Hook and a Book | Product Review & Coupon Code


Disclaimer: I did receive a free sample of this product however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the product.


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You may have guessed by my blog and posts that I am completely passionate about all things crochet…but I actually have another hobby which I love just as much. If I’ve got the time and it’s not a hook in my hand then you’ll usually find a book. So when I was contacted by the owner of Hook and a Book, to see if I’d like to review her subscription boxes, from the name alone I already knew I was probably going to love it. 

Hook and a Book is the brain-child of Maddy McMurray an avid crocheter and bookworm turned craft-entrepreneur.  Originally from Perth, in Western Australia, she moved to the UK in 2011 where she worked in various operations-based roles.  But with growing job dissatisfaction and a newly diagnosed headache and migraine condition she decided that something had to change – and that’s when Hook and a Book was born.  Maddy cleverly moulded her passions into a monthly book and crochet subscriptions box creating a book club and crochet gift in one. Each box is carefully curated around a particular surprise book with yarn, a pattern and other goodies. 

Maddy was kind enough to send me the August box to have a look at and I eagerly waited for it to arrive. First off I need to say that to me the idea of combining crochet and reading is just inspired! I absolutely LOVE the concept! And it was all very exciting to have the parcel delivered without knowing what I was going to find inside…

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Underneath the tissue paper I found a lovely little letter from Hook and a Book, a copy of The Art of Dancing in the Rain by Garth Stein, one ball each of Stylecraft Special Aran (in shades Empire and Emperor), an ergonomic 4mm (US size G) hook, two little Beanies coffee sachets (mint chocolate and double chocolate) and a pattern by Simply Hooked by Janet to make a cute doggy themed coffee cup cosy. There was also a special password to the Hook and a Book website to find hints and tips for the current box.

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I adored how carefully everything had been selected and styled in similar colours; the yarn matched the book cover, the book was linked with the pattern and the pattern was linked with the coffee gift. 

I also really liked the fact that the book was not one that I perhaps would have picked for myself but that’s the way that you discover treasures you never even knew existed isn’t it! And The Art of Dancing in the Rain is a little gem of a book. I’m not going to give too much away but the plot follows the protagonist dog Enzo (great name for a dog) as he takes stock of his life. You can’t help but fall in love with Enzo even if you aren’t a dog lover. Though the story is told from Enzo’s point of view the book isn’t really about dogs at all, it’s a story about family, love, loyalty, and hope. I got totally caught up with the characters (which is always the sign of a good book in my eyes) and was completely invested in finding out how it was all going to end. But to find that out you’ll have to give it a read – I will say that you might want to have some tissues ready!

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I was very pleased to see Stylecraft Aran in the box. It happens to be some of my favourite yarn as it’s always a delight to work with, and Empire and Emperor are two of my particular favoured colourways. The cup cosy, worked in tapestry crochet, turned out very cute. I chose to hook up the little paw print design, or I could have chosen a bone, and I think the end result would look grand on any dog lovers coffee cup. And as an added bonus there was still loads of yarn left over to add to my stash! 

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I very much enjoyed all the contents and my experience with my box from Hook and a Book! The perfect gift for a book or crochet lover subscriptions start at £21 per month with different options for 3, 6 or yearly subscriptions.  There is also the option for a one off box so you can try before you subscribe AND they also offer international subscriptions so no one has to miss out.

If you’d like to try Hook and a Book be sure to use the following coupon link ‘WELCOME‘ for 10% discount. Big thank you to Maddy for offering this special deal to my lovely KCACO.UK readers! 

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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I Like Crochet Magazine | October 2017 Edition


Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, when you make a purchase through these links I do receive a small commission – thank you so much for supporting my blog! 💗


The October 2017 issue of I Like Crochet is officially here and it’s jam packed full of exciting new crochet patterns – including a little Halloween themed pattern from your’s truly!

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If you haven’t heard of I Like Crochet magazine before it’s a US bi-monthly digital magazine which is published by the creators of AllFreeCrochet.com.

So let me tell you about my new pattern. You can now keep baby clean this Halloween with a fun pumpkin bib.

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Designed for easy make-ability this jack-o’-lantern baby bib is just perfect for any little pumpkin’s first Halloween. My little one will definitely sporting this bib and enjoying Halloween in style!  If you’d like to add this pattern to your queue / favourites on Ravelry you can do here.

The lovely people at I Like Crochet also gave me the opportunity to view the October issue of the magazine to tell you about the other patterns available. Some of my favourites include the Frightfully Adorable Bat Set by Amanda Saladin which is just CUTE it almost hurts the eyes with how ridiculously adorable it is! 

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And there’s plenty of patterns for grown ups too! The issues takes a cue from fall’s changing foliage with gorgeous variegated colourways featuring in scarves and shawls and another of my favourite patterns for this edition – socks! Aren’t these Caramel Corn Slipper Socks by Kristi Simpson just good enough to eat!

