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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.


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

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


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.



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.  



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.  



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


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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:


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:

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):

Joining Granny Squares using 4 different methods:

Joining Granny Squares as you go:

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:

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:

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:

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

Link to Crochet Now:

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

Fay: Blanket and cushion for our book.  Both were using Alafoss Lopi wool: 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:  

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

The grey is Alpaca Sock Yarn in shade Charcoal:

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:

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:

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:

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:  

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. 


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:

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

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":

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: 

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

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:

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:


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:


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: 

Happy listening and crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x


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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:

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:

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



 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:

Subscribe to Crochet Now:

A sneaky peek at Crochet Now Issue 5:
There is also another giveaway that is live throughout August 2016. We need your help to name our new mascot.
                                       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:
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

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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:



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:

2. Yarn review (at 9 mins)


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. 


Rachel's blog:

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).


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.


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:


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:

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:

Website Link:

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:

Website Link:

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:

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:

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).


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. 



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:

New companies that Tamara hadn’t come across before:

Independence Farmstead Fiber Mill, an artisan mill service for the independent fiber producer:

Windmill Crest Farms near San Antonio:

There was a gentleman there had an industrial needle felting machine:

Lucky Ewe Yarn in New Braunfels dye their own yarn which is called Wool Tree Yarn using natural ingredients:

Things that Tamara bought:


Brazen Stitchery Harmony Sock in colorway Team Gayle semi solid in tonal shades of dark green:

Lazy cat yarns 2 x 50 gram skeins of Endurance - semi solid – in shades of gorgeous teal:

Western Sky Knits, 2 variegated 100g skeins:

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):

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:

Shawl pin – from the Muddy Knitter:

Two mini Loomes spelt L-O-O-M-E and you can make pom poms, cords, tassels and weavings:

A funky necklace from Fiesty Fenn Fibers:

Some tea from Independence Fiber Mill:


Didn’t buy but have ear-marked:

Suzoo’s Wool Works:

Inner Loop Dyeworks: – 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

Podcaster Suburban Stitcher’s project bags.

I might buy a mini loom for weaving from Purl and Loop

All of Tamara's photos of Houston Fiber Fest can be found here:  and you can also view her blog here:

6. Finished Objects (at 71.45 mins)

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


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.


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.


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.


9. Competition Time - Odeletta Shawl Give-away


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:

Find all the details for the giveaway here:

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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July 29, 2016 @ 8:00 am

Interview with Verity from Truly Hooked

Featuring an interview with indie hand dyer Verity Castledine who runs Truly Hooked from her home in Nottingham. Hear all about the various processes of hand-dying, what inspires Verity and how she works with her husband Meyrick to run their successful family business (they even rope the children in too).
Verity hanging her latest skeins out to dry. 

Some of the skeins that we discussed during the interview.

In addition to hand dying, Verity is also a designer and has just published her first knitting book, 'The Sock Drawer'.

To find out more about Verity, visit her at the following
Truly Hooked website:
Truly Hooked on Facebook:
Truly Hooked on Instagram:

The two mini skeins from the first skeins that 
Verity ever dyed and some of her latest work.

You can squish some Truly Hooked yarn at the following events in 2016:

Fibre East, Ampthill, Bedford - 30th/31st July:

British Wool Show, York - 5th/6th August: 

Popup Wool Show, Port Sunlight, Wirral - 20th August: 

Yarndale, Skipton, Yorkshire - 24th/25th September:

Knitting and Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London - 5th to 9th October:

One of Verity's crochet designs in three of her very different yarns.

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.

Lynne has also been beavering away, uploading the episodes to YouTube, so you can catch us there too!  

Happy listening and crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x

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July 1, 2016 @ 10:14 am

Episode Five - Practically Perfect

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

In this episode we continue with our crochet journeys, including helpful hints on how to get through the next stages of working on a garment; Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet; World Knit in Public Day; WIP Wall and FOs along with our usual Magazine round-up, our competition winners so far, our new regular feature called "Feeding the Rabbit" and we finish with What's Good.

