All New Mini Boxes

Hook It Yourself Mini Box
Hook It Yourself Mini Box

So many of you really wanted to try our boxes but didn’t fancy making baby items so we listened and created our brand new Mini Boxes!

These boxes are still full of yarn and goodies but won’t contain a pattern in the box itself. I will be putting together a list of suggested patterns for both knitters and crocheters though which will be available. This box will really let you use your imagination.

Let’s take a closer look at these boxes! I put together a few sample boxes to give you an idea of what they may contain. You would receive upto 200g of yarn. This may be acryclic, cotton, hemp, bamboo or similar which would be suitable for vegans as well as I have had lots of requests for this option. In regards to colour, this will also be very different each month but a complete surprise until you open your box. Think solids, brights, pastels, variagated, ombre…if you can think it then it could be coming in the next box.

Just like our main boxes you will also receive goodies and treats. If you have previously had or followed our main boxes then you will know that the gifts and treats each month are varied. They could include handmade stitch markers, special buttons, yarn holders, stickers, notebooks, pens…all related somehow to yarn and the craft!

As well as these you will also still receive a postcard and tea/coffee and a sweet treat too. Why? Well, why not?

Hook It Yourself Mini Box
Hook It Yourself Mini Box

The best thing about this box is that if you upload a photo of whatever you make with your yarn to social media using our super special hashtag then you will be entered into the draw to win a prize! I will run this each month so everybody will have the chance.

The price of this box is much cheaper than our baby box at just £10 plus postage

There are just a few days left to purchase the June Mini Box which will be our very first one and believe me when I say it is amazing! Use this link here which will take you right to it!

April 2020 Boxes

So I am a little late getting this post written and up on the blog as I have just dispatched and launched the May box…whoops!

April 2020 Crochet Box
April 2020 Crochet Subscription Box

The April box included a brand new to us yarn brand. West Yorkshire Spinners. I chose the Bo Peep 4 ply in this grogeous minty green colour. This yarn does contain 52% Falkland Wool which creates a luxurious soft yarn which is perfect for babies and little ones. Because it contains wool please remember not to tumble dry it but you can wash it on a delicate cycle up to 40°. Now I know that something that can’t be tumble dried isn’t perfect for babies but I believe that every little one needs to have a supersoft wool cardigan.

The crochet pattern this month is from an independent designer, Lisa Van Klaveren. I actually purchased this pattern a while ago from her to use in the boxes but have only now come across the perfect yarn for it! She has a beautiful range of patterns available over on her Etsy shop.

The pattern for the knitting box was a classic Patons pattern which featured a cross over style cardigan. This was a great pattern to send, as not only did it go upto a size 2-3 years (which is always a bonus when the box is for little ones upto 12 months) but the pattern was written for either 3ply, 4ply or double knit yarn which meant they can use the pattern for a wide range of yarns they already may have in their stash!

There were also 2 lovely treats this month! As well as a set of handmade by me stitch markers you also have a fun little planner clip which has been made by the wonderful lady over at The Crafty Beach Hut. Her work is gorgeous and so cute. She has a facebook page and a website too so you can pop over and see what else she has available.

So there we have the April 2020 crochet box! Make sure you keep an eye out for our next blog post which will talk a little bit more about our brand new box and also the launch of the Christmas Limited Edition Boxes!

Colour Pack 2 Pattern Ideas

The next colour pack is now available and there are some wonderful patterns out there which a perfect for 100% cotton yarn. I’ve compiled a list of some fantastic patterns for accessories and homeware, some free and some paid which would be fantastic for the James C Brett ‘It’s Pure Cotton’ yarn


  1. Granny Goes Shopping Tote Bag

This gorgeous granny square bag is perfect for popping to the shops. You can even line this bag to make it even sturdier. This pattern is perfect for a beginner who knows how to make a granny square. Just imagine this bag in these spring colours. You can find this pattern as free Ravelry download

