craft kit

Box Clever Crafts – Circular Wall Hanging

I was very generously gifted this circular woven wall hanging kit to review by Box Clever Crafts, a new craft kit company that launched their first five boxes last month. Their mission is to make crafting and creativity accessible to everyone by designing craft boxes that offer a step by step guide to learning a new skill and creating something beautiful that can be kept or given as a gift.

Included in the kit was:

• 28cm circular wooden weaving loom
• Plastic needle
• Warp string
• Wool roving x2 (natural, grey)
• Recycled t-shirt yarn (grey)
• Fluffy yarn (pink)
• Mixed strings of recycled fabrics
• Beads x3
• ‘Handmade with Love’ tag

All the yarns felt lovely and of a high quality and having the mixed strings of recycled fabrics included meant that there was lots of variety too choose from to make your weaving really unique and there is plenty left over to include something a little special in future projects.

The instructions were easy to follow with clear pictures and diagrams. I was expecting the instructions to be fairly prescriptive to recreate the design shown in the picture on the front of the booklet. However, whilst the first half did take a step-by-step approach with stringing the loom and wrapping the edge with t-shirt yarn to create a border, the second half of the booklet had instructions for each of the types of weave (plain, twill, soumak, and rya knots), but no specific instructions for designs. This gives the weaver freedom to use their own creativity to create any design they wish with the materials provided. I think this really taps into Box Clever Crafts ethos of championing creativity. Although the instructions are perfect for beginners, being allowed to do whatever you want can be a bit daunting for some people when they first get into crafting, so the inclusion of some circular weaving examples from Pinterest is helpful.

I decided to add my Rya knots first to create tassels hanging down from the bottom of my hoop. This helped by blocking out part of the loom so I could see where I needed to weave up to. I had a go of all the weave techniques included in the booklet and started weaving from the outside, working my way into the centre. I didn’t really plan my design in advance because I wanted to try all the techniques and lots of the yarns and fabrics included, so it is a bit haphazard. I wasn’t sure how to create the loopy texture at the centre, but I knew I didn’t want to do plain weave as I know that the warp gets very tight and is difficult to weave at the end. I decided to use the soumak technique but leave it very loose, which seems to have worked well.

Box Clever Crafts have a range of kits already available on their Etsy shop, ranging in price from £19.99 – £24.99. This circular weaving kit is £24.99 and you can choose from a variety of colour options. It would be nice to see them have a proper website in the future with a subscription option, but for now its great to be able to pick and choose from the crafts they have on offer. I’ll be interested to see what kits they add in the future.

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Craftiosity – Woven Coasters

I really enjoyed the Craftiosity kit this month. Weaving is a craft I really like, but it can seem like a big commitment to start a new project. These woven coasters were like four mini projects, each with a different design, without the pressure of having yet another large work in progress hanging around!

Included in the kit was:

• Weaving loom
• Warp thread
• Cotton yarn x2 (pink and sand)
• Plastic needle
• Paper templates

I started off with the most basic design, just plain stripes, to get back into the weaving mindset as I haven’t done it for a little while. I do have a tendency to pull too tight which causes the sides to pull in so I was keen to try and improve my technique during this project. I definitely think I made an improvement, but there’s still work to do on that front! The mini weaving loom was easy to warp, although I did find the prongs on either side a little annoying whilst weaving as the yarn kept getting caught around them.

I liked that there were four different designs as it kept the project interesting and meant there was plenty of opportunity to practise geometric shapes. There were two options for weaving around the geometric shapes. One was to weave up to the warp thread next to the shape, but this left a small gap between the shapes so I decided to do the interlocking method instead. This is a lot trickier, but by looping the yarn through the adjacent yarn loop of the geometric shape you can close the gap.

For the first two designs I did use the paper templates as a guide to ensure I was on track with the size and shape, but once I’d mastered the technique of creating the triangles I felt more confident to weave the designs without have to keep holding the templates up to my work.

The other tricky bit was adding the Rya knot tassels. They are fairly easy to loop round the warp threads, but they aren’t secure until the weaving has been taken off the loom and the warp threads are tied off, so there is a moment or two where you feel like it could all fall apart!