This Episode is Sponsored by:



1. Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet

It's a Nay Crochet from Lynne this month, as she lost her favourite crochet hook:

My favourite hook is an Addi Swing Crochet Hook, size 3.5mm which I use all the time – it’s an ergonomic hook so it's really comfortable and sits in your hand perfectly, so I was quite annoyed at myself for losing it. The question is – do I just buy another one as a replacement? Do I try a different make, do I buy just one or a set? They're quite expensive individually and even more expensive for a set so these would have to be a Birthday/Christmas gift. I can’t decide what to do, so I’m having a think and will have a mooch around Woolfest or go to Black Sheep Wools. If anyone uses any other good ergonomic hooks and has a favourite - do let me know – it might help me decide.

I bought my lost hook from Laughing Hens:

It's a big Yay Crochet from Fay on her Liala Top by Designer Marie Wallin:

I love my top and the way that it looks. It is easy to wear as summer chic or dressed down with jeans or over a dress with tights for some winter colour. The yarn I used has unfortunately been discontinued (Jeanette Sloan 4 ply alpaca/silk) but it was lovely to work with and produced a very soft garment with clear stitch definition. 


Link to Jeanette Sloan:

Link to Marie Wallin:

Fay also sneaked in a Knitting Nay for picot cast off:

I've knitted a lovely shawl for a friend which involves a picot edge bind-off which is a new technique for me. It involves knitting lots of stitches before actually casting off, making it a long-winded process. I gave up after about an hour and a half and seemingly getting nowhere, so I will choose a different method to cast off with. 

2. Magazine Round-up

We've have added Pom Pom Quarterly into our list of magazines because they generally feature a couple of crochet patterns in each issue.  As the title would suggest, it comes out quarterly so you will hear about Pom Pom every third episode.

Inside Crochet – issue 79 - Seaside Theme

Website Link:

Lynne's favourite: Greta Stole designed by Claire Montgomerie using Coopknits Socks Yeah – I really love the colour combination and you could use up your oddments of sock yarn to create your own colour combination (pg 54).

Fay's favourite: Friendship Quilt, designed by Mica York, using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (pg 80).

There’s also a great interview with Betsan Corkhill, who is a Wellbeing Coach who focusses on the therapeutic benefits of knitting and how it can help improve your health and mindfulness. It’s not just about enjoying knitting and crochet, it links to meditation, to calmness, to stress relieving and to helping you improve your mood by working with calming colours – it’s fascinating and I'd recommend going along to one of Betsan’s workshops if there’s one near you.

Betsan's Website:

Simply Crochet – issue 46 - Nautical theme

Ravelry link:

Website Link:

Announces a Crochet-A-Long for subscribers, for a blanket using different crochet squares.

Lynne's favourite: I LOVE the cute little Beach Babe Piggy by designer Illaria Caliri – he/she’s so cute and even has a life ring, bucket, spade and beach towel, using DMC Natura Just Cotton (4-ply) (pg 42).

Fay's favourite: Claude the Octopus by designer Kate E. Hancock (Fay is slowly being brought round to the fun side of crochet), using Drops Paris 100% cotton (pg 24).

Kat Goldin also talks about her local yarn shop and how it provides a sense of community and a place of creativity (pg 34).

Crochet Now - issue 3

Website link:

Lynne's favourite: Amigurumi Guard and Bus designed by Editor Hugh Metcalf.

Fay's favourite: Infinity Cowl designed by Vicki Brown.

Let’s Get Crafting – issue 82

Ravelry Link:

Website Link:

Features The Crochet Circle Podcast on page 6 – thank you.

Lynne’s favourite: The Wildlife Rescue Nets by Kath Webber, which link to a charity knitting project for animal rescue centres who are looking for knitting donations (pg 28).

