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Red Heart’s Scrubby

Today, I'm reviewing a very fun yarn I've been trying lately. I must say I went out of my comfort zone with this one. It's nice sometimes to be pushed to explore new things, isn't it? I probably would never have tried it if I hadn't been kindly asked by yarncanada.ca to review it with honesty... and I'm so happy I got to discover it! So here are my thoughts about Red Heart's Scrubby. dishie-16 First thoughts So, this is a yarn meant to knit dishies? I was really curious about it. But it's not love at first sight for me, it's such a different yarn from what I'm used to knit with! It's not really cute and it's not really soft. If I ever saw it in a store, it's so far from my taste that I probably passed my way without even noticing it. It's 100% polyester and there are little twists of fibers coming out of the main strand. It's not itchy at all and even if I wouldn't say it's soft, it's quite pleasant to touch. I have a very sensitive skin but I can picture myself washing one full week of dirty dishes with it without any problems (other than thinking hubby is not doing his job). And when you touch it, you can tell it's a very sturdy yarn meant to go through things no other yarns ever went through! [caption id="attachment_1943" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Red Heart's Scrubby Duckie Red Heart's Scrubby in the colorway Duckie[/caption] The colors I got are gorgeous! I got Duckie, Lime and Ocean. They are joyful, oversaturated colors and I really like how bold they are. I want to find a way to knit them together, they are pretty separately but I like them even more all together. Knitting with Scrubby It's not a walk in the park to knit with this yarn. I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner. It's hard to recognize the stitches on the needle and they don't slide easily, even on metal needles smaller than the recommended size (I used 4.5 mm / US 7 instead of the recommended 5 mm / US 8). On the other hand, it's meant to be knit loosely so it's knitting up quickly even if my pace with this yarn is slower than usual. Unexpected result While knitting my first, plain dishcloth, I was amazed to see the fabric it was creating. It was so interesting that I couldn't resist rubbing it against my skin. I rubbed a small section of my foot where there was a bit of corn and dead skins and it became perfectly soft in seconds! I'm not a fan of loofah and other rubbing gloves because they are too harsh for my skin but this dishie washcloth is PERFECT! And just like that, I became addicted to this yarn. [caption id="attachment_1944" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Red Heart's Scrubby Ocean Dishie My first plain dishie, in the colorway Ocean[/caption] Color knitting I should have known it wouldn't be the best choice for a mosaic stitch pattern but I wanted to try it out. The result is fun but the pattern is not really showing. It's no surprise as this yarn is not meant to have a good stitch definition. However, the stripes are really showing and they create a funky result compared to a plain dishie. It could also be a good choice for bolder color techniques such as intarsia or large blocks of Fair Isle. [caption id="attachment_1941" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Red Heart's Scrubby Duckie Lime Dishie My second dishie combines stripes and a mosaic pattern (colorways: Duckie and Lime).[/caption]   Comments from non-knitters As usual, I've been knitting it at the dog park and I never had so many comments about my yarn! It's been a conversation starter that night, everyone had a comment to make about this yarn! - Wow, that's a funny yarn! - What are you knitting? Dishcloths? Now that's the perfect yarn for this! - I would wash my back with it! - It's pretty, it reminds me of fluffy yarns, I would wear it as a sweater over a small layer! I'm thinking about making a washcloth to all my closest dog-park friends, I'm sure they'd be thrilled to get one! I'm also adding these easy project to my Christmas gift ideas list. You can buy Red Heart's Scrubby on Yarn Canada website for $5.95 CAD for a 100g ball.abc

