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Archive for the ‘Product Review’ Category

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In today’s post, as part of the online workshop; Adventures in Acrylics, I will be reviewing; Royal Langnickel: 6 Piece Flexible Palette Knives.

Royal Langnickel Flexible Palette Knives

Royal Langnickel Flexible Palette Knives

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Royal Langnickel
  • Item number: RD70
  • RRP at time of writing: £1.99

Purpose

The packet says Quote” Ideal for all arts and crafts projects. Use for maxing paints canvas painting and all creative texture applications. These knives are made of flexible plastic for ease in mixing oil or acrylic paint.” End quote

Reason For Buying

There are a bewildering array of shapes and sizes of palette knives to choose from. I wanted this kits as it has 5 different knife styles to experiment with. Also being plastic, they won’t ruse of be as scratch as metal knives that I’ve seen in the past can be.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Good choice of styles in the pack to experiment with
  • Light in the hand
  • Easy to clean
  • Very affordable
  • Comfortable to use

Cons

Just a niggle, sometimes these knives can be a little too flexible. I was trying to stir gesso and they were bending more than they were moving it. Not a problem with the paints or thinner mediums. Can’t complain, given the price point. I’m still happy with them.

Build Quality

Fair for the price.

Value for Money

Excellent. A great way to experiment with different designs of knife, to see which you will use the most.

Would I buy it Again?

Maybe, but just for spares

Summing up

Royal Langnickel Flexible Palette Knives

Royal Langnickel Flexible Palette Knives

I have another set which look identical to these bur are un-branded. My unbranded ones are a better quality and have a smoother finish and are a bit firmer. That sais when you don’t want to spend a fortune or ruin expensive knives to stir up paint/mediums/ gesso, then these are fine. Ideal to experiment with, but once you find a style that you like, upgrade to the metal versions. I’ll be reviewing the Royal Langnickel metal equivalents soon.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing the; Avon Box Easel

Avon box easel; open

Avon box easel; open

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Avon
  • Item number: Unknown
  • RRP at time of writing: £19.99

Reason For Buying

I wanted a small table top easel that wouldn’t take up too much space to store but be stable in use. Since my sketch book is A5 and I tend to work on this size of paper for my painting too, a lot of easels have been too large and also very heavy.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Light
  • Stable
  • The angled part of the easel folds flat for storage and has a latch to keep it closed.
  • Adjustable
  • Comfortable handle
  • Feet underneath so it doesn’t scratch your table in use
  • Affordable
  • Secure, well-fitting latches for all opening/folding sections
  • Sturdy handle
Avon Box easel; closed

Avon Box easel; closed

Cons

Just a niggle not a deal breaker.

  • Since it has a handle you can carry it by one of the short ends, little feet or some protection for the opposite end would have been nice in case you want to put it down.

Build Quality

Good. The handle and latches ar brass fittings and sturdy. You want to treat it nicely for it to last well but I’m not one to mistreat my tools so its fine.

Value for Money

Excellent. I like the portability and the storage option. I could dispense with some other bags and just use this on a sketching trip.

Avon Box Easel; storage drawer

Avon Box Easel; storage drawer

Would I buy it Again?

Yes.

Summing up

I love this easel! I work on small-scale paintings so don’t need anything larger. Folding flat for storage is a very helpful feature of the easel. The built-in storage space is big enough for essentials and I think I’d try using this on my lap on sketching trips too.

If you want something small, not too heavy but sturdy I’d highly recommend this easel.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; A-Z of Flower Portraits by Billy Showell DVD

A - Z of Flower Portraits DVD

A - Z of Flower Portraits DVD

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Teaching Art/ SAA
  • Item number: TA BSAZD
  • RRP at time of writing: £25.52 or £20.20 to SAA Members

Reason For Buying

This year I want to improve my watercolour painting techniques. To learn more about mixing colours and a more realistic style of painting too. My mobility hasn’t been great, so getting out and about to paint buildings hasn’t been an option. There are however, lots of flowers in the garden, I can try to paint.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Double DVD
  • The DVD is divided into chapters, so you can go directly to a particular project
  • Colour mixing is shown during the painting process
  • Each technique shown, is well described in detail
  • Run time is 130 minutes

Projects included are;

Narcissus, hellebore and anemone. An extra section for adding a water droplet and a gallery of Billy’s work is also on the DVD.

Cons

  • Haven’t got any

Build Quality

Excellent. Sound, lighting and camera work are all superb. Perfect close-ups and nothing seems rushed.

Value for Money

Excellent. Getting to a one to one class would be much more expensive. With the DVD you can re-watch techniques as often as you like, till you get the hang of them. It will be helpful to paint along with Billy on the DVD, to try some techniques too.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally, I have also bought the book by the same name.

