Spring is here at last! It certainly feels that way here in the UK doesn’t it?! There’s a lovely fresh smell to the air in the morning (which always makes me think of camping) and I’m loving that the days are getting warmer.
And with the Spring comes Easter, and Easter themed crochet! I’ve recently been enjoying making some fun Easter decor projects from the ‘Heartbreakers’ booklet by Rico Designs.
I was going to make a sample of one of the designs in the booklet for when I did my first crochet demo at Abakhan Fabrics, but I enjoyed making them so much that I actually made a couple of the different designs.
The Heartbreaker booklet is actually from a series of booklets by Rico Designs which feature projects made from Ricorumi DK (Sports weight) cotton yarn. Ricorumi are handy 25g / 58m balls available in a colour pallet of 60 colours.
I’ve used Ricorumi before (in fact I’ve got a design coming soon made with it) and I find it lovely to work with and it gives amigurumi’s such great stitch definition.
The Heartbreaker booklet features an adorable collection of designs in sweet pastel shades and includes patterns for a cute amigurumi bunny and lamb, a cherry blossom branch, floral wreath, an Easter garland, bunny egg warmers and a couple of different Easter egg designs.
I made the bunny egg warmers first and I did a little test – you can pretty much make two of the bunny egg warmers (without facial features) with just one ball of ricorumi (though the ears on one of the bunnies might be a tad shorter than the other).
I thought that was really good though especially as Ricorumi usually retails around the the £1.10ish mark ($1.40ish) so it would cost next to nothing to make a couple of these as a little Easter gift for someone or to add to your Spring stall.
Next I made one of the embroidered eggs which is done around a polystyrene egg to help keep it’s shape. I really enjoyed the embroidery part of the egg more than I thought I would actually and it’s kind of made me want to start embellishing more crochet things in that way.
I really enjoyed the little projects from the Rico design booklet and I think they are great value for money (usually about £3.60 / $4.69) which is about the price of a coffee and cookie – though it lasts for a lot longer!
I’m actually going to have a go at one of the designs in the Lovely World of Ricorumi ‘Puppies’ booklet next to take along with me to one of futurecrochet demos at Abakhan Fabrics – I’ll let you know how I get on with him.
Have you tried Ricorumi yarn, or made something from one of the booklets? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.
Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
So recently I was approached by Three Bears Yarns to see if I would like to review their Great British Textile Box. Review a box full of delicious quality British wool…oh go on then I said…you’ve twisted my arm – if you’d like to send me one over, I said, that would be very kind of you…(cue me dancing with glee).
Not long after a fabulously designed box was delivered by my nice postman (all postman are nice that deliver yarn aren’t they!)…
Three Bears Yarns are a company that originates from the heritage of Blackburn Yarn Dyers founded in 1915. I first became aware of Three Bears Yarns earlier this year and have been following them with interest since then. I love the fact that they are passionate about what they are producing and are keen to put Lancashire (British) textiles back on the map.
I would say Three Bears Yarns are probably best known for their delicious range of 100% cotton yarn on Aran (Worsted), DK (Sport) and 3ply (Fingering) weights which comes in over 70 shades across the weights…
The Great British Textile Box is a monthly crochet subscription box filled with 200g of beautiful yarn that comes complete with a crochet pattern available in both UK and US terms. Each month you’ll receive:
200g of quality British Wool
A unique crochet design to craft
So back to the box…nestled in some turquoise tissue paper were two beautiful skeins of the finest Falkland Merino DK yarn.
It’s unfortunate that this blog isn’t equipped with squidge-o-vision because it’s the kind of yarn that begs to be squished a bit! When I got it out I was delighted by how soft it felt.
Aren’t you always a bit worried when you hear wool – and think scratchy? Not a jot with this Falklands Merino, it’s soft as a cloud! The two skeins were cream and taupe coloured and the pattern design that accompanied the yarn was for the Hannah Hat and Gauntlets designed by Jacinta Bowie.
Now unfortunately I can’t tell you about the pattern booklet as they had run out so I only had an emailed copy of the pattern to work from. But the pattern I had (in UK terminology) was clearly set out and included a chart; there was also a link to a useful video tutorial on how to do the crocodile stitch. However I would say the hat design would perhaps be a bit tricky for a beginner and would be more suitable for an intermediate crocheter.
