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February 3, 2017 @ 10:23 am

Episode Thirteen - Stash Bingo

Hello folks, come on in to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the show notes from Episode Thirteen - Stash Bingo.

In this episode I cover: Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; CALs; FOs; WIPs; Feeding the Habit; Quod the Rav and the final segment What's Good?

This Episode is sponsored by:

Knit It - Hook It - Craft It

 

Thanks to everyone that tunes in to the podcast whether it is through Stitcher, Podbean, iTunes or the YouTube Channel. Your support and engagement is really appreciated. 

If you are missing Lynne, she is now doing audio recordings of her blog. The are available whenever she updates a new blog and are generally a lot shorter than podcasts, so you can dip in.

 

1 - Yay crochet or nay crochet

I am very aware that it is always a yay crochet.  I am a glass half full kind of a girl, so maybe that is why?

It is all about Tunisian crochet.  Although I already crochet, I feel like I am learning a new genre of craft by getting to grips with Tunisian crochet.  I haven't done a lot yet, but it is all leading towards me spiralling down yet another rabbit hole...  

 

2 - CALs

The Christmas CAL started on teh 24th December and concluded on the 31st January.  The enthusiasm, support and skill shown within this CAL has been fantastic.  

I have pulled together a 'TCC Christmas CAL' video montage to show all of the finished objects, the crafters behind them and the prize winners (drawn using a random number generator).  

You can also view the finsihed projects by checking #tccChristmasCAL on Instagram or looking at the 'Christmas CAL FOs' thread within The Crochet Circle POdcast group on Ravelry.  You will see lots of beautiful projects.

The running of our first CAL has definitely helped to define how the next CAL is going to be managed.

 

Tunisian CAL

This new CAL will start on the 3rd March and run until the 16th April.  We are being expertly guided by Sol through this CAL as she already teaches Tunisian crochet, has tutorials on her blog and is providing patterns for the CAL.

Sol.jpg

As with the Christmas CAL, there will be three categories:

1 - Sol's Cobbled Streets Cowl which is a free of charge pattern and needs one skein (400m) of 4 ply yarn, a 4mm (G6) hook and a 30cm cable, though you may be abel to use a long shafted hook instead.

2 - Sol's Ocaso shawl which is a paid for pattern and needs three (1 x Yarn A and 2 x Yarn B) skeins of 4 ply yarn with about 380m per skein.  You will need a 4mm hook (G6) and an 80cm cable.

3 -  Anything goes.  The pattern of your choice, it just has to be Tunisian crochet.

A ravelry thread has already been opened and you can use #tccTunisianCAL on Instagram.

 

Cobbled_Streets.jpgOcaso.jpg

 

Roll on March 3rd.

 

3 - Finished Objects

Many FOs are in my midst!  I have managed to get some major projects finished.  During the last podcast I promised that I would have my  Leigh Tee finished, and I had also started the Riveret crochet top, so here they both are:

 

Leigh.jpgRiveret.jpg

 

I also finished off the redesign of Colosseum to make it into a two skein shawl.  I am currently writing the new pattern up and it will be available to purchase from Ravelry and my website shortly but I will also be sending it as a free pattern to people that have already bought a copy of Take Two.

Colosseum.jpg

 

 

My final FO was a pair of knitted Delilah socks from The Sock Drawer.  I also used these for a bit of test on sock blockers:

 

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Here is the link to the differences in yarn usage between some knitted and crocheted stitches.  If you have any burnung questions on similar topics, let me know via Ravelry and I will see if I can investigate.

4 - WIPs

Hmmm, I want to start all of the things, but let's start with the thing that is not my best friend at the moment, my second Uncia shawl.  I had to work so hard to knit Juliet's Uncia for the self-imposed deadline that the thought of picking up my Uncia to finish it is filling me with dread.  I have 95 rows left to knit, about 25 hours worth of knitting maybe?  I just can't face it at the moment. Maybe next week.

I wanted to start a knitted garment at the back end of 2016 but was enticed into more Christmas CAL crochet and so made a start on a Leigh top on the 1st January 2017 instead.   This is really quick to knit up and I am using the yarn that the pattern called for - Rowan Cocoon (shade Crag).  This is gorgeous to work with and there is a very strong sheepy smell coming off the yarn (80% wool and 20% Mohair) which just makes me want to knit on it all day long.

I also seem to have started another crocheted garment!  The pattern is Riveret by Merrian Holland from Pom Pom Quarterley's Spring 2016 issue.  I liked the look of this pattern when I first got my copy through the door but I wasn't convinced that it would suit me.  I then saw the sample at Yarnporium in London and realised how big it was on the model and just how elegant it was.  I have done very little on this but it should receive some more love before the next podcast!

 

 

5 - Feeding the habit

I have been very good.  Whilst I have bought yarn for designs and present crafting, I have bought NO personal yarn!

 

Instead, I bought books:  

1 - Around the Corner Crochet Borders

2 - The New Tunisian Crochet

 

6 - Quod the Rav

If you have some yarn that you want to use but you don't know what to makwe with it, then here are some simple ways of filtering through Ravelry to drill down to some suitable pojects:

QTR_1.jpgQTR_2.jpg

 

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QTR_5.jpgQTR_6.jpg

So much easier to search through 85 projects than 614,000+.

 

 

What's good?

 

We are heading into yarn festival season once more.  The fist that I will be attending is Edinburgh Yarn Festival on the 11th March so if anyone fancies meeting up, let me know.  I will also be vending at Wonderwool Wales on the 23rd and 24th April and who knows where else I will end up this year...

 

Until next month.

Fay x

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January 6, 2017 @ 9:59 am

Episode Twelve - Who you gonna call? Stash Buster!

Hello folks, come on in to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the show notes from Episode Twelve - Who you gonna call?  Stash Buster! 

In this episode I will cover: Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; Setting the Scene for 2017; FOs; WIPs; Feeding the Habit; Quod the Rav and the final segment What's Good?

This Episode is sponsored by:

Knit It - Hook It - Craft It

Hello to Happyhound11, Thell and Snotestine (Shannon) from Ravelry.  Happy birthday to DianneB (Dianne) whose birthday is on publish day!

Thanks to everyone that tunes in to the podcast whether it is through Stitcher, Podbean, iTunes or the YouTube Channel. Your support and engagement is really appreciated. 

 

1 - Yay crochet or nay crochet

It can ony be a yay because if the response to the Crochet Circle Christmas Crochet Along.  The response has been fanstastic!  

I am so impressed with the number of things that people have made, the fact that people are learning new skills and techniques or using new yarns.  Best of all, you can still get hooking!  I am starting a third project in the next couple of days and have so far finished a pair of socks and a shawl which you can see in more detail under FOs. 

You can check out the FO thread on Ravelry under the group - The Crochet Circle Podcast or by searching #tccChristmasCAL on Instagram.

This makes me wonder if you would like to do a Spring CAL too?  Let me know.  The Christmas CAL goes on until the 31st January so there s still plenty of time to start a project.

 

2 - Setting the scene for 2017

During the last podcast I started to talk about some of my crafting goals for 2017.  I have opened up a thread on Ravelry so that you can add yours in too, as many already have. It's great to be able to see your lists, although I keep on adding some of your ideas into mine...

So, here is what I am working towards in 2017:

Yarn:
1 - Not buy any if I can possibly help it. The caveat to this is that I may need specific yarns for design work in which case I will have to buy it. I have a rather large stash (you may get to see it in Episode 12). I am hoping to stick to this for the whole year so that I can really appreciate the beautiful stash that I have and use some of it.

2 - To try to log all of my stash on Ravelry so that I have easy access to it when I am looking at patterns.

Crochet:
3 - To do more crochet colour work. I really enjoyed doing a colour work hat recently and can see many applications for it.
4 - Explore more crochet stitches to see how I can combine them and/or work with them to bring texture and more interest to my projects.
5 - Use more British breeds for my crochet projects.
6 - Crochet more garments.

FOs:
7 - Finish the three large projects that I have on the go (TARDIS cushion, Shorelines blanket and Uncia number two). 
8 - Log more of my FOs on Ravelry.

Knitting: 
9 - Knit some garments. 

Other:

10 - Sew a garment to wear possibly as part of #memademay.
11 - Be more focussed about sketching out designs when they come to me.
12 - Learn to bake bread - I have been meaning to do this for a while so I may as well add it to the list! 

 

Join in.  Add your details to the thread and share what you want to work on in 2017.

3 - Finished Objects

I have had fingers of fire recently.  This is in part due to me doing some gift crafting, partly because of the Christmas CAL and partly beause I didn't cover FOs in the last podcast.  

I knitted Christmas socks for Jenny and her two boys - all gratefully received.  Our friends have also just had a baby boy and so I designed and crocheted up a pram blanket for Theodore!  I was keen to design a blanket that would use as much of the four skeins as possible and have as few ends to weave in as possible.     I really love the finished blanket and it only has seven ends to weave in!  I used a 6mm (J/10) hook for the blanket but moved up to an 8mm (L/11) hook for the slip stitch border.

I have two FOs from the Christmas CAL, so far!  My first were the Winter Wonder socks by Vicki Brown.  She very kindly offered a 50% discount on the sock pattern for the CAL, just use the code CCCAL when you are checking out on Ravelry.

I used a 3mm hook (C/2) and Zealana Cozi (15% Brushtail Possum, 58% Merino, 5% baby Alpaca and 22% nylon) in shade Peppermint. I deliberately went a little more luxurious with this yarn because these are socks for wearing in the house when my feet are very cold and also for inside my wellies.  The pattern is really easy to follow and memorise with a new to me toe construction.  I struggled with the sizing to begin with but got there by making the small size and a 3mm hook for most of the sock, moving to a 4mm (G/6) hook to do the heel, moving back to the 3mm when starting in rounds again.  

I would recommend both yarn and pattern, though you may want to make sure that you are comfortable with using Possum before you make your yarn purchase.  I am a trained conservationist and so using Possum isn't an issue for me personally.  Although I bought my two balls in Munich, you can also buy it from Hulu Crafts in the UK or check the Zealana website for stockists.

These are my best fitting crocheted socks to date.

I also managed to finish my version of Spun Gold by Kat Goldin and used some Jeanette Sloan Baby Alpaca 4 ply in shade Olive (50g/200m).  Sadly, this yarn is no longer available which is one of the reasons that I used it for this project.  I had already used the yarn for my crocheted Liala top and so had two and a bit balls left.  Spun Gold is one of those patterns where you crochet increases until you have used half of your yarn and then start decreasing.  All in I had 140g and used 133g to make this shawl.  

You can also see my pair of Solar socks by Gill Slater which is free pattern on Ravelry.  I knitted thsee using 2.5mm/9 inch circular needles and Socks Yeah! yarn in shade Malachite.

I nearly forgot about the Uncia for Juliet!  I finished it, she loves it, I still have mine to finish...

 

Ep_12_WIPs.jpg

4 - WIPs

Hmmm, I want to start all of the things, but let's start with the thing that is not my best friend at the moment, my second Uncia shawl.  I had to work so hard to knit Juliet's Uncia for the self-imposed deadline that the thought of picking up my Uncia to finish it is filling me with dread.  I have 95 rows left to knit, about 25 hours worth of knitting maybe?  I just can't face it at the moment. Maybe next week.

