Yarn review: Caron Cupcake

When my brother sent me this photo while on holiday in America,

I messaged him back saying PLEASE BUY SOME IMMEDIATELY!!! I’d seen Cupcakes on Instagram and Facebook for months, but never managed to get hold of any, so you can understand my excitement.

Suitcase limitations meant he could only bring back one for me (and one for mum because he’s smart), but that’s one more than I had to start with so I was happy!

It’s a 100% acrylic DK yarn that comes in a cake with a pompom. The colourway I got is called Peach Sorbet.

I’ve mentioned before that I thought the whole point of these Cupcakes is to have just enough yarn to make one hat, which you can then top with the pompom. But I managed to get two whole hats out of my cake. Two whole adult hats at that.

It seems strange to be disappointed with MORE yarn than expected, but I do so love the idea of essentially buying a deconstructed hat and making it up with no (or at least very few) scraps.

The ball band includes a pattern for various hat sizes, although they’re all children’s sizes, which I now find a bit odd considering how much yarn there is to play with. “You can make hats for all three of your children, and we take no responsibility for the ensuing battle over the single pompom!”.

I followed the instructions up to a point, but then carried on increasing to make both hats adult sized. In the first one I also went with back loop only stitches because I really like that line they make.

I’ve used a lot of Caron Cakes over the last couple of years so I thought I knew what to expect from the yarn itself, but this stuff is unlike any Caron I’ve ever used.

It’s really, REALLY scratchy. Like, making-the-skin-of-my-tensioning-finger-sore kind of scratchy.

I blocked the first hat with some Eucalan and that helped a bit. I’m going to try putting the second through the washing machine to see if that has better results. Either way, it’s really not much fun to play with pre-blocking. Unless you like scratchy yarn of course. To each their own.

On the plus side it frogs really easily and the colours are all super pretty.

So overall my first encounter with Caron Cupcakes was a fairly disappointing one. It’s possible that this was just an off batch with the scratchiness so I am willing to give them a second chance, if I ever manage to get my hands on some more. I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Stats

  • 100% Acrylic
  • DK weight
  • 223m
  • 85g
  • Suggested hook size 4mm (although I used 4.5mm)

Have you used a cupcake before? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx

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18 for 2018 – end of year review

Welcome to 2019 everyone! I hope the holidays and new year were everything you hoped for.

It’s hard to believe a whole year has gone by since I decided on these goals – time just goes so quickly! But a year it has been so without further ado let’s get on with my final review.

1 New blog followed per week – 7/7 (yearly total 52/52) COMPLETE!

I made it!

 

2 New stitches/techniques learned per month – 1/2 (18/24)

This month I figured out how to do a long dc for my African Flower motifs.

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No met goal here, but I have learned a lot and developed more confidence with my knitting.

 

3 Instagram posts per week – 14/15 (147/156)

I was so sure I could meet this one, but Christmas and new year kind of knocked me off my game a bit. Still, I’m happy that I managed to post fairly regularly.

 

4 Exercise sessions per week – 22/18 (204/208)

Oooh so close!!

 

5 Blog posts written per week – 10/22 (161/260)

Wow, I really fell behind with this one. Even more than I thought.

 

6 Patterns written up – 5/6 (5/6)

I wrote up the pattern for my crochet crotchet, and then added on some bits to create a pattern for a pair of quavers.

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I’m pretty pleased that I managed to get to 5, considering at the beginning of the year I believed I just wasn’t made for pattern writing!

 

7 Areas in my flat sorted – 7/7 (7/7) COMPLETE!

I sorted my kitchen cupboards and got rid of quite a lot. Vitamins and supplements that I took for about a month and then forgot about, a frying pan that was so worn out it was starting to rust, plus some tea that I’d had for over 10 years.

I don’t know if tea can go off and be bad for you, but I figured if I haven’t used it in 10 years then I’m probably never going to!

 

8 Minutes of writing per day COMPLETE! 

 

9 pm bed time – 10/31 (103/365)

Well at least I met my mini goal of 100! Clearly I need to keep working on taking better care of my sleep.

 

10% of wages saved – 10/10 COMPLETE!

I managed this every month so now I’ve got a nice chunk of savings in the bank.

 

12 Hand-written letters – 13/12 COMPLETE!

A lot of things came up around Christmas time so I didn’t get to send all the cards and letters I was planning to. Still, this goal is definitely smashed!

 

13 New recipes tried – 14/13 COMPLETE!

An experiment with leftovers led to a really tasty casserole this month, just nudging me over the goal line.

