Hello, how are you?! I’m fine. Just squeezing it all and getting in a flap as usual. Episode 60! Sixty episodes of my daft crochet podcast! Who would have thought it?! I am still loving every minute of it though and I hope you enjoy it too! Thank you so much for hanging out with me.
All my vids (both podcasts and tutorials) are HERE on YouTube. Links and pics to things I chat about in this episode are below.
This is the Lorax Scarf. Made as an experiment for some soft merino yarn that the yarn company, Rico sent me a few months ago. The project evolved into something else. There wasn’t going to be enough yarn to make the kind of scarf I like (proper warm and snuggly) so I prepared for a major stash dive. There is a mix of all sorts in this but still only eight colours. Scrutinise it and you’ll see they’re all slightly different shades and different yarn weights. You know what? No one ever looks that closely!
As there were so many lovely comments about this scarf over on Instagram and YouTube, I thought it would be nice to make it into a proper pattern to release. There is a download available to buy on Ravelry in both UK and US terms and I’ll do the usual 20 % discount for the next couple of weeks (let’s say until mid September). The pattern has all the info you need: written pattern, chart (hand drawn this time – speedier than software), pics, table to show colour rows etc. I also included a couple of other suggestions as to how you could use this pretty eyelet chevron stitch.
I can’t claim to have come up with the name myself. One rather splendid podcast viewer said it reminded them of Dr Seuss’s The Lorax and I have to say, I agree!! So it couldn’t really be called anything else, the colours were just too similar and before I knew it, it was The Lorax!
I do hope you like it. And don’t forget to let me know if you make it. Cheers. x
I have a new mug and it’s crochet related!! Huzzah! I also have some other new goodies too. I do hope you want to hear about them because I’m going to tell you how I got them! (yep, I have been gifted them for freeeeee in exchange for this totally open, sincere review… And good vibes).
In June I met Heather from Keep Calm and Carry On UK, a UK based crochet blogger. We were both attending The Crochet Sanctuary and it was fabulous to get to chat to another crochet designer for a whole weekend! (that’s another story, involving ghosts and balloons, if I ever get to writing it down). Not too long ago Heather set up Dear Ewe, an online shop dedicated to the sort of bits and bobs that are perfect gifts for craft enthusiasts. I’d been lusting after a crochet chart mug since Christmas but Father Christmas didn’t bring me one, booo. However, it seems Christmas has come early this year because just before Granny Square Day, I got a message from Heather to say a parcel was in the post with lots of goodies in it! Whaaat?!! I saw the email in the evening and the following morning the postman knocked at my door.
The first thing I did was tear open the box to get to my new granny mug but that wasn’t all that was in the box! I had no idea I was going to get such a treat! I also got lots of quality postcards with beautifully designed quotes written upon them (I got two packs of those so I’m putting one aside as part of a giveaway that I’ll probably do on my next Crochet Podcast.) I also got the best bag! It’s a huuuuge canvas tote with crochet charts printed on it. It’s proper sturdy too and I’ve already been lugging my wips about in it over the last few days. How lucky am I?!?
Let me say more about the mug. Oh, how wonderful it is! Perfectly timed too as within a day or so of it arriving I broke my favourite Pendle witch mug (this might be karma at work, I’m not sure)… I don’t think this one will break quite so easily, Heather sources her mugs from the World Capital of Ceramics!! (that’s Stoke on Trent). And the print is not going to go anywhere either, that chart is not going to come off in the wash. I’m sat here at my desk with my lush new mug, filled to the brim with hot tea. I am a happy woman.
Of course, I popped over to the shop to see what was new and there’s loads of stuff there. There are a couple of smaller project bags that I have my eye on, lovely greetings cards and lots of other mug designs too, all of which go beyond crochet. If you’re a different sort of crafter there is something for you too, so whether you’re a knitter or an embroiderer you are catered for. And the crochet patterns are pretty cute as well.
