Product Reviews

Whimsical Stitch Markers - a review and giveaway!

Handmade stitch markers abound!  But the whimsical and unique ones definitely stand out.

CeCreations_MMs
Cheryl of http://cecreations.etsy.com 
sent me a great sampling of her work, including these ADORABLE and super charming M&M stitch markers!  Thanks, Cheryl, for sending me these samples for review and to giveaway.  My audience thanks you too ;-)

CeCreations_Racoons

Here is my official review:
Stitch markers and other knitting accessories are a luxury for me.  I've been knitting for so long -- 30+ years (I started VERY young ;-) ), that for many years, I only had really basic, boring, yet functional, plastic stitch markers. 

Cecreations_Shawl_Pin

And often, I would prefer to spend my money on yarn and patterns, not accessories.  I would usually just use little bits of contrasting yarn and tie them into little loops to use as stitch markers.  Not great, and certainly not pretty, but they did the job and it was not a big deal if I lost one!

CeCreations_Sheep

Fast forward to today!  Now we knitters can treat ourselves to lots of knitting accessories that just make knitting more fun!

The whimsical knitting accessories: stitch markers, shawl sticks, embellished needles and hooks, point protectors, etc. from places like CeCreations.etsy.com are a delightful option!

Life should be filled with little indulgences - especially the kind that have no calories!

So, yes - I am a fan of Cheryl's little handmade goodies. She puts so much creativity in each design, as can be easily seen by just looking at her etsy site and the individual designs shown here.  The detailing on the balls of yarn shawl stick is so realistic!  And Racoon faces are so delicate and detailed as well!

Just the sheer range of designs she has is impressive. She has charms shaped like socks, hedge hogs, flip flops, cupcakes, smurfs, and so much more!   She makes them into stitch markers, shawl sticks, zipper pulls, knitting needle and crochet hook toppers, point protectors, and more.  Lots of holiday themed ones are still in her etsy shop - like a Grinch set that is very unique and fun!

So, check out her selection at: http://CeCreations.etsy.com and see for yourself.  Prices range from $8 to $15 for stitch marker sets.  And it seems that nothing is over $15 - so it's all very reasonable.

*** And now for the giveaway details! ***
I will be choosing TWO random commenters to win!  One will win the M&M stitch marker set; the other will win the balls of yarn shawl stick.

To enter this giveaway, please enter a comment about whimsical knitting accessories!  One comment per person, please.

Prizes can only be shipped to an address within the continental U.S and Canada. All comments must be entered by 9pm PST, February 5th, 2011 . 

[P.S.  A recent giveaway - the Fingerless Gloves Knitting Kit received 600+ comment entries!!!  So, if you or someone you know has a knitting-related or even non-knitting related product that you think my SweaterBabe.com audience would enjoy, please tell them to suggest their product for a future giveaway/review!  Details are at: http://blog.sweaterbabe.com/knitting/2009/02/new-sweaterbabe-reviews.html.  Thanks!!]

*** Deadline extended!  ***
Comment entries for this giveaway will be open until February 14th, 9pm PST.  Good luck!

*** Winners ANNOUNCED February 18th, 2011 ***
AND the 2 randomly chosen commenters that each win a knitting accessory are:

Marion (who commented on Jan. 18th) and Dana (who commented on Jan. 18th).  Congrats!!  You've both been emailed.

Marion will be receiving the M&M Stitch Markers Set (woohoo!) and Dana will receive the Yarn Balls Shawl Pin (yipee!!). 

Thanks to everyone for entering this fun giveaway!  Watch for my next giveaway!


Cool Knitting Design Paper!

Basic knitting graph paper is easy to get online. . . but all it is is graph paper that is fudged a bit so the aspect ratio of the boxes resembles the size (height and width only) of a real knitting stitch better than regular graph paper with squares.

BUT what if you are really trying to design a nice color pattern for a sweater or other project??  What will give you the best results for your design efforts?

Well, Gari of garilynn.etsy.com, had this dilemmna and solved it with the help of her clever DH! 

And thanks to Gari, I have a few sets of her "solution" to review and giveaway to you! Thanks, Gari!

