View Full Version : Homespun yarn substitution?

08-30-2006, 07:04 PM
Let me first say that I was very happy when I did a search of posts on this site and found out that I was not alone in my dislike of working with Lion Brand Homespun yarn!

Several months ago, I started making this Homespun Ripple Afghan from a simple bonus pattern in the Boye "I Taught Myself Knitting" book. The yarn got on my nerves then, but I thought it was because I was new to knitting (just learned in February). After knitting about 18 inches of the afghan, I realized I screwed up somehow (I think I skipped a row of the pattern and I had about 6 inches of right side that should have been wrong side :doh: ) and I was too irritated with the yarn, so I just unraveled the whole thing and said I would redo it....eventually.....

So this evening, many months later, and apparently suffering from selective amnesia, I picked up this yarn and my pattern and was determined to get started on this afghan again. But after 2 rows in garter stitch, all of my memories came back to me and I said 'I can't take this anymore!!', slid the yarn off the needle and threw the yarn across the room. This yarn makes me feel :grrr: and makes me want to :wall: I absolutely LOVE the colors of this yarn and I LOVE this pattern and this yarn looks and feels SO nice in the skein....but me thinks I will end up making some scarves with it instead.....eventually....err....maybe

Can someone tell if there is any yarn out there with the pretty, wavy colors of Homespun, in a soft bulky weight, that is not so annoying to use? Or even worsted weight, because I've adapted some blanket patterns in the past using slightly larger needles and 2 strands of worsted, when I'm too cheap to buy the nice bulky yarn. :rofl: And maybe I'm just too tight of a knitter to ever use this kind of yarn well, but I can think of nearly 20 different types of yarns I've used, and this is the only one that has annoyed me into fits. :??


08-30-2006, 08:28 PM
I hear you!! There are tons of beautiful yarns out there, but to be honest I'm not sure of one that will substitute for Homespun. I'd rather knit with used dental floss than Homespun, though. :rofl: Just wanted to second your opinion of it. It lures people in with it's pretty colors, and then bites you in the butt.

08-30-2006, 11:02 PM
I don't know what size needles the pattern required, but I found that using large ones, like 11s worked okay with Homespun. Okay, because sometimes I'd get a tip splitting the yarn. I can't imagine working that stuff with anything smaller.

I don't have an answer for you about a possible sub for it though. The colors are very pretty.


08-31-2006, 09:46 AM
I hear you on the Homespun. Silly me, new knitter, I picked up something that I thought was pretty in the store to learn on. New knitters tend to knit very tightly, which is very bad for Homespun. I am still bound and determined to finish this scarf. I have gotten fed up with it and started and finished another project since then, now starting back on the Homespun scarf.

08-31-2006, 10:00 AM
A couple of Christmases ago my dh knew I had gotten the knitting bug and went out and bought, are you ready? TEN skiens of the blue and pink Homespun! (or the baby version) LOL I asked why he choose it, he said "Cause its expensive and I knew you bought expensive yarn." LOL This man cant buy a good gift to save his life. I love him and now make sure I send hints via email of what I need. :) It is still in my stash as I cant imagine knitting ten skiens of it (especially in that color way), LOL anyway I think I found a Granny in town who will knit with it.

09-01-2006, 12:21 AM
The problem I had with my shawl(homespun, of course) was stitches getting stuck together. I wound up doing unintended knit 2 together's, but I didn't catch on that I had done that for several rows. I also noticed that it tends to have a bad case of the fuzzes, and to sag under it's own weight, stretching the shawl out of shape. I won't be using it for anymore garments. I've got 9 more skeins of homespun, I think I'm going to make a afghgan out of it. Something basic since it doesn't do well outside of a garter stitch.

09-01-2006, 07:50 AM
I've found that even with garter stitch it is hard to work with. It bunches and fuzzes badly. The bunching, I know, is because I knit too tightly. But Homespun is a hassle. At least I only bought 2 skeins, and I'm about half-way through the second one. I don't think I'll be buying any more. I bought it before I found KH, so I'm sure I will avert disaster by asking more questions.


