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November 4, 2016 @ 10:22 am

Episode Nine - Yarn Pride

Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the show notes from Episode Nine - Yarn Pride. 

In this episode we will be covering: Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; the second instalment of our Yarn Club Review; Yarn Review of Shropshire Ply from Ewe & Ply; Stylish Crochet; FOs; WIPs; Feeding the Habit; Christmas CAL and our final segment What's Good?  This Episode is sponsored by:

Knit It - Hook It - Craft It


Lynne Rowe Knitting and Crochet

Hello to Sunflowers55 (Charlene), TheGoffWife (Lisa) and MrsB59 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 PixieCaticus which is Becca from Woolgathering Sandbach.  Happy Birthday Becca!

1. Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet

It's a yay from Lynne:

I'm finding a lot of new crochet podcasts to listen too and one in particular that I love is called Potter and Bloom, presented by Emma Potter. She's such a lovely lady and great to listen too. Emma is a crochet designer and uses bright, fresh colours. I love her honesty and she's funny too. Love to Knit & Crochet Magazine have just launched a crochet-a-long with Emma's blanket design which is called #crochetgirlgang. Emma invested the hashtag and user #crochetgirlgang on Instagram which is really popular and even has it's own merchandise. Emma is Potter and Bloom on Ravelry, Instagramtwitter and facebook.



It's a yay from Fay: 

I am loving the speed of crochet projects.  I don't seem to have enough hours in the day and I love the fact that I can quickly whizz off crochet projects and get a sense of satisfaction from finishing a project. I am really enjoying crocheting socks; I don't think it's much quicker than knitting a sock but it feels like a great achievement when you have a crocheted sock HO.  I often find that it is easier to create small crochet projects than small knitting projects and that really suits me at busy times.

2. Yarn Clubs  

This is part two of Yarn Club Reviews.  Lynne has received her Baa Baa Brighouse subscription.  This is a different type of subscription from the one that Fay reviewed in Episode Eight which was a subscription of just yarn.  Lynne's is for a yarn box which means that you get more than just yarn in the box.  

The yarn dyer for October was Katie Pearce of Sylvan Tiger Yarn, based in Leeds, West Yorkshire.  Her inspiration came from ‘Stained Glass’ by Shutterspot Photography. The picture was taken at St Matthew’s Church in Rastrick, just a stone’s throw away from Baa Baa Brighouse HQ. There is evidence to suggest that the site has been a place of worship from as early as the 10th Century.  The colourway will be based on a stained glass window.



The final instalment of Yarn Club review will be from another Crochet Circler, Charlotte.  She currently has subscriptions for a couple of crochet boxes and will give us the low down on those for us. We will have more on that in Episode Ten.   

3. Yarn Review - Shropshire Ply

Shropshire Ply has been created by Teri and Becca, owners of yarn shop Ewe & Ply in Shrewsbury. The yarn is a predominantly from the fleeces of Shropshire sheep (including Teri's own pedigree Shropshire sheep) but also has some fleeces from a Wensleydale/BFL cross.  Spun and dyed in Yorkshire, the yarn is 100% British.  

DK: 100g/247m/270yds 19sts x 28 rows over 10cm £12 per 100g

4 Ply: 100g/395m/430yds 27sts 38 rows over 10cm £12 per 100g


We were given some minis by the ladies at Ewe & Ply and so Lynne used the DK weight to make her 'Glen' tea cosy, and Fay used the 4 ply to knit a swatch and test the stitch definition.  The remainder was used to create the face of Brian the Brit Bat, an amigurumi pattern.  

Fay:  I wanted to test the yarn further and so bought some more of the undyed 4ply.  The knitted swatch shows how nicely the yarn behaves.  The stitch definition is incredible and so this yarn is great for lace, cabling and more intricate details.  It isn't the softest of yarns and so for some they won't want this directly next to their skin.  I think it is ideal for knitted homewares (a cabled cushion/throw would look amazing), colourwork jumpers and shawls would also look great in this yarn, although I am using it for socks.

The knitted square was 11cm x 11cm unblocked (2.5mm needles gave an unblocked tension of 30sts and 46 rows over 10cm).  I then washed and blocked it out to 12.5cm x 12.5cm and when it was dried and unpinned it sprang back to 12cm x 12cm (blocked tension tension of 27sts and 42 rows over 10cm).  


