Saturday, 20 October 2012

All Things Pretty

The lovely ladies of Two Birds Craft sent me one of their new products to review. It's a beautiful stitch marker charm bracelet, you may have seen a sneak peak in an earlier post. Well, I have tried and tested it and am ready to tell the world about it!

The product in question, is a very pretty bracelet adorned with beautiful charms, 5 of which are removable stitch markers of use in crochet or knitting. The bracelet itself is very pretty and the charms are very tasteful. I wore it the day I received it but haven't used it as a bracelet since.... the reason being my 18 month old daughter constantly wanted to pull at the shiny pretty thing! I didn't want it to break (she has form!) so I keep it with my crochet equipment now, nice and safe from little hands.
The stitch markers themselves are my favourite part, they work well and are lovely to see hanging off your work. When it comes to aesthetics, there is no contest, these charms are head and shoulders above traditional stitch markers.

The main thing you would want from a stitch marker, is for it to do it's job, and hold a stitch. One thing I find with traditional split-ring markers, is that if I leave them for a while, they manage to work their way off...which is disastrous in amigurumi... and I'm left trying to count back stitches to see where I'm up to. The beauty is with these clasps is that they won't do that. I've left one on some work for a while, it's been hauled around a lot, and it's still sitting pretty just where it should be! The clasp is small, but not too fiddly, its easy to put on a stitch, and remove, but a bit trickier to get back on the bracelet.

My main issue with stitch markers is that I'm forever losing them. These ones prevent that a bit more, as you are conscious of not wanting to lose them, and they stand out and sparkle if you drop them on the sofa next to you!
Overall, I'm very happy with my charm bracelet set, and am very thankful to Two Birds Craft for allowing me to try out their new creation. They are not something I would normally think of buying, but after using them I wouldn't want to go back to the plastic rings, and I think many knitters or hookers would feel the same. They're not expensive, and they are available in other colours too. They also make stitch marker charm keyrings and brooches, which are great too. Please take a look at their Etsy shop and consider treating yourself or a friend to a set!

Two Birds Craft are also on Fcaebook, Instagram and Twitter (@twobirdscraft) and have a blog too, please add them!

In other news...... after suffering the Knit and Stitch hangover, I picked myself up to continue what now has become known as 'Polly Dolly'. As of last night she is mainly complete, she has a head, body, 2 arms and 2 legs, hair and bows. All that is left to do is the dress and shoes. Oh and finally trim the hair, as I daren't do it! I'm considering taking her to my hairdresser, as if I mess it up and cut it too short, it won't grow back! I did not particularly enjoy doing the hair, so won't be doing that again for some time. I'm quite pleased with how she has turned out so far, and best of all little P loves her! So without further ado, meet Polly Dolly...

I would love to get more pictures, but I am currently experiencing technical difficulties in the laptop department, so I am just borrowing my Brother's Macbook Pro. It's very nice, but I'm sure he'll notice if I don't return it.
You may also notice the change of name.... 'Hookaholic' was always sort of a holding name. I was never happy with it and have been racking my brains for a more original name. Finally I have decided on 'A Bunch Of Buttons'. My very kind brother is a talented graphic designer, so he is now creating me a whole new 'brand', so watch this space for changes.... there will be a logo and everything! So until next time...

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A Week Of Treats

Last week was mainly a week of crochet related treats for myself, and why not?
Thursday I ventured to London's Ally Pally for the annual Knitting and Stitching Show. Excited was an understatement! Thursday couldn't come soon enough for me, as I prepared myself for my first real 'day out' since becoming a mum. I was sad to leave the little P behind for a whole day, but the sheer excitement of what lie ahead outweighed any bad feelings! Plus I knew the little monster would have a great day with my parents, who she loves to bits! I was just concerned for them as I knew she would not stop all day as their company is much too fun!
So Thursday finally arrived, and it was a fairly early start for me, on the train by half past 7. After catching the connecting train, it was time to whip the crochet out. I had been deliberating hard about which project to take on the train, and after much thought I decided to start a rabbit I have been 'commissioned' to make.
There were 3 of us, 2 crocheters and one knitter (who really wants be be a hooker!). We spent some of the journey trying to teach the knitter to crochet, and she actually was very good! She had produced a nice little green amigurumi ball type thing by the end of the lesson. I made 2 rabbit ears, but there was a major issue... nobody brought scissors, thinking the other person would have them! Oooops, so I had the great pleasure of (discreetly) chewing through my yarn, thank goodness it was only cotton!
We arrived at the Ally Pally late morning, and it was already fairly busy. It was the first day of the show so we were hoping to get all the good stuff before anyone else!

Those of you who know the Ally Pally will know it is huge inside. That's an awful lot of stands to get round!
I love looking at yarn, and other craft related items, but there came a point when I just couldn't look at any more. It is an amazing show, and I'd love to go back year on year, but it is huge, and very tiring! It's quite warm in there, and busy, which makes getting around it slow work. You also have to add walking sticks into the equation - I got one to the shin from a lady fighting her way to look at some buttons. But what a great show! There were so many excellent stands to look at, a few of my favourites included the Hooplayarn and Zpagetti stands. This giant form of upcycled crochet is something I have been looking at and wanting to do, so to see it in the flesh and examples of products was very interesting. I did get tempted into a purchase here... the lovely ladies of Hooplayarn had some leftover oddments of yarn in lots of bright colours.... these had my name on them! The problem with me is I like to use a lot of colours, and it would be very expensive to buy 5 or 6 bobbins of yarn at once, so these small oddments were perfect for me.