Graph The Knit Stitch Graph Paper is a great tool for knitters planning out a color design. It just makes sense! The best way to plan a design and get the best results are by using the best, most accurate tools.

The Knit Stitch Graph Paper is graph paper that is made with the actual v-shapes of a knit stitch!  So, it can really let you see what a finished color design will look like.

It is sold in pads OR as transparency overlay sheets!  I LOVE the transparencies, because you use them by overlaying them on top of the design you want (e.g. a flower design that you like). . . then "translate" the v-stitches into the appropriate color to best approximate the design into a knitable design.  Genius!Graph2

And the printed pads are ideal if you are making your own free-form design vs. tracing something.

Really neat and nicely done.  The transparencies are packaged in plastic tubes to keep them safe and easy to store.

Gari sells her Knit Stitch Graph Paper as a pdf download on Ravelry.com and the printed pads and transparencies in her etsy shop at garilynn.etsy.com.  She sells landscape and portrait versions.  Very useful tools for any novice or experienced knitting designer. 

*** And now, the giveaway details!  *** 

I will be giving away 3 sets of Knit Stitch Graph products to 3 randomly chosen commenters! 
Just comment on this blog post and tell us what you think of this knitting tool.  I'll randomly pick from all commenters and give away 3 sets:
- One set of BOTH landscape and portrait transparencies + the transparency marker set!
- Two sets, each incluying BOTH landscape and portrait printed pads + the colored marker set shown above!

The marker sets that Gari sent me a perfect for designing and come in a nice range of colors.

Comments must be posted by 9pm PST, December 31st, 2010.  One comment per person please.  Giveaway items can only be shipped to continental U.S. and Canada addresses.

Good luck to all!

*** December 30th UPDATE!! *** Deadline to enter this giveaway extended one week.  Please comment to enter this giveaway by 9pm PST, January 7th, 2011. Happy New Year!!

** January 12, 2011 Winners Announced! **
And the 3 randomly chosen commenters to win a Knitting Graph Paper set are:

Shirley Baumbaugh, Janie Holley, and Peggy R. (who commented on 12/31/10).  Congrats!  You've been emailed so I can get your mailing addresses. 

Thanks everyone for entering!


Knitting Needle Holders - A Review and Giveaway!

ZigZag_DPN_case

 

 

 

I've been stashing my DPN sets in their original plastic bags, but the bags were certainly not made to withstand repeated use.  My alternate storage solution of keeping all of my DPNs in a drawer was less than ideal as well. Anytime I needed DPNs for a knitting project, I would have to sift through the mess to find all the DPNs of the size I needed.  Blech!

On my quest for a better solution, I came across a line of knitting pouches and needle cases from ZigZagStitches.etsy.com.

Catherine of ZigZagStitches was kind enough to send me some samples to review and giveaway. So here's my review! ZigZagStitches2

What I noticed when I first came across her etsy site was her nice selection of fabric designs! She has many colorful, striking options -- my favorites being the ones with an Asian flair!

Her fabric design choices were all just very "cheery" and fun.

Some were very stylish and modern abstract designs. Others were a little more cutesy, with little cats and balls of yarn, or themed for the season, like the halloween ones.ZigZagStitches2B

I'm personally not a cat or halloween print person, but I'm partial to cute sheep - like the sheep design on the blue project pouch here!)ZigZagStitchesPouch.  Even the designs I don't favor are refined and not at all cheesy!ZigZag_DPN_case_closed1

Catherine sent me a DPN case (the dark fabric design you see at the top of this post and here to the right) and two of her "Sock and Go" cases (one small and one regular), which are for holding smaller Sock project needles and tools.

I immediately tried out the DPN case. While I do own a full set of DPNs from size 2 through 15 (thank you, eBay!), I don't see myself needing the smaller sizes very often (I'm not a sock knitter), so I'm happy if the sizes I do use can all fit in the DPN case. And they do!

I easily put in my DPN sets of 5 from sizes 7 through 15! The DPN case is a simple design and just has a flap that folds over the top of the DPNs, so they don't fall out. It then rolls up and ties securely with a thick ribbon. Perfect!