This project is quite time consuming. The instructions say that each coaster will take about 2-3 hours to complete, although you obviously don’t have to do this all in one sitting. The good thing about weaving is you can put it down and pick it up again whenever you have the time. I think that the first coaster took me longer than three hours, but as I progressed through the project each one was a bit quicker than the one before. It’s definitely good to get into a rhythm with weaving as it all flows much better. Although I just made the four designs included in the kit there is plenty of yarn and warp thread left over for some more projects, and of course the mini loom can be used again and again!

I’m really pleased that this kit came along when it did. I’ve been looking to get back into weaving for a while now and I have several weaving projects looming on the horizon (pun definitely intended!) so it was good to have a bit of practice before starting something bigger.


Macra-weave Workshop

I’ve been trying my hand at macra-weaving this week; a combination of macrame and weaving. I joined an online workshop run by Daisy’s 60 Minute Crafts. The course was run over two evenings, a week apart via Google (I can’t wait to do real life workshops again!). I only signed up about a week before the first date, but the kit with all the supplies arrived well in time for the session.

Included in the kit was:

  • Wooden dowel rod
  • Plastic darning needle
  • Macrame string
  • Selection of yarns in different thickness/types

I was unfortunately unwell for the first session and I couldn’t join in, which I was so disappointed about because I was really looking forward to doing some crafting with other people. I emailed Nicki, the lady behind Daisy’s, to explain that I wouldn’t be able to make it and she very kindly offered to do a short session with just me to catch me up ahead of the second session. I honestly cannot praise her enough for this very kind gesture. She gave up an evening of her time just to show me what to do. I would have been happy with a video of how to do the macrame knots or even written instructions! I just got her to show me the knots and go through their placement to create the base of the wall hanging ready for the weaving so I could complete it at a later date. I didn’t want to keep her all night whilst I made the whole thing! 

We used two types of knots to create the macrame base; a larks head to attach the strings to the dowel rod and a double half hitch for the decorative knots. The lines of double half hitch were spaced out down the length of the wall hanging to create sections for the weaving. There were also a couple of sections where we did a more decorative style knot, using a single half hitch using four strings instead of two and leaving it loose to create a loopy effect.

Having made a ‘loom’ with the macrame, the second session was dedicated to weaving. I was well again for this one as it was a week later, which meant I could join in with the live workshop. Nicki taught us three weaves that we could use to fill in the spaces between the knots. The first was the plain weave, which is the basic in and out stitch. The second was the soumak weave, created by wrapping the yarn around the string, you could make it bigger or smaller depending on how many strings you wrapped it around. Lastly was the Rya knot used to create the tassels at the bottom of the wall hanging.

I really like the effect of combining these two textile crafts together. It’s a very relaxed craft and I think you could create a lot of different effects just with these few techniques, depending on the placement of the knots and weaves. I also like that there’s no pressure to fill up the whole of the piece with weaving, in fact, I actually think it looks better with sections of the string left bare. I have to send my thanks out again to Nicki for her amazing customer service. I’m definitely going to be keeping my eye on her events calendar for another craft workshop that tickles my fancy!

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Craft Box Club – Circular Loom Weaving

I’ve been wanting to try circular weaving for a while as I always see so many beautiful designs on Instagram, so I was very excited to see the latest Craft Box Club come through the post (! Included in the box was:

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Cotton warp
  • Chunky Merino yarn
  • Wool roving
  • Lolly stick 

The first step was to use the hoop and the cotton string to create the warp for the wool to weave through around the hoop. As usual there was the link for the video tutorial inside the box. On the website it said that this was quite a long video and that the weaving would take about one to two hours, however I thought the video didn’t feel too long when I was watching, it was only about ten minutes. The project from start to finish probably took me around an hour and a half. 

Once the warp had been strung it was time to get weaving. The video and handy hints guide recommended a tight weave at the centre to start off, becoming looser as you move further out and add in the roving to create texture. One of the parts I liked was the suggestion of not weaving round the whole circle every time, but just covering a segment of the hoop by going back and forth over the same few warps, rather than round and round. One of the things I didn’t like was the bulky bit in the middle where the warp is showing. I don’t think this can really be helped as the cotton string has to cross over in the centre, but I’d like it to be more hidden. 

