Friday, 3 June 2016

Dog Days and DIY

It's fair to say, we have had something of a splurge of DIY here at Hookery Towers.  I finally tackled the spare room, so that this...

Has been toned down a bit, to this...

No longer will our guests wake in the night to find a cartoon zebra (alas, just out of the shot above) giving them the eye.  It's only taken three years to get round to...

Needless to say, I had a little helper.  And by helper, I mean liability.  Darling Doris was keen to get involved and somewhat put out when she was banished to the garden.

Still, the promise of a walk with her brother was suitable recompense and given how many coats of paint were required, I needed the fresh air too.

In other news, my mind has already turned to Yarndale in September. This has been prompted by the fact that next week, the Yarn Man cometh. There is no greater fun than a visit from the yarn salesman with a carboot full of new lines.  Wahoo!  I've also been fiddling with some new crochet projects, but they'll have to wait until they reach their recipients before I can share on here. In the meantime, there's a teeny wee offer for you to brighten up your own yarn baskets (and make way for some new stuff post Yarn Man cometh-ing).

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Sunday, 24 April 2016

A reshuffle

Been a while, I know. I sort of have excuses, sort of don't. I definitely lost the crochet mojo for a while. Then I lost the yarn mojo. Though actually, I really just lost the listing mojo. I had moved the yarn over to my own website, but the hassle of listing everything, of trying to find a suitable solution for stock control that didn't cost the earth (doesn't exist) and that didn't eat up hours and hours of my time was driving me a bit nuts.

And that's what it boils down to really: time. While I was away trying to wrestle my own corner of the Internet into submission, the world moved on. I recently had cause to have a peek at Etsy again and it dawned on me that it would be quicker, cheaper and easier to list everything there. 

In a nutshell, here's why...

- I can list stock from my phone, which means I can take, edit and upload pictures without endless faffing between devices.

- I can list exactly what I have. I never found a suitable, economic solution for having oodles of yarn but different dyelots. On the old site, it was difficult and time-consuming to list. Etsy doesn't care how many listings/products I have, so long as I cough my $0.20.

- people are more likely to contact me if they are looking for something specific. Etsy's just a bit more chatty like that.

- it's a LOT cheaper overall. 

So now if you hit the 'yarn shop' link on the website, you'll find yourself on Etsy, in a shop called FromTheHookery. It's gradually filling up and I am gradually finding my way through organising everything (although at the moment, it's all rather lumped in together). In the meantime, why not pootle across and say hello? 

And if you are looking for anything in particular, do get in touch!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Book review: Edward's Menagerie: Birds... and a giveaway!

*Blows dust off blog*

*Swipes at cobwebs*

*Sweeps away biscuit crumbs from last time she was in here*

*Settles with mug of tea*


Been a while, hasn't it?  Sorry about that. Life gets in the way and all.  It's been a bit quiet around Hookery HQ lately, but now it's time to wake things up a bit. Having been so quiet, I have nothing to tell you about what I've been doing, so let's have a look at what someone else has been up to, shall we?

If you've been to any yarn-y type show or fair, you will almost certainly have come across TOFT. Some of you may remember that last year, Kerry Lord (founder and director of TOFT) wrote a smashing crochet book called Edward's Menagerie. Well, unlike lazy old me, she's been busy lately and so there's a sequel - Edward's Menagerie: Birds.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the new book is that the TOFT range of yarns has had to stretch a bit to accommodate it, so some new colours have been added. Well, how else are you going to make Sophia the Flamingo?

The book is clever.  Like its predecessor, anyone can use it, even if you've never held a hook in your life. There are basic body shapes which are common to all the patterns and whether you make a dove or a peacock pretty much depends on how much of a challenge you fancy. As soon as you've grasped the basics, you can crack on with your first bird. If you're a pro and have been whipping up complex projects for years, fine - skip on to the more advanced patterns and have a play with some colour work.  It's a book for anyone at any level.