My DPNs were contained, easily organized, and sitting pretty in a case that I think it quite lovely to have sitting on my desk! These cases are well made. The sewing is done with a perfectly coordinated thread color, the black grosgrain ribbon is very securely attached, and the ribbon is cut to a perfect length to tie the case closed with a bow. I always love and expect great attention to detail in a handmade item!

ZigZag_DPN_case_closed
In fact, I liked the DPN case so much, I bought myself one to keep in the pretty red/aqua deisgn (see the photo at the bottom of this post)!

The Sock and Go cases are also well made. They are intended for just carrying a few tools around for a single project. My 8" DPNs were too long to fit in them, but 6" sock DPNS would fit just fine, as would a small pair of scissors and yarn tapestry needles. 

These cases are made to lay flat, with interfacing inside to keep their shape.  They fasten with one big button, as you can see in the photos.  As with the DPN cases, there is an inside layer of fabric to prevent any needles poking through!  These Sock and Go cases are also made so they fit in the co-ordinating ZigZagStitches project pouches and bags.

Catherine also has a lovely selection of boxy pouches and larger drawstring project bags. Her line is very reasonably priced IMHO, ranging from $8 to $30.

*** And now for the giveaway details! ***
I will be choosing ONE random commenter to win the black dots ZigZag Stitches DPN case.

To enter this giveaway, please enter a comment about how you store your knitting tools and DPNs!  One comment per person, please.

Prize can only be shipped to an address within the continental U.S. All comments must be entered by 9pm PST, November 15th, 2010 .ZigZagStitchesNEW

And please visit ZigZagStitches.etsy.com to see the rest of Catherine's great line. You'll definitely find some lovely holiday gift ideas for your fellow knitting friends!

Tell her SweaterBabe.com sent you!  Thanks again, Catherine, for sending me these great samples!

[P.S.  My last giveaway - the Fingerless Gloves Knitting Kit received 600+ comment entries!!!  So, if you or someone you know has a knitting-related or even non-knitting related product that you think my SweaterBabe.com audience would enjoy, please tell them to suggest their product for a future giveaway/review!  Details are at: http://blog.sweaterbabe.com/knitting/2009/02/new-sweaterbabe-reviews.html.  Thanks!!]

**** Congrats to the randomly chosen winner . . . Ianthe Norton, who left her comment on November 12th. Congrats on winning the lovely DPN holder! Enjoy organizing your DPNs. And thanks again to http://ZigZagStitches.etsy.com for their great knitting cases!  ****


Pretty Reuseable Bags Review and Giveaway!

Elevate your gift giving by using reuseable bags?  Hmm... there's an idea?!  I do use reusable grocery bags all the time, so why not consider the same for gift bags?EllaWrap_Bags_500

Well, the company EllaWrap.com has done just that (and they've generously sent me the 2 reuseable gift bag/wraps you see above for free to review and share with you!). 

EllaWrap has designed these products to put a new eco spin on gift-giving.  And given how much precious time and effort can go into knitting or crocheting that special project as a gift for someone, why not make sure it's packaged very thoughtfully to complete the presentation?
EllaWrap_Bag_500
Here's my official review.

First off, I really just like the idea.  We are all trying to reuse bags for all our shopping to phase out those plastic bags, right?  So why not try to do the same and save on gift wrap that is usually not made of recyclable paper and used just once?

Growing up, my mother liked to be frugal - so we saved lots of assorted gift wrap, and bows.

But frankly, it was a lot of effort to make sure we didn't tear the wrapping when opening a gift, to flatten out the paper, and then to carefully peel off the tape in an attempt to leave no marks!  This is not about to happen in my household now, with my little daughters attacking each wrapped item with so much zeal that we're lucky to get the paper shreds off the floor before 3 more packages worth of wrapping join it in a big heap!EllaWrap_500

The EllaWrap gift bags come in many pretty fabrics, with designs and styles to suit all kinds of different occasions. 

The yellow bag shown here is made of a very pretty shade of yellow burlap with a vibrant striped grosgrain ribbon for the trim and handles.  

The bag is very well made, so I can tell that it will definitely last through multiple gift givings!  It would certainly make a great gift wrap for that organic cotton scarf or any hand knit or crocheted accesory or small sweater!

The other EllaWrap (called the Starburst Large Envelope) sent to me is intended for wrapping up clothing or a book.  It's basically a large flat, fabric envelope that closes beautifully with a coordinated ribbon.  Very classy.