 

14 Meet ups with friends – 14/14 COMPLETE! (stretch goal 31/25) DOUBLE COMPLETE!

We all knew Christmas would make this one easier, but I never expected to smash my stretch goal quite so much!  There was singing in various pubs, archery parties, cups of tea with friends, chips for breakfast, baby snuggles, and a cheeky Nandos. I’m ready for a wee break now!

 

15 Birthdays on time – 15/15 COMPLETE!

The present for my friend in Germany went out super early this month and then my two friends with birthdays on new year’s eve pushed me over the finish line. I’m so glad I met this one; I always feel like a terrible human being when I miss people’s birthdays, so although I didn’t quite manage them all I’m still feeling good that I got so many on time.

 

16 Christmas cards made – 18/16 COMPLETE!

Done and done.

 

17 Birthday cards made – 9/17

Just one this month for my friend in Germany, although I forgot to take a photo of it.

 

18 Items decluttered – 18/18 COMPLETE!

My frying pan, tea, and bottles of old vitamins bring the total up to 18. I’m definitely going to keep on decluttering as and when the need comes up, I just love the freed-up space and the feeling of achievement that comes with it.

 

That’s 10 goals met, and a couple very nearly met, which is honestly much better than I expected of myself. It was good to have some goals to work toward and something to focus on, but I’ve got a lot of stressors going on in my life right now so I’ve decided not to do this again for 2019.  For now I shall just be all smug and enjoy my success over the last year!

 

Hannah

xXx

Yarn review: Red Heart Unforgettable

My brother went to America a couple of months ago to visit some friends, and they sent him back with three balls of Red Heart Unforgettable to pass on to me. I’ve always said he has excellent taste in friends!

Candied

This is the Candied colourway. It looks and feels very much like Lion Brand Landscapes, with a fluffy-but-silky texture and a slight sheen to the beautiful colours.

As soon as I saw it I knew I was going to make something for my friend’s baby with it, and I’d been eyeing up the Leafy Baby Blanket pattern for a week or two, so the minute my circular needles were free I cast on.

It’s lovely to work with, all smooth and glide-y over my needles, but it’s also really variable when it comes to thickness. There are sections where it hardly seems spun at all it’s so loose and chunky, and then some where it’s twisted right down to what seems like sock weight. Which is not so bad as long as you’re working on a project that doesn’t rely on yarn being uniform all the way through.

It worked out pretty well with my blanket.

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It’s also one of those yarns that requires very careful frogging. All those lovely fluffy little hairs can really stick to each other if you try to pull things apart too quickly. Not that I would ever do such a thing….

Stats

  • 100% Acrylic
  • Aran weight
  • 250m
  • 100g
  • Suggested hook size 5mm

Overall it’s a pretty good yarn to work with, and definitely good to look at; I’m itching to use the remaining 2 balls for some matching baby accessories.

Hannah

xXx

Yarn review: Cotton Kings Twirl

Apologies for being so quiet the last couple of weeks. I’ve been moved to a new position at work, which feels kind of like being dropped headfirst into the deep end of a pool, having never even come across the concept of swimming.

I’m beginning to get the hang of it so hopefully normal service can resume soon. And now, on with the post:

In the greatest feat of restraint ever shown, I only bought one item during Hobbii‘s grand opening sale!

(A wee side review of Hobbii itself: I ordered on a Thursday, got notification the next day that my order had been dispatched, and the box arrived on Tuesday. Pretty darn good, coming all the way from Denmark. Plus all their emails and newsletters are super friendly and personable. I think they could become a favourite of mine.)

This is a Twirl from Cotton Kings. They contain about 800 metres of 100% cotton yarn in a gradual gradient cake, coming in at £11.90 per cake. It’s described as “4 thin unspun threads” on Hobbii’s website, and the pencil test puts it at fingering/sport weight.

There are a few…interesting colour options to choose from, but most of them are beautiful. (Since starting this draft they’ve added 12 new colourways, most of which I love). I spent a good 10 minutes swithering between Emerald, Amethyst, and Rhodolite, wishing that payday were closer so I could just buy all of them. In the end Amethyst won.

When the yarn arrived, the inner end had been pulled out about 5cm and laid across the top so there was none of the usual digging around and yarn vomit trying to find it; I just cast on and started knitting away, and so far it’s been a perfectly smooth centre-pull cake.

The site description also includes the tip “Before you start working the Twirl cake, run all 4 threads through a small bead to help the threads stay together throughout the project“, which made me a bit wary. More than one ball of cotton has been ejected from my stash because of disobedient strands!