Summing up

Billy has really inspired me to get painting flowers, her style is beautiful and she explains techniques so well too. I want to practice these techniques and learn this more realistic style of painting. The book goes into greater detail and is great to have on hand next to me as I paint, but I’m a visual learner and the DVD is excellent. I found the fact that the colour mixing is shown, very helpful too. If you like this style of painting, I highly recommend you get this DVD.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Jackson’s ceramic 10 well slanting palette.

Cermaic mixing Pallet

ceramic mixing Palette

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Unknown. Bought from Jackson’s Art Supplies
  • Item number: 40705
  • RRP at time of writing: £5.50

Reason For Buying

Having invested in nice sable brushes for my watercolours, I wanted a decent quality pallet to go with them. I keep knocking the plastic one I have over and they also felt like they were dragging on the hair of the sable brushes.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Good size, not too small or too big; 3.5″ x 7″
  • Five larger size wells for colour mixing larger washes
  • Five smaller wells for mixing smaller amounts of colour
  • Ceramic palette doesn’t move around as you add or take colour from it, the weight holds it still on the table
  • Easy to clean
  • Kind to the brushes

Cons

Nothing more than niggles and things to be aware of.

  • Make sure you put it on a mat if you are using it on a nice table, being ceramic the base is un-glazed in places. This makes it non slip but it could scratch your table without a mat ;)
  • The weight (557 grams) is an advantage in the studio, but makes it too heavy to take on field trips
  • Careful you don’t drop it when you are washing it down, it won’t bounce like plastic ;) hehe

Build Quality

Superb, with a beautiful finish. The unglazed base means the palette doesn’t move around on your table. The weight (557 grams) keeps it in place too.

Value for Money

Excellent

Would I buy it Again?

Totally, I’d like an extra one to see if it would work out for acrylics too.

Summing up

I highly recommend this pallet for watercolour use. Its been a joy to use and super easy to clean. No more chasing little plastic pallets around the table, its weight makes it stable so even I can’t knock it over! :) There is another palette Jackson’s have, which has a cover, I’m going to try that too.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Hobby Craft; Craft PVA

Hobby Craft: Craft PVA

Hobby Craft: Craft PVA

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Hobby Craft; Craft PVA
  • Item number;
  • RRP at time of writing: £2.99 for 500 ml (other sizes available)

Reason For Buying

I was looking for a general purpose PVA for paper crafting and one that was good quality and available in larger quantities for ‘hobby’ bookbinding too.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Good quality PVA
  • Dries quickly, especially in warm conditions
  • Available in larger quantities
  • Works well on paper, card, mattboard and grey board
  • Can be watered down to extend drying time and to use it as a glaze.

Cons

  • Haven’t got any, it does everything I’ve asked from it very well.

Build Quality

Excellent. I’ve used this to make slip covers for small books with grey board and its held the board extremely well. It also worked fine to assemble gift bags too.

Value for Money

Excellent, small bottles available to try it to see if you like  it, and larger ones for better value for bigger projects.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally

Summing up

An excellent all round glue for paper crafting. My top tip, if you are buying the larger size bottles; get some small fine nibbed empty bottles too and decant some of the glue into those. This lets you use the glue for more detailed work and stops whats in the bottle from drying up to fast by having it open for too long.

Store this at room temperature, don not let it freeze.

Links

Here is a link to the online store which will help you find a store near you or to shop online.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; James Brett Marble Chunky Yarn.

James Brett; Marble Chunky Yarn

James Brett; Marble Chunky Yarn

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; James C Brett. Marble Chunky
  • Item number; Colour Number MC6
  • RRP at time of writing: £4.50 – 6.00
  • Weight – 200g Ball.
  • Length – 312m/341 yards to 200g.
  • Needle Size – 6mm. Tension – 14 stitches & 20 rows to a 10cm sq.

Reason For Buying

I cannot wear wool as it makes me itch, even if it is very soft or combined with other yarns. The only thing is until more recently there has been little colour options with acrylics. When I saw this yarn, I just had to buy it as it was such a lovely colour way.

Pros/Cons

Pros;

  • All Acrylic, easy maintenance of finished garment
  • Superb range of colours
  • Feels luxurious
  • Knits up beautifully
  • A joy to knit with
  • Cozy finished pieces, ideal for hats n gloves etc to snuggle into in the colder weather.
  • 200g per ball plenty for smaller projects

Cons;

An option of a smaller ball in the same colour ways would be good. If you only need a few grams to finish a project, 200g is a big ball.

Just a niggle, not a deal breaker.

