Friday, January 6, 2017

Lion Brand Yarns' Baby's First Yarn Review

Lion Brand Yarns' Baby's First Yarn

Hello all, and I hope that you have had a fantastic start to the new year! I don't know about you, but 2016 was a hell of a year for me. I graduated with my A.A.S. I had another beautiful baby boy, I laughed, I cried, I yelled at the kids some (and have made a resolution to do that less!), and I decided to give my blog another swing at a home run. Let's kick it off with a yarn review.

My new baby boy needed a new baby blanket, and my dear grandmother gave me a metric ton of this Lion Brand Baby's First yarn. Okay, so maybe not a literal metric ton, but it was enough to make this very large, and what turned out to be an overall gorgeous baby blanket. 

This is my first review. I gave it a lot of thought, and I had the realization that when I'm shopping on Amazon, one of the first filters I apply is the stars filter. You know the one?

It's a great way to make sure you're getting a good deal instead of a hunk of junk when you're spending your hard earned cash. I figured if this is the way that I shop, it should be the way that I review - the one exception being that I'm going to be cute/corny and use paw prints because "Kat" "KatKnap" haha, punny... ugh.

Let's get to it!

Name: Baby's First
Manufacturer: Lion Brand Yarns
Made in: China
Fiber content: 55% Acrylic, 45% Cotton
Measurement per skein: 120 yd (110 m) or 3.5 oz. (100 g)
Recommended HOOK size: K-10.5 (6.5 MM)
(9 sc and 10 rows for 4x4"/10cm x 10cm square)
Recommended NEEDLE size: 10 (6 MM)
(12 sts and 18 rows for 4x4"/10cm x 10cm square)
Care and wash: Machine wash and machine dry. Do not iron.
Project recommendations: blankets, play mats, bathroom rugs. Personally, I think the yarn works up with a bit too much bulk for "wearables" i.e. hats, jackets, sweaters, etc. but the label recommends scarves.

  • Availability

This yarn gets one pawprint for availability. Ouch, right? 

Here's the story:
My original plan for this blanket was to do the entire piece with that lovely colorwork that you see along the bottom edge. However, I quickly realized that I was way short on the green yarn that I would need to finish the entire piece. So I got on my favorite shopping site, Amazon, to buy some more, and that sucker was $30 a skien! 

Upon further research the color is no longer being made, so it sells for a hefty price. I settled for buying the yellow (Honey Bee) and finishing the blanket as you see it above. Again, it's a beautiful blanket, and I'm happy with it, but even the yellow was $6 for 120 yards. Bye, bye hard earned cash!

  • Cohesiveness

The general continuity of the yarn also gets one paw. Harsh, I know, but when the yarn is split before you can even get it on the hook, it's hard to justify calling it credible in this regard. 

Every skien that I worked with was split anywhere from 4-12 inches at the start and/or end of each skien. To add insult to injury, the yarn was frequently frayed, knotted or both smack dab in the middle of at least three out of the six skiens I used for this project. It had a pretty gnarly effect on the final product. If I had been making this to sell, I couldn't have given it to my customer knowing full-well that they would never appreciate the integrity of the product or my work. Sloppy!

There are snags like this throughout the entire piece because frayed ends of the yarn were tied together or knotted up in the middle of the skein. Needless to say, I would have been mortified to sell this to anyone. Because I intended to review the yarn and wanted to know the effect this would have on the overall project, I didn't preimptively fix the snags; however, if you run into this yourself, cut out the knot, retie the ends with long tails, and weave them in just as you would if you were beginning a new skein, and you will be able to avoid these nasty hiccups. 

  • Color

We'll start with the positive here - this yarn has some gorgeous colors. The pastels are perfect for anything baby. It also works up true to the color of the skein. The work-in-progress doesn't begin to appear lighter or darker in color than the ball from which you're pulling the yarn. Another thing that I appreciated about the colors of this yarn was that they would have all worked together very well. 

With some other yarns, it has been my experience, that just because the color wheel says these two yarns should compliment one another, it isn't always the case, but with the Lion Brand's Baby's First, all of the colors could have been worked together in most arrangements within the same project and it would have come out looking very nice. 

Why only three paws, then?
Because the labels don't tell you the color. That makes it almost impossible to shop for more of the same color to finish or replicate a project. Especially when there are little snakes in the grass like this:

Discerning between these two was terribly difficult unless they were side-by-side. I'd have to use both hands to count how many times that "bright white", as I began to name it, almost ended up in the blanket instead of the "eggshell". 

  • Feel

This is definitely where this yarn shines. I mean, you can't get much better than the luxurious texture of this yarn.

This yarn is so SO soft, you guys. It also has a nice "bounce" to it. To the point that I would highly recommend its use in things like Tummy Time Mats or a nice squishy rug to stand on while you brush your pearly whites. The feel of the yarn is what inspired me to make a baby blanket with it in the first place. I've washed and dried the blanket a few times, and it retains its softness and springiness very well. This yarn is also SUPER warm, so it's perfect for babies (or adults) in the cooler fall and winter months. 
  • Workability

The "workability" of this yarn had me huffing several times over how it split, but the stitches that it forms are so easy to see that it will show off your stitch work like a modern marvel if you take your time. That's why it has three paws.

For someone who is just learning their way around a hook, this yarn is not for you, I'm sorry. You have to be very ginger with your tension and place your hook with precision, or you will end up with split threads. Not only does that damage the integrity of your product, it makes the entire project look just a little.... off. That being said, if you know where to put your hook, the yarn is so thick that with a proper sized hook it grabs well. I never had a problem with it slipping off mid-stitch, and the stitches that it creates have some outrageous detail. I could see this being so beautiful as a Catherine's Wheel - you know, something really showy, maybe even a Star Stitch. 

Overall, I love the blanket, and so does my baby. If you're an experienced hooker, you could definitely make this yarn work for you. Especially if it's already sitting in your stash or if it is gifted to you. However, I have to say, that Bernat's Blanket yarn (which I used for my toddler's baby blanket) is just as luxurious in feel, it's competitively priced, not to mention it's much easier to find in your local craft shop. 

May muses whisper to you always,
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