Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Thoughts of Cra-Z-Art Shimmer 'n Sparkle Cra-Z-Knitz Ultimate Designer Knitting Station

During the Christmas season 2014, I saw this loom knitting set in both Wal-Mart and Toys R Us. Being that I already own over 20 different knitting looms, I couldn't really justify shelling out $30 for the set. I was intrigued with the lap desk the looms fit into though. I actually thought about buying a plastic lap desk from Hobby Lobby and just retrofitting it to use for my existing looms but so far, I've not.

Cra-Z-Art is the same company that I knew as RoseArt when I was a kid. I HATED RoseArt crayons, Cra-Z-Art's crayons are no different and much like when they were known as RoseArt, they have nothing on the quality of Crayola and Sargents. I have used other products made by the company, aside from their crayons, which I did enjoy using so I knew this could possibly be a good or a bad product. Even if I could use a 40% or 50% off coupon, still couldn't justify the cost.
A member of the GoodKnitKisses facebook group mentioned this set was listed on for $5.95 under the Warehouse Deals. I didn't really know what to expect from because the listing not only mentioned it was used (from past experiences I've found this to not be true) but it also stated that the box was damaged but less than $6 wouldn't be much to loose if it turned out to be a dud. Being an Amazon Prime member, I get free 2 day shipping on most items...I have already gotten my money's worth in free shipping since I renewed my membership in February.

 So I ordered the loom set, 2 days later it arrives on my doorstep. I opened the box to find it to be in rather good condition, never opened and showing no signs of damage other than a little bit of dented corners from shop wear. When I pulled everything out of the box, it was apparent that this was INDEED a new set which had never been opened. There was more to this set than I realized. The "bonus" item was a spool loom also known as a french knitter. My excitement for the loom desk turned to disappointment when I realized that it was designed to sit on a table or solid surface rather than using it as a lap desk.

The set includes 2 standard knitting looms, one a round loom for hats and items knitted in the round and the other was a small "long" loom also known as a rack loom for flat paneled items. The molded plastic has a bit of a thin and glossy feel to it, I've read some reviews claiming it is flimsy plastic. Honestly, this is a loom set, mass produced and marketed to children, it's not designed to be an item to be used for professional or more serious projects as the Knifty Knitter or Martha Stewart looms were designed for. The knobs on the tops of the looms are a bit smaller than I'd prefer them to be, but then again this isn't a loom set designed to be a travel or as an on the go set either. The looms are completely functional. The loom hook is really cool, fits my hand perfectly, unlike the ones that come standard with the Darice, Yarnology, Knifty Knitter or Boye looms.

Another bonus, in addition to the spool loom, you get 4 small skeins of brightly colored yarn made of acrylic yarn. The yarn seems to have a softer feel than Red Heart Super Saver or the acrylic yarns usually included in kits for children. The down side to the included yarn is the fact that the amount for each skein wouldn't add up to be enough for more than just a hat in each color...No problem though, the colors included appear to match up to colors that can be purchased from any yarn retailer...or at least coordinated.

My overall thoughts regarding this set?
I would say it is worth the original price if it's intended as a gift for a young child who wanted to loom knit or at least a beginner. The yarn included is fun to work with. The loom hook/tool itself is better than most and the spool knitter made me feel like I actually got a great value. The knitting desk/storage mount that came with the looms is possibly the weakest link of the set but it looks cute when all put together. One improvement I would have liked to have seen with this set is if they included a way to spin the looms as you worked. To work completely around, you have to turn the entire desk/mount around. Definitely a set to keep on hand if you've got kids with an interest in crafting, it's fun and functional.

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