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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Megan Recommends

Megan Recommends blog series

This is a blog series in which I tell you about random things I recommend you try – and they aren’t often ami related!

 

feedly:

I follow quite a number of blogs in order to stay up to date on all that is going on in the world of yarn, plus some other personal interest blogs. I could bookmark them all and check them for updates every so often, or I could sign up to receive an email every time they release a new post, but those options aren’t very convenient. It is time consuming to check each blog individually, and I don’t want my inbox to be filled with every single blog post, some of which I might not even want to read. What do I do? I use the blog reader feedly!

feedly logo

There are other popular feed readers out there, such as Bloglovin’, and if you are looking for a place to organize your blogs I recommend trying them all out to see what works for you, but my favourite is feedly. It is basic, easy to use, and displays your favourite blogs nicely in one feed. While Bloglovin’ has a more social aspect to it, I didn’t want that with my reader – the simpler the better!

Basically, you search for your favourite blogs within feedly, save them to your account, and then each new blog post from your saved blogs will show up in your feed. You can also organize the different blogs into categories, so if you only want to see the updates from the amigurumi blogs you follow, you can just look at your amigurumi category feed!

You can also save individual blog posts to read later if you can’t currently read it but don’t want to forget about it – or maybe you really liked the post and want to read it again in the future.

There is also a mobile app for feedly so you can check your feeds on your phone or tablet while on the go. It syncs with the desk-top version so everything is kept up to date.

My favourite thing about feedly is how easy it is to add a new blog to your feed by using the chrome add-on. The add-on shows up as a little feedly icon in the bottom right-hand corner of your computer screen and when you click on it while you are on a particular blog’s page you can do a number of different things, including share the post to facebook, share the post on twitter, save the post for later on your feedly account, or add the whole blog to your feedly feed. So easy!

 

A crochet and knitting meet-up group:

This year I started a knit and crochet meet-up group with a few of my friends and I love it! There are only four of us, but that is a perfect size for chatting it up while we knit and crochet together. It is fun to see what project everyone is working on and we can help each other out with tricky patterns.

Knitting and crocheting really are great hobbies for getting social – it is so easy to take projects with you anywhere and talk while creating. My group sometimes meets in a cafe, but lately we have been meeting for picnics at lunch so we can fully enjoy the summer weather.

Some meet-up groups knit and crochet for charity, too. They might knit winter hats for the homeless, crochet blankets for disaster relief packages, or crochet and knit amigurumi for sick children. So many great ways to help out, and it is always more enjoyable when you do it together.

If you aren’t involved in a knit/crochet group, I highly recommend you find one, or start one! You can check out different places online for groups that are already organized, such as on ravelryfacebook and meetup.com, or check with your local yarn shop to see if they have any groups or know of any. Of course, if you already have friends in mind that knit or crochet but you don’t currently get together, start organizing a meet-up yourself! It is so fun 🙂

 

A TV antenna:

My husband I don’t have cable television, but we still get to enjoy HD tv – and for free! Don’t like paying the big bill to your cable company but still want to enjoy watching basic tv? I suggest you try using a tv antenna instead! They usually cost less than $30 and you can often still watch the top stations in HD quality.

antenna
Our antenna hangs out with my buddies. Can you spot it?

With our antenna we can get about 10 channels, including Global, CTV, CityTV, and CBC (which are some of the main Canadian stations). We could maybe even get more if our apartment building wasn’t surrounded by other, taller buildings. For us, however, these channels are enough. We can watch the news every morning and evening, as well as whatever other fun show might be on when we just want to be lazy 😛

There is one major negative that you have to put up with, however: you might lose the signal for a station occasionally, especially during bad weather. While some of our stations are no problem and we always receive great reception, other stations can be a little more finicky. But hey, when it is free, you can deal with these little hick-ups that only occur occasionally. Plus, there is always Netflix!

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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