Build Quality

Excellent, a joy to knit with. Two DK weight strands are twisted together in the yarn and the colour ways are beautifully done.

Value for Money

Excellent! It may not be the cheapest, but I was very pleased with how many small projects I could make with just one ball.

Would I buy it Again?

Totally, there are so many delicious colours that I will definitely be getting more of this yarn. :)

Summing up

I love everything about this yarn and recommend it to everyone. From just one ball I was able to make a short cowl, a long cowl, a hat and a pair of fingerless mittens!!!! With so many colours there is bound to be one you fall in love with too. Having dexterity issues I also found the larger needle size this yarn requires, easier on the hands too.

There is a DK variant of the yarn but not all the colours match the Chunky

Links

Here is a link to the manufacturers and a couple of retailers that also stock the yarn.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Knit Pro Basix Fixed length circular needles.

Knit Pro: Basix; Fixed Length Cirular knitting needles

Knit Pro: Basix; Fixed Length Cirular knitting needles

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Knit Pro: Basix
  • Item number: Birch WD Fixed Circular (80cm-6.00 mm) 35332
  • RRP at time of writing: Around £5, price varies with needle size/cable length.

Reason For Buying

I need 6mm circular needle for my new chunky yarn, but because of my dexterity issues metal needles make my hands lock up and I found bamboo and plastic have too much drag on the yarn. Ideally I was after a light wood but I’ve got on so well with birch the search began for birch circular needles. In the past I’ve not considered Knit Pro as their wooden needles had very busy patterns on them. After a search brought up this new Basix range which are plain coloured, I went to their website and looked for sellers.

Pros/Cons

  • The Birch wood is warm to the touch, making them very comfortable in the hand, kind to sore hands with dexterity issues
  • Because these are a fixed length cable the needle is longer than the interchangeable ones in the larger diameters.
  • The transaction from wooden needle to cable is made of metal but it quickly warms to your hand and is not freezing like all metal needles. Very smooth and comfortable.
  • The needles are easy to store, and are ideal if you want to take your knitting out and about. They take up little space and you can’t loose a needle on route, or prod your fellow passengers if you are on trains etc.
  • The birch wood makes them beautifully light, which is also a great help if you struggle with your dexterity.
  • Light coloured wood, makes them easy on the eye and not distracting
  • Super smooth in use, no snagging or dragging on the yarn
  • The cable is an excellent quality too.

Cons

I have no cons to this product, just a request to the company to extend the range to the smaller diameter needles, so I can use them with DK weight yarns too. It would also be good if they brought in a 40cm length for socks/ mittens etc.

Build Quality

Fantastic. The birch needles have a beautifully smooth finish, super slick connection between the needle and the cable which is very comfortable in the hand. Nothing to snag on the yarn, or scratch at your hands. The birch is a wonderful material to knit with and kind and gentle on sore hands. I can see why there is so many good things said about this brand. The materials they use and their finishing is fantastic.

Value for Money

Excellent. These are very well made and from quality products.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes. I’ll be collecting more sizes in these needles.

Summing up

Although the connection between the needle and cable is metal, it is far enough along that only your little finger comes in contact with it and it does warm up in use. Its NOTHING like working with a metal needle. I adore birch wood needles they are so much kinder to my hands. Yarn moves smoothly across it and even with limited dexterity I can knit for longer with it.

I adore my Brittany needles but they don’t make circulars. I was also worried that in the larger diameters, that I would struggle with the extra weight of the needles. These Knit Pro Basix are the bees knees! The main I haven’t tried Knit Pros in the past was the vivid colours on the Symfonies or very dark patterned wood on the Rose wood ones. I like the idea of interchangeable needles, for the versatility and easy storage but the fixed overall length of the cables, result in very short needles in the larger diameters and I my dexterity couldn’t cope with the very short ones.

These Basix resolve all the issues I had with other needles in their range and I highly recommend them. I did contact Knit Pro EU before writing this, and they said they had no plans to produce interchangeable needles in the Basix range at this time. At the time of writing the following sizes available in the fixed length circulars in the Basix range:

Metric Sizes:

  • mm: 5.5, 6.0, 6.50, 7.00, 8.00, 9.00, 10.00, 12.00, 15.00, 20.00, 25.00
  • on the following cable lengths
  • cm: 60, 80, 100, 120, 150

Links

For lists of more Knit Pro suppliers, please visit the Knit Pro EU site where they list a worldwide list of retailers of their products

For reference, the Basix range are also available in straight needles, and double-pointed needles too.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

PS. Knit Pro if you read this; Pretty please extend the range of Knit Pro Basix fixed length circulars, this is a superb product and I would collect even more of them.

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