Yarn Review: Scheepjes Colour Crafter & Merino Soft

Since the reveal of the Last Dance on the Beach CAL (crochet-along), I've seen so many questions about the two 'official' yarns I felt a comparison post might be useful in helping you to decide which might suit you best. Both 'Colour Crafter' (CC) and 'Merino Soft' (MS) are relatively new yarns, and as the majority of my readers happen to be in the UK and USA, where there are not yet many stockists of this Dutch brand (see below), I realise you may not have had the opportunity to feel them in person. I've tried my best to capture the key points below, and have included plenty of photos too.

Please note these yarns are here for other projects* - they are not for the CAL and are not official CAL colours, but as they are in two similar shades it seemed a good opportunity to show you how the two yarns compare. *Yarn supplied by Scheepjes. All opinions are my own and completely honest. Affiliate links included. 
The Specifics:
Colour Crafter comes in 100g / 300m balls and is 100% Premium Acrylic. Merino Soft comes in 50g / 105m balls and is a blend of 50% Merino, 25% Micro and 25% Acrylic. So the MS is slightly thicker, although both are 'double knitting' yarns. For the CAL, different hook sizes are recommended (4mm and 4.5mm respectively), and there is some variation in the finished blanket size as a result. 


First Impressions: 
Colour Crafter is unlike any acrylic yarn I've used before - I usually find acrylics put my teeth on edge, but not this one which is 'squeak-free'. I first worked with it when making the samples for the CAL square I contributed, and found it surprisingly soft and easy to crochet. In fact, since that time, my mum started using it for all her knitted garments - she is vegan and says this is the nicest acrylic yarn she has tried, plus it washes beautifully (she also knits clothes for my family and even my laundry skills have kept them in good condition). 

The first thing I noticed about Merino Soft is that it's very soft and cosy - the clue is in the title, I guess. (This is the reason I've used it for my latest armwarmer design project which I've finished and will show you tomorrow!). The very fine merino fibres have been blended with fibres which add strength, allowing it to be quite lightly plied and very soft yet almost impossible for me to break off by hand (I tried, when I forgot my scissors). This yarn is very soft, bouncy and incredibly tactile. The payoff for this softness is that, as a relatively inexperienced crocheter,  I stuck my hook through it a few times when making my samples (see some splitting in the picture below) - but it was worth having to pay extra attention as it does feel so silky soft and has a lovely drape. Note that I'm much more experienced with two knitting needles, and didn't split it at all when knitting.

Colour Crafter (left) & Merino Soft (right)
Stitch Definition / Appearance: 
As you'd expect from very different fibre compositions, the stitch definition is different between the two yarns. Will this be very noticeable in a blanket? 'At a glance' I'm not sure whether the average person would notice - the 'sneak peek' and 'reveal' pictures for the CAL (both shown in my last post) actually include different versions of each colourway, but they looked so similar it was up to Scheepjes to tell them apart. If you could feel them it would be much easier. (I already mentioned the MS silky softness and drape, right?) Anyway, take a look at this little knit sample, and see what you think. I left my finger in for scale. 
Colour Crafter (bottom) & Merino Soft (top)
Care: 
Both yarns can be machine washed (use a colour catcher the first time you wash them when using light and dark colours together - this is included in the luxury kit for your convenience), but the CC can be washed at a higher temperature and can also be ironed (more useful for garments than a textured blanket). A cool tumble dry is possible with both yarns.

Being 50% natural fibre, MS is much more 'breathable' than a 100% acrylic yarn. Both can be wet-blocked, but the MS responds better, in my opinion. If you want to use one of them for a lacy shawl (or similar) which would be coaxed into shape, MS would definitely be my recommendation. For square blocks which have been designed specifically for these yarns, I don't feel this is as much of an issue as it may be with other projects. 


Other Notable Features:
- Colour Crafter is suitable for vegans and is also hypo-allergenic. With such a soft texture, it is great value for money.
- Despite how it would appear in these pictures (where the yarns happen to look very similar in colour) the MS colours used for Last Dance on the Beach are more muted than the Colour Crafter.
- If you haven't used Scheepjes yarns before, you may not fully appreciate this point, but if you have, it may be enough to make your decision for you: MS has an 'easy start' tab and the CC doesn't! My preference for working with centre-pull balls is already documented and the little tabs that come on premium Scheepjes yarns make my life easier so I have to mention this.  

