Artyarns Comparison #1

Beaded Ensemble and Sequins vs. Beaded Rhapsody and Sequins

This is the first in a series of reviews of various Artyarns bases.  I know that many stores only seem to carry one or two of the bases.  Some stores don’t even know the full range available!  Part of the reason I became a retailer for them was because the stores I contacted didn’t even believe me when I told them there was a “Beaded Cashmere and Sequins” available, and I wanted to test it myself.

So here, for your elucidation, is a comparison of the two above-named yarns.  I had purchased these for store stock, simply because these were other bases I’d never encountered.  Having stared at them for several months now, I decided to pilfer them today and work with them.  The similarities are what drove me to begin this series of reviews.


Beaded Ensemble and Sequins is considered a worsted weight yarn with 128 yards on every 100g skein.  Recommended needle size is an 8.  This yarn is 75% silk and 25% cashmere, with the glass beads, plastic sequins, and a strand of (silver, in my case) Lurex running through it.  Retail is $82 per skein.

Beaded Rhapsody and Sequins is also considered a worsted weight.  It has 120 yards on every 100g skein and the recommended needle size is also an 8.  This is nice, because it means these two are interchangeable for gauge.  Beaded Rhapsody and Sequins is 90% silk and 10% kid mohair, plus the glass beads, plastic sequins, and a strand of (silver) Lurex running through it.  Retail price is $78 per skein.

Yarn’s Appearance

Despite the difference in content, there is very little to differentiate these two yarns when you look at them.  (See picture.)  The kid mohair content in Rhapsody is so low that the only way I can see it is by placing the yarn against something very pale – a white sheet of paper, or my hand – and bringing it very close to my (spectacled) eyes.  The structure of both is the same – strands with a light twist, with the Lurex and the bead/sequin strand lightly twisted in with them.

Yarn’s Hand

Here’s where you can feel the difference.  The Rhapsody, because of the mohair, is slightly scratchier than the Ensemble.  Possibly not enough for you to notice.  I only notice it when I’m squeezing or petting the yarn balls, which, admittedly, is something knitters like to do.  But it’s unlikely that someone stroking your FO is going to notice the mohair content.  I’m currently working the two yarns (alternating every two rows) in an openwork shawl, and I don’t notice it in the knitted part, and not in the strand as I knit.  Just in the ball form.

They’re knitting up nicely on size 13 needles (I wanted a larger and open look).  I have since found out that Artyarns can produce either of these yarns without the Lurex strand, which is appealing to me.  Lurex is something I associate with yarns from Michael’s, not with something elegant like Artyarns.  And there’s enough glitz in these yarns already, loaded with beads and sequins, that the Lurex is not necessary.  In future orders I’m going to ask them to leave that strand out; I’m glad I got the stock ones this time, though, for comparison.  The Lurex is not mentioned in the specs sheet, so I’d had no idea they would have this strand added.

In short, I’d have to say that if you’re dithering between these two yarns, the Ensemble has the edge.  The mohair in the Rhapsody doesn’t make a bit of visual difference and it makes a slightly negative difference in the yarn’s feel.  For the $4 extra, the Ensemble is worth it, and you get a couple extra yards, too.

The color shown is #904S (the S stands for “silver”).

Ensemble on the left, Rhapsody on the right. Can you see the mohair? Can you? I had to enlarge this to 200% to see it.
Again, Ensemble on the left, Rhapsody on the right.
Closeup of the shawl I’m knitting, alternating these two yarns every two rows.

Next:  Beaded Silk and Sequins Light versus Beaded Silk Light.

And while I’m at it…

I forgot to mention that Kaleidocherry is now an Arctic Qiviut dealer.  We have several skeins of their assorted luscious yarns in the Etsy store, and I’m running a special, wherein if you purchase one skein of the 100% qiviut at full price, you can get any other single skein in the store at half off (and yes, that would include a second skein of the 100% if you so chose).  Please stop by and take a look!


100% Qiviut, “Mossy Green”

Pointy Size 13 Needles

Gah!  What are the pointiest ones?

I’m knitting a lace shawl on size 13s, and using my Dreamz interchangeables, which are significantly pointier than my old Noble Needles, the only other size 13s I own.  And they’re not pointy enough, and the wood is too grippy; I want metal for speed. 

I checked Signature, and for some bizarre reason they don’t go higher than a 10.  HiyaHiya (my current faves are their Sharp interchangeables) only goes up to 8s, at the moment, although allegedly there are larger sizes in the works.  (They have the duller tips in the larger sizes, but not the sharps).  Addi Lace might do.  Anybody got a recommendation?

A Revolutionary Idea

Wouldn’t it be nice if every yarn manufacturer offered their skeins in 200-yard and 1000-yard put-ups, regardless of weight?  Sure it would.  It’s a pain in the a–ahem, neck, to have to sit and work out how many grams equal how many yards, etc., when you’re substituting yarns.  I don’t know a single person who uses the recommended yarn for a pattern.  So substitutions would be easier.  And it would be FABULOUS to be able to buy superbulky yarns in a 1000-yard put-up (whether cone or skein).  I just finished knitting a cape with superbulky wool, and had to use six 120-yard skeins, so there were a lot of ends to weave in, even though it was knit all in one piece.  And I’m now working on a shawl with skeins that are only 54 yards each!  Every hour I have to get up and wind a skein into a ball.  Grr.

I know there was some revolution in yarn put-ups right around the time I started knitting (in 1999), where the “standard” became a 50g skein, regardless of yardage (and also, regardless of where in the world you live, because nobody in the US uses grams).  But…seriously, who ever needs to know the gram weight of a project?  Nobody.  You just need to know how many yards are required.  Ack, I’m getting all frenetic just thinking about this.  I hate the current yarn measuring system and wish it could change, but that’s unlikely.

Qiviut – It’s Not All That

So, for years I’ve been hearing about qiviut, the down of the musk ox (!), which is allegedly the most luxurious fiber in the world.  An ounce can retail for upwards of $90!  This is quite a bit more than cashmere.  I found a site selling 100% qiviut for $39 a skein.  This is pretty hefty, but I had sold a lot of boots on ebay recently so I decided to splurge on a skein.

It came while I was on vacation.  When I got home tonight I eagerly ripped open the shipping pouch.  Inside was my skein of qiviut and a sample card containing a few yards of a 50/50 qiviut/cashmere blend.  And the blend felt better than the 100% qiviut!

So, the moral of the story is, CASHMERE STILL TRUMPS EVERYTHING.

This warms my heart.

To compensate myself for the qiviut disappointment, I will leave you with a photo of a firework at the West Reading 4th of July show.