Review: Fibra Natura Good Earth

The Dishcloth+ Series, sponsored by Universal Yarn, uses Fibra Natura Good Earth yarn. It’s been a blast to work with. Here’s my impression of the yarn.

Fibra Natura Good Earth

Yarn Features:

Universal Yarn describes Good Earth as: a soft cotton/linen blend that’s easy on the hands and a pleasure to work with.

Worsted Weight: 170 yrds / 100 g
53% Cotton and 47% Linen

Good Earth Pros:

  • Beautiful soft color pallette
  • Also available in variegated yarn colors
  • Creates a durable fabric
  • Fiber blend gives is a nice drape
  • Fabric softens with washing
  • Good for showing stitch definition
  • No elasticity, which is good for a durable dishcloth; it won’t get out of shape

Good Earth Cons:

I label the following as cons, but they might better be labeled “Things to be aware of.”

  • Shrinks when washed. Many fibers shrink when washed, and this is one. If the dimensions of the project matter, it might be a good idea to make the project a little larger.
  • Loses a bit of it’s sheen after going through washer/dryer. I’ve had other cotton fade drastically when washed. This maintains its beautiful color after washing with only a little loss of its sheen.

Good Earth Holding Up in the Wash

Good Earth WashedIt’s a dishcloth, so naturally I ran it through the wash. Pictured right is the Corner to Corner Dishcloth. Left, in Jade (green), is the original dishie. Right, in Canyon (pink), is the dishcloth after one time through the laundry.

Prior to washing, the dishcloth measured 8″x8″. After a trip through the washer and dryer it measured an inch smaller.

If you have to (or choose to) wash dishes by hand, this fiber is fabulous. It’s durable yet soft. It will soak up water like a sponge if it’s alreay damp, so it’s great for cleaning up spills.

The colors in this line blend well together. They are soft and soothing, a lovely mix of tones. Because it’s a blend of cotton and linen, it really is much softer to crochet with than many straight cotton yarns. The finished product is softer as well.

Dana is a big fan of knit and crochet dishies, so you’ll find this at her kitchen sink or in a drawer waiting for it’s turn to scrub pots and pans.

Both Dana and I have enjoyed working with Fibra Natura Good Earth in the Dishchloth+ Series. I look forward to showing you more fun kitchen and dining stuff in the coming months.

 

Review: Anne Geddes Baby

Review: Anne Geddes Baby Yarn

We used Anne Geddes Baby from Red Heart in our Twins Face Off crocheted witch outfit entitled Witch Way, This Way. Here are our thoughts about the yarn:

Red Heart Anne Geddes Yarn for Twins Face Off

In a word, this yarn is great. It was a real pleasure to work with. It’s labeled “Baby” but we don’t let that limit how we use it. It’s a fabulous yarn for baby and adult items alike.

Yarn Features:

According to the Red Heart website: Red Heart has partnered with iconic baby photographer Anne Geddes to make this wonderful yarn. It is a perfect blend of acrylic and nylon that makes it super soft and just the right weight for those special baby things. You’ll love the color range and the adorable patterns!

Light Weight: 340 yrds / 100 g
80% Acrylic and 20% Nylon

Anne Geddes Baby Pros:

  • Bright and bold color selection. Seriously, babies look cute in all kinds of colors, not just pale blue and pink!
  • Smooth texture glides across fingers nicely. Because it is light weight, it hardly feels like it’s there, especially on the tension finger.
  • Soft yarn
  • Has a good twist, so doesn’t split. Can’t emphasize this enough; it doesn’t split!
  • Has a medium sheen – not too shiney or too dull
  • Washable
  • The lighter weight is nice for projects where smaller stitches and drape are important, whether for baby or not.

Anne Geddes Baby Cons:

  • As in most lines of yarn, we long for more colors. Seriously, babies are drawn to bright colors, so why aren’t most baby lines more colorful?