09-01-2006, 08:32 AM
I crocheted an afghan with Homespun, and it wasn't too bad. So then I tried to knit with it, and yes, (see my signature) I hate Homespun now. The horrible sweater I'm doing is driving me crazy, but DH says I must finish it, it's just a matter of seaming now. Great, seaming homespun sounds like soooo much fun. :ick:
But I got some free stuff from them too, because I wrote in with a sample of some horrible quality control issues, and they sent me 4 skeins. I'm going to crochet two baby blankets with it. That shouldn't be too bad, and won't take as long either.
But I feel your pain with Homespun!

09-01-2006, 08:57 AM
Shavon, if you were going to knit an afghan with Homespun, you must have quite a bit of it. I recently was able to destash my Homespun on E-bay. (Greater Fool Theory: If you were dumb enough to buy it, there's someone out there who is dumb enough to buy it from you.) At least I was able to buy some nice sock yarn with what I received from the sale of the Homespun.

I have to agree tho'-- beautiful colorways.

I was able to successfully knit this shawl http://cache.lionbrand.com/patterns/khs-triangleShawl.html.
Lion has tons of patterns for Homespun. Maybe you could find something else to make.

I have a whole book of plus size sweaters that uses Homespun. If anyone has a viable substitute, I'd be interested, too!

09-01-2006, 09:54 AM
Does Knit Picks have a substitute? Maybe you can email Kelly or is it Kellie over at KP and tell her we need a substitute. :)

09-01-2006, 10:38 AM
Using Homespun yarn for a simple rectangular garter stitch shawl was one of my first projects, and it was for my mother-in-law, an accomplished crocheter. That poor shawl had so many mistakes in it, I put it away to "finish another time when I got to be a little better knitter". There was NO WAY I was going to give something like that to my mother-in-law! I too found the Homespun very difficult to knit with at first--for me, it split a lot, and I knitted way too tightly at that time to have success. Another problem with tight knitting with the Homespun is that the strand you're working on tends to get bunched up, and you have to push that bunch down the skein throughout the whole skein--that is frustrating. But I knew that happened because I was a tight knitter, and I thought that working with a boucle yarn just meant I had to try to knit a little differently than a smoother yarn (say like a merino wool). So I figured that if I gave the Homespun another chance, I would try to be aware that I was knitting too tightly so I wouldn't cause the yarn to bunch up.

Anyway, I decided to give Homespun another try because I really liked the colors they had and the yarn was pretty nice and soft for being acrylic. I subsequently made three of the simple garter stitch rectangular shawls with it, but I had to knit VERY slowly with it until I began to understand how the yarn worked, and as I became a little more experienced knitter, I started knitting less tightly, too. After those three shawls were done, I made a few more shawls with the Homespun with great success, and now, when I make shawls as gifts for people (usually a garter stitch shawl, nothing fancy, because the boucle yarn doesn't show much detail for fancier stitches I've found--it's just a waste of time to go through all of that work and not have it show), it's pretty much the only yarn I use. I usually use a size 13 (9mm) needle with it (or a size 15 [10mm] if I'm working with two strands held together); as others have posted, I don't know if using a smaller needle would work very well (even though their gauge lists size 10 needle [6mm]). I find that the size 13 needle gives the shawl a really nice drape and that it's still VERY warm. And something else very nice about this yarn is that there is something to be said about being able to throw something in the washer and dryer--I haven't had to give the knitted shawls I've made out of Homespun any special care. I throw them in with my other laundry and they come out great. I can't testify as to how Homespun makes for garments, though, as I haven't knitted garments out of it. But it seems to take "a beating" pretty well and bounces back. Just one thing--I wouldn't use it for fringe, even if you knot it. The fringe looks kind of ratty after a few washes, in my humble opinion.

After several shawls later, I decided to go back to my mother-in-law's sorry excuse for a shawl I had started for her a year ago, and I unraveled the whole thing, and reknit it in a simple garter stitch triangular shape and crocheted some contrasting yarn onto the edges. I couldn't have been more pleased about how it turned out, and I felt it was worth me putting it away until I was a little bit more confident working with it.

