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April 5, 2019 @ 5:03 am

Episode 41 - Three Years Old

Hello there and welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast and the show notes for Episode 41 – Three Years Old.

My name is Fay and this is my audio and video podcast for those that love fibre crafts, particularly crochet.  It’s a community for people that like to support their fellow humans regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, size or age. I hope you feel the welcome embrace and love of the Crochet Clan.  Come on in and stay a while. 

In this episode I cover: Review of KnitPro ball winder; Crochet Inclusivity; Final Destination; En Route; Designs in Progress; Feeding the habit; Quick News Beats and J’adore.

 

This podcast is sponsored by

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

If you would like to support the podcast, you can now do that through my new Ko-fi account, just click on the image, or follow this link:  https://ko-fi.com/crochetcirclepodcast

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1 – Review

When I first started my yarn journey, I bought myself a cheap, plastic ball winder because I didn’t know then that crochet and all things yarn would literally take over my life! 

Ep_41_plastic_ball_winder.jpg 

ALT TEXT: Grey background and close up of cream and red crappy plastic ball winder with broken metal finger.

Over the last couple of months, I have tried a couple of  different KnitPro wooden ball winders to see whether they would be a better option for me.  Well, the proof is that I now own one. 

Ep_41_ball_winder_review.jpg

ALT TEXT: Grey background with wooden ball winder and orange/grey wool scattered around it.

Given that I can be caking up yarn every other day, I thought it was a wise decision. So, here’s what I hate about my old ball winder and love about the new one:

1 – OLD: it creates a very tight cake which means that my yarn is being held under tension.

NEW: the cakes are taller and wider, so the yarn is not under the same amount of tension and pressure.

2 – OLD: it’s mainly made of plastic and is flimsy.

NEW: It’s predominantly made of wood with a little plastic and some metal.  It feels very substantial and durable.

3 – OLD: the metal finger that your yarn is placed through stopped standing on its own after about the third use.

NEW: The metal finger is very firmly in place and does not move as part of the ball winder set-up.

4 – OLD: the cakes almost always get tangled at the bottom of the spinner towards the end of the skein wind.  I have had t o cut my yarn before now, to release it.

NEW: The wooden base that the yarn caked up from is much bigger and can more than cope with the job.

5 – OLD: The ball winder struggles to create neat mini cakes.

NEW: The cakes are neat and seem to be staying in place.  I need to test whether they work well or not though.

6 – OLD: It’s really difficult to get a nice centre pulled ball that doesn’t get knotted up.

NEW: There is a space big enough to get your fingers into to pull the centre yarn from.  The cake seems to have more space in the core, so I am hopeful that the centre pull will be easy and not tangled.

The KnitPro ball winder also makes really pretty looking cakes – I know this isn’t really important, but when you have to photograph yarn as part of your living, it does factor in.

Ep_41_yarn_cakes.jpg Ep_41_yarn_cakes_2.jpg

ALT TEXT: two photos, both with grey backgrounds.  First shows two cakes of identical yarn, the left was wound with the plastic crappy winder and is shorter, denser and messier and the second cake is taller and prettier.  Photo two shows 3 mini skeins (2 pink and a marroon), a green with neon colour pop cake and the brown tweed one from the first photo.

The wooden ball winder is clearly much bigger than the plastic one, so you will need more space to operate it, but the proof is in the pudding.

If you are often caking up yarn, then I wholeheartedly recommend this bit of kit.  I bought mine from Nikki at Ewe Felty Thing and it arrived within a week.  It’s not a cheap option at £105 + P&P, however, this is a piece of essential equipment for my hobby and job and I expect to be using this until the day I die.  Caking yarn is now a joy and not a task, especially when they come out in such a pretty shape! 

 

2 – Crochet inclusivity

Last month, I said that I was only going to purchase yarns from vendors that had crochet samples out.  I spent much of Edinburgh Yarn Festival diligently asking whether yarn dyers and vendors had crochet samples that I could see.  I got mixed reactions!  Some stall holders had some crochet, but the vast majority did not.  That isn’t specific to EYF, I find that to be the case at most yarn festivals.

 

Beyond the snobby reactions that I sometimes receive around crochet, there is a fundamental lack of understanding around our craft.  That may be because the vendors don’t crochet or they did it years ago and associate it with blankets, acrylic yarn and clashing colours.

