How to Write Crochet: Yarn Description

Yarn, thread, roving, hemp, cording, ribbon…there are several materials we use for crochet. When your reader finds your pattern, it is usually because your photo was so awesome that the reader thought, “I want to make that!” Which means they want to know exactly what you used in your photographed item.

The yarn description in your crochet pattern needs to be as detailed as possible. This will help your reader find a substitute in their stash or in their part of the world if they don’t have the exact same yarn. Simply saying “Worsted Weight 4” is not enough. We all know there can be a wide variety in worsted weight 4. Even in acrylic worsted weight 4. We have roving type yarns and tightly spun yarns. Some with halos (that fuzzy extra-ness around some fibers) and some without.

So what do you do? This is not solely my idea. I got this description from Salena Baca when I took a pattern writing course with her 2 years ago. But it’s the most brilliant and thorough description of yarn and it is what I recommend to all my designer clients.

How to Write Yarn Descriptions:

Brand Name Weight # Class (% fiber content, yds/m, oz/g – all as listed on the yarn label) color A-Name # skeins, color B-Name # skeins.

EXAMPLE: Let’s take a mainstay standard like red heart super saver. (also, it’s right next to me).

Red Heart Super Saver Weight 4 Medium (100% Acrylic, 364 yds/ 333 m, 7 oz/ 198 g) Black 1 skein

Same yarn, multiple colorways

If all the label info is the same, just add the colors to the end of the description and list how many skeins of each are needed for the pattern. Add the abbreviation that you’ll use in your pattern prior to each color name. If you use MC/CC for Main color and Contrasting color, then use that. If you list many colors and call them A, B, C, then follow the example below.

EXAMPLE: Red Heart Super Saver Weight 4 Medium (100% Acrylic, 364 yds/ 333 m, 7 oz/ 198 g) color A-Black 1 skein, color B-Hunter Green 2 skeins

Different yardage labels:

For some yarns, like RHSS (I’m not picking on Red Heart, just using them as an example, I’m pretty sure most brands do this), if the colorway is speckles, or prints and multi colors, then it is often sold in a skein that weighs less than the solid colors. If you use these, create a separate listing. Or, if you used a solid, but you leave the choice to the reader to pick any color, you might leave a kindly note in your pattern that says if they choose a print or multi color, they’ll have to pay attention to the yardage.

Weird Labels

So here are a couple yarns that look identical.

Same label, same name
Same weight, DIFFERENT yardage

What? They have exactly the same fiber content and weight but have different yardage listed. Maybe one of them is a misprint and that’s why it was on super sale when I got it? I don’t know. Did the pink dye shrink the pink yarn? But, if you have something like this, better to have two listings than give wrong information.

Good Earth Cotton Linen Blend Weight 4 Medium (47% Linen, 53% Cotton, 170 yds/ 155 m, 3.5 oz/ 100g) Canyon 1 hank

Good Earth Cotton Linen Blend Weight 4 Medium (47% Linen, 53% Cotton, 204 yds/ 187 m, 3.5 oz/ 100g) Elderberry 1 hank

Amigurumi Yarn Listing

Quite often, for projects like amigurumi, or perhaps for a colorwork project, the designer is using a large range of colors from a variety of brands. They’re a basically the same, not a huge yardage is used if each. Do you list out 10 full brand name listings? *groan* Even I don’t want to edit that.

Jennifer Percival has a great method for her amigurumi projects. Instead of having 5 different listings of yarns she writes it out like this:

“All yarns pictured are worsted/aran weight, 100% cotton. You may choose yarn colors to match. My specific yarns are listed below. Less than 50-100g skein was used for each color.

  • Light Gray – Rico Creative Cotton ” Silver Gray”
  • Dark Gray – KnitPicks Dishie “Silver”
  • Pink – KnitPicks Comfy “Flamingo”
  • Red – I Love This Cotton “Red”
  • Brown – Rico Creative Cotton “Nougat”
  • Cream – KnitPicks Dishie “Swan”
  • Orange – Crafter’s Secret Cotton “Papaya”

Isn’t that fantastic? She got around the whole problem of writing out a full description for each brand of yarn and simply said the size and fiber content of each plus told her reader that they won’t need much of each color. But she also told them specifically what she used. I love it. You can find more of Jennifer’s patterns on Ravelry or her new site at CrochetToPlay.com.

Missing information?

What if you have no label? What if you pulled from your inherited stash and Grandma hated labels and balled up all her yarn? What if it was a handmade yarn with limited info? Can you still write a pattern?

Yes, simply be as forthcoming as you can. If you can compare it to anything you know, then do so. But be honest.

To estimate the yardage, your best bet will be to weigh the finished item and report it.

Missing data?

Does your label report only metric, or only imperial (yds/oz) on the label? You can easily find a conversion calculator to get the other value.

Yarn type doesn’t matter?

Really? See my article about How to write Gauge to see what I think about the “doesn’t matter” description. In reality, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t matter, you still need to list what you used. That’s all. You can say that the reader can choose any yarn and any appropriately sized hook, but you still need to tell them what you used and how it worked (gauge, finished size, etc.).

Any Questions?

If you have any questions, I would love to see them. Leave a comment here, or message me on facebook, instagram, or email me directly. Do you have a weird label? Be sure to check out my other How to Write Crochet articles about how to write Gauge, How to measure gauge, How to write Stitch Counts, How to write repeats in a round, and a Simple Guide to Grading Crochet.

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