I don't know about everyone--I'm inclined to believe that if I can knit with something, ANYBODY can, because I'm not a great knitter--but I would say that if someone really wants to knit with the Homespun, I believe the key is just to knit very slowly (even painfully slowly!) and try to knit loosely. I found that the little threads that make the Homespun a boucle yarn are usually what wound up causing the yarn to split and "catch" so it required some really slow knitting when I first started using it and getting used to it to make sure these aren't getting caught.

There's an article at knitty that was helpful to me to realize how I could knit a little bit looser; maybe it can help somebody else:

If you still would like to try to find a substitute yarn, you might want to try Hobby Lobby's brand of yarn that is similar; the brand is "Yarn Bee", and the type of yarn is "Fleece Lite". The problem is that I find it's kind of pricey and the colors are more limited than Homespun, and the Fleece Lite colors are more bolder and not as soft as the Homespun. To be truthful, I like knitting with the Homespun better than the Fleece Lite. I haven't washed the Fleece Lite yet because I'm still knitting the shawl I'm making out of it. I also bought some Bernat "Soft Boucle" to start another shawl--I haven't knit with it yet, but it was a better value than Homespun (cheaper per skein, plus you get more yarn). I haven't tried it yet so I can't say one way or another what it's like.

Maybe all boucle yarns will be difficult to knit with because of that little thread that bunches up the yarn to give it that bumpy effect? :shrug:

Anyway, Knit Picks has a couple of boucle yarns: "Twist" and "Quarry" and "Spinnaker" if you'd like to try theirs. Good luck!

09-02-2006, 10:53 AM
ARGH I have a whole pile of homespun that I want to make into an afghan - it is one of those "start any day now" projects (which has been sitting for at least a year). It may end up going the way of the greater fool and being listed on ebay!

09-02-2006, 11:13 AM
My problem with Homespun is not so much how it knits, but how it feels. In my experience with it, it has no 'life' to it if you know what I mean.

09-02-2006, 09:40 PM
Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyy they killed ALOT of poly's to make that yarn~ whaddaya mean "no life" :roflhard: :roflhard:

09-02-2006, 09:47 PM
:rofl: :rofl:

09-02-2006, 11:05 PM
My problem with Homespun is not so much how it knits, but how it feels. In my experience with it, it has no 'life' to it if you know what I mean.
Are you referring to the fact that is has no stretch, or recoil? If that's the case I'll agree with you wholeheartedly! When I tie the ends of my triangular shawl around me it just slides apart at the slightest movement. Now I am going to tell you what I love about Homespun, it is so, sooooo soft! As far as the yarn's behavior when you're knitting with it, I had a much easier time after I had re-wound the yarn into smaller 2 to 2 1/2 oz balls. That will go a long way in eliminating the bunching that tends to happen with this yarn. It also make it far more convenent to carry your WPI with you since you're not having to tote a 6oz skein everywhere.

09-02-2006, 11:29 PM
Yes! I think I like my yarn 'sproingier' to coin a word. I think that's why I like merino so much--nice and sproingy.

09-03-2006, 10:07 PM
THANK YOU so much for all of your suggestions!

I still really don't like the Homespun much at all, but I decided to go ahead and give my afghan another try. But I'm doing a few things differently: knitting looser and using circular needles, and this seems to help a lot. When I first started this project, I just had the size 13 needles for the project on long straight needles, and I kept telling myself I would eventually get some size 13 circulars. So this weekend I printed out my 50% coupon to A.C. Moore and finally bought myself something I've been wanting for a long time - a Boye Needlemaster! :cheering: I absolutely LOVE my needlemaster!! I figured the best way to break it in was to try knitting this afghan again with Homespun - because maybe even Homespun could be fun with my new toy. :teehee: So far it's going well, I've made it through an entire skein and just have 4 more left to use! LOL I feel a lot better about finishing this afghan, but I definitely won't be running out to buy any more of this yarn any time soon. At least now I can finish my mother-in-law's afghan and use up all of this yarn. However, I will make my mom's afghan using my new preferred method: 2 strands of worsted and size 15 needles. Making one afghan with Homespun will be accomplishment enough - no need to punish myself any further. :rofl:

09-05-2006, 11:32 PM
Yes! I think I like my yarn 'sproingier' to coin a word. I think that's why I like merino so much--nice and sproingy.