The patterns are cute.  Seriously cute.  If you're making for small children, great - lots of long legs, necks and beaks to grab hold of and drag about. If you're making for yourself, they'll look equally sweet sat on a shelf or desk.

Also, she's thought of everything.  If you've ever felt short-changed in the past by a pattern that ends with something along the lines of 'stuff body parts and sew together', then you'll be delighted to find a little section at the back which takes you through the nitty-gritty of things like  assembly, stuffing for that perfect cuddly-toy consistency (rather than toy-about-to-burst consistency), sewing in ends and all the rest.

The layout of the book is easy to follow. There are full-colour illustrations for each pattern and it's a great book to flick through and just enjoy.  There are 40 patterns in all, so really rather good value at £15.99, and if you buy it direct from TOFT, there are 10 bonus patterns too!

Now, the giveaway...

If you've ever fancied spending a day ogling 200 alpacas, squidging luxury yarn and scoffing nice buns in a coffee shop, this is most definitely for you.  The lovely people at TOFT are having a bit of a jolly on Friday 28th August to celebrate the new book, with free workshops and farm tours.  To win a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children), just leave a comment below.  I'll pick the winner on Saturday night (the 22nd). NB: TOFT is based in Warwickshire, near Rugby, so you'll need to be able to get yourselves there.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Back on it

I've been making an effort to set aside some crochet time of late. Remember the weather blanket? I've been playing catch-up with that.

I'm currently up to mid-September and have just hit a big long stretch of bright blue. 

It's good remembering late summer warmth on these chilly days when the temperature is hovering around zero. Looking back through my diary, I'm reminded how great September was: Erik arrived and there were warm, sunny hacks with Bailey (when I was still just his sharer).

We may have started the week with snow, but I did manage to squeeze in a bright sunny hack today on the Ginger Beast. Funny how all you need is one bright day to feel like Spring is just around the corner. That said, Hector's not taking any chances...

The mercury will need to rise a bit further before we can prise him out from under the duvet! I expect he'll appreciate another blanket being added to the collection...

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Of horse and hound

It's been a while, hasn't it? 


I do have a pretty good excuse though. I have been more than a little busy with two new additions. The first, I mentioned in my last post, Erik. 

Erik thinks balls of yarn are great toys and crochet hooks are just fab to chew. Consequently, crochet has hit an all-time low here.

The second came as a bit of a surprise to me too. Meet Bailey...

Yes, indeed, a horse!

And in the midst of this, I owe you, dear reader/customer quite a big thank you. Bailey eats a lot of hay. The month-long run on Creative Twist Super Chunky should keep him scoffing until the New Year!

PS - I'll get back to crochet posts soon, honest!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Calm After the Storm

Phew! It's been a busy month here at Hookery HQ but things are just starting to slow back down again. The day job has been gathering more than its usual momentum as we move into the Autumn Term and The Hookery itself set out on the road to Yarndale. I'll not bore you with the day job, but now that I have time to kick back with a cup of tea and a biscuit, let me tell you: Yarndale was fabulous.

I had a brief wobble about it just before we headed up. Would it be as well-attended as last year? What if last year's 'novelty factor' had worn off? Should I take the same stuff as last time? New products? How much handmade? How much yarn?

In a nutshell: I needn't have worried. It was bigger and better in every way and the organisers pulled off an absolute blinder! My little stall (and I do feel little in comparison to most sellers there) did a roaring trade. Customers I met last year came back to say hello again and I even caught up with a school friend who I haven't seen for about 14 years (hi Jen!). And of course, I met oodles of new customers too. 

Once again, it was brilliant to get out and meet people face-to-face, to see people's reactions to yarns and patterns and products, and to chat and swap tips and recommendations. 

After last year's show, I had a huge list of things to change and do differently this year. This year, there's really only one thing on the list: hire a bigger van!  I already can't wait for Yarndale 2015!

PS - Apologies for the poor photos, they were hastily snapped before the hoards descended...