2. Boho Crochet Bag

This is the perfect time to get started on making a gorgeous bag which has an incredible festival vibe to it. I know that the festivals have all been cancelled right now due to the current Covid – 19 epidemic but you would be ready for the summer and right on trend with this bag. You would have enough yarn to make a gorgeous multicoloured boho inspired bag. Find this one here

3. Easy Baskets

Baskets are absolutely fabulous around the house and are perfect for anything. You can use crochet baskets to store toys and bits and bobs. Use them in the bathroom for cotton pads, in the hall for those keys that you may just throw on the side. Why not use one in the bedroom to pop the loose change from your pockets or jewellery. I even have one in my bedroom for bobbles and clips. This particular pattern is brilliant as you can make these baskets even bigger! Pop over to Ravelry to find this free download

4. Wreaths

There is nothing nicer than crocheting some incredible and really unique decorative items for your home. Crocheted wreaths can be displayed all year round. I have several which I use at various times of the year. One I haven’t made yet is the springtime wreath from Attic 24! Why not pop over to Attic 24 and check out the pattern

5. Cushions

Who doesn’t love snuggling down on the sofa with a brew and some comfy cushions to prop yourself up on. There are hundreds of patterns out there for crocheted ones and using cotton yarn would mean that they are harder wearing but still lovely and soft. One of my favourite ones is this chevron styled cushion from a Norwegian based crocheter who has translated this pattern into English.

6. Coasters and Place Mats

I made some crocheted place mats several years ago and they have been used practically every night at the dinner table and they still look brand new. Cotton yarn is incredibly hard wearing as well as showing fantastic stitch definition. Again there are hundreds of patterns available both free and paid ones. Here is a pattern for a simple coaster pattern but you can find so many more intricate ones with a simple search on Ravelry. Why not look at doilies too…not for use in the traditional sense but there are some gorgeous ones out there which you can use as placemats. You can even go one step further with place mats and sew them to felt which will help them last even longer

There are so many more patterns out there which you could follow for this yarn. It is perfect for blankets and garments too. Why not have a look on Ravelry to see what you can find. Use the really handy filters to search for specific yarns, weights and project categories to narrow down your search

Hand Dyeing Yarn! This can’t be addictive right?

An innocent looking box had sat in my craft room since Christmas. A box from It’s A Stitch Up and is available for £27 and it contained everything I needed to dye my own skein of yarn. I was so excited when I got this and wanted to get started straight away but I was pretty nervous. I had heard that dyeing yarn was a difficult and lengthy process. I didn’t have an awful lot of spare time, what with a business to run and a toddler at home. So the box sat on the shelf until now, when the UK went into lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contents

The kit was bought for me by my other half after I asked for one. Even told him the one that had been recommended to me and in what colourway I wanted. I had chosen the peacock colourway. You can also choose the Primary colourway or the Flame colourway too. The kit itself contained

  • Little Book Of Yarn Dyeing – a full-colour beginner’s guide
  • 100g skein DK superwash British Bluefaced Leicester yarn
  • 3 x 0.5g vials Procion MX reactive dye pigment
  • 10g citric acid crystals
  • 200ml dropper bottle
  • Wooden stirrers
  • 1 pair disposable gloves
Soaking the yarn

Other than this all I needed was a stainless steel or glass bowl and a microwave (or a veggie steamer) The colours were absolutely stunning. So much more vivid than I imagined.

The book that is supplied is incredible! It explains everything so clearly and in so much detail.

Yarn Spaghetti!

The first step was to soak the yarn in the citric acid and just leave it for half an hour. My little toddler loved watching the process and really enjoyed wearing the skein as a necklace for a few minutes. (She didn’t touch any of the other components or the yarn until it had been finished and dried as the citric acid and the dye pigments can cause skin irritations) After that it was a case of gently squeezing the skein of excess solution and placing it into my sink. At this point it resembled a vast amount of very long spaghetti!

