...also known as How To Read A Skein

The beauty of independently-dyed (indie-dyed) yarn is that no two skeins are ever alike.  Fiber content, how the yarn is spun at the mill or by hand, what type of dyes are used, how hot the water is during the dye process, etc. can all affect the final product of just the yarn.  Add in the way that fiber artists work with the yarn ~ crocheted, knit, woven, etc. ~ varies quite a bit and no two projects ever look alike, either.  "Reading" a skein takes experience from working with indie-dyed yarn, yet some of us still have difficulty from time to time.  

I've included several things that I look for when purchasing indie-dyed yarn.  Please know that this list is not all-inclusive and there is lots of information I either forgot to include or just plain don't know about.  Yet.  


  • We are drawn to the yarn by the colors.  "This is pretty" or "this would go well with my____" are often heard in yarn shops.  
  • Using WILD CARD as an example, we can see the untwisted skein will have an all-over light pink color with some pops of teal and darker pink in the finished product. 
  • Needle/hook size as well as stitch count will affect your finished product. 
  • Always look at fiber content as it will tell you how the yarn will behave when washed and worn.


  • A 'softer' feel might mean more pilling of your fabric.  
  • A "toothier" feel will be good for colorwork. 
  • Rub the yarn on your neck to feel how the fabric will behave against your skin. If it's scratchy, the yarn might work better as an outer garment (sweater/scarf/blanket) than an against-the-skin product (socks/tank top).


  • If the yarn is colorful like GOD'S PROMISE, your yarn is highlighted. 
  • If the yarn is tonal, speckled, or semisolid, the stitches of your project are highlighted.  
  • Having a colorful yarn paired with complicated stitch patterns will overload your eyes and brain. 


Knit and crocheted swatches of some colorways have been included in photos where applicable.  As always, please let me know how I can best serve you in your yarn needs.  

May 10, 2021 — Lynne Wolford