As for the amigurumi bat face, the yarn worked very well.  It didn't split  - even though I thought it might because it doesn't have a high twist to it.  The results are neat, consistent rounds that will be very hard wearing. 

The skein that I bought is being used to crochet a pair of Mamble Socks by Joanne Scrace.  It wound on my ball winder/swift very easily and there were no knots.  So far I have finished one sock and hope to be onto the second before we record the podcast.  The yarn is bouncy and airy (as publicised by Ewe & Ply) but doesn't have a lot of elasticity/give so if you are working with it I would choose your project well or think about moving up a hook/needle size or two to open the project out a little. The sock is toe up and I had to pull back down and change my tension and increase some stitches to get my foot in.  This is probably due to a number of factors: I was crocheting the heel up in a pub in semi darkness and had a glass of wine in hand - not a winning combination.  Although I was happy to crochet at a gig in a pub, I was less comfortable with taking my boot and sock off and trying on a semi-sock!  So, when I tried the sock on the next morning, it was clear that I would have to rip back.  Keeping the 'crocheting at a gig' factor in mind I am still sure that the lack of elasticity is a factor too.  That said, the increase in stitches and loosening of tension seem to have done the trick.  I am yet to wash and block the sock and I expect it to grow a little, as the knitted square did (it grew just over 8%).  I have now washed the sock and it really didn't grow, it stayed put.

I wore the sock for about 12 hours (standing on my feet) when I had finished it.  I have previously said in the podcast that I have very sensitive feet and yet I had no issues wearing this yarn directly on my feet.  The sock was warm and the stitches came to life when stretched out properly over my foot.  I will report back over the coming months on how hard-wearing the yarn is for socks.            

Lynne: I had 28g of DK weight in a pale grey colour. I knew that Fay had already knitted up the tension square with the 4ply, so I decided to make something in crochet. I wanted to make something useful and after racking my brain I realised that the little teapot I use in The Woonest needed a tea cosy. The first thing I noticed about the yarn was the smell, which is really pleasant and fragrant. When I squidged the yarn it felt crispy and a bit crunchy and I was a little worried that it may be a bit rough on my hands (I have sensitive skin) but I was wrong and it felt much softer when I was working with it than I'd anticipated. It created a firm, study fabric with crochet and was perfect for my tea cosy. I used some oddments of a similar wool to add a splash of autumn colour to the top of the cosy and added leaves and flowers. Due to the lack of elasticity in the yarn, it wouldn't stretch over my tea pot, so I had to add a button fastening to my tea cosy for ease of use. I love the yarn and could see myself using it again for slippers, cushions and amigurumi. I imagine that it would make the most gorgeous blanket - either knitted or crocheted and would be great for felting. I grew to love the yarn whilst I was using it and I would definitely use it again. I've blogged all about it over on The Woolnest blog.


4. Stylish Crochet

This is the final instalment of the series and we want to cover how we wear our woollen garments and what we style them with. 

Fay:  I have a few rules that I stick to when I pulling together an outfit:

1 - I tend to use navy as my base colour (it is good against my milk white skin, pairs with all of the autumnal colours that I love and goes well with denim jeans which I wear almost every day).

2 - I usually have no more than three colours in any one outfit because I think that less is more.  An ex-boyfriend used to call me a bumble bee because I like to coordinate my outfit colours.  

3 - I wear quite plain clothes and use accessories (jewellery, shoes, woollen items) as my statement.  

4 - I have started to collect some nice shawl pins to use with my crocheted and knitted shawls.  They are beautiful on the item and also practical.  I don't know how many times I have had to stop in my tracks to rearrange a shawl to stop it falling off or blowing away in the wind.  I have bought some from Textile Garden (they are very affordable) and have my eye on some of the leather ones from Jul Designs too.



I was also thinking about how I wear my shawls and came up with three main ways - pashmina, neckerchief and all front.  There is also the traditional style, but I don't tend to wear my shawls that way.


Lynne: I'm always envious of my good friend Cassie as she has a shawl for every occasion and in every colourway. She chooses her shawl for the day according to the colour of her bag, coat or shoes, so she always looks perfectly co-ordinated.

