So I decided to treat myself to a “luxury” Artyarns Club. It’s one of those deals, where they send you yarn and pattern every month, and you make cool stuff with it. The club was pricey – $66 – but this is pretty much my only hobby at the moment and I really wanted to try it. I never tried anything like that before, and I told myself that I work hard and I deserve pretty yarn.
Crate 1: a skein of creamsickle colored yarn and a skein of pink silk. Pattern is a basketweave wrap. There was not enough yarn for a wrap. Maybe for a scarf. Which, coming into summer, nobody needs. I ended up buying an extra skein in a similar colorway. I’m about $90 into a shawl I don’t particularly like. I am kicking myself. But okay, you know, this is the first crate. Fine.
Crate 2: a 200 yard skein of DK weight Cashmere/Silk blend and a tiny skein of beaded silk. Pattern: luxury mitts.
Behold the mitts.
Because everyone wants to own a pair of mitts that make your arms look like Michelin Man’s. Preferably in Swamp Thing green. If I, for some reason and I can’t imagine why, make these and put them on, Buffy might slay me.
The pattern is unattractive. The yarn is poorly chosen. Mittens typically get dirty faster than any other item of knitwear. The “luxury” cashmere/silk blend will have to undergo repeated washings and in no time this item will look like a rag. But the most troubling is skimping on yarn.
There is not much you can do with 200 yards of this yarn besides use it in some other project. Not suited to a hat, not enough for a scarf. I now have this tiny skein, for which I paid $66. I could’ve gotten enough luxury yarns through other stores to make an awesome shawl or infinity scarf for Kid 1 for the same amount of money.
I’ve come to conclude from Artyarn emails that their policy is to premium price yarn and give you bare minimum to finish something. I’ve ordered a kit before for a shawl and I have a terrible suspicion that there will not be enough yarn in there either. So, I cancelled my subscription.
Bummer. Lesson learned.
Lisa Hampton says
LOL Glad you explained what that image was…mittens?? Sorry, but I was scratching my head on that one! Oh well, like you said, lesson learned! 🙂
Mittens? I thought they were those fingerless glove thingies. Maybe formal, fingerless gloves? Since they’re long and meant to go up the forearm?
This style of fingerless glove is historically called mitts. There are some fabulous knitted ones from the 18th century in museums around the world. Sewn silk or linen was much more common though.
Proud devouring book horde member and clothing nerd.
^ or fine leather
I don’t know if you finished Buffy yet but the mittens would match certain bridesmaids gowns . . . . .
Thanks for the review / heads up. I never subscribe to those crate things any more. I’d rather kit up a pattern I like than get something unknown. My problem is I’ve already got so much that I’m one of those – “SABLE” people (Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy), and have started assessing what I love and what I don’t and donating some. Can I send you some??
Judy R says
Never heard of the acronym SABLE, but love it. I’m definitely there with fabric!
…couldn’t decipher what that/those was/were until you explained it, but I like the colors ?
Kala A. Goirup says
I have such a large stash of yarn at this point, I need to back off buying anything new till I have made a dent in my over large stash. (I know working my way through it all would be too much for me. I couldn’t hold out that long when every trip to the yarn store is like throwing a junkie into a pile of crack. )
That was a VERY expensive lesson to learn.
Okay, now here’s a good-news story about a yarn manufacturer. I knit circular baby shawls. I decided to finish a shawl after it had been sitting in the cupboard for a couple of years, as a friend had a grandchild due. I had problems with the two remaining balls of wool (pure wool, 3 ply) pulling apart or with actual breaks in the yarn. I visited my local wool shop three times looking for a replacement before the fourth person actually found me two balls in the correct dye-lot. Wonderful. Meanwhile they had suggested that I contact the manufacturer. They were wonderful. They couldn’t help with that yarn because it was no longer produced but they promised to send me some more for a new knitting project.
In today’s mail I received 10 free balls of wool!
Wonderful customer service. Should give them a free plug. Who’s the yarn manufacturer?
Patricia Schlorke says
Sounds like the moths got to the yarn. You may not see the actual moth, but the larvae love wool and chew on it. The yarn may look good to the eye until you start to use it. I’ve had that happen. Solution? Put lavender (or something equally nice) with the wool. Moths hate lavender. Also, wash the wool with soap that has lanolin in it. Moths hate lanolin.
I had acrylic yarn (Red Heart) stored in a plastic tub in a closet with no lid (this was a few years ago). When I went to pull the yarn out for a project, there was a dead moth with the yarn. It tried to lay eggs, but because the yarn was acrylic and not wool, the moth and its eggs starved. The yarn was fine.