Fay's favourite: Baby Slippers - Summer Espadrilles designed by Jackie Carreira (pg 40).

Woman's Weekly Knitting & Crochet July Issue

Website Link:

Lynne's favourite: Teal Appeal - Vintage Cardigan knitted in mohair (Rowan Kidsilk Haze) (pg 24).

Fay's favourite: Hi-Ho Silver - Cotton shrug, crocheted in DMC Petra Cotton 3 (pg 50).

Pom Pom Quarterley

Website Link:

Ravelry Link:

Lynne and Fay's favourite: Altair by designer Joanne Scrace.

Love to Knit and Crochet - issue 3

Website Link:

Lynne's favourite: Crochet Stool Cover - Too Cool for Stool (pg 57).

Fay's favourite: Feeling Tubby - crochet bowls (pg 56).

3. Our Crochet Journey - Next Steps and issues we've faced

Lynne's progress with her Lisa Sweater:

I had to rip back a couple of times due to losing stitches - in the end I gave up ripping out and just added a couple of stitches along the row instead. Now that I'm in the flow of the pattern I've stopped dropping a stitch at the end. It isn't noticeable where I've added the extra stitches.

I had to buy 4 extra balls of Rowan Purelife Revive which are a different dye lot than my original 5 balls. Luckily, the yarn is mottled so the slight difference in the shades is not noticeable. I will alternate the balls used, but will do the same on each half of the jumper so that any difference will appear as if it's intentional as both halves will be identical. Fingers crossed they will blend nicely or look like gradient yarn.


For those new to crochet or knitting, on the ball band of every ball of yarn is essential information on the yarn itself – what it’s made from, what needle size to use, the tension and the weight. Also you will find the shade number or reference and (like a tin of paint), the dye lot or dye batch that has been used. Like paint, a different dye lot will potentially produce a slightly different shade, so when buying yarn for a project, you need to make sure that all the ball bands have the same dye lot on them.

I found 2 balls of yellow Rico cotton in The Woolnest to show you how different the dye lots can be and therefore how important it is to use the same batch of yarn – you can see the difference below:


Fay's progress with her Liala Top:

I had to rip back due to an error in the pattern, which I didn't realise until I'd ripped it back about 5 times. I also re-jigged the hook size and change the pattern a little to make it into a wearable top because of my body shape. I'm really happy with my crocheted top and will be making more. Full notes of my changes are on my Ravelry project page.

Link to Ravelry:

It's fantastic to see the different garments that people are working on, over on our Ravelry forum.  Helen is motoring on with her Aberfoyle Cardigan and Jo is working on a wrap around top from issue 41 of Simply Crochet which I love and I'm now making my own version using Rowan Finest.


After seeing Helen's Aberfoyle, Lynne has mooched in The Woolnest and found enough balls of Garthernor Organic 4-ply to make her own. Garthernor produce sustainable, organic yarn in and ecological way. They started out in the 1990s with their own sheep and now buy raw fleeces from other UK farmers, so all their wool is fully traceable and fully certified organic.  At Wonderwool  this year Lynne had a lovely chat with the owner and they had some beautifully knitted samples on show and once washed, the yarn is really soft and much softer than it is on the ball.

Link to Aberfoyle Cardigan by Joanne Scrace:

So our next patterns are Aberfoyle and Simple Wrapover.  We have been inspired by the folk in the Crochet Circle podcast to make the same items that they are making - so thank you. Feel free to join in with our Stylish Crochet CAL and don't forget to wear your garment at Yarndale.

Link to our Stylish Crochet Ravelry forum:

4. Woolfest

We're off to Woolfest in the morning.  Whilst we are there, Tamara, one of the listeners to the podcast will be at a yarn festival in Houston, Texas.  Tamara lives over there now but we've noticed that lots of people seem to be traveling much further afield to go to yarn festivals.  At Edinburgh yarn festival, people had come from all over Europe. TNNA (The National Needle Arts Association) was on in America a couple of weeks ago and lots of folk were there from the UK.

