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Friday, 15 June 2018

Your Crochet and Knitting magazine kit review

Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I went to the Knit Now magazine photo shoot?  Whilst I was there, I met Angela who's the editor of a brand new magazine called Your Crochet & Knitting which will be on sale for the very first time in a couple of weeks.  




This is Angela at the front of the photo in the blue dress - I always like to know who's behind the magazines and companies that I am interested in, don't you?



Whilst I was at the photo shoot, Angela asked if I'd be interested in trying out one of their kits which will be the free gift with the new magazine.  It was a pack of brightly coloured yarns with a set of bamboo knitting needles, a crochet hook and a large plastic sewing needle which could be used with any one of a number of knitting or crochet patterns.  My first thought was that I wasn't sure if I'd be able to fit it in around all the sock knitting that I'm doing for the new book, but as we talked more and Angela explained that the new magazine is designed to encourage beginners, I started to wonder whether this would be something that big daughter would be interested in looking at with me.  

She's recently finished her university exams and there has been a lot on social media recently about how knitting can help with exam stress - I wasn't going to push her to do any whilst she was revising as her knitting skills are still at the just-past-beginner stage and sometimes that's more stressful than restful, but I thought this would be a perfect wind-down project that we could look at together - and maybe it will be something to help with exam stress in the future.

Big daughter thought it was a great idea and chose this pattern to work on ...


I have to say, I would have picked that one too, but I did wonder if it might be a bit adventurous for a just-past-beginner knitter who's only knitted scarf-shaped projects before.  Having said that, I firmly believe that if you pick a project that really shouts to you then you're much more likely to finish it and this was the one that was always going to be up big daughter's street.  Angela sent us a copy of the instructions and we set to work.


Actually, I say "we" but there was very little "we" about it!  I reminded big daughter how to cast on and showed her how to work an increase stitch and she was off!  Within a few minutes, the head was starting to take shape ...


I was super-impressed that she got to grips with it so quickly!  The pattern is well-written and easy to follow, and big daughter soon settled into a rhythm - and in hardly any time at all she was casting off the head and ready to start on the body.  


I think she found it quite addictive, particularly once she started to work the stripes (although anyone who's used self-striping sock yarn knows that!); these stripes were created by joining new colours and she took to weaving in ends like a duck to water.  We sat together watching TV and knitting - it was definitely a heart-squeezingly happy moment!

The actual knitting process didn't take long at all.  There aren't too many pieces to knit and they're not that fiddly either, which is good news for a beginner.


But then came the sewing up ...


I've always found the sewing up of toys to take almost as long (if not longer, sometimes!) than knitting the pieces to be sewed up.  Some people absolutely love this part but it's not my favourite - and it turned out not to be big daughter's either.  She quickly understood how to do mattress stitch so that her seams were lovely and neat, but it seemed as if the unicorn had grown extra arms and legs and she got cross on more than one occasion with the ears!


 He's cute, isn't he, even in his disembodied state? 


Big daughter said that she found him easy to knit although she liked the knitting far more than the sewing up.  A fair bit of that is practice and confidence and already she's thinking about a new project, so clearly the experience hasn't put her off!

Here he is, all sewn up.  Ta dah!


Big daughter is very proud of him, and rightly so.  I'm very proud of her - after saying that we'd do it together, I hardly did anything at all apart from some help with the odd technique here and there.  What she's learnt though, is quite a variety of new skills to add to her knit and purl - reading a pattern, casting on and off, increasing and decreasing and mattress stitch, not to mention sewing all the pieces together to get a unicorn that looks impressively likely the picture.  They are skills that could now be applied to pretty much any project from socks (ha!) to a cardigan or jumper.  I'm not sure that big daughter has any of those in her sights at the moment, but there's no reason why she couldn't tackle any of them.

For us, the Your Crochet & Knitting magazine kit was great.  Everything that big daughter needed (apart from the stuffing) was included and she was able to get started as soon as she wanted to.  I know that there is sometimes debate about whether it's better to have free gifts with magazines or not but this is actually a kit with a difference; the patterns in the magazine are designed to be knitted with the kit yarn so you can pick any of them and get started and use your own yarn later if you want to make more of the projects which is perfect for beginners.  There's quite a bit left over from the unicorn too, so there's probably enough to pick another small project.