Ingrid, you're so right--there is nothing quite like merino; it was my "first love" as it was the first animal fiber I ever knitted with. I was SO SKEPTICAL when I heard there was actually a wool yarn out there that wasn't scratchy, and when I discovered merino...<sigh>...it was love at first sight! :heart:

But my LYS doesn't carry a very big selection of different yarns, and even the ones they do carry can be kind of pricey :verysad: . The 2 LYS nearby me aren't so "local", and I can't always get out there (especially because their hours are a little erratic), so I'm more apt to take a run over to Joann's, Michael's, or Hobby Lobby for yarn, and although some of them have started carrying more plant/animal fiber blends, the majority of their selection is of course acrylic/manmade. My first preference for yarn is animal fiber, but there are times when it's better for me to use an acrylic yarn for certain projects, too. While you sacrifice somethings by using an acrylic over an animal or plant fiber, sometimes acrylic can work out fine too. My grandmother crocheted with nothing but acrylics and always used the cheaper ones, and when she made booties for everyone, it seemed like these sharp needly fibers were poking at the bottom of my feet--ouch! But the acrylics they have out now, some of them are pretty nice and give a very nice finished project. I like not having to worry about hand washing and hand drying my acrylic projects too.

Shavon, I hope your afghan turns out and that it's an easy knit for you. I'm glad you decided to try to give the Homespun another chance, not so much because I'm a "hardcore defender" of it, but because it makes me sad when I hear people that get frustrated with a project because of the yarn and put it away and aren't able to enjoy the finished project, not to mention the money spent on yarn. This has happened to me a few times and it always makes me feel badly. Let us know how your afghan turns out, and please post pictures! I've got several balls of leftover Homespun that are really too small to make any kind of a sizeable project, but too much to just consider throwing away (throwing away yarn??? blasphemy!!! :rofl: ), so I'll have to find a project for them, too.

09-06-2006, 12:14 AM
Oh, Shavon, congrats on your needlemaster set. I absolutely adore mine!

09-06-2006, 09:15 AM
I am halfway through the Lion Brand Triangle shawl with Homespun and I have to say (other than the fact that it is taking me FOREVER) that I totally agree with you all....this is NOT my favorite yarn. But it is really soft and it's a gift for my granny who is always cold so I think it will keep her nice and cozy. Once I finish this project, no more Homespun for me!

09-06-2006, 09:30 AM
im making a bag for all my knitting stuff with it...first time ive used it and i HATE it!!! but the colors are SOOO pretty, i NEED to finish!!! it takes FOREVER to knit with, and it bunches up like crazy!!!
grrrr....never had a yarn anger me so!! :wall:


09-08-2006, 08:45 PM
So we haven't found a substitute for this apparently horrible yarn?? I've never tried it and after reading all the posts here, I'm quite leary of even buying one skein.

I stumbled upon Martha's Poncho and I really like it and thought I'd give it a go, but how do I go about finding another yarn to use?

help meeeee :waah:

09-08-2006, 08:55 PM
I don't know why, but the first time I used Homespun, I was knitting English and the yarn, I believe the term is wormed. Every few rows I had to stop and pull that bunched up stuff back to normal.

The second time I tried using it (my dd gave me 2 skeins of the most beautiful color--covered bridge--and I made the triangle shawl. I am now knitting continental, and I had no problem with the worming, bunching, whatever you call it. It really wasn't too bad to work with, but I wouldn't want to use a more intricate pattern with it. Simple knit/purl worked well.

I've yet to wash the shawl, and I'm concerned that it may stretch into something like a tarp to cover the neighbor's boat.