All EllaWrap products come with nicely printed out gift tags and a gift journal, to encourage recipients to reuse the bags and turn it into a beautiful tradition. So warm and fuzzy!

Downsides?  Well, there is always the cost.  EllaWraps range from $11 to $18 or so, plus shipping.  Not at all outrageous, but something to consider in your total gift giving price. HOWEVER, if the idea is to have them reused MANY times, then the cost can be amortized and considered to be quite reasonable!

The only other issue is to make sure that the gift contained in the EllaWrap is as nice as OR nicer than the bag/wrap itself!  Ha ha.  Well, it is a package, so the recipient should be thankful for the whole deal, right?

Anyhow, I think they are lovely and I hope they catch on, because we sure do waste a lot of gift wrap around here!  Please check out their full selection at www.EllaWrap.com.

* * * The GIVEAWAY DETAILS * * *
I'll be giving away the EllaWrap Large Envelope (Starburst pattern shown here) to one lucky commenter!ENV-E09-016-EL1

To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment by 9pm EST on October 20th, 2010.  Tell us what you think of EllaWrap or what you'd put in your EllaWrap!  One comment per person please.

One random commenter will be chosen at the end of October.  Good luck to all!

*** AND THE WINNER IS . . . Bonnie, who commented on Oct. 13th!! ***
Congrats, Bonnie!  You won the Starburst Large Envelope from EllaWrap.com.  Enjoy!


Enter the Hip Hostess Giveaway!

Hip_Hostess_2_500 Hip_Hostess_B_500 Aprons?  We have a few.  There's the mongrammed one I bought my husband once as a gift to compliment his "bite me" steak brander for use when he BBQs. 

There's a Winnie-the-Pooh one that is fun to wear when I bake cookies with my kids.

And there's a basic one that we got as a housewarming or engagement gift, I can't remember.

Do any of them get worn regularly? Um... no, not really.

BUT NOW I have a really beautiful apron that can bring out the Martha Stewart in anyone!  It's so pretty, I have it hanging out in the kitchen so I can admire it!

Shown above are the 2 aprons sent to me for free from Debbie, the mother of the mother-daughter team that is behind the TheHipHostess.com line of aprons.

Thanks so much, Debbie, for letting me have these aprons to review and for a great giveaway!

First off, I do have to say the packaging and presentation is very classy and impressive! 

Each apron came neatly folded and presented with a pretty, coordinating ribbon and tag.  Just perfect to ship off as a gift!

And I truly had a hard time selecting which styles to have Debbie send to me.  The prints are stunning and unique.  Modern with a touch of retro in great colors.  Some more whimsical and others more floral.  All very fun.

Plus, there are different styles to choose from!  I chose a sheath-style (full-length apron) in the blue/brown combination you see above, aptly named "Chocolate Mint".  It is a yummy design.  The pockets are great - big and sturdy.  The ruffled bottom flounce is so pretty without being over the top.

I wore it this past weekend when I was grilling some chicken on the stovetop and not wanting to wear the oil splatter evidence.  When guests arrived for the party and saw me wearing the apron, they were full of compliments!  I was immediately attributed with lots of credit for being a great cook, hostess, and party maven.  Not bad for just wearing a cute apron!

The other style of apron I chose to review was the Cafe Style in Paper DoiliesI'm in love with this print!  I want pillows and a duvet cover it!  Hip_Hostess_Cafe

This cute Cafe Style is more suited for use while crafting or gardening.  It's got the great pockets, as all their aprons do, so you can have your tools handy, whether they are your gardening spade, scissors and tape measure, or whatever.

I would have taken it out to take piture of myself using it, but I didn't want to mess up the beautiful packaging since this one will be given away to one of you!

YES - these aprons are all that they claim to be on the HipHostess website and I highly recommend them.  They are very well made, with reinforced stitching where needed.  They are made from a high quality, stiff cotton that will hold up to much use and washings.  They are flattering and feminine and don't make you feel like a housemaid.

You can find these aprons at www.thehiphostess.com.  You can even use the discount code of "GETHIP" to get 15% off!  Let them know you heard about them from SweaterBabe.com!