Susan Linch Ravan says
I put natural fiber in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. No moths or ruined fiber works,
At the wool shop I was told that spiders can do the same thing, which is more likely in this case as I can find no evidence of moths.
Interestingly, both yarns had different problems. One looked as though it had been cut straight through with a pair of scissors – a very clean cut through about 10 strands in one section of the ball. The second was not apparent until I tried knitting and found that every few metres there were one or two strands that had been cut through so that the wool broke as I tried to knit it. It was the difference in the two balls that was strange. Once I got past the outer layers, down to the last third or half a ball, everything was fine.
Despite me discussing this with the manufacturers/distributors, and saying that I accepted it could have been a problem in my cupboard and all I wanted was to buy more of the same dye lot, they still sent me ten balls free! I am impressed.
That’s a class yarn company. Sounds like my experience with Berroco, who understand what good customer service is. I’ve been told LYS owners love to order from them for that same reason.
At least you bailed quickly and didn’t give them anymore chances. Hope you have great luck finding projects and yarn you like in the future … without the scammers.
So…maybe not quite the elegant evening gloves one was hoping for. Ah well. Half the fun (perhaps 3/4rds) of sewing or knitting is buying the yard/fabric. I think those are going to make a wonderful part of a Halloween costume. 🙂
Bummer. But I did enjoy the Buffy joke, thank you.
How disappointing! I have yet to find a yarn club that I love either. I buy yarn from here to treat myself. https://www.etsy.com/shop/elliebelly?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&search_query=smitten
The fingerless mitts pattern is ghastly, but the yarn itself isn’t too bad. I’d probably knit it into a cowl. You should have enough yarn for one.
My first thought was leggings of some sort than saw the bump and was very confused 🙂
Lauren in CA says
Those gloves look like zombie Big Bird legs, goodness. I hope you’re able to find something else that fulfills your yarn-acquiring needs 🙂
If you’re looking for a good yarn subscription box, check out Yarn Crush.
The Yarn Crush boxes come with both a knitting and a crochet pattern in each box , generally a full-sized skein of yarn and you get a choice of cool,warm or neutral colour choices for each box (that you can change).
I subscribed for a year and was happy with the vast majority of the boxes I got – only stopped because of needing to save more money!
They’re also on Ravelry – you could check out the spoiler threads for the upcoming months 🙂
I love ravelry.
Sorry to hear the subscription didn’t work out – its such a pity as getting a good surprise every month or so is so nice.
I got the Sockcrush subscription as a present from my husband – with sock yarns and patterns only. Its actually been pretty good value. I’ve loved all the yarns, and while I’ve chosen a complete lucky dip you can have a sneak peek and a choice out of three colours if you know you are going to be disappointed by certain colours. The patterns are very complex (I guess good value if you think of it in terms of hours of entertainment) and I think I might choose my own for some of the yarns, but at least I know I’ll always have that option. I don’t know if I’d love the Yarncrush variation so much – their yarns look great in the photos, but if you don’t like the project it would be harder to find an alternative use.
I definitely enjoyed my Yarn Crush subscription- it exposed me to a few fibres and several brands I would’ve been hesitant to buy off my own bat, so it was a great experience 🙂
Being an overseas though(Australia) meant that shipping times were a pain(Aus Post likes to lose parcels too) and of course the seasons of the projects didn’t match up to my weather lol – not keen on making a warm hat when I’ve got 40C weather!
I’m thinking if my saving money is going well by next year I’ll subscribe again just for the US/Canadian summer months – those projects are more likely to be made and worn by me!
So I’d definitely still recommend either of the Yarn Crush boxes for anyone after a fun yarn subscription 🙂
Well, the colors were lovely. I hope you can find something fun to do with it, even if you have to augment it with a purchase from a more useful outlet.
I love pretty yarn..my mom made me a new turquoise shawl it is so pretty..but for me I was upset because it was $8 a skein. .so if was around $60 to made..so much when I can usually do it for $25..still was so pretty
Don’t give up. There must be some good clubs out there.
Don’t know about their club, but I love their blog and Anne’s patterns.
Not affiliated, just a reader of their blog and knitter of their patterns.
See, those are cute mittens.
Colleen Thorsen says
So sorry to hear about the yarn club. I was intrigued when you mentioned that you joined. This dragon scarf might work for the yarn. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-dragons-tale
Knitting guilds sometimes have meetings where people sell some of their stash. That might be a good way to pass on yarn that is not working for you.
Or Ravelry might have a group for artyarns with a foot. Might be worth a look if the yarn is as terrible as the pattern.
Fsot not foot.