There are also the urban myths that surround crochet – such as it’s yarn hungry; done by grannies, or that there are no contemporary crochet designs coming through!  In the podcast I reference a piece of research I did on knitting v crochet for grams used.  You can access that research via my blog post here.  

With most things in life, I am more carrot than stick.  I am willing to put the work in to help educate people on crochet as a craft.  My plan is to do this by writing an open letter to yarn shops, indie dyers, yarn vendors, yarn festival organisers that don’t currently give consideration to crocheters.

As part of the open letter, I will point them towards resources that dispel the urban myths and showcase the fantastic contemporary crochet that we have.  In the long-term, I plan to pull together a Crochet Collective whereby, yarn shops etc. can call upon a list of crochet designers that have beautiful crochet patterns that have been fully tech edited and deserve space and attention in yarn shops, at shows and on Instagram. 

Needless to say, this is all going to take time, so watch this space.  I always say to Matthew that “if I haven’t helped to change the face of crochet by the time I die, I simply didn’t work hard enough!”   

 

 

3 – Final Destination

I can finally share my secret projects with you!  Before Christmas, I started working on a shawl called Drucilla.  It was kept a secret because it is one of the patterns in the new John Arbon Textiles publication, The Annual.  There are three knitting patterns in The Annual and my crochet pattern.

Ep_41_The_Annual_1.jpg Ep_41_FO_3.jpg

Ep_41_The_Annual_2.jpg Ep_41_The_Annual_3.jpg

ALT TEXT for four clsutered photos: Top left has a  grey background with some beach pebbles placed to the left of The Annual front cover. with skeins of yarn on a wooden table, mill bobbins on the floor.  Top right is a blue wall with a dusky mauve shawl with a marroon border on a mannequin.  Bottom left has a grey background with The Annual opened at a page with a triangular version of the shale in a marroon colour and dark browny/black border.  Modelled out on Exmoor by a young female.  Bottom right is the same but the shawl is now shown as a C2C version in a very light grey/blue laceweight yarn.

 All yarns are from John Arbon Textiles.  Top right used 2 x 100g skeins of Knit By Numbers DK KBN90 and 1 x mini skein DK in  KBN75

Bottom left used 2 x Devonia 4ply in colourway 'Bleeding Heart' and 1 x colourway 'Cinder Glow'.

Bottom right used 2 x 100g skeins of Alpaca 2-3 ply (heavy laceweight) in colourway 'Sea Spray'.

Drucilla is a great all-rounder shawl, using V stitch.  You can do it with one or two skeins, keep it as a triangular shawl or make it into a C2C shawl as I did with the heavy lace version.  I have also just finished off a DK weight version to show that it can be crocheted from laceweight up to DK. 

If you want to get your hands on the pattern, The Annual can be purchased via the John Arbon website.  It costs £5 plus P&P.  The whole thing is packed full of information and fun elements, like a spot the difference game! 

I have also finished off some knitted socks.  A pair for my best friend, Jenny and a pair for my Dad. 

Ep_41_FO_1.jpgEp_41_FO_2.jpg

 ALT TEXT:  Two photos both with a grey background.  The first shows a charcoal grey pair of socks with hot pink stripes, heels and toes.  The second is a plain tealy/ blue pair of socks.

Striped socks are in Dragon Hill Studio 4 ply 'Metro Pinstripe'. Second pair is in Lang Jawoll, colourway 'Peacock'.

 

4 – En Route

The saga of my Esja jumper continues! I had hoped to be showing you how to work the sleeves as part of the podcast, but I ran out of yarn!  We are heading up to Scotland on Friday, so I will pop into Blacksheep Wools on the way and pick up an extra skein and hopefully finish it off in the car on the way to Ben Nevis. 

Next month, I WILL be wearing my Esja jumper!

 

5 – Designs in Progress

Last month I showed off a Barcelona inspired long cowl that I had been working on.  It now has a name – Rocamora, after the family that lived in the building of the same name that inspired the cowl.  I have actually submitted the design into a newish online magazine called Yarn People.  I really like the inclusive nature of the magazine and the fact that they aren’t fussed about whether the pattern has already been published or talked about within the yarn community. 