************* AND NOW FOR THE APRON GIVEAWAY!  ***************
Please enter a comment on this blog post by August 20th, 9pm PST and tell us why you like these aprons!  One comment per person please. 

I will choose a winner randomly (using Random.org's random number generator) to win the Paper Doilies Cafe Style Apron, a $32 value that is Sold Out on the Hip Hostess site.  It's a lovely prize!  Good luck to all!

** August 29th Update ** And the winner randomly chosen from all comment entries is. . . Lori York, who commented on 8/12/10.  Congrats, Lori!  I'll email you so you can send me your mailing address.


Charming Bracelets - Review and a Giveaway!

Charm_Factory_KnitLike me, you've probably owned a few charm bracelets in your time. They are so classic and always add a little whimsy to my outfit and they make me smile.

So, I was excited to receive these bracelets for free from CharmFactory.com as I've not worn a charm bracelet lately.  (I go through jewelry phases, don't you?)

Charm_Factory They came very nicely packaged in the boxes you see below. One features a pretty mix of heart shapes that would be fun to wear everyday.

The other one has knitting-related charms on it (so cool!).  There's the standard yarn ball and needles (though you do have to be careful they don't get caught on your knitting, which I always thought was kind of ironic about the design!), a button, a little sweater (T-shirt style), a "Handmade" charm, and a "made with love" heart-shaped charm. 

Just a very sweet bracelet!  I've never had any knitting-related jewelry and it's just fun to wear something that reminds you of what you love!

The heart bracelet features 3 little puffed hearts alternating with 2 smaller hearts with beaded edges.  Totally wearable and great for layering with other bracelets!

The bracelet chains are also quite nice.  They aren't like those chunky silver ones that used to be popular in the 90's.  These chains are delicate and pretty, but sturdy.  There is an extension piece that allows you to adjust the size, which is awesome. 

Both the bracelet and the charms are sterling silver, and you can tell the nice quality of the silver right away.  AND, these charms were sodered onto the bracelet, which is so great! No worries that you will lose a charm because the little silver ring separates!  Also, no worries about the joins catching on your sweaters!

These are classic gift items that allow you to easily add a personal touch!  When I went to CharmFactory.com to see their selection - I was surprised to see the huge selection! Charm_Factory_Hand

You can buy ready made bracelets with charms (like the heart one) or custom select your own, including a choice of bracelet styles.  They can assemble them for you, or you can do it yourself. 

You can tell that they know their business well given how many options are well presented on the website.

I'd definitely recommend them as a first stop if you are in the market to buy a charm bracelet!

And for those of you who love jewelry. . .
*** ENTER to WIN the HEARTS CHARM BRACELET! (a $25 value) ***
Just comment on this blog post by July 31st, 9PM PST.  Tell us about a favorite charm or what you like about charm bracelets and charm jewelry.  A winner will be randomly chosen at the beginning of August.  One comment per person please.

*** And the randonly chosen winner from all of the fabulous comments is . . .

Tina, who posted her comment: "Oh, these bracelets are so pretty and unique too! I love charm bracelets because of the movement they create on my wrist. I would love to have a new charm bracelet in a new theme!" on July 18th I've emailed you, Tina, so please let me know your mailing address so I can send you the heart charm bracelet.  CONGRATS! 


Set the mood for knitting with this amazing giveaway!

7/7/10 Update: Thanks for ALL the great entries!  Podcasts, country music, 70's, Lada Gaga, the love to listen to list has quite a range!  Check for the winner announcement at the bottom of this post!

Imagine a whole afternoon ahead of you.  Gorgeous balls of yarn just waiting for you to make them into something cool.  An exciting new knitting or crochet pattern to tackle - something for yourself this time!  A fresh cup of coffee or tea by your side.  Needles or hook ready for stitches. . .

But wait - what about a little background music?  Wouldn't that just be the set up for a perfect crafting afternoon?JBL_Dock

Well, I may just have the perfect tech accessory for your knitting/crocheting room! 

This JBL iPod speaker dock was sent to me for free to review.  It's a really nice way to enjoy some music while you knit!  Less distracting than the tv, especially if you are following the lace and/or cable pattern in a SweaterBabe.com design!  Ha ha. 