Patterns Using Anne Geddes Baby:

Witch Goves and Leg WarmersHere are some links to patterns using this yarn:

 

Review: Vanna’s Choice from Lion Brand Yarns

Review: Vanna’s Choice from Lion Brand Yarns

We raided our stash and used Vanna’s Choice from Lion Brand Yarns in our Twins Face Off crocheted flowers design challenge. Here are our thoughts about the yarn:

Vannas Choice

This yarn is a workhorse…and we mean that in the nicest sense. It has been one of our go-to yarns for years so it was only natural that we used it in our stashbuster challenge.

Yarn Features:

According to the Lion Brand website: Vanna White, America’s favorite crocheter and Lion Brand’s spokesperson for over 15 years, introduces Vanna’s Choice®, an easy-care, silky-soft premium basic available in a range of beautiful, expertly-coordinated shades.

Worsted Weight: 170 yrds / 100 g
100% Premium Acrylic

Vanna’s Choice Pros:

  • Lots of color options – there are several fun lines in Vanna’s Choice including: Tapestry and Baby. She also has a Glamour and Sequins line. What will Vanna dream up next? Looks like she’s introduced Mohair with her Complements line. Oh my!
  • Smooth texture glides across fingers nicely
  • Pretty Soft
  • Has a good twist, so doesn’t split very often
  • Has a medium sheen – not too shiney or too dull
  • Washable
  • A portion of the proceeds is donated to Charity (St Jude’s)

Vannna’s Choice Cons:

  • Even with all the colors available, we still long for more options in yellow

Floral Heart Throw Pillow

Patterns Using Vanna’s Choice:

Many of our patterns use Vanna’s Choice including those in this month’s challenge. Here are some links to patterns using this yarn:

Review: Shangri La from Bijou Basin Ranch

Review: Shangri La Lace Weight Yak/Silk Yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch

We used Shangri La lace weight yak/silk yarn by Bijou Basin Ranch in our Twins Face Off crochet design competition to make Lacy Scarves. Here are our thoughts about the yarn:

Shangri-La Yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch

We love it! Honestly, we were a little nervous about crocheting with this yarn. Not because of the material (which is fabulous), but because we have never worked with lace weight before (unless you consider crochet thread to be lace weight).

Yarn Features:

According to the Bijou Basin Ranch website: “A blend of two of the world’s softest and strongest fibers, our Shangri-La is the knitter’s [or crocheter’s] version of the earthly paradise for which it is named!” [our adeptation to  their quote].

Lace Weight: 400 yards / 2 ozs.
50% Tibetan Yak  / 50% Mulberry Silk: Hand Wash, Dry Flat

Shangri-La Pros:

  • Ubber Soft (softest, most luxurious yarn we’ve ever used)
  • Silky so it glides across your hook easily
  • Smooth, so it feels gentle on your fingers
  • Blocks great so it’s perfect for showcasing stitches
  • Not itchy, so it’s comfortable to wear
  • If crocheting a solid fabric, this would be nice and warm
  • If crocheting a lacy fabric, this is light and airy
  • Comes in fun jewel tone colors

Shangri-La Cons:
We love this yarn so much, we don’t want to write any cons!

  • The two strands can separate a bit and get caught on the hook
  • Frogging should be done slowly or the fibers will knot up a bit
  • There is a faint odor to the yarn, but it’s very mild

Bijou Basin Ranch had the right idea when they named this yarn. It really is a dream and a half to work with. Shangri La is so nice that you may find yourself saddened when your project comes to an end. No worries, just get yourself another skein and start on another great project!

Patterns Using Shangri La

Check out these beautiful patterns that use Shangri La yarn.

Review: Yashi by Universal Yarn

Review: Yashi (raffia yarn) by Universal Yarn

We used Yashi (raffia yarn) by Universal Yarn in our Twins Face Off design challenge sponsored by Ewe and Me: A Yarn Boutique. Here are our thoughts about the yarn.

Yashi Yarn

It is unique! We haven’t worked with anything like this. We love products that are new and different. This is definitely one to try.