So, given that Tamara is going to be at a yarn festival at the same time as we are we thought we would share notes.  We have the same set of questions to answer and photos will be taken from both sides of the pond and added to the Pinterest board for Episode 5. 

5. World Knit in Public Day

This was held on Saturday 18th June.


Fay experienced the East London Yarn Triangle, Hackney made up of 3 shops - Fabrications, Wild and Woolly and Knit With Attitude. They offered 10% off if you posted 3 photos with their hashtag on Instagram, and they also had refreshments. The yarn shops are within walking distance and maps were provided which highlighted the photo locations and I bought lots of wool and concluded that you can indeed crochet on a swing.


6. Finished Objects

Fay: Liala top by Marie Wallin, Cowl for The Crochet Circle book using Erika Knight British Blue and Shawl for the book using Whistlebare's Yeavering Bell (Mohair/Wensleydale blend).

Fay also has an answer on whether a sock from an unfinished pair is an FO or a WIP.  It’s a HO (half object).

Lynne's FO's are mainly secret commissions but she finished her Cowl for The Crochet Circle book, using Baa Baa Brighouse yarn called Baa Baa Brew.


7. WIP Wall

Fay: I'm currently at 8 and many are the same as last time.  A new one on the list is the Wrapover Shawl from Simply Crochet issue 41, and I don’t have much to report yet other than I have done a yarn and hook substitute to change the finished fabric a little.

Lynne: I’m at 11 – I frogged a pair of socks as the yarn wasn’t showing off the lace pattern properly, in fact it was barely visible. I finished the secret project for our book and I haven’t really started the Studio Linen Shawl so it doesn’t really count. With my Lisa Sweater I'm back up to 12 and my next book project will take me up to 13 WIPs.

8. Feeding the Rabbit (aka feeding the habit)

Fay's purchases: I bought quite a lot of yarn during my visit to London on World Knit in Public Day, including:

From Fabrications - Recycled Fibre (in lovely creams, whites and denim blue from UK); 100% Bluefaced Leicester Roving yarn (brown) and 100% Bluefaced Leicester Roving yarn (cream), both from West Yorkshire Spinners, suitable for hand-dying and felting.

From Wild and Woolly - Rowan felted tweed and Erika Knight British Blue Wool from the Stash Depot (buying another person’s stash); Kalinka linen from Sweden in colour cyan  (Fibre: 100% linen Yardage: 320m per 100g skein Gauge: 28 stitches per 10 cm, recommended needle size: 3-4 mm needles)

From Knit with Attitude - Hedgehog Fibres in colourway Dragonfly  (DK weight yarn, 100% merino wool, superwash. 115g/200m); Socks Yeah! – in colourway 110 Malachite -(75% superwash merino, 25% nylon, 50g/212m/231 yds). Mirasol – Kingfisher 14 (4-ply, 60% merino wool, 20% Alpaca, 20% Silk, 250m/274yds, 50g).

I also sneaked a visit to Ewe and Ply in Shrewsbury - and still resisted the spinning wheel. Ewe and Ply have a great selection of British wools and is well worth a visit.

I bought some Eden Cottage yarn, and one of the natural roving yarns from West Yorkshire Spinners.


Link to Ewe and Ply, Shrewsbury:

Lynne's purchases: I bought a gorgeous skein of yarn from I Knit (London) – I had a spare few hours a couple of weeks  ago when in London, so I jumped on the tube to Waterloo and found the shop quite easily. I’ve wanted the yarn ever since seeing it - mainly because it’s called Starman – one of my favourite songs by my favourite artist, David Bowie, so I just had to buy it. I’m going to try my crochet cowl from the book and see how it works with the hand-dyed yarn.


