Secret Crochet Club – review 

Secret Crochet Club is a brand new monthly UK based subscription box, launched last month by Nade Hamilton, based in North Devon. I had seen a countdown for the first box on Instagram, and so when Nade offered to send me the first one to review I was delighted. I admit to feeling pretty intrigued as to what it was all about, name anything ‘secret’ and I’m hooked. They are produced in collaboration with independent designers, makers and small businesses to bring a monthly, limited edition box. Each one will feature an exclusive crochet pattern. The contents are top secret until everyone has received their box. Unless someone has a VERY nippy postie and puts theirs on social media I guess, but I like to think most people are pretty well behaved and won’t spoil the surprise!

The excitement factor was high as I opened the box. It was fun revealing each layer. I felt like I was playing pass-the-parcel for one.

The contents of the box:

3 balls of Cygnet DK 100g balls in Royal, Cranberry, Barley, Rising Sun Bag pattern, 3.5mm crochet hook, a screen-printed project bag, a crochet planner (I like this very much), stitch marker, 3 yarn pegs, darning needle, 2 hot-chocolate blocks.

This feels like a nice lot of goodies and would definitely be a lovely surprise for a friend, or for you. Each box will apparently contain an exclusive crochet pattern, yarn from new and established brands, all the tools you need to complete the project, a screen-printed project bag and extra treats too.

The Rising Sun bag pattern is designed by Veronika of Blue Star Crochet Company and, as stated in the professional all-singing all-dancing (not really, there’s no dancing, or singing come to think of it) colour booklet, the pattern lends itself to any colour scheme. I’m thinking a nice thick DK or aran weight cotton might work well and make for a very strong bag. The good thing about this box is that it’s full sized balls of yarn, and not little amounts wound for a specific pattern, which you may not fancy making anyway. This means you could obviously choose to use it on other projects, or substitute different yarns for the pattern. When you’re getting a surprise box a month you’re naturally going to prefer some patterns or yarns to others, but that’s the nature of subscription boxes.

I really like the simple but effective logo and the presentation of the box was well done with all the layers. The quality of the items seems good, although Cygnet is not a brand I know. The colour booklet shows various photos of the bag to accompany the pattern, this is good. The pattern looks clearly written and laid out. The only thing that I’m not sure about is the yarn pegs. If the boxes were all going to contain the same brand of yarn, in different colours each month, I could see that building a collection could be fun and a useful tool for planning future projects. However as the yarn will be from different companies I’m not sure how having odd yarn pegs will be useful. I haven’t tried the hot chocolate blocks yet, but they look the business. I DO have some mini-marshmallows in my baking cupboard, so they won’t be around for much longer.

A one-off box is £28.95, a 3 month sub will cost you £83 and a 6 month subscription is £160. UK boxes are postage free, while there is a £3.95 additional charge for worldwide shipping. A subscription for a SCC box isn’t the cheapest box on the market, it seems to be at the top end, given it contains 100% acrylic yarn.  If you priced up each item individually you might find this is a good overall price, although of course you probably already have favoured hooks, project bags and little bits and bobs like darning needles and stitch markers, meaning it’s not easy to justify a monthly subscription spend. But this type of box seems to be all about the happy post element and having a monthly treat to look forward to, according to serious and sustained research I’ve undertaken (asking crafty friends in the pub…) You could always pass on unwanted items to friends and make their day (they say, are they hinting?)

There are discount codes for use with all the box’s collaborators : a 25% discount off another Blue Star Crochet Company pattern, 10% off all patterns by Robin (maker of the cute little stitch marker) 10% for one purchase from the craft and hobby section of Lucy The Stationery Geek’s products and finally a 10% discount on Emily aka The Polkadot Giraffe’s Etsy store (she of the yarn pegs.) This feels like a good bonus and will hopefully bring more custom to these independent sellers.

Nade has offered a discount code exclusive to my lovely readers. Yep, that’s you: it’s LittleRoom1017 and will give you £5 off your first subscription to the Secret Crochet Club.

**A one-off box was supplied by the creator for my review. All opinions are mine and completely honest.**

 

Hook and a Book – review


Hook and a Book is a monthly subscription box. Each month you get a new novel, full sized balls of yarn and a pattern(s) relating to the theme of the book, plus a little treat too.

It costs £21 a month, or you may also purchase a one-off box for £24. This seems like quite a hefty price, especially as a seasoned crocheter you’re unlikely to need a new hook each time, particularly a 4mm like I received. It is more expensive than other crochet subscription boxes, but you’re getting a brand new novel too. With these type of subscription boxes you don’t know what you’re getting in advance. I’ve never subscribed to anything similar, but imagine that the element of surprise and feeling like you’ve been given a present must be enjoyable. I certainly felt pleased when my box arrived last Friday. It was nicely presented; with co-ordinating tape, tissue and the font on the pattern cards all a pretty purple.

The little treat was two sachets of Beanies instant coffee, ok so it’s not Haribo, but that’s probably a good thing for my waistline! The Stylecraft aran yarn is going to be really handy for using on other makes as there is plenty left. I enjoyed practising my tapestry crochet skills on the cute paw print mug cozy again. There’s also one with a bone design to make.

I was surprised that there was no picture of the cup cozies in the box. I found out what they looked like after a day or two, by looking on Instagram as people showed their finished items. I’m not sure why this was omitted. I would definitely add one to each box as you naturally want to see what you’re going to be making.

I guess there is always the issue that you might have already read the book of the month, or it’s not a genre you enjoy, but as a frequent regifter I do not see this as being too much of a problem. I’ll give the cup cozy and book to my friend. As a new dog owner she’ll really appreciate both. I have seen on IG that others have paired up; with one reading the book and the other doing the crochet, which seems like a nice plan.

Subscribers receive a password to a Hints and Tips podcast on Vimeo. Maddie makes a cup holder, or maybe both, designed by Simply Hooked by Janet, I admit that I didn’t watch all of the tutorial. What I watched (about 30 minutes) is mostly in real time, apart from a few speeded up sections. I felt the process could have been edited to speed it up; as at nearly an hour it felt far too long. I just wanted to see Maddie demonstrating how-tos for tapestry crochet, rather than watch the whole process of chaining 30+ stitches and double crochet. This might be a personal preference, as others may enjoy crocheting along and need help with tapestry crochet. She did remind me of a neat trick I’d forgotten, where you can keep your chain from twisting before joining it into a round.

Vimeo do not, as yet, have the function to go back or forward for so many seconds at a time, like other online sites. This makes it tricky to skip parts, or go back to re-watch others; you end up watching the same sections. Maddie does endeavour to make it fun, telling cracker type jokes as she goes. This was my fave:

Why did the sheep stop going to bars? She didn’t like getting carded.

Boom-tish!

The background music though, oh the music! It gets really annoying which was the main reason why I couldn’t bring myself to crochet along any longer. It’s repetitive and seemed overly loud. But of course you’re not obliged to watch the podcast to do the crochet. I put my own music on and used the charted version of the pattern (both kinds of pattern are included) and really enjoyed the hooky, sitting in the autumn sun.

There are pro and cons to any subscription box; one month there might be one which really takes your fancy and another which misses. The yarn and pattern(s) in this one-off Hook and a Book box were good, the book is clearly brand new and arrived in excellent condition. If you’d like to subscribe here’s a link to Hook and a Book.

26/09/17 Maddie is offering readers 10% off your first box. If you’re interested click HERE.

**A one-off box was supplied by the creator for my review. All opinions are mine and completely honest.**