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Category Archives: My Reviews

Garter Rib Baby Blanket – A Pattern Review

As I recently blogged, I was in need of a baby blanket for a friend and I decided that, unlike many others I have made, I wanted to try knitting it. I found my way to Ravelry, as many of us do, and zeroed in on a pattern.

This review is of the Garter Rib Baby Blanket written by Orange Flower Yarns. This pattern can be downloaded for free on Ravelry.

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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in My Reviews

 

Knit & Knot in Bettendorf, IA

knit1Last weekend the family and I adventured off to Iowa in a trip we like to call “Let’s go to Iowa because we’ve never been.” For the sake of length, I’ll call it the LGTIBWNB (or I’ll just not mention it again). As part of the trip, I was treated to a trip to a local yarn store in the Quad Cities called Knit & Knot. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in My Reviews, Rambles and Reflections

 

Purl Essence Yarn – a user’s perspective

purl essense yarnI headed to Joann Fabric to find some yarn to make a couple scarves someone ordered from me. As I went up and down the aisles, it became apparent rather quickly they had brought in some new stuff. Exciting!

I decided to make the scarves out of a yarn called Sincerely by Purl Essence.

This is my story.

*insert intense Law and Order type sound* Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2015 in My Reviews

 

[Pattern Review] Baby Yub Nub

This pattern review is for the crochet pattern “Baby Yub Nub” written by Kristen Stevenson. A link on Ravelry can be found here.

The pattern is written as infant size and, as you can see by the image, I was in need of toddler size. I made a decision to stick with the suggested yarn size, worsted or aran, and simply go with a larger hook. Admittedly, I wasn’t sure if only changing the hook size would be a good plan to upsize the garment mostly because I crochet rather tightly. I was prepared to make a second just in case it didn’t work. I ended up making a second – and ironically enough, the first one fit just fine. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in My Reviews

 

Fortune Cookie Pattern Review

LoveHearts Pattern (c) June GIlbank

With Valentine’s Day looming, I made a decision to make something small and different for the man, the kids, and my coworkers. I saw a cute pattern for crochet fortune cookies on Ravelry and made the decision THAT is what I was going to make.

For the Man and my kids, the fortune cookie was just a small piece to their Valentine’s Day – for my coworkers, I left them a crocheted fortune cookie and a piece of chocolate.

The pattern I’m reviewing is lcoated on Ravelry and is also on Yarnovations, where the Ravelry link takes you. The pattern includes instructions for the fortune cookies and a jar wrap. This review is ONLY for the fortune cookies. I did not make the jar wrap.

First and foremost, you don’t need to know much more than how how chain, slip stitch, and single crochet for this pattern, making it a good pattern for new crocheters. You do crochet in the round without joining (crochet in a spiral) so a beginner would have to decide if they were comfortable with this or not before taking on making a fortune cookie.

The pattern is very simple, consisting of a total of 6 rows. I think for the more expert crocheter, it is a pain to try and forget that when you increase on this pattern, you increase but still only do 18 stitches rather than the full increase round. You see this on rows 4, 5 and 6 –  you want to add more stitches to do full repeats, but you have to remember to stop at 18 stitches, regardless of it being a full round or not.

The pattern suggests you fold the cookie in half and stitch around it and THEN you put the fortune in. I found it much easier to slide the fortune in and stitch the circle into a half circle with the fortune already in place. If you try to stuff the fortune in after you make it a half circle, the fortune gets wrinkled up a bit – I wanted mine to look a bit more pristine, ya know – as if they came straight from the fortune cooking making factory.

There is no real instruction on how to stitch up the cookie into a half circle OR how to stitch it into the shape of a fortune cookie. I think the pattern author was assuming people knew how to make the shape. I ended up whip-stitching the cookie closed in about the top 1/3 of the half circle shape – I left a decent hole on either side and, as I said earlier, I did the whip-stitching around the paper rather than putting the paper in afterwards. I then, instead of finishing off, passed my super long tail used to do the whip stitch down to the middle where I bent the cookie, shaped the edges using my fingertips and stitched the 2 sides together to the cookie shape (with the ends pinched onto my thumb and index finger).