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I’m also completely in love with the Herbal Tea Cardi by Kristen TenDyke, it completely fulfil’s my current love affair for mustard coloured yarn, and it would make a great piece for layering as the days turn chillier!

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I advise you to stock up on rustic and autumnal colours, pick up a copy of the magazine and get hooking! 

There are over 27 beautiful patterns in the October edition but if you enjoy crochet magazines you might want to consider a subscription.  1 year membership starts at as little as $19.97 / £15.87 – so if you subscribe you do save! 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Out of this World | Mystery Amigurumi Crochet Along


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Who’s ready for a Mystery Amigurumi Crochet Along?

Following a poll,  in the KCACO-UK Community Facebook group about a mini Crochet-Along (CAL) for 2017, it was decided that we should do an amigurumi!!! This is the first time I’ve done a CAL with something other than a blanket and my very first mini mystery CAL (MMCAL) so I’m quite excited about it! And if this isn’t for you don’t worry I’m going to try and work in another mini crochet-along, a little later this year, for the other poll favourite choice of something Christmassy!

This is a great CAL for anyone who’s never tried an amigurumi as we will be taking it slowly – you could even make several different versions during the mystery!

Details of the Mystery…

  • We will begin on Monday 18th September 2017 
  • There is no charge to join the CAL; anyone can join in as long as they have some yarn and a hook.
  • The mystery will run for 5 days; For those that like a deadline I will be adding new details about the mystery each day from the 18th Sept at 7 pm-ish (GMT time) – see below for full schedule. For those that want to hook when they have the time then that’s fine too; no pressure to this CAL it’s all about having fun!

Materials…

  • For this design I used double knit/8 ply/yarn weight #3 and a 3.5mm (US size D/3 or E/4 will be fine). The pattern will also work in worsted /aran/ yarn weight #4 with a larger hook such as a 4mm (US size G) – your finished project will just be bigger!
  • You will need about 60g / 177m / 193 yds of yarn TOTAL; this design could be a great stashbuster for yarn you have lying around; I used three different colours but use as many colours as you want! 
  • You will also need some toy stuffing, 3 x 9mm or 12mm black or green safety eyes, scissors and a yarn needle.

The Basics…

We will be using simple stitches in this crochet-along but you will need to know how to work:

  • Chain (ch)
  • Slip Stitch (Sl St)
  • UK double crochet (dc) / US single crochet (sc)
  • UK double crochet two together (dc2tog) / US single crochet two together (sc2tog)

Many sections of this CAL are also worked without joining in continuous rounds  (rnds) by placing a stitch marker in either the the top of the first st to mark start of rnd.

The Keep Calm Crochet Community…

  • The hashtag for this CAL is #ootwCAL. Make sure you link me your wip’s via your favourite social media sites: RavelryFacebook page or Facebook groupTwitter,  Pinterest and Instagram!
  • The ravelry link to add to your queue / favourites is here.
  • Once the final clue is released I would love you to submit a picture so I can feature you on Facebook, the blog and in my Newsletter.
  • You will have until Saturday 30 September to submit a finished photo to used in my galleries.

Schedule…

It’s all very exciting isn’t it!! I can’t wait to see your projects – and hear your guesses on what we are making! 

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Tahiti Sunset Skinny Scarf | FREE Crochet Pattern


So today’s post links onto my last post which was a yarn review of Patons Tahiti Yarn (which you can read about here). As promised I’ve got a brand new pattern for you, just perfect for the sunny weather. 

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You might not think a scarf to be your typical summer accessory but my new Tahiti Sunset Skinny Scarf, made in lightweight breathable cotton yarn, is one of the most versatile accessories that you can add to your wardrobe this year.

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The perfect length for a carefree look; wrapped around your neck with the loose ends hanging down in front. Or why not tie it in a bow and combine with blouses or dresses – so many options for both formal and informal occasions. The Tahiti skinny scarf provides a unique way to enhance the look of a simple outfit and add effortless style to pretty much anything you wear!

Add the Tahiti Sunset Skinny Scarf to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue where you can also get an no-ad PDF version of just the pattern for only £1.00 / $1.25 or for a print friendly of this page please scroll to the bottom of this post and click on the Print & PDF button. 

Tahiti Sunset Skinny Scarf:

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Yarn:  3ply / Light Fingering Yarn

  • 50g / 280m / 306yds

Hook: 2 mm / US size B-1

Size: 183cm long x 5cm wide / 72” long x 2” wide

Gauge: 

Establishing the correct gauge is not critical to this pattern. Pattern will work in other yarns though gauge/size will be different.

