Almost a year ago, I was asked to contribute two patterns to a new book that would combine therapeutic exercises with complementary crochet projects. The idea was literally crochet as therapy. I thought this was a wonderful idea and I couldn’t be more happier with the end result. This beautiful book arrived a few weeks ago and was released in the US, a few days ago.
Behold, Crochet Therapy by Betsan Corkhill. First off all, let me brag a little: the mandalas on the cover are my project. I actually crocheted each of those! The photography and styling in this book is phenomenal. Every scene is light, calming, and downright gorgeous. All of the projects compliment each other so well.
This photo is opposite the introduction page.
Let’s get down to the book itself. Betsan Corkhill is a well-being expert with a background in physiotherapy. She combines her medical knowledge with her craftiness and is a champion of the use of fiber arts as a therapeutic tool. The book is comprised of ten exercises, each accompanied by two crochet projects to enhance the benefits for your well-being. The exercises incorporate mindfulness, visualization, relaxation, daydreaming, and motivation. You can start from the beginning, or choose which you need specific help with. Why does crochet (and knitting!) work so well at creating a healthier, calmer, more creative mind?
It’s known that two-handed, coordinated patterns of movement that cross the midline of the body take up a lot of brain capacity. The brain can’t fully focus on two things at a time, so the more absorbing the task, the less capacity it has to pay attention to issues that are detrimental to your well-being.
Crafing will help take your mind off things that are making you anxious, or stressed out in general. I think we can all use a little bit less stress and anxiety, don’t you think?
My two projects, the mandalas (seen best on the cover) and a round pillow, are part of the “Calm” chapter. The mandalas are a simple 9-round pattern that is easily memorized. You can take your hook and a bit of your yarn in your bag to crochet one whenever you find yourself in need of a calm few minutes. The pillow emulates rippling water. It’s a simple round construction with a few three-dimensional rounds (like ripples!). It’s crocheted in bulky yarn (I used Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick & Quick) and works up very fast. It would make a fantastic calming housewarming gift.
Some of my other favorite projects in the book:
I’m swooning over that puff flower quilt!
Overall, I really love Crochet Therapy. It’s a book for every level of crochet, beginner to expert. Even the most seasoned crocheter will get something out of it. I always knew crochet was something to do when I needed to destress and focus, but now I have something I can utilize to help me gain even more benefits from the craft. I highly recommend the book to anyone who would like to learn about how crafting in general can help you be more mindful in your everyday life.
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Disclaimer: Haven for Hands sent me a set of hooks to review. All opinions are my own. This post include Amazon affiliate links.
A few months ago, I was contacted by Haven for Hands to ask if I was interested in reviewing a new set of crochet hooks. OF COURSE I WAS! I love to crochet and having an extra set of my favorite sizes is super handy.
This is the Haven for Hands Ergonomic Crochet Hook set, now available on Amazon at a GREAT price!
The set comes with nine hooks that have a super comfy grip. The sizes included are from 2.0 – 6.0 mm in 0.5 mm increments. You’ll notice 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 mm (US B, C, and D) are actually different from regular conversion charts, but that didn’t bother me because now I have sizes that fit between my others. It broadens my crochet reach.
The set also includes a retractable tape measure, a pair of folding scissors with serrated edges, and 10 plastic stitch markers. Everything fits nicely in a roll-up cloth carrying case. There are two colors options to choose from on Amazon! It is perfect for throwing in your purse, when you know you’re going to start a project away from home.
I’ve had these for a few months, so I feel like I can give you a fully-formed opinion.
First up, the handles are GREAT! They have just the right amount of squish for a grip. The part closest to the hook is firm enough for my style of crochet hold, while the bottom tip is flexible for resting in my palm.
Second, The metal hooks are super smooth and glide beautifully through yarn. The hook is pointy without being overly stabby, which is what I like!
Look at those colors! The engraved sizes are a great detail. You don’t ever have to worry about smudging the text.
Overall, these hooks work really well and are a great addition to my collection. I’ve already lost and found a few in my couch. I consider that a rite of passage for all my craft tools.