Yarn Features:

According to the Universal website: “Yashi is a soft, papery raffia yarn especially well-suited for crafts and accessories.”

Worsted Weight: 99 yards/40 grams
100% Raffia: Hand wash, Dry Flat

Yashi Pros:

  • Fun Colors
  • Can be unwrapped to make a wide ribbon like yarn
  • Surprisingly Durable – Didn’t tear even after frogging several times
  • Color Fast – doesn’t bleed in cold or hot water (we tried)
  • Strong (even if swatch is soaked in water)
  • Long Run Out – Most raffia is made of short strands. Love that this is 99 continuous yards!
  • Soft when compared to other raffia

Yashi Cons:

  • Stiff – Can see kinks in stitches
  • Frogged yarn will be thinner/crunched
  • No flux, difficult to create good stitch definition with stitches of various heights
  • Coarse when compared to traditional yarns.

Yashi raffia yarn is fun for a variety of projects. It’s awesome for crafting and creates a unique look for crochet. Here are some patterns using Yashi:

Review: Softee Baby by Bernat

Review: Softee Baby by Bernat

We used Softee Baby in our Twins Face Off Baby Set crochet design challange this month. Here are our thoughts about the yarn.

Bernat Softee Baby

We love it! Not only is Softee Baby soft, as the name implies, it also has great drape. It is delightful to work with and makes beautiful finished pieces.

Yarn Features:

According to Yarnspirations website: “Bernat Softee Baby is a soft, premium acrylic yarn with a delightful range of shades. 100% acrylic”

Light Weight: 140g / 5 oz, 331 meters / 362 yards

Bernat Softee Baby Pros:

  • Soft to crochet
  • Soft finished projects
  • Beautiful drape
  • Glides smoothly over hook
  • Nice variety of pastel baby colors

Bernat Softee Baby Cons:

  • Colors limited to pastel baby colors

This yarn is perfect for a variety of projects including baby blankets, hats, sweaters and booties. We only wish it came in more colors!

Here are some patterns that use Softee Baby by Bernat:

Review: The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop

Review: “The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop”
by Dora Ohrenstein

Crocheter's Skill Building Workshop-Cover“A beautiful, stunning and informative resource.” You can quote me, Dana, on that!

I read a review of “The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop” on Crochetville and wondered if this book was all it was touted to be. And, yeah. It’s good. Really good.

If ever I thought about writing down all that I know and tricks I think every crocheter needs to know, this is the book I would have envisioned writing. But it wouldn’t have been half as good. Dora Ohrenstein nailed it with this book.

Have you ever wondered why some people’s crochet projects looks sloppy while other people’s work looks great? The difference can be a matter of technique, of knowing and putting into practice some basic skills. This book will transform your crochet.

The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop Pros

  • Step-by-step instructions & photos of basic techniques for beginners
  • Advice (and photos) for advanced crocheters
  • In depth discussion (and charts) on how to write and modify patterns
  • Photos with amazing clarity
  • 75 swatch patterns (photos and charts) that illustrate various techniques
  • Charts with two colors to help distinguish odd and even rows.
  • 256 pages with nice thick glossy paper that’s durable and provides crisp clear images
  • Great writing style – it feels like you’re having a converstaion with an instructor that’s professional yet approachable.

My three favorite sections are:

  1. Pages 53-55  Alternatives to Standard Turning Chains
    I hate how wimpy the turning chain looks as a stitch (so I often don’t count it as a st). Dora gives several great alternatives (with step-by-step photos which are very much appreciated).
  2. Pages 194-195  Tapestry Crochet
    I’ve done a little bit of tapestry crochet, but haven’t fallen in love with it. Her tip on crocheting backwards (and again, love the step-by-step photos!) makes me want to give it another try.
  3. Pages 136-139 Internal Shaping
    I liked all of Chapter 7 “Advanced Shaping” but loved the highlighted chart that addressed building a pattern internally on page 137.

