Lion Brand Notebook

News, Ideas and Information for Crafting with Yarn

Image frame

Tips and Tricks Using Homespun and Homespun Thick & Quick

December 4th, 2013

Pin It


Homespun® and Homespun® Thick & Quick® have become two of our most popular yarns because of their softness, colorways, and versatility. Whether it is the unique painterly shades or the bouclé texture, people are just drawn to it. Before trying out a new yarn it’s always good to know the best ways to use it in order to create amazing projects. Here are some things that we at Lion Brand think you should know when it comes to handling this plush yarn

Keep it Loose

We recommend that you bind off and cast on loosely, so stitches will go on and off with ease.  You can accomplish this by either using large needles, like a size 13 (9mm), or hook, like a size N-13 (9mm), which will create a loose stretch. Or if you prefer to control the tension yourself, use a relaxed tension that you’re comfortable with so stitches will come off smoothly regardless of needle size.

It’s All In The Fingers

This is the type of yarn that you really have to “feel” the stitches — normally you would look for the loop to insert your needle or hook. Another option is to use an additional strand of yarn, preferably a fingering weight yarn like Sock-EaseTM, to help see the stitches.

Note: By adding another strand, you are adding support but also thickness. So be sure to keep that in mind when considering the gauge.

Draping 101

Because Homespun® and Homespun® Thick & Quick® are so soft, they’re perfect yarns for drapey garments, like  afghans, shawls, and shrugs. Personally, I love making this V-Stitch Cocoon Shrug because the large stitches make it very lace-like, but still incredibly warm — not to mention it will finish fast.

On the Fringe

If you like putting edges and fringes on your garments, it’s best to use a looped fringe instead of a cut fringe. Scalloped edges also look nice when using Homespun, giving it a nice seamless look. Click here to see how you can make a looped fringe or scalloped edge.

Any tips you’d also like recommend?

Subscribe to our channel on YouTube
  • Elly

    I tried and tried with this yarn, but I just can’t like it. I find it very difficult to work with. I crochet. I have trouble even feeling the stitches with this yarn, and then when I inevitably to miss a stitch, I can’t frog it – this yarn tangles horribly. Unless I can substitute a yarn easily, I don’t even bookmark projects using this yarn. Sad, as it seems very popular, and it is pretty and soft.
    If fellow crocheters have any tips, I’m open to them. I traded away the balls of homespun I had.

    • Petrina

      That’s unfortunate to hear. I am mainly a fast crocheter, but when I work with Homespun I am usually a lot slower and more careful than normal. The same goes when you might have to frog it, just take it slow (even though I love crochet because of the easy ability to start over). The other thing would be to also just add another strand of a different yarn to help.

    • Pam

      I totally agree with you. The only way I can even make a scarf is to simply garter stitch it with huge needles. It’s so pretty, but impossible to work with. Pam

    • Bianca

      I love this yarn….only for Loom knitting. It makes fantastic warm and stretchy loom knit scarves. I can not crochet with it for the same reasons you stated.

  • deebee

    I have used this yarn for both crochet and knit and definitely prefer to knit with it. The stitches are on the needles, you can see them. I enjoy all my Homespun projects.

  • Nadia

    I also tried to crochet an afghan with this yarn and gave up after a few rows because it is too difficult to see the stitches and ripping it out was a nightmare. I have found a knit pattern (Splendid Triangle Shawl) that uses this yarn and larger needles that I plan to try. I think knitting this yarn will be much easier since you aren’t “looking” for the stitches like in crochet. I had bought a stash on sale about a year ago and have been sitting on it waiting for the perfect project to come along. I can’t say I would buy it again because I am not an avid knitter and this yarn is too difiicult to crochet.

    • Petrina

      Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  • Mary Ellerd

    I knit only, but it took me several years after first learning to knit before I felt comfortable knitting with Homespun. Even though I knit loosely, I was apparently holding the yarn too tightly and it would seemingly “shift” as if it were sliding around a central core as I knitted. I hold it more loosely now and have no problems with it at all.

    • Virginia Simpson

      It is shifting around a central core. There is a nylon-like thread around which the fuzz is wound. I’ve had mine really bunch up and I’ve had to cut it. Enough of that! I don’t like to fight with the yarn on my projects.

