Saturday, 20 May 2017

REVIEW: A Hook and a Book Subscription Box

Hello Hello!

A couple of weeks Maddy from Hook and a Book asked us if we could take a look at her new crochet subscription boxes! As her boxes are a combination of a crochet pattern plus yarn and a book - two of our favourite things - we were hooked and eagerly waited for our surprise boxes to arrive. Now we both got our boxes, we are very happy to tell you about what we found in there! Please note though that this is not a sponsored post - even though Maddy send us the boxes for free, we are allowed to write whatever we like and are in no way required to write a positive review! :) We do really like the box though, so here is our walk through the box:

First ... Open the box with Michelle!


In case you can't quite see what exactly we found in the box, here is a list: 
"Where the Rainbow Ends" by Cecelia Ahern, a crochet pattern for a hook case, a skein of Rainbow Stylecraft Cabaret, a crochet hook, sewing needles and tea bags for a relaxing time! 


Now onto our reviews:

Anne

The box arrived just a few days after it was posted from the UK! I wasn't home when it was delivered and the neighbours who took the parcel in, weren't home for two days... oh the wait before I could pick up the parcel! Opening the box was great fun - I love surprises like this.

Cecelia Ahern is one of my favourite authors - I have read all her novels except the one in the box! Can you imagine how lucky that was?! Can't wait to start reading it. I adore novels and reading used to be my favourite pastime but these days it is either crochet or reading. Most time crocheting wins but I will need to make time for this novel! I will drink the tea when I read the novel... Very excited about the tea actually as I can't get this one in Germany and thus it will be a real different treat.

I have worked with Stylecraft Cabaret before and really liked the way it works up. The colour "Rainbow" is no exception to this! The glitter is very lovely for shawls. The pattern of this box is a hook case - while I don't use hook cases, the yarn fits the pattern well. I would have loved to have seen a closer connection between the book, pattern and yarn. Don't get me wrong - it is there though the names of the book and the yarn but I think it would be a lovely touch for future boxes to have a bit more of a narration or story between the two special parts of the boxes. That said: I know it is the first box from Hook and a Book and thus I am a 100 % sure this "story" between pattern, yarn and book will be even more visible in the future. :)


Michelle

Well, this is a really cool idea - I love reading and crochet, and surprise mystery projects, so this box could have been tailor made for me. 

The parcel took almost two weeks to get from the UK to Australia, which is pretty good for international mail. 

I worked up the hook case (and found a couple of mistakes in the pattern, oops!) and it used almost the whole ball which is excellent efficiency! I am not sure I'll use it as I have a beautiful patchwork hook roll for travelling with many hooks, and my trusty glasses case for smaller kit requirements, but it definitely works which is the important thing.


The price seems pretty good for what you get! I've asked Maddy if she would consider the option of audio/kindle books instead of a paper copy, as I hardly ever read paper books anymore :P

Overall, I really liked the Hook and a Book box and wish I could afford to subscribe! If you can, you should - I'm dying to see what the project is in next month's box!!! 


If you would like to subscribe to the boxes, hop over here. It is now open world wide and if you like yarn AND books, you should certainly consider these boxes!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Meet Noah, the Rhino!

Hihi!

How are you these days? I have been busy working on Michelle's super secret new blanket design for the last couple of weeks. Last week though, I decided it was time for a smaller project and so I went for a scroll through instagram and came across the designs from Trolleugen! Aren't her animals absolutely adorable?


I picked Noah, the Rhino, for my first project from her designs. Instead of buying the suggested yarns, I went for my yarn stash and found several skeins of Drops Cotton Merino which fitted Noah quite perfectly. 


The pattern isn't made in rounds but in separate pieces. For those who have been following my crochet adventures for some time, it will be no news that I hate sewing and it was no different with this project. The crochet part was perfectly fine and easy but I had my angry fits with the sewing parts. As one has to crochet into the sides and not only the loops, I wasn't (and still am not) too happy with the uneven joins as the joining yarn shines through and it doesn't look even in some parts. That isn't a problem of the pattern though - it is my hate of sewing and my love for neat edges. At the moment I am thinking how I can work this pattern in rows, so that there will be less sewing. I will sew on the eyes before the stuffing next time, that's for sure.


The finished rhino is very cute and I hope it will be well loved by its new owner. :)

Take care
Anne


Friday, 5 May 2017

FREE PATTERN: Super Simple Tea Cosy

Hey everyone!