Whilst I wait to hear whether the submission was successful or not, I am busy working up another version of it that is much short and only uses three colours.  There may be a third example in the offing which is a fade option too…

Ep_41_WIP.jpg

ALT TEXT: Grey background with wooden ball winder at top with mid grey yarn sat, balled up on it, foxy orange yarn in a skein to the left, a partial cake of dark grey yarn and a work in progress ribbed cowl with a green metal crochet hook.

 

6 – Feeding the habit

My friend Nic was in Australia, visiting family.  We agreed to do a yarn swap whereby, she brought me back some lovely yarns from that side of the world, and I brought her back yarns form Edinburgh Yarn Festival.  I failed to bring anything back for her that was suitable but will work on it when I vend at Spring Into Wool next weekend, but Nic brought me back two amazing yarns.  One from White Gum Wool in Tasmania and one from Great Ocean Road Mill in Australia.  They are so lovely and squishy!

I spent a lovely day over at Ewe Felty Thing in Llandudno, North Wales, helping Nikki celebrate her shop’s 1st birthday.  There was a lot of yarn to squish (and buy).  I came away with a skein of the special birthday colourway that Nikki had dyed and some minis from Abercairn that will become sock toes, heels and cuffs (and already have in one case). I also pre-ordered my ball winder when I was there.

Obviously, I brought stuff back from EYF too, but because of my point about not buying from stands that don’t have crocheted samples, I didn’t buy as much as I could have. That said, I did buy four balls of wool from Jamieson’s.  I was having an interesting discussion with one of their team and plan to recreate one of their classic Fair Isle patterns in crochet to really make that point that crochet can be beautiful and just sticking to marketing to knitters doesn’t need to be the way forward. 

Mainly, I got yarn from John Arbon Textiles.  My love of their wool continues, and I wasn’t really up for buying any indie dyed yarn.  So, I bought the yarns that they had created as show specials.  There is the Cocktail Yarn in colourway Dark & Stormy which is destined to be a trial for a new, simple design that I want to create (perfect for yarn shops and vendors to show off crochet with) and then a jumper’s quantity of their breed special yarns.  I bought the Romney breed because I really love how squishy it is and the soft colours that I bought. 

One of the real highlights of EYF for me was the Make::Wool event on the Sunday.  I didn’t get much time in sales area because I was off listening to a couple of talks.  I did, however, make a beeline for Shilasdair Yarns.  Kirsty and Simon are due to open their version of the Shilasdair Yarn Shop on the Isle of Skye this Easter.  They are still using traditional natural dyeing methods and I am very pleased to say that they have converted to using British breed yarns.  I am excited to see how they develop the company and watch with eager anticipation!

Ep_41_Shilasdair.jpg Ep_41_Nikki.jpg

Ep_41_JAT.jpg Ep_41_Emily_K_Williams.jpg

Ep_41_Desiree_Abercairn.jpg Katie.jpg

Ep_41_Dragon_Hill.jpg

ALT TEXT: Seven different photos all on bright yellow backgrounds, showing each of the yarn makers, dyers or designers. 1 - Kirsty from Shilasdair smiling and holding a massive cone of wool outside a shed.  2 - Nikkie from Ewe Felty Thing (yarn shop) behind a wall of indie dyed yarn.  3 - John and Juliet Arbon sitting in front of some of their mill machinary.  4 - Emily K Williams from Flutterby Knits stood at the edge of a loch, showing off her latest striped knitted jumper pattern - Canisp Sweater.  5 - Desiree from Abercairn Yarns stood on a porch, sporting her latest finished object - a purple jumper.  6 - Katie Green has long brown hair and is stood in a woodlend sporting a light brown knitted shawl.  7 - Sharon from Dragon Hill Studio is out in her garden wearing a black top, with glasses on a shortish brown hair, with her dog (cream and tan coloured). 

 

1.jpg  

ALT TEXT - a flat lay of many yarns with numbers atteched to each of the companies and listed below.

1 - 2 x mini skeins from Abercairn Yarn, bought at Ewe Felty Thing

2 - 4 skeins of British Breeds 'Romney' from John Arbon Textiles.  These were an EYF special and aren't on the website, but may make an appearance at Wonderwool Wales.

Also, two skeins of Cocktail blend in colourway 'Dark & Stormy' which was also an EYF special.

