Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the show notes from Episode Ten - Take Two.
In this episode we will be covering: Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; the (almost) final instalment of our Yarn Club Review; Yarn Review of The Big Scary Bear Alpaca DK; Copyright; Take Two; FOs; WIPs; Feeding the Habit and our final segment What's Good? This Episode is sponsored by:
Hello to Lisanif (Lisa), Soundzik (Marianna) and Monknitker (Amanda) from Ravelry.
Thanks to everyone that tunes in to our podcast whether it is through Stitcher, Podbean, iTunes or our new YouTube Channel. Your support and engagement is really appreciated. We love doing the podcast and it makes it even more worthwhile knowing that there are people that really love it and are sat at their computers pressing refresh on publish day!
The person that has the closest birthday to our publish date is Littlefrog (Tania) - Happy Birthday Tania!
1. Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet
It' a Nay from Lynne: This month I've suffered from Repetitive Strain Injury from my crochet, mainly due to a number of combined reasons - I was using a metal hook, the hook was small in size, my stitches were small and I was wrangling to get my hook into them for the particular stitch type I was using (I normally use a hook with an soft grip handle and a metal hook on the end, but I didn't have the size needed). To remedy this I crocheted in short bursts and wore a pair of fingerless mittens whilst crocheting, which stops the metal touching my skin and prevents the pain from occuring.
Fay: It's a yay from me. I have said many times that I am quite a warm bodied person and am usually stripping off rather than putting on layers. My friend and neighbour, Gill, pops in to see if I want to go for a walk and the weather has definitely taken a turn for the colder in Cheshire. It has been too cold to go out with bare hands, but not cold enough to necessitate full gloves. Given that all of the samples for Take Two have been sat in my kitchen, I just keep on diving into the bag to pull out my version of Lynne's pattern, Baltum which is a pair of fingerless mittens. The have given the perfect amount of warmth for our country walks.
2. Yarn Club Review
The final instalment of our Yarn Club Review is from another Crochet Circler, Charlotte (purplehayescrochet on IG and Charlottemhayes on Ravelry), who has subscribed to two Clubs: Crochyay! and Little Box of Crochet.
Charlotte's full review is going to be loaded onto the 'Things to know about yarn clubs' board, but here are the main points about the two box clubs that she has been receiving:
- Little Box of Crochet is a monthy box that costs £17.45 and is done on a monthly rolling subscription although you can sometimes pick up additional boxes. Cahrlotte has been receiving this box since April 2016.
- Crochyay! is also monthly and costs £22.50 & P&P and you can also buy the boxes as a one-off. Charlotte received her first box in October 2016.
- With both boxes you receive at least one pattern, the yarn required and lots of treats such as handmade stitch markers or a project bag.
- Charlotte has made most of the things from all of the boxes she has recieved with the exception of a Little Box of Crochet pin cushion because it isn't her type of thing. She has simply stashed the yarn instead and will use it in another project.
- The yarns used have been great and have made Charlotte try yarns that were new to her. The only one that she was less keen on was the Rico cotton, because it split a lot.
- LBC generally sends out cotton based yarn and Crochyay! has been acrylic/cotton so far.
- The projects come with enough yarn for each project and the only time that Charlotte ran out, it was because her gauge was off but the yarn was readily available so she was able to go and buy more.
- Both boxes contain full written instructions. LBC also use handy photos as part of a step by step guide and Crochyay has lovely big text which makes the patterns very easy to read and follow.
- In October the LBC project was a tea cosy which Charlotte loved because she is a bit of a tea jenny. The Crochyay project was a pair of mittens with a half heart on each, making a full heart when placed together.
- All of the patterns have been easy to follow and Charlotte hasn't needed any pattern support.
- She has loved receiving both boxes and particularly loves receiving a surpsrise every time, making things that she wouldn't normally crochet and has particularly liked supporting small businesses.
- Charlotte does intend on moving to just one subscription and says that it will most likely be Crochyay! because the patterns are more modern and fit with her style.
3. Yarn Review - The Big Scary Bear Alpaca DK
The Big Scary Bear is a relatively new company, owned by Richard and Karen Collier and is based in a small semi-rural village is Essex. Their fleece is sourced from their own herd of alpacas who live with them at Bramble Cottage, along with their six pygmy goats, two cats and two rabbits.
The fleece is hand-sorted and graded before being spun into yarn by a specialist spinning mill in Oxfordshire.
Their yarn is 100% alpaca and the ball band in made from recyled material. They have 6 shades available, all of which are lovely, soft hues, including Cream, Brown, Ginger, Navy, Cinnamon Grass, Pebble, Teaberry and Seafoam.
About the Yarn:
DK weight/21 sts and 28 rows over 10x10cm in stocking stitch
£6 per 50g ball
We used a ball of yarn to knit up a test square using our standard test square pattern. Fay crocheted a premature baby hat with the remainder of the ball and Lynne crocheted a pair of mittens with a fresh ball.