I love these colours so much, and am very pleased with the purchase. I love how stretchy the yarn is, and I'm excited about using it... maybe a colourful rug?

My other favourite purchase was that of a super new hook. The creme de la creme of crochet hooks. My friend had told me about these but I'd never seen them... introducing me new baby, Tulip Etimo Rose...

Photographs just don't do it justice, as you can't feel it. It is amazingly soft to touch and I can't wait to use it....only wish I could afford the set (currently retailing around £90 if anyone would like to buy them for me?)

I bought a couple of other bits, as much as I could carry anyway. In answer to the previous post's question, the answer would be no, a suitcase would not have been excessive, in fact very resourceful. A few show-goers were indeed wheeling them around. I topped up on my favourite Rico Creative Cotton which I'm using at the moment for a project, and also got a couple of Clover Soft Touch hooks to extend my ergonomic hook collection.

And here is the whole bunch together.... doesn't look much, think I should have had more!

You may also notice a couple of books, not from the show but a little present to myself earlier in the week. I have wanted both for a while so I treated myself....again!

So all in all, a great day was had at the show and I'd highly recommend it to any crafters out there. By the end of the afternoon we were on the floor. Exhausted. I needed a day after to gather my energy back, but no such luck, back to the bouncing little P!

I haven't had a great deal of other crochet time this week, but am managing to put together a doll for the little lady. I have made the legs, body and one arm so far...

I'm happy how she is turning out so far, the biggest challenge will be the hair, which I'm not looking forward to. I'm using the good old Rico Creative Cotton Aran and a 4.5mm hook, so she is nice and big and cuddly. She also has a separate dress and shoes to wear once I have finished the body.I am using this pattern. That's all my news for this week.... see you soon!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Would a Suitcase be Excessive?

Excited! Yes, this Thursday I am trekking down to the big smoke that is London to visit the Knitting and Stitching Show! I cannot wait! I'm even excited about the train journey, as that is quality crochet time with friends! Seriously debating taking a suitcase to fill with yarn and other crochet/craft related products! I had a look at the list of exhibitors, plenty of yarn supplies and Decopatch are there too. Better make that two suitcases!
So in the meantime, I have been trying to think of a project to take with me on the train.... it needs to be not too big, unlike the blanket. Not too many colours, as I don't want to have balls of yarn rolling around the train carriage. And it can't be too heavy on counting and keeping track, as if we are chatting (which I hope we will be!) I don't want to keep losing where I am up to. So I'm thinking a cuchion cover? I'll chain it to the right size, then it's just back and forth right? Or maybe another amigurumi fruit, a bit of counting involved but if I make sure I have a stitch marker.....
Which leads me nicely on to another exciting venture this week,,,
The lovely ladies who make up Two Birds Craft, have sent me one of their lovely stitch-marker charm bracelets (which they are hand-making to sell in their Etsy shop) to test out and review. I already had a project in mind for when they arrived through my letterbox, a lovely amigurumi dolly for my little P. I mainly use stitch markers when making amigurumi, so this would be a perfect project. They arrived on Wednesday morning, in a lovely little package. You can see some more pictures on my Instagram, but thought I'd post a sneak peek up on here too. I'm getting on well with them so far, lovely to use and very pretty too, but full review will follow soon..... take a look at Two Bird's Craft blog and Etsy shop, they make wonderful things!

The bracelet...

A stitch marker in action...

I don't think there is a contest between these and bog standard split ring stitch markers!

So before I got stuck into amigurumi again, I made my first winter warming goodies! The first items of clothing/accessories I have made for myself. First up, the stripy scarf. Really love the stitch used, makes it a very pretty stripe. See my previous post for details of yarn and pattern. I'm pleased with how it turned out, I made it a lot longer than the pattern says however, as I like a long scarf! Also made it wider as it turned out quite thin, but I do love it and look forward to wearing it all winter.

After the scarf was complete, I thought I needed a hat too. I love hats. I buy them, but I never wear them, so I thought I'd make one, so I can not wear that too! I have seen many slouchy hats on Pinterest and the like, and really liked them, so thought I'd settle on one of them. I then needed chunky yarn, which I needed to buy. Well, I had some, but it wasn't the right yarn for the job, so I went shopping. That's when my yarn snobbery kicked in again. Debbie Bliss Paloma in Mallard. Very nice. Part alpaca, part wool. Not usually my thing, I like cotton and silk but this felt nice and well, hatty. I used Gleeful Thing's Gumdrop Slouchy Hat pattern and it worked out perfect with no tweaks needed. So I haven't actually worn it yet, only around the house, but my head gets too hot. It really is for the depths of winter!

I will get a picture of it being modelled one day, but it fits well and is comfy, maybe a little itchy, but when you are cold, itchy doesn't matter too much! So let's see if I actually wear it.....

Of course I am continually granny striping away on the rainbow blanket too... said birthday is less than a week away so needless to say it will not be finished it time, but it was never going to be! I'm nearly finished on the blues, so on with purples and pinks after. Also I shall be continuing with the dolly I'm making my little P. I'm using a pattern by Stitch and using Rico Creative Cotton Aran, which is fast becoming one of my fave yarns ever. So far, I have one leg complete, so I have a bit of a way to go!

I shall share my adventures at the Knitting and Stitching show next weekend hopefully! Exciting week!