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January 12, 2018 @ 10:30 am

Episode 25 - Clarity

This isn't a standard episode because instead of all the normal stuff I reflect on the year that was 2017 and what I want to achieve in 2018 with the podcast, my company KNIT IT - HOOK IT - CRAFT IT and with my designing under Fay Dashper-Hughes Designs.

I have kept the show notes to a minimum and provided all of the links from the bits and bobs that I talked about in the episode. 



I have never done a 'word of the year' before, in part because that isn't something that usually motivates me. 

On New Year's Day, Matthew and I headed off to have our annual review - we are very business focussed in our household. This involves pitching up at the Yourkshire Sculpture Park with our laptops, eating good local food and going for a walk around the grounds and deciding what we want more and less of in the following year.

In the weeks leading to the end of the year, I did A LOT of work on what I want to get out of the the podcast, my business and designing in 2018.  A couple of days before we headed to Yorkshire, one word was popping up everywhere - CLARITY.

So, who am I to ignore something that keeps on presenting itself to me?  Clarity is my word for 2018.

To me it means the following:

1 - Being clear about what I want from the three elements of my business.

2 - Spending my time wisely/  More doing, less faffing.

3 - Planning what I think is acheivable in a year - 12 podcasts, 12 designs, more of my own manufacturing.

4 - Being better at communicating with the crafting community.

5 - Improving my photography skills.

6 - Being creative for the sake of being creative and not always for the end goal of creating patterns or products.

7- Having a colour palette that is attractive to me and works across all three areas of my working life (podcast, online shop and designing) bringing clarity and consistency.  This is a massive step forward for me and helps me to understand that not liking rainbows, unicorns and pastels is actually acceptable. You would not believe the hours spent wondering why rainbows and unicorns leave me cold and even irritated at times.  

By writing all of these things down and talking about them in Episode 25 I feel like I have kicked of the process of approaching 2018 with clarity.  I have told you what I am up to and now I feel accountable.  That would scare some people, but I am self employed and work from home, I have no other way of making myself accountable.  You are my team.

So, to highlight the colour palette things, here are a couple of photos.  The first shows a lot of the yarn that I will be designing with this year.  The second shows the same yarn with the Autumn colour palette on top.  I bought/ received all of these yarns well in advance of gaining any understanding of the colour psychology seasons.  Hmmm, I seem to really like the Autumn colour palette...




Links to information

So, here is what I have been reading, listening to, possibly even taking in through osmosis.

Things that have helped me get focussed for 2018 and beyond:

1 - Sara Tasker from 'Me & Orla' has a beautiful instagram account, is a Social Media Influencer and I really like her down to earth approach. 

2 - Sara also does the Hashtag Authentic podcast which has been invaluable to me so far and will continue to be this year.

3 - There are a few guests that Sara has had on that have really hit home for me, starting with Fiona Humberstone from The Brand Stylist.  The podcast that I linked in number 2 will take you to that interview.  Here's the page on the Psychology of Colour.  There is just enough detail here to get your teeth into and you can buy Fiona's book if you need to know more.  I am an Autumn person.  I knew thsi already but reading this information and looking at the colour palette really helped to cement this for me.

4 - Tara Swiger, is very au fait with the yarn community and helps crafting and other businesses to move to the next level.  I haven't delved into lots of Tara's information yet, but I will be.

5 - Jen Carrington also did a great interview on 'The Glorification of Being Busy' which is worth a listen too.

6 - Photography course with Shaw Academy - I am currently doing the free introduction to photography which is online.  I have also previously done the online course from Making Light and they currently have a free tatser course running.

Here are most of my finished objects from 2017.  I crocheted and knitted just over 10kg of yarn, most of which was crocheted. 



I think that is enough for now.

In February you will get my normal podcast and less talk of clarity and focus.

Fay x


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January 5, 2018 @ 9:38 am

Episode 24 - Giddy Kipper

Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast and the show notes for Episode 24 – Giddy Kipper.

In this episode I cover: Quick news beats; Old dog, new tricks; FOs; WIPs;  Feeding the habit, Designs in progress and What's good?

This episode is sponsored by


Thanks to everyone who tunes in to the podcast whether it is through Stitcher, Podbean, iTunes or the YouTube Channel. Your support and engagement are really appreciated and makes running a podcast very special and worthwhile.


1 - Quick news beats

Global Hook Up – I am aiming for 3rd of February for our first proper Global Hook Up. Details will be up on the Ravelry thread nearer the time.

One Skein Wonderland CAL – There are so many lovely projects in the Ravelry thread and on #oneskeinwonderlandcal on Instagram. The CAL runs until 31st January, so there is still plenty of time to get cracking with a project or two! Winners will be announced on Ravelry and Instagram.


2 - Old dog, new tricks

Over-dyeing - A while ago, I bought a bargainous cashmere cowl from TK Maxx that was from memory reduced from £50 to £10. The only problem was that it was light blue, which really doesn’t suit me. 

It took a while for the old cogs to turn before I hade the light bulb flicker that I could just dye it to a colour that I liked. So, with an overnight soak, followed by plonking it in a dye bath of the soaking water, 100ml of vinegar and 3g of Wilton’s Teal icing colourant, I have a lovely teal cashmere cowl that I now use a lot.