I wanted to start a knitted garment at the back end of 2016 but was enticed into more Christmas CAL crochet and so made a start on a Leigh top on the 1st January 2017 instead.   This is really quick to knit up and I am using the yarn that the pattern called for - Rowan Cocoon (shade Crag).  This is gorgeous to work with and there is a very strong sheepy smell coming off the yarn (80% wool and 20% Mohair) which just makes me want to knit on it all day long.

I also seem to have started another crocheted garment!  The pattern is Riveret by Merrian Holland from Pom Pom Quarterley's Spring 2016 issue.  I liked the look of this pattern when I first got my copy through the door but I wasn't convinced that it would suit me.  I then saw the sample at Yarnporium in London and realised how big it was on the model and just how elegant it was.  I have done very little on this but it should receive some more love before the next podcast!

 Ep_12_WIPs.jpg

 

5 - Feeding the habit

In 2017 I am going to try my very best to not buy yarn.  Having gone through my stash during December, I bolstered the areas that I knew were lacking such as sock yarn.  I have A LOT of yarn and it is time to use some of it up.

My plan is to to log all of the weights and metrage of yarn that I use in 2017 so that I can record what a dent I am making.  There does have to be one caveat though.  For yarn specific projects (one of which is a man's cardigan which is a present and has to be in a very specific colour that I don't currently have or for designs that I need to work on) I iwll most likley have to buy yarns, the same applies to new designs that I don't have the correct yarn for.   

I am also going to put some of my older stash into six different bags.  Each bag will be assigned a number and by using a random number generator that will dictate the next bag of yarn that I have to work with and find a pattern for - Stash Bingo!

There will be some feeding the habit as I am sure that I will be buying patterns and books to find great projects to use with my stash.  I also intend on attending workshops to increase my skill base.

 

Ep_12_yarn.jpg1 - Regia sock yarn   2 - The Bavarian yarn that I bought from Die Mercerie is by Hofer Schafwolle  3 - Metallico by Blue Sky Alpacas             4 - Wolle Rodel sock yarn  5 - Vicki Brown skeins of lovliness!  6 - Merino/Silk 4 ply from The Wool Kitchen  7 - Lang Yarns Jawoll sock yarn 8 - Life in the Long Grass - no more words are required!  9 - Socks Yeah! by Rachel Coopey

 

6 - Quod the Rav

Not so long ago, a lovely person on Ravelry sent me a message to suggest that I start using some of the useful functions when I was adding to discussion threads.  This is called Magic Linking.  Yes the information for it popped up every time I pressed the 'Reply to thread' button, but no I didn't read it or act upon it!  

Here is how to do it:

Magically link to Ravelry by typing some text in brackets and a type of thing in parentheses. At the moment, you can link to a yarnpersonpatternprojectbook or group.

[Somewhat Cowl](pattern) [casey](person) [Malabrigo](yarn) [mayarn's chuppah](project) 
[Canadian Knitter](group) [Favorite Socks](book)

This is a really helpful tool to use when you are participating in forums because it allows you to quickly and easily use the backend database of Ravelry to provide useful links within your comments.  

For instance, if I was going to add an FO to a thread I would use the Magic Link function to show what pattern and yarn I had used or if I wanted to point people to my project for that pattern then I might give project and yarn links instead.

This is a really quick and effective way of sharing your knowledge with people and stops annoying people like me aksing what pattern and yarn you used!

A top tip from me is to have a little written note for your pattern/project/yarn at the ready so that you know execatly what it is called.  This can save you the annoyance of trying to find it mid-forum response and potentially losing your draft comments so far. The other way around this is to have two Ravelry tabs open, one for checking details and one for adding comments to. 

I find it immensley helpful when people use the magic link function as I love to see what yarn and patterns people have used for projects and I can't be the only one...

 

What's good?

I have had some time off in Munich and with our friends Jenny and Frazer and it has been wonderful. Whilst in Munich, I manged to visit three yarn shops and have a firm favourite - Die Mercerie.  It was such a beautiful space with very tastefully curated items and great displays.  If you find yourself in Munich, you will not be disappointed with a walk out to visit this shop!

 

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Fay x

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December 16, 2016 @ 11:11 am

Episode Eleven - HOP to it

Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the show notes from Episode Eleven - HOP to it. 

In this episode I will cover: Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; the final installment of Yarn Club Review; Book Review of Raw by The Crochet Project; Take Two; Quod the Rav; The scene for 2017, New World Order and the final segment What's Good?

This Episode is sponsored by:

Knit It - Hook It - Craft It

Hello to beadiemom (Margo), homemadeatmyplace (Alessandra) and Nettiesely 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 people that both have a birthday on publish date are Christinadesigns (Christina) and Felicious (Felicia) - Happy Birthday both!

 

1. Yay crochet or nay crochet

It's a yay.  Last podcast I showed a crocheted baby blanket for Emma and her new daughter Matilda.  Emma comes to the crochet and knitting club that I run, Woolgathering Sandbach, and a few of us crocheted the baby blanket.  I really love making things for other people, especially little folk.  

Winkie has also finished the postal scarf that we have been working on.  He really loves it but says it's a little itchy and needs washing!  Take a look at how cute he is in it:

IMG-20161215-WA0001.jpg

 

2. Yarn club review

The final instalment of the Yarn Club Review covers off an ongoing blanket subscription and details of a new shawl club subscription that is open at the moment.

Becca, another Woolgatherer (PixieCaticus on IG and Ravelry), signed up to a blanket club ten months ago.  Every month she has received 3 x 50g of hand dyed superwash Merino from one of two indie dyers - Dye Candy (dyecandy on IG) or Unbelievawool (unbelievawool on IG) and the next stage of the blanket pattern.


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The banket subscription is £21 a month and Becca has two months left to go.  She has really enjoyed receiving the yarn through the post and she like many others found that there was yarn left over, so the dyers offered and extended pattern for those that wanted to do it.  She has also kept on top of the club by making the next set of hexagons within a couple of days of them arriving and will still have yarn leftover which she can use for other projects.  

 

The other part of the yarn subscrition review that I wanted to point you towards is a new shawl club by Vicki Brown. I saw what she was up to on Instagram and emailed her for more details.  

vix_brown.jpg 

The Crochet Shawl Club:

  • Starting from January 2017 Vicki will be launching one crochet shawl pattern every two months as part of a club. Every other month (January, March, May, July, September and November) she will be produce a box which will include a printed pattern and hand dyed yarn to work up that shawl (dyed by Vicki exclusively for this club). 
  • Each box will be available to purchase singly and will go on sale a month prior to shipping or you can sign up to all six for a fabulous saving (£20).
  • Each shawl pattern will be new and exclusive to box subscribers for two months, after which time the pattern will become available to purchase individually.
  • All yarn will be sock/4ply weight and will be on a range of bases and fibres varying from month to month. However, she can happily accommodate any allergies or personal dislikes. All patterns will use a 3.5mm or 4mm hook.
  • The first box and the full subscription are available to purchase now over on etsy.
  • Single boxes are priced at £20 and include UK postage, postage within Europe is an additional £1.50 and postage for the rest of the world is an additional £3
  • For the full 6 month collection the cost is £100 and includes UK postage. Postage within Europe is an additional £9 and £18 for the rest of the world.
  • The contents will remain a mystery until they have been delivered to your door, but you can find some sneak peeks over on Vickie's instagram page.

Vicki has also very kindly offered one of the shawl clubs up as a prize for one Crochet Circle listener/viewer - more on that in the future...

 

3. Book Review - Raw by The Crochet Project

I was very kindly sent a digital copy of Raw by the lovelies at The Crochet Project in collaboration with Blacker Yarns.  As you know, I won't reveiw a book unless I have crocheted at least one thing from it.  You can see from the below photo, I have managed to make both the Mamble socks and the Newham hat from the book. The book has six patterns - a cardigan, sweater, socks, shawl and matching mittens and hat. It was all crocheted using Blacker Yarns in natural shades, show casing British breeds.  

 

Ep_11_-_Raw_by_The_Crochet_Project.jpg   

 Ep_11_-_Raw_2.jpg

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The socks are toe up in construction and I used a yarn that had very little elasticity but is lovely and warm and very sheepy! Having already made a pair of Joanne's crocheted socks, I was familiar with her style, although this one had a different heel construction.  I found the sock easy enough to crochet, although I struggled a little with the heel construction. The first time I tried it out I found it hard to keep track of where the heel steps were, called a bridge stitch (this will make sense to you when you read the pattern).  I ripped it out and started the heel part again. putting a place market on each decrease, now knowing that I needed to be able to identfy them better.  That did the trick.  I couldn't find and reference to bridge stitch anywhere so I am not sure if it something that Joanne has created.  It works for the construction but took a bit of fiddling.  The socks are lovely to wear and I would like to crochet these again in something like Socks Yeah or West Yorkshire Spinners so that I can compare them to my first pair.

 

Raw_ingredients.jpg

The Newham hat has been crocheted in 100% Merino Knit by Numbers from John Arbon. I played around with the hat construction a little because I like quite a tight hat and the book photos show it being looser on Joanne.  I really loved the rib construction for the brim which is crocheted as one long peice and then joined to make a round before picking up stitches.  The pattern shows a simple colourwork chart that you go by to create the pattern in the round.  This is really easy to follow but unfortunately when I started this part of the hat I was really quite ill and mucked it up a little.  Luckily my two colours aren't high contrast so it isn't really obvious.  This is not a shortfall of the pattern, I was really quite poorly!  I love the finished hat and it is gorgeous to wear.

Overall, with Raw you get exactly what you would expect from Kat and Joanne at The Crochet Project - really nice simple patterns with interesting design elements, beautiful photography and good yarn choices. The book is available on their website and is £10 for the digital copy and £12 plus P&P for the hard copy which includes a digital download code.  It is written in UK crochet terminology and the US terms are given in the abreviations.

I would recommend this book.  There is something for all types of crocheters and if natural shades aren't your thing, it is simple to change to colours.   

 

4. Take Two

TAKE TWO is a collection of 8 crochet patterns, each shown as two designs - sixteen patterns.

You can buy: A printed copy (which includes an instant digital download) £12 from here.  I am fingers crossed hoping that the hard copy books will arrive in the thrid week of December so that I can post them out ASAP.

or

A digital copy for £10 here or by searching for Take Two on Ravelry in books.

Take_Two_front_cover.jpg      TT_compilation.jpg

 

I would love to see your finished makes and you can add them to the Ravelry page FO thread and use #TakeTwoCrochet to share your makes on Instagram.

 

5. Quod the Rav

Ravlery is huge, both in terms of the number of people that use it but also the functionality that it has to offer.  In this new section I want to show some of the things that Ravelry can do and ways that you can use it to get the most from the site.  It can be quite an intimidating website so I am hoping to demonstrate how you can really use it to your benefit and help others to do the same through the way that you use and record projects on Ravelry.

In this podcast I wanted to cover how you can try to verify whether a pattern is worth purchasing or not?  A question was asked in the group thread and so I have pulled together some information on how I check a pattern out pre-purchase.  I have used a pattern that I have purchased, knitted, recorded and people have found helpful.  

Episode_Eleven_-_HOP_to_it.jpg 

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     Episode_Eleven_-_HOP_to_it_3_.jpg     

 

In case you are wondering why this section is called Quod the Rav, you can blame Eddie Izzard and his sketch on Latin.