  • Melanie

    I am an avid crocheter & love working with the homespun yarn. I normally use worsted weight yarns, but this works up so nice. I came up with my own scarf pattern for it (just sc) & they are so soft & warm. I’ve made 12 scarves with it in just the last month for orders from non-crafty coworkers for Christmas gifts. The only thing I don’t like about it is you can’t use it for fringe. But I came up my own for the scarves, slip stitch in the stitch, chain 4, slip stitch in same stitch, repeat in each stitch to the end. I’ve made a couple afghans and a few baby afghans with it, but prefer to use it for things that don’t get stretched too much. Doesn’t have a great “bounce-back” factor.

  • Betty

    My problem is with joining another skein….any tips!

    • Judy

      I have just about finished my first project with Homespun thick and quick. The first skein was the getting used to it, I love it as I’m knitting an afghan for a friend. It works up beautifully. The trick to joining is to knit maybe ten inches from the edge then hold about a six to eight inch tail of the new skein and knit three stitches using the strands of the old and new skein together leave the tall hang for a couple of rows the knot the tails together. When you are finished use a large eye tapestry needle to work in the ends.

  • meg

    I knit a prayer shawl with Homespun, and decided to wash it before giving it to my friend. I washed it in cold water on the delicate cycle, and was astounded at the amount of “fluff” that came off it in the washer. There were wads of it. Then I put it in the dryer on low, and the whole lint trap was full. There were also more wads of fluff on the dried shawl. I had to apologize to my friend because it looked like it was 10 years old and well-used, instead of brand new.

    Unfortunately, I bought a lot of this yarn, but I don’t know if I’d ever use it again.

  • Kit

    I have found Homespun and Homespun Thick and Quick very easy to knit with IF I use aluminum knitting needles in a larger size than is usually recommended, as well as holding the yarn loosely and knitting with a loose tension. Much harder to knit these yarns on wood, bamboo, or most plastics. The yarn seems to need to be able to slide on the needle a little or something like that.

    Neither Homespun nor Homespun Thick and Quick are fast knitting yarns, but there are other yarns that slow me down considerably more than these two yarns do. I knit at about my average speed on these yarns, and I find them very easy on my hands, so I can knit for a long time at one sitting.

    I do knit mostly by feel and not by sight, which helps with these yarns as someone earlier mentioned. It helps with many novelty yarns. But the main reason I knit mostly by sight is so that I can converse or do other activities at the same time. I even knit in class when I have the professor’s permission, which is usually easy to get if I knit quietly (even on aluminum needles) and keep up with what is happening in class. And yes I do knit with homespun in class, by touch. It just takes practice and a gentle touch. Of course it took a lot of practice to get to where I can knit homespun in class by touch, but I like the yarn enough and use it often enough that I can knit it without looking and still keep a decent pace. On the other hand, I knit a lot more than most people I know who are knitters, since I take knitting with me practically everywhere and knit whenever I can, even in lines at the checkout counter.

    I haven’t noticed any particular problems with washing or drying this yarn, but maybe I have been lucky.

    • Virginia Simpson

      I’ll give the aluminum needles a try. This lovely yarn is giving me fits.

    • Kit

      Good luck Virginia! Hope you soon love knitting with this yarn as much as I do. Note that holding the yarn loosely and not pulling the stitches super tight is also part of what went with switching to aluminum needles, and that I used one or two sizes larger than the needle size recommended on the wrapper. This yarn really is an outer layer sliding around a central core, as another poster described it, and will bunch up if not knit loosely in all respects. But you will be able to knit with less strain on your hands if you knit loosely AND still be able to make neat even stitches as long as every stitch is sized by the diameter of the needle shaft, even gently. It is consistency, not tight tension, that makes knitting come out even, and this is the yarn on which I learned that fact. Before this yarn, I thought I needed to pull the yarn hard. With this yarn, I learned that the real trick was to pull gently, every time, and the size of the needle determines the size of the stitch.

  • Lorie

    I LOVE the colors and the feel of Homespun. However, I, too, have a problem with the yarn “seemingly “shift” as if it were sliding around a central core as I knitted”. I have knit multiple sweaters and shawls and always get frustrated because I constantly have to “fix” the bunches in the yarn. I am a thrower and have tried a looser hold and this still does not fix the problem. Wish I could find a solution!

    • Virginia Simpson

      I’m glad you brought up the shifting and sliding. If you look carefully, you will note that this yarn does slide around a central core: a very thin nylon-like thread. I’ve had the fuzz completely bunch up. It really takes the joy out of knitting with it for me.

  • Cindy

    It’s a lot easier to knit with than crochet with.

