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The Shinybees Knitting and Yarn Podcast

Updated 3 days ago

Rank #46 in Hobbies category

Arts
Design
Leisure
Hobbies
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The podcast for those who like their knitting, yarn and comedy in equally large measures. Hosted by UK knitter Jo Milmine, there are regular interviews with all your favourite designers and dyers. Get the latest knitting news, yarn and pattern book reviews, show updates along with local yarn shop visits and knitting related travel. Business minded? Enjoy the interviews with knitting and yarn entrepreneurs for top tips and inspiration on making it in the industry. Enjoy the finest funny knitting pattern 'picks' that Ravelry has to offer.

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The podcast for those who like their knitting, yarn and comedy in equally large measures. Hosted by UK knitter Jo Milmine, there are regular interviews with all your favourite designers and dyers. Get the latest knitting news, yarn and pattern book reviews, show updates along with local yarn shop visits and knitting related travel. Business minded? Enjoy the interviews with knitting and yarn entrepreneurs for top tips and inspiration on making it in the industry. Enjoy the finest funny knitting pattern 'picks' that Ravelry has to offer.

iTunes Ratings

70 Ratings
Average Ratings
60
5
1
2
2

Love your podcast

By Flag1976 - May 14 2018
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I’m a new knitter and I really enjoyed this podcast!

Yes, ma'am!

By djinnee - May 11 2018
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What a funny, irreverent, informative lark!

iTunes Ratings

70 Ratings
Average Ratings
60
5
1
2
2

Love your podcast

By Flag1976 - May 14 2018
Read more
I’m a new knitter and I really enjoyed this podcast!

Yes, ma'am!

By djinnee - May 11 2018
Read more
What a funny, irreverent, informative lark!

Listen to:

Cover image of The Shinybees Knitting and Yarn Podcast

The Shinybees Knitting and Yarn Podcast

Updated 3 days ago

Read more

The podcast for those who like their knitting, yarn and comedy in equally large measures. Hosted by UK knitter Jo Milmine, there are regular interviews with all your favourite designers and dyers. Get the latest knitting news, yarn and pattern book reviews, show updates along with local yarn shop visits and knitting related travel. Business minded? Enjoy the interviews with knitting and yarn entrepreneurs for top tips and inspiration on making it in the industry. Enjoy the finest funny knitting pattern 'picks' that Ravelry has to offer.

Ep 131 - How To Get The Most From A Knitting Show

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Got yarn show plans for 2019? Are you a show veteran? or have you never been to a show? Somewhere in between?

In this episode I share some top tips for getting the most out of attending yarn shows, including where to find which ones are happening. Looking at why you want to attend (social, shopping, work or a mixture) can help you to narrow down the wide range of options available these days and ensure you get the best experience.

On the shopping side, it's worth saving up if possible, so you have a kitty of money to spend at the show. This can help with planning and budgeting. Some people collect £2 coins all year for instance. Make a list of what you want to make, and consult the stash to see where the gaps are. Once you know what the requirements are, make a list of what you need to get in terms of yardages and weights. This will mean you don't need to find wifi to look it up at a busy show stand and can have the information easily to hand.

Having a priority route planned out can help with avoiding distractions. Check out the guide online in advance of the event so you know where you need to go and in what order.

On the social side, definitely make sure you have made firm plans with anyone you definitely want to see. If you say you will 'see them there' there is every chance you won't because it is busy and full of yarn fumes. Fit in coffee breaks with catch ups and save money by getting a group airbnb if staying over. If your budget is a little bigger, you might decide to travel to a show in Europe and stay only for the day or just one night as an alternative to staying at a longer UK show, so you get a different experience.

Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/131

Music for this episode by Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink' with kind permission.

Jan 15 2019

38mins

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Episode 2: Stop. Bunny Time!

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This week we take a turn around Kwa-Zulu Natal and visit Durban and Swaziland. There is food in the form of the Bunny Chow, weddings in the snow and a trip to Ngwenya Glass. There is the usual on and off the needles section in Wippin' Piccadilly and the South Africa section is spread across the whole episode. Finally, there is a review of the International Quilting Convention Africa before Marlaw plays us out with 'Missing My Baby (Pii Pii)'.

Full shownotes and links can be found, as always, at http://shinybees.wordpress.com.

Aug 23 2012

49mins

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Episode 106: Colour Work Challenge

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Who likes Angel Delight? This week's episode is definitely on the delight end of the pudding scale as opposed to a seven tier unicorn cake and that's often a good thing. It's a low tariff canter and catch up with no big questions asked or answered and instead we have some light and fluffy as air fun. In community news, I invite you to come and join the #shinybeescolourworkchallenge  over in the Facebook group and try your hand at some stranded knitting. If knitting with more than one colour has been intimidating to you in the past, now's the time to cast that aside and give it a crack. There will be helpful hints and tips posted in the group throughout the month and the occasional Shetland Pony in Fair Isle. Obvs.

In Enabler's Corner I enable you to two not quite yarny but definitely fun (depends on your version of fun for the latter, but I like it) things to try. First up we have the delightfully witty Amy Nolan of Ginger Rainbow who does the most fantastic illustrations and doodles. She's very witty and manages to bring situational humour out in her quirky drawings. I am a big fan. Secondly, we have #hotelroomview, the fun adventures of working on the road and seeing a lot of hotel rooms, hosted by the wonderful Bexx. It really shouldn't be that exciting or gripping, but there is something about these hotel room views that has captured my imagination. It's a bit like looking at house porn on Rightmove.

In Wippin' Piccadilly, I have finished Helen Stewart's Spindrift Shawl and the Everyday Brew by Clare Devine. I'm never knitting with black yarn again. Future/fantasy knit searching has taken me to the Prism hat by Tin Can Knits which is part of the Mad Colour collection which was released in August. This versatile pattern gives oodles of opportunity for creating a one-of-a-kind hat, and is really more like three patterns in one. Also catching my eye from this collection is 1999, a sweater with a masculine lace (that's a thing) panel down the front. The collection itself comprises 16 patterns and is available from Ravelry for $21.60 USD.

