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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Unfinished Business

So it seems that carrying over a Christmas Crochet Project from one year to the next is now a tradition of mine.

Instead of the piles of green yarn and hooks on the side table next to my chair there is now hot chocolate and minced pies.

I came so close to finishing my wreath, but not quite. I reckon another six inches of stripes and then the sewing onto the polystyrene half wreath and I would have been done. I'm choosing to see this not as a failure, but as giving myself a big head start on next year!

At least I got all of my crochet baubles done. I've really enjoyed looking at my woolly tree this year, so much that I think they may become permanent features in years to come. Perhaps I'll add some gold lame string next year for a bit of extra sparkle.

Am I the only one who didn't manage to finish their whole list of things to make? With New Year almost upon us I'm already thinking about my next non-festive project, as well as having a big Spring clean and re-organisation of how I store my yarn and craft bits and bobs. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Furls Crochet Hook Review

So I'll come straight out and say it. I love love LOVE them. A month ago I hadn't even heard of furls crochet hooks then I saw a video on AllFreeCrochet's channel about the Alpha Series hooks, which are the wooden ones. 

They were so beautiful and looked like a wand from Harry Potter and I knew these hooks had 'chosen' me and I had to try them! 

When I went to the Furls website I saw they also made the Candy Shop hooks that I ended up purchasing. The shape and the idea that they are hand-friendly intrigued me, but the pretty colours and imagining how smooth crocheting with a hook coated in luxury car paint would be swung it for me. 

I ordered these two on Black Friday and waited like a giddy child for them to be shipped to the UK. I nearly kissed the postman when he knocked on my door with a parcel with a customs label on it!

 Furls send out each hook with a ball of yarn matching the gauge, which is such a lovely extra. 

Also, I know this doesn't really matter, but each hook is boxed. Normally when I buy an individual hook it's just on a piece of card and that's fine, but seeing the lovely black boxes gave me the same feeling of treating myself that I get when buying a high end mascara. 

I bought a 4mm and a 5mm hook. My only negative is that they don't make a 4.5mm in the Candy Shop series which is my most used hook. I have quite tight tension so tend to use a 4.5mm when a pattern calls for a 4mm. They do make them in the Alpha series though, and I intend to purchase one in the future. 

As soon as I took one out the box and held it in my hand I just thought, 'Ooooh, that does feel better' and after a few rows of my still unfinished crochet wreath I was fully converted. 

They just feel so nice in the hand and the stitches slide on and off like a knife through butter. I can't say I noticed that they made my stitches any more even, but as I mentioned before I crochet fairly tightly anyway. Perhaps if you crochet a little looser this might be more apparent.

I do think they are a joy to hold though, and anything that prevents wear and tear on my hands and wrists is a win in my book. They actually come with a $500 hand-health warranty. Yes, they are a little pricey compared to other hooks but on the whole crochet is a pretty darn cheap hobby so for a hook that will last you a lifetime I think it's small change in the grand scheme of things. 

Edit March 2016

Although I do still like these hooks, I realised I have barely used them because the lovely silky paint on them that makes the stitches slip on and off, squeaks against a lot of the yarn I use. The noise and feeling just goes through me. If you've ever got changed under a towel at the beach and held it with your mouth and it's squeaked on your teeth you'll know what I mean. Perhaps it's because I use a lot of budget friendly yarn with acrylic in it, who knows, but just something to bear in mind.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Christmas Cards

I had a quiet hour to myself today, I probably should have got on with finishing my crochet wreath but I had a glue gun that I'd bought but not used and it was calling to me. So I sat down on a big cushion on the living room floor and spread my random crafty bits around me.

I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I just experimented and had fun. When we moved house I had put some of my craft supplies away at my Grandad's until I'd sorted our storage the way that I wanted it. That day has not come yet, so half of my craft bits and bobs were missing.

I'm like a magpie. If I think something could be used for a project in the future, I save it. One day, I will have a whole room just to have as my craft den...

Back to reality, I just made do with what I did have. Buttons, pipe cleaners and pom poms mostly.

I figured out the best way to use a hot glue gun as I went along as I've never had one before. The results? Mixed. I thoroughly enjoyed myself though even if I did end up with hot glue on my shellac nails!

The hour spent relaxing was much needed and now some of my nearest and dearest can have a laugh opening their cards this year as they truly do look as though they were made by a six year old. That's the look I was going for though, honest.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

My Tree is Up!

My woolly tree is finally up! I love my crochet baubles and chains so much. I originally planned to intersperse them with traditional baubles, but once I got going I realised that I liked them on their own and I had made more than enough to fill the tree with just fibre festiveness.

I am aware of how awful I am at taking photos, so I think a New Years Resolution for me is to take some kind of night course at my local college. 

Everything looks so much prettier in real life than in my dodgy pictures. I added my three favourite Father Christmas ornaments and a little robin up at the top, but other than that it's all wooly.

I got the tree up on Sunday and since then have been adding other festive touches around the house and frantically hooking away at my wreath. Almost done! I'm hoping by the weekend I'll be fully decked with boughs of crocheted holly.