Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Yarn Review – Patons Smoothie DK

I'm currently working through Lucy Ravenscars Star Wars amigurimi characters. I've three made so far and currently halfway through R2-D2.

I'm somewhat a novice on the amigurumi scene although I've admired them from afar for a long time.

So, when it came to choosing the wool I thought I'd like a smooth wool rather than fluffy. I love the look of cotton wools and Patons (Coats Crafts) do a huge range of colours in 100% cotton, but the £4+ price tag was a bit off-putting.

I opted for the Smoothie wool which is 100% acrylic, but has a nice soft feel, a bit softer than cotton, but not as fluffy as wool.

It's classed as a value wool with a high quality end result, and on the whole I'd agree. If someone had suggested I try crocheting in acrylic I'd have laughed. It reminds me of a pair of trousers I had when I was a school leaver and going for my first job interviews. Uncomfortable and clingy are just two words that spring to mind.

The Smoothie 'wool' feels gorgeous to touch and the colours that were available (only four in Hobbycraft) though limited, were deep colours. The white is bright white and the black is blackest black.

On the negative side though I found crocheting a bit difficult at first. After a few stitches the eight individual strands that make up the yarn started unravelling and several times I pulled a strand with my hook. Perseverance prevailed though and I finished a little Stormtrooper with white 100% cotton and black 100%acrylic. The difference is noticeable with the cotton producing clearly defined stitches and the acrylic smooth, soft blended stitches, which I prefer, but I found a strand of the acrylic poking through where I've caught it and not noticed until after it was finished. It's a shame really because the end result is lovely.

Anyway, Smoothie comes in 25 shades 5 of which are effect colours, in 100g balls.

You can see the full range of colours on the Coats Craft website (www.coatscrafts.co.uk), a nice range in shades rather than solid colours, but they blend well together.


It has a RRP of £2.75
Hobbycraft - It's not available as far as I can see on the website, but I paid around £2.50 in store.
Purple Linda (www.purplelindacrafts.co.uk) are selling it for £2.45.
Ebay have many sellers with this wool but at a current lowest price of £3.50.
Dunelm Mill (www.dunelm-mill.com) is a clear winner though with balls at £2.25.
If you find it cheaper, feel free to comment and let us all know.


Monday, 30 January 2012

A Whole New World

Last Thursday I went to work as an outreach worker for the Joanna project (www.joannaleeds.org) this morning I woke up as a self employed crafter.

It was so easy last week, and the weeks prior to finishing work, thinking at the plans I had, the work I would do. In reality I woke up at 8am (forgot to stop the alarm for last weeks work) had a bit of a snooze, played on my DS, watched Jeremy Kyle, around 11am I realised I was not naturally motivated enough to put everything in place. Shit (excuse the French) Actually, why do we always blame the French for our bad language?

So, 11.30am, finally made myself a coffee, turned off TV, put radio on instead and am in my new office (actually, just on the sofa with the laptop) and here we go.

Today’s plans seemed simple when I was sat in the shiny office last week. Start the blog, list stuff on Folksy, Etsy & Ebay, Concentrate more on twitter and facebook, keep website up to date... I think I might get through some of the list in reality.

So, at the start of my venture I have one bit of advice...

Don’t over plan, and don’t fret if you don’t get your to-do list done.

Yesterday I was at a new market. Well I say market; it’s actually an innovated farmer who has convinced a pub to let him set up in the car park once a month. Four stalls in all, technically five stalls consist of a market in Leeds, so the rent was cheap.

It was an early start as usual, 6.30am, normally not a problem but I haven’t done any stalls for a few weeks and have got out of the habit of the early Sunday morning.

But even with the cheap rent people are not buying. Crochet novelties are getting interest but people are not paying up. I’m thinking of turning my stall into a museum of curiosities instead and charging customers to look.

Sue, my partner in crime (will tell you about Sue some other time) says it was a very quiet day. It was frosty and perhaps people were having a late morning because of the cold. I though have now fully learnt the meaning of ‘cold to the bone’.

Despite the cold, standing, putting up stalls at 8am, customers not buying, I love the market stalls. The people are amazingly friendly and supportive. Optimists through and through.