Lynne: The knitted swatch shows that the stitch definition is really clear, with moss stitch, cables and stocking stitch. I love how there are flecks of lighter colour here and there where the dye hasn't fully taken, which creates a mildly semi-solid appearance. The yarn is incredily soft and could be worn next to the skin and even I could wear it around my sensitive neck, which is fab. It is great to knit with too - the yarn slid through my fingers beautifully and created a nice, firm stitch. My test square blocked out beautifully and I'm itching to start a neck cosy in fairisle with it. The tension isn't on the ball band, but it knitted up almost to a standard double knitting (light worsted) tension of 21 sts and 28 rows to 10x10cm over stocking stitch. I also wanted to test it out for crochet, so I've started a pair of crocheted fingerless mittens using half treble crochet in the round. Again, the stitch definition is perfect and they are incredibly soft and really warm.
Fay: This is beautiful to work with and I felt that it really maintained the halo and sheen that I would expect from alpaca. The yarn has been nicely plyed and so there were no issues with the yarn splitting when I was crocheting and it was a dream to run through my fingers.
I think that the pricing point is incredible for soemthing that is 100% British and I would happily use this to make a garment with. It feels like the company is in its infancy and I really hope that it goes well for them.
The only slight downside I had was that the dye in the teaberry shade wasn't completely exhausted and so a littel came out when I washed it. However, this is the case with many yarns and so it is always worth testing a small cut of yarn in luke warm water to see if it is dye-fast. This is particularly important if you are using more than one colour.
In our Take Two book we encourage you to take our designs and change them up - if you don't like the yarn weight, then use something different, if you want to make it simpler then leave something out or if your're not keen of the colours, change them. However, all of the patterns are fully copyrighted to either Lynne or Fay, so even though you may tweak something in any published pattern, it doesn't mean that you can then publish the tweaked version as your own. There have been a few instances recently on social media where designers are finding that distinctive elements of their designs have been incorporated in to another designer's pattern. Sometimes this has been something very obvious like a fairisle pattern, or it can be that the whole designs looks almost identical. This sometimes happens purely by coincidence, after all, there are only so many ways to crochet a leaf or a granny square. So the best thing to do with a tweaked pattern is to add your FO to the designer's Ravelry page, then in the notes you can document your tweaks.
5. Take Two
Created and published by Lynne and Fay, from designing, sample testing, pattern styling and pattern checking, photography and book layout.
TAKE TWO is a collection of 8 crochet patterns, each shown as two designs - sixteen patterns.
We used some amazing yarns for our main designs, all of which have been spun in the north of England and in some cases grown there too. We each designed 4 patterns each which we passed to each other to remake in our own style using yarn from our stash. This wasn't a problem as we both have rather large stashes. We were keen to show that our designs could be made using the original yarns spun in the north of England, or they can be made using yarn that may be hiding at the bottom of your stash, waiting to be turned into something lovely.
TAKE TWO is our first collection and includes a variety of easy-to-make crochet essentials including: Colosseum (an asymmetrical shallow shawl); Auchincruive (a cowl); Skogafoss (a stylish messenger bag); Paraphernalia (a notions pouch or purse); Galicia (a long cowl); Baltum (a pair of fingerless mittens); Phasian (a textured Granny Square Blanket); Chrysanth (a textured circular cushion).
You can buy:
A printed copy (which includes a digital download) £12
A digital copy £10
As it stands we are waiting for Ravelry to make the connection between us as designers and the ebook before we can upload the PDF. Once that is settled, we can add the url for digital downloads to the book and send it off to be printed.
We'd love to see your finished makes and you can add them to our Ravelry page and our discussion board FO thread.
Lynne: not much progress on WIPS - I'm focussing on one thing at a time now, to try and bring my FOs down to a more managable level. My 12 WIPS are:
Aran Tweed Blanket - working on the border/2 pairs of socks - no progress/Mother-in-Law's Travis blanket - no progress/Manos del Uruguay Shawl - own design - no progress/Accordian Fingerless mittens - no progress/Lopi Cushion - no progress/Wrist Warmers - no progress/Odeletta Shawl - no progress (I started this again with a heavier weight yarn)/Cabled mittens - one more to make/Baltum mittens in WYS DK - one more to make/Lisa Sweater - no progress/crocheted mittens for testing The Big Scary Bear - one more to make.
I've frogged the Sausage Dog - I took out the toy filling to re-use and frogged the knitting, wound it into balls and it went to the charity shop as I would never use the colours myself. I've finished my Abraham Shawl.
Fay: There has been no attention paid to my Shorelines blanket or TARDIS cushion and that will remain the case until next year now - I just have too many other things to get on with. Lots of time has been spent on the two Uncia shawls because I have to have them ready for the second weekend in December - hmmm. I also have a HOP. I am now calling a sock a Half Of Pair because if it is a sock, you would have to hop. The pattern is 'Solar' by Gill (Gilly Slater on Ravelry and it is free) one of the Woolgathering Sandbach goers. I really love the vertical lace pattern and the bottle green makes me think of school uniforms and being eight again.
