Sunday, July 10, 2016

Review Buttercream Rainbow Boucle Yarn

I've been recently working to use up some yarn that my mom thought I'd enjoy working with, called Buttercream Rainbow Boucle. The more I work with it, the more I've become drawn to writing a brief review about it, especially considering it's peculiarities.

Buttercream, as far as I can tell, is a newer company, at least in my geographic location. Their brand didn't appear in local craft stores until about a year ago, and since then they've slowly been building their variety. Even with that in mind, nothing really caught my eye in either price or color variants, until my mom and I were taking advantage of the spring sales at Joann fabrics in Lynwood.
The sale prices put the buttercream yarns, which usually run about $10 a skein, were now in the reasonable price zone, and my mom was just fascinated with how soft they felt.

I was a bit skeptical, considering how small and frail the yarn is, but they had some great color variants at this store, and mom was buying, so I happily agreed to try it out.

So far, it's been about a month that I've been working with different variations of the Rainbow Boucle.

I can't say that I'm entirely displeased, though I also can't say I can picture myself going out of the way to purchase this acrylic-nylon blend again. Maybe with like a 75% of discount on some of the racier color variants, or if someone just had some they were giving away. Though at anything above about $4 a skein, I couldn't say I'd be interested in handing over any cold hard cash.

And it's not that the Rainbow Boucle yarn is all bad. I'm actually quite fond of the strangely textured fabric that develops after you crochet it all together. It's advertised as super soft, which it sort of is. Though it's soft mixed with coarse, which is a strange but also oddly pleasant tactile sensation. It's one of those you can't help but sit and pet like a strange little inanimate cat, lol.

I also like that although the yarn is super slim, it actually turns out quite bulky after you've crocheted it all together.

That being said, there are several things about this Rainbow yarn that just turn me off.

First and foremost, this yarn is the stringy finicky yarn that likes to get tangled around your hook, and bind up if you have to go back a row or two. Most of the skeins I've had don't come apart into a bunch of yarn knots thankfully, but the few that did, took days to unknot, and by the time that second day came, I was so frustrated I just cut the tangles out and tossed them, which for me, is atrocious. I can't stand losing otherwise useful yarn, especially to something as ridiculous as skein knots.

These little tangles that pop up frequently, eat away at your time like little yarn piranha, devouring your patience along with it. And because the yarn itself is actually a very tiny gauge nylon string with acrylic fibers sticking out from it, you cannot truly see each stitch like you can with worsted weight acrylics and other larger gauge yarns. Not being able to see the stitches makes it extremely annoying to try and accurately count stitches or keep track of your string tension while your crocheting. For some, this means that every four or five rows you have to pull out at least two rows because you mistakenly added or subtracted a stitch, but didn't notice soon enough because of the way the yarn is.

To avoid frustration, I've just decided to continue on with any small mistakes, correcting them in the next row. Thankfully, one or two extra stitches on an occasional row doesn't show up as blatantly with this yarn as is can with other yarns. Though it's still frustrating knowing that my projects couldn't pass the straight edge test.

Another strange conundrum I've noticed with this yarn, is that whenever you cut, say to wrap up yarn balls, it starts to loosen up. You'd think you'd just need to cut it shorter, but that only increases the problem and wastes yarn. Instead, you have to work in the frayed end just the way it is, which isn't always easy, and results in a loser stitch or two. This is more annoying than anything else, but from a functional aspect, it's also the weakest link and most likely to get caught on something and break.

Rainbow Boucle doesn't work out as well for most of my freeform crochet projects. I'm determined to find a way to work in some skein ends, but as far as working out a freeform project in Rainbow Boucle, I can't picture it happening. Not necessarily because it just can't be done, I'm sure others have or could do it, but because as a functional yarn, Rainbow Boucle is like a magnet. It attracts all manner of grass seed heads, cleaver seeds, cat hair, people hair, pine needles, lint balls, and whatever else you can think of. Worse than that, it's difficult to pick out all the little debris that gets caught in it. Most of my freeform crochet projects turn into wearable items, like shawls or gloves, neither of which a person wants to be picking crud out of four the rest of it's wearable lifetime.

Last but not least, because of the pitfalls of this fabric, I've found that while you can use it with just about any stitch, if you're not looking to spend eons on a crochet project, the best stitch to work is the half double crochet. It shows of the color, doesn't leave to many loose areas, and doesn't get caught on the hook as often.

I think overall, I'd rate Buttercream Rainbow Boucle Yarn with 3 out of 5 hooks.

Itemized Ratings:
Price: 2 hooks, it costs to much for what you get.
Color Variations: 4 hook, I wish there were more worsted weight with these variants.
Texture: 3.5 hooks, it's not super soft, but it is soft, and at last pleasant on the skin.
Portability: 1 hook, don't take this one outside!
Length: 3 hooks. You don't get as much length as you'd imagine from first glance, but 1 skein is at least enough for a medium sized baby blanket (or equivalent project)
Speed: 2.5 hooks, this isn't the yarn to choose if you're looking to whip up a wick set of gloves or anything.

So far, I've set myself towards lighter projects with this yarn. It's not great fit gloves or functional hats, so scarves, altar clothes, medicine pipe covers, and vests have been my go to projects so far.

I'm still playing with the skeins I have left, so if I make any new discoveries with this yarn, you'll be the first to know.

Until then, tell me about your experiences and projects with Buttercream Rainbow Boucle yarn in the comments section!

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