Shownotes for this episode are at www.shinybees.com

Music is by Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need A Drink.'

Feb 07 2017

33mins

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Shinybees Podcast Promo

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This is the promo for the Shinybees podcast and gives a quick overview of what we're all about!

Aug 18 2012

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Episode 12 - Out and About at Yarndale

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This week sees Jo joined by special guest stars Nic and Aimee from Yarns From The Plain and KnitSpinCake podcasts. A break from the usual schow format, we discuss all things Yarndale. Mistly, we talk about Stuff Nic Bought. Prepare to be enabled! Shownotes at www.shinybees.com.

Sep 29 2013

45mins

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Ep 114 - Yarn Snob

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Yarn Snob. For some it's worn as a badge of honour and for others, it's the worst thing in the world, but what exactly is a yarn snob?

There was (unsurprisingly) no dictionary definition for yarn snob, so I looked up both words individually to arrive at the following: Yarn Snob noun - A person who believes that their tastes in spun thread used for knitting, weaving or sewing are superior to those of other people. I looked far and wide to come up with 6, gusting 7 different types of yarn snob, and I'm looking for your help to get that up to a solid ten types. In no particular order... 1) Acrylic Yarn Snob. Would rather be found face down in a pool of their own urine than knit with acrylic.  2) Novelty Yarn Snob. May or may not embrace the acrylic but would definitely not se seen working with eyelash yarn, tinsel yarn, fun fur, pom pom yarn or any other novelty type yarn.  (These people are missing out on a major joy of life - tinsel yarn. Ed.) 3) Indie/Hand Dyed Snob. If a real person they know hasn't sweated on or broken their back over it, they don't want to know. Machine dyed yarn is the work of satan himself. 4) Luxury Fibre Snob. They won't even knit with a 75/25 Merino/Nylon if it is hand dyed - it's cashmere, alpaca, baby camel and silk all the way here.  5) The Trendy Name Snob. This is the artist formerly known as Wollmeise circa 2012, when people would full up brawl to get their hands on it. Back then, it was the yarn to have (current comparable: La Bien Aimee). They won't use anything that has had its jour. 6) Price Snob. Don't care what it's made from as long as it's stupidly expensive. 7)* The Confused Yarn Snob/ Yarn Swinger. Likes your luxury and hand dyed but also vocal about love for tinsel yarn. Swings all ways when it comes to yarn; doesn't like to save the love for one subset. Do you identify with any of these? Any more you'd like to offer to get us to ten?  Full show notes for this episode are at www.shinybees.com/114

Jun 23 2018

29mins

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Ep130 - Daria Rakowski of Cloud 9 Fiberworks

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Daria Rakowski is our guest today to discuss widely varying subjects from eyelash yarn merkins(!) to an overview of the Canadian yarn industry.

Daria is the creative genius behind Cloud 9 Fiberworks, and is based in Winnipeg in Canada. Originally indulging in her love of yarn as a child, she would often be found under the table in her Aunt's yarn shop in Winnipeg, untangling balls of yarn. Still an aficionado of vintage yarns from the period, she also produces hand dyed yarns, both on custom blended yarns just for her as well as on more commercially available yarns for hand dyeing.

Daria takes her inspiration from many places. A lot of her yarns have a nod to fantasy and sci fi (with Star Trek and Harry Potter being two of the bigger influences) and she also draws on random ideas, such as suggestions from customers or other inspiration.

In this episode we also discussed the Canadian market at depth, with regard to what is available to dye onto both commercially and as custom spins. The mills in Canada are few and even fewer are capable of handling long staple fibres. Although there is a great climate for growing wool and fibre in the country, it doesn't necessarily translate to the ability to process these fibres. Also, the market is split into little 'islands' - there is so much geographical distance between groups, that it can be hard to both find breed yarns to try and be brave enough to do it.

Daria had her own yarn commissioned which was a blend of merino, Shetland and Gotland from local farmers, into a singles, fingering weight yarn.

Full show notes for this episode and all links are at www.shinybees.com/130

Jan 08 2019

45mins

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Ep129 - Knitting Trends for 2019

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What will be the five big trends for knitting in 2019?

In this episode I share what I think will be the five top trends for the hand knitting world in 2019. Based on what has gone prior and general observation of content and social media, I have picked out the following as things to watch. 1) Intarsia - we've seen brioche come and get overcooked and 2018 was definitely the year of the colour work yoked sweater. Intarsia is the next logical step in this progression for me. Bonus: Beads will be big in 2020/1 I reckon. 2) More Commercial Yarns - people will be combining hand dyed with more off-the-shelf, mass produced yarns in classic palettes and colours to tone down the speckled crazy.

3) More Emphasis on Knitting What You Have - not stashing down or cold shipping necessarily (they get done and abandoned every year) but a growing awareness of impact and sustainability generally. This will expand to knitting and encourage people to use what they have over wanton procurement.

4) Purchasing One-Offs - buying will focus more on the luxury, one-off and single farm type yarns that are special, over mass buying of run-of-the-mill yarns.

5) The Death of the One Skein Shawl - both designers and knitters will abandon this mid 2000-teen trend in favour of multi-skein mega shawls along the lines of the fades.

What are your predictions for 2019?

Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/129

Dec 28 2018

29mins

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Episode 7: Catch Up

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Welcome (0:25)

Hello and welcome to the show notes for Episode 7 of the Shinybees podcast: Catch up. This is the first episode since the Podcaster hangout with Martine from iMake, Amanda from Craftlife and Laura from Apocalyptic Diner. The audio for the show is Episode 50 of the iMake Podcast or you can watch the video here. There is some lamenting on pregnancy old wives tales and inappropriate belly touching.

Thongman is going to be making a guest appearance on the podcast, and I am taking questions for him via email, Twitter or Ravelry. I am enjoying the Africa series on BBC1 at the moment.

I was the proud winner of a £5 voucher for the fabulous Flamboyance Yarns. Check out my favourite colour way: Box of Crayons.

In the shout out, I mentioned the ‘White and Colourful’ projects by Suuf. Go and check them out!