Link to I Knit London:

9. What’s Good               

For Lynne: About a year ago I was commissioned by Search Press to write a book for their "20 To Make" series. I had great fun designing the Mandalas for the book and have also designed a few more for commissions. I’m definitely hooked by Mandalas – they’re meditative and you can make them your own by using your favourite colours and favourite yarns. They’re useful for all sorts of things, like placemats, wall hangings and you can even sew them together to make a throw. The Search Press book is out in October and you can pre-order it on Amazon at the moment.

Link to pre-order on Amazon:

For Fay there are 2 things:

Firstly, I was contacted recently by Knitting magazine who would like to review and feature my stash tags, so I'm delighted and excited. It came out of the blue and it was because of Erika Knight and Emma Knitted!

Link to Stash Tags KNIT IT - HOOK IT - CRAFT IT:

Knitting magazine:

Erika Knight:

Emma Knitted:      

Secondly, we were sent Daughter of a Shepherd mini-skeins by Rachel Atkinson to test for crochet. We love how they smell and can't wait to try them out. Rachel is manufacturing Hebridean wool from sheep her father breeds in the UK.

Link to Daughter of a Shepherd:

As we both smelled the sheepiness of the yarn we realised that we were both sporting Hebridean moustaches.

Other things we've mentioned:

Winners Round-up - Who's won what so far:

200g DMC Natura Medium and DMC hook – Kerryd19 from Australia

Arne & Carlos Sock yarn (with signed Stash Tag)  - Curlylou – UK

Lynne Rowe's Once Upon a Time in Crochet (signed copy) - JojoTwinkletoes

Erika Knight’s Simple Colour Knitting (signed copy) – DianeB

2 x 50g Erika Knight’s Studio Linen – Emma from Woolgathering Sandbach

Happy listening and crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x

Twitter: @Crochet_Circle

Instagram: Crochet_Circle

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June 12, 2016 @ 1:43 pm

Bonus Interview with Arne & Carlos

Featuring a bonus interview with the talented Scandinavian design duo Arne & Carlos.   This short but sweet interview was recorded during the lunch break of their 'Five Virgins Wrist Warmer Workshop' at Black Sheep Wools, Warrington, which Fay and Lynne attended.



You can find out more about Arne & Carlos through the following links:





Black Sheep Wools, Warrington:


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

Instagram: Crochet_Circle

Pinterest: Crochet_Circle

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June 3, 2016 @ 7:11 am

Episode Four - A Crochet Journey

In this episode we talk about getting started on a crochet journey, including substituting yarn and the importance of making a tension square; lace-weight yarn; myth busting – does crochet really use more yarn than knitting? WIP Wall and FO’s along with our usual magazine round up and our look towards Woolfest.

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

This Episode is Sponsored by:


Rooster Delightful Lace Competition Prize is sponsored by


First we have a few thank you’s for helping us to reach over 1,200 downloads on Podbean.

Thank you to Kathryn at who mentioned us in her podcast Episodes 7 and 8 and also to Tamara at for a great review on her website.


Thanks to Trinketknits for her lovely iTunes review and to everyone else that is engaging with us through Pinterest, IG, Ravelry and Twitter.


You may have spotted us in Crochet Now, Let’s Knit magazine and Simply Crochet - so thanks to Hugh, Sarah and Sara for featuring The Crochet Circle on their News pages. We're really chuffed to bits.



1. Yay Crochet or Nay Crochet (at 3.55 mins)

It's a nay from Fay about lace-weight yarn and having to use anything below a 3mm hook: 

I love what other people can create, however, it just isn’t for me as I prefer more instant gratification. I don’t intend on doing everything in chunky yarn but I found lace weight crocheting and knitting REALLY frustrating and I’m very happy to leave that in the hands of others...

