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Loyal followers (do I have any?!) might have noticed that I was surprisingly quiet in the crafting arena before Christmas, contrary to last year when I was manically making things for presents as well as yarn bombing and making decorations. This year, despite feeling the unspoken pressure from other beautiful blogs and ideas on Pinterest, I asked myself who I was trying to impress and concluded that no one would think any the worst of me if I gave it all a miss this year. Obviously I love making things, but managing to do so with a stressful 4 day a week job, 2 young kids and other commitments was just too much.

I was far more relaxed over Christmas because of it. I’d had a rather tense few weeks during November where I had taken on too much. I did a yarn bombing workshop (haven’t I told you about that yet? Well, I promise to do so soon.) but since then I have done very little crafting.

It’s doubled edged though really, as while the break from making things gave me some time back, I’m sure the lack of crochet didn’t help as I so often find the process relaxing and meditative. Whilst I did pick up my hook a couple of times, I’m no good without an aim or a project, but with a project comes pressure. To be honest, I felt like I’d lost my crafting mojo.

My creative interest has now been rekindled however, with the advent of a new crochet magazine dropping through my door.

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Simply Crochet magazine comes from the publishers of Mollie Makes, but is pretty much just crochet, as you would expect from the title. It has a similar format to MM but is slightly less twee, after all, there are only so many knitted or sewn food stuffs one girl needs. At £4.99 a go I’m not sure it will be a regular purchase, these are austere times after all, and for all the make do and mend talk, crafting can be an expensive habit. But I managed to get a 3 for £5 intro offer which was hard to refuse.

I decided to make a simple one evening project from the magazine. At the same time I could test drive a new crochet hook.

At Mumsnet Blogfest last year I was introduced to a lovely lady called Helen who runs an online wool shop called Love Knitting. She asked if I would provide her with some feedback on the site, and also said that if I wanted to review anything to just let her know.

I needed to purchase some wool for my workshop so a bought a few bits which came promptly, and nicely wrapped in tissue paper. There is a range of yarn on the site to suit various budgets as well as plenty of accessories. I was drawn to the interesting crochet hooks she stocks so asked if I could try one, any one would do. I do love a nice hook!

A few days later I received a beautiful looking bamboo hook. Helen also sent me some lovely sparkly white yarn which I fully intended to make heaps of snowflakes with, but the pre-Christmas wobbly put paid to that – sorry Helen! I will put it to good use eventually.

The hook is a Knit-Pro Symfonie bamboo hook. I’ve never used a bamboo hook before. I like the weight of the old fashioned metal hooks, but this one is a beauty. It is light as a feather to use, and very smooth. I found the end of the hook very sharp which had a tendency to split the yarn, though I think a lot of that was down to the yarn anyway. Annoyingly after just a few uses the printed size on the hook has all but rubbed off (but no matter because next month’s Simply Crochet comes with a free hook gauge!). Other than that I really liked the hook and will invest in some more in different sizes. My only real concern is that the hook appears quite fragile, and I am concerned that I might one day sit on it (a highly likely prospect) and snap it. Plus I tend to be a kind of “stuff in the hand bag and go” kinda gal, so we’ll see if the hook stands the test of my slap dash ways. Other than that I really like the hook and will likely invest in some more in different sizes.

Anyhoo, after all that time to show you the goodies. No, not those! What I ^made^ from the magazine. Here it is, a lovely brooch, fresh with my re-found mojo :)

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