Hi to Barb and Tracie from the 2 Knit Lit Chicks podcast, who kindly played my promo in Ep 35. They have been on my list to download for ages and are a great listen.

Wippin’ Piccadilly (14:48)

Only one finished object, miraculously – Adam’s Hat. This is a hat for the new Shiny baby, which I finally guilt tripped myself into making. The pattern and yarn are both by Nurturing Fibres. The Stripe Study by Veera Valimaki has been frogged and will remain in exile for now. Damask is back from hibernation so I can try my new Chiaogoo Red Lace needles. Owls by Kate Davis is still ongoing but has not received any attention as I won’t fit into it for some time yet! The Mielie socks made a special guest appearance on the Podcaster Hangout, one is complete and the other is in the middle of having the heel turned. Finally for the knitting, I cast on a cardigan for the baby, just an ordinaryKing Cole pattern.

Sewing wise, I mentioned the fabric I used for the apron in the Caithness Craft Collective apron swap. I also have made a raft of baby aprons for The Beast from cotton, using a pattern I designed myself. At sewing class, I have been working on a hooded top, as well as some pajamas and a dressing gown for HBM.

South Africa (29:40)

We travel to Robben Island World Heritage Site to learn about political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela.

Wrap-up (36:05)

Thanks very much for joining me again. If you would like to get in touch, I am Shinybees on Ravelry and Twitter, you can leave a comment here on the blog or email me at shinybeesinfo@gmail.com.

Jan 20 2013

37mins

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Episode 105: Knitting As More Than Just Craft

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Knitting: Is it *just* knitting? Or is it more than that? That's what we are going to be exploring today and in future episodes is how knitting transcends just being handiwork and becomes something much bigger. Today that's going to be using the Pussy Hat Project as an example. This is not a political rant episode, it's about using this case study (yes, I am a Geographer) to understand how knitting can spark change and allow people to be heard on a wider level. In community news, I'm inviting you to join the new Facebook group - Shinybees Podcast Community. There's loads of chat going on in there about podcast stuff and knitting, Use the Facebook Groups App to avoid having the rest of the Facebook guff making your phone go. 

Big goal for this year is 1,000,000 downloads for the podcast. I hope you'll all join me in reaching this target and I'll have lots of info for you about how to make that happen. Lastly a shoutout for 5647rhats45 for a lovely iTunes review.  Knitting as more than craft is the topic of the chat this week and I'm pulling apart the Pussy Hat Project from a technical/case study perspective. I am staying well away from passing political comment as to my own personal views, so if you are sick of hearing about it, I hope you will still find this useful. There are lessons to be learned around the idea of knitting as more than craft and how we achieve change through the medium of knitting. For those not aware, the Pussy Hat Project aims to provide the people of the Women's March on Washington DC a means to make a unique collective visual statement, which will help activists be better heard. It also aims to provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and support women's rights.

Whether or not you agree with the politics of this project, there are lessons: power of a community gathered around a common aim; ability to inspire and motivate people to take part; accessibility to new crafters; creation of new connections within the project; the sheer logistical effort involved in managing a project to create and distribute 1.2 million pink hats.

In Enablers' Corner, I enable you to the Not Seen Before MKAL which starts on 31st January 2017. This is part of the Sight is Life project (and collection) which raises funds to support a facility in the DRC who conduct sight saving and restoring operations. Show notes are at shinybees.com Music for this episode is Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink'.

Jan 20 2017

32mins

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Episode 50: Strictly No Baby Nudity - An Interview With Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits and Rainbow Heirloom

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This week we welcome the fabulous Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits and Rainbow Heirloom yarns to the show to chat about all things yarny. Max and Bodhi's Wardrobe will be available in print copy from 11 June 2015 and Emily and Alexa have very kindly offered a giveaway which will be hosted on the Shinybees Ravelry group.

Emily came to knitting whilst studying Architecture in Western Canada and met her business partner, Alexa Ludeman whilst they were both working at their LYS. Emily now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and seriosuly cute son, Max, who was half the duo who inspired Max and Bodhi's Wardrobe (Bodhi being Alexa's daughter). When not designing for Tin Can Knits, Emily also hand dyes at Rainbow Heirloom. In this interview, she talks in depth about her design process and the influences she draws upon, as well as giving some great advice for those looking to get into the industry.

Shownotes as always can be found on the blog at www.shinybees.com. Emily Wessel can be found at www.tincanknits.com and www.rainbowheirloom.com.

Jun 09 2015

37mins

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Episode 69: Man Socks

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Male knitter? Want to knit socks for the man in your life? Rachel Coopey joins me this week to discuss the finer points of knitting for men, particularly in the sock department.

There's also a Q&A with Alice Elsworth of Whistlebare Yarns in Northumberland, who keeps a flock of her own Angora Goats and produces yarns from their own animals, which she hand dyes on the farm. 

The details of the #beadalong are announced. Cast on is 16th November at 8:30pm GMT, live on Periscope (@Shinybees) and the end date is 10th January 2016. Three patterns for knitted beaded shawls have been nominated in the thread in the Ravelry group along with one crocheted section. You can choose any beaded project you like, though, if none of these patterns work for you. Use #beadalong on social media so we can all follow each others' progress. Sign up in the thread on Ravelry.

Show notes as always are at www.shinybees.com.

Music is provided by Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need A Drink'.

Nov 09 2015

1hr 14mins

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Episode 78 - What to Knit in 2016

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Time to own up to my knitting goals for 2016 after the chat last week about goal setting. I'm planning to knit 4 garments - Owligan by Kate Daves, Mallorn by Ann Kingstone, Lush by Tin Can Knits (again! x 2 perhaps!) and Raindrops, also by Tin Can Knits. If you're fretting about stash or just have ambitions of making it feel under control, or indeed you just want to start the year off by loving what you have, check out Curious Handmade's Stash Appreciation Month. 

Join our virtual knit night by becoming a patron of the podcast at www.patreon.com/shinybees

In Enabler's Corner, I direct you to listen to episode 34 of this podcast with Kate Davies. Kate Davies Designs has just been announced as a finalist in the UK Microbusiness of the Year Awards. Amazing stuff. Being a knitting business does not mean it isn't a 'proper' business and Kate has some great words of advice for those looking to start out in the industry, as well as some stellar banter about rhino bums.

