reviews

2017 February KnitCrate Sock Unboxing

It's that time again: time for me to drool over my latest yarn acquisitions, this time courtesy of KnitCrate!

The good folks there reached out to me about a month ago and asked if I had any interest in reviewing their boxes. As you may or may not know, I used to be a KnitCrate subscriber, but cut back because I needed to save money (I think you can see by all my stash enhancements that my plan didn't go well). Since the early days, they've come under new management (or ownership) and the branding has changed a bit, so I was - of course - interested to see what was new!

Depending on what's included, you now either get a cute box (as is the case with the sock crate I opened first) or their traditional red envelope. Read on to find out what was inside!

Yarn

This month's box includes a skein of Mrs. Crosby's Train Case, a blend of 55% Merino Wool, 15% Nylon, and 30% Outlast Viscose, a unique fiber that extends the life of your socks. This unique colorway was created just for us (and it's absolutely gorgeous, people)

Pattern

A swirling treat of a sock, designer Mindy Vasil's Soft Serve Socks are a playful and delightful knit. You'll love watching the colors play out as your knit from the toe up. This project is perfect for me, if only because it's knit toe-up. I just knit a pair of cuff-downs and I now hate my life.

Extra

Soothe yourself at the end of a long day with this handmade, heart-shaped bath bomb from Etsy artisan Petting My Unicorn (with a name like that, you know I was going to be enthusiastic). Scented with lavendar essential oil and made from premium ingredients, this bath bomb is specifically designed to relax sore muscles (perfect to recover from a knitting and Netflix binge!) Or, in my case and as mentioned in the video, recovering from a long week or work travel.

So, how much is it?

Glad you asked ;) The price for a monthly sock crate is $29.94, shipped. Which is awesome because this month's crate has a retail value of $31.74. So you're more than making your money back, especially when you consider shipping costs. Mrs. Crosby is a really great yarn to work with, too - plus, it's an exclusive colorway! You know how I feel about exclusivity!

And get a discount!

Use code JL20 to get 20% off your first purchase :)

2017 January Yarn Crush Unboxing

Hey, all! I'm back again with yet another Yarn Crush unboxing (it seems like these are the only videos I make anymore, but I promise I'm working on that!)

This month was all about yummy treats, as you can tell from the spoiler card we all got - hello, donuts! Bonus: the goodies awaiting me were just as yummy. If you're ready to be spoiled, then check out Yarn Crush's January contents:

The Goodies

The Yarn is a pillowy-soft skein of Single Ply Chunky from Twisted Owl Fibers (who I've been following on Instagram forever, apparently, so imagine my surprise when I finally was able to get my hands on some through Yarn Crush). The yarn is an 80% superwash merino / 20% nylon blend, which makes it both soft and easy to care for. The colorway I received is "Dancing Bears" - can't help thinking of the Grateful Dead once you see the yarn and know the name! You have no idea what a coincidence that is, being that my college sorority's imagery was all based off the Dead. This box was meant to be.

The Patterns, as usual, allow you to choose between a knitting or crochet item. This month, both patterns are for headbands. The knitting pattern is for Alcyone's Crown and the crochet pattern is for Genevrie. They're similar in design, and both feature the notions provided in this month's box (detailed below), so whatever your craft, you're guaranteed to have a gorgeous accessory when complete.

The Notions give you everything you need to put the finishing touches on your January project - lots (30, to be exact) of adorable, sparkly, horse eye rhinestones and a button for whichever headband you choose to make! We've even been provided with the sewing thread to attach them. Seriously, I mean it when I say Yarn Crush gives you everything you need to make each monthly project.

The Bonus Gift was such a cute surprise this month - a piece of handcrafted jewelry from one of two Toronto-based artisans. Hyein Lee makes beautiful laser-cut brooches based on her own illustrations (I got a sheep that I'm going to now wear everywhere) and Candice Ware makes food-themed jewelry that looks cute enough to eat. We don't always get a bonus gifts, so it's always a fun treat when we do!

The Price: I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of my favorite things about Yarn Crush is that you know the retail value of each item in your box (it's published along with the description of the box's contents). Why is that important? Because you know exactly what you're getting for what you've paid, and let me tell you: it's always a steal. The retail value of January 2017's box was $49-95-$55.95, but the monthly subscription price is only $32.99 in comparison. That’s up to almost $23 in savings!

The Rating

How could I possibly give Yarn Crush any less than 5/5 stars? The answer is: I can't. The yarn is just too pretty and the projects too fun for me not to rave like a lunatic about the contents.

How to Get It

There are a couple subscription options and multiple ways to pay. For example, you can subscribe to a monthly box or bi-monthly box and then select how often you'd like to be charged. You, of course, save money with a 3- or 6-month payment plan; I love when subscriptions cater to both our needs and our budgets, especially for those of us trying to be more conscious of what we’re spending (look, I said "trying").