Speckling The Colour

Now came the fun part! I chose to use the speckling method of dyeing the yarn which meant using a fine metal sieve to carefully speckle the dye on the yarn, but other methods were very clearly explained. I could have dip dyed the yarn, painted or immersed the yarn into the dye as they all create very different results.

I found it quite hard to be controlled with the speckling as I just wanted to speckle the whole thing, and I feel that I may have overdone it slightly with the purple but the results were gorgeous regardless. You can see the dye hit the yarn almost instantly and it takes about 10 minutes for it to fully soak into the yarn. You can literally see the colour developing as you watch.

Wrap To Steam
The Finished Skein

The final part of the process is to ‘fix’ the colour. The book recommended steaming it and because I didn’t have a veggie steamer I used the microwave. It was as simple as wrapping it up in cling film, poking a hole in it (gently as you don’t want to wreck your yarn) and blasting it in the microwave for a minute at a time until it starts to steam. Leave it to cool down completely and then hang to dry.

I loved the whole process. It was so easy and quick too. In fact I may have been rather disappointed that I only had 1 skein of yarn to dye as it was all over far too quickly. I now know that if I ever purchase a kit again (which I most definitely will) I can add further dyes and yarn to my order to make the fun last longer. I love the finished skein and I cannot wait to crochet it up into something truly unique. I’ll upload a photo when I have done so!

You can buy your own kit from the It’s A Stitch Up website

What’s The Deal With Crochet Hooks?

My collection (although some are missing)

Crochet hooks…what’s the deal with them? Surely a crochet hook is just a crochet hook right? Well, actually there is a little bit more to crochet hooks than that.

Teeny Tiny vs Fairly Large

First of all let’s look at what a crochet hook actually is. A crochet hook is essentially a longish stick with a hook on one end of it. They come in all different sizes, which affects the size of the stitch, in different materials, which makes a difference in the control the user has over the hook in the hand and there are also differences with the shape of the hook, this means that you may need to change the way you grab the yarn. Some of these differences such as the material of the hook or the shape of the hook are all down to personal preference which is important when shopping for and choosing hooks

The basic anatomy of a crochet hook is the same. There are 5 main features, the head, the throat, shank or shaft, the thumb rest and the handle.

Anatomy of the crochet hook

Head

There are 2 factors to consider when it comes to the head of the crochet hook. The first aspect is the shape of it. Some of them are pointy and some are blunt. So how does this affect the way it works? There are positives and negatives with both, the pointier hooks go through the spaces in the crochet work much easier but they can often split the yarn which can be frustrating. The blunter heads are the opposite, the don’t tend to split the yarn but it often requires more effort o slip the hook through the crochet work.

Inline and Not Inline Hooks

The second factor to consider when it comes to the head on the crochet hook is to whether it is an inline hook or a not inline hook. An inline hook means that the head does not protrude at all, there is just a notch taken out of the throat, whereas the not inline hooks has a slightly protruding head. This affects how you grab the yarn and is all down to personal preference. Some people prefer one over the other, whilst some find they cannot crochet with one or the, personally I prefer the non inline hooks.

Throat

The throat is where the yarn slides over with each stitch, it is where is taper from the shank to the head. Throats can be longer or shorter, it all depends on the brand. You may also find that the inline hooks tend to have a sharper taper whereas the non inline hooks tend to be a more gradual taper.

Shank/Shaft

This is a really important part of the crochet hook. This is the bit that determines the size of the stitch. It is the diameter of this which is the actual size of the hook. So a 4mm hook will have a shaft diameter of 4mm, whereas a 2.5mm hook will have a diameter of 2.5mm

Thumb Rest

This is where many crocheters place their thumb, however, this is not essential. You place your thumb wherever it feels most comfortable for you. It all depends on the handle of your crochet hook too, if your hook is a hand made one with a polymer clay handle it may not have a thumb rest. If your hook is a basic aluminium or plastic one you may find that this is also where the manufacturer puts the size of the hook.