The acrylic yarn was soft and smooth to knit with; it coped very well with being unpicked and also knitted up nice and evenly which is always good for knitting confidence.  This particular issue of the magazine has a choice of 9 knitting and 10 crochet patterns - that's a lot of potential projects from six balls of yarn! - and they are projects that are either cute, like the unicorn, or useful like a cushion cover or baby cardigan.  They're all attractive enough to catch a beginner's eye and I don't see any reason why anybody shouldn't start their knitting obsession hobby with something other than a scarf or blanket squares.

You should be able to find the magazine at your local stores, but if you'd prefer a copy delivered to your door, you can subscribe here.  You can find the magazine's Facebook page here.

We wish Angela and her team and Your Crochet & Knitting magazine every success!



Big daughter and I have been paid for this review and we were given the kit and the pattern to try out, but we have been honest in our views because it defeats the object if we're not.  And dishonest, which neither of us are :)


23 comments:

  1. I love big daughter's Unicorn. My grandmother always said I should knit something I wanted or loved and never scarves as they are too long and boring for a beginner. I will look out for the magazine as it and the kit sound brilliant for inspiring a new hobby.

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    1. Your grandmother was absolutely right! I think there's something quite soul-destroying about endless rows of knitting - unless you want a new scarf, that is! :) xx

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  2. Well done to big daughter, the unicorn looks Fab!

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  3. Well done to Big Daughter that unicorn is gorgeous! No one would guess that was her first knitted toy :) it’s lovely when our kids come to enjoy a hobby or interest of ours, my daughter loves to cross stitch & stitching with her was one of the biggest things I missed when she moved away for uni. I hope this is just the start of lots of shared knitty time for the two of you. The magazine sounds well thought out & perfect to grow beginners into confident capable knitters, totally agree that all these skills are easier to master if the motivation of loving the project is there! Have a lovely weekend xx

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    1. Hopefully you'll still have opportunities to stitch with your daughter - and I am sure it will be something that she will always remember that she did with you which will make it a very special memory xx

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  4. Excellent review Christine, and big daughter! Well done to her for peresevering through the sewing up, and creating such a neat and cute end result. Whilst I am not a beginner I will definitely look at this magazine, if only to maybe entice “only daughter” to do something crafty with her mum post uni! Xx

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    1. You never know, there might just be something in there for her! We only saw the knitted pattern choice as big daughter doesn't crochet very much yet, but I am sure there will be something in there to catch her eye :) xx

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  5. Love the unicorn it’s so different. Well done to your daughter on completing the project.Hopefully we will see this magazine in Gibraltar as it looks very interesting.

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    1. It would be great if you did, just so that you could see it! xx

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  6. Hope you win. I am in the US. Please tell more about your new sock book. I must have missed something. Sounds exciting. Thank you. Diane

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    1. Thank you! The new book is going to be more tutorials which are a step on from the basic Sockalong sock. It'll include the next-step tutorials that I've published on the blog already, but also some exclusive patterns that won't be on the blog too xx

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  7. Hi Christine! Have you seen Susan Anderson's stuffed toy patterns? I think most of them are seamless--no or very little sewing. I am not a toy-knitter myself (much rather socks thank you) but they do look adorable and clever. I've always thought this egg-to-owl was kind of amazing: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/egg-to-owl-reversible-toy

    Happy knitting to you and big daughter!

    Beth

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    1. That's a great pattern! I haven't seen that one before although I do have Susan Anderson's book on knitting for kids - interestingly, she encourages them to knit in the round from the very beginning which actually makes a lot of sense! xx

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  8. That is so cute and your daughter has made a great job of it. There'll be no stopping her now.

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    1. I hope so - although that might mean that I'll find her in my stash ... :) xx

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  9. WELL DONE Big Daughter! beautiful Unicorn he is too!
    thanx for sharing

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    1. He's so cute, he's been sitting on the kitchen table all week and I'll be sorry to see him tidied away! xx

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  10. Fantastic job, big daughter! I agree about the sewing up though - fiddly and boring and it's sometimes difficult to get faces right. Your daughter's unicorn face is just right, cute, with just a tiny hint of sadness, enough to make someone cuddle him, which I'm sure someone will do.

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    1. She's done really well with the face, I think - I know exactly what you mean and have spent frustrating hours sewing and unpicking faces in the past to get them right! xx

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  11. Love this Unicorn. Well done to your daughter.

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  12. Marvellous. Well done. Thank you for your basic sock pattern which was my first ever ‘major challenge’. I never dreamed that I could ever knit socks. I love my socks and then went on to knit a hat with sheep all around. I astounded myself. Thanks for sharing. Regards

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