The Beadalong has come to a close and I draw your attention to some wonderful projects that have come out of the KAL/CAL. Stay tuned for the next group fun.

Finally I introduce to you the dyers for the Winter quarter of The Golden Skein's Power of 3 yarn club. Go and check out Samantha of Scrumptious Purl in Canada, Helen of Ripplescrafts in the Scottish Highlands and Ana of Toil & Trouble in Salem, Mass. There are no spares available but you can find out more and join the club at www.thegoldenskein.com/clubs. Signups close 26th January.

Show notes are at www.shinybees.com

Music for this episode is Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink'.

Jan 19 2016

50mins

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Episode 15: Swans, Clowns and Unicorns

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This episode has more than its fair share of swans, clowns and unicorns. There is a quick catchup of news and a brief intro to my new abde in Fife. A large section is dedicated to PodRetreat and there is a giveaway associated with this. Finally, the pattern pick this week focuses on Unicorns.

Mar 02 2014

43mins

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Episode 61: Hat Architect - An Interview with Woolly Wormhead

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Hat mania descends upon the podcast this week as I welcome hat architect Woolly Wormhead to the show. Woolly is a knitting designer who is obsessed with all things hat. Author of 8 books dedicated to all things hats, she delights in exploring the extremeties to which you can take the humber hat. Drawing on her background as an engineer and Fine Art student, she focuses on the sculptural aspects of hat design.

She's a hat architect and she'd like you to be too.

You can find Woolly, her patterns, blog and links to her social media at www.woollywormhead.com

This episode is sponsored by Yarn In The City. For more information visit www.yarninthecity.com

Shownotes are at www.shinybees.com

Music for this episode is courtesy of Music Alley and is Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink'.

Aug 25 2015

50mins

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Episode 58: Cast On! An Interview with Brenda Dayne

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This week I’m delighted to welcome podcasting legend Brenda Dayne to the show. Voice of the Cast On podcast, Brenda has taught throughout the UK and US in venues large and small, as well as at festivals across the US. Cast On has been downloaded over 2.5 million times since it started in 2005. Brenda lives in rural Wales with her partner, Tonia, and drives fast cars with her knitty partner in crime, Caerthan Wrack. When they’re not cooking up indigo dyed mischief, Brenda also organises the Gwlana Retreats in West Wales.

This episode is sponsored by Yarn in The City. For more details visit www.yarninthecity.com

Shownotes are at www.shinybees.com.

Music for this episode is provided via Music Alley courtesy of Adam and the Walter Boys with "I Need a Drink".

Aug 04 2015

1hr 3mins

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Episode 84: Yarns From The Plain - An Interview with Nic Rudd

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Nic Rudd, dyer behind Yarns From the Plain and voice of the popular podcast of the same name is our guest this week on the show.

Based on the Cheshire Plain in north-west England, Nic began her career as an industrial chemist working in the nuclear industry, before moving into what could be considered an equally hazardous environment as a primary school teacher. Having been curious about dyeing for some time, she began to sell her excess stock at local guild meetings, before taking the leap into it as a business, alongside studying for an HNC at Bradford.

A fan of all things British, her yarns are no exception and you can find some interesting blends amongst the Stanley range, which is available in 5 weights.

She has lots of tips for making business work that she freely shares, along with her unbridled passion for Microsoft Excel.

Listeners can get a juicy 15% discount in the Yarns From The Plain shop with the code SHINY15.

You can find Nic and links to all her social media, as well as the blog and podcast at www.yarnsfromtheplain.co.uk.

Show notes are at www.shinybees.com

You can become a Patron of the podcast and join our Virtual Knit Night at www.patreon.com/shinybees

Music is by Adam and the Walter Boys and is 'I Need a Drink'

Mar 08 2016

1hr 6mins

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Episode 90: Curious Handmade - An Interview With Helen Stewart

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This week I am pleased to welcome the lovely Helen Stewart onto the show. Designer and voice of the award winning Curious Handmade podcast. 

Originally from Australia, Helen is quite the nomad and loves travelling. She began designing when she moved to London. It was a part-time venture for a while, until after he second daughter was born. Having become increasingly unhappy in her corporate role and keen to create a situation where she could have flexibility to be with her girls, she took the big leap into designing as a business at the end of 2013. She launched the Curious Handmade podcast around that time and has hosted the weekly show ever since.

She finds inspiration for her designs in many ways but most frequently whilst travelling. High points of her journey have been winning an award for her show, as well as having the opportunity to meet so many interesting and influential people.

You can find everything about Helen at curioushandmade.com and her podcast is on iTunes and Stitcher.

Show notes are at www.shinybees.com

Music is 'I Need a Drink' by Adam and the Walter Boys.

Apr 19 2016

43mins

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Episode 70: An Interview with Boo Knits

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This week I am delighted to welcome beaded shawl design maven and all round lovely lady Bev, aka Boo Knits to the show. Having long been a fan of Bev's aesthetic, I knitted the Shawl of Awesome for the NMEU UK Podcasters' Awards from one of her patterns, Out Of Darkness

Boo Knits patterns are the perfect choice for those who want to create a complicated-looking shawl with minimal effort. Simple and easy to follow - even for a beginner - there are a variety of shawls which would make perfect first beaded projects. One of Bev's designs, Be With You, is one of the featured patterns for the #Beadalong, starting on 18th Nov 2015 over on Ravelry.

Bev encourages you all to knit only with yarn you truly love. Warning: contains enabling.

You can find Boo Knits primarily on Ravelry, where there is a very active and welcoming group to get involved with.

Show notes are at www.shinybees.com

Music for this episode is courtesy of Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink'.

Nov 12 2015

50mins

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Episode 68 - Socks, Yeah! An Interview with Rachel Coopey

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Rachel Coopey is our guest of honour in this episode. Rachel is a British knitwear designer and author, with somewhat of a penchant for socks, having written three books on the subject. Also fond of accessories, she has designed for a number of UK and overseas knitting magazines and publications. Her most recent book, Toasty 2, was launched at Yarndale 2015 and is a collection of patterns in Baa Ram Ewe's Titus yarn.

