Years ago I was hired in the technical services department of the local library district. One of my first tasks was to learn how to run and apply spine labels, those little white stickers you see at the bottom of book spines on shelves at the library. The labels contain information (letters, numbers, etc.) that give the item a “shelf address” so it can be filed and retrieved easily by locating the individual call number. Now retired after 20 years of library work, I spend more time working with yarn rather than books. That led to noticing a different kind of labeling: yarn labels.
For some crazy reason, this week’s interest has turned to treasure-hunting through stash to look for yarn labels that have free patterns printed on them. After completing my last crochet project (a version of Diaphanous Shawl using a partial ball of Lion Brand Yarn “Pound of Love”) …
… I noticed that the yarn label included a free pattern for Jonah’s Baby Throw, AKA Purely Square Baby Throw:
Even though I have been designing my own patterns for publication in magazines, books and yarn company leaflets since 2004 (see Ravelry designer page), just for a lark I decided to try someone else’s pattern. In this case the free pattern on the label was for a simple one-big-granny-square blanket, the kind of thing I’ve been making for charitable donations since first learning to crochet in the ’70s. Even though it was a surprise to see such a basic design featured in a pattern on a yarn label, crocheting the blanket was a delightful diversion from having to think too hard!
After completing that project, I decided to explore other yarn labels in stash to discover if there were free patterns printed on them. Sure enough, they are plentiful:
Free patterns on yarn labels are nothing new. While browsing through a stack of old pattern booklets passed on to me from a friend’s mother, I came across an “ancient” sepia-toned DMC crochet thread label that featured free patterns for edgings on the reverse side. Unfortunately the vintage label is nowhere to be found at the moment, but a more modern version on this skein of DMC Baroque crochet cotton still shows “edging instructions on inside of label”:
Again, it was a delight to work on a simple pattern that took no thought. I had to re-do this particular project because the first attempt (following directions to start with chain 91) resulted in a 24″ square because of the limited yarn quantity on hand. I decided to retry starting with a shorter chain (chain 52) in order to narrow the shawl and allow it to grow more in length. The result was quite satisfactory: a randomly-striped ripple accessory that took every inch of the one ball of beige, one ball of blue and the partial ball of white available. It measures approximately 13″ wide by 50″ long when stretched.
I think I’ll continue the fun this week by digging through stash to locate more yarn labels with free patterns. Not only is it a pleasant diversion while waiting for new DBKN designs to be published but it’s also a good stash buster. Check out labels you have on hand or next time you go yarn shopping and see what discoveries can be made!
Oh, almost forgot … this shawl was made many years ago from a free pattern on the label of a ball of Lion Brand Yarn “Imagine”:
Sometimes the best things in life are free patterns on yarn labels!