Do it yourself knit and crochet kits seem to have risen in popularity over the last few years, with companies like We Are Knitters and Wool and the Gang leading the market. They aim to provide beginners with everything they need to get started and learn the basics, and to tempt us seasoned yarnies with exclusive patterns we can’t buy anywhere else. I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for a kit that comes neatly packaged in a pretty box with everything you’ll need to make something beautiful, despite the fact I’ve probably got more than enough crochet hooks, knitting needles and tapestry needles to arm half of my followers on Instagram.
Back in February 2019, We Are Knitters held an unboxing competition where the winning entry would receive a £500 giftcard. Not being one to miss out on the chance of winning such a fab prize I order two kits to help me on my knitting journey. The first was the Loris Beanie which retails at £35 and the second was the Laguna Sweater retailing at £85, although luckily I managed to get both of them at 20% off. This post, hopefully my first of many, will review the kits honestly and openly so you can think about the pros and cons before parting with your own hard earned cash.
We’ll start off with the Loris Beanie, which can be ordered in a range of colours including the usual suspects, grey, black, mustard and natural and for a few £ extra you can upgrade the yarn colour to one of We Are Knitter’s Sprinkle variations. This 50g skein of Baby Alpaca yarn is all you need to make the 1-6 or 6-12month size beanie and oh boy is it soft, soft, soft. Within the kit you also get a sewing needle, embroidered label, the pattern and an optional pair of 5mm wooden knitting needles (you can take £10 off if you don’t need the needles).
This was only my second knitting project of 2019 and I found it really simple and quick to make, partly because the yarn was so soft and fluffy I didn’t want to put it down but also, partly because I’d adapted the pattern to suit my knitting preferences. For some reason I just can’t get on with straight knitting needles, I find them too long to hold so I always chose to go with cicurlars if I can. I had cast on to the wooden needles, but after about 3 rows I realised it jut wasn’t working for me so I switched to circulars. Making the beanie with circular needles meant I only had to do knit stitch the entire way around, after the ribbing brim, beginners dream! It made it super quick and easy to do this way, with less seaming together at the end, bonus. It’s something I think they could of included in the pattern to be honest, a simple addition but one I think would also suit other beginners like me.
Overall, I think this is a great little kit if you’re looking for a beginner knitting project, although it is a tad expensive at full price. The yarn is beautifully soft though and the beanie fits my little man well so I was super proud of what I’d made. Just look at his grin too. Win, win!
The second kit I ordered was the Laguna Sweater. This one took me a bit longer to decide on. At £85 (again you can take off £10 if you don’t need the needles) I felt like I had to make the right colour choices and be certain I was going to like the finished product. One of the features of the We Are Knitters website is that it links to Instagram and shows you all of the different ways people have already made this product. This is a genius way of marketing if you ask me, one I’ve seen a couple of craft companies like Hobbycraft also implement. Different colour options and sizes pop up on real people from across the world, although, you can’t always tell the exact colours used if the individual doesn’t mention it in their blurb. I ummed and ahhed about which size to make for quite a while.
By measurements I was a Medium, but the model who was obviously smaller than me was wearing a large in their marketing photograph, and I do tend to like jumpers to be oversized. The reason I was undecided was because you have to pay an additional £8 for the extra skein of yarn to make the size Large or Extra Large and I didn’t want it to be wasted. In the end I decided to take my Mum’s advice for once, and went big! After selecting my seaside inspired colours, I happily waited for my kit to arrive (which missed the unboxing deadline if you were wondering, oops).
Doesn’t it look beautiful all laid out ready and waiting for me to start? Well, it does, but I’ll let you know the colours that arrived weren’t what I thought I had ordered. This is my biggest annoyance of both We Are Knitters and Wool and the Gang! When you’re browsing through their yarn colours you only see a tiny little preview colour, which makes it really difficult to see the colours properly, never mind compare them. It’s literally the size of your fingernail and you can’t click it to make it larger like you can on Love Knitting, Wool Warehouse or other similar yarn websites. We Are Knitters have since changed this and have added a ‘see all colours’ pop up window, but I still think they both have quite a way to go to make it easier to see the selection more clearly. I’d suggest the best way to decide on colours is to go directly to their webpage showing the yarn itself, not the kit. Take a look through them there, and then head to the kit page to order, else like me you could end up with something different to what you was expecting.
Having said that, the shade that arrived was still beautiful and seaside inspired so I was happy to go ahead and start the project rather than return it and try and figure out which blue was the one I’d actually liked to begin with. No adaptations to the pattern this time, except for using circulars again, but back and forth in rows as I just find them easier to hold. The cotton yarn takes a bit of getting used to, particularly as you have to hold two strands togethers at the same time. To avoid splitting it and ending up with different tensions I rolled both skeins into one big ball and used that, much easier.
It probably took me a couple of weeks off and on to make the jumper and you know what? I had an extra skein leftover, despite the measurements matching up exactly. My life, I tell you 😉 But I’m really proud of my finished jumper, I think it’s one of the first knitting projects I’ve made for me that I’ll actually wear quite a bit. It looks fairly professional and I love the fact that I made each stitch with love.
So overall, I love both of the projects I made from We Are Knitters. I see these as a luxury treat that combines my hobby and passion and I finish up with something stylish at the end, made by me. The way I justified the price was thinking I’d easily spend £30-£40 on a jumper from a store and £30 on yarn (you always have to make it up to free delivery right?), so together they provide both clothing and entertainment. I enjoyed making both of these projects and I know I’ll value them much more highly because of the time and effort that went into both.
The kits are quite expensive if you pay full price, so watch out for sales or use discount codes if you can. Both companies offer discount codes for first time buyers, but you’re always welcome to use my friends code for We Are Knitters. Just pop the code below in at the checkout and it will take £10 off your order. It also gives me some credit and if this ever builds up I’ll use it for giveaway to share the love with you lovely people.
We Are Knitters Friends Code: MGMJBHG4U
Happy knitting everyone!