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How to Read a Skein Band

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.

Underneath the heart you can see the small American flag in the right hand corner indicating that the yarn is Made in the USA.

Turn the skein slightly away from you so you can see the top of 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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The dots under the name are just a dividing line to make the ball band easier to read. Directly under the dots you can see the weight of the skein on the left in ounces and grams and the yardage of the skein on the right in yards and meters. 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. You can see the net weight is written in English, French, and Spanish. To meet regulations the copy on the ball band must be in multiple languages. Turn the ball again slightly to fully see the pattern picture.

The picture shows the free pattern available on the inside of the ball band. This particular free pattern is for the Ridged Crochet Hat. The picture has the pattern number at the top of the grey box on the left. The box also has an image of a crochet hook, so you can tell this is a crochet pattern. Other skein bands may have an image of knitting needles to tell you that the free pattern is knit. The numbers printed next to the crochet hook (or knitting needles) indicate the size of the crochet hook (or knitting needles) used in the free pattern. This particular free pattern uses a 5mm [US H-8] crochet hook. Below the implement box the number of skeins needed for the picture and the color shown in the picture are listed. This pattern uses 1 skein of 3901 Rouge. The light grey box on the bottom left of the pattern picture tells you that the pattern in English and in French is on the inside of the skein band.

To the right of the pattern photo is a white box showing the Red Heart supports Red Cross North America. You can learn more about this partnership on our site at

A note that free patterns are available on and social media logos are listed below the pattern information. If you go to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Pinterest you will be able to find Red Heart Yarns accounts.

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If you continue turning the skein you'll see again that this yarn is Made in the USA (on left), that Red Heart is a winner of the Women's Choice Award (center), and the contact information for Coats & Clark, the company that makes Red Heart. The paragraph of text directly underneath it is importing and contact information for our business in Mexico. Turn the skein again so you can see the white stitcker holding the ends of the skein band together.

The three paragraphs directly above the sticker are the details of our partnership with the Red Cross. The sticker gives the name of the yarn color, the article number, and the color number. For this skein the color is Turqua, the article number is E300, and the color is 0512. There may be additional numbers on this sticker showing when it is 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.

If you turn it away from you again, underneath the sticker are the pictures showing you that this yarn is a skein and helping you pull from the center for the skein. For more details on this, please see our blog on the difference between balls and skeins of yarn.

The boxes give information about the yarn weight, suggested hook and needle sizes and gauge information, 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 a 5.5mm/US I-9 crochet hook is 12 single crochets and 15 rows in 4"x4" (10 cm x 10 cm).
  • 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).
  • This yarn can be machine washed.
  • This yarn can be tumble dried.
  • You should not use an iron on this yarn.
  • You should not use bleach on this yarn.

The general laundry instructions and the fiber content of the yarn (100% acrylic) are listed next. Finally, there is a notice that this particular skein of yarn, a solid color of Super Saver, does not have dye lots.

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. Additional care instructions are also on the inside of the band.

How to Read a Skein Band

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