The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop Cons

  • Instructions on designing 3D items seemed light. There are patterns for a hat and bag, but the book didn’t address things like amigurumi.
  • My tablet had trouble with the electronic version (which I checked out from the library). It skipped from chapter to chapter instead of page to page. In the end I’m thankful that my tablet had problems because the printed version is stunningly beautiful.
  • Not really a con, but something I found odd was the placement of the section on Pattern Reading. It seems like it would have been better placed at the front of the book rather than the back, since there were patterns sprinkled throughout the book.

The only thing I thought missing was a technique called an invisible join (which I’ve pinned on pinterest). Page 102 does give 4 ways to start and end a round.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading The Crocheter’s Skill-Building Workshop. Not because I think I know it all, cause I don’t. I guess I thought it would be a long winded detailed discussion on every miniscule crochet technique ever known to man. Instead, the chapters were concise yet thorough and were beautifully illustrated with fun patterns and beautiful photos. This is definitely one to keep on the shelf as a reference along side your stitch dictionaries.

Review: Landscapes by Lion Brand

Yarn Review: Landscapes by Lion Brand

We used Landscapes yarn in our Lion Brand Sponsored Twins Face Off design challenge. Here are our thoughts about the yarn.

Lion Brand Landscape Yarn

We love this yarn and yet were challenged by it as well. More specifically, we found the color challenging since we rarely use self striping yarn. But really, using a yarn that changes colors automatically kind of takes care of one design element. No need to worry about when to use a specific color!

Yarn Features:

According to Lion Brand website: “Landscapes is a premium acrylic, single plied roving yarn that has a satiny feel and a richly colored palette.”

Worsted Weight: 3.50 oz./100 g (147 yd/134 m)

Self Striping – Based on the Bohemian Handbag pattern, the color lasted about 20 dc’s and then took another 20 dc’s to fully transition into the next color.

Lion Brand Landscapes Pros:

  • Soft and smooth to work with
  • Glides easily over the hook and hand
  • Soft finished projects
  • Self Striping adds lots of color with a single skein
  • Vibrant color with smooth color transitions
  • Shiny sheen making finished projects rich looking
  • Loose roving style yarn is fun to crochet
  • 7 fun color combos to choose from (both masculine and feminine)

Lion Brand Landscapes Cons:

  • Difficult to rip out work because roving is not tightly twisted which means the strands can bind together (for best results, frog slowly)
  • Yarn is soft and can snag easily so you’ll want to line projects like purses
  • Yarn splits a little bit. An inline hook may work better for this type of yarn

If you’ve never worked with roving style yarn, give it a try. It is really fun to crochet with and we thoroughly enjoyed working with Landscapes yarn. Once we got over our own hang ups with not being able to control the color changes (I know, control issues), we found this yarn a delight to work with.

Here are some patterns that use Landscapes yarn by Lion Brand.

Review: Red Heart Soft and Boutique Sashay Sequins

Review: Red Heart Soft Yarn and Red Heart Boutique Sashay Sequins

We used two different yarns from Red Heart for the Twins Face Off Shrug
Design Challenge this month. We thought we’d share with you our thoughts on both Soft and Boutique Sashay Sequins.

Review: Red Heart Soft Yarn

Review Red Heart Soft Yarn

We loved working with Red Heart Soft…we’ll just say that right off the bat. It deserves it’s name because it really is soft. It glides through your fingers and across the hook so smooth you’d think it was silk. Coarser yarn can chafe the tension finger, but this soft yarn does not irritate the skin. It also has really nice drape which is surprising for a worsted weight yarn. That makes it great for garments like scarves and sweaters, or in this case, shrugs. Not only is it gentle on the tension finger, as a finished project, it also feels soft and smooth.

Red Heart Soft also has a shiny sheen. That makes the finish item vibrant. The color is stronger and richer as a result.

