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A Behind-the-Scenes Look at How Homespun Yarn is Made

July 9th, 2012

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Recently, Jack and I went to the Knit & Crochet Show, a wonderful yarn festival held by The Knitting Guild Association and Crochet Guild of America. I’m always happy when the Knit & Crochet Show is held in Manchester, New Hampshire, because it means that in addition to seeing all of my yarny friends (and experiencing the beauty of converted mill buildings like the one shown in the slideshow below), I get to take a drive out of town to visit the mill that produces our Homespun and Silky Twist yarns.

Homespun: An American-Made Yarn

Over the years, I’ve posted about our visits, and since I often get requests for a look at how this yarn is made, I’m happy to share some photos from our latest visit to New Hampshire and the mill.

Built in 1864, the mill is a facility that’s steeped in New England’s rich textile history, and we’re proud that it makes some of our most popular products. Secret tip: Look out in the coming weeks for an announcement about a brand NEW product from Lion Brand that is also made at this location.

If you want to learn more about Homespun, click here to pick up a copy of our book, The Story of Homespun. 

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  • Nadir L.

    What beautiful pictures! Homespun is one of my favorite lion brand yarns, thanks for sharing :-)

  • YarnYenta Meshugas

    wish i could buy the roving! :)

    • http://twitter.com/simonejester Simone Jester

       ME TOO.

  • Bettye

    I just bought 5  skeins for a sweater. Can’t wait to start.

  • Sandy

    I want to see a video of this.  Something like the TV show “How It’s Made”.  All the yarn is eye candy

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      Hi Sandy, we haven’t had a segment on “How It’s Made,” but we have had a segment on “World’s Greatest” which you might enjoy (it shares some footage from our offices, our flagship store, and our warehouse, as well as interviews). Follow this link:

  • Kami

    How wonderful it is to see a couple of faces of the people responsible for bringing us so much joy! Thank you.

  • Shastassecret

    I remember my first skein of homespun…I was a new knitter and I pretty much ruined the entire skein smoothing out all the “annoying bumps” that I kept catching my needles in.  Once I figured out how to knit with it (without ruining it) I loved the yarn!

  • Pani B

    is it possible to tour the Manchester facility…..

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      Hi Pani, since this is a working manufacturing facility, we don’t have the insurance coverage etc. to provide public tours, but we hope that you enjoy the photos above, and that if you’re interested in seeing more photos, you’ll check out the book I mention (The Story of Homespun) in your local library or book store. 

  • Marlene Voight

    I absolutely love Lion Brand Homespun yarn.  I literally have storage boxes full of it and have made many afghans and scarves from a wide variety of colors.   Thank you for sharing this – it is always fascinating to see how these products are made.  Besides Homespun, I have used many many other  Lion Brand yarns and also have a large stash of the other types.  I’m pretty much a yarn hoarder but I knit every day.  Yarn and knitting are definitely my passion. 

  • Cynqlt7

    Homespun is a great yarn!  The people who make it are fantastic as well.  I work close to the mill and it is such a historic treasure.  The folks inside take such pride in their work and the community.

  • Mariteje3

     My children and their friends love the blankets that I weave using this yarn.  My daughter and I love our “sweat” pants knit with Homespun.  There is so much to do with this yarn and it washes beautifully.  Keep it coming Lion Brand.

  • Dbockw

    I have made many afghans with Homespun yarn and I always put a fringe on either end with another skein of the yarn.  However the last afghan I made with Homespun the yarn used for the fringe came apart when cut to make the fringe pieces.  It was fiber fill, big soft pieces would come off the cut pieces by the handful.  I studied my older afghans that were made the same way and I came to the conclusion that Homespun yarn is changed in the way it is manufactured.  There is less twist to the yarn and therefore it pulls apart.  Did another else have this happen?