Here's my official review of this project (PLUS, I'll tell you how to enter the giveaway to win a brand new one!  Woohoo!).

It's the JBL On Stage 400P High-Performance Loudspeaker Dock for your iPod or iPhone.

It's got a cool modern look to it and was super easy to use. All I had to do was plug it in, stick my iPod Nano into the top, turn it on, and start the music on my iPod!  Voila!  Great, ambient music that has a very rich sound to it.

I'm no stereo afficionado, but did grow up with a Dad and Brother who were into stereo equipment, speaker systems, etc. so I can appreciate speakers that deliver nice, well-rounded, quality sound.  These speakers do just that.  And the oval design delivers sound in all directions, not just in one direction. JBL_Speaker_Knitting

The speaker dock comes with a handy little remote, so if this speaker is perched up high or across the room, you can easily use the remote to adjust the volume, mute the thing, or change tracks or settings.  I was not able to try out the remote, as the review sample I received didn't have batteries in the remote, but I can tell it would come in handy! 

The instructions say you can do all the things you would normally be able to do if your iPod was in front of you. . . which is great; this would work best if you can see your iPod screen as you are using the remote, but of course that depends on how far away it is.

The design is sleek and simple.  Volume controls are also located at the top of the speakers, so if you are in reach, you can easily adjust the volume.

It also came with a stereo mini jack connection so you can use it with an MP3 player or CD player, your computer or laptop, or a satellite radio. 

Another nice little bonus is that this is a dock, so it will charge your iPod or iPhone when it's attached. 

This speaker is available at Amazon.com for ~$205 (list price is $249)! 

Thanks, JBL, for letting me review a sample!  It would be awesome for anyone who enjoys filling a room with great music and loves to knit or crochet while listening to their favorite music.  We all know how much music can set the mood, boost our creative juices, and (with the right track) speed up our knitting or crocheting tempo!  Sigh!  I'll be sad to send the sample back!

*** Enter to WIN a Brand New JBL On Stage 400P (retails for $249)!! ***

There are 3 ways to enter this amazing giveaway:

1) Post a comment on this blog post, telling us what you love to listen to most when you are knitting or crocheting a SweaterBabe.com pattern.  Is it Amy Winehouse?  Jazz?  Blues?  ONE comment per person, please.  Comments will be closed 9pm, PST on June 30th, 2010. July 2nd, 2010.

2) Purchase a knitting pattern or crochet pattern from SweaterBabe.com anytime between June 5th through 9pm, PST on Wednesday, June 30th, 2010. July 2nd, 2010.  Each purchase transaction counts as ONE entry for this giveaway.

3) Be a member of the SweaterBabe.com Knitting Club during the month of June.  ALL members automatically get TWO entries in this giveaway!  Not a member?  Join by 9pm, PST June 30th July 2nd, 2010 to earn your double entry!

One winner will be chosen at random to win the JBL 400P and announced here at the beginning of July.   (Prize will only be shipped within the continental US.)

Good luck to all on this most amazing giveaway! 

7/8/10 Update: AND THE RANDOMLY CHOSEN WINNER IS. . .  PATRICIA L.!!!  CONGRATS!!!  I've emailed you, Patricia, so please reply with your mailing address so I can send you this amazing prize!  Woohoo!!

9/2/10 Update from the winner:
"Dear Katherine, I just got home and found my fantastic prize waiting, JBL I -POD Docking system, and I am very happy with the high quality and Volume I get from it...WOW...I just am amazed!! I never woud have bought one for myself, ...also am a technophobe!!! My grandaughters are seriously jealous...and I almost said you can have it, but NOT!!!! I love music and usually blast it for Music Therapy!!!  Thank you soooo much, and JBL of course,for the only thing I ever won besides rosary beads!!!! I am very grateful.." -- Pat L.


Beautiful CZ Earrings

La_Shue_Earrings It's been fun getting to review great knitting and crochet products!  And I believe my 26,000+ email list has been enjoying them as well, based on the comments and feedback I get.

So, it seems that I've opened myself up to being a good reviewer.  Can't say I mind when I get offered some free jewelry to review!!  A girl just can't say no to that, can she?