However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Somehow these unspun strands just stick together, and the only splitting has been my fault for poking the needle in the wrong place during particularly tense moments of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

The colour changes happen one strand at a time, with the new colour being tied to the old, so there are teeny tiny knots at those points. I’ve been giving them a good tug and wiggle around, and so far they’ve all held up really well so I don’t think you’d need to worry about the knots coming undone.

Of course I only bought the one cake so I can’t comment on how consistent a brand this is (yet. There will be more Twirls in my future), but if the rest are like this one then I’m totally sold. It’s lovely smooth, non-splitty cotton in some gorgeous colours, all set up for a centre-pull, with enough in this dinky little cake to make a whole scarf/shawl. Plus from Hobbii it’s excellent value for money. The only thing I would change is a few more colour options.

Stats

  • 100% cotton
  • Fingering weight
  • 800m
  • 200g
  • Suggested hook size 2.5mm

Would definitely use again!

Hannah

xXx

Review: Knitpro Symfonie Interchangeable Knitting Needles

When I first decided to try knitting in the round I didn’t know whether I’d be any good at it or if I’d even like it, so I bought a pack of cheap, generic little circulars from Amazon just to try it out, and I used them for months.

I knew there were some issues with them, a couple of snags and suchlike, but the main one was that the cable is only around 20cm long. There was a lot of this:

Of course, having never known anything else I thought they were pretty darn good. But then I got a 20% off voucher from Hobbycraft so I had a browse, and there in the clearance section were some Knitpro interchangeable needles and cables. Far too tempting to resist, right?

First of all, can we talk about how beautiful they are? Just look at these colours!

I ordered needle sizes 4mm, 4.5mm, and 5mm because they’re the ones I tend to use most (aside from 6mm, but they didn’t have any of those) as well as a 35cm and a 94cm cable. All of which came in at less than a tenner, even before applying the 20% discount.

I was working on my Whimsy Cowl at the time, so when they arrived I immediately moved it across to the 35cm cable and did a couple of rounds just to try them out.

Oh my goodNESS, these are amazing!

I can’t believe how flat the join is once everything is locked together, there’s no catching or snagging at all. And oh the knitting itself!

These needles glide across each other so smoothly I feel like I was knitting with twigs for the previous 6 months. There was a real danger that I’d end up with a metre-long cowl because I just wanted to keep using these gorgeous needles.

Plus there’s no more concertina-ing and I can actually see what I’m making now.

And the cherry on the glittery icing on the cake is these stoppers, which screw on to the cable ends so I can take my knitting to work without worrying about everything slipping off the needles in my bag.

Genius!

This isn’t a very balanced review, but honestly I can’t think of a single thing I don’t like about these babies. Good to look at, easy to set up, awesome to use, and they didn’t even come close to breaking the bank. I am 100% sold. All that’s left to do now is try to find more sizes so I can have a full set!

Hannah

xXx

18 for 2018 July review

Gosh I’m a week late already! But I didn’t get back from camp til Saturday (and I needed Sunday to recover) so I’m letting myself off.

1 New blog followed per week – 4/4 (yearly total 29/29)

I branched out a bit this month and followed some papercrafting blogs.

 

2 New stitches/techniques learned per month – 2/2 (12/14)

This month I had a look at Bosnian crochet and the extended single crochet stitch. I swear I’ll get on and post about them soon…

 

3 Instagram posts per week – 10/14 (98/89)

Not too bad, considering I wasn’t feeling it at all.

 

4 Exercise sessions per week – 19/18 (119/118)

I’m still keeping up with my walks. In fact it’s been going so well that I’ve upped my daily step goal from 6,000 to 7,000. Still not back up to 10,000 yet because I’d rather go super slowly and make sure I don’t re-injure my knee, but I know I’ll get there eventually.

 

5 Blog posts written per week – 16/22 (121/147)

I’m actually surprised I managed this many, what with being at camp for a week. It really helps to do a bundle of Tangle of the Week posts at once and schedule them in so I’ll try to keep doing that.

 

6 Patterns written up – 2.5/6 (1.5/6)

I typed up the pattern for the bunny lovey I made this month.

 

7 Areas in my flat sorted – 3.5/7 (3.5/7)

Nope, but I am proud of myself for unpacking and putting everything away the day after I got back from camp. I seem to be turning into a somewhat tidy person!

 

8 Minutes of writing per day

Not at all when I was at camp, but I did okay the rest of the month.

 

9 pm bed time – 7/31 (66/212)

Same as last month.

 

10% of wages saved – 10/10

Done.

 

12 Hand-written letters – 7/12

It’s a set activity at camp to send a postcard home. I’ve been a leader for 12 years now and I still send mine!