This yarn can split a bit when working with it. Not too much, but enough to comment on it. If you run into this problem, you might want to try using an inline hook like Susan Bates which will minimize the snagging.

Red Heart Soft Yarn is delightful to work with. We don’t use it as often as we’d like because the color selection is limited. As of today, there isn’t a yellow in the mix. You don’t notice how often you use yellow until it’s not available! The colors that are available, however, are rich and vibrant. We love them all!

Red Heart Soft Pros:

  • Soft and comfortable to work with
  • Beautiful drape
  • Nice shiney sheen making colors vibrant

Red Heart Soft Cons:

  • Splits a little bit
  • Limited color selection

Review: Red Heart Boutique Sashay Sequins

Review Red Heart Boutique Sashay Sequins

Though lace and ruffles aren’t our usual style, we have to give two thumbs up to Red Heart Boutique Sashay Sequins for being a great yarn to work with. Working with lace does take a little extra time because you have to open it up and spread out the lace to find your next loop. Once we slowed down and realized this wasn’t a timed contest, we were able to enjoy the process of working with the lace. The Boutique Sashay Sequins opens easy and stays open so you can find the loops you want to work with. It really was a delight to incorporate into our shrugs.

Of course, the Boutique Sashay Sequins is probably most notable for it’s drape. It makes a beautiful ruffle. The lace part of the yarn is very holey, which allows for the crocheter to skip holes to create a more curly ruffle. Likewise, you can create more or less of a ruffle by crocheting more or less rounds with the lace. We like that the fabric gives us some control over how big the ruffles will be.

We crocheted the Sashay right into the project with the Red Heart Soft yarn. Imagine doing a single or double crochet with the Soft yarn. To incorporate the Sashay, we simply inserted the hook into the Sashay before inserting the hook in the next stitch of the project. Finish the single or double crochet with the Soft yarn and the Sashay is locked in.

The only thing we didn’t like about working with Boutique Sashay Sequins was so minimal it’s hardly worth mentioning. But for those who are curious, we did find it a little annoying that the yarn twists a bit as it comes off the skein. So you’ll have to stop and rotate the skein to get rid of the twist. But really, that’s to be expected on this type of yarn. See, we shouldn’t have even mentioned it!

Red Heart Boutique Sashay Sequins Pros:

  • Makes beautiful ruffles
  • Easy to open
  • Lots of options for making small or large ruffles
  • It has sequins…always fun in a yarn!

Red Heart Boutique Sashay Sequins Cons:

  • Twists as it comes off the skein

So, as you may have noticed, the pros totally outweight the cons! We enjoyed working with both yarns and know you will too.

Review: Cafe Press Water Bottle

Review: Cafe Press Water Bottle

When Deborah and I opened our Cafe Press shop, we selected items that we would want to use. I was excited to see that a 1 liter metal water bottle was an option for plastering fun crochet and knitting sayings on, cause I drink a lot of water. I love it!

Cafe Press Water Bottle

I bring this bottle to my office while I work on crochet patterns. Here’s my review of my new Cafe Press Water Bottle:

Pro:

  • Holds 1 liter
  • Has gasket to prevent leaks
  • Has a hole in lid should I want to tie a string through the lid and around the neck of the bottle
  • Has easy grip bumps on the lid for easy opening
  • Wide mouth for putting ice cubes in
  • Stainless steel, no toxins like BPA

Cons:

  • Hand wash only
  • Bottle takes on the temperature of the liquid inside
  • Can’t tip head back too fast when drinking directly from it because water pours out quickly

My husband and I joke about how I drink. When most people ask for a sip, they are asking for a taste of something. I use the word a bit more loosely. I could want a taste, but more likely I want a good healthy drink…one that makes you say “ahhh” at the end.

With this water bottle, I need to tip it back a bit slower than I’m use to. But I think it’s worth it. I love the convenience of it. It’s the perfect amount of water for short hikes in the park, for taking with me to crochet group or just keeping near me while I work.

Of course, the best part is that it showcases my love of crochet!