Sarah, from LuShae Jewelry, www.jewelryartdesigns.com, asked me to review her cubic zirconia jewelry.  I took and look at her site and found some earring designs that seemed quite nice, so here is my official review of them.La_Shue_Flower_Earrings2

I requested two designs, the Sterling Silver Flower Bud and the Sterling Silver Princess Studs.

The order arrived very quickly!   Each set of earrings came very nicely packaged in a little blue box that snaps shut.  The box is nice for storing the earrings and for gift-giving. 

The Flower Bud one is really unique in design, featuring a cascading cluster of three 5-petal flowers.  The left and right earring mirror each other in shape.  They have a nice sparkle, as you'd expect from good quality CZ. 

And the Princess Cut studs are beautiful and simple for everyday wear.  I've been wanting a pair for a long time, as these are a very wearable size.  Not so big that they seem gauche or too obviously fake and not so small that they don't get noticed.La_Shue_Flower_Earrings3

So, yes, I'm a fan of these!  I find that with my busy schedule and as a mom of young ones, I I definitely prefer low maintenance earrings - ones that I can wear day after day with most any outfit.  Ones that make me look like I made a little (but not too much!) effort to look put together are always a good thing too ;-)

I'd recommend these as a classy gift for a girlfriend, sister, or for upcoming Mother's Day.

Take a look at all of the many other designs at www.jewelryartdesigns.com and tell Sarah I sent you!

*** SPECIAL GIVEAWAY ***
Post a comment on this blog post and enter to win a pair of earrings (a $65 value!)! 

One of the two pairs above will be given away to a randomly chosen commenter at the end of this month.  La_Shue_PCEarrings

Post your comment by 9pm PST, April 30th, 2010 to enter this giveaway.

One comment per person, please.


*** May 2, 2010: And the winner is . . . * * *

Leah Yarbrough!  Congrats!  You were randomly selected to win the earrings shown here.

I've emailed you, so please respond with your mailing address and I'll send this to you right away.

Thanks, everyone!


Knitting or crocheting in the dark? A product review and giveaway.

In recent years, there's been such an amazing selection of new, innovative things for knitters and crocheters!  I never had a chance to try them yet, but I remember the knitting needles that light up (are they still around?) being all the rage for a bit.  I suppose I do knit in low light situations more than I even realized!  Late night knitting and crocheting is such a little luxury when the house is so quiet and you just want to do "one more row"!

So, for you fellow late night knitters and crocheters,Beam_Read_Lt here's an interesting product that was sent to me for free so I could review it... a special reading light that leaves you hands-free! 

Does it work well for us knitters?  Read on for my thoughts. . .

It's called the "Beam N Read".  I received 3 versions, 1 with 3 leds (the one you see at the left here), another brighter one with 6 leds, and a special 3 led one with magnifier attachments.

They all come nicely packaged in shrink wrapped VHS-sized or slightly larger boxes.  Yes, the packaging looks like something you'd find in a hardware store display more than in a yarn shop, but that's because it's not specifically for knitting or crocheting.

It's really being sold as an all-purpose light that can be used for reading, walking, for emergencies, while commuting, and working in any kind of low-light situation.  It's hands-free feauture does lend itself quite well to knitting and crocheting or any other kind of needlework or crafting.

Here's how it works.  You hang it around your neck and you can angle the light beam down in front of you.  The neck strap adjusts very easily by just sliding the little adjusters along the cord.  It's really nice and simple.  No on or off button.  Laying the light beam flat will automatically turn the light off, angling it will turn it on.

It's powered with 4 AA batteries, which is convenient, although it does add a bit of weight to your neck.  They say the battery life should be at least 120 hours, which sounds great!

It uses low entery LED bulbs, which won't burn out.

The 3 led light is decent enough light for basic knitting or crocheting, but I would go with the 6 led version if I was doing any detailed work, like lace or any other special techniques that required me to see the stitches more clearly.

