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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Re"purr"posed

ball, cats, crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, recycle

  When I was left with extra material after a pattern gone wrong, I re-purposed the plarn (plastic yarn) into a small ball filled with plastic bag scraps. It was an experiment for another idea of mine... I want to crochet a floor pouf or maybe a whole "bean bag" chair entirely of plarn, even using the scrap material for stuffing. 100% plastic. Before starting a large project, I wanted to know how well the all-plastic stuffing would hold up to use. I planned to use this mini-experimental version as a stress ball for now...

ball, cats, crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, recycle

  However, it seems to have been re"purr"posed... Jump Steady decided to go outside and prove himself to be a big man-kitty, but got pretty beat up instead. He's been sulking around the house ever since. When he got all excited over the plarn ball, I decided to let him play with it...

ball, cats, crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, recycle

  And as usual, not much "play" happened. But Jump Steady did offer to give me his opinion about the project, so I'll step back and let him take over from here. (Don't worry; he speaks normal English, not cat-gibberish, but he does get a bit sidetracked at times...)

Jump Steady - What do you want to tell everybody about the project you stole?

ball, cats, crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, recycle

  Human Slave kept making crinkly noises with this thing she made for me, but wouldn't let me have it at first. It took a lot of begging, but she finally let it go. Ha - Look, I can put my foot on it! Okay, that's enough of that. Time for a nap...

ball, cats, crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, recycle

  Ooo, this thing is soft and squishy. Purr-fect for a pillow! It was so nice of Human Slave to make this for me... Maybe I'll leave her an extra hairball to play with. Don't know why she's always wrapping them up and putting them in a bag - Maybe she has a collection of them somewhere? Humans are weird.


ball, cats, crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, recycle

  This is really nice to have after getting my head thumped. It was really mean of that other boy-kitty to beat me up after I picked a fight with him, but I'm glad to have the extra attention. Speaking of that: Hey... Hello?... HEY!!! My pillow fell flat. Anybody wanna fluff it back up for me?


ball, cats, crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, recycle

  You! Yes, you - Human Slave with the camera. Want to put that thing down and help me out here? I mean, if you have that thing out, then it means you're going to be sitting in front of the other glowing rectangle for a while, making all those click-y noises that disturb my sleep. The least you could do is help me get more comfortable before you start all that racket...

ball, cats, crochet, plarn, plastic yarn, recycle

  Thanks, that's much better. Now I'll start working on that hairball as a reward for your good behavior.

  And thanks for your help, Jump Steady! Now I know the plastic should be stuffed a bit more so it will keep some of its shape. I wanted it to be nice and squishy, but too little stuffing will just leave me sitting on the floor in a plastic cocoon. It might be hard to find a medium between "comfortable" and "durable". That's making me doubt whether I want to attempt the project at all... What if it turns out to be a disaster? This is going to be a lot of work, but maybe it won't be wasted time if it doesn't work out. After all, it looks like I can always turn a mistake into a cat bed.

Happy Crocheting!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

From the Stash #2: A Country Loom Review


6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

  The story behind how this yarn found its way into my stash is something many of us can relate to. Unlike the yarn from the first of this series, it wasn't bought for work purposes. A beginner at the time, I just wanted to crochet a blanket... A full-sized blanket. I picked colors, mixed brands, and bought more than I needed for a project that would soon be abandoned. Now it's time to resurrect the three remaining balls of Country Loom from the depths of the stash. Why not do a review? I will be comparing it to another yarn for the purpose of the story, but you'll learn why they're nothing alike...

6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

  Packed in the depths of the stash for way too long, the Country Loom yarn has lost its fluffy texture and become more like a tape yarn. This yarn fell as flat as my hopes for that blanket. 😅 The bumpy, loopy, fluffy texture is what attracted me in the first place, but I found it difficult to work with back when I was at that beginner level. Now with more experience and advanced skills, I have no trouble at all. But, let's jump back into that story before continuing with the review...
 
6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Homespun, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

  Put yourself in the yarn-shopping shoes of beginner-me: Wandering the yarn section at Michaels, where Loops & Threads yarn can be found... Looking for an awesomely bold color combination, I fell in love with Country Loom (by Loops & Threads) in the color Merlot. I already had some Homespun (by Lion Brand) in my stash, left over from the attempts at knitting a blanket. (HAHA!!!) Beginner-me didn't bring along a yarn label or a piece of scrap... Beginner-me only had colors in mind... And beginner-me actually thought they were the same yarns at the time of purchase.

6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Homespun, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

  Fast-forward past the frustrations of gauge not working out after color changes, ripping back, and the eventual discarding of the project which led to the burial of the yarns... Let's get back to modern day, where advanced-skill-me knows to check yarn labels and weights: Although they look quite similar and are both 100% acrylic, these two yarns are nothing alike! Homespun is a bulky-weight (5), and Country Loom is super-bulky (6).

6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Homespun, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

  Comparing them at first sight, they almost could be mistaken for the same yarn. But, no. Homespun is loosely-spun around a core, while Country Loom is more dense. It's a hard yarn to pick apart... I'm not sure if I see two core threads in there, or if a tighter twist just makes it look that way. Mine has lost some of that bumpy-fluffy texture from being smashed in the stash, but a closer comparison still shows that it is thicker than Homespun:

6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Homespun, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

    And if you're asking yourself why I would do a review on an old squished-down yarn, the answer is because I had little faith that this mess could become something after all these years. My poor, flat, acrylic yarn had lost the character that gave it life, and we all know there's no hope for acrylic that looses its shape, right? Right??? Ah, but I was in for a surprise...

6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

  I debated over whether I should just throw it out or try to work something up. I feared any project made with the deflated yarn would look just as flat and lifeless. I gave the tail a few twists between my hands, trying to fluff it back up a bit...

6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

  Well, would you look at that? With just a little fluffing, Country Loom went back to looking like new again! The texture that I loved was back, and now I have the skill level to tackle a project without frustration... Oh, how many times did I split and snag those loops as a beginner? I remember wanting to cry when I realized my stitch count was off from mistaking those bumps as extra stitches...

  And that's what leads us to the conclusion of the review: Country Loom is a yarn that can take a lot of abuse, but it can be abusive towards a beginner's patience. The super-bulky weight works up fast, which makes the length of a 5-oz skein disappear quickly. You can barely finish a scarf with one ball! That's something that will usually steer me towards other brands with more yardage. Although I can't complain about the yarn itself, I do wish it was sold in 8-oz or even jumbo skeins...
 
6, Country Loom, From the Stash, Loops & Threads, review, super bulky, Yarn

  I mean, can't you see the problem here? I sat down to take pictures for the series, and Country Loom ended up on my hook. An hour later, the ball was gone and I had finished the project! What on earth is a crochet junkie supposed to do about that? Make another? Well, I suppose I could, since there's two more skeins that came from the stash... 😉

Happy Crocheting!

PS - If you're interested in an easy one-skein project using Country Loom, the pattern shown above is "in the works". We don't say "coming soon" around here anymore... But, we can hope.

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