For me, I'm slowly building up my collection of knitted and crocheted shawls as I have sensitive skin and I'm a little limited on what I can wear around my neck. So instead I often finish an outfit with a crocheted flower brooch which looks great in DK or heavier weight yarn. Adding a felt ball to the centre instead of a button adds a stylish finish.
I'm not a fan of the deep "V" shawl as for some reason they make me feel like grandma from "Red Riding Hood", so I tend to opt for a shallow "V" shawl, and like to wear the "V" at the front or offset and over one shoulder. I like the length of the shawl to be long enough to cross over at the back and come back to hang at the front otherwise I feel like a cowboy. I also like a shawl to have a good drape so that it folds softly around the neckline. My "Baktus" is currently my favourite shawl, despite almost frogging it at one time (it took me 2 years to knit!!).

5. FOs 

Fay: I have bombed though quite a bit this month, including my crocheted sock HO!   

I came across the amigurumi patterns of Lalylala on Instagram a few weeks ago and was bowled over by how cute they were.  They are utterly adorable and I completely understand why she has sold nearly 49,000 patterns in five years.  I bought three of her patterns and because we are in October I concentrated on Vlad the Vampire (I renamed him Brian the Brit Bat because he is made completely with wool from the British Isles/Territories).  Brian has been finished and can be seen in all his glory below.  

This was a really fun crochet pattern to work on partly because it has quite a few parts, so you get some bit sized satisfaction from finishing the individual pieces. The patterns use American terminology and are set out in a slightly different manner but you soon get the hang of it.  


A friend that comes to Woolgathering Sandbach works with lots of crocheters who volunteer their time to crochet poppies in aid of our local Royal British Legion Centre in Shrewsbury which supports wounded, injured or sick Service Personnel. So far Cath has raised a whopping £42,500 through poppy brooch sales (since 2011) and hopes to reach £50,000 this year.  

I crocheted a load of poppies for her last year and this year she needed more leaves to add to the brooch.  A bunch of us have been crocheting leaves, ready to pass to Cath at the next Woolgathering Sandbach session.  By the time this goes live I will have crocheted about 100 leaves for the cause.  If you wanted to buy a crocheted poppy from Cath at Cottage Crafts, please click here.

My nephew was staying with us the other weekend and he wanted me to knit him a hat  which I knitted up very quickly during yet another cringeworthy game of Cards Against Humanity! I don't have a photo because he went back to Glasgow the next day, but he was pleased with the finished item.  I used Debbie Bliss Winter Garden using 8mm circular needles throughout.  I have also just finished a pair of mittens to match (Dexter Mittens on Ravelry).

I also finished my Fugly Socks which were knitted using my hand dyed yarn, and the final pair of charity socks for Christine's Yarndale Sock Line. If you want to read more about the charity project, she has written a blog post about it here.  An amazing 160 pairs of socks were knitted to give away to various charities in the UK. 



Lynne: This month is probably to most FO's I've ever accomplished mainly because for the past 3 weeks I've been a knitting hermit, working on my Search Press book. I've  designed and knitted a pair of mittens, scarf, cushion, hat, a blanket, a shawl, a bag and a tea cosy and mug cosy set. I've also designed a new crochet outfit for my dress up doll (for Crochet Now magazine) along with a small project for my Crochet Now Stash Diaries column (valentine theme). I've almost finished my final Take Two projects and not forgetting "Glen", my yarn review tea cosy. Last but not least, I designed and knitted some crème egg cosies that are for a charity project with Let's Get Crafting Magazine.

I've used some gorgeous yarns in these various projects that I haven't come across before - my favourites were:

King Cole Florence Chunky which contains 25% wool and 8% alpaca. I used shade 2082 Everglade

King Cole Riot DK which is a wool-mix gradient yarn. I used 1689 Foliage

Rowan Big Wool - a super chunky weight wool that is so soft and easy to work with



6. WIPs 

Fay: Some of my WIPs (shorelines blanket, Wensleydale Uncia shawl) haven't been picked up but I did manage to get a couple of hours on the Tardis cross stitch cushion cover and started the next chart on my Uncia shawl.  I have the second Mamble sock to finish using the Shropshire 4 ply (Mamble socks are from The Crochet Project's latest book 'Raw' which I am hoping to review in the next episode).  So I have five WIPs at the moment but have lots planned...

Lynne: There hasn't been a great deal of goings on with my standard WIP list as work has pretty much taken over my life for the past few weeks. That said, I reluctantly took out my aran tweed blanket and counted the number of squares I had. In my head I had so many more squares to make that it was putting me off. However, I played around with the 30 squares I already had, and lo and behold there was enough to create a pattern. So I watched Strictly and crocheted the squares together and managed to work a couple of rounds of edging. Still more to go, but I'm definitely moving forward. I've called the blanket "Tess" after Strictly's Tess Daly.