 

6. Setting the scene for 2017 

At the beginning of 2016 I set myself a few crafting goals that I wanted to achieve by the end of 2016.  These have given me a gentle steer through my 2016 crafting and I have achieved or been working towards all of them:

1 - Learn how to make socks.  So far I have knitted ten pairs and crocheted three pairs and will hopefully reach 14  by the end of the year (festive socks for Jenny and The Duke).

2 - Learn how to do colourwork.  I took part in a KAL and used it as a project to work with British breeds and test my colourwork skills.  I also learned to do crochet colourwork with the Newham hat from Raw.

3 - Dye some of my own yarn.  I organsied a workshop in September and a bunch of us dyed British yarns.  It was great fun and I am working my way through my own hand dyed yarn which makes projects even more special.

4 - Take part in CAL/KALs.  I have taken part in two KALs but up until now haven't found a CAL that I wanted to do.  Luckily, we have the Christmas CAL coming up (details further down) which I am very excited about!

5 - Put better project notes up on Ravelry.  I have really tried hard on this one.  I get so much help from going through other people's projects that I feel I should offer the same level of detail.  There is no doubt that it is time consuming but I love going back and seeing how much work went into projects.

6 - Take better photos of my projects.  I can see the difference in the photos that I take now compared to when I started on Ravelry.  To me this helps to sell myself as the owner of KNIT IT - HOOK IT - CRAFT IT and a podcaster, so hopefully my photos will only get better as time goes on.

I am going to open a thread on Ravelry called Setting the scene for 2017.  I will add my crafting goals for 2017 (I will also be talking about them in the January podcast) into that thread and you are all very welcome to do the same.  My plan is to review it every quarter to see if I want to focus on other things or document what has really caught my attention - like making socks has in 2016!  

Get thinking, what do you want to be working in in 2017? 

  

7. New world order

As you are all aware, Lynne is no longer doing the podcast and so I wanted to reassure people that I have every intention of continuing to podcast on a monthly basis.  Podcasting is a great way for me to get inside the crafting industry and understand what is happening and how I can be part of that.  It makes me craft more, want to learn new techniques to share with you and it is a great way of engaging with lots of lovely people about this very yarny passion.

So here is what you can expect from The Crochet Circle Podcast in 2017:

1 - A podcast that is published on the first Friday of every month for video on YouTube and also audio via Podbean etc..

2 - Vlog style videos on YouTube showing my yarn based antics and general bits and bobs.

3 - The usual content on social media.  My intention is to focus mainly on Instagram because it allows me to show off yarn based things so easily, share your makes (tag crochet_circle) and it is a very positive social media space.  I will put the occassional thing out on Twitter but most content will be on IG.

4 - Continue to grow the content and engagement in our Ravelry thread. We have so many lovely people that post in that thread and long may it continue.  At some point I may have to ask whether others want to come forward as moderators.

5 - I want to keep the standard sections like Yay crochet or nay crochet, WIPs, FOs, Feeding the habit, What's good and of course reviews when there is something to review.

6 - I work with a lot of different yarns and so that I can review them all and let you see what I am working on, I am going to pull together a yarn review format for Instagram.  That way I can let you know what I think of the yarn but I can show off more yarns rather than having to wait for the podcast.  If you aren't on Instagram, all of my Crochet Circle photos are automatically uploaded onto Pinterest.

7 - I want to introduce some new sections like Quod the Rav.  Others will will come as the podcast moves into this new phase, but I want it to be informative, useful and fun.

 

8. Christmas CAL 

There is a lot of excitement about a Christmas CAL!  I openend up a thread on Ravelry with a poll and 88% wanted to work from the same pattern with 12% wanting to choose their own.  So that everyone can be happy I think that CAL should be eiether!

For those of you that want to work from the same one pattern, take to the Christmas CAL thread to decide which pattern you all want to work from - you just need to decide in enough time to make sure you have enough yarn and are ready for the CAL start date.  

The CAL starts on the 24th December 2016 and the end date is the 31st January 2017, so choose a project that is realistic for that timeline.

I am going to cast on two things (possibly three)!  The pattern that you folks choose for the CAL and another of my own choice (and possibly a new design that is currently bubbling in the recess of my brain).

I may have purchased some Christmas themed yarn from Vickie Brown...

 

9. What's good?

The reaction to the fact that I am going to continue with the podcast has been lovely.  It is a shame that Lynne no longer wants to continue with it but I am really heartened by the fact that so many people want the podcast to continue and are supportive of my solo endeavours - thank you, you lovely poeple!

 

Happy listening, watching, festive season and crocheting,

Fay x

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December 2, 2016 @ 10:06 am

Episode Ten - Take Two

Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the show notes from Episode Ten - Take Two. 

In this episode we will be covering: Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; the (almost) final instalment of our Yarn Club Review; Yarn Review of The Big Scary Bear Alpaca DK; Copyright; Take Two; FOs; WIPs; Feeding the Habit and our final segment What's Good? This Episode is sponsored by:

Knit It - Hook It - Craft It

and

Lynne Rowe Knitting and Crochet

Hello to Lisanif (Lisa), Soundzik (Marianna) and Monknitker (Amanda) 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 Littlefrog (Tania) - Happy Birthday Tania!

1. Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet

It' a Nay from Lynne: This month I've suffered from Repetitive Strain Injury from my crochet, mainly due to a number of combined reasons - I was using a metal hook, the hook was small in size, my stitches were small and I was wrangling to get my hook into them for the particular stitch type I was using (I normally use a hook with an soft grip handle and a metal hook on the end, but I didn't have the size needed). To remedy this I crocheted in short bursts and wore a pair of fingerless mittens whilst crocheting, which stops the metal touching my skin and prevents the pain from occuring.

Fay: It's a yay from me.  I have said many times that I am quite a warm bodied person and am usually stripping off rather than putting on layers. My friend and neighbour, Gill, pops in to see if I want to go for a walk and the weather has definitely taken a turn for the colder in Cheshire.  It has been too cold to go out with bare hands, but not cold enough to necessitate full gloves.  Given that all of the samples for Take Two have been sat in my kitchen, I just keep on diving into the bag to pull out my version of Lynne's pattern, Baltum which is a pair of fingerless mittens. The have given the perfect amount of warmth for our country walks. 

2. Yarn Club Review

The final instalment of our Yarn Club Review is from another Crochet Circler, Charlotte (purplehayescrochet on IG and Charlottemhayes on Ravelry), who has subscribed to two Clubs: Crochyay! and Little Box of Crochet.

Charlotte's full review is going to be loaded onto the 'Things to know about yarn clubs' board, but here are the main points about the two box clubs that she has been receiving:

 

  • Little Box of Crochet is a monthy box that costs £17.45 and is done on a monthly rolling subscription although you can sometimes pick up additional boxes. Cahrlotte has been receiving this box since April 2016.
  • Crochyay! is also monthly and costs £22.50 & P&P and you can also buy the boxes as a one-off.  Charlotte received her first box in October 2016.  
  • With both boxes you receive at least one pattern, the yarn required and lots of treats such as handmade stitch markers or a project bag.
  • Charlotte has made most of the things from all of the boxes she has recieved with the exception of a Little Box of Crochet pin cushion because it isn't her type of thing.  She has simply stashed the yarn instead and will use it in another project.
  • The yarns used have been great and have made Charlotte try yarns that were new to her.  The only one that she was less keen on was the Rico cotton, because it split a lot.  
  • LBC generally sends out cotton based yarn and Crochyay! has been acrylic/cotton so far.  
  • The projects come with enough yarn for each project and the only time that Charlotte ran out, it was because her gauge was off but the yarn was readily available so she was able to go and buy more.
  • Both boxes contain full written instructions.  LBC also use handy photos as part of a step by step guide and Crochyay has lovely big text which makes the patterns very easy to read and follow.  
  • In October the LBC project was a tea cosy which Charlotte loved because she is a bit of a tea jenny.  The Crochyay project was a pair of mittens with a half heart on each, making a full heart when placed together.  
  • All of the patterns  have been easy to follow and Charlotte hasn't needed any pattern support.
  • She has loved receiving both boxes and particularly loves receiving a surpsrise every time, making things that she wouldn't normally crochet and has particularly liked supporting small businesses.
  • Charlotte does intend on moving to just one subscription and says that it will most likely be Crochyay! because the patterns are more modern and fit with her style.

3. Yarn Review - The Big Scary Bear Alpaca DK

The Big Scary Bear is a relatively new company, owned by Richard and Karen Collier and is based in a small semi-rural village is Essex. Their fleece is sourced from their own herd of alpacas who live with them at Bramble Cottage, along with their six pygmy goats, two cats and two rabbits.

The fleece is hand-sorted and graded before being spun into yarn by a specialist spinning mill in Oxfordshire.

Their yarn is 100% alpaca and the ball band in made from recyled material. They have 6 shades available, all of which are lovely, soft hues, including Cream, Brown, Ginger, Navy, Cinnamon Grass, Pebble, Teaberry and Seafoam.

About the Yarn:

DK weight/21 sts and 28 rows over 10x10cm in stocking stitch

£6 per 50g ball

We used a ball of yarn to knit up a test square using our standard test square pattern. Fay crocheted a premature baby hat with the remainder of the ball and Lynne crocheted a pair of mittens with a fresh ball.

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Lynne: The knitted swatch shows that the stitch definition is really clear, with moss stitch, cables and stocking stitch. I love how there are flecks of lighter colour here and there where the dye hasn't fully taken, which creates a mildly semi-solid appearance. The yarn is incredily soft and could be worn next to the skin and even I could wear it around my sensitive neck, which is fab. It is great to knit with too - the yarn slid through my fingers beautifully and created a nice, firm stitch. My test square blocked out beautifully and I'm itching to start a neck cosy in fairisle with it. The tension isn't on the ball band, but it knitted up almost to a standard double knitting (light worsted) tension of 21 sts and 28 rows to 10x10cm over stocking stitch. I also wanted to test it out for crochet, so I've started a pair of crocheted fingerless mittens using half treble crochet in the round. Again, the stitch definition is perfect and they are incredibly soft and really warm.

Fay: This is beautiful to work with and I felt that it really maintained the halo and sheen that I would expect from alpaca.  The yarn has been nicely plyed and so there were no issues with the yarn splitting when I was crocheting and it was a dream to run through my fingers.  

I think that the pricing point is incredible for soemthing that is 100% British and I would happily use this to make a garment with.  It feels like the company is in its infancy and I really hope that it goes well for them.  

The only slight downside I had was that the dye in the teaberry shade wasn't completely exhausted and so a littel came out when I washed it. However, this is the case with many yarns and so it is always worth testing a small cut of yarn in luke warm water to see if it is dye-fast. This is particularly important if you are using more than one colour.   

4. Copyright

In our Take Two book we encourage you to take our designs and change them up - if you don't like the yarn weight, then use something different, if you want to make it simpler then leave something out or if your're not keen of the colours, change them. However, all of the patterns are fully copyrighted to either Lynne or Fay, so even though you may tweak something in any published pattern, it doesn't mean that you can then publish the tweaked version as your own. There have been a few instances recently on social media where designers are finding that distinctive elements of their designs have been incorporated in to another designer's pattern. Sometimes this has been something very obvious like a fairisle pattern, or it can be that the whole designs looks almost identical. This sometimes happens purely by coincidence, after all, there are only so many ways to crochet a leaf or a granny square. So the best thing to do with a tweaked pattern is to add your FO to the designer's Ravelry page, then in the notes you can document your tweaks.

5. Take Two

Created and published by Lynne and Fay, from designing, sample testing, pattern styling and pattern checking, photography and book layout.

