Beginners guide to crochet!

I thought I would put together a beginners guide to crochet for anyone looking to pick up the hobby.

What you’ll need: 

– Hooks

I recommend getting a set of hooks as you’ll never know what size yarn you’ll pick up, these soft grip starter sets on amazon are amazing and so affordable. They usually come with some other goodies which I’ll list below too.
However if you’re looking to just pick up one hook for now, I recommend a 4mm one as this is pretty much the standard for most yarn.

– Yarn

Capture

You’ll want to head down to your local crafts store or have a shop online (I made a list of the places I buy yarn from here). It’s important to have a yarn which matches your hook size, you can usually find the size of hook you’ll need on the size of the packaging.

– Stitch Markers 

When I first started crocheting I used markers a lot so I did not lose my place / could understand where the beginning of a row was. Once you get the hang of counting you may not need them but they always come in handy for some more difficult projects!

– A notepad

This is really good for helping you count how many rows or stitches you do by marking them in notebook. Also if you’re working from a pattern and want to make notes (especially if you’re deciding to change the pattern slightly).

– Scissors 

A simple thing that most people have in their home, but you might want to treat yourself to a gorgeous pair of crafting scissors. I love these ones on Amazon.

– Needles

If you haven’t started yet you might be wondering why needles? You’ll need blunt needles to be able to sew in the ends of your work – you can try and do this without a needle but it’ll be time consuming.

Nice to haves: 

– Measuring Tape

– Thread ruler

– Crafts storage

Best ways to learn: 

– Beginners books (I own all of the books below)

– YouTubers I recommend

Some basic tips and tricks:

– Try a Granny Square first

– Don’t fret if your first try is unsuccessful

  • My first few grannies squares looked really bad. They were twisted and every stitch was a different tension. Do not give up – keep making them and watch your progress (I saved my first ever squares to see how far I’d come)

– The more you redo the better you’ll get

  • Similar to the last point, it’s so easy to undo and redo your work with crochet, you simply pull your yarn. However it’s also nice to see your progress so you might not want to undo every single mistake.

– Tension is key

  • It will take a while before you find your perfect tension, most people begin crocheting with their tension quite tight, however I found that the loser the better.

– Try not to lose count

– Find a way to hold your yarn that’s comfortable for you

  • There are so many tutorials which tell you how to hold your yarn, I tried all of these but in the end found a way which worked for me. You might find that the way someone recommends you to be perfect, or you might want to experiment and find a comfortable solution.

– Learn what the ‘top’ of a stitch looks like

  • Once you move onto a second row of any project you’ll be more than likely stitching into the top of a stitch, so it’s worth making sure you recognise what the top of a stitch looks like.

– Challenge yourself

– Do not give up! 

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How many of you are going to try Crocheting? And how many of you have stories to tell of your first time learning to Crochet?

I also started an Instagram specifically for my Crochet/Cross Stitch, you can follow me here on Stitches In Wonderland.

-Amy x

Holly & Hazel – Review

 

 

 


Title: Hazel and Holly

Author: 
Sara C. Snider
Publisher: 
Double Beast Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Sci Fi & Fantasy
Release Date: May 16 2019
Rating: 

 

 

 

So I have a confession, I actually started reading this quite some time ago but I had so much going on with work I stopped and suddenly picked it back up. I was instantly hooked on the book once again and binged the last 2/3’s quite quickly.

Here is the synopsis pulled from Netgalley:

Nestled within an enchanted forest is the Grove, a community where witches and warlocks practice natural magic, brew mystical potions, and lock their cellars against beer thieving gnomes. Life is quiet and uneventful. Well, except when Hazel’s long-lost father uses necromancy to trap her dead mother’s soul.

That simply won’t do. Necromancy is forbidden in the Grove, and for good reason too. Nobody wants filthy corpses shambling around, mussing up one’s garden. Hazel is determined to find her father and undo his treachery.

But despite Hazel’s plans of becoming a one-woman army, she can’t do everything alone. It’s not until wild sister Holly convinces her to leave the house for once and go to a party that Hazel finds a pair of unlikely allies in two bickering warlock brothers.

Together, the four of them go on a journey that takes them out of the Grove and into a world where necromancy reigns and the dead won’t respectfully stay in the grave. Hazel will do whatever it takes to stop her father and save her mother’s soul. Even if it means turning to necromancy. Even if it means losing her friends. Because they would never help a necromancer. Would they?

Continue reading “Holly & Hazel – Review”

Beautiful Virus Shawl

I have finished another crochet project which is super rare for me to do so many in such a short space of time, the Easter weekend was fairly busy for us however on Bank Holiday Monday I decided to sit down and finish a shawl I started the week before. Surprisingly this although this pattern looks very complicated, it didn’t take long at all and I think if you know how to do the basic double/triple crochet you will be able to do this fine.

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The yarn I have used it the Cotton Kings Twirl from Hobbii (which I absolutely adored working with and will be getting more) and as you can see the gradient is absolutely beautiful. I only used one ball of yarn (it comes in 800 M length). I ended up with a tiny bit of left over, but not enough to do the last round unfortunately however I think it looks good regardless.

The tutorial I used was Bella Coco’s video tutorial which was super helpful and really easy to stitch along – I will say the virus shawl looks more complicated than it actually is. Once you’ve done around 2 – 3 rounds of the pattern you’ll pick it up really easily.

I highly recommend doing this in a light lacey yarn as it gives such a delicate effect – however it does become a little fiddly to work with at it’s multiple strands of yarn woven together.

Have you been working on any handmade projects recently?

-Amy x

Ever Alice – Review

 

Title: Ever Alice
Author: 
H.J Ramsay
Publisher: 
Red Rogue Press
Genre: Fantasy, Teens & YA, Sci-Fi
Release Date: August 1st 2019
Rating:

 

 

 

If you know me personally you would know that Alice in Wonderland is one of my all time favourite books,  I grew up watching the Disney version of the film over and over again. In fact I know my parents have a VHS of me somewhere singing ‘All the Flowers’ proudly in the front room for the whole family.

When I saw that Ever Alice was available on Netgalley to review I jumped at the chance,  it sounded like a mixture of the world I once knew as a child mixed with the harsh realities of mental health. By now if you’ve been reading my blog you will know that I love a good dark Fantasy fiction, especially tales with a twist.

Here is the synopsis pulled from Netgalley:

Alice’s stories of Wonderland did more than raise a few eyebrows—it landed her in an asylum. Now at 15 years of age, she’s willing to do anything to leave, which includes agreeing to an experimental procedure. When Alice decides at the last minute not to go through with it, she escapes with the White Rabbit to Wonderland and trades one mad house for another: the court of the Queen of Hearts. Only this time, she is under orders to take out the Queen. When love, scandal, and intrigue begin to muddle her mission, Alice finds herself on the wrong side of the chopping block.

I have now finished reading Ever Alice and my review is below, there will be a few spoilers so be warned.

Continue reading “Ever Alice – Review”

Finale – Review


 

Title: Finale
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date: 9th May 2019
Rating:

 

 

 

The Caraval series has had me gripped ever since I sat down to read the first book, I was absorbed and fell in love with the fantastical world that was presented to me. I also fancy the pants off of Dante, but that’s a tale for another day…

I can say now that Finale did not disappoint. From the first page I was just as hooked as I was when I read both Caraval and Legendary, I actually managed to read it in just two sittings.

There will be light spoilers in this review, so please stop reading now if you want to avoid those. I will try and talk about the book as much as possible without revealing too much.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

“Welcome, welcome to Caraval…all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything…”

Continue reading “Finale – Review”

Simple Baby Blanket

I recently finished another crochet project and this time I did a simple granny square baby blanket. I am an aunt again so I thought I would make a blanket which felt like Easter and was also super cute – luckily I have so much yarn I didn’t have to purchase anything new for this, I simply just used some Stylecraft yarn I already had.

For this I did a simple granny square and then every 2 rows I changed colour, so the blanket is a complete square. I then finished it with a double crochet (UK) border 🙂

Let me know what you think in the comments below and also let me know what projects you’re currently working on.

-Amy x

What I thought – Books I Read in March

This month I read 3 books (I’ve almost finished my 4th one but I will be doing a separate review for that)


Sadie

This took me a while to get into and I did almost put it down and begin reading something else, then a friend told me to try the audiobook. Again I wasn’t feeling it and the narration felt a bit cheesy at times, but suddenly something clicked and I ended up really enjoying it. It is very clever and is laid out as a podcast within a book, so as an audiobook it works really well. It starts quite sad and the tone get progressively darker, which as you know I really enjoy. However it does deal with death of children and can be very difficult to listen too / read throughout.

The Alchemist

I was recommended this by SOOOOOO many people, so when I read it and didn’t like it I felt bad. I don’t know, I understand it’s a different take on a self-help book however I couldn’t distance myself from what it really was. It felt like it was preaching to me and also felt very misleading and just not something I could get into. I didn’t get anything from this – I didn’t get my spiritual awakening it kept talking about and I don’t think I will be recommending this to anyone any time soon.

Snot Girl #13

Snotgirl is back with another amazing comic and I loved it! It was such a good way to bring the story back and also made me howl with laughter. I love Snotgirl because it is a comic based on this era of influencers and does it in such a good way. If you’re interested in me writing up a proper review of the series so far then let me know!

What did you read in March?

-Amy x

Glitter Granny Square Blanket

I am back with another finished project, I am on a role at the moment! However I have been working on this blanket for well over a year and a delay was caused by the place I buy my yarn not having it in stock for a very, very long time.

But huzzah, here is my finished pastel glitter granny square blanket! I used baby yarn as it’s the softest and all the colours used has a hint of glitter to it. I absolutely love how this blanket turned out, even if it did almost kill me in the process.

Granny Blanket

I am a left handed crocheter so I struggled picking up my first granny square without it twisting, but if you’re looking for a good tutorial I recommend checking out Bella Coco, who does right and left handed variants of all of her stitches! Here is her YouTube and the beginners granny square tutorial.

I also recommend using a stitch which allows you to continuously add each granny square, as I chose the option of adding one granny square at a time…it’s safe to say I never want to use this process again!

What do you think of this blanket? I just finished it in time for Easter too and the colours are very Eastery!

You can follow me on Instagram for more of my crochet updates as I am working on a project too.

What projects are you working on right now?

-Amy x

Fierce Queen – Commission

I recently have been super busy working on my first ever cross stitch commission, with this I worked with the person who commissioned me to design and come up with the colour theme for the project.

The project was for a friend of hers who was having a bit of a hard time and this was to boost her spirits and show her that she is a strong Queen, with an obvious love of RuPaul’s Drag Race too…

Here is the finished project, which I absolutely loved working on.

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What do you think of this and the colour theme we went for, also, what are you working on right now?

-Amy x

What I thought – Books I read in February

This month I read two books only, I’ve been doing a lot of stitching which I will share with you in a seperate post, however I loved both!

Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Audio book

The first book I read was the audio book version of Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and I absolutely loved it. Now, I tried the book version of this a few months ago and I struggled to get into it, however audible had a buy one get one free offer and this was reviewed so highly I thought I’d give it a shot. The narrator for this book was Jot Davies and he was incredible, I actually think I came away from this thinking it was my favourite audio book I’ve listened to so far. Jot’s voices for individual characters were convincing and not cringe-worthy (we’ve all listened to an audio book when that happens…), I genuinely felt so invested into the book. This was a 17 hour long audio book which I listened to in HUGE chunks because I was so in love with it. I always listen to my audio book at speed x1.25 and sometimes this can distort the voice, however because Jot reads the book quite slow it sounded absolutely fine – this can sometimes be a make or break for some people!

If you are someone who was not feeling the book I highly recommend the audio book as I loved it, there were twists and turns around every corner, each character was developed so well that when you switched between them you felt as though you knew them. I love dark fiction and although this may not have been as dark as something like The Corset (which I read previously) I still really loved the vibe of Evelyn Hardcastle. The only way to describe it is like a real life game of Cluedo, that I would love to play.

 

What Makes Girls Sick and Tired – Preview

The second book I read was one I received through Netgalley, What Makes Girls Sick and Tired.  I put together a few words and popped it up on Goodreads so I’ll paste those below.

A short but straight to the point read – as a woman myself I can completely relate to almost all of the examples of things included in this book. It’s frustrating that we have to keep reminding people of simple things but this book does it in a very blunt way which I really liked.

The illustration was presented nicely and this would be a good book to have within schools to educate both young boys and and girls.

I think this is a really powerful and important read for everyone and if you get a chance to give it a quick sit-down I recommend it, some of the stats featured in the book are also a fascinating reality check.

I am aiming to read around 4 book in March – including a few graphic novels on top which I received for my birthday. Wish me luck and see you all soon!

-Amy x

*please note I sometimes use Amazon Affiliate links within my posts, you do not have to use these but any revenue will go back to my website 🙂