I am pretty certain that kits that fail to include enough yarn to make a project to fit oversized me and/or makes me look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy are supposed to be given to be made up and given to daughters and grandchildren. Make ’em up, save ’em up, wrap ’em up and you have Christmas gifts.
Seriously, though, I have stopped buying kits or joining clubs. I run out of yarn every darned time, invariably about 3 good rows from the finish. Then I am left with the chore of finding yarn to match (at often inflated prices) or figuring out an alternative finish and bind off.
Melissa B says
Thanks for making me LOL, I needed that!
Kate F says
I don’t know if you crochet or knit, but if you crochet, fun with furls is a free group on facebook (they also have their own site) and they do a crochet-a-long every month with some decent patterns. They sell their own yarn or you can get your own but they’ve had some pretty neat projects with some bonus amigurumi stuff occasionally thrown in too. ^_^
I still have two patterns from craftsy kits to finish. I’ve had good luck there and through a site associated with creative knitting and my yarn store. It sounds like you were gypped. The most I’ve ever spent is about $20 for a skein. It is a shame as there are some great pattern designers out there that sell kits.
Since this is a knitting thread, may I ask for a recommendation for a newbie knitting project? When I say newbie, I mean never having held knitting needles. I’m thinking of joining a local class, but would still like recommendations. Thanks so much.
Bwahaha the knitting fever vanquishes another holdout. Welcome to the Dark Side!
I am probably not the person to ask as I inevitably choose something way too ambitious for my skill level, but pick something you like. The very first thing I ever knit was a baby’s overall (https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51T462KJBbL._AC_US218_.jpg). Crazy, I know. But I wanted to make a very special baby gift, which carried me through the frustration of learning how. If you decide to learn on a potholder or scarf that bores you, you will give up when you get frustrated.
What do you envision? A hat? Scarf? Shawl? Blanket, baby or otherwise? Socks, or anything fitted, are a bit more difficult to master, but I know 2 people who did them for their first project.
I recommend a scarf or a square potholder as a first project. You can try ralvelry for patterns but could also ask your local yarn store. A budget option is the lion brand yarns website. They have a lot of free patterns.
Thank you both for the ideas. I’m not really interested in a pot holder, but realistically that seems to be a good place to start. Anything more might die-on-the-vine so to speak. I’m not sure what I would do with a scarf, not much call for that where I live. But, I may throw caution to the wind.
Thank you again.
If you don’t want a potholder, you could always do a dishcloth. The advantage of dishcloths is that you can be as plain or fancy as you like, and mistakes won’t matter. It’s “bumpy” so that it can scrub, and when wet, you won’t notice any errors or problems.
Downright perfect for a new knitter!
Just an idea…
My husband loves knitted washcloths and they are perfect way for beginning knitters to learn because they are small.
Knipicks.com has been listing free washcloth patterns, both knit and crochet, for at least 2 years tha5 w8ll teach you lots of great skills. I use washcoth patterns to teach knitting and crochet classes. If I want to make something 5hat has know technigues, I’ll knit a washcloth using the pattern before i start to make sure I know what I’m doing..
Exactly what I was going to suggest 🙂 I have a lot of sponge-sized dish scrubbers I’ve made to try a yarn or stitch, or to use up leftovers.
I don’t knit but this post was awesome!! I laughed so hard at those mittens (yikes!). Thank you for sharing your experience. ?
Me too! ??
The mitts remind me of (very nicely knit) T-Rex cartoon arms. I do have to wonder about the pattern & yarn pairing. The yarn combo would have been better for a small neck warmer. Very expensive baby hat gift? Yarn pet!
Could you build surprise pattern + yarn from stash (or have a fellow knitter do so on ravelry?) At least it would be patterns you favorite on ravelry and yarn you like (presumably, since it is in stash).
M. Smith says
My mom used to organize this for Elizabeth and then Meg.
Great resource and camp for grownups
might I suggest the darngoodyarn.com clubs? They have a yarn based one for knitters or crocheters, and a jewelry based one. Plus tons of cool stuff on the site.
I knew immediately what the mitts were, but I also thought the pattern was poor and colors not the greatest. ? I enjoyed your post immensely. Keep up your spirits by knitting something for your fur babies with the extra yarn. ? ?
Maybe you could turn them into leg warmers for grade school kids. ? Or put them on your next snowman. ⛄ You could always use them to insulate pipes… ?
lookout pipe insulation is a good idea. Bit gaudy but good.
I didn’t type “lookout” what the heck? Supposed to be ooooOoooo
Cashmere and silk on pipes or pets? Errrm.