You can find Rachel at www.coopknits.co.uk.

Show notes are at www.shinybees.com.

Music for this episode is by Adam and the Walter Boys and is 'I Need a Drink'.

Oct 27 2015

48mins

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Ep 136 - Yarn Advent Calendars aka What to Knit With A Load of Mini Skeins

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Yarn Advent Calendars have become increasingly popular in the past couple of years as a more fibre-orientated alternative to the traditional chocolate.

Often, a kit that is specially made by an indie dyer will come with a pattern for the yarn. But what if you don't like it, or you don't have the spare cash to splash on a pre-made kit?

Lots of knitters like to create their own version of the yarn advent calendar by making up small balls or mini-skeins of yarn (or using mini-skein sets acquired elsewhere). Informal kal or swap groups can be found on Instagram or Ravelry, should one wish to engage in a little yarn exchange. This can add a fun element to collecting together yarn and knitting it into an advent pattern. Frankensocks have certainly been popular as an advent pattern, and they are what I have seen most during informal Insta-browsing.

But - there are a host of other patterns springing up which aim to provide a canvas to showcase the advent calendars. Naturally, these can also be used for DIY advent calendars or using up scraps. This episode covers 7 pattern suggestions for scarves, bits, cowls and hats to make good use of your scraps and yarn advent calendars.

Full show notes are at www.shinybees.com/136

Dec 10 2019

33mins

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Hat In A Weekend

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This week’s episode is inspired by a recent decision I made to try and knit a hat in a weekend. This was partly prompted by a sudden ten degree drop in temperature here (doesn’t a chill in the air make you want to cast on all the things?) and inspired me to look for a nice, easy pattern. The hat is complete, and I’ve also picked out another four potential hat in a weekend patterns for you to take a look at, in case you feel the need to cast on this weekend.

First up is a bit of news, and I’d like to shout out all the people who have emailed or messaged me since episode 134 was released, expressing their delight at me being back behind the mic. It is truly appreciated, so I hope you won’t mind indulging me in saying thanks to them. It is easy to forget that it isn’t just me, sat in a bedroom, talking to no-one; there are literally thousands and thousands of listeners worldwide. I’m very grateful to each and every one of you, even if you only listen to one episode ever. Thank you!

In other news, I was contacted by a listener of the show, @Zencrafter2 on Twitter is undertaking a challenge leading up to her 50th birthday on 7th December 2020. After hearing about the Knit A Square project, she has decided to try and make 500 squares to donate to the project. That’s over 1 a day – amazing! Let’s all encourage her along (or join in if you wish over on Twitter – her handle is @Zencrafter2.

In other news, I’ve had several requests for some stories from here and a bit of armchair travel. As such, in this episode I share my endeavours to learn Mandarin. I’ve always (up until now) been quite good at languages – or Germanic languages, anyway. Chinese is proving to be a bit more challenging than either of those. I struggle to hear the tones of the language, which is a pretty fundamental part of being able to understand and speak it. There are four tones and two of them sound the same to me, which makes me worry about saying a word and getting the tone wrong and actually saying something rude by mistake! I’ve learned how to say ‘steamed bun’ and can order beer and soda water, but otherwise my vocabulary is limited to words associated with yoga (more on that in another episode) and some very specific work-related words that will be of no use to me in everyday conversations. I am really keen to be able to talk to people here (who are extremely friendly) as well as generally understand what is going on. I would imagine this is what illiteracy is like, as I can’t read Chinese either. It’s hard, but I am determined to be better and not just do the lazy English speaker thing.

I’ve picked out 5 pattern suggestions for knitting a hat in a weekend. These are in thicker yarns with straightforward patterns for maximum speed and satisfaction. Tag me with your projects if you decide to get involved with this or hashtag it up with #hatinaweekend. The first pattern is the one I have knitted, Classic Beanie by Woolly Wormhead. I interviewed Woolly in Episode 61 and encourage you to listen to it. I chose this pattern as I really liked the way the ribs herringboned together as they reached the crown. It’s a free pattern for worsted weight yarn on 4.5mm needles, with multiple sizes. I’m knitting it in Morris & Co Empire 10 ply in the colourway Absinthe. You can download it from Ravelry here. The next suggestion is the Classic Cuffed Hat by Purl Soho. Again, this is a free pattern for a basic worsted weight beanie, the classic design with a bobble on top. It’s really straightforward no-thinking-required knitting and the simple pattern allows for lots of playing around with yarns. Most dye styles will work with this pattern. You can find the pattern here. Swirlwind by Nicole Vanderlee is a worsted weight toque with a ribbed brim and a swirling slipped stitch pattern on the body. It’s a padi pattern at CAN $6.00 and is available from Ravelry. This pattern affords some experimentation room in terms of yarns; it will look great with solids and variegateds alike. The colour changes in the variegated yarns will pop on the slipped stitches. Likewise, striped yarns look great, especially if the same colour is always slipped, as this creates an almost brioche looking effect. Slef striping yarns would also work well. You can purchase the pattern on Ravelry here. The Tchaikovsky Hat by Helen Stewart is next on the list ad this pattern is taken from Knitvent 2017. If you aren’t already familiar with Knitvent, it’s an annual collection of gift knitting pattern that Helen produces each October/November, usually around a theme. The theme for 2017 was The Nutcracker, and you can either buy the pattern separately at £5.34 or as part of the 6 pattern collection at £15.54 here on Ravelry. It’s a DK weight hat, with a ribbed brim and a simple repeating textured stitch pattern, that adds interest for the knitter without it being too ‘out there’ texture-wise for a gift recipient. You can find Helen’s podcast, Curious Handmade, on all podcatchers and at Curious Handmade, and you can listen to her interview on this podcast in Episode 90. Finally we have A Useful Diversion by Elizabeth Felgate. This is a paid pattern (£3.70) doe a deep cuffed 3x3 rib hat with a textured stitch pattern that runs (or diverts) around the body of the hat. It’s described as being just enough to be a useful diversion for the knitter and I think it would look great in a nice, high-twist, solid or semi-solid yarn. You can find the pattern on Ravelry here.