Do you ever have those days, where you just want to make a thing but can't find a pattern that works nicely?? Well, one morning a few weeks ago, my brain decided I needed a tea cosy. Nothing fancy, or smothered in roses - just a super simple practical tea cosy that would keep my teapot warm in between cups of tea.

I looked at soooooo many patterns on Ravelry. But none of them really waved their spouts around saying "Pick me! Make me!" I tried a few, but they didn't end up fitting my beautiful Swiss teapot...


Long story short, I made my own up using Stylecraft's super soft and self-striping Merry-Go-Round yarn! And then I made another one. And then I used the same instructions but changed the size to fit my smaller teapot. I liked it so much, I thought some of you might like it too :) 


You can find, queue and favourite this pattern on Ravelry at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/super-simple-tea-cosy 

------------------------------------------
PATTERN: SUPER SIMPLE TEA COSY
------------------------------------------

Fits 1L teapot (but easily adaptable!)


Use selfstriping yarn and this hdc pattern to create a plain and simple tea cosy! You can then leave it as is, or embellish however you like :)

Materials
25g Stylecraft Wondersoft Merry-Go-Round
4mm/G hook
Scissors
Yarn needle

This pattern uses all US terminology
slst - slip stitch
ch - chain
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
hdc2tog - half double crochet decrease (tutorial at http://www.interweave.com/article/crochet/half-double-crochet-two-together-hdc2tog/)
fhdc - foundation half double crochet (tutorial at http://crochetbetweentwoworlds.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/tutorial-foundation-half-double-crochet.html )

Notes:

- Turn after each row, even when working in the round
- Turning chain does not count as a stitch
- You can decorate with appliques, roses, stars, curly bits - the options are endless!

How to change the size:

- Have your teapot with you (and empty!) to make sure it fits properly
- If your teapot is wider or narrower, increase or decrease the fhdc as required but make sure you have an odd number.
- The formula for working out the number of stitches in your side panels is (fhdc-3) divided by 2
- If your teapot is taller or shorter, increase or decrease the number of rows in the side panels, making sure you have an even number.
- Smaller teapots don't usually have a much smaller spout or handle, so you shouldn't need to alter that part of the instructions :) 

Directions:

Row 1: 63 fhdc, slst to top of first fhdc. Ch2, turn.

Row 2: hdc in each st, slst to top of first hdc. Ch2, turn.

Row 3: repeat Row 2.

Row 4: hdc in each st, DO NOT JOIN. Ch2, turn.

Row 5: repeat Row 4.

Now we are going to start the side panel of the tea cosy. If you have increased or decreased the number of fhdc, use the formula above to find out how wide your side panels need to be!

Row 6: hdc in next 30 st, DO NOT JOIN. Ch2, turn.

Mark the 4th stitch in Row 5 after the 30hdc of Row 6.

Rows 7-11: repeat Row 6. Finish off after Row 11, omitting final ch2.

Next job: the panel on the other side! Row 6a will go in the same direction as Row 6.

Row 6a: join yarn with slst in marked stitch of Row 5. Ch2, hdc in same st. hdc in next 29 st (this should bring you back around to the last unworked stitch of Row 5). Ch2, turn.

Row 7a: hdc in next 30st. Ch2, turn.

Rows 8a-11a: repeat Row 7a. DO NOT FINISH OFF.

Row 12: hdc in next 30st. ch3, hdc in next 30 st. slst join to first hdc. Ch2, turn.

Row 13: 2hdc in first st. hdc in next 29 st. 1sc in ch3 space, hdc in next 29st. 2hdc in last st. slst join to first hdc. Ch2, turn.

Row 14: hdc in next 63 st. slst join to first hdc. ch2, turn.

Row 15: repeat Row 14.

Row 16: *hdc in next 2 st, hdc2tog* repeat ** to last 3 st. hdc in last 3 st. slst join to first hdc. ch2, turn.

Row 17: *hdc, hdc2tog*, repeat ** to end of row. slst join to first hdc, ch2, turn.

Row 18: Repeat Row 17.

Row 19: hdc2tog around. slst join to first hdc2tog. DO NOT TURN.

Row 20: ch1. *sc in next st, 3ch* repeat around. slst join to first sc. finish off and weave in ends.peat around. slst join to first sc. Finish off and weave in ends.