As promised, I have worked through the project in the April 2017 Happy Yarn Mail Box, and have some added notes for my original review.
April’s project is a Crochet Hoop Art Hydrangea. The subscription box comes with written instructions, as well as a link to a YouTube video, which further explains the instructions. The online video has had some issues with subscribers even accessing it, because of some confusing “is it lower case or upper case letters” in the url provided. Perhaps the links should be directly emailed to the subscribers when their package is shipped? I think that will save on a lot of frustration and confusion.
The main part of the project uses the mostly full skein of off white yarn. I had plenty of this yarn to spare, even though I found myself needing to add an extra row to the project to make it fit correctly in the embroidery hoop. I think I could easily make at least one more background with the leftover off white yarn.
The reason I had to add an extra row is because I am a very tight crocheter. I think it must be from all of the amigurumis that I like to make, but I just think projects look cleaner and nicer with a tight tension, and bonus, that means I use less yarn. For loose crocheters, you should still have plenty of yarn to finish at least one background.
I found that the written instructions left out some details that a beginner could be confused by. I know I would have. The video tutorial mentions the missing bits, but for people who may be crocheting on the go or who don’t have access to the video, it could be frustrating if you don’t naturally know how it should have been worded.
Attaching the background to the hoop is pretty simple, and is demonstrated in the video for those unable to imagine it.
Now, on to the flowers!
This is where I got extremely frustrated. First of all, the hook size recommended for the flowers is not given in mm size. Most of my hooks do not have the letters on them, so I am used to grabbing the hook by the recommended mm size. The way this pattern is written, I ended up grabbing a hook that was far too big, wondering why it would be written this way and finishing the first flower before realizing I misread the hook size.
The hook size is mentioned more clearly in the video, so that is helpful.
Now, remember when I mentioned that I am a very tight crocheter? This should have been super helpful when making the flowers, since such tiny amounts of yarn were given. We were supposed to have enough yarn to make 2 white flowers, 2 dark blue flowers, and 11-12 light blue flowers. In the video, it is even mentioned how she gave you extra light blue yarn to make as many extra little flowers as you like.
Let me tell you, it was a real struggle just getting the promised amount of flowers made!! On the white flowers, it was so close, I was worried if I would have enough tail left to sew it to the project! The dark blue left me the tinest bit longer of a tail on my second flower, and the light blue did not even have enough for me to finish the 11th flower. I had to finish it with three petals instead of four, even though I made sure to leave very short tails for sewing, knowing that there was just not enough yarn.
That is such a huge bummer! How stressful, worrying if you will have enough yarn to finish a project you paid so much for!
I also wish that the instruction booklet would mention the brand and exact color names of the included yarns, so that it is easy to buy more, in this case, just to finish the project!
In the video, when the flowers are attached, there is no sewing done at all, the tails are just fished through the project and tied together in knots on the back. I found that for myself, it was easier to control the project if I did light sewing to each flower as I attached it, just tacking it into place. I finished off tying the very short tails together as was done in the video tutorial.
When I did my box overview, I was confused by the trim and glue, thinking it was meant for the little plastic notions bag, since they were inside of it. It is not mentioned at all in the instruction booklet, but the trim is for the outside ring of the hoop on your finished project.
Attaching the trim was simple, and the glue was a good, tacky quality that held the trim in place as I went around the hoop adding the finishing touch. I wish there was about an inch more of the trim, just because I think it would have looked a little nicer if it had went completely around the hoop, but it is a cute detail that is a perfect finish to this cute project.
I absolutely love how the project turned out, and I have to admit that this is a very unique and fun new way to use and display crochet. I am sad that the amount of yarn was off for the flowers, when it would have been easy and inexpensive enough to add a few more yards to the boxes, guaranteeing success for everyone.
I bought two more hoops, slightly smaller, to make two additional colors of flowers with yarn I already had. I had plenty of the off white yarn from the box to do the two extra projects. I purchased additional mini pom pom trim from Walmart. I love how these look on my wall above my yarn collection!
This box is definitely overpriced, especially when the exclusive patterns show up for sale soon after the boxes are shipped out. I still plan on testing a few more boxes to see if the value is improved and if the kinks are worked out, since this is a brand new box.
Stay tuned for May’s box and pattern review! Happy crafting, friends! 🙂