Abbreviations: 

  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • sp = space
  • sl st = slip stitch
  • ch(s) = chain  
  • dc/sc= UK double crochet / US single crochet
  • tr/dc = UK treble / US double crochet

See stitch guidance below for following abbreviation clarification:

  • 2-1-2-tr/dc shell
  • V-Stitch

Stitch Guidance:

  • Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and pull through all loops.
  • UK Double Crochet/US Single Crochet (dc/sc): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.
  • UK Treble / US Double Crochet (tr/dc): Yarn over, insert hook in next st and pull up a loop (three loops on hook), yarn over, pull through two loops, yarn over, pull through remaining two loops on hook.
  • 2-1-2-tr/dc shell: Work 2 tr/dc, 1ch, 2 tr/dc in indicated st or ch sp.
  • V-Stitch: Work tr/dc, 2ch, tr/dc in indicated st or ch sp.

Pattern:

Row 1: Ch 15, V-stitch in 4th ch from hook *miss next 2sts, 2-1-2-tr/dc shell in next st, miss next 2sts, * V-stitch in next st, repeat * to * once, tr/dc in the last st, turn (14sts + 2 x 2ch sps and 2 x 1ch sps)

Row 2: Ch 3, *V-stitch in next ch sp, 2-1-2-tr/dc shell the next ch sp,* repeat * to * once, tr/dc in the last st, turn

Row 3: Ch 3, *2-1-2-tr/dc shell the next ch sp, V-stitch in next ch sp, * repeat * to * once, tr/dc in the last st, turn

Rows 4—205: Repeat rows 2-3 for the pattern, do not fasten off but move to edging.

Edging:

  • Sl st into the nearest corner, work [dc/sc, 3ch, dc/sc, 3ch, dc/sc, 3ch, dc/sc] into the same corner area and in each corner sp.
  • Then work evenly along the length (in each ch3 and tr/dc) work dc/sc, 3ch.
  • Along each width you will work dc/sc, 3ch in each 2ch sp.

And that’s it!

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Make sure you share your finished projects on your favourite social media sites: RavelryLoveCrochet.comFacebook page or Facebook groupTwitter,  Pinterest and Instagram and if you are featured in my newsletter you could win a pattern of your choice!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Christmas in July SALE!!!


It’s Christmas in July!!!  Get started on those holiday projects now and avoid Christmas stress and hand ache in December! ALL my patterns are now HALF PRICE, in my Ravelry store, until the 31 July 2017.

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Choose from my range of Christmas themed patterns…

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Or make a start on gifts; I have something to suit everyone – from kids to co-workers!

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No coupon code is needed, discounts will be applied at the checkout! The more you buy, the more you save!

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Margaret’s Hug Healing Prayer Shawl | Free Crochet Chart


I think I have said before that one of the patterns I am most proud of is my Margaret’s Hug Healing / Prayer Shawl. Since I shared this free pattern, and the story of it’s creation, in February 2014 on Ravelry alone it has now been downloaded over 40 thousand times!

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Some of you have asked after my mother-in-law, after who the shawl was named, and I’m sorry to say that she lost her battle with cancer nearly two years ago.  Margaret was a midwife / nurse all her working life and a kinder, more caring person you couldn’t wish to meet – she is very much missed by us all everyday! But I believe her legacy lives on in the idea of this shawl; I’m sure she would love the idea of her namesake being used to support people in need.

Many of you have shared your your own projects and your own stories about making the shawl for yourselves and for others. I want to thank you all for sharing details of what has often been a challenging time for you, friends and family – and for anyone still struggling I send you much love and well wishes. 

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I have had a few people contact me to say they have had trouble making up the shawl, I did make a rather shaky video (available here) to try and help. I’ll be the first to admit it’s not the best demonstration and I will hopefully be working on making a better video as soon as I’m able! But in the interim I thought charting up the pattern for you might help. 

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The downloadable pattern has now been updated with the chart and is available for download from Ravelry and LoveCrochet.com.

This shawl will always be a free pattern so others can make a hug for someone in need; however if you would like to pass on the couple of pounds/dollars you would have paid for this pattern to Cancer Research then that would make you extremely awesome!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Speedy the Sloth


Love sloths? Well I hope you’ll love my new Speedy Sloth design out now in Issue 90 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine! Make sure you don’t ‘hang around’ and pick up your copy today!

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I always love the styling that the magazine do with my designs – just look how cute Speedy looks hanging around in the bamboo!

Speedy’s arms and legs pop open with snap fasteners so he can flit between trees or simply take a seat somewhere comfy.  

If you are not familiar with LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine it comes as an exclusive pack containing six balls of yarn, a pair of needles and a hook so that you can get started straight away. Deputy Editor Jessica talks you through the latest issue in a great little video below.

LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine can be found in major supermarkets and stores across the UK. So pop down the shop and get your copy now or you can find out about more about the magazine over on their website here.

And the very exciting news I have to share with you is that you can get Speedy the Sloth for FREE over on topcrochetpatterns.com or why not save him to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue here to hook up later.

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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