Category Archives: equipment review

Elizabeth Bradley Kit Review

I have done needlepoint for a long time but only recently started buying kits. Before I would start with a blank canvas, wools, and a book.  But I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to get a kit so I wouldn’t have to put everything together myself? One of the kits I bought was the Animal Alphabet Rug from Elizabeth Bradley. My daughter is learning letters and their sounds now so I thought it could be a family project where we all stitch it together. These were my thoughts when I ordered the kit back in October. I write this now on December 23rd, 2013.

I ordered the kit from Wye Needlecraft Ltd. because they had a terrific price at the time.  I realized that not many retailers would have it in stock with the background wool I chose (pale blue) and expected there to be a long delay before they shipped. I was correct in my assumptions. I received the kit in mid November.

EBkit

Here it is fresh from the packaging. This is a big box. It is 16 inces x 16 inches and 3 + inches thick.

Some inside pics for you next!

insidekityarn

Beautiful, right? I was loving it already but the first problem is sitting right in front of you.

backgroundwools

Lots of background wools. I knew this wouldn’t photograph well. It is more of a robin’s egg blue. But, it looks like there is enough for a sweater.

canvasinbox

It is adorable, is it not? This is the canvas in box.

I am going to begin stitching this today. Why so long? The problem I noticed right away was the yarn card. There were 30+ yarns on it. While that may seem like a lot, it was obvious that it wasn’t anywhere near the amount of colors that were in the box. I think there is about 70. I wrote to Elizabeth Bradley and got a prompt response. They sent me out a new yarn card and I got it by UPS in 5-ish business days.  Great! Right? Time to start? No. Because the yarn card was wrong, it occurred to me that there could be other errors in the kit. I spent 3 hours counting the strands of yarn.  I didn’t count the green or red border yarns or the background yarns because I was spent by the time I got to them. I was unfortunately proven correct. There were several shortages in the yarn amounts. One of the yarns was plain missing altogether. That would have been an awkward moment in stitching had I not counted before hand.

I contacted Elizabeth Bradley again and after connecting with someone in the Americas office, I was able to get the yarns sent to me. They wanted to send me a new kit but I didn’t want to have to count everything again and I knew I would have too. So a week later, I got the missing yarns.  I took out the color card and placed them in their places joining the other yarns.  I noticed then that the green used in the borders was a  different green than the one on the color card. Ugh!  I showed it to my husband who said they were completely different. Now, if I chose to use the green I had all might be well but what if I ran out of yarn a year down the road? It wasn’t the standard color for the kit. What if it was a dye mistake? Not wanting more trouble down the road, I called Elizabeth Bradley, The Americas again and they straight away sent me the green border wool. I am waiting for it and expect it at the end of the week. They were very nice and offered to send me a new kit again but I refused as I didn’t want to have to count the wools again and I.would.have.to.

I have been assured that this is unusual for an Elizabeth Bradley kit. Their representative has been encouraging me to purchase more kits from them in the future. She has been very nice and I may do so but it was a lot of work for me to buy one of their kits in the end. I bought it way back in Oct, got it in mid Nov, and am in a position as of the last week of December to start working on it. Then, there was the counting and the numerous packages.

I have to add that at no time was I concerned that the problems would not be resolved. I expected Elizabeth Bradley to do no less. It was super annoying and delayed the start of my project by a month but I was never worried. That does say a lot about their reputation. There is a reason why I felt safe plunking down a lot of money to work on this rug. I am happy to say that they fulfilled all that they were required, as a company, to do.

I am hoping and assuming that this was a fluke. I would not go cheerily to go buy another kit at this time because of this experience.  I would feel compelled to count all the yarn every time now. I may decide to continue to purchase kits in future or I may go back to buying supplies and using their books. It is still up in the air.  But, I have this big boy to work on for a while so I have a bit of time to ponder that question.

I am looking forward to this last package! I will be happy when the green border wools arrive. The kit will finally be complete. Phew!

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In Praise of The Hackle

Why are we so obsessed with drum carders and mini-combs?  Where is the love of the hackle?  If you haven’t tried a hackle yet, consider it.  It is an amazing tool that is almost magical in its blending capability.  Your spinning will be effortless with hackled fibers and you will be able to create the coolest yarns.

Can you stand it?!

My hackle is a Lanicomb big boy.  It is 18 inches long.  The Lanicomb is a sturdy, well-made hackle.  It was very easy to use and I really love it.  It just so happens that it is the hackle that Deb Menz used in her book, Color in Spinning.  I highly recommend it.  (As for a hackle cover, I took a sheet of white poster board, cut it to size, and stapled the sides shut.)

Here it is with some more of the Hobbledehoy fiber I drum carded yesterday.  I lashed on across the combs with each color.

Me diz!

My lovely diz from Mr Forsyth is doing a great job.  I used his threader too.  They came with my Russian Paddle Combs, but I digress.

Soft!

As you can see, all the colors lined up and were pulled out at the same time, giving me lovely stripey goodness.  This will make a pretty heathered yarn.

Here is the finished ball waiting to be spun.

Next up, is the same fiber but in short rows.

Notice how the colors are next to each other here and not on top.  This will give a different effect when finished.

Add a little dyed tussah silk!  Just cause I can.

Dizzing, dizzing!

Notice how the finished fiber here is in blocky sections of color?  Well, with the silk blending it a bit.

The ball on the left is the first one I put on the hackle with the colors lashed on in long stripes.  The ball on the right is the second one in this post.  The yarn from the second ball will spin up with short stripes if kept as singles or chain-plied.

Check out what you can do in a short time with a hackle.  I got this hackle off kbb spin for only $50.  I had always wanted a hackle but thought them a luxury item and not a necessity for some reason.  I was so wrong.  You can hackle beautiful blends in less time than it takes to drum card a multicolored batt.  Another positive is that you will be handling the fiber the whole time.  For those of you who like pre-drafting just so you have an excuse to fondle your fibers, a hackle is for you.  Ask around and see if you can pick one up.  Seriously, this is a must for any spinner.

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Deb’s Delicate Deluxe: A Review in Pictures

I took merino/silk fiber from Hobbledehoy and put it on the new Triple D.

Deb’s Delicate Deluxe, ready for duty!

The drum!

Meow!

Check out how clean this bad boy is!

Me lovey this carder!

The batt is all done.

Thank you Pat Green!

Loving this new carder!!  I highly recommend it.

 

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Filed under Drum carding, equipment review, fiber