Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Yarn Review: Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends

When I went to my local craft store last night (to buy the correct size for my bamboo purse handles) I noticed some new yarns. I have been eyeing Bernat Alpaca Natural Blends online, and was pleasantly surprised to find it. It retails for $3.99 usd so I bought a skein and decided that I would review it for you all.

Basic Yarn Information

Fiber content: 70% Acrylic/ 30% Alpaca
Skein yardage/weight: 120 yds/100g/ 3.5 oz
Recommended hook size/gauge: 6mm US J How many ply?: 2 ply
Manufacturer's suggested retail price and/or actual price: $3.99

Care of Yarn
Hand wash
Drying: Air dry flat
Any special requirements:
How does yarn/project look/handle after being cleaned?:
Seemed to shed less
Did the color run when washed?: No

Yarn Characteristics
How easy is it to crochet with?
It was easy to work with, slight splittage

What about ripping out? It was forgiving after ripping out
Any stretch? yes
Does it produce fuzz/lint? A Lot
Does it pill? N/A
How does it wear? Nice drape
How does it look crocheted? Great stitch definition

First Impressions

According to Knitter's Review, alpaca fiber is reportedly softer than cashmere. And at first touch, I agree. It is a very soft yarn. Alpaca is a hollow fiber, similar to angora, making it far warmer than wool. It is available in 8 color ways. I used the a light pink color called Peony. I picked a light color because from first glance, I noticed that the darker colors seemed to shed.

Crochet swatch
I swatched using Clover Touch hook in size J in a single stitch. The swatched worked up easily and moved softly through loop after loop. I did notice how it shed. Of course I was wearing a black shirt. By the time I was done with the swatch, it looked like I was covered in long cat hairs. It also made my nose itch immensely.

I washed the swatch in cold water and some baby soap. I noticed as soon as the swatch got wet, the hairs became even more loose. After I blocked and dried the swatch, I noticed a dramatic decrease with the shedding. It still remained intensely soft.


After I experienced the intense shedding. I really began to dislike this yarn. I really wanted to like it...thought it would make a great scarf, since it is so soft. But after the shedding, I concluded that it would not make a nice scarf accessory since it would probably ruin your shirt with hairs. After I washed the swatch and it dried, I began to change my mind. Washing did decrease the shedding which made me like the yarn once again. It is my first time working with Alpaca....and could not imagine how much more it would have shed if it was more of an alpaca blend than acrylic. I have to say, it was one of the softest yarns I have worked with to date. I would buy this kind of yarn again, but I just would not wear black :)

More reviews to come in the next days....

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Crochet Revolution

I have read many times about how when a new book launches the author does a book signing at either a local yarn store, or even a local book store. The majority of these books are knitting books. But recently I found out that WEBS (America's Yarn Store) is hosting Kim Werker's book launch of Crochet Me: Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution. This is exciting folks. I will have an opportunity to see live finished objects that are in the book, meet the author, who is the new editor of Interweave Crochet and the online magazine Crochet Me, and get my book signed. It is also an interactive talk, so I need to bring a hook and some yarn. I am also siked because I have been wanting to go to Webs for some time now. It is located in Northampton, Massachusetts (about 2 1/2 hours from where I live). Webs is about a 5,000 square feet building of yarn, yarn, yarn, patterns, accessories, weaving looms and much much more. I was planning on going out there this past May to visit their tent sale, but it just did not work out. So, now I am planning on going there in October. The leaves will be changing by then so the foliage will make it a beautiful ride out. We will make it a family affair. There is the Eric Carle museum (author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar) so they will be all set while I have some crochet fun!

So, it will back to reality tomorrow, as my husband will be going back to work after a week of vacation. As far as my crochet, I finished another two washcloths, and I am almost finished my Fat Bottom Bag. I need to buy smaller handles for the bag. When I was making it, I did not realize that it would turn out as small as it did...so unfortunately I bought handles that are way too big. I am hoping I will be able to find smaller handles tomorrow. I am planning on listening to a couple of knitting podcasts while crocheting something mindless......like maybe another washcloth :)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bath Mitt

Yay....I am so proud of my first "mitten" I actually made a thumb!! It is also full of decreases and shaping. I have never had to sew a seam until this mitten. This is a bath mitt made out Sugar n' Cream twist with a single stitch. It will go with my collection of wash cloths. I am thinking this would make a nice gift with some washcloths and some soaps in a basket for someone. Or even a baby shower gift with some baby wash and baby powder. The possibilities are endless. This makes me sooooo excited for my fall crocheting. Do you know what this means? I will be able to make myself a pair of mittens. I have already started looking for the perfect yarn. Check out this review by Clara Parkes of Knitter's Review. This review makes me want to order the $45 minimum to qualify for free shipping at Knit Picks. I am thinking this would be perfect for some mittens....what do you think? Just thinking about ordering yarn makes me giddy. Ah, how can I be thinking of wool mittens in this 90 degree day here in the New England?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Family Fun

On Tuesday, our family decided to go on a fun adventure at Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire. It is only about an hour or so away from our home. It was a perfect day! We had beautiful weather, not too hot, but warm enough so everyone could enjoy the water park. We had a $40 lunch of burgers, dog, fries and onion rings at a diner inside the park. The following pictures shows how much fun the kiddos had.

