Thursday, April 22, 2010

Product review: Red Heart Eco-ways recycled blend yarn

Product: Red Heart Eco-Ways recycled blend yarn
Net wt 4oz/ 113 g
186 yds/170 m

worsted, medium (4) weight
recommended hook and needle size: 5.00 mm
care instructions: machine wash warm, gentle cycle, tumble dry on low
70% acrylic
30% recycled polyester

colour used: misty violet

The back of the label includes a form to get a deal on a subscription to Crochet Today magazine.

In the last while, there have been a lot of new yarns out labelled green, eco, etc. They tend to be quite a bit more expensive than comparable yarns, so I waited until I saw some on clearance before picking up a skein to try out.

I picked up the Eco-ways yarn at a local Michaels, and I must admit to being surprised to see any eco-yarns on clearance, considering how recently they started carrying them in the first place.

I'll be upfront at the start that, these days, I view products that are labelled green, eco, organic, "all natural" and so on as a point against the product, not for it. Call me cynical, but I'm finding that these buzz words are more about marketing than actual environmental responsibility. Too many turn out not to be any better for the environment than their counterparts, but it's a great way to charge considerably higher prices for them. So off the hop, this product has a point against it.

In its favour, when I picked the yarn, I was impressed with how lovely and soft the yarn felt, and I really liked the colours. I had no real plans for it, though I did end up using it to make a quick gift bag to hold a wine bottle. I made it and gave it away in the same day, so I didn't get a chance to take any photos of it. After going through some pattern books, I decided to work up a lacy pattern with the remaining yarn to test it out.


The resulting item is just long enough to use as a neckwarmer or something like it. This is the finished pattern, before blocking.


A closer look at the pattern, before blocking.


I decided to wet block the piece, soaking it in the sink and rolling it up in a towel to absorb the excess water before pinning it out. It took maybe 20 hours to dry.


Finally, a look at the pattern after blocking.

I like the stitch definition, and there's a decent drape to the resulting fabric. I could see using a pattern like this to make a stole with this yarn. I did, however, have some issues with it.

First off, I quickly found the yarn split easily. This was a considerable issue when doing the bobbles in the pattern (4 dc together). I frequently had to undo stitches because I couldn't untangle the split yarn from the hook in the middle of working a stitch.

A surprise for me, especially considering how nice and soft the yarn felt, plus how open the pattern is, was how course and stiff it felt after it was worked into a pattern.

My conclusion: I'm on the fence with this yarn. There are things I like about it, but with how much trouble it was to work with because of the splitting, I really didn't enjoy using it, which is another point against. The stitch definition is a point in favour. I love the colours and how the yarn feels before being worked, but it was surprisingly course after being worked up, so there's two points for, but another against. In the end, I don't know that I would consider it worth the higher regular retail price, but I wouldn't turn my nose up at it if I found more on the clearance shelf.

I'm going to try throwing it in the wash and see how it turns out, though I don't plan to put it in the drier. We don't have anything else that requires tumble drying on low to toss it in with, and putting it in the drier all by itself would hardly be eco-friendly.

update: In the end, I just threw it in with a regular wash and dry. It came out quite beautifully, losing the stiffness and courseness I'd been unhappy with. It came out quite lovely. So the only issue still remaining is the yarn's propensity for splitting.

1 comment:

Sugey Boo said...

Thanks for your review. I recently purchased this yarn to make my daughter a cable sweater. When I received it in the mail I thought it felt too soft to give a knitted sweater any structure but after reading your review I'm going to give it a try.