Lynne: Abraham Shawl (knitted) made with stash yarns from John Arbon (Knit by Numbers) and Artesano (Superwash DK)/Christmas bauble (knitted) for a Christmas Swap/Test Square using The Big Scary Bear/Take Two Skogafoss Bag, Paraphernalia/various commission: knitted baby bootees, crocheted baby shoes, Daisy May next crocheted outfit, a crocheter flower wreath, a teeny tiny knitted panda and a crocheted sheep.
Fay: I have made a third and fourth version of Paraphernalia so that I could show it off in other sizes and double, double check the measurements and amount of wool required. There was also the premature baby hat for the local hospital but I will make a few of them before I hand them over. Emma from Woolgathering has given birth to a baby girl, Matilda, and so a few of us have crocheted a pram blanket for her and I managed to finish that off over this weekend. I also fired out the Newham hat from The Crochet Project's latest book, Raw and there is more to come on that in the next podcast.
The problem I face at the moment is that I just want to start all of the projects and have really had to stop myself!
Here are Fay's needle felting projects and knitted stockings, the Newham hat in John Arbon Knit by Numbers 4ply and Mamble socks in Shropshire Ply from Ewe & Ply from Raw. The baby blanket that Woolgathering folk worked on for Emma's baby and a premature hat for the local hospital. The hat was in The Big Scary Bear Alpaca in Teaberry and the blanket used Blue Sky Cotton and Evie from Sublime.
8. Feeding the Habit
Lynne: No new purchases this month for me - all yarns used were supplied for commissions or were in my stash including: West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK, Garthenor Organics Wensleydale (4ply), Rico Essentials Cotton DK, King Cole Merino Blend 4ply, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and Sublime Superfine Alpaca. That said - I've just purchased a skein of chunky hand dyed yarn from Petra Black (Made By Black Elephant) - ethically sourced yarns, hand dyed in Yorkshire. If yarn isn't local then it is ethically sourced and supports the communities that produce it (mulesing free).
Fay: I got my third and last installment of my Life in the Long Grass yarn club which is called Chlorophyll and I can see why! I also went to Yarnporium which was great fun and picked up some new Gotland from Midwinter Yarns and a very special skein from Helen at The Wool Kitchen which is most likely going to be used as my yarn for the Christmas CAL.
The other thing that I have purchased is a daylight lamp. I have been struggling to see the pattern properly for the Uncia shawls and under the guidance of my friend Jenny, went to Hobby Craft to buy the Naturalight portable LED lamp. What a difference this has made to my nightime crochet and knitting activity! You can use it with the internal rechargable battery, via mains electricity or a USB cable which would be perfect for car crafting. I am so impressed with this and it is currently reduced from £20 down to £15. It gives off a white rather than a blue light which means that is isn't likely to set off migraines.
The yarn that I didn't have to purchase was the yarn haul that my Dad brought back from Iceland. I have a sweater quantities worth of Lett-Lopi and some new Icelandic yarn that I hadn't seen before from Gusto, an Alpaca/Icelandic mix.
1 - 100% Gotland yarn from Midwinter Yarns (mustard 293, Peacock Blue 174 & Dark Grey 960).
2 - Erika Knight for John Lewis DK is 100% South American wool, dyed, spun and balled in the UK (Citrine 04).
3 - The newest of Erika's lines for John Lewis is XXL, 250g with 55m shown in Dusky Pink.
4 - Mini Skeins from Baa Ram Ewe in their base Titus shown Dalby , Parkin & Bantum (top to botom).
5 - Newest wool available from Daughter of a Shepherd is Foxen meets Merino.
6 - Thw wonderous The Wool Kitchen skein - I really shoudl have bought two! This is in teh colourway Denim.
7 - Icelandic wool is a firm favourite of mine, especially if it has coem from one of my Dad's trips to Iceland. This is Lettlopi and is destined to become a jumper. The shade is Ocean Blue.
8 - A new to me Icelandic yarn brand called Gusta is a mixture of Icelandic wool and alpaca from Peru. The one shown above is shade Coal Grey (2500) and is a fair bit softer than 100% Icelandic wool...
9 - My final installment of my Life in the Long Grass has arrived and is called Chlorophyll. I initially didn't really like thsi colour but it has grown on me and I find that I keep on going back to it to see all of the colours that are hidden throughout the skein.
9. What's Good?
Lynne: I'm looking forward to a new year and being really organised. I say this every year, but it's definitely going to happen this year. I shall look forward to buying some shiny new stationery and making lists.
Fay: It has been good doing the podcast with Lynne. It has been great for me having left a small team to have somebody to bounce ideas off and work with. As said we will continue to work together and already have plans afoot for Take Two, Collection Two...
Happy listening and crocheting,
Fay and Lynne x
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