Jan 3rd, 2020
Hello there and welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast and the show notes for Episode 50 – Woohoo!
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 awhile.
In this episode, I cover Old Dog New Tricks; WIP RIP 2019; Final Destination; En Route; Quick News Beats; Big Up and J’adore.
This podcast is sponsored by my online crafting company, Provenance Craft Co.
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 do that through Patreon:
1 – Old Dog New Tricks
Last month, I said I was also going to start sharing your top tips in this section. This fist Crochet Clan tip comes from two folk – Trina (browneyedgirlGB on Ravelry and @browneyedgirl on Instagram) and Andrea (woolwoman2k8 on Ravelry, @woolwomank2k8 on Instagram and Woollen Yarns Blog). The tips are all about using stitch markers. Andrea uses them to mark the right side of her work, making it easier to find where you are in a pattern. Trina uses them to mark the first stitch of each row.
I really like the bulb safety pins and stitch markers with the lever back arch because they are easy to attach and lock in place.
Using stitch markers may seem like a bit of a faff, but it can honestly save you hours of work and help you to keep your row and round counts accurate.
I’m working on a blog post which answers your questions on blocking. You still have time to ask me specific questions on blocking, if you have any. One of the questions was about how to block hats. If you are lucky enough to have a bowl that has the same circumference as the recipient, then you can use that. However, if the bowl is too deep, you run the risk of the hat brim being stretched too widely.
I wanted to create a hat blocker that was bespoke to the circumference of my head, so I made one with papier mache and a balloon. Here is how to do it:
1 – Measured the circumference of your head. I measured 58cm across my forehead, over my ears and around the nape of my neck.
2 – Blow up a balloon and deflated it until it has a circumference of 2cm less than your measurement at the widest point and tie it off. Note that you reduce the circumference by 2cm so that the hat will block slightly smaller than your head and will be a good fit.
3 – Make a ‘glue’ from ½ cup of flour and 2.5 cups of water, heat on the hob and whisk until it creates a thick paste. Allow it to cool. This was enough to create two hat blocking moulds.
4 – Tear a few pages of newspaper into strips.
5 – Using a pastry brush (or similar), spread some of the paste over the balloon and press strips of newspaper over the balloon. Cover most of the balloon in an initial layer. Use a mug to stand the balloon on. Keep on building up paste and newspaper layers over the balloon. I added three layers of newspaper and three layers of tissue paper. You will need at least five layers to create a thick enough mould that will retain its shape when the balloon has deflated.
6 – Leave the mould to dry thoroughly.
7 – Coat the mould with three layers of clear varnish, allowing it to dry between coats. This will help to harden the mould and stop create a waterproof barrier between your wet damp hat and the paper.
ALT TEXT : Photo 1 - cream background with two blown up balloons covered in newspaper and brown tissue paper.
Photo 2: a newspaper/tissue covered balloon is sat on a mug on top of newspaper. A tin of interior clear wood varnish and a brush lie beside the mug.
If you make hats for other people too, you may as well make two hat blockers at the same time. I also made a smaller one that fits my nieces head.
To wet block your hat, soak it in wool wash, squeeze out the excess water and place it on the hat blocker (you may want to stand it on a mug). The shape of the mould should mean that the brim of your hat is at a point with a smaller circumference. This means that the brim will block to a smaller size from the main body of your hat and help to keep it on your head.
ALT TEXT: Papier mache balloon mould is in a mug and has an orange and green knitted hat blocking on it.
2 – CAL Updates
You did so well with the #wiprip2019. So many projects were finished up before the 31st of December.
I managed to pass into 2020 with the following WIPs:
1 – a knitted jumper for my Dad
2 – a crocheted shawl design (30% done)
3 – a new crocheted shawl design (about 10% done)
Basically, no personal WIPs, which is exactly what I was aiming for.
3 – Final Destination
I have finished a lot of items in the last month. Some of them were things that needed to be sorted and others were designs or samples.
Here is what has been finished off:
- My Bark Sweater by Sidsel Sangild (link) needed a remedy for the bottom because it was curling up. I have added two rounds of dc (US sc) and although it is curling a little, I haven’t yet blocked it and I think it will work.
- My Strandir knitted jumper (link) by Hulda Hakonardottir needed to be lengthened. I picked up stitches from the bottom, cut off the original ribbing and knitted a new 2 x 2 rib to make the jumper my desired length.
- I finished off my laceweight design shawl. I thought I would be able to show them all to you in this podcast, but I am entering them into a design competition that Unravel Yarn Festival is running. I’ll let you know how I get on!
- I finally finished my Verity Vest – it has only been about 18 months. It was designed by Dawn at The Almond Snug (link) and I crocheted it in Aruancania Ranco (link) in the colour – turquoise. I haven’t blocked the vest because it’s for my friend and she may want to add more length to it.