After finishing off the edge of the hoop with the roving the last thing to do was create the rosette bit at the side with big loops of wool. When I first watched the video showing how to achieve this look I wasn’t convinced that it was going to hold in place, but once I started packing the wool in between the warps it gradually became more secure.

This was such a great taster of circular weaving. I like weaving anyway, but it was nice to have a go at doing something different with it. I have plenty of embroidery hoops hanging around so I might have to have a go at creating a larger version! 

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Fundi Box – Woven Raffia Sunburst Mirror

This is my second woven raffia sunburst mirror that I’ve made recently, but this one is from the September Fundi Box ( As usual the inspiration for the box is taken from Africa using the tradition of basket weaving joined with the sun motif, which not only makes you think of warmer climes (especially now the weather has turned) but is also bang on trend for home décor at the moment. Not only this but the raffia used is from a species of palm native to tropical regions of Africa, particularly Madagascar.

Included in the box was:

  • Circular mirror
  • Raffia hanks x3 (1 natural, 1 black, 1 colour of choice)
  • Wooden dowel rods
  • Glue
  • Twine rope
  • Circular paper template
  • African gift of the month

The gift this month was a carved box made using soapstone from Kenya. It was handmade by the Kisii people of the Tabaka Hills in Western Africa. This mineral was originally used for domestic purposes, but is now used for handmade carvings exported around the world. Their carvings can be found on Bazaar Africa (

As with the last project I was emailed for my colour choice for the third raffia hank choosing from six options. I chose teal for mine. I have to admit that I went a bit rogue from the instructions on this one. The first instruction was to cut the dowel rods down to size, but when I measured them up I felt like they would be quite short, especially compared to the photographs where the rods were sticking out quite far from the edge of the mirror, so I decided to skip this stage and leave my rods full length. As I was glueing them on, using the circular template as a guide for where to place them, I staggered them to create an alternating pattern. 

Once all the dowel rods were in place and the glue had dried I could then begin weaving. This was the bit I was most looking forward to. Weaving is such a relaxing craft and it’s so satisfying to see the design building up. This is the second place were I deviated from the instructions, but only in the order in which I did the colours. The suggested order was natural, black, natural then finishing with your colour, but I decided to do a few more layers with natural, black, teal, black, natural.

The last thing to do was create a hook for the back by doubling over a length of the twine rope and wrapping it in some raffia and then glueing it to the back. There was also the option to add a twine rope trim to the front of the mirror but I decided against that as I like the way it looks without it and I was worried that I might not be able to do it neatly enough, which would ruin the look of the mirror. 

The only real issue I had with this kit was that some of the dowel rods kept coming unstuck so I had to keep glueing them back down and then waiting for it to set again before I could continue with the project, which was why it took me so long to complete it, but apart from that I had a great time with this kit!

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Makerly – Sunburst Mirror

I’m so close to being all caught up with my craft boxes after having a break in the summer when the weather was so hot that all I could do was lie on the sofa! I only have a few August boxes left before the September boxes start arriving in the post, one of which is the sunburst mirror kit from Makerly (

Included in the box was:

  • Round mirror
  • Rattan sticks
  • Raffia
  • Glue
  • Elastic bands
  • Rattan decorations

There were instructions for two different designs of sunburst mirror included on the instruction sheet. I thought it was laid out a lot better than the booklet for the Temari balls, and it was really easy to follow this time. I particularly liked the historical note about King Louis XIV, the ‘Sun King’, inspiring the trend for the sunburst motif on furniture and architecture during his reign. I really like to have an understanding and explanation of the crafts I’m making as I think it makes you feel more connected to them.

I decided to go for design two as I wanted to try out the extra technique of soaking and bending the rattan sticks. This is obviously more time consuming as you have to soak the sticks in order to bend them, then soak them in their final shape and then dry them before they can be used. This does however give the glue time to dry on the first lot of sticks you attach to the mirror.

Attaching the bent sticks I found quite tricky as they didn’t want to stay in place and I had to hold each one for quite a while whilst the glue dried to avoid them popping up. A couple of them even caused the straight sticks to move out of place and I had to do a bit of a fixing, which unfortunately lead to me getting glue on the main part of the mirror in my bid to reattach all the sticks and hold them down without also getting my fingers stuck to them too! I’ve read that vinegar is good for getting glue off plastic so I’ll have to give it a try.

