All That Yarn - Discontinued Yarns
They don't make these any more.
I can't find it! But it was just for sale...
I have run into this a few times, and it makes me frustrated with the yarn companies. I finally find the “perfect yarn” that I can use for my projects, only to later find out that this particular yarn is/has been discontinued for months/years. There is no prior warning, probably so people won’t hoard it, and no listing of what is discontinued until well after the yarn is no longer available for sale. Sometimes the only warning is a low stock with lots of the colors already “sold out” online, and no longer available in stores except maybe in the clearance bin.
Where did it go?
Case in point, the colorful and soft Red Heart Bright & Lofty yarn which was discontinued around 2009. I stumbled across this one by accident when searching on eBay for something else about 7-8 years ago. I thought it was very pretty and got some. Then I had tried to find it in the stores, no luck there, so I check other online yarn “stores”. I found a few of different colors at Herrschners and other locations, but not on Red Heart’s website. I bought up as many skeins as I could afford at the time, and added to the stash of B&L as I could find it. The “best” color which my mother and a few other people adored was the blue/teal color called “Beach”. That was the most rare color of this rare yarn.
Now (in late 2016) I’m finding it pops up on eBay more and more as estate finds or “clearing out my stash” sales. I can get it fairly reasonably priced (under $10 per skein, usually) so I’ve once again been buying up what I can find online. I still have enough in my original stash to make a couple of black Licorice ones, white SnoCone ones, and a pink Bubblegum one.
I can only find one, two, or three skeins of a color or of the B&L itself. So I get it and see how I can make do to create one of my “quick afghan/throws” for my donation pile. Sometimes a skein of SnoCone will finish off the Jelly Bean (red) one that is short. I use about 7 skeins per throw, which is about 95 yards per skein, considered Super Bulky or “6” on the yarn size scale.
I'd rather switch than give up.
I had switched over to a very similar yarn that came in less-bright colors, Red Heart’s Light & Lofty as well as Baby Clouds. I wrote to them about that lack of available colors this year. They wrote back and told me that it had been discontinued in February 2016. So I made a fast search on eBay and was lucky to find some for sale there. It was no longer being offered at Herrschners, Mary Maxim, Jo-Ann’s or any other online store (since the local yarn stores are getting few and far between with the closing of Hancock Fabrics in October 2016 in my town). Once again I was in “buy it!” mode to make sure I had a stash to last a year or two while I searched for a similar or comparable yarn to continue my donation afghan/throws work.
I found some!
I was fortunate to find a gal who was clearing out her own stash of Light & Lofty and Baby Clouds as she had switched to making baby hats. She did not need a bulky yarn but a worsted or smaller weight for the baby hats. She was selling two skeins at a time on eBay, so I contacted her to find out how much she had and if I could buy it all. She wrote back that with a rough estimate she had about 350 skeins. I asked to buy 200 which she priced at $7.00 each plus postage costs. She agreed to sell me the 200 skeins, and I sent her a check. Then one week I had a huge box appear on my front step, and a second one followed on the next day (guess the postal carrier couldn’t make it with both on the same day or the one box was delayed). I was in “hog heaven” with the first box, and pleasantly surprised with the second box. This was my November delivery of yarns.
I filled up half a dozen of my big bags that I had on hand. I get the good sized free reusable bags from Jolly Time Popcorn’s on the box offer for 3 UPCs a bag. I also filled a couple of my plastic storage bins (18-gal. or less in size). I happily started work right away on a throw and managed to get two more done before I delivered the donation stash on December 1st. Between my sister and I there were 48 afghans/throws this year to donate. About a week later I took a couple more throws (from the new yarn, and it took me just 2 days per throw to make more) as well as one afghan donated by one of my crochet students which made the total 51 for my 2016 donation to Seton House.
Light & Lofty in different colors.
"I'm sorry, that has been discontinued."
