lovers! Some of my post will be able how I get done all I do, things that have helped me outside of the fiber world and some behind the scenes and some bits of my life. But most will be fiber related and most of those will be about knitting and about different types of fiber.

I’m really looking forward to getting to know all of you. You can always comment below or message me on any of the social medias linked above. So to start off the sharing, what is your favorite thing to knit or crochet? It can be a specific pattern or type of item or general like lace or enterlac.

Don’t forget to sign up for my email list here and receive a coupon for your next purchase.

You can follow me on IG, Facebook, and Twitter.

And here’s some pretties for you to enjoy!

Fairy Tale Knits Yarnies

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