I decided to make the hat because I fell in love with it! Crocodile stitch is such a fun stitch to do and it makes an amazing texture! The recommended hook size for the hat is a 4mm (US size G) but I really wanted to make the hat for my 2 year old so after a bit of calculating I went down to a 3.5mm (US size E-4).
And the finished hat came out beautifully, just the right size for her head, though if you make the pattern as written it will fit an average size adult head.
Now my toddler, even with bribery, didn’t want to play mummy take photos so I had to improvise to show you the finished hat…yes it is just possible that I have a gin glass as large as a toddlers head…
The pattern does come with instructions on how to make and add twisted cord to add to the bottom of the ear-flaps which I didn’t add just because it was for my little one.
The yarn is just perfect for the design and is a delight to work with; as it was so easy on the fingers it meant I really enjoyed making up this hat and the texture of the finished hat – augh! Isn’t is just awesome!
And one final picture because you just have to see the top of the hat…so clever!
I don’t know if any of the patterns included in the boxes will be available after the subscription boxes at any point (in case you were wondering) but I do have a feeling that all future designs are going to be a match for the yarn so super lovely!
By the time of this post I believe that the December Great British Textile Box, this time with 200g of a Bluefaced Leicester and Masham blend of yarn, will be sent to subscribers soon with another beautiful pattern (also by Jacinta Bowie) of a stunning cushion. So I think there will be accessories, house decor items and other items, for a bit of variety, to crochet with each box.
I think it’s obvious that I loved the yarn and enjoyed the pattern but what I also like about the Great British Textile Box, as far as subscription boxes go, is that the contents are very luxurious, the patterns so far seem gorgeous, and it’s all at a very reasonably priced £21.95 (roughly $31.57) per month. It’s also a great way to learn more about wool yarn blends if that’s something you might be interested in.
For someone who is also a bit unsure of subscription boxes it’s free to cancel any time and Three Bears Yarns also offer free UK postage on all boxes (and also free delivery to other selected countries – see their website for more details)
Many thanks to Three Bears Yarns for supplying me with a box free of charge so I could tell you all about it.
Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
So regular readers of my blog know that, as well as doing crochet design work, this year I set up the company for creative folk called Dear Ewe. Well I felt that I just wanted to share our first product review by the lovely Canadian crochet designer and blogger Pam (aka Sincerely Pam).
We know that people like to hear about products from actual people, so we are very excited to have received such a lovely review from Pam. As a new business it obviously means the world to us that people like our products!
You can read Pam’s full product review posthere– and excitingly you could enter her prize draw to win your very ownTriangle Chart mug. Entries for the giveaway are direct through Pam’s blog – winner will be selected on October 24, 2018.
We were also delighted to be part of her Makers Maven series with an interview where we shared a bit more about us and how Dear Ewe got started.
You can read the full interviewhereand learn how gin was an integral part of the beginning of Dear Ewe and how Becky and I work together as a team as well as being friends.
Disclaimer: I was kindly sent free samples of the products listed in this review, and this post does contain links to various products from the relevant company, however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier in anyway to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the products.
A month or so ago I was approached by the company Ritohobby.co.uk (RITO) to see if I‘d like to review some of their products. RITO are a Danish yarn and hobby craft supplier, with over 15,000 products, and they‘ve recently set up to supply their wares in the UK.
I’d actually been thinking of writing a blog post for awhile now about tools for crocheters soooo, in a bid to kill two birds with one stone, I mentioned my idea to RITO and they said they’d love to have their products featured in such a post. Not long after I was sent an express parcel full of things that I for one use regularly as a crocheter!
I took a few weeks to try each of the products and this is what I discovered…
Now they pretty much had me with the rainbow-ness of these hooks! I’m a bit of a rainbow magpie and I love that the hook sizes are all in different colours…
And of course if you are going to crochet then you need a crochet hook of some sort. This would make a perfect starter pack as it contains sizes 2mm to 6mm (US sizes 0 to H/8).
It’s no secret that I’m a crochet addict and that I crochet ALOT – like every spare second I have, so I do have a lot of hooks. My preference, after a lot of experimentation, seems to lean towards the ergonomic style of hooks. What’s an ergonomic hook? Well it’s a hook that’s been designed to alleviate any pain that can occur while crocheting. Most ergonomic styles have some sort of enlarged handle which makes the crochet hook more comfortable to hold and they can come in all shapes and sizes.
