Alrighty, now that the holidays have passed, I can post the few last-minute gifts I whipped up in the days leading up to Christmas. I swore not to do any gift knits this year, but finally decided that it just would not be December if I wasn’t knitting a gift or two. All of these were fast projects (at least as far as “fast” applies in knitting terms), and with stash yarn
Pattern: Polku Messy Bun Hat (available for purchase on Ravelry)
Yarn: Caron Simply Soft in Country Blue colorway (I held the yarn double for this project/gauge)
Needles: US 10 and 10-1/2
Notes and Mods: Made this for my Mother-In-Law, who requested a hat that allowed for a ponytail. I went up a size to ensure the gauge and yarn would work.
Pattern: Man Hat (available for free on Ravelry)
Yarn: Loops and Threads Charisma in Deep Woods Colorway
Needles: US 8 (wish I had used a 9 or 10)
Notes and Mods: Made this for my sister’s very knit-worthy boyfriend from stash yarn. He has a big head so I think I should have gone up a needle size or two. His son loves it so much, I’ll be knitting him one after I finish up my current WIPs.
Pattern: Man Hat (available for free on Ravelry)
Yarn: I Love This Yarn in Camo colorway
Needles: US 8 (though I used a US 10 just for the cast-on to prevent a too-tight edge).
Notes and Mods: CO 88 stitches to make up for smaller gauge. I have used this crappy yarn before and the color pooling never makes sense. For example, I knit this hat with the yarn in the exact same pattern and stitch count and there was no significant color pooling. The recipient is a big camo guy, so hopefully it’s not too crazy for him.
Pattern: Little Red Riding Slippers
Yarn: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick in Constellation colorway
Needles: US 10
Notes and Mods–Made these for my sister who is not a fan of knits, but loves Ugg boots so I took a chance on Ugg-inspired slippers. I screwed up on attaching the cuffs so the seam isn’t going the way I prefer, but I was not willing to rip it out at that point. If I make these again, I will pick a yard that gives better stitch definition at this gauge. She’s actually worn them, so I’ll count that as a win.
I had my very first Yarnbox lingering in my stash, and when this pattern popped up on Ravelry, I knew I finally found the right match it to go with this delectable yarn.
The pattern is super easy, and this yarn is absolutely awesome. It’s a mix of fine merino and baby alpaca, and one that I will definitely be ordering again.
Pattern: Amy Scarf (available for purchase on Ravelry)
Yarn: Big Bad Wool’s Pea Weepaca in the Teal, Tree Frog, Night Owl, Leaf, and Water colorways. (It’s fingering weight, by the way)
Needles: US size 4
Notes and Mods: The original pattern called for more colors, so I added rows to make up for only using 5. I also just kind of played fast and loose with it. I discovered that, after knitting the first five color sections, repeating them all would make the scarf too long (especially since wet blocking would add length). So, I just tacked on an additional section of the first two colors (switching them so the scarf would start and end with the same color. Ultimately, I lost at yarn chicken, so the last section is a few rows shy of what I planned, but it’s not noticeable when wearing the scarf. Since this is for me, I wasn’t that concerned about it.
Hey Y’all. I am going to leave the below post as is, but I wanted to update and let you know that, unfortunately, I have become unhappy with the direction Yarnbox has taken over the past few months and am cancelling my subscription. There’s been a lot of changes in the company (under newer management), their practices, customer interactions, and Ravelry community culture. They also have consistent logistical problems with the site and shipping. I’m not going to go into particulars, but there is extensive discussions about these issues in a few Ravelry groups. My decision to cancel comes from the recent trend of populating new boxes with their overstock from previous months or their other subscriptions. I wanted to update you, because if you are researching a yarn club treat for yourself, I can no longer recommend Yarnbox at this time. I hope they get past the hiccups they are experiencing. In the meantime, I may reconsider giving Knitcrate another try, but if you have a yarn subscription you’d recommend, I’d love to hear about it. Remember, my opinions are my own, no one pays me or gives me free stuff, and I got no skin in the yarn business game. I just want to update you that, for now, me and Yarnbox are breaking up.
So, earlier this year, the husband and the Heathens gifted me a 3-month subscription to Yarnbox, which is a monthly box subscription for knitters/crocheters. I love yarn, and I love getting packages, so this was the absolute perfect gift. After my three months was up, I wanted to branch out and see if other subscriptions were just as satisfying, so I gave Knitcrate a try for a couple of months. Ultimately, I cancelled that one and went back to Yarnbox.
(Note, I subscribe to Yarnbox classic, and since cancelling my Knitcrate, they have changed their plans so my old subscription would now be considered the Artisan crate, which looks like it has come down in price since then.)
