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!

In Progress: Cozy Memories (Mitered Square) Blanket

Because who doesn't love weaving in eleventy-billion ends?

So you know how everyone except yours truly has started knitting on scrap yarn blankets in the past year?

Well, I've joined the club. And am loving every minute of it.

It's not that I waited until now to start. No, the truth is I'd started one in the fall, but didn't like that particular design. Each mitered square was a diamond (as opposed to being worked straight across), and for some reason, that look really bugged me.

It pained me to toss the squares I'd already worked on, but it had to be done, and I think the end result is worth it. This time, I'm using the Knitted Patchwork Recipe by iMake, and although I'm not as happy with the decrease method as I was in my previous squares, I can live with it. I suppose I could have altered it if I wanted to, but... laziness.

I haven't even started using my own yarn yet. Currently, I'm working through a huge bag of sock yarn scraps Erin gave me when we met up at Rhinebeck last October, and I have a strange feeling it's going to last me awhile. But I've been adding to the bag as I comb through my craft room every weekend in an unsuccessful attempt at organization, so I'll be dipping into my own stash soon.

This has been perfect potato chip knitting for when I'm watching movies or talking on the phone. There's almost no concentration involved, so it's a nice break from the Constantinople Shawl's lace knitting nightmare (can you say K4tog?) and I'm trying to knit on at least one square a day so I can see some progress. I also like that if I'm using self-striping yarn, it can be re-used multiple times with a different effect - you can't even necessarily tell the squares came from the same ball.

It's a terrific stash buster that also serves as an homage to all the projects you've knit in the past, especially those you gave away and no longer see.

If you've started your own mitered square blanket, post a photo in the comments. I could use some pretty colors in this otherwise dreary, rainy week!

In the meantime, I'm:

Reading: Lolita (yes, still, and I need to finish this up soon so I can return it to the library)
Listening: Meg Myers - "Make a Shadow"

Full Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link to the pattern (available on Craftsy) used for my project.

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:

So I've started baking artisan bread...

You might be confused as to what a post about my baking of artisan bread is doing on this blog. Well, it's partially because I first heard of it on a knitting podcast you probably watch, and partially because I feel like it. It's my blog, after all!

A couple weeks ago, I was catching up on the Stitched in Sweden podcast while working on one of my KAL projects (note: Stitched in Sweden is one of my favorite podcasts because Maria's colorwork is amazing!)

In that particular episode, Maria had mentioned how her bread baking was going. She had purchased a book called The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and said their methods had been working well. I had no idea what she was talking about, but the idea sounded interesting. Well, as interesting as can be to someone who's never attempted to make bread outside of an electric bread maker before. And that was when I was 10. With my parents.

Anyway, toward the end of the episode, she showed off her latest loaf and, after wiping drool from my face, I knew I needed to buy this book.

I don't know what possessed me other than I needed something to focus that's not the failure that is my life. And I enjoy baking. Which I guess is a good reason. Plus, carbs.

So after ordering and receiving the book, I made my way to the grocery store and bought the meager amount of ingredients needed to make a simple loaf. That's another reason this whole artisan bread thing was attractive to me: the math evens out to approximately 50 cents per loaf for not much of a time investment.

What makes this method different? Well, I really wouldn't know, considering I'd never tried baking bread before. But supposedly it's the fact you mix up a huge batch of dough and let it sit in your fridge for up to two weeks. The dough is extra wet, which helps it "keep" for long periods of time and eliminates the need for kneading (see what I did there?). You also don't need a starter - the dough automatically generates a sourdough taste the longer it hangs out in your fridge. I can attest to that, having now made my way through the entire first batch and noticing a better taste each time.

Really, I thought it would be more difficult or involved. It wasn't. I mean, there are plenty of things you can add for a more intricate or flavorful recipe, but let's face it: it's better if I start at the beginning and learn the basics as opposed to diving in head first. Otherwise, there's a solid chance I'd burn my house down.

I'm two weeks into the artisan bread lifestyle now and I have to say it's been pretty successful; I'm weirdly proud of myself. Not that it matters a heck of a lot as I'm about to start a 21-day sugar detox, but for the time being, I'm enjoying a house that smells like a bakery and feeling a wee bit like an old-school tradesman. You know, sometimes it's nice to do things "the hard way" again. Which I suppose is why we all love knitting so much, right?

Review: Yarn Crush 2015 December Unboxing

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

As mentioned in earlier posts, Joanna from Yarn Crush contacted me in late January to ask if I'd be interested in reviewing their latest subscription boxes. But trust me when I say that although this video may be slightly belated, it's well worth the read (and clicking to subscribe!)

The Goodies

The Yarn is a delectable hank of Yarn Indulgences Zed Luxe Sock, of which I received the Steel Teal colorway (the other surprise option was the Paisley colorway, which is more of a neutral purple and just as lovely). I can't even begin to describe how soft this yarn feels, although I can already tell that the twist will make for an extremely sturdy project (sock or otherwise). Made and dyed in Canada, Zed Luxe Sock is 400yds of fingering weight 70% SW Merino Wool, 20% Cashmere, and 10% Nylon.

The Patterns: If you haven't yet heard, Yarn Crush subscribers now get both a knitting and a crochet pattern. I love this. Although knitting is my craft of choice, crochet was my love for many years and, like a middle child craving attention, I always felt left out of a fiber world catered to knitting. But not with this subscription! December's knitting pattern is the Hellebore Clutch, an elegant evening bag adorned with a rosette and studded with Swarovski crystal beads (don't worry - all the supplies you need are included!) The crochet pattern is the Origami Clutch that boasts a roomy interior with sparkly, beaded flowers.

The Yummies: This month's extra goodies complete your project. A rhinestone clutch frame is the perfect finishing touch for both patterns and a bag of 48 Swarovski beads pair beautifully with either color yarn provided. PLUS we got coupon codes for 20% off any yarn purchased through the Yarn Indulgences website and 25% of our entire crochet pattern purchase from ACCROchet on Ravelry.

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 December 2015's box was $50.97, but the monthly subscription price is only $32.99 in comparison.

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 spend in the new year.

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