So, now Light & Lofty and Baby Clouds yarns are both discontinued, I am looking online again. But I have, by my estimates, enough to do about 30-40 afghan/throws for the next year or so. In the mean time I wrote to Red Heart to ask for a similar yarn to Light & Lofty to use in place of it (when I can’t find it anymore). They wrote back (they are so good about customer service) and said that their current yarn Stellar is similar in weight and size to substitute. The only difference, other than colors available, is that Stellar has a metallic thread running through the skein to give it a little “sparkle” in the finished product. I still have to work up a throw using my pattern and the skeins of Stellar to see if it will be an acceptable substitution yarn. When they stop making Stellar, I’m back to square one.
Stellar vs. Light & Lofty
I have tried making up afghans in Lion Brand Homespun, but it is very “slick” and the thread wrapped around the fuzzy yarn often breaks or separates so I have to tie knots to hold it in on the ends of the yarn. I have heard from some of my students and friends that they “hate” to use Homespun because of the thread breakage, and unwieldiness of the slick feel. I don’t hate it, but it is not one I like to use very often.
I have also tried Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn, but it is SO HEAVY when it is made up in my go-to quick throw pattern. If I do a ripple pattern with it and a larger hook, it is less weight but doesn’t have the soft feel of the Light & Lofty yarn.
I have also tried other chunky yarns and had poor results. It is just too bad that the “specialty” yarns have flooded the market (like the fur, eyelash, and netting) so that the good stuff is no longer available. I’m sure if it was marketed correctly it might have caught on with more crocheters and knitters. I think too often the “work horse” yarns are overlooked because the shining star of the moment (like curly lace scarves or super chunky arm knitting patterns) take the spotlight and make manufacturers look for novelty rather than substance. Thank goodness that the Red Heart worsted weight is still around, even though some people dislike it for the stiffness and rough texture. It will always be the one that gets the most use for afghans, sweaters, hats, mittens, and scarves. I know I have several of my own that I made for myself in Red Heart Super Saver or Red Heart Classic.
I'm a fan, and so are my students.
Yes, I will admit that I’m a fan of Red Heart, and I’m trying to be a fan of Lion Brand (but sometimes it is hard to find a good yarn from them). I will continue to recommend to my beginning students to use the basic Red Heart for all their first projects, mostly so they can be successful and feel that they are able to do the craft. A bad yarn can disappoint a beginner so that they will quit rather than continue to have bad experiences with yarn.
Color Lists (as far as I could dig up):
Red Heart Bright & Lofty yarn (discontinued in 2009)
1. Grape Crush (purples)
2. Bubblegum (solid pink)
3. Bikini (pink/colors)
4. SnoCone (white/colors)
5. Licorice (black/colors)
6. Beach (blue/teal)
7. Lemon Zest (yellow/colors)
8. Jelly Bean (red/colors)
Red Heart Light & Lofty (discontinued in Feb. 2016, some dropped earlier)
1. Nightline (black with color flecks)
2. Rocky Mountain (brown with color flecks)
3. Beechy Keen (blue with color flecks)
4. Aspen Bluff (tans with blue color flecks)
5. Brown Stripe (browns, tans)
6. Zebra Stripe (black, grey, white)
7. Salt & Pepper (black and white)
8. Rain Forest Multi (green with color flecks)
9. Cape Cod Multi (tan with red color flecks)
10. Wine (dark red with color flecks)
11. Green Gables (light green)
12. Sage Stripe (greens from light to dark)
13. Café au Lait (tans)
14. Cloud (white)
15. Onyx (black)
16. Antique Rose (pinks)
17. Antique Blue (medium blues)
18. Pine (green)
19. Many more that I cannot find a list of colors for.
Red Heart Baby Clouds:
1. Sunny Multi
2. Sugar Multi
4. Dawn Multi
5. Sandcastle (blue with color flecks)
6. Blue Sky (pale blue)
7. Puff (white)
8. Creamsicle (pale orange)
9. Peaceful Dreams (purple ombre)
10. Lemon (yellow)
11. Many more that I cannot find a list of colors for.