3 - Three balls of Shetland Spindrift wool from Jamiesons of Shetland in colours Storm, Camel and Tan Green.

4 - 2 x 50g skeins (dyed with INdigi and Meadowsweet) and 3 x mini skeins from Shilasdair Yarns  - dye stuff not identified. 

5 - 50% Camel, 50% silk blend skein of yarn from Nikki at Ewe Felty Thing called 'Confetti in the Rain' which was a special for her shop's 1st birthday.

6 - Great Ocean Road Mill, La Bella yarn (Merino and alpaca mix) in colourway Salt & Pepper.

7 - White Gum Wool, 4 ply Fingering in colourway Quarrystone - 100% Merino

 

7 - Quick News Beats 

1 – Here are some new hashtags/accounts for you to follow under inclusivity:

#disabledmakers is run by Eve and Anna, they are doing a grand job of showing off makes from lots of differently abled crafters. 

@fatestknits is an account that has been set up specifically to work towards size inclusivity.  Designers can have their patterns featured to find test crocheters and knitters.  If you are smaller or bigger than the average body size, then this may be a great resource for finding patterns that you like and designers that actually care about catering from different sizes.

2 – When I was Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I attended a panel discussion on Diversity and Inclusion in the Fibre Space – Where do we go from here?  It was an interesting discussion, with generally helpful questions from the audience.  The panel discussion was recorded and as soon as the video is available, I will sign post you to it.

3 – I have been invited to come and do pop-ups at a couple of yarn shops.  You can find me at Northern Yarn on 3rd May between 6.30pm and 10pm.  Kate is celebrating the shop’s 3rd birthday and I will be there selling crochet patterns and notions.

I will also be at the RiverKnits open day on the 4th March between 1aam and 5pm.  Becci and Markus now have a dye studio and they are having a grand opening.  Lost of other vendors will be there too, such as Ewe & Ply, Travelknitter, Garthenor Organic, Third Vault Yarns and RiverKnits of course.  It’s going to be a fab day with demonstrations, stuff to buy and a lovely atmosphere where you get to talk to the vendors.   

These are just two of the ten events that I will be vending at this year.  If you want to know where else I am going to be, take a look at this blog post.

4 – I have set up a Ko-fi account.  I have long thought about creating a way that you can support the podcast – if you would like to.  I am not comfortable with Patreon as an option and when I came across Ko-fi, that felt like the right fit for me.  Basically, there is a website page that is for The Crochet Circle Podcast.  Within that page, you can buy me a coffee.  In reality, this is making a donation towards the running of the podcast or may actually encourage me to leave the house, buy a coffee and take a break in a café.  However, many of you have asked how you can support the podcast and the in-depth work that I do for it.  I am very grateful to those that buy from my online shop, come to see me at shows, or buy my patterns, but some of you may prefer to support me through Ko-fi. 

I love doing this podcast.  But here is some of what it takes to create it:

$108 a year for the Podbean hosting platform

£12 a month for Zoom so that I can host the Global Hook Ups

On average, three full days of my time to pull the podcast together (recording, editing, photography, show notes)

Any extra time that I chose to spend on reviews, testing yarns, patterns etc. 

There are also things you can do to support that podcast for free:

Leave comments and give it a thumbs up on YouTube  - this puts the podcast in front of other people and increases awareness of its existence, making our community larger and stronger.

Talk about it on Instagram.  If you like what I do, tag me when you are crocheting.  It may seem like a little thing, but it makes a big difference. 

All of these things also apply to any other podcasters that you watch.  I am sure that they would also love extra comments, likes and tags.  It really makes a difference to us and helps to make our experience of creating a podcast much more fun!

 

8 – J’adore

The podcast is three years old!  The first episode went out on audio only back on 1st April 2016.  It is an absolute pleasure to put this podcast out and connect with our Crochet Clan.  To celebrate, there will be a pattern giveaway.  Sandra from the Cherry Heart podcast has kindly offered a copy of her Ziggy Interrupted scarf to one lucky winner, and I will do some pattern giveaways too.  All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on YouTube or Podbean (underneath these show notes) and tell me what crafting technique you would like to conquer in 2019. 

 

Here’s to another three years!

 

I will be back on Friday the 3rd May.

Fay x

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