  • Jo

    I love this yarn. It’s so soft and the colors are spectacular. But I doubt I’ll ever use it again. I crocheted a granny square afghan and the yarn is so slippery that the places where I’ve joined different colors are not holding. Knots work loose and the whole thing is coming apart. I also made a much simpler pattern and am having a similar problem. The yarn ends are constantly working loose and sticking up. Any suggestions?

    • Petrina

      It sounds like your tension may be too loose. Perhaps try a size smaller hook or tighten the tension just a bit. Also for the yarn ends a Russian join might work well for this situation if you are using multiple Homespun colors. Hope this helps

      • Jo

        Thanks! Great suggestion. I’ll try it.

  • Virginia Simpson

    Crocheting is out: can’t even get past single crocheting in the initial chain Knitting is out, also: my needles get caught in the fuzz almost every stitch. This lovely yarn was useless to me until I discovered knitting on a loom. For whatever reason I have no trouble working with this yarn on a loom. Maybe I’ll make an afghan on my knitting board with it; but it’s not worth the trouble for anything else but looming. Glad to see that I”m not the only one with this problem.

  • Kit

    Use Aluminum needles that do not have sharp points when knitting with Homespun and Homespun Thick and Quick. I was a very new knitter when I first started knitting with this yarn, and many other beginning knitters have also mastered knitting with Homespun. It is a great yarn for learning how to knit by feel. Keep your stitch tension loose, but always size each stitch by using the diameter of the needle to ensure consistent size. Start out with this yarn as if you are learning to knit all over again, going through each step of making your stitches, concentrating on not sliding the yarn along the thin nylon thread at the core and on making each part of the stitch correctly but loosely. When this is second nature to your hands, try doing this without looking at your knitting as often, until you do not look at your knitting at all and still are not making any mistakes. Then gradually increase your speed, still slowing back down if you make any mistakes. Eventually you will find that the yarn is easy and fun to knit with. You prop will also find that you are a better knitter with any yarn if you master knitting with Homespun.

    An expert knitter knows how to match the needles she uses with the properties of the yarn she is using, knows how to match her tension with her yarn, and knows how to knit by either sight or by feel. She also knows that gauge is not the only property that needs to match when substituting yarns.

    Not all knitters need to aspire to become expert knitters. In fact some knitters are happy as beginning knitters forever, and that is also okay. In fact, I expected to remain forever a beginning knitter myself when I started knitting. I still most often knit garter stitch scarves in different pretty yarns that strike my fancy. It is fun, it is easy, it is quick, and it gives me an excuse to buy lots of different pretty yarns. But I have learned to make a variety of garments, to modify garment designs for better fit, to substitute yarns effectively, to design simple garments, to do lace, to do cables, to join yarns with a variety of techniques, to select appropriate cast ons and bind offs, and a lot more, and I consider myself an intermediate knitter.

    I still think that Homespun is a yarn that any beginner with a little patience can master. All it really requires is being willing to slow down temporarily and concentrate like you did when you first started.

  • Kit

    An alternate approach to learning to knit with Homespun is to start by pairing it with another #5 Bulky yarn in a pattern for a #6 Super Bulky yarn or in a garter stitch or stockinette stitch scarf. If you have never knit with two strands before, start with two strands of a smooth #5 bulky yarn in different colors, and knit a simple scarf in garter or stockinette, until knitting with two strands is as easy as knitting with one. Then on your next scarf, simply replace one smooth yarn with Homespun. Once you are comfortable knitting with one strand of Homespun and one strand of a smooth #5 yarn, decrease the size of the smooth yarn one size. Knit with one strand of Homespun and one strand of worsted weight yarn (#4) until you are comfortable knitting at your normal speed with that combination. Decrease the size of the paired yarn through #3 dk, #2 baby, #1 sock or fingering, #0 thread, then eliminate the smooth yarn altogether. By then, you will probably be completely comfortable knitting Homespun. I still recommend using Aluminum needles whenever using Homespun, so that the yarn will not be pulled by sticky needles, but it is possible to knit Homespun on other needles if you dislike using Aluminum. It just requires extra care to avoid “sticking”. Aluminum needles tend to work well with yarn that tends to stick, and to be harder to work with slick yarns. Bamboo and wood and most plastic needles work well with slick yarn and tend to be difficult with sticky yarn. But any yarn can be used with any needles if you can adjust your technique enough.

  • Debbie Gillam

    I love working with this yarn, the trick is use a strand of homespun and a strand of red heart or caron yarn with it.