Yarn Review – Red Heart Super Saver

Brand: Red Heart Super Saver Worsted

Colour: dusty pink, cream, pastel olive (others, too, but I tested only these three)

Content: 100% acrylic

Thickness: 333m/198g

Country of origin: USA

Suggested needle size: 5,5mm

A coworker decided to destash ;) She presented me with her 4 skeins of never-touched yarn – 3 Red Hearts and 1 Carron Simply Soft. I started with the RHs, all of which are more or less pastel-ish, although the pink, when concentrated in one ball, is rather striking. I hope that mixed with others it will work nicely.

First thing I noticed is that, unfortunately, this is one of the yarns that squeak. Squeak squeak squeak every time you hook it or knit it or even mill it. Perfect for the knitting mill and would probably make a great knitted blanket or a hat&scarf set for someone who can’t stand wool. This being pure acrylic, no scratch. But a squeak.

I’ve milled the cream skein, but gave up on the blanket idea when I counted how small it would be, even if I used both pink and cream (only like a 1m x 70 cm rectangle, or so). So I undid it, and it cooperates with no fuss and no fuzz, at the same time giving a bit of resistance which is always nice as it means your work won’t just undo whenever you drop a stitch.

It crochets nicely and the grannysquares for my purple/pink blanket are getting done in record time, but again, that squeak. I hope in the whole blanket it will be balanced by other, quieter yarns.

The structure is very even, 4 tightly twisted threads, don’t come apart easily.

Pros: undoes nicely, colours are good, easy to pull the “inner end” out and work from both ends or with double thickness, perfect for beginners.

Cons: SQUEAKS. Not to be used alone if you want to wear the finished work.


Yarn Review – Himalaya Everyday Rengarenk

Brand: Everyday Rengarenk

Producer: Himalaya

Country: ?

Contents: 100% acrylic

Thickness: 250m/100g

Colours: mixes

An example of yarn that is just not for knitting.

In short, it’s slippery. It’s so slippery that the second I took the label off, the ball fell apart – the strands don’t stick to each other as in wool, or even most acrylic threads. It’s so soft and friction-less that knitting with it is a challenge – it keeps falling off the needles.

No much better in mill knitting – kept skipping stitches, making ugly errors, quite visible.

The only way to use it was crocheting, and it turned out to be perfect – soft, nice to touch, very well working (hook 3mm). Made a big colour improvement in my blanket.

Would I buy it again? Yep. Now that I know it’s crochetable ;) and not knittable, and I know it has some exquisite colour sets, I’d definitely buy it next time I’ll be crocheting something needing cute colour accents.

Recommended for beginners? Not really. It has no fuzz and work can be undone very quickly, but it being slippery may be an obstacle for less experienced crafters. It undoes itself with surprising speed…


Yarn Review – Rozetti Always Magic

Brand: Always Magic

Producer: Rozetti

Country: ?

Contents: 75% wool, 25% acrylic

Thickness: 180m/100g

Colours: mixes

Unfortunately this very nice yarn is no longer available. I found only a few pictures left on shops’ websites:

Cream/beige/mustard/grey/brown

I found it very good in both knitting and crochet, works up quickly and has great colours.

Here are socks I knitted for my niece and nephew:

SkarpetkiAlwaysMagic

Pros: very nice structure and great colours, yarn doesn’t unravel and it doesn’t easily come apart by itself. Doesn’t scratch. Easy to undo, if needed.

Cons: Well, hard to buy it now. But if I found some, I’d definitely buy, especially the green-blue-brown mix.


Folk pattern box

A 12-cells teabag box, painted with acrylic paints and decorated with folk-patterned napkins and varnished. On commission from my friend. Napkins are in traditional Polish folk patterns.


Lily of the valley box

A commission to make a jewelry-box with Lily of the Valley decoration. It is a big, pretty heavy box and I hope I did good work on it (because it’s already in the post and slowly approaching its destiny).


Used:
Big wooden jewelry box with two trays
Lily of the Valley napkin
Amsterdam acrylic paints
Stamperia colla per decoupage
Stamperia Vernice protettiva lucida
Koh-i-noor acrylic varnish


More trinkets than jewelry

As lately I’m having a bit of a block as far as jewelry is concerned, I focused on decoupage. Having obtained some pretty nice papers, I have already covered a tray, several boxes, two money boxes and a mirror frame. At this moment it’s a bit like looking for new items to cover as I have so many pretty pictures to stick on stuff.

In these few days, I have learned (sometimes in the hard way) several simple truths about this way of decorating items:
1. Sand wood before painting. If it’s too rough, no amount of paint is going to make this thing look smooth.
2. Don’t paint both sides of an item at the same time, or you will be left with absolutely no way of putting it aside to dry. May sound funny, but try laughing when you have painted whole hairbrush very carefully and now the only part that you can hold is the ‘brush’ part (and there is almost no way to make a hairbrush lay straight supported only in one point)
3. If an object is varnished and you want to paint it, sand the varnish off. Or you paint will come off in flakes. A friend suggested that using a primer is the way to do this. It is, I agree. Just read the description to see if you’re buying the right kind of primer. But if you have any repressed stress to get rid of, sanding the thing off with a bit of sandpaper or rotary tool may be a good outlet :)
4. A “fan” brush is a verrrrry good friend of anyone who needs nice, flat surface of quickly-thickening varnish.
5. Water. LOTS OF IT. A huge bowl, big enough to immerse the brushes whole. Changed often. Otherwise you will have wooden sticks with lacquered/acrilic-dried blobs on the end.
6. Fabric softener does wonders for partly-stiff-dried brushes. Sometimes you may have to, unfortunately, shave a few hairs from a paticularily unlucky specimen.
7. Vacuum cleaner is your second best friend, just after the breathing mask. Or pneumoconiosis may be the first thing you hear next time you visit your doctor. Or, at least, a severe case of bronchitis. Lots of small wood and paint particles will fly around when you get to sanding your items and you really don’t want a layer of acrylic dust to cover your respiratory system.
8. Unfortunately (as concerns the above), sometimes sanding a painted surface is just a must. Some types of wood and ways of cutting make it well-nigh impossible to sand them properly when they are raw and clean. So it takes a first, very thin layer of paint, to make these before-invisible small splinters to stand up and be ready to be sanded off. But, of course, with the paint that covers them.
9. Also, when decorating a picture or mirror frame, don’t forget to check whether it is already prepared to hung in one direction or another. If it already has a nail-hole predrilled you may find yourself with roses that grow downwards. I did.
10. As per rule, whenever you want paper to get translucent from the napkin glue, it wont. If you wish it to stay opaque, it will get nicely transparent. Really.

So, without further ado, the effect and sources of above meditations.


Bacteriophage pendant

6cm tall pendant made of silver-plated wire, enameled wire, glass beads and acrylic beads. Portraits a bacteriophage.


Blue chaos – a bracelet

A mix of various blue glass beads, attached to a silver-plated chain.


It’s got bells on! Green bells!

Wide bracelet of glass, acrylic and tin beads, including some green-coated tiny bells. Makes a “ssussusuu” sound when shaken.