Getting out of a funk: I asked for any tips from listeners as to how to get out of a funk. It seems to be a pretty common thing at the moment, probably due to the amount of stuff that is going on in the world. Anyway, Nichola Nolan got out of her funk after recently meeting Christine Perry of Winwick Mum fame. She decided to crack through some small projects and ‘pull her finger out’. Aimee Croke has got back into the swing of things by carving out time earlier in the day for her accountancy study by getting up early. She knits along on a simple project whilst watching training videos. Carving out the time is the key, and making it a priority, regardless of whether you want to knit, learn a new skill or anything else. That’s all we have time for this week. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please consider leaving a review on iTunes or your podcatcher of choice. Music for this episode is by Adam and The Walter Boys and is available for purchase on iTunes.

Nov 29 2019

34mins

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Ep 134 - Turn the Wheel

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After a longer than expected podbreak, Jo is back and talking about turning the wheel when life gets in the way of creativity. Sometimes you just need to get the things done and that doesn't always leave a lot left over for your craft, and that's ok.

How do you keep the creative energy high? The way back to the knitting for me has been through a very simple pattern and some special yarn, to make a gift for a dear friend.

Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/134

How do you keep the creative energy high? The way back to the knitting for me has been through a very simple pattern and some special yarn, to make a gift for a dear friend.

Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/134

Nov 15 2019

17mins

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Ep 133 - I Aten't Dead

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This week it's a quick catch up after an unscheduled break in programming thanks to contracting pneumonia. First up, I mention the recent discussion around racism, inclusion and diversity in the knitting community. This podcast has not been as inclusive as it should be in the content produced up to now and I apologise for that.

News-wise, I share a new podcast interview I did that is released now on The InDependant Spouse podcast with Jess Sands, which is a podcast that shares stories from military spouses and veterans in business.

After this, there's a round up of knitting and creative projects that I've been taking part in. Spoiler: I've almost finished writing a book! Shownotes at www.shinybees.com/133

Music for this episode is Adam and the Walter Boys, I Need a Drink.

Mar 05 2019

23mins

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Ep 132 - Stolen Stitches with Carol Feller

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Carol Feller joins me on the show this week, sharing her journey into knitwear design. Carol Feller (StolenStiches.com) is a designer, teacher, and author living in Cork, Ireland. She has published almost 270 patterns and 7 books, including Short Row Knits (Pottercraft) and Contemporary Irish Knits (Wiley), and is a popular instructor on Craftsy.com with almost 400,000 students. She regularly teaches at yarn shops, fibre festivals, knitting retreats and tours, covering a wide variety of basic and advanced skills including chart reading, garment shaping, short rows, cables, and colourwork. Carol first learned to knit in primary school, and there is a strong history of crafting in her family. In university, she trained as a textile artist, and then as a structural engineer. Both of these backgrounds influence her work, which uses innovative construction methods to create well-shaped and flattering objects that are intuitive and enjoyable to knit, and that make the most out of carefully chosen yarns. She strives to help knitters create beautiful and unique products that they will love to use.

Full shownotes at www.shinybees.com/132

Music by Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink' available via iTunes.

Jan 22 2019

45mins

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Ep 131 - How To Get The Most From A Knitting Show

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Got yarn show plans for 2019? Are you a show veteran? or have you never been to a show? Somewhere in between?

In this episode I share some top tips for getting the most out of attending yarn shows, including where to find which ones are happening. Looking at why you want to attend (social, shopping, work or a mixture) can help you to narrow down the wide range of options available these days and ensure you get the best experience.

On the shopping side, it's worth saving up if possible, so you have a kitty of money to spend at the show. This can help with planning and budgeting. Some people collect £2 coins all year for instance. Make a list of what you want to make, and consult the stash to see where the gaps are. Once you know what the requirements are, make a list of what you need to get in terms of yardages and weights. This will mean you don't need to find wifi to look it up at a busy show stand and can have the information easily to hand.

Having a priority route planned out can help with avoiding distractions. Check out the guide online in advance of the event so you know where you need to go and in what order.

On the social side, definitely make sure you have made firm plans with anyone you definitely want to see. If you say you will 'see them there' there is every chance you won't because it is busy and full of yarn fumes. Fit in coffee breaks with catch ups and save money by getting a group airbnb if staying over. If your budget is a little bigger, you might decide to travel to a show in Europe and stay only for the day or just one night as an alternative to staying at a longer UK show, so you get a different experience.

Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/131

Music for this episode by Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink' with kind permission.

Jan 15 2019

38mins

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Ep130 - Daria Rakowski of Cloud 9 Fiberworks

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Daria Rakowski is our guest today to discuss widely varying subjects from eyelash yarn merkins(!) to an overview of the Canadian yarn industry.

Daria is the creative genius behind Cloud 9 Fiberworks, and is based in Winnipeg in Canada. Originally indulging in her love of yarn as a child, she would often be found under the table in her Aunt's yarn shop in Winnipeg, untangling balls of yarn. Still an aficionado of vintage yarns from the period, she also produces hand dyed yarns, both on custom blended yarns just for her as well as on more commercially available yarns for hand dyeing.

Daria takes her inspiration from many places. A lot of her yarns have a nod to fantasy and sci fi (with Star Trek and Harry Potter being two of the bigger influences) and she also draws on random ideas, such as suggestions from customers or other inspiration.

In this episode we also discussed the Canadian market at depth, with regard to what is available to dye onto both commercially and as custom spins. The mills in Canada are few and even fewer are capable of handling long staple fibres. Although there is a great climate for growing wool and fibre in the country, it doesn't necessarily translate to the ability to process these fibres. Also, the market is split into little 'islands' - there is so much geographical distance between groups, that it can be hard to both find breed yarns to try and be brave enough to do it.

Daria had her own yarn commissioned which was a blend of merino, Shetland and Gotland from local farmers, into a singles, fingering weight yarn.

