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.**

Cute make 

This little paw print cosy for a take-away coffee mug has been occupying me the last few days, whenever I’ve sat down to take advantage of the bright sunny weather. I haven’t done any tapestry crochet for ages, so really enjoyed practising my rusty skills. More about where the pattern and kit came from very soon…. I have to take a little black cat, with a powder puff tail, to the vet shortly so this is a very quick post.
I’ve still got three more chapters of As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee to read! I’ve been out a lot recently, so no time for reading before lights out. I have started a new audio book though; The State We’re In by Adele Parks.  This is ticking all the boxes so far, with time jumping all over the decades, seemingly unconnected characters and a dying man trying to connect with someone he’s neglected for 30 odd years. It’s my kind of book. Easy come, easy go and it’s always enjoyable trying to work out who’s who and why and what.

If you’d like to share what you’re making and reading every Wednesday too, leave a link in the comments. Don’t forget to link back to this post on your blog, and use #yarningalong on social media, so others can find us and join us in Yarning Along.

Hip Hurray!

20130514-091848.jpg
I’ve been working on a cushion front from the Hip Crochet book I won in a giveaway last week. It’s been quite funny because it was impossible to keep the balls of yarn organised. It all begins well, then of course you turn the piece at the end of rows and the balls are on the wrong side and you’re gradually wrapped up like a fly in a spider’s web. I’ve missed a couple of ‘phone calls over the last week trying to untangle myself!

This is a jacquard pattern, unlike intarsia where you have separate bobbins or small balls of colours for each section, you strand the yarn across. I like this method. You have to be careful with your tension, leave too little yarn stranded across and you’d have a very scrunched flag.

This needs to be blocked, there’s plenty of give in the strands so I’m not worried. I haven’t blocked a thing yet, to be honest it’s going to be more like ‘stretch gently as I crochet the front and back together.’ Acrylic doesn’t wet block well I’ve read as the fibres just go back to the way they were before. Maybe steam and tugging would be the way to go, if I was going to….?
20130514-093154.jpg

The colour chart pattern is easy enough to follow though the technique of changing multiple colours (and not choking yourself in a ‘death by yarn wrapping’ manner) is probably middling to boffin level of crochet. I used a post it note stuck above the row I was currently working on to keep my place in the pattern. A Pony row counter ensured I was on track too. Like others, who’ve reviewed the book, I feel the omission of a skill indicator required for each project is a shame and would be a useful guide for newer crocheters.

20130514-100627.jpg

Next I need to make the stripey back cover which is worked in two parts that button together. It’s a little disappointing that there’s two pages showing the front of the cushion, but no photo of the back. However you’ll have nothing to compare mine to, so it might be in my favour!

I like Natalie’s notes at the end of the pattern: ‘The Union Jack is not a symmetrical pattern, the bottom corners are the reverse of the top opposite corners. Purists will point out that this flag is upside down. Popular culture in the 1960s saw the motif used as clothing and even on the mini car.’ No purists here.

Have you tried the intarsia or jacquard technique?