PS: For those of you wondering, I switched to the Sock Crush box, which is $29.99 monthly. I should be receiving my first Sock Crush this month!

If you're ready to learn more, click the button below to either subscribe or select the subscription option that's right for you:

Review: 2016 July Yarn Crush Unboxing

It's been awhile since I've unboxed fibery goodness for you (and for that, I am truly, madly, deeply sad). I've been working from home three days a week since my company moved our office closer to the city, so I'll be honest: you're lucky if I brush my hair most days.

I mean, it's not a rat's nest and I still shower and like... other important things. I just usually throw my hair back into a ponytail and don't risk the chore that is putting my contacts in.

It's a great look.

Anyway, I was so excited to get back in the groove of filming that I put on a bra and unboxed the latest offering from my favorite subscription box: Yarn Crush.

The Goodies

The Yarn is the new-to-me, sumptuous, hand-dyed Pyxis from Space Cadet Yarns. It's 100% Superwash Merino, meaning it's easy to care for (and a superb choice for the provided patterns). Subscribers received one of three colorways depending on their preferences (of which I have none because I love surprises) and I received the blue-green tonal Eugenia. "Warm" subscribers received Eta Carinae and "cool" subscribers received Medusa Nebula.

The Patterns: This month’s knitting pattern is the Heartfire Shawl by Katrina King, which is a lovely pattern for Pyxis due to the subtle color changes and drape. It's a lacey fabric that appears to work up quickly thanks to some stockinette up top, making it the perfect penultimate project for summer.

Of course, Yarn Crush is great because crocheters aren't forgotten (and believe me when I say as a long-time crocheter, it's easy to feel overlooked in this industry). That's why each box comes with both a knitting and crochet pattern - so those of us who enjoy both crafts get a yet another choice!

The July crochet pattern is Valladolid by Jennifer Hansen. You will know Jennifer as Stitch Diva, so I'm sure it comes as no surprise I was immediately drawn to this shawl. I haven't crocheted much in the past several years due to my knitting obsession, but this may be what I needed to dive back in with pure joy.

The Yummies: This month's bonus gift is an elegant feather or twig shawl pin (I received the twig). It's a really nice treat and I don't even want to wait to wear it on my finished shawl. I can see this on any light fall jacket or bag - it's that pretty.

We also got 20% off any pattern from Threaded Dream Studio, 50% off patterns at stitchdiva.com, and 10% off our purchases at spacecadetyarn.com. There's a good chance I may take advantage of those discounts, especially if I fall in love with this yarn (as it seems like I will).

The Price: I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of my favorite things about Yarn Crush is that you know the retail value of each item in your box (it's published along with the description of the box's contents). Why is that important? Because you know exactly what you're getting for what you've paid, and let me tell you: it's always a steal. The retail value of July 2016's box was $50.99, but the monthly subscription price is only $32.99 in comparison. That’s $18 in savings!

The Rating

How could I possibly give Yarn Crush any less than 5/5 stars? The answer is: I can't. The yarn is just too pretty and the projects too fun for me not to rave like a lunatic about the contents.

How to Get It

There are a couple subscription options and multiple ways to pay. For example, you can subscribe to a monthly box or bi-monthly box and then select how often you'd like to be charged. You, of course, save money with a 3- or 6-month payment plan; I love when subscriptions cater to both our needs and our budgets, especially for those of us trying to be more conscious of what we’re spending (look, I said "trying").

If you're ready to learn more, click the button below to either subscribe or select the subscription option that's right for you:

Review: Red Heart Unforgettable Yarn

In an effort to bust my stash and list as many hats in my shop as possible (mama needs some cold hard cash), I've been crocheting up a storm. As a result, I've been plowing through the deep dark recesses of my yarn cubbies, shortly thereafter remembering why I shoved certain detestable skeins of yarn to the back.

One of those yarns is Red Heart Boutique's Unforgettable. And truly, after my most recent experience with it, I will never forget. Unfortunately.

Just look at how the ball split into three separate, knotted sections. LOOK AT IT!

Just look at how the ball split into three separate, knotted sections. LOOK AT IT!

The Specs

Fiber Content: 100% Acrylic
Skein Weight: 3.5oz (100 g) ball
Yardage: 270 yd (247 m)
Recommended Crochet Hook: 6 mm (J/10) hook
Recommended Knitting Needle: 5mm (size 8) needles

The Story

I'd picked up a couple balls for a custom order last year and it was an absolute nightmare to crochet. I chalked it up to the specific pattern, which I kept messing up and needing to rip back. Well, this yarn doesn't lend itself well to frogging due to its single-ply structure and roving content; it felts upon itself immediately, creating knots and - more often than not - tearing apart in my hands.