Take_Two_front_cover.jpg

TAKE TWO is a collection of 8 crochet patterns, each shown as two designs - sixteen patterns.

We used some amazing yarns for our main designs, all of which have been spun in the north of England and in some cases grown there too. We each designed 4 patterns each which we passed to each other to remake in our own style using yarn from our stash. This wasn't a problem as we both have rather large stashes. We were keen to show that our designs could be made using the original yarns spun in the north of England, or they can be made using yarn that may be hiding at the bottom of your stash, waiting to be turned into something lovely.

TAKE TWO is our first collection and includes a variety of easy-to-make crochet essentials including: Colosseum (an asymmetrical shallow shawl); Auchincruive (a cowl); Skogafoss (a stylish messenger bag); Paraphernalia (a notions pouch or purse); Galicia (a long cowl); Baltum (a pair of fingerless mittens); Phasian (a textured Granny Square Blanket); Chrysanth (a textured circular cushion).

You can buy:

A printed copy (which includes a digital download) £12 (we are currently taking pre orders and hope that the hard copy will arrive during the third week of December, ready to be posted out ASAP).  When you buy the hard copy, you receive an instant digital download.

or

A digital copy £10 can also be purchased from Ravelry (search 'Take Two' under books) or from www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com

 TT_compilation.jpg

 

We'd love to see your finished makes and you can add them to our Ravelry page and our discussion board FO thread.

6. WIPS

Lynne: not much progress on WIPS - I'm focussing on one thing at a time now, to try and bring my FOs down to a more managable level. My 12 WIPS are:

Aran Tweed Blanket - working on the border/2 pairs of socks - no progress/Mother-in-Law's Travis blanket - no progress/Manos del Uruguay Shawl - own design - no progress/Accordian Fingerless mittens - no progress/Lopi Cushion - no progress/Wrist Warmers - no progress/Odeletta Shawl - no progress (I started this again with a heavier weight yarn)/Cabled mittens - one more to make/Baltum mittens in WYS DK - one more to make/Lisa Sweater - no progress/crocheted mittens for testing The Big Scary Bear - one more to make.

I've frogged the Sausage Dog - I took out the toy filling to re-use and frogged the knitting, wound it into balls and it went to the charity shop as I would never use the colours myself. I've finished my Abraham Shawl.

Fay: There has been no attention paid to my Shorelines blanket or TARDIS cushion and that will remain the case until next year now - I just have too many other things to get on with.  Lots of time has been spent on the two Uncia shawls because I have to have them ready for the second weekend in December - hmmm.  I also have a HOP.  I am now calling a sock a Half Of Pair because if it is a sock, you would have to hop. The pattern is 'Solar' by Gill (Gilly Slater on Ravelry and it is free) one of the Woolgathering Sandbach goers.  I really love the vertical lace pattern and the bottle green makes me think of school uniforms and being eight again.

7. FOs

Lynne: Abraham Shawl (knitted) made with stash yarns from John Arbon (Knit by Numbers) and Artesano (Superwash DK)/Christmas bauble (knitted) for a Christmas Swap/Test Square using The Big Scary Bear/Take Two Skogafoss Bag, Paraphernalia/various commission: knitted baby bootees, crocheted baby shoes, Daisy May next crocheted outfit, a crocheter flower wreath, a teeny tiny knitted panda and a crocheted sheep.

Abraham2.png

Fay: I have made a third and fourth version of Paraphernalia so that I could show it off in other sizes and double, double check the measurements and amount of wool required.  There was also the premature baby hat for the local hospital but I will make a few of them before I hand them over.  Emma from Woolgathering has given birth to a baby girl, Matilda, and so a few of us have crocheted a pram blanket for her and I managed to finish that off over this weekend.  I also fired out the Newham hat from The Crochet Project's latest book, Raw and there is more to come on that in the next podcast.

The problem I face at the moment is that I just want to start all of the projects and have really had to stop myself!

Here are Fay's needle felting projects and knitted stockings, the Newham hat in John Arbon Knit by Numbers 4ply and Mamble socks in Shropshire Ply from Ewe & Ply from Raw. The baby blanket that Woolgathering folk worked on for Emma's baby and a premature hat for the local hospital.  The hat was in The Big Scary Bear Alpaca in Teaberry and the blanket used Blue Sky Cotton and Evie from Sublime.

 

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Raw_ingredients.jpg

 

FO_blanket.jpg

8. Feeding the Habit

Lynne: No new purchases this month for me - all yarns used were supplied for commissions or were in my stash including: West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK, Garthenor Organics Wensleydale (4ply), Rico Essentials Cotton DK, King Cole Merino Blend 4ply, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and Sublime Superfine Alpaca. That said - I've just purchased a skein of chunky hand dyed yarn from Petra Black (Made By Black Elephant) - ethically sourced yarns, hand dyed in Yorkshire. If yarn isn't local then it is ethically sourced and supports the communities that produce it (mulesing free).

yarn.png

Fay: I got my third and last installment of my Life in the Long Grass yarn club which is called Chlorophyll and I can see why!  I also went to Yarnporium which was great fun and picked up some new Gotland from Midwinter Yarns and a very special skein from Helen at The Wool Kitchen which is most likely going to be used as my yarn for the Christmas CAL.  

The other thing that I have purchased is a daylight lamp.  I have been struggling to see the pattern properly for the Uncia shawls and under the guidance of my friend Jenny, went to Hobby Craft to buy the Naturalight portable LED lamp.  What a difference this has made to my nightime crochet and knitting activity!  You can use it with the internal rechargable battery, via mains electricity or a USB cable which would be perfect for car crafting.  I am so impressed with this and it is currently reduced from £20 down to £15.  It gives off a white rather than a blue light which means that is isn't likely to set off migraines.  

The yarn that I didn't have to purchase was the yarn haul that my Dad brought back from Iceland.  I have a sweater quantities worth of Lett-Lopi and some new Icelandic yarn that I hadn't seen before from Gusto, an Alpaca/Icelandic mix.

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1 - 100% Gotland yarn from Midwinter Yarns (mustard 293, Peacock Blue 174 & Dark Grey 960).

2 - Erika Knight for John Lewis DK is 100% South American wool, dyed, spun and balled in the UK (Citrine 04).

3 - The newest of Erika's lines for John Lewis is XXL, 250g with 55m shown in Dusky Pink.

4 - Mini Skeins from Baa Ram Ewe in their base Titus shown Dalby , Parkin & Bantum (top to botom).

5 - Newest wool available from Daughter of a Shepherd is Foxen meets Merino.

6 - Thw wonderous The Wool Kitchen skein - I really shoudl have bought two!  This is in teh colourway Denim. 

7 - Icelandic wool is a firm favourite of mine, especially if it has coem from one of my Dad's trips to Iceland.  This is Lettlopi and is destined to become a jumper.  The shade is Ocean Blue.

8 - A new to me Icelandic yarn brand called Gusta is a mixture of Icelandic wool and alpaca from Peru.  The one shown above is shade Coal Grey (2500) and is a fair bit softer than 100% Icelandic wool...

9 - My final installment of my Life in the Long Grass has arrived and is called Chlorophyll.  I initially didn't really like thsi colour but it has grown on me and I find that I keep on going back to it to see all of the colours that are hidden throughout the skein.

  

9. What's Good?

Lynne: I'm looking forward to a new year and being really organised. I say this every year, but it's definitely going to happen this year. I shall look forward to buying some shiny new stationery and making lists.

Fay: It has been good doing the podcast with Lynne.  It has been great for me having left a small team to have somebody to bounce ideas off and work with. As said we will continue to work together and already have plans afoot for Take Two, Collection Two...

Happy listening and crocheting,

Fay and Lynne x

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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

and

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.

Yan_Tan_Tethera_Yarn_Club3.png


Baa_Baa_Brighouse_has_15_off_across_thei

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).  


Shropshire_Ply_on_4_ply_undyed_.png


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.

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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.

Pashmina_style.jpg

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.  


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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.

wips.jpg

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.


Stratum_by_Karolina_Eckerdal_1_.jpg 


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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October 31, 2016 @ 12:30 pm

Interview with John Arbon from John Arbon Textiles

Interview with John Arbon from John Arbon Textiles.


Way back in February, we approached John Arbon about interviewing him for The Crochet Circle Podcast.  Spool forward a few months and at the back end of July the interview took place at the John Arbon Textiles mill in North Devon.

Lynne was unable to make it because she was off on holiday a few days later and so the interview is just between John and Fay, although Matthew (Fay's husband) was in the background and helped with the Yarn Challenge video

The mill is a wonderful place, full of older machines that help to bring the whole process to life.  Walking around with John, cup of tea in hand, the pride and enthusiasm for the work that they do here is palpable.  When you look at the job sheets on the machines and tags for the fibres being processed it becomes obvious John and the team spin yarn for a lot of people.  John gives a bit of a run down within the interview, but the chances are that if you tend to buy at the higher end of the British wool/yarn market (think Daughter of a Shepherd, Ysolda Teague, The Little Grey Sheep) then you have used/stashed yarn that has been spun by John.

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Fay baked the team a cake to say thank you of having us.  Cake and mill bits - a winning combination.

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These five skeins were used as part of John's Yarn Challenge and 
represent a very small fraction of the yarns spun at the mill.

They also have their own amazing yarns for sale, such as their sock ranges, incredible Knit by Numbers range or alpaca ranges to name but a few.  Oh, and if you didn't want to crochet or knit your own socks, you can buy them ready made (in the UK), using John Arbon yarn - I have a pair on my feet as I type and they are lush!

We had planned to video the walk around the mill but as you would expect, it is an industrial process and was too noisy to make out the chatting.  So, instead here are a few places where you can see exactly what happens at the mill:
This longer video 'A Long Day in the Mill' shows the mill in full swing and the process from start to finish.  It is 8 ins 34 seconds long.

This is a shorter version of the above video - 'A Short Day in the Mill', in case you only have a couple of minutes to spare, though I encourage you to watch the longer version when you can.  It is 4 minutes long.

This link takes you to an article that Knit Now did for the magazine when they visited the mill and interviewed John back in 2013.  They have done a great job of explaining each part of the process and I couldn't see the point in reinventing the wheel.

John and Juliet exhibit at many of the various yarn events across the UK. You can follow them on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and Ravelry.  You can also buy all of their lovely, yarn and goodies on their website.

If you would like to see more photos from the trip, take a look at our YouTube Channel where you can hear the interview and watch a slide show at the same time.

I'll leave you with this photo.  We obviously had to go to the pub that John and Juliet frequent.  What we didn't know was that the barman is John's son, Harry.  I asked Harry whether he was allowed to wear socks that weren't spun by his Dad and he assured me that he only owns socks from his Dad.  Here is Harry proudly showing off his pair of John Arbon socks.

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October 7, 2016 @ 9:02 am

Episode Eight - I’m Still Standing

Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the show notes from Episode Eight - I'm Still Standing. 

In this episode we will be covering Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; Yarn Clubs; Book Review of 'Three from the Top'; Yarndale Festival Review; FOs; WIPs; Feeding the Habit; a quick update on our first book 'Take Two' and finishing with What's Good?

This Episode is sponsored by:

 

Lynne Rowe Knitting and Crochet

and

Knit It - Hook It - Craft It

Thank you for helping us reach over 5200 audio downloads and to all of our lovely listeners and watchers for tuning in.  As well as our audio podcast, we will also upload each audio episode to our YouTube channel - The Crochet Circle Podcast.  This may be a few days after the audio launch each month.