Handle

The handle is where you hold your hook. It should feel comfortable to hold. Many people enjoy using a hook which is the same material all the way down, however, some feel that they are uncomfortable especially when crocheting for long periods of time. This where hooks with handles come in handy. You can purchase hooks with a variety of handles, including wood, rubber or polymer clay. You can also get ergonomic hooks which are shaped. Personally I prefer a rubber  handle which isn’t too thick.

A small selection!

Now we can also think about the hook materials. You may see from the very small selection of my rather extensive collection that there are several variations of hook, there are aluminium, plastic, wood, steel and bamboo. Again, there is a degree of personal preference although some hooks are better suited for certain types of yarn.

Aluminium and plastic are amongst the most popular. They come in a fab range of sizes and are relatively cheap to purchase too. Just be aware that plastic hooks tend to drag certain types of yarn.  

Wooden hooks can be made using many different woods and there are some absolutely beautiful ones out there, just be aware that these may have a rather hefty price tag attached to them too.

Bamboo hooks are a great alternative to wooden hooks and are much cheaper too. They are quite flexible and offer a warmth in the hands.

Steel hooks are often found in the smallest of hook sizes which are used for crocheting thread. They offer a real smoothness and allow the yarn and cotton thread to glide over hook quickly

My Favourite Hook

If you are using a double knit yarn, go for a 4mm or 4.5mm and if you wish to learn using a chunky yarn try to use a 6mm.

So now you know, there is just a little bit more to crochet hooks than you originally thought but what is best to begin with? As a beginner I would always suggest you try out a few different hooks, go into the yarn shop and ask if you can try out a few if you can. Feel the weight of them in your hand. You do not need expensive hooks. My first hook was one from china with a rubber grip and funnily enough it is still my favourite one now

March 2020 Luxury Box

Have a look at our first ever Luxury Wrapped In Comfort Box. I know with everything going on in the world right now we could all do with some comfort which is one of the main reasons why I chose to launch this box now. It will be a bi monthly box and available on pre order only.

Knitting Luxury Box March 2020

Subscribers of this box found 2 skeins of Manos Del Uruguay Alegria in the colourway Antigua. Manos Del Uruguay is a non profit organisation which was set up in the 60s to give economical, social and personal development opportunities to the women in Uruguay’s countryside. Each Manos skein has a tag with the name of the artisan who made it and the coops location. It’s a way to connect the knitter and the artisan who created the yarn. The dying process is an artisanal process with small dye lots made in pots heated by wood fire or gas. The colours are never completely solid, they have beautiful nuances and tone variations. To achieve the spectacular space dyed colours, they dye up to 6 times the same skein, to achieve the complexity of a true piece of art. After being dyed, the yarns are sun-dried in the co-operatives back yard. Every skein is unique, there are no two skeins exactly the same.

Each 100g skein contains approx 405 metres and it is advised that items made using this yarn are hand washed in cool water and laid flat to dry

Crochet Luxury Box March 2020

The patterns I included are from independent designers. The knitting pattern is from Lavender Hill Knits. Her Echarpe Mistral Scarf pattern is absolutely stunning. Julie is based over in the US and she has a number of patterns available which you can see in her Etsy store here https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/lavenderhillknits?ref=shop_sugg

The crochet pattern I included is from RBS Crochet. Her Wading In shawl pattern is absolutely stunning. Rachel is also based over in the US and her pattern is written in US terms so please be aware if you normally use UK crochet terms. She has a number of patterns available which you can see in her Ravelry store here www.ravelry.com/stores/rbscrochet-designs. She would love to see what you create if you add the shawl onto your projects list if you use Ravelry

I have also included a stunning shawl pin which was sourced through a local seller. Unfortunately, this seller does not have an online presence for me to share with you. I was lucky enough to find these and purchase them last month.

