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May 26, 2016 @ 3:05 pm

Bonus Interview with Cara Ackerman, DMC Creative World

We were delighted to interview Cara Ackerman, PR Coordinator and resident needlecraft expert at DMC Creative World, at a Trade Show earlier this year. We were keen to find out more about Cara and also about DMC’s recent yarn launch.

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You’re currently launching a new ‘DMC’ yarn – can you tell us a little bit about it?

DMC Natura Medium is 100% cotton; it’s really soft and doesn’t irritate the skin –so it’s lovely to wear and great if you have any skin conditions or sensitive skin. Natura Medium is a natural follow-on from Natura (4-ply) and Natura XL (super chunky).  It sits between a double knitting and aran weight, so it’s great for beginners to learn with. It comes in a range of 32 colours which are gorgeous and range from neon brights to more subtle tones. Like any yarn, a tension square is recommended before you being your project to make sure you match the pattern tension and your finished project will be the right size.

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 Crochet seems to be the “new knitting” - have you seen an increase in the number of people crocheting over the past 4 or 5 years?

We were looking at the crochet market about 4 years ago when the advent of the Crochet part-work magazines really helped spread the word of crochet. It seemed to attract a younger audience who had seen people crocheting and who wanted to learn.  Since then we’ve seen a huge increase, year-on-year, in the number of people crocheting. DMC has developed a range of cotton yarns specifically for crochet, and we launch new patterns seasonally. A lot of knitters are moving over to crochet to expand their skills too, which is fantastic.

People often see crochet as a bit 1970s – we often see photos of strange crochet paraphernalia on social media (such as crocheted shorts/bikinis etc.). Do you think crochet is now being taken more seriously now that “handmade” is back in fashion?

Thanks to Beyonce, the crochet bikini has taken on a whole new meaning and I was recently chatting to a younger crocheter who wanted to crochet a bikini. The DMC cotton range would be perfect as the colours don’t run – so watch this space!!! Many of the top fashion houses have vintage-style crochet in their Spring/Summer collections and it’s great to see designers being creative with crochet. You can also mix and match crochet with leather or fabric as well as beads and tassels to make your projects more up to date and personal.

Do you have a favourite bit of crochet paraphernalia? 

My favourite crochet items are my mum’s crochet hooks, which are very precious to me. When I use the crochet hooks I feel a special connection, and they’re still as good today as they were all those years ago. Although I must admit that I also love our DMC bamboo hooks which are lovely and smooth and light.  They look fun and appeal to a young audience who like natural fibres and they’re great if you suffer with arthritis as they are warmer to use than traditional metal ones.

Do you have a top tip for Crafting in general, not necessarily just for crochet?

I do a huge number of crafts, and so my tip is to try and finish a project before you start a new one. It’s really easy to start too many.  I have one project on the go that I keep dipping in and out of, but I’m determined to get it finished before I start another big project. That said, I keep playing around with Natura Medium making Spring flowers and Easter bunnies.

What in this industry inspires you?

On a personal level, my inspiration is to get as many people as possible crocheting, whether it’s working with designers and tutors, or by using magazines and videos. I think it’s really important for crochet to be as accessible as possible.

On a work level, my inspiration is the colour range of DMC yarns. DMC is all about colour and we’re known for our fantastic colour range.  It’s great that we can offer such an amazing range to inspire people, it’s like going into a sweet shop and being spoilt for choice.

What would 16 year-old Cara make of you now?

I was very creative as a child and have been crocheting since I was 8 years old when I was taught by a neighbour and I still haven’t stopped learning. I always hand-crafted gifts at Christmas, so I think 16 year old Cara wouldn’t be surprised at the older Cara today, and I think she would have been very proud of my achievements.

On the scale of a couple of balls of yarn to a Westminster Abbey sized heap, how big is your stash?  What does your stash look like, how is it organised?

My husband would say the size of Westminster Abbey, and I would say no it’s not –but I have to admit that it’s quite big and I love to add to it at any opportunity. However, my stash is not just yarn, as I enjoy lots of other crafts as well, so I have boxes of threads and buttons all over the place. My yarn stash itself is quite manageable but it does need sorting out, and it’s on my to-do list for 2016.

How many WIP’S do you have?

I try not to have too many WIPS at any one time, and try to finish each project before I start another one. Crochet is my passion so most of my WIPs are crochet and initially I would have said that I only had two, but I’ve found a few more tucked away in bags, which makes a total of five!

Thank you so  much for your time and for giving us and future crafters such a great choice of yarns.  You are now an honorary member of The Crochet Circle and it has been an absolute pleasure to welcome you in.