1.Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet (at 3.25 mins)

It's a yay from Fay: Having previously had a Nay Crochet about the lack of crochet stalls at yarn events, I am pleased to report that my Yay Crochet is the amount of crochet related stalls at Yarndale.  I pulled together the below map to aid crocheters that were coming to Yarndale and for those that weren't able to get there so that they could go on-line and investigate the vendors.


174_-_The_Crochet_CircleKnit_It_-_Hook_I

 

It's also a yay from Lynne: 

The love for crochet seems to be growing - I currently have 12 lovely ladies eagerly awaiting their weekly "learn to crochet class" at Sandbach Boys School, Cheshire. Classes are run by The Link and the next round of classes will be "next steps crochet".



2. Yarn Clubs (at 7.35 mins)

This kick starts the beginning of a new series where we talk about yarn clubs.  The intention is to cover off standard yarn clubs within this episode and in the coming couple of months investigate themed yarn clubs (where you get more than just the yarn) and crochet boxes (where you receive the yarn, pattern etc. either in one hit or as part of a larger month by month project). 

Fay signed up to a club from Life in the Long Grass, an Irish based husband and wife dying team.  They take inspiration from their surroundings and pull together some of the nicest speckled yarns available.  

Amazingly, Fay managed to wait a whopping 24 days to open up the package so that it could be done as part of the podcast recording. Was it worth the wait?  Yes it was!  Looking forward to the next installment?  Oh, yes.  

Here are the details of Fay's yarn club subscription:

Name: Life in the Long Grass (LITLG) Autumn Club.

Cost: The single subscription is 70 EUROS or you can double up to get 2 x 100g skeins over three months for 120 EUROS.  This means that each skein including P&P costs 20 EUROS (about £105 for the entire double subscription - £17.50 per skein).  This is good value for money given that a single skein costs £19 elsewhere and you may also incur P&P costs if you buy online.  

Colours: You don't know what they will be in advance, although you can guess that because it is the autumn club, the colours will be autumnal.  Had I seen this in a shop, I wouldn't have gone to buy it, however, I absolutely love all of the colours.  Receiving yarn in this way can be a risk because you don't know what the colours will be.  I am very happy with the colours I received in the first month and the fact that they will move me on from my usual colour palette of blues. 

Yarn base: Another factor to think about is whether you are going to like the base that they are using.  I had already squished LITLG yarn and so I knew that I liked their base (75% super wash merino 25% nylon, 100g is 400m) and wouldn't have any issues with it.  

LITLG_month_one.jpg

 

Lynne has ordered a one month subscription from Baa Baa Brighouse and it is due to arrive in October. 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.

Here are some of the other yarn only clubs (from the British Isles) that we have come across, and if you think we have missed any or you have suggestions, why not add them to our yarn club chat thread in Ravelry? 

1 - Hedgehog Fibre Twist Club, 100g each month for three months for 64.50 EUROS (not sure if this includes the 14 EUROS P&P).

2 - The Golden Skein The Power of 3 Yarn Club, 100g each month  includes postage and continues for three months for £75 in total.

3 - Devon Sun Yarns Sock Yarn Club, 100g each month for three months for £55 including P&P.

4 - DT Crafts Super Sock Medley Membership. 100g each month for three months including P&P for £45.

5 - Ripples Crafts Yarn Notes from Assynt (Reliable Sock) Club, 100g each month for three months including P&P for £52.

6 - Cuddlebums Sock Yarn Club, 100g per month and can be purchased on a monthly basis for £16.50 including P&P. 

A general google search for 'Yarn Clubs UK' will bring up lots of other options.  Our suggestion would be to check them all out (you won't know the prices of some until the club goes live) and sign up to the dyers newsletters and follow them on social media.  That way, you will be one of the first to know about their yarn club openings.  You need to be quick though because they generally sell out very quickly.

 

3. Book Review - Three from the Top (at 25.55 mins)

We talk about the duo of Kat Goldin and Joanne Scrace rather a lot, and with good reason.  They create gorgeous, functional, well written patterns using beautiful yarns.  Back in April they brought out a book called 'Three from the Top' but whilst we haven't been able to make anything from it yet, one of the Crochet Circler's, Helen, has so far made two of the three cardigans from the book, so we asked her to do the review for us and she kindly agreed!


Here is a picture of Helen wearing her version of the Aberfoyle cardigan and below are the top-line details of her review.  The full review can be read on Ravelry here.  


This_is_Helen_modelling_her_Callander_Ca

 

Three from the Top highlights:

Overall: 5/5.

Value for money: 5/5 (£12 hardcopy plus digital or £10 digital only).

Likelihood to make again: High.

Likelihood to recommend to a friend: Yes - I already have! 

The book can be bought online at The Crochet Project.


4. Yarndale (at 34.20 mins)

Fay: It is a very different proposition to attend a yarn festival as a trader rather than a visitor.  It is hard work and you are 'on' with nowhere to hide for a full two days.  I have a new found respect for people that are trading at yarn festivals weekend after weekend.

It was lovely to meet so many Crochet Circle listeners and special thanks to Kate for showing us her beautiful crocheted shawl and Eleanor for the offer of a cuppa next time we are in the area.

The only downside to Yarndale 2016 was that I didn't have any time to go yarn shopping.  Dinna fash yersels readers, I was in Glasgow for 24 hours last weekend and more than made up for it!

Lynne: Despite being shattered, I had a great time exhibiting at Yarndale. It was lovely to meet so many people and chat about knitting and crochet. Thanks to everyone who bought my books and to my good friend Cassie for helping me on the stand - I couldn't have done it without her. And thanks to Martine for providing regular hot drinks on the Sunday. Overall it was a great success. I'm so glad that a lot of my knitting and crocheted samples have gone to new homes and hopefully I'll be seeing lots of FOs of your Mandalas and Fairytale characters.

Easily the cutest visitor that we had at the stand.  

The baby was given one of Lynne's samples to wear.

5. FOs (at 58.25 mins)

Fay: My FOs have been reasonably small ones this month because I was making little things to dotaround my Yarndale stall such as the Cow Parsely Garland that I had favourited in a previous Magazine Roundup.  The only big item that I finished was my second crocheted garment for Yarndale - Wrapover Top as seen below. You can get all of the details from my Ravelry page.


 

Lynne: most of my FOs have been work related so it's hard to share them with you before they're published. But I did create a cute little cuddle bear for Yarndale with his own snuggle blanket, and he proved very popular.

 

Also, I recently completed another toy for Crochet now magazine, which is a dress up doll. Each month, a new outfit will be published. I love how Editor Hugh has made a clothes rail for her outfits.


 

6. WIPs (at  66 mins)

Fay: Some of mine (shorelines blanket, Tardis cushion, two Uncia shawls) haven't been picked up at all but this is mainly because of Yarndale and Take Two preparations.  I have been working on a couple of knitted pairs of socks, one of which is for a charity project and that is all I have had time for.   So, my WIP list is currently at six including the socks below.


Lynne: I'm the same as last month at 14, as I haven’t had any time to work on my own WIPS. I’ve started and finished lots of projects (work related) but nothing for myself so I’m really looking forward finishing my Search Press book so that I can get on with making things for myself (hopefully).


7. Feeding the Habit (at 76.50 mins)

Fay: Well of course very little was added at Yarndale, but a couple of weeks before, I took part in The Great London Yarn Crawl.  In short, you sign up to be with a group that has a specific route for the day and times to be at certain yarn shops in London.  We had a fab tour guide called Jenny who successfully navigated us around the busy London streets from Liberty's to i Knit London and then on to Sharp Works (my absolute favourite of the three shops).  As we were all so fleet of foot, we managed to cram in Loop London as well before making our way to the pub (open just for yarn crawlers) for the raffles and a Q&A session.  It was a great day out and formed a large part of my best friend Jenny's birthday present.


Here are September's yarn purchases!


1 - Sassenach from Yarns from the Plain    2 - Knit by Numbers from John Arbon Textiles   3 - DK from Wensleydale Sheep Shop bought at i Knit London   4 - Mini from Owl About Yarn   5 - Mini from Third Vault Yarns   6 - Alpaca from Juniper Moon Farms, bought at Sharp Works in London   7 - Madelinetosh bought from Loop London


A couple of weeks before that, I had organised a yarn dying workshop which of course meant more yarn acquisitions.  It was great fun to try dip dying, kettle dying and hand painting and all three techniques gave very different results.  So far, I have started a pair of socks off in my hand painted yarn (see the Fugly Sock picture under my WIPs).


This picture shows lots of the yarn dyed during the workshop - so many colours!



Lynne: I bought a sock bag from Fay at her yarn dying workshop along with a tension square gauge and some lovely Italian scissors and a leather sheath. I also bought a couple of skeins of yarn from Nic (Yarns from the Plain) and two cute little tins of hand cream from Rachel Atkinson at Yarndale.


   

 

8.Take Two update

 

 

We took our samples for our book 'Take Two' to Yarndale and they were very well received.  The book will be available in November and here is a hint of what it will contain:

 


It will cost £12 for the hard/digital copy and £10 for digital only copy.

 

 

9. What’s Good (at 105 mins)

Fay: Whilst doing all of the preparation work I had many hours to listen to/watch podcasts.  I binge watched Tilly Trout on YouTube because she is always upbeat and positive and kept me motivated through many days of hard graft!  Tilly mainly knits but also makes quite a few crochet projects.  If you need to brighten your day, try a Tilly Trout episode!

A sneaky second What's Good? is that I am going to be in Glasgow for 24 hours and my DAD (!) has looked up which yarn shops I would want to go to. I will be heading to The Yarn Cake and The Queen of Purls and will report back in the next episode.

Lynne: I've made a start on my new regime - to work upstairs in the Woolnest instead of downstairs in the dining room/living room. It's much better in terms of keeping the house tidy and having everything accessible and close to hand. Next stop is to sort out my work/life balance - watch this space.

Also I spotted a new yarn shop in Congleton, on West Street, called the Craft Barn (or the Craft room?) - I'll check it out and let you know all about it next time.

Happy listening and crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x

 

Twitter: Crochet_Circle  

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Pinterest: Crochet_Circle  

YouTube: The Crochet Circle Podcast

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September 2, 2016 @ 11:05 am

Episode Seven - Buzz, Buzz, Buzz

Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the Show Notes from Episode Seven - Buzz, Buzz, Buzz.  

In this episode we continue with our crochet journeys, including helpful hints on sewing up; Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; Yarn Club; Magazine Round-up; WIP's and FOs; Feeding the Habit, including Fay's trip to Fibre East; a sneaky peak at a couple of projects from our first book "Take Two" and finishing with What's Good.

This Episode is Sponsored by:

 

www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com

and

www.lynnerowe.weebly.com

Thank you for helping us reach over 4100 audio downloads.  Thanks to all of our lovely listeners and watchers for tuning in.  As well as our audio podcast, we will also upload each audio episode to Youtube. We've now taken the plunge with Episode Seven and recorded it live for Youtube, which was exciting but a bit nerve wracking too. So shortly you can see us as well as hear us. We also have a new backdrop, curated by Fay:

You can find us here on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUpBm_Y5l_7S4Q114eKd11g

1.Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet (at 10:00 mins)

It's a bit of both from Lynne: I recently went to Portugal on our family holiday and spotted quite a few crochet garments and accessories. The first thing I spotted was a gorgeous long cover-up which I  don't think was handmade, but it was lovely all the same. I also spotted a few nice crochet bags and some bright pink crocheted tops that seemed to be very popular. But the icing on the crochet cake was a crochet swimming costume – yes indeed I did spot a crocheted costume. It was quite like a bikini that was then joined down the middle. I didn’t see it in water – only on the sunbed, so not sure how it held up when wet.