Rimu by Zealana

These days, I'm working with some super fancy yarn named Rimu by Zealana. Believe it or not, this yarn is made of possum fur! My love for animals being so overwhelming, the first questions that pop in my head when I work with animal fibers are "how is it taken from the animal?", "does the animal dies before giving its fur?" and on top of all, "is it an ethic product?" I made some searching to understand how that yarn have been made and to get answer to my questions. Zealana is a company for who sustainability of the flora and fauna is the priority. So yes, the possums are dying, but I found out that this is by no means a problem in this case. In some part of New Zealand, non-native possums that were introduced by fur traders in the late 19th century are now a nuisance to the echosystem. There are too many, they eat everything and some native bird species are in critical condition at the moment because of possums invading their nests. While controlling the possum population, Zealana uses the fur and makes lovely yarn. Possums are cuties and my heart melt when I think they must die but my reason is stronger than my heart - that company is the perfect example of why ethic actions are sometimes hard to take. About the yarn... well... it's delicious! It's a 60% fine merino and 40% brushtail possum blend. It's very soft, warm, a little fuzzy and has a beautiful drape. I've been working a cable pattern with this yarn and the definition is perfect, it creates a dense yet soft fabric. It's machine washable and based on the comments from the lady at the yarn store, it gets even prettier and softer after a good wash. I can say it's a very luxurious yarn, sturdy, well made, well dyed, with all the greatest care. Talking about the dye, the colorway I got is a deep red with a hint of pink. If they'd ask me, I'd call it "raspberry" but it's only labeled as R11. While knitting, I noticed some very short black hair blending in the color. It's subtle but it adds a nice touch reminding heathered yarns. About the price, well, it's a luxurious yarn! I haven't found the retail price, but it's around $16-19 US for a 50g ball on all the online shops I looked up. At my local yarn store though, I got it for $13.95 CAD which is the best price I saw (and I think I'll go get all the balls they have!) If you're ready to pay $300 and over, I think this yarn would make the perfect sweater or cardigan. I'm pretty sure it would last virtually forever, without pilling, stretching, losing it's shape and all those fatalities that happen everyday to knitted sweaters. For a more realistic yarn budget, I think it's perfect for all kind of accessories - warm socks, mittens, hats, etc. I decided to do a headband with my skein and even my overly sensitive skin agrees with that idea. I made it my spring headband and I love it, but I can't wait for the headband season to be long gone...! Gabrielle Vézina headbandabc

Lion Brand Amazing

I told you I was not religously knitting only with hand dyed, natural fibres, even if I usually prefer them to every other yarn. Today I'll share my thoughts about a commercial brand and a not so natural blend, Lion Brand's Amazing. Lion Brand is an American yarn brand, established in 1878. They are located in New York, I've heard their studio was worth the visit and is supposed to be a yarn paradise! Some of their yarns are made in the USA and some are made elsewhere in the world (Amazing, for instance, is made in Italy). They mostly produce acrylic yarns, wool yarns, blends of both and novelty yarns, but they also have a line called LB Collection that includes extrafine merino, cashmere and silk blends. They have some high quality 100% acrylic yarns and their 100% virgin wool lines are sturdy and made the good reputation of the brand. On the other hand, they also have the reputation of being amongst the best producers of cheap, low-quality yarns, and to be able to meet the expectations of knitters with a restrained budget. [caption id="attachment_1278" align="aligncenter" width="440"]Lion Brand Amazing Swatch That swatch is made by alternating two balls of Lion Brand's Amazing (4 rows with first ball, 4 rows with second ball).[/caption] I felt for Amazing the minute as I saw it. It's a very slow striping yarn and all the colorways are beautiful. I had a hard time choosing my favorite but I finally opted for Arcadia which is a muted blend of reds, teals, greens and oranges. It's 53% wool and 47% acrylic, single-ply and worsted. It has a few proprieties of the wool: it seems quite sturdy, a little scratchy, and I'm afraid it will felt at some places after wearing. It's a bit fuzzy, mimicking mohair, which is a positive aspect for me, but it doesn't feel like a high quality yarn. It's sticky like acrylic can be and I found three knots out of five skeins yet. But I must say overall, I enjoy the result. It's extremely light, with a generous 147 yards in each 50g ball. I appreciate how the colors blend together and the little halo around the piece. The listing price is $8.29 USD which seems like a quite decent price but not a deal. I saw it on sale many many times at Michaels and on some other websites, often around $6 and to me that's a better suited price for an entry level long striped yarn. There's a lot of fun to have with this yarn. On my new cardigan, I'm striping two balls of the same colorway - 4 rows from a ball and 4 rows from the other one. It makes a pretty result, breaking the colors' normal gradient. It would be very pretty to create stripes with a solid color yarn. It's also beautiful as is! I couldn't use this yarn for accessories worn near the face but some people might be more resistant to itchy yarn than I am. It would make beautiful hats and scarves for someone who can stand it. For skin wimp like me, I recommend it for sweaters to layer, socks and mittens, and home accessories (oh what a pretty blanket it could make!) [caption id="attachment_1276" align="aligncenter" width="512"]Striped cardigan My new cardigan - it should be done soon, just when the sun is coming out![/caption]abc