Fan in California says
Well, crap. Always frustrating when you spend all that time and then you don’t like the project — and then factor in the cost. Really crappy.
Looks like A Tale of Two Cities, you know when that lady knit the code for whom to serve next to Madame La Guillotine.
The book Romantic Hand Knits has some very beautiful and classy items. The skirt on the cover only takes about a day of binge watching Fringe (or Buffy). Best of luck!!!
Those are some strange mittens! The deserve an award.
Not yarn related, but involving another subscription service. My Aunt’s BFF’s hubby was in the hospital around Christmas time and used an infomercial product as a gift for his wife. So for Christmas she got a jar of $75 face cream. She thought “how sweet” not knowing the price. In January another identical jar of face cream showed up in the mail.
Her daughter checked online, found the price, found out that the product was only good for a month, and cancelled the subscription.
My Aunt’s reaction to the product price and shelf life was “for that kind of money, you better start looking like Zha Zha Gabor after using it”.
In this particular case, do you think you can frog it and reuse the yarn for something it’s better suited for? A cowl maybe?
How about a Bandana Cowl?
I have yet to use any of my yarn that came from a club. Save your money and buy exactly the yarn you want. If you ever do want to try a club again, I would recommend trying a club from a specific dyer that you really like and not a subscription box company.
Sandra Rosa says
I’ve only subscribed to a yarn club once, although i didn’t repeat it for lack of timing.
But the club was amazing, the patterns were interesting, and the yarn was so wonderfull, the producers made it into my list of yarn I will look up when I’m starting a new project.
Which should be a good reason for you to join one of these thinghies, the club I joined was last year’s Ysolda club (2016), but there are other creators who make good clubs, Martina Behm, Stephen West for Instance…
The shawl society also appeared to be a good club…
So that said, if you have a short queue, don’t want to waste much time researching yarn and patterns, and want to be introduced to good yarn you might not try out otherwise, a club is a good idea.
Or stick with kits, there are many available for the patterns you want, and many producers will offer them for you if you want.
For me I like the research method, even the trial and error, with many errors, phase was good, because I have a lot of experience choosing yarn and matching yarns to projects now.
That is incredibly disappointing given it is your “not writing” hobby and you enjoy it.
A very timely post because I was considering buying from them. Imagine getting it all the way to Australia and be faced with that. So – a big thanks for posting. You saved me $ and angst.
I hope you find other providers and a project you can love in the not-too-distant future.
Save up all the wool scraps and make this:
I’ve knitted it up and added wooden buttons and I practically live in it during winter.
Ooooh, love it – what does it look like made from scrap yarn? (I scrolled through the project gallery but didn’t see one I could immediately identify as scraps.) My sister’s been asking me for a cardigan and this looks like it would be a perfect pattern!
I made one from yarn gleaned from the ghosts of jersey’s past. Has white, blue, light blue, and black stripes. Just pick your base colour and then add what you want.
That is too bad. I am sure you could do something much better by picking out something you like at the store.
I know this post is about yarn and knitting, but if you’re ever looking for a new read or show to watch, I’d recommend the following:
Strong Woman Do Bong Soon
Those two series are fairly new Korean comedy/dramas that are quite different from the usual K-drama fare. They have great story lines, well-developed characters, and are a surprising mix between comedy and profound. At least in my opinion. ^_^
While eagerly awaiting new KD and Hidden Legacy releases I found Stephanie Thornton’s books. She writes historical fiction about lesser known female figures who had an incredible impact on their era. A feeling I got while reading her books was that if you ever wrote historical fiction they might be something like Thornton’s. The women in her books are incredibly strong, intelligent, gritty, and complex. Her stories are truly epic.
These are just my personal recommendations … it’s a little scary for me to recommend anything to an author, and such a brilliant one such as yourself. But if you ever are looking for something new, you can see if they’re something up your alley. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your experience. I sometimes see some very nice projects from Artyarn on ravelry, but so far the prices for their yarn alway discouraged me. So I will stick to knitting delight. Easier to come by for me.
That really is a bummer. I’m so sorry. 🙁 I’ve been tempted to try out those food box club thingies and resisted every time for those same fears of not getting what I expected…
I have a friend who makes yarn. It’s not a club, but she makes some really pretty yarn. https://alainnyarns.com/
I’ve really never known a yarn club/subscription/mystery kits to ever work in favor of the knitter. I view them as the yarn company having a production/inventory problem, always leery of them.