 

It's a Yay Crochet from Fay: One of my book designs is a bag. 

 

 

 

I finished it about a week ago and wasn’t 100% sure of the bag flap that I had designed.  So, come Monday morning I took the time to very carefully undo the flap - easier than it sounds because yarn is a Mohair and Wensleydale mix and it took me a couple of hours.  I redesigned the flap and am now really pleased with overall design and functionality of the bag.  It was worth taking the time out and getting the project to where I wanted it to be.

 

2. Our Crochet Journey: Weaving in ends when finished and when changing colour (at 20:00 mins)

The easiest method is when joining double crochet row ends together as you can join the pieces by simply working a double crochet (US single crochet) through the row ends of your work (working 1dc into each row end). This produces a neat, slightly stretchy finish. If you want a non-stretchy finish, use slip stitch instead.

If your work is in treble crochet (US double crochet) or half treble (US half double crochet) then it's not as straight forward because the posts of the stitches are longer, so working 1 stitch through each row end doesn't work. It's often a case of trial and error - try working 2 stitches into one row end then just 1 stitch into the next row end, and repeat to the end. The good thing with crochet is that you can easily rip it out if there are too many or too few stitches.

Alternatively, you can use whip stitch to join trebles and half trebles, inserting your wool needle through the posts of the stitch (rather than underneath them, which can create a gap and leave the seam looking a little unsightly). Fay decided to add a row of double crochet (US single crochet) along the side of her garment, to create a much neater finish. 

Granny Squares are easier to join as you already have a neat chain edge all around. You can use either double crochet (US single crochet), working through the back loops of the outside stitches (on right side or wrong side depending if you want a visible seam or not). You can also use slip stitch to join Granny Squares, but only use this on the wrong side of your work. 

When changing colour when working, you can work over your yarn ends (like Tapestry Crochet), so hold your yarn end across the top of the stitches being worked and when you insert you hook into the stitch, wrap yarn around hook and pull back though, you will trap the yarn end into the stitch. Do this for about 6 or 7 stitches.

Links to useful websites for joining your work:

Joining seams with a slip stitch and double crochet (US single crochet): http://www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk/2013/01/09/beginners-class-joining-shapes-together/

Joining Granny Squares using 4 different methods: http://blog.deramores.com/how-to-crochet-joining-granny-squares/

Joining Granny Squares as you go: http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/joining-asyougo-sqaures.html

3. Magazine Reviews (at 41:00 mins)

Let's Get Crafting issue 84:

Theme is Christmas (is this too early?? - what do you think). There are lots of cute toys and decorations.

Lynne's favourite is the Bear from North Pole Buddies (page 40) designed by Aine Marriott

Fay's favourite is the article "From Barn to Yarn" on pages 20 and 21. See issue 84 projects here on Ravelry:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/lets-get-crafting-knitting--crochet-84/patterns

Inside Crochet issue 80: Theme is still summery. Lynne's favourite is Star in a Star Blanket, by Red Sparrow Crochet, page 77

Fay's favourite is Wayfairer's Jumper by Molla Mills

See issue 80 projects here on Ravelry:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/inside-crochet-issue-80-2016

Crochet Now Issue 5:

Theme is 'bright'.

Lynne's favourite is the free Mandala pattern booklet - The Big Mandala Swap which includes Lynne's design in Reds and Oranges, called Passion, page 42.

Crochet Now has teamed up with charity Rethink and yarn shops across the country so you can make a Mandala to swap, and maybe find a new crochet friend. Pages 80 and 81.

Find out more about the Big Mandala Swap here: http://www.crochetnow.co.uk/mandala-swap/

Fay's favourite is Patchwork Garden Baby Blanket by San Beee, pages 60 and 61.

Link to Crochet Now: http://www.crochetnow.co.uk/

4. FO's (at 51:50 mins)

Fay: Blanket and cushion for our book.  Both were using Alafoss Lopi wool: http://alafoss.is/knitting-yarn/alafoss-lopi/ which is from the Icelandic sheep and is a chunky yarn.  I used a 5.5mm hook (US size 9).

Fourth sock as part of my study in sock stripes – I have no HOs! 

I have used four different techniques to try to find the best way of adding even stripes to socks and other projects knit in the round.  I have written a blog post about it so if you are also a knitter and like me have been striving to find the perfect stripe technique, take a look here: https://www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com/blogs/news/jog-free-sock-stripes-two-pairs-of-socks-from-100g-of-yarn  

I was using two different John Arbon sock yarns.  The pink is Exmoor Sock Yarn in shade Blossom:

https://www.jarbon.com/yarns/exmoor-sock-yarn/exmoor-sock-yarn?zenid=u4mj75qpai6ncafru3fd9blr22#.V73Q9ZgrLic 

The grey is Alpaca Sock Yarn in shade Charcoal:

https://www.jarbon.com/yarns-wools/alpaca/alpaca-sock-yarn/uk-alpaca-sock-yarn?zenid=u4mj75qpai6ncafru3fd9blr22#.V73RC5grLic

I use 2.5mm needles and generally knit a 60 stitch sock. A pair of these lovely socks will be donated to Winwick Mum's Yarndale sock appeal:

http://winwickmum.blogspot.co.uk/2016/07/yarndale-sock-line-2016.html

A few episodes ago I'd been a bit eager and put this shawl in my FO list and then had to admit within the podcast that I had messed up the rows.  I left it on the naughty step for two months, then frogged it back and then inside of four nights, I had knitted the lace and done the picot edge bind-off.  I used Rowan Finest for this project in shade 067 Cool: http://www.knitrowan.com/yarns/rowan-finest

It was glorious to work with, so soft and warm.  I used 4mm (US 6)  Knit Pro Symfonies. It is made from extrafine merino, cashmere and royal alpaca. 

I didn’t know what ‘royal alpaca was so I looked it up.  Baby alpaca is between 19 and 21 microns in diameter.  Royal alpaca is anything below 19 microns and so is supposedly the finest alpaca that you can get.  Only about 1% of the alpaca produced is deemed to be royal alpaca. Human hairs range from about 17 – 181 microns depending on age, colour, weather etc. You can find out more about Royal Alpaca here: http://www.alpacacollections.com/natural-fibers

I mentioned a couple of episodes ago that I had bought The Book of Haps by Kate Davies Designs, even though I had tried my hardest not to.  I also tried to not join the KAL and failed miserably! I used Rowan Felted Tweed in five different colours and really love the outcome.  All of the details on yarn and needles can be found on my Ravelry page:  http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MaDashper/nut-hap  

I have added extensive notes, so if you were thinking about doing a Nut-Hap, you may want to take a look at my Kingfisher version before you start.  Mine is huge (but still lovely)!

I would definitely use this yarn for crocheting with and am currently dreaming up a cowl design for my leftover Rowan Felted Tweed. 

Lynne:

The only FOs I can share are the projects for our book – I finally finished my cushion which I LOVE, especially as it uses one of my favourite yarns (Wendy Ramsdale). I love the texture that I’ve created, which works perfectly with the yarn (which is almost feels a little felted).

I finished a shawlette (also for the book) and lots of projects for my latest Search Press book – I did have some knitting help with a couple of the projects, which was a relief, but there was still a lot of work to do, alongside some regular commissions that I do each month, so I’ve literally been knitting or crocheting all day pretty much everyday and will be doing so for the foreseeable future. This month I've made: 2 hot water bottle covers, boot toppers, crochet collar, bunting, hats, washcloths, a deep cowl, a pin cushion, a dress-up doll with outfits and some stuff I can't even remember. I've worked with some gorgeous yarns, including Sublime's Evie and Superfine Alpaca DK - both are beautifully soft to work with and are firmly placed on my "favourite yarns" list: http://sublimeyarns.com/

5. WIPs (at 72:45 mins)

Fay: My WIPS are five in total plus some projects that didn’t even make the WIP list.


I still have some standard items like the Tardis cushion and shorelines blanket which have had NO LOVE!  I have had to work on lots of crochet projects for the book and so these two WIPs have been placed on the back burner for now.

I've made a decent amount of progress on my Wrap Over Top from Simply Crochet issue 41.  Again I am using Rowan Finest but in shade 069 Star.  It's really lovely to crochet with even though it splits occasionally. So far I have used 9 balls worth and will probably need to put 12 into it.  Luckily I got the yarn at the Black Sheep Wools sale and so got 10 balls for under £30 instead of £65!  I had to do some maths to rejig the pattern for this yarn, and now that I am on the last 6 rows (but I will probably extend it) I can see that my calculations seem to have worked, so very worthwhile doing the swatching, blocking and maths.

I may have also started two new haps from The Book of Haps…

Uncia – using John Arbon’s Harvest Hue’s 4 ply in Blue Spruce

https://www.jarbon.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=36_184_176&products_id=245#.V73ZDZgrLic

Uncia– using John Arbon’s Devon Wensleydale 4 ply which is an undyed natural grey. 

Lynne: I'm the same as last month at 14, as I haven’t had any time to work on my own WIPS. I’ve started and finished lots of projects (work related) but nothing for myself so I’m really looking forward to a yarn dying workshop next week, organised by Fay, as it will be a nice to step away from knitting and crocheting for  few hours and learn a new skill.

6. Feeding the Habit Rabbit (rabbit... rabbit... rabbit)

Link to Chas and Dave song "Rabbit, Rabbit":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOSseI1hao8

Fay: Since we last recorded, I've been to Fibre East. Unsurprisingly the yarn that I got was John Arbon mini skeins and some BFL fibre tops, also from John and Juliet.  The stand across from them at Fibre East was selling spindles and so I bought one of them too because I am desperate to learn how to draft, ready for the inevitable spinning wheel.

Other habit feeders were our new mascot, who remains nameless until the competition has been judged at the beginning of September.  I also bought a new shawl pin which is ceramic and made in the UK: http://an-caitin-beag.myshopify.com/ 

I also bought some 2 ply linen to  play with and Verity’s new sock book  –  The Sock Drawer:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/449213136/the-sock-drawer-pattern-collection?ref=shop_home_active_1 

If you haven’t heard the interview with Verity from Truly Hooked yet, then take a listen - it's been one of our most popular interviews to date.

However, that was on the 31st of July and so I created a self-imposed yarn diet throughout the month of August. Today is the 25th and, so far I have not bought any yarn that will be in my hands in August (apart from signing up to a yarn club).  I have six more days of no yarn buying and can prove a point to myself.

Lynne: I haven’t bought anything either this month, as I know I don’t have any time to crochet or knit and the Woolnest is just overflowing with stuff. So rather than buy new yarn I’ve gone through my drawers and bags and sorted out all the yarn I know I won’t use and will be selling this at Yarndale and hope that it will go to a good home and that someone will make something lovely out of it all.

7. Our First Crochet Circle Book (at 101:55 mins)

We're really excited to tell you a little about the book that we have been working on. 