Skeino Splendid

For my second yarn review, I decided to talk about two things at once. A yarn - of course - and a wonderful way of discovering new yarns. I know you're eager to know what this way is so I'll talk about it first. I recently subscribed to Yarnbox. It's the perfect concept. You pay a fixed price in advance for one, three or six months, and every month you receive a box... a YARN box! In the box you'll find two skeins of high quality yarn, sometimes two skeins of the same yarn, sometimes two different skeins in assorted colorways. You also get a knitting pattern and a crochet pattern, and occasionally they also add other small surprises. They make sure your box is always worth more than what you paid. Their yarns are carefully picked up from indie dyers. I had never heard of most of the yarns they had by the past so I know I'll make wonderful discoveries. They also have an active community on Ravelry, where they share hints on next month yarns and where you can find people to trade with if you don't like what you got. [caption id="attachment_1252" align="alignnone" width="512"]I love the yarn and Zazie loves the box! I love the yarn and Zazie loves the box![/caption] In March, the classical yarnbox included two skeins of a yarn properly named Splendid, made by the Florida based company Skeino where more than 50% of the employees are challenged or disabled in some way. I'm very touched by this kind of social involvement and companies who provide work to those who may have a hard time finding a job get all my respect. I'm sure their employees are more devoted to their work than we, lucky people who don't have disabilities, sometimes are. In fact, it's obvious they are giving all their hearts to the yarns when you see the product. Splendid is a 60% silk and 40% merino blend. It's deliciously silky. I touch the skein and I feel the luxury of the blend. It's a DK weight yarn coming in generous skeins of 270 yards. It's a very light yarn, meaning more yardage for the 3.5 oz skein. At $24.95 USD, I think it's a good choice for a silk blend. The yarn is offered in 32 different colorways, all named upon famous operas. Yes, 32!!! All of them are variegated, most of them are highly variegated with mixes of very different colors. I must admit I'm not a fan of that much colors in the same skein but it's a matter of taste. I got La Bohème which will be perfect for fall as it remains me so much of falling leaves and beautiful automn colors. The stitch definition is great, giving me ideas of complex lace patterns. I'd love to tell you all you could knit with this yarn - I'm sure it would make wonderful sweaters or hats - but to show the colors and the luxury of the blend I can't think of anything else than a shawl or a scarf. It's also so soft, it would be a shame not to wear it close to the skin!  abc

Julie Asselin Piccolo

You know what? I'm mad about yarn! I love all yarns. I love the consistency of commercial dyers and the personality of indie dyers. I love subtle colorways and bold colors. I love natural fibers but I also enjoy good quality synthetic yarns. Most yarns inspire me to knit and they are the trigger to all the pattern ideas that lives in my head. I thought I could make a little room on my blog to talk about all those lovely yarns I knit with. Sunday morning is my favorite knitting time, so the name came naturally. I have nothing in mind and I can enjoy yarn and tea for as long as I want. If it's sunny or if the air smells like rain, the moment is magic. For my first yarn review, I decided to talk about Julie Asselin (http://www.julie-asselin.com/)'s Piccolo yarn. Julie Asselin is an indie yarn dyer and she's my fellow Quebecer, so she's obviously a wonderful person! It's the first time I'm working with her yarns but I have the habit of petting all I see from her at my LYS. I'm very tempted to try them all, especially her decadent cachemire or silk blends. I decided to try Piccolo first because I found it in the Opera colorway and it was just perfect. Opera is a muted pink with hints of purple and peach. I must admit, all her coloways are beautiful. The colors are pure with subtle shades and some are lightly variegated in a harmonious way. Piccolo is a sturdy sock weight yarn. It's 80% superwash merino and 20% nylon and it comes in generous 420 yards skeins. It's a good quality yarn and I have the feeling it will stay beautiful after years of wearing and many machine washes (I recommend using the soft cycle for all hand knits). It is fairly priced at $25 CAD which is the price I expect to pay for a good quality hand dyed sock yarn. At first I had the feeling it was a little stiff while knitting. Then I blocked it and it gained all its splendor. The resulting fabric is soft with just the perfect amount of stretch. It's obviously a perfect yarn for sock knitting and it's not itchy at all so I would use it for any accessories or garments that are worn near the skin. I can imagine a beautiful light cardigan made with this yarn. I choose to make a shawl with my skein (it's getting obvious how much I love to make shawls). I have the feeling it will become one of my favorites. [caption id="attachment_1239" align="alignnone" width="702"]Storm shawl It's impossible to take a picture without a having a paw or a nose in the way![/caption]abc

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