 

13 New recipes tried – 9/13

This month I discovered honey mustard chicken thighs, and I cannot stop making them. Once I ran out of lemon juice and tried it with white vinegar instead and it still tasted amazing, so it’s a double win!

I also tried a slow cooker turkey lasagne, which worked out okay. I do love using the slow cooker, but in this case I think the proper oven version is better.

 

14 Meet ups with friends – 14/14 COMPLETE! (stretch goal 16/25)

Seeing as I finished this one so early, I’ve set myself a stretch goal. I’m going for 25 because I like round numbers.

This month I met up with my friend who’s having a baby, we went for ice cream and a walk, and had a good long natter.

We also had a day out to Millport (my favourite place) with my women’s singing group and a male singing group, which was possibly my favourite thing ever. We got to sing all day, have a barbecue on the beach, drink buckets of tea, and laugh til my sides hurt.

 

15 Birthdays on time – 11/15

No birthdays this month.

 

16 Christmas cards made – 3/16

I was so close. I went to a friend’s place and took my Christmas card set with me, but then I got there and realised I’d left all the backing papers at home! All my motivation disappeared after that.

 

17 Birthday cards made – 7/17

None this month.

 

18 Items decluttered – 7/18

I took back some clothes I had bought but later realised I didn’t like. My usual practice is to leave them lying around for months until it’s too late to return them and I have to send them to a charity shop, so I’m counting this because I got them sorted out in time!

 

Not terribly great progress this time, but I don’t mind too much as I knew camp would have an effect on quite a few of them. This month (now the normal Scottish weather has returned) I’m going to focus on getting these Christmas cards made and getting to my bed on time.

Hannah

xXx

18 for 2018 June review

This is getting silly now. I’m sure I only posted my May review last week!

 

1 New blog followed per week – 4/4 (yearly total 25/25)

Done. This one is going so well 🙂

 

2 New stitches/techniques learned per month – 1/2 (10/12)

This month I had a go at Bavarian crochet. Like most things, it’s not as difficult as I thought it would be. I’m thinking of making a cushion cover with my little test sample.

 

3 Instagram posts per week – 6/12 (88/75)

I slipped this month, but I’m still ahead of my overall total so yay I suppose.

 

4 Exercise sessions per week – 23/16 (100/100)

Woo hooo I’ve caught up with my overall total!

I’m going out on my lunch break every day, and it feels really good to be getting back into moving regularly. At the moment I’m meeting my step goal at least six days every week, which hasn’t happened for nearly two years.

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5 Blog posts written per week – 13/20 (105/125)

Below target, but still better than I thought. One thing 18 for 2018 has taught me is that I’m actually a lot more productive than I think I am in several areas.

 

6 Patterns written up – 1.5/6 (1.5/6)

No movement.

 

7 Areas in my flat sorted – 3.5/7 (3.5/7)

No more this month. I blame the sunshine :p

 

8 Minutes of writing per day

Still not every day, but I’m certainly working on it more often.

 

9 pm bed time – 7/30 (59/181)

Another improvement on last month, but obviously I still need to work on this more.

 

10% of wages saved – 10/10

Done.

 

12 Hand-written letters – 6/12

None this month, but I’m writing one at the moment.

 

13 New recipes tried – 7/13

Nothing here either. I’ve bookmarked a few to try, but didn’t actually get time to try them out.

 

14 Meet ups with friends – 14/14 COMPLETE!

We’re only halfway through the year and I’ve already met a goal! I can’t believe it, especially as it’s this goal. I’m really not as unsociable as I thought.

This month brought it home with a night at the pub after my choir’s summer concert, and a starlight swim on the coast, which was utterly wonderful.

The scenery was amazing, the weather was gorgeous so the temperature was just right, I battered my fear of heights into submission and jumped off the 3m diving board, and spent some lovely time with lovely friends.

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15 Birthdays on time – 11/15

Ooh I’m getting close with this one. Three friends had birthdays this month and I managed to make them all.

 

16 Christmas cards made – 3/16

Just no. It’s too hot to be thinking about Christmas.

 

17 Birthday cards made – 7/17

Three birthdays, but only two cards made this month. I’m not sure how the third friend feels about birthday cards, as she’s a professional declutterer, so I made her some fairy cakes instead.

 

18 Items decluttered – 6/18

No time this month, I really must get on.

 

I don’t like the way I pretty much missed June. Honestly, it went so quickly we were at the 2nd before I even realised it was July. This month I’m going to set aside some regular time to focus on my goals, and hopefully being a bit more mindful will stop time whizzing past me before I can properly enjoy it.

How was your June? Did you meet any goals? Let me know in the comments!

Hannah

xXx