    • Ednajshop

      Yes, as I posted I am having a great deal of problem with the yarn being uneven from the ends to the middle getting very thin. The yarn is alot thinner than it used to be and I found I was in a  middle of a row a piece of broken thread leaving just a fuzz ball. Makes for uneven knitting and not as full end result, and you  need more yarn  to complete a project. That must be their new thinking. I’m going to talk my church group into using a different brand of yarn for their prayer shawls since the company is not interested in going back to the old way of making yarn. Maybe they are shipping defects to our area, don’t know.

  • chris

    I only wish more people were depicted.  I love the colours!

  • Curlyfro2

    wow- that’s really interesting- thanks for sharing!

  • Ednajshop

    I’ve been having a problem with homespun lately, the yarn starts out thicker and gets thinner and then thicker at the other end. Makes for uneven projects. I have complained and they won’t do anything about checking the factory where it is made unless they get more complaints. I don’t like to complain, but the yarn is costly and to have it be so uneven after you are into a project is frustrating. Please people complain if you are having the same problem. I noticed someone stated its being spun differently, if so go back to the old way.. I knit prayer shawls for our church group. Thank you for listening.

  • Ednajshop

    Now I know why the Homespun yarn is thinner and not manufactured the same, the company is coming out with a new thicker version and I’m sure they will charge more also. Still not happy with the regular Homespun yarn, being that it is not twisted the same it will come apart more easily. Come on people you look like nice folks, it’s not nice to give us an inferior product. Is this just happening on the East Coast?

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      Hi Edna, please rest assured that we have not changed the way in which we make Homespun (Homespun Thick & Quick is a separate product that will not have any affect on how classic Homespun is made). There may be some variation from color to color or batch to batch, but if you are finding that a particular batch is having issues, please do let us know at support@lionbrand.com. We stand behind our product and want you to be happy, so we will work with you to replace any product you’re not satisfied with.

  • Dbockw

    I still say that the yarn has changed.  After I finished my last afghan and was so disappointed in how the yarn that was cut for the fringe just pulled apart in big tufts I went to the store to look at other Homespun skeins in different colors.  My was Cherry Red.  The yarn’s twist is not as tight and the binding thread that runs through the strands to keep the crimp is spaced further apart.  I did write the company and they did send me another skein of Cherry Red but it also could not be cut without fraying.  It still knits the same but cannot be cut for a fringe.  I removed the shedding Homespun fringe and used another type of yarn for the fringe.  I have made about twenty afghans with Homespun always using the same yarn for the cut fringe and never had a problem.  Probably it had been about three year between the previous afghan and this Cherry Red one so during that time period some thing had to change.

    • Iryna Boehland

      I used to make knots on each end of my fringes. Only this way it works. The headache, of course, you need to leave a long tale to tie a knot then cut it off.. wistfulness..

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  • notorious

    Homespun yarn has been reformulated and has ruined my projects. Companies refuse to admit to their practices which are considered standard and profitable in many industries, not only only the yarn industry. Get a refund and buy from another company. ironically, we can’t blame China for Homespun’s poor quality.

  • Mstar333

    I am so pleased that this yarn is so wonderful and made in the USA, I’m new to crocheting but I’m absolutely crazy about it, my kids are learning and we are making things for our friends, it’s a great family fun thing to do on cold winter days. I hope that the people that work so hard to manufacture this beautiful yarn are safe after the terrible storm that caused so much damage. We are looking forward o learning more new things at Lion Brand

  • m

    Hay! what wool do you use? lama? sheep?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.flanagan.58 Sharon Flanagan

    marvellous! I am wondering….. do you sell unspun Tudor & others?

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      Hi Sharon, we don’t sell roving fiber at this time, but there are some wonderful sources for hand-dyed roving on sites like Etsy.com and Artfire.com.

  • Iryna Boehland

    Thank you. Video would be great to watch! Another question – does LB sell Homespun in big bobbins like on the photo? Honestly, I dislike joininh the yarn for large projects.

    • http://www.lionbrand.com/ Zontee

      Hi Iryna, at this time we don’t sell cones of Homespun. Thanks so much for checking out our slideshow!

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  • heather

    Has anyone experience twisting or coriling type. How do I prevent this. With a double crochet

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