Check out Haven for Hands around the web:
Disclaimer: This post contains a review for a kit I received from Wool and the Gang. All opinions are my own.
Hello, friends. I cannot believe it’s been over a month since I touched base with you guys. While summer is upon us and wool is the last thing we want to think about, crochet and knitting are still activities I do on a daily basis. When the weather isn’t quite appropriate for woolly accessories, I turn my focus to other fibers and types of accessories, like lace shawls, cotton yarn, and housewares. The latter is something I’ve drifted away from, the past few years. When we first bought our house, I went a little nuts making pillows, weaving doilies, crocheting blankets, ottomans, etc. I kind of missed it, so I was thrilled to hear about the new line of crochet patterns for the home from Wool and the Gang.
If you remember, I reviewed one of WATG’s knitting kits, way back in February (see here). I loved the presentation of the kits, from the way they are packaged, to the way the patterns are explained. The same goes for the crochet kit I received a few weeks ago. The Bestitched Box Crochet Kit contained 4 cones of their Jersey Be Good yarn, yarn needles for finishing, a pattern booklet, and (the optional) crochet hook. It’s everything you need to complete your project. You only have to decide what colors to use and what to put in it when you’re done.
I must admit: I had never used jersey yarn! I had heard about it, I have jersey sheets I want to turn into it, and I love projects made from it…but I had never tried it! My first impression of the cones of yarn were they were softer than I had imagined. That’s weird because I wear t-shirts all the time, so of course it would be soft! It felt a lot stronger, too. I guess I imagined it to be super stretchy and kind of cumbersome to use, but it wasn’t at all. I enjoyed crocheting with it very much. My basket feels quite sturdy and I can see it lasting for years.
The Bestitched Box pattern comes with directions for two sizes of boxes and includes photos plus information for pretty much every step. The details say it is recommended for intermediate crocheters, but I believe a beginner would be able to make it. It is made entirely in single crochet, so as long as you know how to change colors (for the stripes), you should be able to complete the box. I made the small one and it is an approximately 8″ square.
The colors I received are “golden compass” and “white noise.” The white is very bright and the yellow leans more toward a buttercup yellow than a golden yellow. It’s still lovely! Also, isn’t my Made Unique pin the best? Sigh. I want to put it on EVERYTHING, but it might end up on a tote this summer.
I loved the photo on the kit of a mix of succulents in the box, so I used this as an excuse to buy more plants. I chose four different ones, including a sedum, pachyveria, jade (gollum), and echeveria. I think they’ll stay small enough to live in the box for a little while, then I’ll have to be more!
What do you think? Have you ever crocheted with jersey yarn? Check out all twenty five (25!!) colors from Wool and the Gang, here! I think I need a hot pink pouf for my living room, right? I already made a blue one that my kids loved to death. I think the jersey yarn might last (a lot) longer!
Thank you to Wool and the Gang for sending me this cool kit to crochet and share with you. Show them some love on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Scents available: grapefruit, eucalyptus, natural, lavender.
When I bring out my wool hats and cowls for the fall and winter seasons, I usually just shake off any dust (and, God forbid, any bugs) and move along. When asked if I wanted to review Eucalan, a no rinse wash perfect for delicate items, I got pretty excited. Read my thoughts below and find out how to win some Eucalan for yourself!
I understand woollies don’t need to be washed after every wear, or even every season for that matter. I usually store my pieces in a plastic box in the closet, but sometimes one gets lost behind the couch or stuck under a bed for a few months. I was fairly intrigued by this product because my normal method of washing includes a wash AND rinse cycle. Agitating the fibers too much can lead to felting and that’s a big no no!
Washing with Eucalan was a total breeze! You put some water in a basin or large bowl, squeeze in the Eucalan, mix it up a bit with your hand, then soak the item. I put a few hats in this bowl, making sure they were all of the same color family, since it was the first time some got washed and I wasn’t sure of their colorfastness. Once the item is in the water, you squeeze it a bit to make sure the Eucalan soap gets into the fibers.
