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Alternative yarns

I’m often asked about the yarn I use for my blankets and if I can recommend any alternatives.
I designed both the Homage to the Granny Square and the Wallflowers blankets using Rowan Felted Tweed.  (and no, I don’t get paid by Rowan or receive any commissions on sales… I just love the yarn!)
There is a huge range of colours to choose from and they work together beautifully.
However, I often get asked by people if they have to use Rowan Felted Tweed to make my blankets.  The answer to that is ‘No – you can use any yarn you like – it is your work!’
You may be allergic to wool, the cost may be prohibitive or you may have loads of yarn in your stash you’re desperate to use up! 
Photo credit: Amanda Sherriff using Stylecraft
‘I chose this as I am allergic to wool.  It washes really well on a 30 degree wash and they have a great range of colours’
Photo credit: Amanda Sherriff using Stylecraft
You can work your blankets in any yarn – but there are a few things to keep in mind…
  • I can only provide accurate advice on measurements and yardage for my designs with the Rowan Felted Tweed – so you would need to do some calculations to work out how much yarn you would need if you choose an alternative yarn.
  • I recommend using the same weight yarn for your entire project
  • I can’t enter a conversation about which alternative yarns to use or answer any questions about your yarn choice until your course begins – sorry!
  • Try and choose a brand of yarn which has a wide range of colours available – and lots in stock!
Photo Credit: @grischa_knit_crochet using Moya shimmer yarn
Below I have listed a few alternative yarns that previous course members have used:

And here are some beautiful examples to help you choose…! 

Photo credit: Alison Macaulay using Stylecraft Life DK for Crojoretro

‘I really love Rowan Felted Tweed, but Life DK is so much cheaper and I like the stitch definition compared to other 100% acrylics – it has 20% wool.’

Photo credit: Emma Jane using Scheepjes Catona

‘I used Scheepjes Catona, it’s a mercerised cotton yarn, officially fingering but more like a light DK’

Photo Credit: @grischa_knit_crochet using Scheepjes Catona

‘I am sensitive to wool, so I work a lot with cotton’

Photo credit: Christine Silkstone using The Border Mill Alpaca Rose and North Coast 4 ply

‘I decided if I was going to put so much work into Wallflowers – I wanted to use some yarn I really loved.’

Photo credit: Herbie Kio using Miss Babs Yummy 2 ply

‘I love the softness and I love working with it!’

Photo credit: Katy Lowe using Scheepjes Scrumptious

‘The colour range is huge and I really enjoy using it’

Photo credit: Nicola Gyde using Scheepjes Terrazzo

‘I chose it for the cheaper cost, larger colour range yet similar gauge as the Rowan Felted Tweed.   My quantities worked out pretty much the same as for the Rowan’

Photo credit: Debbie Richardson using Mandala by Lionbrand

‘I’m cutting individual colours and using it that way – I plan to make the entire blanket with this yarn and colourway’

Photo credit: Catherine Hutchinson using Drops Alpaca

‘It was quite inexpensive and has a lovely range of colours.  I used a 2.5 hook for this yarn and my blanket was smaller than most, but still a nice size and beautiful and soft.’

Photo credit: Sandra Rivarola using Scheepjes Stonewashed

Photo credit: Jantine Love using Sirdar No 1

‘My friend and I used Sirdar No1 because it felt so soft, we loved the definition and the colours’

Photo credit: Jayne Raybould using Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift

‘I’m using Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, grown and spun on the Shetland Isles, huge range of colours and fabulous to work with. I like supporting smaller enterprises who are passionate about their products. I bought mine in a wonderful independent wool shop in Lancaster ‘Northern Yarn’, I wanted to check all my colour choices in the flesh rather than buy online.’

Have you made one of my blankets in one of the alternative yarns I have mentioned?  Do you have any other suggestions?

I’d love to hear from you  – please tell us about it in the section below!

Sue x

This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. Great blog article. Thanks for all the options in terms of cost and sensitivity. I can’t use wool, so these options are very helpful.
    Abigail from Canada.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I have been curious about how a Wallflowers blanket might look in a different weight or fiber. This was very helpful!

    1. Glad this could help you! There are so many versions of this blanket now it’s hard to show them all!

  3. I used a 4ply yarn as I prefer to work with finer yarns. I found Border Yarns, North Coast Tweeds gave me just the colours I wanted. They were a very helpful company with excellent, prompt service.
    The Wallflowers blanket was smaller with the finer wool which suited me.
    I enjoyed the course, especially valuable during Covid lockdowns.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing projects that have used different yarns. For me it was a combination of the cost of Rowan and my sensitive skin, however, I wasn’t confident enough to try something different. The examples you’ve shown are stunning.

    1. Hello Paula – I am pleased that this post has helped you and I really hope that you are able to join me on a course very soon! I agree – these examples are wonderful, I have the joy of seeing endless combinations and beautiful colourways – I wish I could share them all!

  5. I have been considering one of your courses, but as I live in SE Florida, with a sub-tropical climate, I knew that using wool would be impractical, much as I love it. This blog post gives me food for thought on alternatives to wool for another blanket.

    I made a cotton/acrylic blanket two years ago which gets a lot of use, having just the right smooth comfort and practicality. I can even use it as a beach blanket and it washes up nicely. Unfortunately, the yarn I used has been discontinued and the few leftover skeins in my stash may become a pillow cover.

    I like bamboo mixes… they’re soft and easy on my somewhat arthritic hands. Catona cotton is available locally too. Whatever I choose, working on a big time consuming project, its imperative the color pallet is pleasing.

    1. Hi there! So glad you have found me and would like to join me on a course! I am glad this blog has helped you to consider some other options. I completely agree that the colour palette is very important and this is why a large chunk of time is spent working on this at the beginning of my courses.

  6. Thank you for explaining this. Roughly how many balls in total for the project will we need as I’d like to budget depending on which type of yarn I choose. Im in Australia so will probably have to substitute for something as orders from UK can take about a month to arrive and that may be too long for the project.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jane – it will depend which project you are thinking of doing as they all require different amounts. The amounts needed are usually given in the FAQ sheets for each course, which can be found on my website under ‘Online Courses’ but if you have difficulty finding what you need please email my assistant Jess at and she will help you!

  7. Thanks for this excellent article Sue: so many possibilities. I have a lot of Scheepjes Catona in my stash from making amigurumi, and I also have a Scheepjes Metropolis Colour Pack which might be helpful in choosing a colourway if I chose that yarn. I love using fingering weight yarn: I never get wrist pain.

  8. I work my Wallflowers with Scheepjes Terrazzo – great colours, and you just can’t beat the colour packs for playing & picking your colors. Hobbii Woody Tweed seems to be so similar, I’d almost think it is the same – but it comes in just 16 colors – they are very similar to the Terrazzo, composition, shade of tweedy neps, so similar you still have 60 colors total (60+16repeats) even working with both ranges. I would not be surprised if they used the same manufacturer.
    If you have never used recycled wool, try it before deciding. My hands require so much more lotion since using this. The colors are a joy to work with and I think it’s a good choice for home decoration, but for anything touching skin and draping around the body (blanket) … Rowan Felted Tweed does make the nicer fabric.

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