Weekly Rec – Old Yarn Labels

I love yarn. I love old yarn. I love those labels on old yarn. 

Vintage yarn label - Lilly Rayon Crochet

This probably reveals too much about the depths on my obsession with the whole making-things-with-yarn hobby. Perhaps I should be keeping this particular passion to myself. It may make me look like a weirdo. But… I do love those old yarn labels. I had so much fun going through my stash and reading them all. Again.

And maybe there are a few fellow weirdos out there that will enjoy all the pictures of my old yarn labels! Maybe they will even share a few of their own. I can’t be the only one…. right?

Some of these old labels remind me of things I knew but forgot. Like Acrilan! It used to be everywhere, or at least that’s the way I remember it. And I do remember when JCPenney’s sold yarn.

I don’t remember it being 77 cents though.

I like the way all my old yarn is labeled “mothproof”. The acrylic, the nylon, the cotton and even stuff like this:

If its an animal fiber and its labeled “mothproof” that company is either

a) lying to you, or

b) added a pesticide to the dye bath. Its not really, completely mothproof but the theory is that when moth larva eat your yarn they will die. Maybe.

(I’m sticking with all the anti-bug strategies that I shared in my How to Keep Bugs Out of Your Stash post. I’m not putting my faith in modern chemistry, lol. Also, I’ve added a new strategy since I wrote that post. A friend  told me that she uses peppermint and spearmint teabags. Mint is a good bug repellent and tea comes in pre-made sachets so this is an awesome idea. Now I have tea bugs buried in my yarn stash too.)

Some of my old yarn labels make wild, outrageous promises.

red heart wintuk yarn. its

“Tangleproof” my butt! I betcha a zillion dollars I can tangle that yarn up.

Check out this skein of acrylic-made-to-look-like cotton. I’m not supposed to knit in stockinette with it.

bucilla tempo yarn

I wonder what happens when you make stockinette stitch with it. Does it self-destruct? Do the knitting police come to your door? I have to try it. You know I have to. That note on the label is like saying “don’t press this button”. You gotta press the button.

Then there is the virginity question. Some of my balls of old yarn are virgins. Yep.

(This is what sent me unearthing all my stash in the first place. A reader made a comment on a post last week about a jerk she knew who would not accept a gift unless it was made with “virgin acrylic”. What? Virgin acrylic? What the is that? And do I have any? Turns out that I do.)

old yarn labeled as

So virgin yarn is pure? Untouched? Holding out for the right crafter?

I think its supposed to be yarn that wasn’t recycled or made from something that used to be something else. Back then recycled stuff was BAD. Times change. Now we have to pay extra for the privilege of stuff made from other stuff.

Best of all is the little logos that you can find on some of the old yarn labels.

logos from old yarn labels

Those always make me smile (because I’m a sentimental squish-squish).

What a waste of time! Taking pictures of old yarn labels???

I could blame this post on that commenter who mentioned virgin acrylic. Or I could blame Jess because she de-stashed that Acrilan on me, forcing me to take it home. But I’ll be honest and own up to my abnormal interest in the labels of vintage yarn. I had a blast looking over everything and taking my pictures. And maybe they will find their way to a like-minded soul who will, after reading this, go tearing though their own stash to see if they have any “virgin acrylic”.

Let me know if you do.


29 thoughts on “Weekly Rec – Old Yarn Labels

  1. Sadly all my virgin acrylic was lost to a wildfire a couple years ago, that also took the silk, hemp, camel down, etc. my stash now fits in two small tubs, but I’m remedying that. I too love the old labels..many were so very artistic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were artistic! Glad to know I’m not alone in my appreciation of them. Nice to have company.

      And yes, you have to rebuild your stash ASAP. If you don’t have SABLE (stash accumulated beyond life expectancy) can you ever really be comfortable?