I don't know why there was a difference between English and Continental. But it worked; the shawl knit up beautifully.


Too bad Lion can't come up with another yarn in the same colorways that they've developed for Homespun. I'd buy everything!

09-08-2006, 11:13 PM
Okay, I did some searching on google and came up with this page from Lionbrand...

yarnsubstitutions (http://www.lionbrand.com/cgi-bin/yarnInfo.cgi?equivalents=1)

I hope it helps someone (and me :teehee: )

09-09-2006, 10:12 PM
How different is Red Heart's "Light and Lofty" from "Homespun"? I knit an afghan with "Light and Lofty", and really like the way it feels for a blanket - nice and cuddly.

09-09-2006, 10:36 PM
I've found red heart to be very similar, and I guess I'm odd since I've never had a problem with either....

09-10-2006, 11:35 AM
I saw the Light and Lofty and thought it might be another one to try instead of Homespun. It looked very similar, I just wish it came in more color varieties!

Okay, I have a confession to make though - I really don't mind the Homespun as much anymore. :oops: I have knit about 40 inches of my afghan, and knitting loosely really has helped. I agree about only doing simple stitches with it: for my afghan I repeat a 4 row sequence that includes 2 knit rows and one purl row, and the other row is a combination of k2tog and increases. That decrease/increase row is a bit of a pain, but I kept telling myself it's only for 1/4 of the afghan, so I can do it! :teehee: I absolutely :heart: the way this afghan is turning out, and I so think it is worth it. A week and a half after throwing this yarn down in despair I NEVER believed I would even be considering knitting another one of my afghan gifts with this yarn - how funny is that! :rofl:

I noticed that "bunching" a lot when I first tried to knit this afghan a few months ago, but for some reason it's not doing it as much now, and I do knit English. I still have to straighten it some, but nowhere near as much as when I first started knitting - so the WS of my afghan looks a lot better, thank goodness.

Oh, and I completely agree about merino wool - that is by far my favorite yarn to knit with! I made a booga bag with some black Patons wool, and it was SO nice and soft, after I finished knitting it I just kept it sitting around for a nearly 3 weeks because I liked it so much I didn't want to felt it! :roflhard: Fortunately I did end up felting it and I was just as happy with it felted. :cheering:

09-11-2006, 04:10 PM
Oh, and I completely agree about merino wool - that is by far my favorite yarn to knit with!

I just like squeezing it...it's just so darned bouncy, warm, and "friendly", you know? I look like some kind of "yarn pervert" over by the merinos at the LYS, petting and squishing yarn (a la Mr. Whipple from the old Charmin toilet paper t.v. commercials!) :oops:

So Shavon, that afghan only has one complicated row of increases/decreases to it? I didn't look at the pattern too closely (I have it already); it looked kind of hard. I have a short attention span, so it's good for me if my things don't have really long repeats or that they're not too complicated as I get sidetracked and lose my place.

09-11-2006, 11:35 PM
Cookworm, the pattern really isn't that bad! I did place the stitch markers in the places they suggested (separating the border and between each 18 stitch sequence) because without those markers I would never be able to keep up with what I was doing. The increase was something I hadn't heard of, but once you figure out what they mean, it's really easy. I really just hate the k2tog part, because it is NOT easy to do with this yarn. :teehee: But I think I'm going to try this same pattern with some worsted yarn - either 1 strand on 10 1/2 needles or double stranded on size 15 needles - and see how it turns out.

I really think you should give it a try - we could both end up with some pretty cool afghans! xxx

09-13-2006, 02:02 AM
I really think you should give it a try - we could both end up with some pretty cool afghans! xxx

You enabler! :rofl: Hmmm...the pattern doesn't sound too hard, and it looks so pretty. Maybe I can go with using up some of my leftover Homespun in my stash in a related colorway (like maybe all cool colors for example) to do this? I just cringe when I read something like, "Cast on a gazillion stitches"! I've got a lot of projects in the works now, but this is definitely a tempting thought to help me use up my partial skeins of yarn.