         Before dyeing                   During dyeing                       After dyeing

You may have a jumper hiding at the back o your wardrobe or a shawl that you just don’t like the colour of. Why not just simply over-dye it? The same applies to skeins of yarn. Icing colourants only work on animal fibres, but here is a blog post that I pulled together on dyeing with acid, natural and icing colourants if you need some pointers: Dabbling with dyeing.

Instagram – I think that some people are put off Instagram because it’s yet another social media channel or they don’t think their photography skills are up to scratch. 

Instagram is for everyone. You don’t have to post photos, you don’t even have to engage, you can just use it to see what others are up to. I think that it is a really welcoming, engaging and positive space.

What really makes a difference now is that you can follow a # as well as an individual. There are lots of crochet related hashtags on Instagram, so it’s now even easier to find crochet content and be inspired by others.   

If we all start using and following #crochetcirclepodcast then we have an even better way of connecting our community on this platform.

As for your photographic skills? Practice is what makes you better at it.   

This also makes the potential for seeing what we are all up to during #globalhookup even greater…


3 - Finished Objects

Given the amount of time spent on The Cardigan of Doom (see WIPs section), I haven’t been able to do much other crafting.   That said, I still have a couple of FOs.

First up is the Calm Cowl by Suzana Davidovik. The pattern is very popular and is on Ravelry as a free download. I have already uploaded a project page to Ravelry called Ice Flow Calm Cowl so that you can see my final notes and changes to the pattern.

I used every last scrap of my Fjord Fibres Trollfjord sock yarn in the colourway Ice Flow. Check out those pops of turquoise and jade – I love it!

Calm_cowl_1.jpg Calm_cowl_2.jpg

My second FO is a pair of knitted socks, also in Fjord Fibres Trollfjord sock yarn but in Gilly’s Moroccan Tagine colourway. These socks are dense. I fully expect these to be the warmest socks I have ever made.


Given that I have now crocheted and knitted with Gilly’s Trollfjord sock yarn, I want to do a full review on them. Before I can do that, both things need to be properly road tested. The socks and cowl will be used on my upcoming Snowdon descent, so I’ll let you know how I get on after that.


4 - Works in progress

The Cardigan of Doom isn’t finished, despite my best efforts. I actually hate it. I have never hated a project before, but I hate this one. If it wasn’t for a friend, I would honestly frog it. The pattern is fine, the yarn is nice, it is just taking FOREVER! Moving on to more positive things…

I am working on my third version of the Criss-cross shawl. The CAL started on 1st January and runs until 23rd February, so you have plenty of time to join in. If you check the hashtags #olannandcrisscrosscal #faydhdesigns and #crisscross you will see lots of lovely versions being crocheted up and shown on Instagram.

There is also a lot of chatter in the CAL thread over in the Olann and group on Ravelry. I am in there on a daily basis checking in on progress. 

This version is Rowan’s Alpaca Colour DK, sadly, a discontinued yarn. I am using the Emerald colourway which is appropriate given that Olann and is Irealnd’s Fibre and Craft Magazine.


You can get the pattern free of charge from Olann and. It is available to download as a PDF in both UK and US terminology and there is a YouTube tutorial to help you through the slightly trickier elements, but that said, this is a pattern for competent beginners and up.


5 - Feeding the habit 

Christmas means yarny goodness. Christmas means a Christmas Eve hook on. Christmas means I have set a new rule called ‘Fay must get a skein of yarn from Matthew every year for Christmas’. I like my new rule!

Aside of the Fjord Fibres skein, I snuck in a set of mini skeins from RiverKnits. They were part of a festive charity, raising £5 from every set for Medecins Sans Frontieres. My colourway choice was Mouse King and so far I have made one sock with the set.


I also bought a set of mini skeins from my visit to The Little Grey Sheep’s farm near Basingstoke. The colourway is ‘Back on the Map’ and is a really lovely blend of Gotland, Shetland and Merino, all from their own farm.  Gorgeous, soft wool.



And here's the lovely yarn and bag from Gilly at Fjord Fibres.  In a future CAL I will have a skein of her yarn and a variation of this bag to giveaway.  Gilly has been spoiling us all. 


6 – Designs in progress

The Mouse King colour way socks (see above) are going to be developed into a pattern called ‘Mini Mania Striped Socks’. Quite a bit of technical thinking went into making these socks and so I figured I may as well write up the pattern and make it available on Ravelry.

Some months ago I showed a cowl and hat set that I designed using colour work crochet and was inspired by the Jon jumper by Istex. In December I finally got around to emailing to ask whether they minded me releasing the patterns that I had created, given that their pattern was my inspiration point. They emailed back immediately and said it was no problem but they would like to see the designs in Lopi wool.


Istex photo taken from Ravelry

So, here is where I am up to. There will be separate patterns for the cowl, hat and mittens (same pattern will cover open and closed mittens) and each pattern will give different stitch numbers for DK and 4 ply versions. The pattern is about to head off to Lisa and Jo for test crocheting and I hope to release the pattern in February. Again, I will be road testing these items up Snowdon, so will be able to give you frank feedback on how the wool and patterns performed in harsh climates.



6 - What's Good

I used just under 10kg of yarn in 2017! That is a huge amount. I crocheted 6.74kg and knitted 2.62kg.

I have also spent a fair bit of time in the last few weeks, preparing for the beginning of a new year. I know it’s just another day, but I think the 1st day of a new year is a good opportunity to press the reset button, assess what you want to do more of, what you want to do less of, and what you want start.

2018 is going to be a good year. We are going to have fun together!  

Fay x

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