Reviews

This page will be home to book reviews, dvd reviews, tool reviews and yarn reviews.



A review of a staple that is available at every big box store and every grandma's stash.  Red Heart.  Some people love it.  Some people hate it.  Like every yarn out there, there is a place for it.  It holds a special place for me personally as well.  This is the yarn I used for my first projects.  I made many baby items for my first born with it as well as all the other babies being born in our family.  My husband's grandmother made me a blue and white shawl from it for my graduation from high school so many years ago.

Red Heart Yarns started with wool way back when.  I have inherited this wool from a variety of sources.  I have found some in thrift shops.  I have worked with this yarn for quite a few projects.  I like this yarn.  It is a toothsome yarn.  By this I mean it is a sticky yarn and when a stitch is dropped it won't run.  This is not a yarn you want next to your sensitive areas.  But if you do a sweater with it, it's very nice with a cotton t underneath or some other top.  It isn't available new in stores any longer.  You might be lucky to inherit this.  It will dye beautifully with acid dyes.  I've done this when some of the colors were not something I particularly liked.    It isn't super wash.  This is handwash only and please don't agitate unless you want felt.

Moving into the future to the 70's, comes Super Saver and Super Sport.  Super Sport is sportweight and acrylic.  The colors are brighter.  The yarns are machine washable and dryable.  The skeins are 2 or 3 ounces.  This yarn is discontinued according to the website.  Again though, you might find it in thrift stores, grandma's stash of yarns, or even some stores that are vintage.  It came in a wide variety of colors and ombres.

Super Saver and Classic are also some of the older selections of yarns.  But it has come a long way from that time in both quality and color options.  It is an acrylic.  Super Saver is currently a 7 ounce skein for solid colors and 6 ounce for ombres.  Classic is in put ups of 3 or 4 ounce skeins.  This yarn has gone from the early days of feeling like plastic (they all felt like that as the manufacturing process was still in its infancy) to something much better.  The colors run rampant from pastels to brights to darks, heathers, neons.   This is a staple of grandma's stash due to its availability and economy.  This yarn has done more for afghans, toys, baby wear and child wear than almost any other fiber, except wool, in recent times.  This is still available in big box stores, local yarn shops, and thrift stores.  You don't have to think of dying this yarn because of the wide range of colors.  Just be sure to purchase enough to complete your project at one time.  Even the no dye lot colors can change over time.

Red Heart has also in much more recent years come out with a wide range of novelty yarns and specialty yarns.  These come and go as fads come and go.  There is usually a wide variety of colors, a wide range of textures and a variety of sizes in these special yarns.  The current trend is for thicker yarns that work up quickly.  But there are still thinner yarns available, Heart and Sole is a great one.  There are even some luxury fibers available, the Boutique Silk Sari yarn comes to mind.  Scrubby is one of the newest yarns to hit the market.  This is a highly textured yarn great for scrubbing pots and pans or in a bath pouf and is 100% polyester for quick drying.

My take on Red Heart yarns is that for many years this American made yarn has played a role in our knitting and crocheting.  It keeps with the trends in both colors and textures.  It is economical and can produce some really nice projects.  Buy some today.



The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss
Published by Trafalgar Books
Cost at time of printing $24.95 (hardcover)

I like this book for several reasons.  1.  You get 52 small projects that can be completed in a week or less time.  2.  They are all different.  I don't mean that they are variations on themes.  They are all different things, baby sweater, booties, flower pot sleeves, mug rug, Christmas stocking, slippers, and so many more.  3.  The projects are lined up to appeal to the changing seasons, starting in spring with projects that get ready for warming weather, moving into summer with projects that make you think of hot weather.  As autumn approaches, the projects get warmer, ending with Christmas and winter, there are Christmas items and things to keep people warm.  The projects are also seasonally colored.  The techniques will also be seasonal to a point, cables in cold weather, lace in summer.

  All the projects will make great gifts when you need a little something.  The projects in this book seemed to be aimed towards confident beginners and beyond in the skills of knitting.  Knitter's can hone newly acquired skills or revisit old friends for the more advanced knitter.  Color work can range from stripes to Fair Isle.  Textures can range from simple ribbing to cables.  There is simple shaping.  Many projects are lined to increase their usefulness.  There are brief lining instructions.  One thing this book of patterns doesn't have is the how to knit instructions of beginner (and some more advanced) books.

My thoughts on this book, It warrants a look through with an eye to purchase.  Amazon and eBay would be the places I would check.  If you don't want to spend the money, but want to use it, check with your local library.  Inter library loan can be had for free or less than the purchase price.