- I was also taking part in The Craft Bank, Gift along. I had chosen to sew for my gift partner and so made matching large and small project bags because she was teaching her granddaughter to knit. Whilst I was making the bags for my gift partner, I made some for me too. I’m trying to use up some of my fabric stash…
- Over the festive season, I made another bag, but this time, I added embroidery to one side and embroidery applique to the other. This will be used as a shop sample to show what you can make from some of the books I sell. I really enjoyed doing these embroideries. Sometimes working on a different craft can create a welcome break.
ALT TEXT Photo 1 - waist rubbing of Strandir jumper showing the cut off the old rib and newly finished 2 x 2 rib.
ALT TEXT Photo 2 - finished Strandir jumper on black background. The jumper is a snowy white colour with tabs of a midnight blue at the yoke and cuffs.
ALT TEXT Photo 3 - cream background with mottled turquoise coloured Verity Vest. The top is sleeveless and is worked in diagonal rows the form in the centre. Eyelet rows give it more features.
ALT TEXT Photo 4 - front of a cream, linen handmade project bag. Three detailed black and yellow bees have been embroidered onto the bag and loo as though they are flying upwards.
ALT TEXT Photo 5 - back of the same cream, linen bag has mustard and green leaves appliqued onto it with woollen threads in an oval wreath with additional foliage embroidery.
ALT TEXT Photo 6 - Two, one skein handmade bags on top of a cream background. The bag on the left is a French blue colour with white clouds dumping snowflakes. The bag on the right has a cream background and a light teal motif that looks like a knit stitch/cat head. Both bags have two poppers to close them and sage green tabs as a small handle.
4 – En Route
I have two WIPs on the go. The first is a jumper for my Dad and it’s a design called Jon (link) and is by the same designer as my Strandir Jumper – Hulda Hakonardottir. I’m knitting it using Lettlopi (link) in four shades of grey. I’m trying to make this quickly so that my Dad can get some use out of it this winter.
I’m also about to start on the marsupial pouches to send to WIRE in Australia. I plan to make three of them, with cotton liners, before the end of January.
Crocheted pouch patterns – https://www.facebook.com/rubylovesbrains/photos/pcb.10159191872638032/10159191871513032/?type=3&theater
Knitted pouch pattern – https://www.wires.org.au/wildlife-info/wildlife-factsheets/making-possum-pouches
Sewn cotton liners – https://www.wires.org.au/wildlife-info/wildlife-factsheets/making-possum-pouches
Birds’ nest pattern - https://www.wires.org.au/wildlife-info/wildlife-factsheets/making-wildlife-nests
If you are unable to create something but want to help in some way, donations are also being accepted by WIRES (Wildlife Rescue (link)).
All donated items should be sent to Jacqui Fink, who is matching items up with the volunteers animal carers and organisations who need them. Her details are:
PO Box 126,
Balgowlah NSW 2093
5 – Feeding the Habit
I have managed my six months of no yarn buying (this excludes yarn that I needed to buy for designs and the yarn dyeing workshop that I did). I was giving myself until the beginning of January to see if any yarn took my fancy, but I haven’t seen anything. That said, I was given three sets from Matthew for Christmas. I do have my eye on some yarn, but it isn’t available until the end of January, so my plan is to start another six-month yarn ban from the beginning of February.
Here are my Christmas pressies.
Three skeins of Autumn in colour Narcissus from Freehold Yarn Company (link). I asked for this because I already had a skein of the mustard and a skein of the grey in my stash and wanted more to make a jumper – also, it was 40% off. It’s a fingering weight yarn (385m per 100g) and a blend of 25% Gotland and 75% Bluefaced Leicester.
ALT TEXT: cream background with three skeins of sunshine, mustard coloured yarn and white label.
Eight skeins of Tuku Wool (link) in colour H22 Valo. It’s a fingering weight yarn (195m per 50g) and 100% Finish wool. This was also from Freehold Yarn Company and was 40%.
ALT TEXT: cream background with seven, 50g skeins of greeny mustard lying vertically and one skein lying on top diagonally. The yarn looks woolly and is heathered with green and mustard colours.
Six skeins of Erika Knight British Blue 100 (link) which is a DK weight yarn ( 220m per 100g) and 100% British grown and spun Bluefaced Leicester. The colourway is called Mrs Dalloway. This was a last-minute addition because a local garden centre was selling off their Erika Knight stocks at 50% off, so £6.50 per skein. More skeins were bought to make Matthew a jumper too.
ALT TEXT: cream background with two skeins of plum – proper mustard, squishy wool with a kraft paper label.
I also received a skein of variegated yarn as a present from my friend Charlie. It is the colourway Exposed Steel by Gilly at Fjord Fibres (link). I really love crocheting and knitting with Gilly’s yarn – it’s really plump and warm. 80% Norwegian wool and 20% nylon – 350m per 100g.