Whether you pencil hold (like me), knife hold or hold your hook in your own special way the Infinity Heart hooks come with a soft silicone non-slip handle for the users benefit– and I can confirm that they are extremely comfortable to use!
I tested them out with a few different projects and liked them.
As the rainbow colours are for different sizes it makes the hooks quite distinctive (once you learn which colour means which size hook) – though the size of the hook is also written on the bottom of each handle.
I found that the aluminium hook end was also nice and smooth so I didn’t get any snags on the yarn I was using. I was suitably impressed with these hooks and they are now getting use on a regular basis.
I was very excited by how it was packaged – sad I know but look! It was all vacuumed packed so it made it really thin, which I thought was really cool!
But don’t let that put you off – when the bag was opened it all fluffed up nicely and the 250g I got seemed to go a long way. The filling is able to be machine washed at 40° – which is especially great for children’s toys and has been prior tested for allergies and carcinogens.
I can’t really say much more about the filling except it’s great for amigurumi and that I’m sure it would work really well for other knitted and crochet items. I’m sure I’ll be getting more in the future when I’ve run out.
S is for Stitch Markers
I think stitch markers are such an essential tool for crochet – I don’t know how people do without them! Whether you are using them to mark your place when crocheting in the round or if you are using them to mark the end of a row, I would suggest to any newbie crocheter that they should try a few.
Some of the contents were definitely more geared to knitting, it had stitch stoppers for the end of needles and needle row counters. It also had these odd little plastic circles in the box which I had no idea what they might be for. Thanks to Google I found out they are for knitters to mark increases and decreases; sliding them onto knitting needles as you work.
But the ones that I would (and did) use the most were the variety of locking stitch markers and split ring markers. I really love the little antique-y metal bulb pins!
Each of these were easy to attach and it’s great that they come in the useful little box to keep them in – I swear someone eats my stitch markers!
They are also very light so they don’t cause any pulls or distortion to your stitches and the bright colours mean they are easy to find against most backgrounds.
I think stitch markers are a bit like stationery – you can never have to many and these will get lots of use from me.
S is also for Scissors
I happen to be a little bit addicted to pretty scissors! So when I saw that there were some Embroidery scissors in my package from RITO I got very excited!
Every crocheter needs a good pair of scissors by their side. Or if you are anything like me, who puts hers down somewhere then can’t find them again, several pairs of good scissors.
These scissors are solid and well made and very good value for money I think. They fit in my hands comfortably when I used them and they are also very sharp! The cutting action is nice and smooth and they cut yarn easily without snagging or fraying it.
If you want a pair of really good scissors without breaking the bank, this is a great choice!
And now I have something special to share with you! The lovely people at RITO have set up a product code for 10% discount off all products for all KCACO-UK followers from now (17. October) until 31. October. At the checkout just enter the code: KeepCalm
I hope you’ve enjoyed this product review, I’d love to hear what you think – or if there are any other things you’d love me to try and review in future.
Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this kit however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the yarn and kit.
I have to say I really love a good crochet kit, over the years I’ve had several bought for me and I’ve even had the pleasure of designing a couple myself. I love the fact that it’s a whole project that you can just get on with as soon as you like – no fuss, no bother, just away you go! Personally working from a kit is an enjoyable escape for me from crochet designing. I’m following someone else’s pattern, the decisions have all been made for me, it’s all extremely relaxing! So I was delighted to be asked to review the new crochet kit by The Blue Star Crochet Company, by the lovely Veronika.
You maybe familiar with Veronika’s work; as the designer behind the The Blue Star Crochet Company she’s had many designs feature in different UK magazines. In March this year she teamed up with The Mermaid Purse Yarns and released the Sea Shawl Crochet Kit, and now they’ve teamed up again with yarn and patterns for a an Autumn Accessories collection. Instead of offering just one pattern Veronika has teamed up with two other designers this time round to offer three different accessories. There’s a pattern by the lovely Eleonora Tully from Coastal Crochet (who you may remember I interviewed – check it out here) and Alison Holloway from Petals Crafts and Me – but more about all the designs in a moment, let’s first have a look at the kit…
The kit contains everything you will need to complete the project aside from the tools, so you will need your own crochet hooks, scissors and yarn needle etc. Each kit comes with:
You will get all 3 patterns and one skein of yarn inside each kit and there is an upgrade option available to choose additional skeins of yarn to be able to make all 3 patterns as a set if you want to.