It is called "Take Two" and the premise is simple.  We've each designed four crochet patterns.  Lynne has designed a long cowl with matching mittens, a blanket and a cushion. I have designed a short cowl, a bag, a narrow shawl and a purse.

So there's something for everyone - from accessories to homewares.

There are two key differences with this book. The first is that the yarns we used had to be British and in particular had to be spun in the North of England as we feel proud of our industrial heritage and that fact that we still have working mills that produce amazing yarns. 

 

The second is that we both re-made each other’s patterns using our own stash yarn.  This has allowed us to showcase British yarns and to also show how a change in yarn weight, colour or a slight variation in the pattern can create an entirely different project.  You don’t always have to use the yarns stated in a pattern and so we hope to encourage you to look to your stash when you are crocheting from a pattern and don't be afraid to substitute yarn and make the pattern your own.

 

Take Two is essentially: two designers, eight patterns with two interpretations, creating sixteen designs.

Lynne’s favourite pattern from the book and yarn is:

I'm twixt between my textured blanket which uses West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply yarn, and my textured cushion, but I think may be cushion just takes it (and has yet to be named).

The basis of the cushion is treble crochet worked in rounds, but for the front piece the rounds are worked in back loops only, leaving the front loops free for working a picot - this creates the deep texture (resembling a Chrysanthemum Flower). You could make it in almost any yarn, from 4-ply to chunky so it’s really versatile and looks like a shop bought cushion. The size I made with DK yarn took just 6 balls of 50g. I used Wendy Ramsdale which is bred, spun and dyed in Yorkshire and is a sturdy yarn, which is great for a cushion, but it’s definitely a design that you could use up different yarns from your stash. Yarn support was kindly provided by Laughing Hens: https://www.laughinghens.com/

Fay's favourite design is Colliseum.  It is a narrow shawl that uses just one skein of 4 ply yarn.  The pattern is really simple and memorable, yet elegant and light.  I really love all of the yarns that I used for my patterns – Erika Knight and Whistlebare.  The yarns were specifically chosen to be soft or lustrous where they needed to be or hard wearing where required – like the bag.

      

 

8.Yarn Clubs (at 115:20 mins)

 

We mentioned in Episode Six that we wanted to do a review on yarn clubs.  We know that a few people that have signed up to them but neither Lynne or I ever have.  So, in the interests of fair reporting and for you lovely Crochet Circler’s, Fay has selflessly signed up to a yarn club with Life in the Long Grass - a husband and wife team based in Ireland: https://www.lifeinthelonggrass.com/clubs/

 

Fay will open her parcel when we record the next podcast so we'll capture her excitement. 


Lynne will look into other clubs, including Baa Baa Brighouse Yan Tan Tethera's club: https://www.baabaabrighouse.co.uk/shop/yan-tan-tethera-yarn-club/yan-tan-tethera-subscription/

 

So, in the next episode we will be able to report back with a list of available yarn clubs, the cost of Fay's LITLG club and reaction to it, people’s feedback on yarn clubs that they have been part of. So, if there is anything that you would like to know about yarn clubs, please let us know through Ravelry – we will start a thread called ‘Things to know about yarn clubs’ and we will endeavour to answer your questions.

9. What’s Good (at 123:15 mins)

Fay: I'm organising a workshop under the banner of KNIT IT – HOOK IT – CRAFT IT on hand dyed yarns on the 3rd September and 10 of us will get to try out three different yarn dying methods – kettle, hand painted and dip dyed.  I'm really looking forward to spending a day learning to dye with some lovely people.  It will be a welcome break from all of the work that I have been doing. 

Lynne: I received advanced copies of my Mandala Book earlier this week, which was really exciting. I’m delighted at how lovely it looks. It’s one of the "20 to Make" titles by Search Press, and the idea is that the projects are quick to make, yet all different and interesting too. Hoping to have them for sale at Yarndale but not sure if they will arrive in time – fingers crossed:

https://www.searchpress.com/book/9781782214342/crocheted-mandalas 

Happy listening and crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x

 

Twitter: Crochet_Circle  https://twitter.com/Crochet_Circle

Instagram: Crochet_Circle   https://www.instagram.com/crochet_circle/

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YouTUbe: The Crochet Circle Podcast

Ravelry Group: The Crochet Circle Podcast  http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-crochet-circle-podcast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August 11, 2016 @ 11:31 am

Interview with Hugh Metcalf, Editor at Crochet Now

Featuring an interview with Hugh Metcalf, Editor of Crochet Now Magazine.

We learn more about Hugh and his journey to becoming Editor, his love of yarn, how to submit a design, what's involved in a photoshoot, how many WIPs he has, why he loves to crochet and how be brings Crochet Now together from his first ideas, through to the final product.

If you're interested in submitting a design for Crochet Now Magazine, you can email Hugh and ask to be added to his email list. Hugh puts together a mood board on Pinterest for each issue, which are based around a theme and a specific colour palette, so that designers can use the pins for inspiration.

Crochet Now on Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/hughmetcalf/

The theme for Issue 5 was 'Oranges are the New Black' (not literally, but punchy summery shades in gorgeous yarns) so from the designs submitted, Hugh has carefully selected designs to reflect this theme.

Issue 5 mood board on Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/hughmetcalf/oranges-are-the-new-black/

Here are some of the final designs being expertly styled and photographed

cover_make.jpg

make_up.jpg

 A design submission would usually need to include:

  • An outline of the design itself, including its construction, yarn, sizes, cost to make for the reader and any other information you feel is relevant to make your idea stand out from the crowd
  • A sketch, including measurements
  • A swatch photo, using suggested yarn, with stitches clearly visible

Hugh is keen to work with new designers and is happy to talk you through the process and help with your submission.

Contact Hugh by email at: hugh.metcalf@practicalpublishing.co.uk

Subscribe to Crochet Now: http://www.crochetnow.co.uk/where-to-buy/

 
A sneaky peek at Crochet Now Issue 5: http://www.crochetnow.co.uk/1181/crochet-now-issue-5/
 
There is also another giveaway that is live throughout August 2016. We need your help to name our new mascot.
 
Bag_and_yarn_giveaway_.png
                                       Look out for this tweet and a similar one for Instagram.

All of the details can be found on our Ravelry page and you can enter via Ravelry, Twitter or Instagram: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-crochet-circle-podcast/topics/3478583
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.

Happy listening and crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x

Twitter: Crochet_Circle  https://twitter.com/Crochet_Circle

Instagram: Crochet_Circle   https://www.instagram.com/crochet_circle/

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Ravelry Group: The Crochet Circle Podcast  http://www.ravelry.com/groups/the-crochet-circle-podcast

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August 5, 2016 @ 9:30 am

Episode Six - Shore to Shore

Welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast. Here are the Show Notes from Episode Six - Shore to Shore.

In this episode we continue with our crochet journeys, including helpful hints on blocking; Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; Yarn Review of Daughter of a Shepherd Hebridean/Zwartbles yarn; Magazine Round-up; a review of two fibre festivals on either side of the pond – Woolfest and Houston Fibre Fest; WIP Wall and FOs, Feeding the Habit, a fab giveaway from Anna Nikipirowicz and finishing with What's Good.

This Episode is Sponsored by:

www.knitit-hookit-craftit.com

and

www.lynnerowe.weebly.com

wall6_sm.jpg

1. Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet (at 2.55 mins)

It's a Nay Crochet from Fay due to the lack of crochet content at fibre festivals and in general. When we visited Woolfest, we noticed that most of the stalls were aimed at knitters and even on most of the yarn stalls the samples that were on show were also knitted. This seems at odds with the increasing rise in the popularity of crochet and may be off-putting to new crocheters who perhaps don't realise that you can crochet with any yarn. We know that at Yarndale we'll see a lot more crochet-related vendors and Lynne and I will also be there waving the flag for crochet.

It's a Yay Crochet from Lynne for all the lovely things that people are crocheting up and the inspiration that they give to others. I’ve really been enjoying The Crochet Circle Podcast Ravelry forum – especially seeing all of the lovely finished objects that people are sharing. In particular it’s also made me realise how adaptable crochet is, even if you’re not hugely experienced with crochet. It seems easier for people to take parts of a pattern and make something else altogether, or tweak patterns to suit their individual taste.

Here's the link to our Ravelry FO's board: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-crochet-circle-podcast/3400722/51-75#71

2. Yarn review (at 9 mins)

lynnes_review_hebridean_sm.jpg

Daughter of a Shepherd: 75% Hebridean and 25% Zwartbles

DK weight 233m/255 yards per 100g

Recommended needles/hook:3.5-4.5mm hook/needles

Cool hand wash only and leave flat to dry 

Completely UK produced (sourced, scoured and spun in UK) 

RRP: £18 for 100g. 

Website: www.daughterofashepherd.com

Rachel's blog: http://mylifeinknitwear.com/

We had 10g each to test and crochet up. 

The characteristics of Hebridean wool are very similar to the Zwartbles that is has been blended with as both are very dark brown/near black in colour, durable and dense.  This yarn is spun at John Arbon Textiles and John says that the longer staple length of the Zwartbles helps with the processing of the Hebridean because it gives the Heb staples something more to align and grip to.     

Fay – I tried this with a 3.5mm, 4mm, 4.5mm and 5mm hook and found that the 4.5mm gave the nicest effect, so using a 4.5mm hook I created a tiny little bowl to put my measuring tape in because I am always losing it!  It is hard to see the stitch definition because of the natural yarn colour (which is very dark), but it is good.  I still had a little bit left over and so made some leaves with the remainder and also made some using some Jacob wool that I had to create a cup holder for when I am out and about (I usually have them in my different handbags so that I don’t need the cardboard sleeve).

fay_hebridean_3_sm.jpg

The wool is soft and nice to work with and becomes softer when washed and blocked. I would use this again for crochet and could easily take it up against my skin.  It would make a beautiful crocheted shawl with an open lacy structure that really makes the most of the stitch definition.  I would also use it with other natural wools to bring out the depth of colour that it has.  It would be great at the dark end of a gradient project or mixed with a really vibrant blue or burnt orange.

Lynne: I really enjoyed working with this yarn – as soon as I wound it off the skein I could smell the sheep and it made me feel happy to be working with a natural fibre that can be fully traced back to its source.  I love the natural colour of the wool– it’s a very deep brown, almost like treacle, and there are a few light coloured fibres running through. I have really sensitive skin, but for the time that I was using the yarn I was absolutely fine. I don’t think I could stretch to wearing it directly around my neck (but that’s just me) but I could mix it with something else and just keep the Hebridean/Zwartbles away from the neck edge.

I made two things also with my mini skein – a book mark, which I’ve already been using, and a small mandala that I’ve made a pin cushion from. Both have great stitch definition and are firm in structure. I made my pin cushion using wool fabric from Eliza Conway (a Yarndale purchase) and I’m delighted with both of my mini projects.

lynnes_hebridean_sm.jpg

On Ravelry in Rachel’s group, there are lots of projects on the go with this yarn – often it’s mixed with something else, but it’s a great place to go and visit if you want inspiration.

Link to Rachel's Ravelry group: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/daughter-of-a-shepherd

 

3. Magazine round up (at 22.15 mins)

Fay's overall favourite: Cowslip Parsley Garland from Simply Crochet issue 47, designed by Emma Mitchell. It's a free pattern download from Emma's blog: www.silverpebble.net

Lynne's overall favourite: Lace Shirt from Love to Knit and Crochet issue 4. It's a button-down shirt with a scalloped edge on the cuffs and hem. A clamshell pattern creates a light and airy effect which is perfect for Summer.