I can at least say I know why the pattern writer didn’t explain it in the pattern. I just tried to in the above paragraph and realize that I just spoke a foreign language even to myself! Maybe they left that part out because it really is too complex to tell people how to do it – but perhaps a picture would have helped. I don’t know.

I think the most complicated part of this pattern was coming up with quotes to go into my cookies. The pattern page from Yarnovations includes several fortunes but I wanted cookies with quotes about friendship. It took me some time but in the end I had them printed and in the cookies.

On Valentine’s morning, my coworkers were very impressed at the little cookies. Some people didn’t even pull the fortune out because the way I did it, it was VERY difficult to get the fortune back into the cookie. One of my friends at work is on a mission to find out what every cookie’s fortune is – especially when she found out I didn’t duplicate any of them.

In the end, I’d say I give this pattern 4 balls of yarn because it was easy and the ending result was very much appreciated. I would have given it more if there would have been more instruction on finishing up the cookies, especially the part where you stitch it to look like the cookie shape.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2013 in My Reviews

 

A Review of the "Have a Heart" Shawl

(c) Red Heart

I did a review on Monday for the Magic Crochet Wrap – and unfortunately, with such a bad result from that pattern, I was in need of another – you see, I wanted to make a wrap, poncho, or shawl for my youngest daughter. She’d been wanting one for a while … and when the Magic Crochet Wrap didn’t work out – I was on the hunt again.

I decided, on a fluke, to go back through this bin of “freebie flyers” I pull from when yarn shopping. I came across the freebie for a Red Heart pattern called “Have a Heart Shawl.” It was cute – and I was in need…. so this was the pattern I chose.

I genuinely had no idea how it would turn out. I liked the image, but I didn’t have red yarn… and I’m pretty sure Squirt didn’t want a red shawl anyway. I dug through my stash and I had a couple skeins of Red Heart Super Saver in the color Buff. I had remembered buying it because it was on clearance. One quick check of the pattern and I knew I would have enough for the body and part of the edge – that was enough… I didn’t have to do the full edge to get the full effect.

I set out to crochet the shawl.

Honestly, it was a very quick crochet and relatively fun (outside of that hdc ch 1 row – UGH). In the end, I’d say it took me no more than 8 hours to work up. For me it was three separate sessions of crochet of just a couple hours each. The stitches and stitch patterns were relatively easy to follow although I did find it necessary to count each row, which is odd for me but if I thought it necessary, maybe you would consider it if you chose to make this shawl.

I didn’t have any issues in reading the pattern. Everything seemed very standard. I will admit that when I got to the edge, I was happy I had already decided not to do the full edge because those instructions seemed a bit shady – I didn’t work through them, only read them, but I know I would have had to re-read them a few times before they “clicked.”

So, after a pretty good run with my crochet hook, I ended up with this Buff version of the Have a Heart Shawl.

On the other side of that head is a HUGE smile. She really liked it.

What I did add was a tie to the front (two chains joined in on opposite sides so she could tie it closed).

From the picture on the pattern flyer it looked like I wouldn’t need this, but perhaps I should have used a larger hook (considering I did use the same brand of yarn suggested on the pattern) so that the shawl would overlap more. Of course, had I done that, the shawl would have been much too large to fit my daughter – granted, I could always just modify the pattern counts to come up with a smaller version.

But I really didn’t want to do that.

So, in the end I have to say that I did enjoy this pattern. It was a good crochet. I could watch TV while running down the rows, but I did have to pay a bit more attention when switching stitch types from one row to the next. I also know that just from reading the instructions on the edging that I would have really had to think it through and possibly struggle with them a little. As I said, I was happy I had already resolved to not do the edging to the pattern due to not having quite enough yarn – it was at least a good excuse to not have to decipher the pattern.

My rating? I would have to give this pattern 4 balls of yarn out of 5.

Thank you, Red Heart, for a solid pattern. I have satisfied my quest to crochet a wrap for my youngest daughter because of you.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in My Reviews

 

Review of The Crochet Magic Wrap

(c) Lisa Gentry on Ravelry

This review is for the Crochet Magic Wrap.