DMC manufactures richly-coloured yarns, threads and fabrics and essential accessories for your craft projects.

To see the full range visit www.dmccreative.co.uk

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To win 200g of DMC Natura Medium you can enter our competition here on Ravelry (open until 30th. June 2016):

http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-crochet-circle-podcast/3424604/1-25#10

 

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We hope you enjoyed the interview and thanks for listening to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Don't forget to tune in on the first Friday of every month for our regular episodes.

 

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May 6, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

Episode Three - Socks Away!

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Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the Show Notes from Episode Three.

This Episode is Sponsored by:

www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com

and

www.lynnerowe.weebly.com

The books and yarns in this episode were all purchased by ourselves.

Arne & Carlos yarn competition prize - supplied by Knit it - Hook it - Craft it

DMC Natura Medium competition prize - supplied by DMC Creative

In this episode we talk a lot about socks as well as Wonderwool and Edinburgh Yarn Festival, stylish crochet designers, crochet tension, Crochet Yeah! WIP Wall update, Finished Objects and The Woollen Woods.

1. Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet (at 1.25 mins)

It's a yay from Fay on her Shoreline blanket:

In Episode 1, I spoke about a blanket that I hadn’t touched for a year.  I can now safely say that it has moved on somewhat and has made me think about the shorelines beyond the small island that is the UK.  I've thought about our listeners that are further afield and love the idea that through something as simple as a hook and a length of yarn, with a bit of technology, we can share our passions for crochet, knitting and yarn.  Every time I pick up the blanket to do a bit more I think about our lovely listeners.

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The Shoreline Blanket uses a very subtle 4dc, 1htr, 2tr, 1htr stitch pattern for the ripple.

It's a Nay from Lynne on paper yarn. 

I used paper yarn recently for a knitting and crochet commission and I was really looking forward to trying it out.

I have to admit it wasn't one of my favourite yarns, mainly because it wasn't as flexible as I thought it would be. You have to give it a tug when working a stitch and often it popped off the end of the hook. My projects turned out fine but I would only recommend using it for homewares and accessories that will be used indoors, mainly mats, coasters and baskets or bags, because if it gets wet it will also get soggy. Quite a few yarn companies are now manufacturing paper yarn so we may see more projects and patterns becoming available.

2. Festivals (at 4.55 mins)

Fay visited Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March and had a great time. If you're into your designers, workshops, patterns and like to meet up with fellow enthusiasts then it's a great show for you.

Lynne and Fay visited Wonderwool Wales - we both love this show, which is open and airy with a good light and it's great to get around and there's a lot of space. We found some great bargains that we can't wait to turn into something lovely.

Lynne's Wonderwool haul:

Lynne_s_Wonderwool_Haul_sm.jpg

 Fay's Wonderwool Haul:

Fay_s_Wonderwool_haul_sm.jpg

 
We're also exhibiting at Yarndale later this year, which is really exciting. We will be sharing a stall so come and say Hi. For information on Yarndale 2016 see: http://yarndale.co.uk/

 

3. Helpful Hints

We've had a few questions via our Ravelry group (search for The Crochet Circle Podcast) on stylish crochet and also getting your tension right. We've researched both topics and here are our thoughts and tips:

Crochet Tension (at 13.25 mins)

Lynne has provided a detailed article over on her blog.

http://thewoolnest.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/crochet-tension.html

Stylish Crochet Designers (at 18.35 mins):

Marie Wallin:

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/marie-wallin

Website: http://www.mariewallin.com/

Joanne Scrace

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/designers/joanne-scrace

Website: http://notsogranny.com/

Kat Goldin:

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/people/katgold

Website: http://www.slugsontherefrigerator.com/

Vicky Brown

Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/stores/lilley-stitches

Website: http://www.vickibrowndesigns.com/

  

Contemporary Crochet - 37 European Designs - Sys Fredens

For book details see here

 

Designer Crochet - Shannon Mullet-Bowlsby. Create figure-flattering garments with great shape, with easy-to-follow tutorials.

For book details see here

 

4. Book Review (at 27.50 mins)

Crochet Yeah!

Crochet Yeah is a collaboration between Joanne Scrace, Kat Goldin and Rachel Coopey (Coop Knits). Joanne and Kat have designed 6 projects for the book, all using Coop Knits 'Socks Yeah!' Yarn. Projects include 2 hats, pair of mittens, scarf, cowl and socks.

Fay's full review is here:

https://www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com/blogs/news/162848583-book-review-crochet-yeah-by-the-crochet-project

 

5. Yarn Reviews (at 33.50 mins)

Socks Yeah!