Such as these brilliant examples of miniature crochet, from Suami:


Its a yay from Lynne on teaching crochet:

Last week was the last of my 5 Learn to Crochet Classes at Sandbach in Cheshire. I’ve been running crochet and knitting classes through the Sandbach Adult Education programme for about four or five years now and I’ve met some lovely people along the way – many of whom have become really good friends and even work colleagues J. This time round I had four enthusiastic ladies who had all tried to teach themselves but hadn’t been able to get to grips with crochet and felt that they need to be physically shown, rather than learning by book. It was great that I have a wide range of ages, from a lady in her late 20’s up to a lady who was 79 (and who came on her bike!!!). We learned the basics of crochet and made a flower, granny squares, ripple stitches, shell stitches and we worked in a spiral. I’m always amazed when my pupils return the following week with things they’ve made from the stitches learned and even happier when they tell me how much they’ve enjoyed making things with their new skills.  



2. Helpful Hints on how to get started on a project (at 8.05 mins)

We're both starting a crochet garment (or two) that we aim to wear at Yarndale.

You can join in too and we can see just how stylish crochet can be.

We've set up a board here on Ravelry:

In this episode we talk about choosing or substituting yarn and the importance of working up a swatch or tension square.

We recommend  as one method of checking which yarns you could substitute to.

We covered making a tension square in the last episode and you can find the notes here:

Then in upcoming episodes we’ll cover:

  • Finishing off the project  - best way to sew it together
  • Washing and blocking the project so that the stitches look as they should
  • Wearing/using the object
  • Aftercare
  • Darning if required – dealing with holes etc.

Lynne has chosen Aster, by designer Marie Wallin from her book 'Filigree collection three'

Ravelry link:


Filigree Book link:

I love Marie's Filigree collection and have chosen a design as my first 'proper' crochet garment. I will raid my stash for an alternative as I'm desperately trying not to buy yarn. I've written a blog post here on how to substitute yarn:

Fay has chosen Liala, also by Marie Wallin – it's a free pattern available on Rowan's website: if you subscribe:


The pattern calls for you to use Rowan Panama which is a 55% viscose, 33% cotton and 12% linen mix and although the ball band suggests a 3.25mm hook.

I also considered a few other things such as: I want to use my stash,; I want the finish to be a little more fitted; I want to use something with a wool content and I don't want to use anything below a 3mm hook.

After raiding my stash, I found a suitable alternative with Jeanette Sloan Baby Alpaca and Silk and started my tension square.

Link to Jeanette Sloan yarn:

It's important to block your tension square as the size of your stitches may change after blocking. For my first square, there was about a 9% increase in size for both stitches and rows which was going to work perfectly for me in substituting yarn and pattern size (so I'll make the small size rather than the medium). It's worth remembering that most yarns when knitted or crocheted up, will change when blocked. I like to wet block almost everything because it helps release the dirt that builds up and it helps to bring out the pattern in the fabric especially if there are cables or lace. But be careful not to over-stretch the fabric when you block.

I gently squeezed my square, rolled it up in a towel and then pinned it onto a blocking mat and leave it to dry.


It's worth taking the time to assess whether you're using the right yarn, hook or needle, than get to the end of a project and then not being happy with the fit or finish of the item having put so much work into it.

Here's a link to Fay's Ravelry project for Liala:

We also promised to let all of the Rowan yarns that are being discontinued.  This list was provided by St Trinians on Ravelry:

Superfine Merino DK & Aran

Pure Wool 4 ply

Kidsilk Haze Stripe

Mohair Haze

Wool Cotton

Rowan Finest

Rowan Tweed

Fine Art & Fine Art Aran

Alpaca Colour

Tetra Cotton

Cotton Lustre



Pure Linen

All Seasons Cotton

Soft Knit Cotton



Lima Colour

Fazed Tweed


Thick 'n' Thin

Alpaca Chunky

British Sheep Breeds


Creative Focus Worsted


Big Wool Colour

Big Wool Silk


3. Yarn Review - Manos Del Uruguay Marina (at 28 mins)




Shade Shantung N1765

Lace-weight yarn


100% superwash merino wool

RRP £16

Recommended needle size 2-4mm

Hand-dyed in Uruguay by Ellta, who is part of a fair-trade cooperative.


