Monday, April 24, 2017

Crochet Podcast Roundup Spring 2017

Here's my latest roundup of new Crochet Podcasts for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!


Crochet Luna is Claudia in California who started podcasting last month. She is kind of cheeky and makes me laugh a lot. She even contacted the Craft Yarn Council to ask why they don't have a 3mm hook. Hilarious! I found out about the very popular right now Hotel of Bees Crochetalong from this podcast and had to join in even though I'm now doing two shawl CALs at once and I do really have other hooky projects I should be getting on with. Here is Claudia's YouTube channel, Ravelry Group and she is @crochetluna on Instagram. I'm certain you'll like her!

Keep Calm and Carry Yarn is Vivian and Alyson and this podcast started in February. The thing I love about this podcast is that they are daughter and mother and live in Scotland and the US like my mum and I, but we're the other way around. My mum is in Scotland, knits and crochets like me and sends me photos of what she is making. They gave me a little shout out at the beginning of Episode 3 - thank you that was sweet! There is a mix of crochet and knitting. They have a KALCAL coming up soon which I'm excited about so check this out. Here is the YouTube channel, Ravelry Group and on Instagram they are @kcacypodcast

B.Hooked Crochet is Brittany a fabulous crochet instructor and designer (among other things). She already has a host of marvellous instructional videos on YouTube but started a weekly audio podcast in February so she makes my new podcaster list. Sessions 2 through 8 cover Mastering Crochet Patterns. I'm playing catch up on these but I know they will be so helpful since from my three years of experience in teaching I know this is a big hurdle for many. Here is the link to Brittany's podcasts on her website and she is @bhooked on Instagram.

Yarn Thing with Marly Bird This is not a new podcast. Marly was in fact the first crochet podcaster on iTunes, ten years ago and I've been listening to her for the last five years but I'm including it because I was actually live on this podcast this week! Marly interviews famous knitters and crocheters on air every Tuesday and Thursday. Last week I wrote about wanting to win one of the CGOA CAL prizes, Karen Whooley's new book Garden of Shawls. Well, I was the call in winner!! I was so surprised I couldn't stop laughing. I'm around 44 minutes in but do listen to the whole interview.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring Crochet Guild of America Crochetalong

I've started a new CAL (crochetalong), the gorgeous Sargassum shawl, so I thought I'd let you know in case you'd like to join in. I love CALs for many reasons (see my blog article 5 reasons to join a CAL). There are a number of techniques in the shawl which may be new to you including foundation single crochet, puff stitches, linked double crochet, chainless starting double crochet and setting beads! The last two in this list are new for me! The designer is the talented Pia Thadani of Stitches & Scraps. I have made a fair few shawls but I have three skeins of ocean colored yarn in my stash just wanting to be turned into the Sargassum shawl. Here they are freshly caked ready for swatching...


I would really like to win any of the three prizes. My favorite though has to be the book A Garden of Shawls by Karen Whooley. I'm a big fan of Karen and was one of her test crocheters last month for her latest fabulous sock pattern. Love crochet socks!

The first part came out this week but there is certainly time to join in with the giveaway deadline of May 22nd over six weeks away. It's running as a Craft Guild of America (CGOA) Spring 2017 CAL AND also in the CAL Central Crochet group so the ways to stay notified are: the Ravelry CGOA group, the Ravelry CAL Central group, the CGOA CAL Facebook Group and the CGOA blog.

I'll personally be adding the blog to my Feedly app to keep up and using the hashtags on Instagram and Twitter #CGOACals and #calcentralcrochet to share my progress. Do let me know if you're joining in!!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Intarsia Tunisian Crochet Project

Over the last month I've taken part in a really fun Tunisian Crochet-along with the Crochet Circle Podcast and after completing a first project decided to squeeze in a second one before the deadline. I tried out Intarsia Tunisian Crochet making a petroglyph man that we spotted at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here is the design inspiration. I know he doesn't have legs but I took artistic liberties and gave him some.


I could have drawn a chart free-hand to make my petroglyph man but I wanted to get his dimensions right so I used the rather amazing free Stitch Fiddle online tool, uploading the photo to make my own chart. Love it! Stitch Fiddle allows designers to create knitting, cross stitch and crochet charts. For crochet there are three options: colored charts, filet crochet and free form with crochet symbols. I've written charts with symbols before from written patterns for students who prefer them. Now I can do this far more easily. If you want to design Tapestry Crochet or Graphghans I can see Stitch Fiddle being incredibly useful too!

I like my books for a general intro and then I search for a video of the specific technique. The most useful video I found was Tunisian Simple Stitch Intarsia by BethinTX1 (I've subscribed to her channel). Beth is a really talented lady and I like her even more because she's in Texas like me!!

Here is my petroglyph man. My yarn is fluffy navajo churro and my design looks a little rustic and I'm fine with that. I've figured out the technique and made him into a little wall hanging with tassels as a homemade holiday souvenir.

For further details of the CAL, read my blog post Ten Tunisian Crochet Tips, search for #tccTunisianCal on Instagram and see the finished objects thread on the Crochet Circle Podcast Ravelry group. Can't wait for the next new technique!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cunnington Farms, Moab, Utah - a farm tour

At spring break I visited Moab, Utah and the wonderful yarn store Desert Thread there (see last week's blog post for my yarn store review). I had a good squish of the yarn from locally raised sheep, as you do. I fell in love with the natural colors (so, so beautiful) and even though the yarn is not soft I decided a holiday shopping splurge was appropriate and to make an outwear garment of some kind. I selected a gray brown almost purple sage DK weight Tunis blend which Cathy, the sweet owner, told me was the farmer's "proud" yarn.

The next afternoon we went hunting for the sheep that my yarn came from and were lucky to find the farmer at home at Cunnington Farms. She gave us a lengthy impromptu tour of all 55 (!!) of her sheep, telling us she likes to proselytize. Apparently you need a lot of land to graze sheep, more than she had, so her well-mannered gentlemen were kept in pens and her lovely ladies in pasture with an alpaca and a rare guanaco on guard against packs of dogs, coyotes and the occasional mountain lion. She was incredibly knowledge and I did a poor job of trying to take down all the information and photos on my phone until I got an error message that my device was overheating. Next time I'll arrive prepared with notepad and pencil!


Tunis are "red-heads" with red-gold faces and legs and ivory-colored fleece, matching the red rock of the Utah scenery perfectly. A pair of Tunis sheep were imported to the US in the late 1700s from Tunisia as a gift to George Washington from the Bey of Tunis. By the late 18th / early 19th century a recognizable breed emerged and lived in six southern states. The breed were almost entirely wiped out during the Civil War. The sheep pictured here descend from the survivors, a single flock in South Carolina. They are currently on the Livestock Conservancy watch list. We visited five days from shearing day so the sheep are all wonderfully shaggy. Below is a mixed group of ladies with the Tunis on the right with the smaller red head. And you can see the vigilant alpaca on the left.

Cunnington Farms has an extremely informative website if you'd like to read more. Potential purchasers are given an option to stay on the farm to see which sheep suit which has me day-dreaming again of being a farmer, see my earlier article: Dreams of an alpaca farm  One day perhaps! I've put a few more photos on a Cunnington Farms Sheep Pinterest Board if you want to see more sheep.