So what are the designs? Well I’m glad you asked!
The first is a fabulous Fall in Line hat designed by Veronika. The hat is worked in short rows and is customisable to get the perfect fit. Then there’s a pair of gorgeous shell stitch Autumn Seas wrist warmers by Eleonora and finally the showstopping Fleur Amore flower motif bandana scarf by Alison. I loved all the designs but I settled on making myself the pair of wrist warmers because I really wanted the them for me! But first I need to mention the yarn…can you say OOoooooo!
The hand-dyed yarn by in the kit is 100% super-wash fine merino in a double knit weight (225m / 100g) and is such a unique colourway! It’s hard to describe all the subtle colour variants that have been included in the autumnal mix but I could recognise hints of grape, aubergine, lilac and flashes of dusky pink and a pop of russet! So gorgeous, and as I worked my wrist warmers the colours pooled beautifully. So without further ado let’s say hello to my lovely new wrist warmers…
These wrist warmers were an ABSOLUTE joy to make! They were a great quick project, which I loved and found extremely satisfying – my pair was easily completed in a day. An awesome design for last minute gifts or craft fairs – I’m sure I’ll make some more! I also only used 54g of yarn in total for both wrist warmers so I’ve got a little bit of yarn left to use for something else.
I was really pleased with how they turned out so I had a mini hand photo shoot – quickly learning it’s incredibly hard to take photos of your own hands! Luckily Mr. KCACOUK came to the rescue and helped me out and luckily I just happened to be drinking a cuppa in a Dear Ewe mug which made a very handy photo prop 😘
I very much enjoyed this kit and I’m sure you might to! The pre-order for these fabulous kits is open NOW, but it’s only open for 3 weeks! Use coupon BSCCBLOG10 for 10% off your pre-order from the from Blue Star Crochet Company Etsy shop. All kits will be dispatched from 24th September 2018.
Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Squeek! The launch day for Dear Ewe is getting ever closer…only 16 days and 17 hours to go and probably even less by the time I’ve finished writing this up and posted it! I seriously feel that all of a sudden the days have started speeding forward to the deadline date and just where on earth did April go?!
If this is the first time you are hearing about Dear Ewe it’s the online company and shop that I have formed with my friend, and now business partner Becky, that’s launching at the end of this month on Monday 28th May. The shop will sell a variety of products including bone china mugs, bags, crochet patterns, prints and cards that all celebrate creativity and the world of handmade.
We know that there are shops out there (not including the small handmade product providers) that have products for crafters but it’s often either only a small part of what they do or it’s a cheap import that’s not that great. So we wanted to change that. Dear Ewe’s sole purpose is to create good quality products inspired by crafts designed exclusively for crafters.
With launch date growing ever closer I thought it might be nice if I shared a little behind the scenes look at how we’ve been preparing for the big day and a bit more of a peep at some of the products that are going to be on offer – including some of my person favourites!
As you can imagine we’ve been planning and working incredibly hard behind the scenes to design and source our products. Sourcing our products close to home and supporting local business owners and our local community was something we were both very keen to do. We’re proud to live in Stoke-on-Trent, which is officially recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics, so it made sense that we should be able to find locally produced fine bone china – and we did with the fabulous and supportive Heraldic Pottery.
One of my favourite days so far was when we were invited to go behind the scenes at the factory to see some of our first mugs being created. You can watch a little video that we took here, but I’ll pop a couple of photos below too…
I can’t quite explain that feeling of having seen something that was 2-D for so long and then how it felt actually seeing it as a real product – it was so exciting!
Every single one of our mugs is hand decorated by skilled lithographers, and when we got the opportunity to watch them, well it’s unbelievable how skillful they are! I love the fact that our mugs have that ‘handmade’ touch because we’re all about celebrating that aren’t we!
Another of my favourite days so far was a fantastic photo shoot at the stunning venue ofThe Upper HousewithClara Lou Photography.The sun was shining, the birds were singing, there were flowers everywhere, it was just such a lovely place to be – and it provided so many wonderful backdrops for some of our products shoots.