I also started a new knitting WIP with some stash yarns, to play around with the design of a basic shawl, so that I can develop some ideas of my own. It's called "Abraham" (any Walking Dead fans may have guessed my naming theme this week - "Abraham" and "Glen" are my humble tributes to 2 amazing characters, so brutally taken).

7. Feeding the Habit

Fay:  As I said in the last podcast, Matthew and I went to Glasgow for the weekend to meet my Dad and Nephew.  Whilst there I visited two yarn shops - The Yarn Cake and The Queen of Purls (officially my favourite yarn shop in the UK).  Both shops were nice but The Queen of Purls was exceptional - lots of their own hand dyed yarn, a real focus on British yarn, great fibre tops, lovely yarn based wall art, a really inviting space...    

I have also been looking for a yarn to pair up with my Daughter of a Shepherd 100% Hebridean skein.  I want something that will really help the brown to come alive, but it has to be a match in softness too.  I bought some of Ewe & Ply's Shropshire DK in Wenlock Hedge (an acidic yellow) but I am going to see how much the Shropshire softens up before I match the two. There is a pattern slowly building in my mind so I will be taking my time on this one.

I received my second installment of Life in The Long Grass yarn club and it is a bramble overload - I love it.  I wonder what my final instalment will be? Below is the jumper that I am thinking of making with Barley Cove, the first batch of yarn I received from the my Life in the Long Grass club.


Grazing over Instagram on Saturday night I saw a post from Hedgehog Fibres to say that in 2 minutes time they would have a shop update selling off "lucky dip" bunches of three skeins that were no longer available because they were old club colours or simply discontinued.  

I was very tired, I was snuggled up on the sofa with Matthew, I was in a very happy place, I was even happier when I had ordered the yarn.  I don't know what I am going to receive but it is definitely my final cork in the speckles hole of my stash. 

A final Feeding the Rabbit item was a surprise addition.  In the UK we have a shop called Home Sense which is the sister company to TK Maxx. Both TK Maxx and Home Sense sell books and often carry current crochet and knitting books.  I have been coveting Molla Mills' latest book 'Crocheterie' and there it was on the shelf for £6.99 instead of £19.99. That went straight in my basket! If you ever go into TK Maxx or Home Sense, check out the book area for crafting books, I have had many a bargain from them.

Lynne: My yarn box arrived from BaaBaaBrighouse, although I purchased that in September. I have plans to design a nice, simple scarf and I'm planning on using this yarn. I haven't bought anything else as I'm still organising and sorting my stash - not just my yarn but also my books and magazines too. I have started a blog series called "Thrifty Knitting & Crochet" so I'll be sharing my processes for sorting and grading my stash and deciding what to do with it. I'll be sharing this through a series of blog posts and on the podcast too. My aim is for it to be interactive so I'd love to hear how you keep on top of your stash too.

8. Christmas CAL



We would love to know if you are interested in being part of a holiday CAL? The idea is to pick a smallish project that can be started from 24th December onwards and finished by 31st January 2017.  

If you are interested, let us know via Social Media or within the Ravelry thread.  We would need to know whether you would prefer:

1 - We pick a pattern (a cowl, scarf, something like that) and we all crochet the same thing.

2 - We each individually pick our own patterns (this may be a better option for those that are coming into Summer months). 

Either way is fine and we would set up hash tags as well as the Ravelry thread so that you can show off your progress.


9. What’s Good? 

Fay: I have been trying really hard to take better photos for my own work, Knit It - Hook It - Craft It Instagram feed and for The Crochet Circle Instagram feed. I get lots of lovely engagement and had a really nice email from somebody to say that they were really enjoying my photos.  It is nice to know that people like and appreciate the photos I am putting out there for public consumption because it makes me want to do more and get better at it.

Lynne: I'm constantly surprised and amazed at how versatile crochet is. I've managed to make 3 things out of just 28g of yarn and they're all useful too. My flower brooches use even less yarn  (about 15g max) and make great little gifts that won't cost much at all - just the price of a brooch back. I can't wait to see what I can make with the rest of my yarn oddments in The Woolnest.

Happy listening and crocheting,

Fay and Lynne x


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