And as we were exiting the park, we noticed this beautiful manarch butterfly. My youngest wanted to keep it.

As far as my crocheting...I started another washcloth made out of Peaches & Cream in yellow. More to come....

Sunday, July 22, 2007


This is what I have been working on lately for a mindless project that works up quickly and gives some sense of completeness and accomplishment. I was wondering what I could do with all of the great cotton that I received from my summer cotton swap partner. I asked for single colored ones, so I could test out different kinds of cotton brands. But, there is not enough for a project like a hat or something. Dishcloths and washcloths are a perfect project for these skeins of cotton!!!!!!! The one on the right is made from the new Sugar and Cream twists. I have never made them before. I got the pattern from here. The next picture shows some great stitch definition that makes for some great texture perfect for a dab of shower jel! The red one is being made out of Peaches & Cream. It is also a very portable project that I actually brought it with me Friday to the kids swimming lessons at the pond. I only got a little sand on it.

Friday, July 20, 2007


How can I explain Ravelry? It is a new website for crochers and knitters to organize their projects, keep track of stash and get to know others in the craft. It is still in its beta stage, which simply means it is not a public website yet. They are working through many bugs and issues still. You need to sign up and then they will invite you when they are ready to accept new people. I have been patiently awaiting my invite. Today I checked out the website to see if there is any updates. You can now look upo the position on where you are in the list. Get this....here is my stats
  • I signed up on June 14, 2007
  • I am # 9196 on the list
  • 3080 are ahead of you in line
  • 9540 people are behind you in line
  • 32% of the list has been invited so far

Looks like I will be waiting another 5 or 6 weeks at least. But, from what I hear, it is well worth the wait!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Blessed with the best

Warning...This post is image heavy!!!

The mailman left a package waiting on my front porch this afternoon. I could not believe it, but my summer cotton swap package arrived already. (Thanks for the priority shipping!) Mary Jo (aka Tampa Doll) from Crochetville really did out did herself with my package. I am overwhelmed with her thoughtfulness. As I opened my package, my boys were looking over my shoulder to see what I received. The first bag was labeled "For the Boys". She filled a bag with lollipops and crocheted snakes and ant and a spider. Cameron exclaimed "Wow...she really crochets good!" They were thrilled. I am touched that she thought about my kids. Note: The kids went to sleep with their creatures :)

Then...I got to my stuff!!!! I first found this little crocheted doll. Isn't she so cute?

Lilacs are my favorite flowers...cardinals remind me of my grandfather and the G-I-N-A necklace is such a cute touch. As I continued on...I found some lovely, lovely cotton yarn in the greatest colors. I received 2 Sugar 'n Cream Denim Twists, 2 Sugar 'n Cream natural twists,1 Sugar n' Cream Crafter's Cotton, 3 Peaches & Creamin Pink Lilacs, 1 Peachs & Cream in each of the following colors: Yellow, Daisy Ombre, White, Lilac Ombre, Red and Baby Green. 2 Bernanat Cool Crochet inTie Dye Shades, Bernant Dewdrops in white, and a huge 1 pound Peaches & Cream in purple/white.

And it does not stop there.... I got a booklet of dishcloth patterns, Hooked on Crochet Magazine, Tear off Patterns from Peaches & Cream, An Elmore- Pisgah Catalog, and an Almond Joy/Mounds cookie recipie...YUM. Aren't I a lucky girl?Thank You so much Mary Jo...this has been awonderful first swap experience.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fat Bottom Bag

About a week ago I decided to make my first crocheted bag. I decided to make the Fat Bottom Bag in the Happy Hooker Stitch n' Bitch book by Debbie Stoller. The pattern called for Lion Brand's Cotton...but I ended up buying Lion Brand's Cottonease in punch.

After picking out the perfect yarn, I had to find the pefect fabric to line the bag. I found this...

Isn't it just perfect? It matches almost perfectly. Last night, I measured the fabric and pinned the lining in the bag. Tonight I will attempt to sew in the lining. I have not picked up a needle and thread since 7th grade home economics class. My mom gave me a refresher course on the whip stitch. We shall see what happens.

I signed up for Summer Cotton Swap at Crochetville. I have a super partner from Florida. The requirement for the swap is to buy $25 worth of cotton or cotton blends and send it to our partner by August 8th. I purchased some yummy yarns and packed up the package and sent it out this past Friday. I added some extra goodies in the package...but I can't reveal those quite yet. I am so excited to receive my package. I am eagerly awaiting and stalking the postman daily!!!!!

To blog or not to blog

I have recently become a big fan of crochet, knitting and any type of fiber blogs. I look foward to reading them daily and following along the bloggers adventures and life musings. I have always wanted a blog, but quite frankly, did not know what to say. I have finally come to a conclusion that I need a blog to show off my WIP (work in progress), WIM (works in mind) and FO (finished objects). So, introducing my new blog. Sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy. Follow me as I take you along on my fiber journey and random ramblings about life.