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In Shade Iolite (75% Superwash Merino/25% Nylon; 212m/50g)

RRP £5.45

Machine washable at 30 degrees

Recommended needle size 2.25mm

Read Fay's full review here:

https://www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com/blogs/news/162718215-yarn-review-socks-yeah-from-coop-knits

 

Regia Design Line by Arne and Carlos

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4 ply engineered sock yarn (75% virgin wool and 25% polyamide; 50g/210m)

RRP £5.19

Recommended needle size is 2-3mm

Read Fay's full review here:

https://www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com/blogs/news/162372423-yarn-review-regia-design-line-by-arne-and-carlos

 

6. Magazine Reviews (at 40.00 mins)

Inside Crochet issue 76: The Theme for Issue 76 is Spring Time, so there are lots of lovely flowery projects, cute children’s accessories and cosy crochet for cooler evenings or country walks.

 

Lynne's choice: Celandine Wrap by Emma Wright – inspired by the flower of the same name. www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/celandine-wrap

 

Fay's Choice: Pop! Socks designed by Katherine Mills. Stretchy socks, comfortable to wear and fun to show off. www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pop-socks

Let’s Get Crafting issue 80: Includes a feature on Gregory Patrick (Madman knitting) and how knitting helped him to get out of homelessness. www.madmanknitting.wordpress.com

Lynne's choice: Fairisle Purses designed by Lynne. I know I'm breaking my own rule of not talking about my own projects but I had such fun designing and making these and love the way they turned out. I've enjoyed seeing reader's own versions too. www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fair-isle-purses

Fay's choice: Lavender Sachets designed by Nicola Valiji - but would try a crocheted version. Lavender is great from deterring moths from your stash. www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/scented-sachets

Simply Crochet – issue 44: An Oriental theme with free amigurumi sea creature pattern cards.

Lynne's Choice:  Kat Goldin’s column – an interesting read, all about her sock obsession for cosy crochet socks and passing on tools and heirlooms.

Fay's choice: Blossom Cushion - simple cushion base with pretty Oriental flowers and embroidery (image not available yet)

Woman’s Weekly Knitting and Crochet, May 2016: Bright/Spring theme.

Lynne's choice:  Crocheted Daisy Dog Toy and Blanket – a vintage pattern from the1970s, reworked in Yarn Stories Fine Merino and Baby Alpaca DK – in Cream and Dove. (Image not available yet).

Fay's choice: Crocheted Bowls. (Image not available yet).

 

Crochet Now issue 2 will be reviewed in our next Episode as it isn't on the shelves yet.

 

7. Finished Objects (at 41.00 mins)

Fay's FOs:

 

Fay_s_FOs.jpg

 

EYF Scarf - Endless Possibilities - pattern will be released  shortly. www.ravelry.com/projects/MaDashper/endless-possibilities

 

Knit British - Nature's Shades along - Nougat Neck - design to be released shortly. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MaDashper/nougat-neck

 

4 (yes 4!!) crochet shawlettes (shh it's a secret - to be released soon)

 

Crochet Socks for The Duke www.ravelry.com/projects/MaDashper/crocheted-baby-socks

 

Knitted Socks for Winkie www.ravelry.com/projects/MaDashper/basic-socks-2

 

Lynne's FOs

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Simple Granny Square Blanket using Stash yarns (DMC Natura Just Cotton): own design (not published yet)

 

Baktus Scarf using Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend Shade 7438 Zenith (2 skeins): http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/baktus-scarf

 

Simple Stocking Stitch cowl using Rowan Fine Tweed (discontinued): own design (not published yet)

 

8. Works in Progress and WIP Wall (at 41.00 mins)

 

See who's at the top of the WIP Wall this month over on Pinterest:

https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/417920040403148820/

  

Fay's WIPs

Fay_s_WIPs.jpg 

Missed Kingfisher shawl by Joanne Scrace:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/missed-kingfisher 

Scarf for Baby Bird using a knitting sequence from Cecilia Campochiaro’s book 

Sequence Knitting:  http://www.sequenceknitting.com/

 

The purple blanket that you can see was frogged during the recording of Episode 3!

 

Tardis cross stitch cushion (available to buy on Etsy):

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/203231184/tardis-de-lys-instant-pdf-pattern?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=tardis%20fleur%20de%20lys&ref=sr_gallery_1

John Arbon socks (update - these are now finished and another pair started)

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MaDashper/basic-socks

Winkie's postal scarf is just simple rows of colour.

 

Shoreline Blanket (picture at beginning of show notes) is Fay's own design using a very subtle 4dc, 1htr, 2tr, 1htr stitch pattern for the ripple.