Full show notes for this episode and all links are at www.shinybees.com/130

Jan 08 2019

45mins

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Ep129 - Knitting Trends for 2019

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What will be the five big trends for knitting in 2019?

In this episode I share what I think will be the five top trends for the hand knitting world in 2019. Based on what has gone prior and general observation of content and social media, I have picked out the following as things to watch. 1) Intarsia - we've seen brioche come and get overcooked and 2018 was definitely the year of the colour work yoked sweater. Intarsia is the next logical step in this progression for me. Bonus: Beads will be big in 2020/1 I reckon. 2) More Commercial Yarns - people will be combining hand dyed with more off-the-shelf, mass produced yarns in classic palettes and colours to tone down the speckled crazy.

3) More Emphasis on Knitting What You Have - not stashing down or cold shipping necessarily (they get done and abandoned every year) but a growing awareness of impact and sustainability generally. This will expand to knitting and encourage people to use what they have over wanton procurement.

4) Purchasing One-Offs - buying will focus more on the luxury, one-off and single farm type yarns that are special, over mass buying of run-of-the-mill yarns.

5) The Death of the One Skein Shawl - both designers and knitters will abandon this mid 2000-teen trend in favour of multi-skein mega shawls along the lines of the fades.

What are your predictions for 2019?

Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/129

Dec 28 2018

29mins

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Ep 128 - Planning a Year of Knitting

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It's always a popular time to plan your projects for the coming new year, but do you really need to? I won't be doing Make9in2019 next year (spoiler) bout I will be using other people's ideas for that project as inspiration for what I could consider. The podcast will be going on tour soon and that has prompted some consideration in terms of what to take with me. As it's going to be a little longer than the average holiday, it's taken more consideration in terms of planning what to take. This episode is a discussion around the process I'm in currently in terms of trying to work out what is essential and desirable when changing continents. Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/128

Dec 18 2018

36mins

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Ep127 - Christmas Jumpers

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Christmas Jumper Day is 14th December and in today's episode, I'm running through your different options when it comes to embracing this staple of the festive season.

Prompted by a social media post from @fash_rev about the Brits' obsession with the Christmas Jumper. Did you know that we will spend in excess of £220 MILLION on Christmas Jumpers this year?

A quarter of which will end up in the bin?

Charity shops are saying they are overflowing with Christmas jumpers. So, for our first option for acquiring a festive sweater is to go to your local charity shop and get your jumper from them. That way, charity wins twice!

The next option is to consider an onshore supplier for your Christmas jumper. Kate Hills of the Make It British podcast interviewed Bhavik Master, who runs a family knitwear factory in Leicester. They manufacture Christmas jumpers here in the UK. They are acrylic, but at least they are local and they have a good range of designs, including some that are on the nordic end of the festive spectrum. My favourites of these are the Classic Fair Isle and the Penguin Fair Isle design. You can find these at www.britishchristmasjumpers.com and you can hear the full story at makeitbritish.co.uk/008

Your gold plated solution, is, of course, to knit your own jumper that you can wear for the next 30 years, just like Uncle Robert. I've a selection of my favourite 6 knitting and 1 crochet patterns to share with you.

Full show notes and links at www.shinybees.com/127

Dec 11 2018

32mins

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Ep 126 - A Hat For Every Eventuality

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Everyone needs more knitted hats in their life and today I share seven pattern ideas for hats. I've been out of knitting sorts lately and attempting a new hat is just the ticket to get back into it.

I've gone through a tricky time recently and I wanted to find a way to order my thoughts through the yogic medium of knitting. I was inspired to look at hats as a quick and satisfying project. This would allow the thrill of an FO with minimal commitment of time and effort. Today I'll share seven different pattern ideas for you if you need a quick and satisfying project.

Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/126

Dec 04 2018

33mins

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Ep 125 - Hawkshaw Sheep with Sue Horn

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Sue Horn of Hawkshaw Sheep in the Scottish Borders is our guest on the show today,. She shares the ups and downs of being a shepherdess, creating your own yarns and fabrics and farm life.

Ever wondered what it is like to commission your own yarns? Sue shares how she decided to produce yarn, as well as how she went about producing fabric from the yarns. You can find Sue at www.hawkshaw-sheep-yarn.co.uk Full show notes at www.shinybees.com/125

Nov 27 2018

34mins

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Ep 124 - Yarnporium Fun

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Yarnporium 2018 is reviewed on this episode of the podcast, where I give you a rundown of what went on at Westminster Central Hall in November. Hosted by the fabulous ladies of Yarn in the City, Allison Thistlewood and Rachel Brown, this was a fabulous event which brought together some of the best UK and EU vendors into a glorious venue in Central London for two days of yarny fun. My Best in Show for this event was RiverKnits, Garthenor and Rosy Green Wool, and you can hear my thoughts on each of these and why you should check them out in this episode. Also I share the story of travelling down south by car with two kids and two dogs in an observational humour fashion. Full show notes and links at www.shinybees.com/124

Nov 20 2018

44mins

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Ep 123 - Strange Brew

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This week we review the new Tin Can Knits collection - Strange Brew. It's a knitwear collection that embraces everything colour work for the whole family. There's some knitty news and an update on School Council gate. There's also some knitterly news for you covering UK yarn events for the next couple of months including Yarnporium, Ferret Fest and Saturnalia. Full links and shownotes are at www.shinybees.com/123

Oct 24 2018

39mins

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Ep 122 - Isn't It About Time We Put a Stop to All This Nonsense?

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Sometimes, when something really gets to you because of its inherent unfairness and solid foundations in utter bollocks, you need to speak out. This episode is one of those times. In a departure from the usual format, this week we share the story of a small girl who wanted to be on the school council. Unlike the boys in the class, the girls had to undergo a separate, extra selection level, because they were not boys. I share the full story of how this went down, as I believe that if we have a platform, and we have something to say, we should say it, particularly in current times, where it is a struggle to have women's voices heard. Knitting stereotyping and inclusion also make this conversation, as well as the Slight Edge principle of doing the things that are really easy to do, and really easy not to do, every day, to make things better and effect the change we want to see in the world. Music from this episode is 'I Need a Drink' by Adam and the Walter Boys, available via iTunes.