So, what’s the appeal of a yarn subscription? I get to try new yarns that are not typically at my LYS, and discover something new every month. However, before I go into why I favor the Yarnbox, here’s the points of comparison I started with because all of us fiber geeks are as diverse in preference as it gets:
The Yarn–I want to see quality and quantity for the price, and I think Yarnbox wins out (see below). I like variety as well. Yarnbox lets you set some preferences about colors, yarn weights, etc., so you can better tailor what you will get to your taste. For example, you can say “never send me brown yarn,” if you have a hate on for brown. To my knowledge, Knitcrate does not let you set any preferences, but this could have changed since I cancelled. I believe both boxes sell any leftovers so you can snag an extra hank if you love something and want a bigger project’s worth of yarn.
Patterns–Both boxes come with a couple of patterns. For some, this is part of the value, but not for me. I am super picky about patterns, and I don’t waste time knitting a pattern I’m lukewarm about. Ravelry is my playground when it comes to pattern hunting. If you place a big emphasis on the patterns that come in these boxes, you should check out their respective groups on Ravelry to get a feel for them.
Extras–Knitcrate Artisan came with a small extra or two each month. Yarnbox typically does not, though they did include a Soak sample (wool wash) in last month’s box.
Cost/Value–They are about the same (now, not when I had Knitcrate), though Yarnbox offers discounts for pre-purchased subscriptions, rather than month-to-month, but this is immaterial to me since I do month-to-month.
So, let’s take a look at some of my Yarnboxes:
These are just a few, but each month, I feel like I’m getting introduced to new yarns, new companies, and the quality and yardage for the cost is great. I’ve only been disappointed one month out of about seven, but that was more about my personal taste. Also, I get lots of colors but never anything I hate.
My first month of Knitcrate came with a cute keychain charm, a wooden llama needle gauge, and here was the yarn:
Don’t let the picture fool you, these are pretty small hanks, though they are of good quality, (for comparison, this Knitcrate provided 340 yards of sport weight yarn, while the above Yarnbox with the purple Sugar Bush Bliss was 525 yards of sport weight ). Also, they come from a very well-known company with wide distribution. The next month seemed more promising with two bigger hanks and…scissors. But dear lort, the color:
Trust me, it’s a lot brighter than the picture looks, and just not me. However, I was happy with the quality and discovering a new yarn brand that wasn’t such a big player, so it definitely was more of what I expected than the first month.
So, after a couple of months, I realized I was underwhelmed by my Knitcrates. I think the notions idea is cute, but in reality, it’s stuff I don’t need. I have 25 pairs of scissors and about 10 needle gauges (especially since all my interchangeable needles have one included). I’d rather put those dollars toward more yarn than on the chance of really redundant accessories.
Remember, patterns are not on my priority list, so both boxes are equal in that aspect. What sealed the deal was the chance that I would be paying for yarn that was just too far outside of my preferences. Also, at the time, my Knitcrate Artisan was about 10 bucks more a month than my Yarnbox, but I think they have since lowered the price, so take that for what it’s worth.
Ultimately, I think Yarnbox appeals to me because I feel like I get great new yarns, learn about new companies/indie operations, and I get to have some preferences while maintaining the surprise. So, take my opinion with a grain of salt, and I’m going to get back to my knitting.
***The usual disclaimer: Neither of these companies know me, because I’m just not that cool. My opinions here are all my own, and nobody gave me free stuff, or solicited my blog, or promised me a cameo in the next Kanye video. I just like talking about yarn…and food…and my abject hate for warm weather in November.***
I finished up a couple of knits recently, just in time for the end of the pathetic winter we had. It’s already unseasonably warm here, which make me anticipate summer with abject fear, If it’s nearly 90 degrees in March, what the hell will July look like? Time to switch knitting gears and decide what’s next.
Pattern: Molly (Available for free on Ravelry)
Yarn: Berroco Comfort Worsted in Burgundy colorway
Needles: US 4 and US 6, both circulars and DPNs for the decreases
Notes: Molly is a great, well-written pattern for a slouchy-fit hat. This is the second time I’ve knit it, and I just used leftover yarn from the Antler Mittens I made in December. Great pattern for advanced beginners.
Pattern: Exploration Station by Stephen West (Available for purchase via Ravelry)
Yarn: MadelineTosh Tosh Merino Light in El Greco, Betty Draper’s Blues, Black Currant, and Moonstone colorways
Needles: US 6 circular
Notes: I’m not a big shawl person, but something about this pattern kept me coming back for a second look. Stephen’s patterns are always an interesting combination of techniques, and some are more like artwork than what I would consider wearable accessories. This shawl, however, had so many interesting components I finally just had to knit it. It combines short row shaping, brioche, slip stitch rows and more. I learned a lot during this project (including that brioche knitting is not for me), and I’m happy with the final results after blocking. Overall, this was a really well-written pattern, and Stephen even put up a couple of tutorials on YouTube, which made it well worth the 6 bucks I paid for it.