It shows as a free pattern from Coats and Clark although you can grab it on Ravelry for free (here).

This is one of those very difficult reviews because I did not have a good experience but based on the reviews from others who have made the wrap, it seems like its a 50-50 … either people loved it or they just thought it was so-so.

Of course, these things are all very subjective – but then again, a review is pretty much just that, right? An opinion?

But my goal is not to tear down a pattern that someone out there may enjoy. I want to be as objective as I possibly can before writing off the pattern completely. I want to claim fault to all the contributing factors I created and point out the issues with the actual pattern. That is about as analytical and fair as I can be.

So, things that I think are my fault in having a bad experience are the yarn choice, the hook choice, and my intended recipient.

First up – the yarn. The yarn is a pretty bulky yarn which is a step away from the suggested yarn which is an 8 ply. I know when you deviate from a yarn that is the same or similar, you should expect different results. This is to be said for EVERY pattern you decide to work up. Second – the hook. Because the yarn is bulky and I crochet tightly, I really should have gone with an L hook. I stuck with the J which is totally my fault. I accept that as my own. If I had gone with the L I would have easily accommodated for my generally tight gauge and the yarn.

Fault 2 feeds into fault 3 – I didn’t want to make it so big that it wouldn’t fit my youngest daughter. She is the size of a small woman so I didn’t want to get too crazy with the bulky yarn and a larger hook – I was being lazy in that I didn’t want to calculate out the multiples (which really isn’t that hard) and adjust. I didn’t want to swatch. DOH!

Those three reasons alone helped feed the majority of my bad experience.

Not to mention i wasn’t a fan of staring at a swirl of purple and pinks for hours on end.

What did I like about the pattern? I would say I liked the “collar” which really was more of an edging turned into the semblance of a collar based on how you wear it. I really liked the flow of that and how it gently expanded into a lacy flare. I did like that.

So… the pattern – removing these major factors from my experience – what is left?

I believe the biggest issue with the pattern was the instructions on joining the rectangle/oval to create the armholes. It was very unclear for me. I consider myself a rather experienced crocheter and I had to seek help by messaging people on Ravelry to find out how they did it. One of the people that responded gave an answer completely unlike any of the others, so I know in the end, their wrap was joined wrong. Another individual responded and supported the notion that the instructions were not clear – apparently when she did the wrap it was during a crochet-a-long and many folks had the same question I did.

Now, while the instructions for the rest of the piece were relatively clear, the pattern was marked as “easy” and I would have expected the instructions to be written even clearer than I thought they already were. Obviously, it had to be somewhat unclear because while I was searching for someone to answer my question about joining, I saw several pictures where the “pre-join” shape was VERY off-base. Perhaps the difficulty rating of the pattern should be pushed up one notch?

In the end, I was left with an item that was stiffer than a board, had very little flow, and was way too big for my youngest daughter. While the wrap technically fits me, the shape of the garment is not meant for any woman with a little (or a lot of) extra weight – especially if they are tall…. like me.

It just wasn’t something that ended well on my end. But like I said, many of the factors were of my own doing, not the pattern.

Now – before I share my rating, I think if I ever wanted to make this again, I would adjust to a much thinner yarn (perhaps sport weight), increase the foundation chain, and work with a hook 2 sizes bigger than the recommended hook for the yarn weight. This would force the garment to flow more than it does when working from the pattern.

If you are wanting to make this garment and are trying to adjust to whatever yarn you have selected, just know the foundation chain is basically the width from armhole to armhole – hold it across the back of the intended wearer and go from there.

While there was a lot for this pattern that didn’t work for me, I can’t let all of that fog my judgement of the pattern. Some people are smaller and like a shapeless wrap. Some people would actually pay attention to their gauge and the yarn….. BUT in the end, the clincher for my rating was that the last part of the pattern was not written clearly. If you are going to mark a pattern as easy, then you have to ensure that all instructions on that pattern are clear enough for any beginner. I do not feel the entire pattern was written with the beginner in mind.

Based on that alone, I would have to rate this pattern as a 2.5 balls of yarn.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2013 in My Reviews