So this time, I tried something simpler: whipping up a few of my Really Easy Slouchy Beanies. And I still lost my will to live. It was all fine and dandy until the ball started to unravel because the fiber is so slippery. The pattern is so simple and I crochet so fast that I typically don't need to look down at what the yarn is doing. Here, I was constantly untangling or ripping the yarn's knots apart the closer I got to ball's middle and end. I even threw away the last third of a ball because I couldn't take it anymore. Not that I'm widely known for having patience, but as I was trying achieve instant gratification, the never-ending knots just hindered my enjoyment.

I've never had a yarn experience like this before in my life. And it's not like I can just write it off as, "Oh, well, at least it was a bargain yarn." Because it's not. I mean, it's definitely not a luxury hand-dyed situation that you can purchase at your LYS, but it's not exactly cheap at $6.19/ball when you wind up throwing it away.

The Good Stuff

That said, there are some positives to the yarn. Although I'll probably never buy it again, that's surely my personal preference and perhaps the good will outweigh the bad for you.

For one thing, the yarn comes in a gorgeous variety of rich colors featuring long color changes, meaning it's one of my favorite types of yarn visually. It's a shame I hate working with it because it looks phenomenal and would otherwise be calling my name.

Second, it's soft and has beautiful drape, making it perfect for fashionable garments and accessories. I have to say I love how my beanies look in Unforgettable because this yarn makes the pattern look more complicated than it is and the hats slouch beautifully. Again, I'm disappointed I hate working with the stuff because I want to use it for more hats.

Don't Judge Me

I want everyone to know that although I'm a self-proclaimed yarn snob, I also think affordable, large-brand acrylics have their place. That's why I'm always on the hunt for the highest quality yarns I can get my hands on that yield the largest profit margins possible when making sellable items for my etsy shop. Unforgettable would absolutely fit my qualifications if it wasn't such a PITA to work with.

What Do You Think?

Have you used Unforgettable before? Have I been too harsh, or is my review right on the money? Let me know about your experience in the comments!

Review: 2016 February Yarn Crush Unboxing

Can't view the embedded video above? Then click here.

Another month, another Yarn Crush package to unbox and review. Life is hard.

In all seriousness, this is my favorite Yarn Crush yet. It packs the biggest punch of any I’ve previously reviewed and is the most valuable, to boot. I literally squeed when I opened it and I’m so impressed with what Joanna has put together for us. Here’s why:

The Goodies

The Yarn is a thrumming kit dyed exclusively for Yarn Crush by Celestial Strings. The coordinating sets (you received either pink or blue - I got pink!) include four ounces of 100% Peruvian wool yarn and one ounce of wool fiber for thrumming. The info packet says “the vibrant fiber will add gorgeous pops of color to any thrummed item you’d like to knit or crochet."

The Patterns: This month’s knitting pattern is Winkelmittz, a traditional thrummed mitten set with a slight twist: chevrons! According to the pattern notes, your hands will stay nice and toasty as the thrums felt together into a warm and solid inner lining. Although it’s gotten a little late in the season to wear these, they’re a great spring or summer project when you’re looking for something small and portable to play with while traveling in the heat.

Of course, one of the things I like about Yarn Crush is that crocheters aren’t excluded from the fun (and there’s no reason a hooker shouldn’t enjoy high quality yarns and patterns just because they don’t knit). The February crochet pattern is Tribulus, a well-insulated yet surprisingly light toque that looks like it’ll be a lot of fun to make.

I’ll most likely be knitting the thrummed mittens, since just this morning I watched the latest Grocery Girls podcast and they discussed thrumming. My immediate thought was, “Hmmm, I’ve always wanted to try that.” Lo and behold, I unboxed February’s Yarn Crush and there was a thrumming kit. It’s a sign!

The Yummies: This month's bonus gift is a really, really ridiculously good-looking set of stitch markers in one of three themes - A Trip to Paris, Tea Time, or Sewing. I received the Tea Time set, which is perfect for me being that I love tea (just like most of you knitters out there). The lobster clasp makes them perfect for both knit and crochet projects, or you can use them as progress keepers; we all know I love anything multi-purpose.

The Price: I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of my favorite things about Yarn Crush is that you know the retail value of each item in your box (it's published along with the description of the box's contents). Why is that important? Because you know exactly what you're getting for what you've paid, and let me tell you: it's always a steal. The retail value of February 2016's box was $57.97, but the monthly subscription price is only $32.99 in comparison. That’s over $25 in savings!

The Rating

How could I possibly give Yarn Crush any less than 5/5 stars? The answer is: I can't. The yarn is just too pretty and the projects too fun for me not to rave like a lunatic about the contents.

How to Get It

There are a couple subscription options and multiple ways to pay. For example, you can subscribe to a monthly box or bi-monthly box and then select how often you'd like to be charged. You, of course, save money with a 3- or 6-month payment plan; I love when subscriptions cater to both our needs and our budgets, especially for those of us trying to be more conscious of what we’re spending.

If you're ready to learn more, click the button below to either subscribe or select the subscription option that's right for you: