Crafty Ideas Family Giveaway Kitty Review

In which we enter the world of small elastic bands

16/10/2014

(Disclosure: this is a review post, in among the tale of a little girl’s optimism, the real reason why everyone should learn a round turn and two half hitches, and the preservation of my embroidery thread. All thoughts and words are undeniably my own; no one else would chatter for so long and on so many tangents. And if you make it to the bottom there’s even a giveaway!)

Over the summer a new word entered my eldest daughter’s lexicon. A word that I suspect strikes fear into the hearts of school caretakers everywhere, and anyone else engulfed in a tidal wave of colourful elastic.

Yes, Kitty discovered the existence of loom bands. And from there it was only a short step to wanting to make one. Well they do come in all sorts of exciting varieties of pink and purple.

But her interest seemed to come and go, right up to the point that we found ourselves sat in children’s church visiting a friend one Sunday morning and the Sunday school leader pulled out a packet of bands. All the little girls set to and a fair few Mummys as well, twisting and weaving the bands over their fingers until there were half a dozen new bracelets accessorising Sunday dresses. Kitty pulled out a small handful of bands and brought them over to us;

“Mummy! Can you make me a loom band?”

And despite numerous sneaky looks at the little girls constructing at speed all around me I had to say no. For the first time in her life Kitty had found something crafty that neither of her parents knew how to do. Clearly it was time to learn, and happily Hobbycraft were more than willing to be elastic enablers and sent us the Cra-Z-Loom kit to try out.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

A kit that fortunately comes with instructions as well as a bright magenta loom (instant hit), the hook (also pink) a baggie full of 600 rainbow bands and 25 s-clips.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

In my defence I’m not sure why I thought I should know how to make loom bands; when I was in my teens the big thing was friendship bracelets. I ruled at friendship bracelets, mainly due to the winning combination of being a sailor – two half hitches; piece of cake – and having a mother with a well stocked embroidery box who would allow a little light pilfering on the condition that I didn’t leave it in a giant snarled mess. I could make cords and stripes and zig zags, chevrons, fish (very popular at Scripture Union camp!) and even the occasional word.

I’ve got fond memories of hours spent with thread pinned to my school skirt with a safety pin and I’ll admit I was a little curious to see what I’d make of the latest incarnation, and whether I’d ever get over the fact that they look exactly like brace elastics (if you don’t know what I’m talking about then I’m officially jealous of your good fortune and excellent straight teeth!). Kitty on the other hand was just a smidgen more than curious when she heard she was finally getting her hands on a loom band!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

So how did we get on?

The basic premise seems to be that you lay out your bracelet by looping bands over the pegs, then hook the bands in order and finally pull the bracelet off the loom and finish it up by joining it with an s-clip.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

We started with the simplest of the three bracelet instructions in the pack and after I’d had a quick play with half a dozen bands to work out what we needed to do I handed it off to Kitty. She easily got the hang of the zig zag pattern we were trying to make and ‘warped’ the whole loom quite happily.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

When it came to the weaving she could see what she needed to do but found it more of a challenge; she did about half the band and I did the other half, but she’s only just four, and I’m sure that as she grows her manual dexterity will catch up and I won’t get a look in. With a few more years experience wielding a crochet hook under my belt I found it easy to hook the bands up and over and the whole thing came together quickly to someone’s evident delight!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

And after that certain someone went to bed it’s just possible that I may have got it back out for a little play of my own – for research and testing purposes of course you understand!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Once you’ve worked out what you’re trying to do the raised braid and the waterfall bands come together as quickly as the simple band and the results are just as well received by small daughters. I found the pictures the most useful guide to what we were doing for all three; the words seemed to unnecessarily complicate matters.

And half a dozen bracelets in I can see why loom bands are so addictive; they’re quick, easy to make, and Kitty and I had a great time playing together and choosing colours (I’d never be able to teach her friendship bracelets at this age) and happily my embroidery box remains untrammelled.

The kit itself feels sturdy enough to withstand a few years weaving and I liked that the instructions covered a few different band patterns.

If there is a downside It’s the storage conundrum. The bands and links come in little plastic bags of the sort that once opened are going to erupt everywhere. We started out putting the bands in the bowl to my kitchen scales which was great – right up until the point that I needed to weigh something – and then we moved on to one of Elma’s weaning bowls. After that seemed to erupt a rainbow of elastic every time anyone so much as looked at it I’ve poured them all into a screw top jam jar; no one can do loom bands without Mummy to open the jar and my hoover is much happier without a regular diet of elastic through it’s innerds. And while jam jars aren’t a practical inclusion to a kit, a resealable bag or a little clip box would be an improvement, particularly in a kit that’s priced at £15.

Which brings us to the sticky question of the price. It is a great starter kit there’s no question about that, but is it £15 worth of great kit? I’m honestly not sure about that; it’s more than I would pay on a whim or to pick up something new for a rainy afternoon.

Having said that, if they could sort out a storage solution it’s got everything you need to keep you busy for hours thus fulfilling my sister and my childhood rule when choosing Christmas presents for each other; something to do and with all the bits you need. Devon in the winter can be very stormy and also very shut!

And as I’m certain I’m not the only one who looked at small elastic bands with bafflement I have a little treat for someone. Hobbycraft have given me another Cra-Z-Loom kit to giveaway – to enter all you have to do is fill out the form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • Kate 16/10/2014 at 6:23 pm

    Tried loom bands as a summer holiday activity with my daughter. I couldn’t do it! Ready to try again with a proper kit!
    I’ve been enjoying your blog for quite a while now – my little girl is about the same age as your Kitty.

    • Carie 17/10/2014 at 8:40 pm

      I just couldn’t figure it out from watching – and I’ve still no idea how to do it with just my fingers – time to resort to YouTube!

  • Mandycharlie 16/10/2014 at 9:15 pm

    Apparently,… Utube have some interesting videos on bracelet patterns. Okay I fess up, I came across this craze last summer and although I managed to resist buying a loom, I did have to have a little look as to what it was all about.

    • Carie 17/10/2014 at 8:41 pm

      I’m trying to resist the temptation to look up too many patterns, given that this is supposed to be Kitty’s kit!!

  • Jo welsh 16/10/2014 at 9:31 pm

    I prefer friendship bracelets but my daughter would say loom bands hands down she loves them

    • Carie 17/10/2014 at 8:41 pm

      Yay – friendship bracelets all the way

  • Caroline 16/10/2014 at 9:34 pm

    I think we may be the same age, and yes, my goodness, friendship bracelets were the thing! I remember my sheer joy when I worked out for myself how to do more than a simple cord and produced a lovely row of noughts and crosses! I must have spent hours making those colourful cotton bracelets in all kinds of patterns. It’s for that very reason that I’ve completely resisted even looking at how to make a loom band – I’m so afraid that if I start, I won’t be able to stop! And Thomas is definitely too young and too uninterested for me to be able to blame it on him!

    Hope you have hours of happy looming though!

    • Carie 17/10/2014 at 8:43 pm

      I think we must be – I remember doing noughts and crosses, oh and forgetting you had it pinned onto your skirt when you stood up!

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 16/10/2014 at 11:58 pm

    I LOVED friendship bracelets as a child, but these loom bands seem to be all the rage! I’m open to trying out both 🙂

    • Carie 17/10/2014 at 8:45 pm

      They are just as addictive – and I suspect your Ava would enjoy them too!

  • dean of Little Steps 17/10/2014 at 1:14 pm

    A close friend introduced little T to loom bands. She’s one of those annoying (and I can call her that, because she’s a friend ;)women who are so good at any craft invented, from knitting-tapestry-making to name-it-and-she’s probably good at it too. Yep, that kind. Thankfully, this didn’t really pique T’s interest. If not, I’d be doomed. If my friend is the “master” crafts-woman, I’m the complete opposite. It’s not that I’m not interested, I’m just really crap at it 🙁 And yes, I can imagine how addictive it can be too!

    • Carie 17/10/2014 at 8:48 pm

      She sounds like someone who would know how to loom without a loom!!

  • tracy nixon 18/10/2014 at 9:22 pm

    Hard choice as I grew up making friendship bracelets but not my children are all loomband crazy! I love them both the same!

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:45 pm

      Good choice!! If we made friendship bracelets and the children make loom bands I wonder what the equivalent was for our parents?

  • claire griffiths 19/10/2014 at 1:30 am

    very hard choice for me as i grew up with friendship bracelets but with loom bands you can make bracelets and so much more so i would go for the looms

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:42 pm

      I think Kitty has visions that I can churn out all sorts of other things now – clearly Mummy has some studying to do!

  • Kat Lucas 19/10/2014 at 4:06 am

    I prefer friendship bracelets but my daughter loves the loom

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:41 pm

      Best of both worlds!!

  • Angie Millar 19/10/2014 at 8:47 am

    Loom bands as boys love them too – they don’t do friendship bracelets….

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:41 pm

      that’s true – when I was a teen the boys wore them, but you’d never see them making them!!

  • sally 19/10/2014 at 10:57 am

    Loom bands were very big here in the Summer, the boys have largely lost interest now, but Venetia still loves them. And yes they are a complete pain to store, control, clear up etc! After losing a couple of hours of my life to making a ‘flower’ bracelet, I have determined never to go near the things again! But Venetia would love a chance to win your giveaway. And she very much likes your rainbow bracelet too!

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:34 pm

      Do I dare ask what the flower bracelet looks like? I’m trying to hide from You Tube videos at least until after Christmas!!

  • Linda F McGarrigle 19/10/2014 at 11:27 am

    Love both but i’m going for Looms despite the fact that the girls are better than me at them x

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:32 pm

      Ah but that just means they can teach you all the complicated bits!!

  • abigail edkins 19/10/2014 at 12:35 pm

    friendship bracelets for me but i think the kids would say loom bands

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:32 pm

      I’m loving how many Mummies remember friendship bracelets so fondly!

  • Nichola Mackay 19/10/2014 at 1:21 pm

    I say friendship bracelets, my 5 year old and 8 year old love loom bands.

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:30 pm

      I’m definitely seeing them take over our house in the next few years, though I’m always going to have a soft spot for friendship bracelets!

  • Stacey Carnell 19/10/2014 at 4:06 pm

    Loombands 🙂

    • Carie 19/10/2014 at 6:29 pm

      great choice!

  • Allan Smith 20/10/2014 at 4:40 pm

    both 😀

  • Paul Ballard 20/10/2014 at 5:03 pm

    LOOOOMMMMM BANDDSSSS – The kids love them

  • Felicity Kelly 20/10/2014 at 9:49 pm

    I remember when I was younger going to the market to get threads to make friendship bracelets, I used to make tons! I do like loombands though, hmmm tough choice but I say loom bands!

  • Lisa J 21/10/2014 at 12:33 am

    Friendship bracelets!

  • mrs linda gill 21/10/2014 at 12:18 pm

    My girl loves these….shares with her frien
    ds gifts and knowledge

  • leigh boyle 21/10/2014 at 12:22 pm

    loom bands can do so much more with them!

  • Grace Tyler 25/10/2014 at 4:38 pm

    I’d have to say loom bands!! xx

  • Elizabeth (Liz) Briggs 25/10/2014 at 10:27 pm

    I love friendship bracelets 🙂 but my Mum has got my children into Loom Bands – thank you for the giveaway x

  • leanne weir 26/10/2014 at 5:47 am

    Yay – friendship bracelets all the way

  • Angela Wilcox 27/10/2014 at 9:05 am

    I used to make friendship bracelets, but I much prefer the loom bands. I find them easier!

  • Hayley Todd 27/10/2014 at 10:13 am

    It’s got to be …. Loombands x

  • Ashleigh Allan 27/10/2014 at 9:16 pm

    I would choose both!

  • Jenny Harper 28/10/2014 at 2:59 pm

    I never did the friendship bracelets when I was young but my little girl has got me hooked on loom-bands.

  • donna clinton 28/10/2014 at 8:35 pm

    Loom bands because my kids love them

  • Rosalind Blight 29/10/2014 at 2:04 pm

    Friendship bracelets

  • Sophie 29/10/2014 at 7:57 pm

    Friendship Bracelets (:

  • Jane Middleton 29/10/2014 at 7:59 pm

    Friendship bracelets

  • Barbara Handley 29/10/2014 at 8:08 pm

    My granddaughters are really keen on loom bands.

  • Rishona Taylor 29/10/2014 at 8:28 pm

    loom bands- keeps the kids quieter for longer 😀 haha

  • Kat Allinson 29/10/2014 at 9:10 pm

    I’ve not tried loom bands but my daughter keeps seeing them and really wants some

  • Karen R 29/10/2014 at 9:41 pm

    I did like friendship bracelets, but there are only so many you can make (or wear!). I like the loombands because we can make other things, like superheroes or flowers and stuff 🙂

  • Lindsey Jones 30/10/2014 at 10:02 am

    So hard we like both.

  • Sarah Lewis 30/10/2014 at 12:43 pm

    Loombands are a big hit in our house.

  • Karis 30/10/2014 at 8:19 pm

    Friendship bracelets

  • julie munro 30/10/2014 at 8:46 pm

    i loved friendship bracelets when i was younger but my daughters both love loom bands.