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Review | Lion Brand BonBons Yarn

Reported by Chel Micheline

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bonbonspack

I usually choose bulky, nubby yarns to crochet with, but every so often I’ll go through a phase where all I want to do is crochet with “fine” or “sport weight” yarns (which are very thin in diameter and not very plush). The Bonbons yarns from Lion Brand are perfect for this. They come in a package of eight color coordinated mini-skeins, and are priced at $7.99 MSRP for a pack of eight skeins. While the skeins are quite small, the entire package is more than enough yarn to make a variety of projects. No, you won’t be able to crochet a large afghan with one package, but you will be able to make quite a variety of accessories and home decor projects.

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I decided to crochet something I had never attempted before, a small iPod holder/cross-body purse for my daughter. She’s nine years old, and into anything bright and cheerful, so I figured the “Party” set with its intense color selection and bright metallic touches would be perfect for this project.

One of the key benefits of the BonBons is that the color palette is already figured out for you. I have been known to spend hours in the local craft store agonizing about color matches with yarn, so having the yarn colors come pre-selected is a wonderful time saver. I chose three from the pack for this project: red, pink, and purple. There was just enough of the yarn using just those three colors to complete the project.

bonbons2

As usual, I didn’t follow a pattern with my crochet. And since I don’t enjoy “crocheting in the round”, I realized that if I was going to make a purse, it needed to be shaped like a pouch or a pocket.

So the way I went about it was to simply crochet, in single crochet stitch, a 15″ long and 4.5″ wide rectangle- basically, a tiny scarf. I kept the gauge of my stitches VERY tight, because crochet does tend to stretch with use, and since I wasn’t going to be lining this purse, I wanted it to be sturdy.

To add some variation in design, I alternated colors every three rows.

colorway

When I was done with the basic rectangle, I folded it into three sections. The bottom two sections would form the front and back of the purse, and the top third would be the “flap” that folds over the front.

I used a simple crochet stitch with the purple yarn to “sew” the front and back panel together to make a pocket, and then went around the remainder of the purse with more of the purple yarn to give it a nice contrast piping.

purseopen

Then I used the remaining pink yarn (plus a little from my stash) to make a thick strap, a strip of five rows of tight single crochet stitches about 35″ long. I edged the strap with contrasting colors of the Lion Brand BonBons, just for a little extra pop. Then I attached the strap to the back of the bag using a single crochet stitch.

purseback

My daughter is on vacation with her grandparents, so I haven’t been able to measure the purse on her and get the exact strap length, so I left one of the strap ends “unattached” and when she returns home I will fit the purse on her and attach the strap in a good spot so the purse sits cross-body at just below her waist.

While the purse is not exactly high-end couture, I’m fairly pleased with it considering I’ve never crocheted anything like it before and just sort of “went for it” as far as design and execution. And since my daughter loves handmade things (thank goodness for that, because pretty much everything I crochet ends up either on her bed or in her closet!) and she loves tiny purses, I think she’ll be happy with it.

 All in all, after working with them for this project, I really love the Lion Brand BonBons.

Pros:

  • Pre-coordinated color sets
  • Enough yarn in one package to complete a variety of projects
  • Easy to work with
  • Great color and quality

Cons:

  • A little bit price-y for the amount of yarn you get

 Lion Brand BonBons Yarn are available in seven variety packs: two acrylic packs (Brights,Pastels), two cotton packs (BeachNature), two metallic packs (PartyCelebrate) and one combination metallic/cotton pack that is holiday themed (Jingle Bells). The cotton and acrylic skeins are 28yds each, while the metallics are 38.3 yards. MSRP is $7.99/package.

Ariosa by Classic Elite Yarns

Please welcome Deja to the Craft Critique family!


Deja Jetmir has joined the Craft Critique team as an expert crocheter and has just begun learning to knit. She has been crocheting for over 20 years, and is an independent designer that sells her patterns on various websites such as Ravelry.com and Etsy.com. After nine years of working and going to school part time, she will be earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting this Spring from California State University at Long Beach. Currently, Deja is a stay-at-home mom to a beautiful daughter and is expecting another baby in October. Deja enjoys just about any kind of crafting, and is excited to share her knowledge and product reviews with you. Check out her blog: The Cheap Hooker

Reported by Deja Jetmir
I’m always on the lookout for the softest yarn ever made, and am willing to test anyone’s claim that their fiber is the best. Most of my favorite softies include some percentage of cashmere, so when I saw an advertisement for Classic Elite’s Ariosa, with its 90% extra-fine merino and 10% cashmere blend, I just knew I had to head down to the LYS (local yarn store) to get a feel.

If you have ever felt 100% cashmere and thought it was softer than baby’s bottom, then you must get your hands on what can only be described as “cushy as a pillow from heaven” and work with Ariosa. I have squeezed innumerable skeins of yarn, and this is one of the softest I have come across in a natural fiber. I have found through internet searching that a skein of Ariosa runs anywhere from $9.50 to $12. for a 50 gram skein. A 100% percent cashmere counterpart would cost you up to 6 times as much for that same amount (ask me how I know). Classic Elite does not list the weight of the yarn on the label, but I would guess it as a worsted to bulky (4 to 5) on the weight scale, and is single ply, so you do have to keep that in mind if making a garment that will encounter friction (such as swinging arms in a cardigan). You will get pills, but a simple sweater stone, or shaver will have it looking new again in no time.

I used a size L hook to crochet the cowl pictured in less than an hour. Unlike other yarns that only soften up after you block or wash them, Ariosa begins soft and stays that way, making the crochet process itself enjoyable (no scratchy yarn running over your fingers). Unlike many one ply yarns I have come across, Ariosa has a consistent thickness throughout, so you will achieve a uniform look on any garment you make. Also, because of its one ply, it is nearly impossible to split the yarn with your hook while working.

After a blocking done in Soak brand wool wash, I found very little of the color washed out, and I achieved and extra 3 inches on the circumference. The cowl wears remarkably well, and hasn’t made me itch once, even with its 90% wool content. For special presents for you or a loved one, this is worth the price. You will get a wonderfully luscious product that you can’t help but stroke as you wear it.

Pros:

  • super soft
  • lightweight
  • quick to work up


Cons:

  • pricey (it does run on the high side for other yarns with similar content)
  • pilling on garments
  • company’s lack of crochet info and weight information

Product Specs:
Classic Elite Yarns “Ariosa”
Color pictured: Sangria (4827)
50 grams
87 yards

In addition to your LYS, Classic Elite Ariosa Sangria 4827 Yarn is available from Amazon.com

Have you used Classic Elite’s Ariosa, or do you have a different favorite super-soft natural fiber yarn? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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