Buying from a small business means the world to the person that created it. Until Sunday the 8th of September I have a super secret code offering you a 10% discount over on Dear Ewe. The code: ZEENS10. You’ve got just over a week, so you’d better get moving!
I was at a NYE party, playing ping pong in the garden of some friends (we also played table football and darts but it wasn’t a weird, sport based party and it’s not that relevant to the hook story at all). When it wasn’t my turn to badly flail a bat about, I wandered into the workshop/garage that’s in the garden. Spying tools, bits of wood and things made out of the wood, I dared to ask if I might have help to create a handmade crochet hook. Don’t you just love the idea of making a tool by hand, that is in turn, used to create handmade things?! I’d seen lots of beautiful wooden hooks on Instagram so I knew it could be done. You can look for hashtags like #woodencrochethooks or #crochethooks and they pop up.
It was just a fleeting request rather than a full on conversation, nevertheless, a couple of weeks after New Year, the first hook turned up. Several weeks later, after lots of going back and forth with design ideas we felt confident that we had cracked it. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe how many different shapes, lengths, angles, types of wood we went through to learn what came out best! During this process, I got to learn about woodwork, and Paul (whose hobby is woodwork) learned a bit about crochet. I think we’ve both learned where our strengths are. This is what we’ve worked out: I’ll stick to crochet and he’ll stick to woodwork.
However, it’s quite addictive and I do like to try new things. I break a lot of sticks trying to make the perfect hook, I’ve broken myself too (blisters! ouch! knife cuts! ouch!). I really should leave the hook making to Paul though. I’ll play with wool.
And so, that is how we became Kirk & Roger, a little side line for us both. It’s really good fun!
It has been a while since I’ve worked with someone else. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it. It’s good to discuss ideas and see how new ventures come out of those discussions. It hadn’t occurred to me that we could sell the hooks we made, that was Paul’s idea. I was just thinking of myself and my own hook collection, which to be honest, isn’t much of a surprise!!
We both have different favourites when it comes to the hook designs. I like whittled ones and Paul likes them turned. This is good because it means there are lots to choose from. I don’t see why we need to restrict it to one or the other. They’re completely handmade so it is impossible to make the same hook twice. Whether it’s whittled, turned or a bit of both, each and every one is unique.
We’re learning that smaller sizes are the most popular but they’re trickier and more time consuming to make.
The wood we use is locally sourced. Sometimes directly from our own gardens here in Devon. The very first whittled hook was made from the quince bush that grows in my garden. Apparently quince is a good choice as it’s very hard. An Insta friend called Sarah saw this and we arranged a meet up for tea and cake (we might not have had cake actually, but perhaps we ought to have done). She very generously brought along a car boot full of quince for us [your hook is being made, Sarah!]. I believe it’s the same for most fruit trees, so it’s a good job we also had a bag of apple tree branches donated.
These things take time, you can’t use green wood so we’ve been waiting for everything to dry out a bit. Now that this is happening we’re working on a new batch of hooks that we hope to have in the Etsy shop in a couple of weeks or so.
The turned ones can be made from reclaimed bits of furniture and such. Where possible we will recycle materials to give them a new life.
Each hook is made by Paul into a mostly finished hook, it is then passed to me to crochet with. I’ll decide what needs to be done to make it the best it can be, I then pass it back for tweaking, sanding etc. This process happens at least twice because we want each hook to be perfect. Once that’s done, there are a minimum of three coats of stuff called tung oil that get applied. The oil makes the hook smooth and it also adds strength. Phew! It’s quite a process!
This tutorial is based on a granny square bag I made a couple of years ago. The original blog post can be found HERE. There are lots of details in that post that will be super useful. However, it is a slightly different version. I’ve made this new one a bit less fussy.
There are two videos. The one above is how to put the bag together. The one below is how to make the Join As You Go Grannies. I start by making a granny square and then at the time stamp of 5.25 I begin to join them together.
Please see below for some accompanying pictures…
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