ArtYarn is a very high end yarn company. They have some lovely yarn, but the amount they charged for the club wasn’t enough to cover a decent quantity of any of their pricey product. My experience with two other clubs is they don’t work for me. I don’t enjoy nasty surprises, in other words I want to know what color I’m getting. I should have realized that as I routinely order sample cards. A lace yarn club sent me plenty of yarn, in the 1,000 yard category (enough for a sizable lace shawl), but two shipments in a row were colors I hated. These clubs seem like fun but unless one is prepared to accept any eventuality, I dare say one would be disappointed more than once.
Thanks for your info on this club. I love to knit and I’ve wondered about those clubs. Glad you were able to cancel.
Chanthou Sevilla says
I did the Rockin’ Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts for a few years and I LOVED them. They send 400+ yds of lightweight/mediumweight yarn, a couple patterns (one sock and another mystery pattern) and some other fun things. The only drawback is that you have to commit for the year and you get 6 shipments a year. I kind of liked that because it gave me enough time to finish a project before I started on the next. I had to stop my subscription a couple years ago because I started working on a couple larger projects and I stopped socks for a while.
I’m with you on the Artyarns thing. I’m underwhelmed by the price you pay for the value you receive on their yarns – plus, from what I hear from my LYS, they’re a pain in the a$$ to deal with. I signed up for a Dream in Color monthly club the year before last and it was AMAZING – gorgeous yarn, great patterns (one month was a hat and fingerless gloves – as in, enough luscious, beautifully-dyed merino to do both; one month my yarn had some dye issues and they replaced it no questions asked), and a really good overall experience. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but I’ve been leery of signing up for most others because of exactly what you described!
Went and looked it up and wished I’d gotten in on this year’s Dream in Color club!
Alice Longacre says
Make doll clothes out of the yarn that isn’t enough for people clothes, sell them on the internet. you will have the satisfaction of making something with pretty yarn, and something will benefit from it. I doubt anyone would want baby clothes made from expensive yarn, but that might be an option too.
The problem I have is that the yarn is being mislead as ART YARN. I am a spinner and that yarn that was given to you is not ART YARN. Just because yarn has a few sparkly bits and beads does not constitute it as art yarn and I feel that companies are misleading consumers.
You can buy Artyarns at fabulousyarns.com, usually at a nice discount. Personally my favorite place to buy yarn is knitpicks.com. They have a wonderful selection of patterns, including free and great kits with no skimping.
I don’t find this assesment surprising. I’ve always thought Art Yarns made pretty yarn, but I’ve always found them to be way to pricey as well. There are so many great options for yarn now, I can’t see paying their prices.
I’ve started Jimmy Beans semi-precious blanket/shawl year long subscription and really like it: https://www.jimmybeanswool.com/knitting/yarn/Madelinetosh/SemiPreciousToshBLANKETSubscription.asp
I wasn’t going to, but the first three months were SO PRETTY that I couldn’t resist. I also wasn’t sure about a shawl, but the blanket pattern for crochet they provided looked like it would work for me and seriously, the yarn is SO PRETTY. It took them a bit to send Jan-March yarn since they apparently got backed up, but now I’ve got them all and am working on catching up on my three blanket squares from earlier months and really enjoying it.
They have knit or crochet blanket and knit or crochet shawl options and only $22 a month with free shipping, so definitely way cheaper!
Okay, glad someone has so precisely expressed my very own opinions re: these two monthly selections. A person unfamiliar with Artyarns is not likely to become a fan based solely on experience with what we’ve seen so far.
For April’s kit, I did make a very nice scarf with the creamsicle color, even though that’s about my least favorite hue. My mom wanted it, so no regrets. I didn’t use the basketweave pattern because I thought it was a lousy match aesthetically with such beautiful yarn. Final assessment: So so.
As to the kit for May: Come on! I’m using the green silk/cashmere to make a very open-lace scarf, and I hope there will be enough of the beaded silk to make a nice edging. But really, I agree that the “luxury mitts” plan is just lame.
In defense of Artyarns and Iris Schreier, I have to say that I’ve made several of her non-subscription kits, including the Starry Wrap, the Triangular Taj Shawl, and the Regal Splendor Shawl. They’re all completely gorgeous! They provide a sufficient supply of their to-die-for yarn, and while the Starry and Regal are a bit smaller than I was expecting (but not unpleasantly so), the Taj is truly big enough to keep me warm on a chilly spring afternoon. I found those patterns to be unique, clever, very clearly written, and comfortably demanding. I recently ordered a Drama Queen kit so that I can do the new Artyarns Mosaic Jacket knit-along. My love for the products is what impelled me to sign up,for the subscription, but…
All of that said, I’ve decided to cancel the monthly kit. If I’m going to continue giving Artyarns so much of my money, I’ve determined that I need to be in charge of ALL the choices.