The final step was to weave around the outside with the natural raffia. I really enjoyed this part. It was easy to do and gave such a nice finish to the mirror. If I’d had more materials I think I would have liked to do design one as well with just straight sticks as I could have done more weaving. Lastly I added a little raffia hook to the back.

Also included in the box were the plastic rattan decorations. I’m not really sure what to do with them and there aren’t any suggestions on the instruction sheet, but some of them look like they would make good earrings so perhaps I’ll find some ear wires and do a bit of jewellery making!

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Sage and Tassel Weaving MakeBox

This MakeBox is actually from April, but there was a bit of a delay in sending it out as the MakeBox team took the precaution of closing their studio for the first few weeks of the lockdown, so I’ve only just got round to completing it. I really love weaving and although I liked this project overall and am happy with the finished product, I have to say that I did have a few problems with this box.

Included in the box was:

  • Wooden loom and accessories
  • Warp thread
  • Wooden dowelling
  • 3 balls of double knit wool
  • 1 ball of chunky wool
  • Length of roving
  • Large needle
  • Postcard to embroider

There were actually three projects included in this box; the weaving, woven bracelets, and the postcard to embroider. I began with the weaving and started off by stringing the loom. I have done this before so I was pretty confident about it, but previously I’ve only ever used normal household string. This kit came with a nylon string, which I found really difficult to use. Due to the slippery nature of it I found that the knots I made to anchor it kept coming undone. Once I had rectified this as best as I could I then started to string the loom. However I could not get the string as tight as I would have liked because it kept getting tangled. I laid the bundle of string down really carefully to try and avoid knots, but as soon as I pulled a length out of it it just became one giant knot. Every time I had to sit and unpick it I lost all the tension in my loom and had to start again, which was really frustrating. Eventually I got it strung to my satisfaction and could continue with the weaving.

The first step was to create two layers of tassels at the bottom. I love tassels and they appear all the way up the weaving giving it lots of texture. My tassels ended up a lot shorter than the picture. The instructions said to measure the yarn from fingertip to elbow, so maybe I just have much shorter arms than other people! Once the tassels were done then the weaving could begin. I felt really confident about doing this and the instructions were really easy to follow, telling you how many rows to do in which colour. I had a go at using the warp separator which pushes alternate strings up or down making it easier to slide the shuttle through, but I found that I was spending more time making sure the warp was in the correct slot than I was weaving so I abandoned that and just pushed the shuttle through without it, making sure to weave in and out of the warp. 

I had a bit of trouble with the roving, which is the thick fleecy length of wool. I didn’t feel it was that clear in the instructions that you had to separate it into several lengths so that you had some thinner pieces to use near the top. Creating the puffy row at the bottom took a bit of patience to make sure you didn’t end up with any flat bits, but it was definitely worth spending the time on to make sure it looked good in the end. The length of roving I had been provided with was only just long enough for me to achieve this look and I did have a couple of frustrating moments trying to get it to sit right!

After weaving the majority of the piece I was quite near the top when I noticed the instructions didn’t match the picture. After a section in the cream wool it said to move straight on to the pink, However I noticed that there was a large section of the chunky green, which had been totally missed out of the instructions in between the cream and the pink. I’m sure it wouldn’t matter if it got missed out, the overall weaving would just be shorter, but as I’d noticed it I counted the rows in the picture and added it in.

Lastly it was time to neaten it up. First I trimmed all the tassels. Some of them were trimmed at a diagonal to add more interest to the piece. Next came removing it from the loom. The instructions said to lift it off gently, all at once and then to tie the warp threads off in pairs to secure the weaving. I wish that I had just lifted and tied off one pair at a time as I found that when I lifted it all off my last section of weaving started to become really loose and I really struggled to keep it neat and in line. It was such a shame after all the work I put in to the rest of the weave as the top of my weaving is now quite wonky and doesn’t sit flat. After removing it from the loom you had to use the large needle to sew the loose ends into the back of the piece and finally attach the dowelling to hang it from. 

The second project was a woven bracelet. I absolutely loved this project! It was just like the friendship bracelets I used to make when I was younger and it’s made me want to make some more. I used to be able to do all kinds of designs, not just stripes! The instructions said to cut six strands and then double them over, but looking at the pictures I think it meant cut three strands and then double them over to create six, although you could do it with more to create a wider bracelet.

The last project included was the postcard. You had to perforate the card using the large needle and then sew through the holes to create the woven effect. 

Although I did have some problems along the way, the finished pieces are all great and I had loads of fun making my bracelet. The weaving itself just wasn’t quite as relaxing as I was expecting it to be! Looking forward to a less stressful project in the May box! 


La Basketry

Yesterday I went over to the London Loom again, this time for a basket weaving workshop run by the lovely Tabara N’Diaye from La Basketry ( This was a totally new skill for me, but Tabara was very patient in explaining how to do each step and even though there was seven of us in the class she gave each of us individual attention when we needed it. I felt very well looked after and she was really encouraging, even when our work came out a bit wonky!

To start with we were given a bunch of grass, a special needle with a bent tip and a flexible silicon tube. We had to select which colours we wanted to use for our basket from a selection of plastic strings. You would recognise them if you made scoubidous at school (showing my age)! I chose purple and peach. 

We began by threading a few of the grasses through the silicon tube, which kept them all together and made it easier to begin the pot. Tabara then showed us how to create the first coil by tying the plastic string round, wrapping the grass and creating a stitch to hold it in place. This was the base from where we would continue to build the pot, adding a stitches as we went round. 

When the coloured string ran out you just threaded the new colour into the previous stitch and carried on. As the grass ran out you just had to feed some new stems into the bunch to ensure you maintained a consistent thickness all the way around the basket. 

Once the base was wide enough then you could begin to build up the sides. That was where the peg came in useful if you were having trouble holding everything in place. I didn’t use the peg as I found it much easier to weave going up the sides than I did creating the base. I also found that my stitches became more uniform and fell into a natural pattern, which created a nice look for the basket, and meant that my messy bit was luckily hidden on the base!

The little basket we created was to hold a cactus and Tabara had one for each of us. I didn’t have enough time to build my basket as high as I would have liked but I think it still looks cute with it’s little spiky friend inside it! The workshop cost £55 for two hours and took place at the London Loom studios (


Weave Your Genes at The London Loom

Last week I went to the ‘Weave Your Genes’ workshop at The London Loom ( and I had such a great time! I booked this workshop a little while ago and when it rolled around I wasn’t really that up for it. The London Loom is based over in East London which is a bit awkward for me to get to so I wasn’t really looking forward to travelling there and back. By the time I left it was a completely different story, the three trains were totally worth it!

I arrived a bit early but Francesca, the founder, gave me a lovely warm greeting and put me to work straight away. The idea of the workshop was to complete a questionnaire relating to various aspects of your genetic make up, for example: eye colour, bitter taste perception, odour detection etc. Each answer was given two letters which correspond to the four ‘building blocks’ or bases that make up DNA: Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, Guanine. I chose four different coloured yarns and assigned each one to a base, then using my answers I created a design for my weaving.

Once I had completed the questionnaire and coloured in my design Francesca set me up on a loom. She showed me how to wind the yarn onto the bobbin and then feed the shuttle through the weft to begin creating my fabric. I did get into a few knots at the start but once I’d got into a rhythm it was easy to become absorbed in the process. I did have to have a few breaks to stretch my back out…I don’t know how women in the olden days managed!

After I got to the end of my design Francesca cut my fabric off the loom and showed me how to tie the ends so it wouldn’t all come unravelled. Now all I have to decide is what to do with it! I’ve had suggestions of a bag or a cushion so far.

The London Loom is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. Francesca is really welcoming and talks through each stage in a clear, concise way. The people using the other looms were also really friendly. It’s based in a complex with lots of other creative businesses which gives it a really relaxed vibe. I absolutely loved Francesca’s massive rainbow wall of yarn! She recently won in the ‘best workshop’ category at the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards ( and she totally deserves it.

If you’re looking to try something relaxing and rewarding I would definitely recommend taking a workshop there. The ‘Weave Your Genes’ one that I did cost £65 for a three hour session including all the materials.