    1. All the stuff I show here? I didn’t buy any of it. lol I just took in unwanted, orphaned yarn. Just wait. People will de-stash on you and then you’ll have all kinds of strange, vintage, and mystery yarns that live in your home.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have given the “Virgin” fiber claim some thought since it was brought up here. Since it seems to turn up on old unused skeins… Maybe it means that you now own a skein that you can never match, make into anything, or even toss! The yarn is holding out for a lifetime commitment
    What you really need to be on the look out for is the Extra Virgin fiber. From Acrylers that were raised on only the finest olives.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. BTF (before the fire) I had an unintended stash of acrylic. Discovered multi stranding, and had some knitted rugs that withstood three kids and five dogs.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sears “Roebuck” was the source for my very first kit. Single Granny Afghan blocks with wool yarn cost 99 cents each. I finished the Afghan and is still on the living room love seat. (Can’t make that same claim very often now.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Some years ago an elderly neighbor left me her stash when she went to a nursing home. Oh my she kept everything. A yarn hoarder after my own heart. Dozens of small balls of every color imaginable, hanks of mohair blends, foreign labels…
    Lots of them. One in several color s is a stringy ribbony knotty yarn (?) Of course a skein Wintuk ORLON acrylic. Is orlon kin to the virgins. I used most of the small balls fot stuffed animals & dolls for great grandkids. She is gone now but her yarn lives on. You know your stash just replicates itself without any of our help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There ya go. Someday I wonder about the unknown crafter that will inherit my yarn stash. What will she think of it? Will she understand why I have six unused skeins of pink wool-ease from the 90’s? Probably not.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I didn’t know synthetic yarn like acrylic could be virgin. Thanks for the photos. I have things from my grandmother and my husband’s grandmother, like old sewing patterns and vanilla extract. My grandmother lived to be a 100 and my husband’s grandma lived well into her 90’s. So my things are pretty old.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t know acrylic could be “virgin” either. lol. Learning something new everyday!

      You are very blessed to have long-living relatives and doubly blessed if they hoarded sewing patterns.


  6. That future crafter will indeed understand your 6 skeins of pink wool-ease, because s/he will have inherited other odd skeins as well!
    I love old labels too. I remember seeing that Spinnerin logo as a kid, but the logo for the Master Dyed is so lovely. I guess I’m showing my age 😉 Here’s another: does anyone remember Brioschi? I LOVED eating that stuff! It’s led to a lifelong love of cobalt blue…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember Brioschi. “Eat, drink & Brioschi”… right?

      Love the little logos. Just love them. If you look at enough yarn labels, you’ll nice that Coats & Clark seems to own every third yarn company. They may sell it as Red Heart/Rowan/Schachenmayr but it all has a little Coats logo on it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This unearthed the oddest memory for me… When I was little – maybe 2 or 3 – I remember saving all of the labels from my mom’s yarn and embroidery thread. I had invented some game that involved matching the lot numbers 🙂

    There was two Happy Meal buckets and a box full of them. I threw a temper tantrum when Mom threw them out. I really, really loved those labels. Perhaps Yarn Life was my destiny before I knew it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lovely labels, we do a deaths sale at our local knitting guild each year and I love the feeling of nostalgia looking at the older yarns. Interesting that one of the yarns says Monsanto on it!!


  9. Oh my gosh, Phentex and Bucilla! I am the yarn orphan adopter of my community – everyone gives me the old vintage yarns left to their care by relatives or friends. When I saw those two vintage brands I was baffled. WTF is a Phentex? Can they not spell phoenix?

    Thanks for the hilarious post! Now I know that Phentex is really a thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t want to open the yarn stash that is something like a pop-up tent that never shrinks back down to the pre popup size, BUT, I do recall seeing that “virgin acrylic” label on some of my very, very old stash.

    Great tip about the teabags;. Now, if only I can remember to get some !


    1. With that mint tea, I’d highly recommend buying two boxes. As soon as I opened my box and got a whiff of that wonderful smell I knew I couldn’t give it all to my stash. I had to drink some. 🙂


      1. Whipped out my hot glue gun, leftover fabric scraps…and bought mint in bulk at the health food store. Yeah, I’m obsessed. Agree on getting more than you need for sachets, for sure!


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