The magnifier attachments are nifty on the magnifier model - they come in 2X, 4X, and 6X power levels.  They are simply plastic magnifying plates that attach to the light easily and vary in magnification depending on what you need.  Great for those of us that are needing a little help seeing smaller stitches and don't like reading glasses.  Plus, they come in nice protective pouches so they won't get scratched if sitting in your knitting or crochet bag.Beam_Read_Lt2

I did have to fiddle with the strap and placement of the light on my chest to get it to angle correctly.  I tend to knit with my arms up a bit, not actually in my lap (like the knitter in their photo here), so the light could only angle up enough if I made the strap quite short.  This would not be an issue if you were working at a table or really did knit or crochet lower on your lap.  It's farily adjustable, so it should work for most people with some fiddling.

So, this light is a great idea!  A nice thing to have in your knitting or crochet bag if you do often knit or crochet in the dark and don't wish to turn on the lamp (and disturb a sleeping DH, for example).

It's not perfect, but I don't like the reading lights that my DH has used for my nightime knitting either.  The one he wears on his ear like a bluetooth runs out of batteries (special, harder to get and pricier types) too fast and everytime he looks up at me or turns his head my way, I get blinded by the beam.  His other reading lights are not hands-free for knitting or crochet since they must all clip to the book cover.  So, this Beam N Read is the best option I've seen.

Beam_Read_Lt_6ledBeam N Reads retail for around $13 to $25 and are sold by the company at http://www.readinglight.com.

** Want your own Beam N Read for your night-time knitting or crocheting habit!? **
I'm giving away the 6 led version.  All you night knitters and crocheters, please leave a comment on this blog post to enter this giveaway!  Please leave your comment by March 21st, 9pm PST.  One lucky random commenter will be chosen.  One comment per person, please.

DO YOU HAVE A PRODUCT FOR SWEATERBABE TO REVIEW?  If you do, please email me at: reviews@sweaterbabe.com.  Read the submission details.

*** March 25th Winner Chosen! ***

Congrats to Bonnie, who left her comment on March 9, 2010 and was randomly chosen from the 124 comment entries!

Bonnie has won the 6 LED Beam 'N Read Light. 


Skeini-T Product Review and Giveaway!

Skeini-Ts2_300 A few months ago, I reviewed a great product called a Yarn Owl from DianaCouture.etsy.com. Well, she also sent me her unique Skeini-T's.

She designed them to do what the Yarn Owls basically do (keep your yarn tangle-free and allow you to knit on the go), but in a simpler, light-weight jersey construction. Here is my review of these unique items!

The Skeini-T's are like socks that fit snugly around your yarn skeins. They have openings in the top and bottom to allow the center-pull strand to come through. There is a fabric loop that snaps easily around your wrist, your knitting bag or purse strap, or your belt loop.

As you can see, I tested out a Skeini-T as I was knitting a version of my new pattern, #101 Quick Shawl-Collared Shrug, for my daughter. The skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted fit securely in the Skeini-T and I could very easily walk around the house and knit!

These Skeini-T's are nicely made, using a T-shirt like material that makes them very light-weight.  Because they are just jersey material, they will easily roll up to fit in your knitting bag.  The construction is very simple and effective.  I'm a big fan of light weight notions given how much other cr*p I often carry around!  Plus, they can be machine washed.

What is really special about them is the cute designs created by Diana.  The knitting mannequin one you see in the photo above is my favorite of the ones she sent me.  These nice, modern graphics make the otherwise plain-looking Skeini-T's look like cool accessories.

It is a very cute gift item that makes my knitting just a bit more fun and easy, especially if I knit while out and about.  I can totally see myself using it while waiting in line at the post office (rather than throwing my yarn willy nilly into my purse, as I do now!)

And how does it compare to the Yarn Owls I reviewed before?  These are easier to carry since they have no stiff construction.  And they are half the price of the skein size Yarn Owl.

Both are great for keeping your skeins tangle-free. Both are great for knitting-on-the-go when you use the straps on your wrist or bag.

The Yarn Owls double as project holders since they snap closed at the top and have no bottom opening.Skeini-TsALL_350

Both are great additions to any knitting bag!

What do you think?  Have you tried them before??

** Comment on this post and enter to win a Skeini-T!! **
One randomly chosen commenter will win the "Yarn Head" design Skeini-T (shown in the center).  Just comment on this blog post by 9pm PST November 29th. 

AND the winner of the "Yarn Head" Skeini-T is . . . Bobbie Lynn!  Congrats!!