ALT TEXT - cream background with a variegated skein of plump yarn. It is green, grey, yellow, brown, orange and utterly gorgeous.
6 - Ask me anything
As we are at Episode 50 of the podcast (woohoo) and I said that if you had any questions to ask, then I would answer them, so here you are:
Ally asked - I know you left your job to start your business but what made you decide to design as well as running the business? Did you do any training/reading/workshops, etc before doing your first pattern?
Pretty much as soon as I picked up a hook, I was designing my own items, even if it was just crocheting a cowl with a stitch pattern. It sounds a bit cheesy, but it was like I finally found my creative calling. Prior to crocheting, I wouldn’t have called myself a creative person at all. Crochet is what helped me understand that creativity isn’t just about being and to draw or write or play an instrument. Crafting opened up a whole new part of my life and creativity just keeps on pouring in.
Fiona asked - When it is suggested you alternate skeins of hand-dyed yarn does it mean every 2 rows or how many? Does that mean extra ends to sew in too?
Personally, if it was something worked in rows then I would do alternate every two rows so that there were no extra ends to weave in. If I was working in rounds, I would change every round to really blend the skeins.
What is your goal - where do you see your business in five years time?
I would love my designs to have more prominence. It’s really hard to get your designs seen and to become well known in the world of crochet and knitting.
I would also like to be in a position to support other new designers. This is something that I am working towards now, but I think one of my skills is in pulling people together to move crochet forward as a craft.
Do you think that Brexit will have an impact on your business and if so - in which way?
Most of my customers are UK based and I try to buy in as much stock as possible from the UK or make it myself, so I’m not seeing a massive impact at the moment. I know that there has been an increase in some of my raw materials that come from the EU which isn’t great. I suspect that there is a tightening of belts for UK citizens which isn’t great for our economy in general. However, there is an increase in the number of people crafting because it’s a skills-based hobby that is seen as useful and value for money. Interest in crochet, in particular, is on the up.
Do you have many friends in your local area you can meet up with and knit/crochet together?
Do you know that saying “if you want something doing, ask a busy person”? Well, I also run a fortnightly craft group called Woolgathering Sandbach. It has been going for four years now and we have a lovely group that meets up.
I’m also beginning to work on another crafting meet-up with my friend Bec. The plan is to offer a meet up just south of Manchester a few times a year so that we can increase the number fo crafters meeting up in our part of the UK.
Let’s not forget the Global Hook Ups too, where I et to meet with crafters from Russia, Australia, Germany, France, Scotland…
Why did you leave Scotland and would you ever like to move back and live there?
I had to leave to get a job associated with my degree. The expectation was that I would have to do voluntary work to be able to get a conservation job in Scotland and I couldn’t see why after five years of further education, I shouldn’t be paid for my expertise. I moved to England to have a job interview and became the Compost Development Officer for Oxfordshire County Council.
I don’t ever imagine going back to Scotland. I suspect that our next move will be to North Devon!
What other things - aside from yarn - are you passionate about? Which of your other talents would you like to develop more in future?
Cooking! I love food and finding new ingredients. At one point, I was actually working towards running a charcuterie company. Then I started crocheting and decided it was a safer bet than charcuterie. I love the idea of crocheting a garment from shearing to hook and also learning to weave. I basically want to learn all the crafts.
Corrine asked - What’s your naughtiest yarn-based project/ story?!
I think I would probably have to hark back to a time when we had a fair bit more money coming into our household. Matthew had bandmates staying to write and record an entire album in one weekend.
I was basically banished to the bedroom whenever I was in the house and by Sunday lunchtime, I had had enough. I basically surfed all the big yarn websites and pulled together a very large basket of goodies. The more frustrated I got, the better the yarns got. Needless to say, I have some very lovely cashmere in my stash that Matthew bought me to ease my pain over that weekend!
7 – Quick News Beats
1 - Global Hook Up – The January hook ups are on:
Saturday 25th at 8 pm (GMT) and Sunday 26th at 9 am GMT.
The meeting ID number is 475-047-5819 and you will need to join via Zoom which you can do here: https://www.zoom.us/join
If you are joining on your phone or tablet you will likely need to download the software in advance. If you are joining from a PC or Mac, you can join via the link above. Everyone needs to use the same ID number to get into the session.
2 – I have had my first ever pattern printed in a crochet magazine! Basalt has been printed in Inside Crochet. I really like the team at Inside Crochet, so it wasn’t exactly a hard decision when they asked if they could use the pattern for the magazine. It’s in issue 121, which came out on the 19th of December.
3 – My company name has changed from KNIT IT – HOOK IT – CRAFT IT to Provenance Craft Co. You may have seen some of my details change over on Instagram and across other social media. This is what the new logo looks like:
I’ll be back on February 7th 2020. Have a fab festive season!
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