March 2020 Boxes

March 2020 Baby Knitting Box

Subscribers found 4 balls of Sirdar’s brand new yarn ‘Replay’ in Bunny Hop Blue. This yarn is absolutely gorgeous and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to have it in the boxes. It has a softly marled effect which gives it the lived-in look of a favourite sweatshirt that feels like it’s been worn and washed to irresistable softness. It has been designed especially for kids, and the lightweight, cotton acrylic blend is perfect for playtime.  It is a really smooth yarn to knit with, and the has all the benefits of cotton yarn with the lightness of the acrylic. The stitch definition is incredible too. Each 50g ball contains approx 150 metres and it is machine washable on 40°

March 2020 Crochet Baby Box

Because of the gorgeous effect that this yarn creates and the incredible softness I decided that the perfect pattern for this yarn is a simple jumper. The addition of the buttons on the shoulder gives the pattern a little something special to it.

I included buttons which are a matching blue but have a beautiful striped effect on them to add a little something special to it.

The treat this month is a pair of stork scissors. These are incredibly popular right now. Did you know that the first ever stork scissors were created in the 19th century and used by midwives as a clamp to stop the bloodflow in a new born babys umbilical cord? The design has changed somewhat as the original designs were blunt with the beak being at a 45° angle!

February 2020 Boxes

February marks a full year of boxes. With it being our Birthday box what is better than cake?

February Crochet Subscription Box
February 2020 Crochet Subscription Box

This month to celebrate subscribers received cakes of 2 Bernat Simply Softee Stripes. I decided on a gorgeously bright colourway called ‘Over The Rainbow’. Each cake is 120g and contains approx 262 metres. It is also machine washable and can be placed in the tumble drier on a low heat, which is kind of essential for babies really.

I chose 4 different patterns for each of the boxes so everyone will get to choose what to make (not that you need to use the supplied patterns!) There is a pattern for a sweet little pullover or if you feel like making something a bit different you could make the hats and booties. I have even included a little fluffy pom pom if anybody wanted to add it. The colours within in the yarn are so lovely I am itching to found out what everybody chooses to make.

Engraved Pen
I Love Yarn Engraved Pen

The yarn this month is American and I chose patterns from the same brand which meant that the crochet patterns used American terms. To help anybody to convert the patterns I popped in a handy little stitch conversion guide.

I chose lovely bright green buttons which I thought would be a little different and help create a unique little outfit along with the usual Crocheted or Knitted With Love tag which can be sewn in.

The feedback from subscribers already this month definitely show that the little treat has gone down amazingly well. I had some beautiful rose gold pens engraved with ‘I Love Yarn’ for everyone. I was over the moon when these arrived as it really is a stunning pen. It has a perfect weight balance to it and will be perfect to pop into a project bag or handbag.

Do you craft? Why?

An ever growing number of the population are now turning to craft. Each year the economic growth of the craft industry increases. This is fantastic news for crafters and artisans but why is it that the UK is becoming a bustling hive of creativity?

XKH145294 Visit of the Angel, from the right wing of the Buxtehude Altar, 1400-10 (tempera on panel) by Master Bertram of Minden (c.1345-c.1415); Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany; German, out of copyright

Is it a resurgence of the arts and crafts movement? Perhaps people want to make sure that historical skills are not forgotten? Maybe its people like Kirstie Allsop showcasing crafts throughout the year on national television?  Or is it the fact that crafting has more benefits than we realise? Crafts such as knitting have been around since, most likely 1000AD starting in Eygpt where it started to spread through the continents.

My own journey through the world of crafts started as a child. My mum taught me how to sew, how to bake, knit and crochet. I loved receiving craft kits full of glitter and glue as presents. Fast forward a few years and this love of crafting fell by the wayside. Life got in the way. I grew up and responsibility beckoned. GCSEs, A Levels passed and university meant working 2 part time jobs and late night essay writing.

I suppose that this is when things started to get tough for me. The constant hamster wheel of adulthood pulled me into a monotonous, boring life. Every day was the same. I began to need something that wasn’t, so I turned to crafts. I tried all sorts. Jewellery making and baking were attempted but I got frustrated and agitated with them. I wasn’t able to put my own stamp on my creations and baking, well…I blamed the fact that my oven was naff!