According to Eucalan, the best scents for our wool are eucalyptus and lavender. They are natural moth and flea inhibitors, so washing after the cold season is over, before you put the garments away, is probably a better idea. I decided to do it before because, like I said, hats end up under beds and in the couch more often than not around this house. I’m thinking I will purchase a bottle to re-wash everything at the end of winter.
After the items have soaked for at least 15 minutes, you simply pull them out, squeezing out excess water, and set them on a towel. I like to lay them flat, roll ’em up, and squeeze even more water out. Then, I lay them all on a fresh towel to completely dry under a ceiling fan.
I must say, the scents are wonderful! They aren’t overpowering like a perfume, but are more…crisp and clean! I was so, so happy. I am not a fan of cleaning products scented with lavender, so I didn’t have high hopes, but it definitely smells more herb-y (I love lavender flowers!) and like an essential oil rather than a fragrance.
Eucalan also features lanolin in its formula, so the wool fibers soften and plump up oh so gloriously. I anticipate no itchy necks or ears this fall! You can also use Eucalan on other delicates like lingerie. Read more about their products on Eucalan.com.
Visit Eucalan on Facebook and read the Eucalan Blog for tips on washing your most treasured items!
Enter the Eucalan Giveaway
Eucalan is graciously providing a Gift Pack to one lucky reader! Leave a comment below telling me how (if) you wash your woollies or just say hello. Submit your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below. You have 5 chances to win! You may need to view the giveaway in a browser. Winner will be displayed next Friday.
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Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Sorry to my other international readers!
Disclosure: I was sent a sample pack of Eucalan’s products to review on the blog. All opinions and photos are my own.
Hello, friends! Long time no see, hm? I’m sorry about my summer absence. My boys take up a lot of my day time and I just have not been able to plan any posts. I’m here today with something good, though–my very first yarn review!
I was sent a skein of Llama Sparkle from Red Barn Yarn. It is a hand-painted worsted weight yarn that is 95% baby llama and 5% stellina, so it is soft as butter with a little sparkle. To be honest, I don’t usually purchase yarns with shiny stuff spun into them, so this was a treat. What really made my day, though, was the color. It was a little tough to capture the perfect shade, but you can see some of the variation below:
Beautiful, huh? The sparkle is very subtle, but it gives the perfect amount of shine. You can see the other yarn bases and colors available from Red Barn Yarn on their website. You can also find a list of their stockists. If you can’t find a retailer close by, you can contact them to purchase yarn directly by emailing email@example.com.
With just one skein, I made this gorgeous cowl! I browsed my stitch dictionary and found this one called “Mrs. Hunter’s Pattern” and it reminded me of crochet. I knew that I wouldn’t have enough yarn for a crochet project, so I really wanted to use this stitch. I love the color variation in the yarn SO MUCH! It looks pretty amazing in this pattern, too. I feel like my photos don’t do it justice, but of course I took a ton anyway.
Like I said previously, this yarn is like butter. The baby llama is incredibly soft and bloomed beautifully after a wash. There was a little bit of color in the water after I soaked the cowl, but I didn’t notice any fading in the actual yarn.
When I got to the end of my cowl, I realized I did not like the curling at the bottom (I went straight into the pattern after casting on), so I finished it off with a knit 3, purl 1 rib and a crochet cast-off and border. The result was a scalloped edge that lays relatively flat. I then picked up stitches along my cast-on edge and did the same thing there!
Let me know if there is any interest in a full pattern write up! I can whip something up to share with you guys. I was looking at my pattern page and realized I have waaaaay more crochet patterns than knit ones! I need to remedy that.
If you are interested in learning more about Red Barn Yarn, check out their website and if you have any further questions, join the Ravelry group: Red Barn Yarn Afficianados!
What are you doing this summer? Getting any knitting or crochet done in this heat?! I was straight up sweating during these photos. IN MY AIR CONDITIONED HOME! I can’t wait until it’s cold outside and I can wear this on my walks to my kids’ school. I’m gonna be so toasty!
Disclosure: I was given a skein of free skein of yarn for review purposes. All opinions are my own.