Friday, August 17, 2012

What I've Been Doing Lately

Aside from crocheting blankets for hospice patients, I managed to get two comments posted on Washingtonpost.com: Hints from Heloise on August 13 and a question of opinion about the Munsters reboot on The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes earlier today.

I won't be posting pictures of the blankets here. I keep the crafting for our hospice patients unposted.

How sad is my life becoming that I link to columns on a news site that I posted to? Wow. I just realized how sad this entry is tonight. My life needs a change!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Yarn Review

I know I’ve done my own version of My Favorite Things, but I don’t think I’ve ever done a flat out review of anything before. So, here is my first real review.

Bernat Pipsqueak yarn in Candy Girl (#59415)
3.5 oz skeins
120 yards per skein

Pros: Earlier this year, I bought 2 skeins of it at Wal-Mart at $2.97 plus tax for each skein. That’s pretty affordable for a bulky weight yarn. Those two skeins were a total impulse buy, as in, “I need to finish this blanket but I don’t have enough yarn. I wonder what Wal-Mart has to match.”

At first glance, this is a soft, really visually appealing yarn. It reminded me of the soft underside of a terry cloth towel (it’s wildly soft), or tinted coconut covered marshmallows. The colors remind me of Neapolitan ice cream but with mint instead of chocolate. One seller on Amazon described it as a chenille-style yarn. I hadn’t thought of that. To me, the little terry cloth fibers are too fine and too long to be chenille.

While doing a couple of extra rows around a Granny square with a G sized hook, the 3DC clusters take on a solid look to them, which is nice. This yarn doesn’t work up too “holey” in appearance.

Cons: However, the prettiness is where the good parts of this yarn stop. It is wildly soft, but only at first. After you handle it for a little while, it starts to feel artificial, for lack of a better word.

I’m a right handed crocheter, so all the yarn first feeds through my left hand. It was my left hand that was starting to feel oddly coated with something the Pipsqueak yarn could have been treated with. And it’s not just the yarn from the outside of the skein. It’s all of it. That strange coating feel goes straight through the skein. The label doesn’t say anything about the yarn being treated with anything. I’ve never felt anything like this with any other Bernat yarn, so it’s got to be the Pipsqueak yarn (I had the same problems with the first skein I used for our friends’ daughter’s blanket).

The Pipsqueak yarn also has a strange smell to it, that isn’t apparent at first. It starts to assault the nose around the same time the coating feel becomes obvious. It smells like it was damp at one time but allowed to dry out and become musty. For what it’s worth, the yarn never looked like it was damp at some point. The terry cloth fibers are brightly colored and fluffy. (However, my left thumb nail, which is short, kept getting snagged on the fibers and pulling them out.)

Now, the smell could have come from any place: something in the factory, being shipped in cardboard (but cardboard has a distinct smell of its own, and this isn’t it), or even sitting in the store on display. However, I believe the smell comes from whatever the yarn was treated with to keep it looking nice.

I've just never come across any other yarn like this before, as far as touch and smell go. It’s my own fault for buying this and breaking it out again today for a charity project I’m working on. At the very least, I’m going to have to put the finished project into the dryer with a dryer sheet to remove or cover the smell.

Thankfully, I only had one skein left of it, but I am hoping the smell and feel wasn’t apparent to our friends’ daughter when she got her blanket from me.

This is a machine washable and dryable yarn (set on delicate), made of 100% polyester, and it’s made in China but packaged in Canada. It’s label is designed in such a way to make the buyer associate it with baby projects.

Other Reviews:Of the three sellers on Amazon with the Pipsqueak Candy Girl yarn, there weren’t any reviews at all. So I guess none of their buyers noticed a strange smell or feel to this yarn.

It appears that Bernat isn’t set up for buyers to leave comments about the yarns online for others to see.

However, KawaiiCrochet, a reviewer for About.com for Crochet, noticed that same smell: “I think Pipsqueak smells bad too!!” She gave it 1 star out of 5. 

Verdict: I won’t buy Bernat’s Pipsqueak yarn again. There are plenty of other baby and pastel yarns out there that I’ll like just as much without the weird feel or smell. People with sensitive noses or skin, or people knitting or crocheting for babies, should definitely stay away from this yarn.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Recieved Another ATC Today

Please excuse my shitty pictures lately. These ATC's are hard to get a good photo of. They're small and I have overhead lights, so the "close up" option on my camera sometimes doesn't look right.

gala_apples of Winnipeg did this dolphin card for me. It seemed appropriate to get a dolphin card in this swap. About 2-ish weeks ago, my in-laws were visiting and we went on a charter fishing trip in the Atlantic Ocean. Before I lost my breakfast and was unable to fish from being surprisingly seasick, I got to see loads of dolphins in the ocean. Adults and babies alike were leaping through the air and swimming so fast. It was so amazing!

Anyhoo, in real life, this card actually looks like it's made from homemade paper. Very cool!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Received My First ATC

On Friday, I received my ATC from Spikefan in my latest Craftster swap: it's a stargazer lily, my favorite flower. :) I love the simple ink outline with the colored pencil shading. She did such a good job with the colors of the inside of the petals.


A Little Friend From the Neighborhood

I came across this little guy earlier today. I was surprised to see a caterpillar this late in the year.

He/she was crawling around in the grass. I wanted a photo of it. so I grabbed him/her and placed it on the a canna lily leaf for a photo.