But then I picked up a pair of knitting needles. It took me 3 weeks to make my first scarf. Three weeks of swearing at the yarn and flinging the damn needles across the room, but I persevered. God know where that scarf is now but I was so proud of myself. By the end I had managed to get a rhythm going, the calming sound of the yarn sliding over the needles allowed my brain to switch off.

But it wasn’t enough; it was too slow for me. So I tried to remember how to crochet. From the moment I mastered the basis stitches I was hooked. Crochet became my release. A way to clear my head. I still have my first ever crochet granny square somewhere. It’s laughable how bad it actually is.

A riot of colour when there was none in my life

Life progressed and got in the way again and I didn’t pick up my crochet again till several years later when I was in a very bad place. My baby boy had passed away at just a day old and my marriage had broken down. A visit from the bereavement midwife came with a warning. She knew all I wanted was to be with my son. She could see that I was heading towards self-harm. She encouraged me to pick up my crochet hook. Just stitch she said, don’t follow a pattern, don’t make anything specific; just focus on the way the yarn twists itself around.

I did, and I can honestly and truthfully say that without crochet I would more than likely not be here today. It was a release, my mind focused on counting each row. After a while the tension I was holding in my body disappeared, my hands and arms no longer felt alien.

‘Uglyghan’

I am still making that blanket. I call it my ‘uglyghan’ I produced a riot of colour when there was none in my life. There is no method to it, I just grab a ball of yarn and crochet the whole thing into it. I always reach for this when I am feeling particularly low. These kinds of days are getting fewer and fewer and the blanket doesn’t grow as quick now.

Even my own subscribers have said the same. Crafting helps them to cope with chronic pain, depression, mind-set, self-esteem and insomnia. I have heard that doctors and nurses are prescribing activities such as knitting and crocheting too.

If you ask around, at the crafters that undoubtedly surround us all, you will find that many of them started as a form of therapy. A way to help alleviate the darkness of depression and anxiety.

So what do you think? Is the increasing demand of crafting here to stay?

January 2020 Boxes

Did you know that this is our 12th box? I cannot believe that HIY has been operational for 12 months now!

January 2020 Knit Box
January 2020 Knit Box

This is quite a special box as the profits from the boxes sent this month will be donated to a charity very close to my heart. I will let you know the exact amount when I have finished totalling it all up, but it will all go to SANDs, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support. As you know, the reason behind HIY was my little boy who passed away at just a day old. I was supported, and still am, by SANDs, with local support meetings and with a lovely lady who came to visit me often at home during those very dark first few months. Without their support I wouldn’t be here now and you wouldn’t be receiving your lovely boxes. I also ordered extra yarn which will be used to make up items for the Manchester St Marys NICU where my little Theo was looked after.

The January boxes contain 3 balls of King Cole Bin Ends (Don’t be put off by the name of these). These balls of yarn are made with charity knitting and crochet in mind. They are acrylic which means the garments made with them are all machine washable and can even go in the tumble drier on a low setting. I chose lemon for this box. I thought it would be nice and bright and would add a little sunshine into the dark days we are having right now.  

There is also matching ‘smartie’ buttons and little Knitted or Crocheted With Love tags that can be sewn in too.

It started out as a harmless hobby!

The little treat this month is a wooden spinning yarn and thread holder. I have had one for a number of years and love using it. I did have to take them apart to get them in the boxes, but the top part just slides over the base, pop you ball of yarn on (they hold a 100g ball of yarn beautifully) and away you go! I love it as it stops the yarn from bobbing about and potentially rolling around on the floor.

As normal, I have tried to make sure that everything in the box could be re used. Many subscribers like gifting the items made and use the tissue paper and ribbon to carefully wrap the garment and place it in the box!

Don’t forget there is an exclusive Facebook Group just for subscribers of the Hook It Yourself Box. Here you can show your box makes, ask for advice and just talk and natter about anything crochet related. Just search for Hook It Yourself VIP and enter the code you see in your newsletter.

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