 Risk 'yarn barf' with Colour Crafter, but Merino Soft has an 'easy start' centre-pull ball
There is no need to re-wind yarn into useable centre-pull balls (something I frequently do if the yarn comes in a ball instead of a skein), there isn't any 'yarn barf'/ prolapse from the centre of the ball - simply pull the tab out and the start of the yarn comes with it. Aside from preventing the ball rolling everywhere as you pull more yarn out (which drives me crazy!), this also means that you're always using 'relaxed' yarn from the centre of the ball. It makes the balls neater too, which is great when working with multiple colours. 


Summary: 
Both of these yarns have a lot going for them. Both will result in a beautiful finished item. If you can't afford the luxe kit (or don't use wool for whatever reason), your blanket will still be gorgeous when made with the CC yarn. On the other hand, you will be putting a lot of work into the project, and you will have a beautiful heirloom blanket to pass on. If you can afford the luxe kit you may well decide it's worth investing in the premium yarn, not to mention all the extra goodies which are included.

If you are really not sure which to get, you may like to try a ball of each before deciding on the kit - someone suggested this on the International CAL Facebook group and it seems like a great solution for anyone who is able to get quick delivery! Try Deramores and Wool Warehouse if you are in the UK - there are over 60 colours of CC (all named after places in the Netherlands) and 49 colours of MS (named for famous artists). In the US, Paradise Fibres have the yarns in their store or to order online. Readers elsewhere will find the full stockist list below.

Price / Ordering Info: 
The official yarn kits will be on sale from Friday 1st April, also at Wool Warehouse*, Deramores*, Paradise Fibres* and other Scheepjes stockists. The 'Basic' Colour Crafter kit is priced at £33.99 / €43,40 and the Luxury Merino Soft kit, which includes a lot of other things besides the yarn (listed in the picture above) will be £119.99 / €159,90. The CAL starts on April 20th so you will need to make your decision soon. If you've already made a choice on yarn and the colourway, leave a comment and let us know which you're going for.

*Affiliate links are included. 

10 comments

  1. I was eyeing up the Merino Soft this morning but had no planned projects so was good...I shall have to stalk for the arm warmer pattern now, just so I can buy some!

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    1. Well I have finished it but written it up yet - it'll probably be towards the end of next week due to school holidays :)

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  2. First of all thank you for contributing to this wonderful project - I am really looking forward to it. Its a lovely idea and I cant believe the numbers of people on the FB group!! I think it was my idea to buy one ball of the Merino Soft to try (Im already using the Colour Crafter for another project). I agree 100% with your review. I dont usually work with anything with animal hair because I find it itchy and cant wear it but I had no problems with the granny square I made with the MS. I even walked round with it inside my bra for a day - no problems (LOL). I have decided to Dance in the Sea with the MS. I love the sea anyway and although the "stars" is lovely I had to make one choice sadly. I may get Colour Crafter later to do a second in the Stars colourway

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    1. Oh thanks for commenting, I'm so pleased that you have popped by - I LOVE the tale of a MS swatch in your bra for the day!! Genius! I think Dance in the Sea is my favourite at the moment... I started out thinking it would be Rain, but now Stars is also catching my eye. I'm sure plenty of people will be making all of them :D

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  3. Having never used any of the scheepjes wool I was a bit hesitant but decided to bite the bullet and go for the MS yarn, with all the extras it really isn't expensive for a luxury yarn. I just hope this CAL isn't beyond my crochet capabilities, I would hate to have spent the money on the kit and not be able to make good use of it! Especially as I may have to attend my daughters wedding in my underwear! Lol

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    1. Lol! Now I have an image, Joy!!! :) I'm sure you'll be fine as there will be weekly videos to accompany the pattern and the facebook groups are also full of expert crocheters - the person who designed each of the squares will be on hand in the week they are released too, in case of questions.

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  4. I spoiled myself and bought a luxury kit in the rain colourway. Now I'm tempted to get a kit for stars in the acrylic.... I'm never going to be rich!!

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    1. Yum! Rain is so classy - I'm sure you'll love it. I went for Stars in the luxury kit - it's not an obvious choice for me as Rain is the colour of everything in my house, but it felt like the right one for me to choose. (I won't ever be rich either, by the way!!!)

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  5. This is a lovely review, thank you for your continued input into this amazing project. I have just order the Dance in the Sea MS kit. I am making it for my brother who has recently lost his partner and could do with some snuggle comforts. My blanket will be worked on in the UK and whilst travelling via Singapore to Australia so it will be a real journey I am hoping to capture with lots of photos of the blanket on its journey. Because its so special to me (and I could currently afford it without too much justification) I have gone for the luxury kit. I also prefer the smaller balls as it will be easier for me to take a colour selection with me.

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    1. Oh Sonja, how lovely. I'm sure your blanket will be a huge comfort for your brother - what a kind and thoughtful gift - it is going to be very special indeed. Safe travels x

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