You can just see one of our bags in shot there. I LOVE our bags…shall I tell you a little secret…I’ve already bought several for myself (there’s definitely perks to being a business owner). But they are just so nice and handy and sturdy if you know what I mean!! I did a little bit of a yarn stash tidying exercise recently and oh my were the draw string bags great for that. But I digress…as well as (two different sizes) of draw string bags we also have our fabulous tote bags…
And I think I’m going to leave it there…that’s enough sneaky peeks for now, but I will just quickly mention again that as well as our mugs and bags in store we also have our fantastic photo prop postcards, some beautiful framed print designs for your craft space, greetings cards and of course a couple of exclusive crochet patterns (designed by moi).
Our official launch is 28 May 2018 but you can stay in the loop with details by signing up to our newsletter, or following us onsocial media (all links on the website).
Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx
Disclaimer: I did receive a free sample of this product however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the product.
You may have guessed by my blog and posts that I am completely passionate about all things crochet…but I actually have another hobby which I love just as much. If I’ve got the time and it’s not a hook in my hand then you’ll usually find a book. So when I was contacted by the owner of Hook and a Book, to see if I’d like to review her subscription boxes, from the name alone I already knew I was probably going to love it.
Hook and a Book is the brain-child of Maddy McMurray an avid crocheter and bookworm turned craft-entrepreneur. Originally from Perth, in Western Australia, she moved to the UK in 2011 where she worked in various operations-based roles. But with growing job dissatisfaction and a newly diagnosed headache and migraine condition she decided that something had to change – and that’s when Hook and a Book was born. Maddy cleverly moulded her passions into a monthly book and crochet subscriptions box creating a book club and crochet gift in one. Each box is carefully curated around a particular surprise book with yarn, a pattern and other goodies.
Maddy was kind enough to send me the August box to have a look at and I eagerly waited for it to arrive. First off I need to say that to me the idea of combining crochet and reading is just inspired! I absolutely LOVE the concept! And it was all very exciting to have the parcel delivered without knowing what I was going to find inside…
Underneath the tissue paper I found a lovely little letter from Hook and a Book, a copy of The Art of Dancing in the Rain by Garth Stein, one ball each of Stylecraft Special Aran (in shades Empire and Emperor), an ergonomic 4mm (US size G) hook, two little Beanies coffee sachets (mint chocolate and double chocolate) and a pattern by Simply Hooked by Janet to make a cute doggy themed coffee cup cosy. There was also a special password to the Hook and a Book website to find hints and tips for the current box.
I adored how carefully everything had been selected and styled in similar colours; the yarn matched the book cover, the book was linked with the pattern and the pattern was linked with the coffee gift.
I also really liked the fact that the book was not one that I perhaps would have picked for myself but that’s the way that you discover treasures you never even knew existed isn’t it! And The Art of Dancing in the Rain is a little gem of a book. I’m not going to give too much away but the plot follows the protagonist dog Enzo (great name for a dog) as he takes stock of his life. You can’t help but fall in love with Enzo even if you aren’t a dog lover. Though the story is told from Enzo’s point of view the book isn’t really about dogs at all, it’s a story about family, love, loyalty, and hope. I got totally caught up with the characters (which is always the sign of a good book in my eyes) and was completely invested in finding out how it was all going to end. But to find that out you’ll have to give it a read – I will say that you might want to have some tissues ready!
I was very pleased to see Stylecraft Aran in the box. It happens to be some of my favourite yarn as it’s always a delight to work with, and Empire and Emperor are two of my particular favoured colourways. The cup cosy, worked in tapestry crochet, turned out very cute. I chose to hook up the little paw print design, or I could have chosen a bone, and I think the end result would look grand on any dog lovers coffee cup. And as an added bonus there was still loads of yarn left over to add to my stash!
I very much enjoyed all the contents and my experience with my box from Hook and a Book! The perfect gift for a book or crochet lover subscriptions start at £21 per month with different options for 3, 6 or yearly subscriptions. There is also the option for a one off box so you can try before you subscribe AND they also offer international subscriptions so no one has to miss out.
If you’d like to try Hook and a Book be sure to use the following coupon link ‘WELCOME‘ for 10% discount. Big thank you to Maddy for offering this special deal to my lovely KCACO.UK readers!
Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx