Review: HeartSprinkle Hooks and Stitch Markers

HeartSprinkleReviewNot long ago I was mailed two handmade crochet hooks by Krystle of HeartSprinkle. Krystle sculpts beautiful handles for metal crochet hooks using polymer clay. Her favourite hook to make is her signature honey bee hook, and I was lucky enough to receive two of them as a gift!

Krystle makes her handles on any brand of metal hook, so you can choose your favourite – whether it be a Susan Bates, Boye, or Clover Amour hook, she can make a unique personalized handle for it. I chose to have one handle made on a Susan Bates hook because I had never tried an in-line hook before, and one on my all time favourite Clover Amour hook.HeartSprinkleHooks

What I love most about these hooks are the small details. Each has a cute little bee with little translucent wings flying over hand painted clouds and flowers. The green around the flowers shimmers and there is a fun dotted trail leading from the bee’s hive to the bee. The end of the handle is stamped and imprinted with a letter indicating the hook size, plus there are additional imprints on the body of the handle: the hook size in mm and the HeartSprinkle logo.HookCollage

The handle is smooth and warm, so nice to hold. It is a large handle, so does take some getting used to if you are accustomed to holding only the thin metal hooks, but with time it feels natural to hold. Krystle has tested her handles for strength, so they will not break or crumble if they are mishandled (mine have survived a few drops off my desk onto hardwood floor!).

If you want to see the hook in action and up close, just watch one of my more recent tutorial videos: joined rounds in amigurumi, stripes in joined rounds, and joining legs in joined rounds.

Along with my two hooks, I also received a set of stitch markers. They are ADORABLE. One is a little bee, with a neat black bead for a head, a little beehive, and a small flower. All match perfectly with the bee hook design. Each has a lobster claw clasp, which I am not a huge fan of for amigurumi because they can be tricky to open and with amigurumi you need to move the marker a lot, but they work great if they are staying in one place for a while, or for my knitting (I hook them onto a ring marker for larger needles). Krystle also makes markers with a simpler hook which are easier to place and remove (see the heart marker below).StitchMarkers

Overall, the hooks and stitch markers are really fun to work with and make my time crocheting a little more special and personal. You can tell a lot of care went into making each item. Krystle is a great artist who obviously takes great pride in her work and has a true love for crochet – including a love for amigurumi! You can see more of her art work, not just polymer clay, on her Instagram – she creates adorable kawaii drawings, too.

If you want to learn more about Krystle and her work, visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Etsy.  Have a special request? Just drop her a message on Etsy!

Krystle is my go to sponsor for my amigurumi CALs, so if you want to win a hook for yourself, stay tuned for news on the latest hookabee CALs and join in!

For cuteness sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.
Until next time,
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What are amigurumi?

What are amigurumi? by hookabeeAre you new to amigurumi? Or have you ever wondered where they originate from and what the word actually means? Read on!

Amigurumi are knit or crocheted stuffed toys. They are hugely popular right now, and with reason. Ami (short for amigurumi) are super cute diy plush that can be made with minimal tools and supplies (a hook/knitting needles, a yarn needle and some yarn!) and are relatively easy to make. They are being made around the world by all sorts of people –  teens, adults, women, and men.

Making a little owl amigurumi by hookabee

Amigurumi originated in Japan, the land of kawaii (which means cute). The general wave of cuteness in Japan began following the devastations of WWII. Supposedly, this cuteness trend started as a way to change the image of Japan and to help people cope with the everyday stresses of work. One of the most well known examples of the kawaii craze is the Sanrio character Hello Kitty.

“Ami” means knit or crocheted in Japanese, and “nuigurumi” means stuffed creature or doll. Anything can be made into an amigurumi toy, from cats and bears to anthropomorphic pencils and sushi. Amigurumi can be as small as a dime to super sized and huggable.

Koko the owl amigurumi by @hookabee

The art of making amigurumi didn’t arrive in North America until the early 2000s, but its popularity has grown like crazy. The methods of making ami have changed to suit the preferences of Americans, such as fully written instructions vs. the typical diagrams found in Japanese patterns. The basics remain the same, however, such as working in the round and making them, whatever they might be, really cute.

Hanna the squirrel amigurumi pattern by @hookabee

Amigurumi are fun to make and are a great way for knitters and crocheters to make something other than another scarf, hat or sweater. In the summer when you are itching to use your hook, but don’t want to make something that will keep you warm, amigurumi are your answer. When you want to give someone, anyone, not just children, a fun handmade gift that will make them smile, laugh, and keep them company, amigurumi are perfect. Ami patterns are quick to make, use a small amount of yarn (usually), and allow you to bring to life a little character. If you haven’t made one yet, I highly recommend trying!

Little Walden the Narwhal amigurumi crochet pattern by @hookabee

Don’t forget to sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.
Until next time,

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Handmade goods shopping spree


Last weekend I travelled to Toronto to shop!  Ok, I also visited with family and friends, but I decided to go that specific weekend because the spring One of A Kind Show was on.  I had heard about this show many times and even have items from past shows that people have given to me as gifts, but I had never gone myself and was dying to.

The One of a Kind Show is a big event that occurs twice a year in Toronto, in both the spring and winter (right before Christmas).  It showcases hundreds of handmade goods which you can buy right from the artist who made them. Basically, it is a huge room with rows of vendors selling their beautifully crafted handmade products – heaven!   My friend and I managed to spend 6 hours there!

It was my brother’s birthday coming up so I knew I needed to find something for him. In the end I bought a nifty bow tie from VIVID Clothing Toronto.  I don’t have a picture of it because I already gave it to him, but you can check out their etsy shop.  They had so many different patterns it was hard to decide, but I bought a bow that was reversible, so it had two different patterns in one! My brother now has to learn how to tie a bow, but that is what youtube is for.

For some reason I was really into the pottery.  I was on the look out for a yarn bowl, and while I didn’t find one I liked, I did buy a bowl with a yarn ball inside! It was handmade by Greg Voisin – he both sculpted the bowl and hand painted the little yarn ball.  It is so cute!  I love the teal and cream colours, which is seen consistently throughout his work.  I am going to use it to put my little doodads in while I crochet, like stitch markers and needles (which I tend to place somewhere randomly and then lose…).

Pottery by Greg VoisinMy next piece of pottery that I purchased was a shark mug.  It is made by the Montreal artist Wai-Yant Li of Creations Li and it is adorable.  I had to go back to the booth several times because I wanted to buy everything and couldn’t decide. Wai-Yant also makes items that look like blow fish, squid and monsters, all with a cute face.  My mug is called ‘Chomps Shark Mug’ and you can find it on the Creations Li website.  Can’t wait to make some tea in this guy.

Pottery by Creation LiPottery by Creation LiLastly, I bought an embroidery kit by kiriki press to make my very own little stuffed raccoon.  I sometimes embroider noses and eyes on my crochet amigurumi, but my technique, if you can call it that, is not the greatest.  I am hoping this kit will teach me some mad embroidery skills that I can then transfer to my amigurumi – plus I get a super cute raccoon!  The kit is complete with a hoop, crane scissors (which I love!), needles, an instruction book of stitches, the raccoon pattern and fabric, and stuffing.  I will likely write another post exclusively on this kit once I get around to making it, so stay tuned.

kiriki press embroidery kitAll in all it was a fun weekend with shopping, friends and family, plus I got to see all those amazing artists selling their handmade goods – very inspirational!

Don’t forget to sign up for my amigurumi newsletter to receive emails filled with ami fun. You can also follow me on facebook, twitter, instagram, and pinterest to keep up to date on all things hookabee.

Until next time,