Simply Crochet – issue 47

Ravelry link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/simply-crochet-issue-47

Website Link: http://www.simplycrochetmag.co.uk/2016/07/21/simply-crochet-issue-47/

Fay's favourite: Cow Parsley Garland,  designer Emma Mitchell, pg 98

Lynne's favourite: Freeform Floral Cowl,  designer Jennifer May, page 83

Let’s Get Crafting – issue 83

Ravelry Link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/sources/lets-get-crafting-knitting--crochet-83

Website Link: http://www.letsgetcrafting.com/

Fay's favourite: Mouse toys (knitted), designer Sachiyo Ishii,  I have a pregnant friend that woudl love these for her daughter and new baby!

Lynne's favourite: Hearts Garland, designer Kath Webber, pg 48 

Crochet Now - issue 4

Website link: http://www.crochetnow.co.uk/

Fay's favourite: Flower Bedspread, designer Mrs. Moon, page 36 - this is beautifukl yarn to work with.

Lynne's favourite: Candy amigurumi Deer, designer Irene Strange, pg 62 

Love to Knit and Crochet - issue 4

Website Link: https://www.theknittingnetwork.co.uk/

Fay's favourite: Silky Vest Top, pg 33

Lynne's favourite: Lace Shirt, pg 34

4. A Crochet Journey - some tips on blocking your garment (at 26.30 mins)

Like everything with crochet (and knitting) there are some aspects of blocking that are just a personal preference. 

Fay - in the main I wet block by immersing my finished object in cold water with a small amount of soaking product, gently washing then very gently squeeze out excess water and roll in a towel before pinning out to required dimensions.  You can see from the below photo that this can help to take out any residual (unexhausted dye).

blocking_1_sm.jpgblocking_2_sm.jpg

Lynne - in the main, I spritz (or spray) my work to the point that it’s wet but not saturated. I use a plastic spray gun (the type that you can buy for the garden - usually around £1), then I gently press the water into the fibres with my hands. I then pin out carefully, according to the dimensions of the pattern, and leave to dry. Sometimes I repeat this process if I feel it necessary.

Even when a project is already the size you want it to be (pre-blocking), I'd still recommend blocking as it greatly improves your stitch definition and "sets" the stitches.

I mainly steam block for cotton (I cover my project with a cotton cloth and hold the iron above and steam  - do not touch the fabric with the iron). I also steam block fair isle items because it really sets the stitches nicely. After steam blocking I pin out because it’s damp and leave to dry.

What if I’m desperate? Sometimes I may be on a close call with a deadline – it could be 2pm in the afternoon and I’m still working on a project that needs posting that day – by 4.30pm – so I will always steam block just to make sure that the stitches look good for photography. If necessary I will use a hairdryer to dry it off before posting.

A lot of people say don’t block acrylic as it’s not wool and therefore has no stitch memory – but I do block acrylic projects, just because it improves the overall appearance and stitch definition. I would mainly spray block acrylic but have been known to steam block (very carefully) when desperate. There is more risk with steam blocking as you can relax the fibres too much and your work can become very droopy and much bigger than originally made.

I always sew my ends in first and then block, whereas Fay doesn't sew in her ends before blocking because she found that if she sewed her ends in first and then blocked, the tail ends sometimes shift and she would have little bits of yarn poking out which then just create more work to neaten them up again. 

When pinning out it is essential that you get your measurements right because if you over stretch the yarn than it’s ruined forever – yarn has memory so once it’s set then it will spring back to that shape after washing. So be really careful when blocking, especially if using an iron.

It really is a case of trying the method that suits you best given the yarn and project that you have made, but it is definitely worth it - see below!

 

 

5. Woolfest and Houston Fiberfest (at 48.50 mins)

As you know we went off to Woolfest at the end of June.  Whilst we were there, Tamara, one of the listeners to the podcast was at a yarn festival in Houston, Texas.  Tamara kindly recorded some audio for us on the festival that she attended and we have some photos too. 

Woolfest:

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Houston Fibrefest:

We have started a thread in Ravelry for you to add details on any yarn festivals that you have been to. Kerry listens in Australia and has just added details of the large Wool and Sheep Festival that she has been at in Bendigo, Australia.  Feel free to add details of any yarn festivals that you have been to so that others can see what is available throughout the world.  I have added some standard questions that you can answer if you need something to crib from.


Tamara is on the left - thanks for doing the review!

Here's Tamara's round-up from Houston Fiber Fest:

Link to website: http://www.houstonfiberfest.com/

New companies that Tamara hadn’t come across before:

Independence Farmstead Fiber Mill, an artisan mill service for the independent fiber producer: http://www.independencefarmsteadfibers.com/

Windmill Crest Farms near San Antonio: http://www.windmillcrestfarms.com/

There was a gentleman there had an industrial needle felting machine: http://www.feltcrafts.com/

Lucky Ewe Yarn in New Braunfels dye their own yarn which is called Wool Tree Yarn using natural ingredients: http://www.luckyeweyarn.com/

Things that Tamara bought:

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Brazen Stitchery Harmony Sock in colorway Team Gayle semi solid in tonal shades of dark green: http://www.brazenstitchery.com/

Lazy cat yarns 2 x 50 gram skeins of Endurance - semi solid – in shades of gorgeous teal: http://www.lazycatyarn.com/

Western Sky Knits, 2 variegated 100g skeins: http://www.westernskyknits.com/

Hedgehog Fibers is an Irish indie dyer. I was surprised to find Irish yarn in Houston. This festival was their launch at Park Avenue Yarns (a loyal yarn store): http://shop.hedgehogfibres.com/

http://www.parkavenueyarns.com/

Blind date project from In Skein Yarns, one of the local yarn stores. So fun! They were clear plastic bags with a label on the outside describing the project - The craft (I chose crochet), yarn weight, fiber content, difficulty of pattern and type of project:  https://inskeinyarns.com/

Shawl pin – from the Muddy Knitter: https://squareup.com/store/themuddyknitter

Two mini Loomes spelt L-O-O-M-E and you can make pom poms, cords, tassels and weavings: https://www.theloome.com/

A funky necklace from Fiesty Fenn Fibers: https://www.etsy.com/shop/FeistyFennFibers

Some tea from Independence Fiber Mill: http://www.independencefarmsteadfibers.com/

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Didn’t buy but have ear-marked:

Suzoo’s Wool Works: http://www.suzooswoolworks.com/

Inner Loop Dyeworks: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/InnerLoopDyeworks – I will definitely buy some more of her yarn – we stock her yarn at the store where I work which is very lucky but tempting at the same time http://www.nimblefingerstx.com

Podcaster Suburban Stitcher’s project bags. http://suburbanstitcher.com/

I might buy a mini loom for weaving from Purl and Loop www.purlandloop.com

All of Tamara's photos of Houston Fiber Fest can be found here:  https://uk.pinterest.com/craftyescapism/  and you can also view her blog here: http://www.craftyescapism.com/

6. Finished Objects (at 71.45 mins)

Fay - Missed Kingfisher shawl was completed whilst in France with Jenny. 

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Cowls for the book – testing more colours because I am thinking about doing them as a kit for Yarndale.  Also, the items for the yarn review. One sock firmly in the HO pile!  

Lynne: Pin cushion and book mark from Daughter of a Shepherd (so pleased with both); mandala coaster for hubby (at his request) to put his mobile phone on at night; lots of commission projects, including a hot water bottle cover, a pair of fingerless mittens, a teddy, a lampshade cover, a set of crochet frames, a cushion, a pair of slippers, another pincushion and another couple of bookmarks - phew.

7. WIPs (at 79 mins)

Fay - Simply Crochet wrap-over, Henslowe shawl, Nut-Hap (Kingfisher colours), Tardis cushion, Shorelines blanket, Baby Bird scarf, blanket for booklet, John Arbon socks for a study on adding stripes to socks.

I'm still at eight but there are so many things that I want to start!

Lynne – I'm still at 14, but have started (and finished a few) so they didn't even make onto the list (which is good) and I probably won't be able to make a dent in this until after Yarndale.

8. Feeding the habit (at 91 mins)

Fay – I thought I was really good this month and so, I bought some extra Rowan Felted Tweed to be able to do a Kingfisher based Nut-Hap.  I also realised that I needed to get another skein of the Kalinka linen because it would look great with a contrast colour. Then I remembered that I had been to Woolfest...

At Woolfest, I bought yarn from John Arbon and Ripples Crafts, some amazing Art Deco buttons and some woven fabric.

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It was also my Birthday so I am book rich – Fleece and Fiber, Erika Knight’s latest, a book on dying yarn, British Sheep Breeds and an old book of my Dad’s.  Very lucky to have so many nice wool related books to go through in the next few months and enhance my reference library with.

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Lynne - At Woolfest I bought some John Arbon skeins (I love their mini skeins too),  a couple of squares of handwoven fabric which is really lovely, some buttons for my cowl from Textile Gardens, and Emily Foulds kindly gave me a ball of WYS Signature 4ply from the cocktail range for my knitting book which I can’t wait to use. I have bought lots of yarn for kits and to test colours, but I don’t count work related purchases as they go through the business.

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9. Competition Time - Odeletta Shawl Give-away

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This month we have a give-away, kindly sent to us by Anna Nikipirowicz for her Odeletta Shawl Kit which contains everything you need to create your own shawl, including two balls of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, patterns, beads and a crochet hook. Plus a lovely teabag so you can enjoy a nice cuppa whilst you crochet. Thanks Anna!

Anna's website is here: https://moochka.co.uk/

Find all the details for the giveaway here: http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/the-crochet-circle-podcast/topics/3468941

10. What’s Good (at 105 mins)              

Fay:  This was meant to be my What's Good but I was so excited about it that I covered it off early!  I just mentioned that my Dad gave me one of his books.  It is a very special book that was my absolute favourite book when I was little. It is the Observer’s book of Farm Animals.  I was born in 1977 and the book came out in 1976 and was given to my Dad by friends when we moved from Wiltshire to Caithness in the North of Scotland in early 1978.  It used to fit in the pocket of my pinafore and I would spend ages pawing through the different breed photos and memorising them.  I even wrote in the front of the book to amend it to say “Fay - it is to Fay” so that I could lay claim to it. 

Needless to say, the book is battered and the spine is being held together with masking tape and love. It is delightful to have something in my possession that brings back nice memories and until recently I had completely forgotten about.  It clearly influenced and shaped the person I have become.

So my What's Good became the excitement for going to interview John Arbon down in Devon - it really was good!

Lynne: Really enjoying natural fibres at the moment – you can definitely feel the difference and there a lots of affordable natural yarns out there that are well worth a try. I’ve been using Wendy Ramsdale which is about £3.50 a ball for 50g and the colours are lovely as well as the texture and feel of the yarn. I’ve used if for hats (only takes 1 ball to make a child’s hat) and also for my cushion (6 balls, so less than £24) for the yarn. Also Erika Knight British Blue is £4.20 for a 25g ball – a bit more expensive but well worth it when you can make a nice cowl with just three balls - so that's £13 for a cowl made with British yarn - where every step is traceable. Remember cotton is also a natural fibre and you can buy Rico Cotton Aran for less than £2 for 50g. I’m not saying I don’t use acrylic as I do because some projects have to be really affordable but there are some lovely yarns out there that may cost less than you would expect.

Happy listening and crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x

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