Link to full range of shades:


Read about the Manos Del Uruguay fair-trade cooperative here:



Link to Lynne's full yarn review:


4. Myth-busting with Fay (at 34.50 mins)




Fay investigates the generalisation that crochet uses more yarn than knitting.

Is it a myth or a fact?  Well, it's a bit of both really, with some interesting results!

Read Fay's full investigation here:



5. Magazine Round-up (at 43.10 mins)

Inside Crochet Issue 78

Theme: Bright Ideas – all about colour and texture for Autumn.

Lynne's favourites include Scullis Shawl in Rachel Atkinson's Column

Lisa Sweater designed by Annelies Baes

Fay's favourite is also Lisa Sweater

There are also lots of lovely bags and baskets

Link to Inside Crochet issue 78:

Crochet Now Issue 2

Theme: Rainbow brights – creative with colour – things that make use smile Lynne's favourite is Nerida Shawl by Anna Nickipirowicz – a deep semi-circular with a simple lace pattern

In my yarn stash diaries this month is a crochet staple – a washcloth which is great for last minute gifting

Fay's favourite is Spring leaves cowl, designed by Mary Renji

Link to Crochet Now:

Let's Get Crafting issue 81

Theme: Brights with Fiesta yarn kit – lots of toys including a very cute pair of Pandas by Sachiyo Ishii

Lynne's favourite is the Hanging Heart wreath designed by Irene Strange

and everyone loves a bit of bunting - Fiesta Bunting designed by Tilley Bancroft


Link to LGC issue 81 projects:

Woman's Weekly June issue

Theme: Crochet Special including five crochet garments and some lovely crochet homewares

We spotted an interview with Louise Walker who is a member of our Ravelry group and we love Louise's very cute animals and blanket. 

Link to Woman's Weekly:

Simply Crochet Issue 45

Theme: Summer Brights, including a great article on how to sort your stash.

There's a very pretty Ladder stitch top designed by Editor Sara Huntingdon and a fun giant doughnut cushion by the renowned Twinkie Chan.


Link to Simply Crochet:


6. WIPs and FOs (at 45.30 mins)



We haven't done a great deal this month as we've both been really busy with our businesses and the podcast content. Fay has been working on her Shoreline Blanket and Lynne is ready to start the beading rows on her Odeletta Shawl.


We'll be adding to our WIPs with our crochet garments, and we'll be keeping a record of how long they take us.


7. Our Book (at 52.50 mins)

We're delighted to announce that we're writing a book of 8 crocheted accessories - 4 designed by Lynne and 4 designed by Fay.

We’ve currently secured yarn support from

Erika Knight


Laughing Hens


We’ll say more in time. But it will be a really useful collection of crochet essentials that are straight forward to make, using gorgeous yarns

8. Charity Projects

We're still collecting your fungi an mammals for the National Trust's Woollen Woods project.

You can read more here on our Ravelry page:

10. Competition to Win Rooster Delightful Lace (at 54.30 mins)

We have a new competition open on our Ravelry forum to win a gorgeous skein of Rooster Delightful Lace in Shade Talara 623.


Rooster Delightful Lace is well, delightful! A blend of 80% Alpaca and 20% Silk creates a stunning 2-ply lace weight yarn which is perfect for light garments and shawls.

9. What's Good (at 56.05 mins)

We're looking forward to Woolfest:

and Fay is looking forward to visiting Caithness on a retreat organised by Louise Hunt from the Caithness Craft Collective podcast:

Happy listening and crocheting,

Lynne and Fay x

Twitter: @Crochet_Circle

Instagram: Crochet_Circle

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May 26, 2016 @ 3:05 pm

Bonus Interview with Cara Ackerman, DMC Creative World

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Do you have a favourite bit of crochet paraphernalia? 

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

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

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

What in this industry inspires you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How many WIP’S do you have?

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

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

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

To see the full range visit



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




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


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