 

Lynne's WIPs

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Spice of Life CAL (Sandra Paul): http://www.cherryheart.co.uk/p/spice-of-life-blanket.html

 

Agrarian Artisan Scarf CAL: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/august-crochet-scarf-mcal

 

Fairisle Blanket (Lynne Rowe): http://www.womansweekly.com/knitting/knit-a-long-knit-a-knitted-blanket-15631/

 

Odeletta Shawl (Anna Nikipirowicz) (update - I've now bought beads so ready to finish the last few rows): http://www.ravelry.com/projects/LynneRowe/the-odeletta-shawl---crochet-gifts-5

 

Accordion Mittens (Lynne Rowe): own pattern not yet published

 

9. Other links

 

Woollen Woods at Arlington Court, North Devon.  27th. August - 30th. October 2016 (at 59.30 mins)

 

Organised by Natalie Savage, Visitor Services Manager

 

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For more information see:

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court-and-the-national-trust-carriage-museum/features/woollen-woods-in-autumn

 

The Crochet Circle will collect any mammals and fungi that you would like to make and send them all together. You can find out more along with some free pattern links here in our Ravelry Group:

http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-crochet-circle-podcast/topics/3425147

 

John Arbon Mill Membership (at 10.50 mins)

https://www.jarbon.com/mill-membership/mill-membership#.VysCaY-cHIW

 

 

Woolfest and the wool clip

http://www.woolfest.co.uk/whos-involved/woolclip.htm

 

10. Competition Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered our Ravelry competitions and Congratulations to the winners:

Erika Knight Studio Linen - theemmashan

Lynne Rowe's Once Upon a Time in Crochet - jojotwinkletoes

Erika Knight's Simple Colour Knitting - Dianneb

 

 

11. New Competitions (at 63.30 mins)

We have 2 new competitions open on our Ravelry Forum:

 

Arne & Carlos Summer Nights Yarn 2 x 50g

http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-crochet-circle-podcast/3424381/1-25

 

200g DMC Natura Medium 100% Cotton

http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-crochet-circle-podcast/3424604/1-25

Good Luck and thank you for listening to our chatter. Don't forget, every Episode is published on the first Friday of every Month.

Happy Crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x

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May 1, 2016 @ 9:05 pm

Yarn Shop Day Interview with Sara from Black Sheep Wools

Featuring a bonus interview with Sara from Black Sheep Wools on Yarn Shop Day, 30th April 2016.

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Yarn Shop Day was founded in 2014 by Sarah Neal, Editor of Let's Knit Magazine. Sarah wanted to do something to help bricks and mortar yarn shops because many are struggling to keep their businesses going, due to many reasons including rising rent on the high street and competition from online stores. Sarah had seen how an annual event called Record Store Day had helped the fortunes of independent record shops and thought "Why can't we do this for our own industry." And so Yarn Shop Day was born.

There was a sock knitting drop in with Christine Perry, aka Winwick Mum, crochet inspiration with Stylecraft crochet designer Sue Pinner, weaving with Beryl Weir and a crochet drop in with bagalong extraordinaire Katherine from Crafternoon Treats.

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Christine Perry (aka) Winwick Mum

www.winwickmum.blogspot.co.uk

We enjoyed chatting to Christine about knitted socks and she explained the sock knitting is not as hard as you might think. Lots of customers were wearing socks they'd knitted from Christine's book called Super Socks. Christine was wearing a lovely knitted shawlette made from sock yarn which is her own design called Couthie Shawl, and available as a free download from her blog.

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Crafternoon Treats

www.crafternoontreats.com

We had a great chat about crocheted socks and recording technology with Kathryn from Crafternoon Treats. Kathryn is a blogger, vlogger and crocheter. Kathryn vlogs about all things crochet and is known for her Bag-a-long project. We're looking forward to meeting Kathryn again at Yarndale in September.

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Beryl Weir (also known as Crafts from the Dungeon)

www.craftsfromthedungeon.com

Bee gave weaving demos and it was great fun to join in and learn a new skill. She had some amazing samples on display and it was interesting to learn that you can use the same yarns for weaving as you use for crochet and knitting. Here's Fay's woven fabric.

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Susan Pinner

shropshirescrappersuz.blogspot.co.uk

We had a brief chat with Susan about yarn and blankets. Susan has authored two amazing books based on the popular Granny Square motifs and she's also the crochet designer for Stylecraft.

 

At the end of the day we interviewed Sara to learn more about what Yarn Shop Day means to the retailer.

 

Sara's gorgeous hank of Blue Heron Yarn

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Fay enjoyed knitting with Arne and Carlos again.

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We hope you enjoyed the interview and thanks for listening to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Don't forget to tune in on the first Friday of every month for our regular episodes.

 

 

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