Oct 15 2018

30mins

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Ep 121 - Holiday Knitting

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How do you decide what knitting to take with you when you travel? Do you spend more time choosing what yarn to take than which clothes to pack? This week we tackle the thorny subject of holiday/travel knitting. A source of much anguish for the average knitter, choosing what to take with you, and what to leave behind, can be like picking a favourite child. Even a short getaway can lead to stash packing that would enable you to survive a zombie apocalypse. So, today we discuss some ideas for how to decide what to take and what kind of projects lend themselves particularly well to travel knitting. Towards the end of the episode, we are joined again by Leona Jayne of Fluph, with some outtakes from her episode in 120. Here, she discusses which projects she will be taking on her trip, which includes a 10 and 12 hour flight just to get there. Music for this episode is by Adam and The Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink', available on iTunes. Full show notes are at www.shinybees.com/121

Sep 26 2018

31mins

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Ep 120 - Rusty Ferret with Leona Jayne of Fluph

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It's a chatty and fun episode today with the enigmatic Leona Jayne Page of Rusty Ferret/Fluph. Voted back onto the show as a guest for the second time, Leona tells us about how she moved from yarn shop owner into hand dyer. Rusty Ferret was, when we last met Leona, in the closet as a 'local dyer'. Well, the worst kept secret in knitting was uncovered and Leona was revealed as the dyer behind Rusty Ferret. Rusty is a steampunk gentleman and Leona draws upon all kinds of things for inspiration. We cover a number of topics in this episode including commercial yarns, DPNs vs magic loop and the economics of Primark clothing. Ever fancied getting into Art School? Leona has the scoop on that. You can find everything about Leona at www.fluph.co.uk Full show notes are at www.shinybees.com/120 Music for this episode is used with kind permission of Adam and the Walter Boys, with 'I Need a Drink', available via iTunes.

Sep 13 2018

51mins

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Ep 119 - Yarn Shops in Shanghai

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Shanghai is the destination for this week’s podcast, when I take a trip to not one, but two yarn shops in the area to check out the local knitting scene and the yarns on offer.

 The podcast theme music is now available on iTunes for purchase for 79p. The track is ‘I Need a Drink’ by Adam and the Walter Boys, who allow me to use it on the podcast with their kind permission. If you’ve ever wanted to listen to the whole song, go ahead and download it now. 

New Project

. My new project is currently being built and some of the details have been sent to the VIP waiting list members, who have kindly agreed to help with testing of the site. If you would like to be one of the first people to get access to the site when it launches, you can join the waiting list and have advance notice ahead of the main launch. 

The site helps you find the perfect yarn for your project in one place, quickly and easily, so you can spend more time knitting. If you’ve ever been in the situation where you need a certain colour of yarn on a certain fibre blend base yarn and struggled to find it, this one’s for you. No more needing to go and search through multiple websites or take a chance at Etsy roulette when trying to find that perfect match. I’ve built the site to have specific search algorithms which will only serve you the yarn and colours you want, instead of a load of random tat a la Etsy. 

I’ll give you more details and the name of the site in the coming week or two but for now, if you want to get in there early, you can request access here.

 Yarn Shops in Shanghai 

First up I declare my undying love for the efficiency of the CRH railway system. 
I visited two yarn shops in Shanghai this weekend, one at either end of the market. This was a fascinating experience and I would highly recommend checking both out if you find yourself in the area. Both are under 15 minutes from the Bund are easily reached via a Didi or the Metro.

 Heng Yuan Xiang Yarn Shop 

Address: 358 Jinling East Road, Huangpu, Shanghai The company was founded in 1927 in Shanghai as a silky yarns company and produces a variety of goods including wools, knitting yarns, knitted apparel and home textiles. It is the largest annual seller of wool sweaters in China and has more than 100 factories. The brand covers more than 90% of the municipal market in China and became a state-owned enterprise in 1956.

 The knitting wool brand started in 1991 and in 1997 the brand expanded into sweaters, wool underwear and other knitted products. 

The company has 5800 sales outlets which run as franchises, with 375 million products available through these franchises.

This shop is definitely on the bijou end of the scale, although it is easily identifiable from the street, unlike some yarn shops, which can appear to be ladies wear shops until you actually go inside. It is an Aladdin’s cave, literally full from floor to ceiling with bags and boxes of yarns.

 Yarns in these shops are usually displayed in boxes with clear plastic covers, which I assume are there to protect the yarn from dust or atmospheric pollution. There were a wide variety of blends of offer including merino, cashmere, yak, cotton, raccoon (!) and man made blends.

The Beast selected a 70% cottony viscose and 30% wool in a fetching spearmint shade, at RMB48 or around £5.49 for 300g. 

I went for a 100% Australian Merino yarn in a guessing by eye DK weight at RMB 102 or £11.67. When in China it is rude not to try their yarns, so I decided to give it a bash and see how it performs for research purposes. 

Lotus Yarns Flagship Store (Yarn Avenue) Shanghai
 Lotus Cashmere Ltd started in 2007 with the Lotus Yarn brand being established in 2009. Lotus Yarns is the distributor for a low of western brands including Noro, Opal, Louisa Harding, Brooklyn Tweed, KnitPro, Brittany etc.

 The next yarn store was in the high end Western Joy City Mall. It is a new store which opened in January 2018 and is found on Level 6, the Creator level.

 It is set up in a very similar way to any western yarn shop in that all the yarn is open on the shelves in hanks or skeins, in easy feeling distance. This makes sense as it is inside a climate controlled mall so it is not subject to as much risk from dust etc. 

There was a good selection of samples as well as a wide range of notions on offer from familiar brand like KnitPro, Brittany, Clover etc.

There was a workshop ongoing at the time I visited which prevented me from reaching the Lotus Yarns as they were behind a large table where the workshop was taking place. Also, it was not obvious who were the staff in the shop as they didn’t appear to have a uniform or clear name badge, and nobody came to assist us.

 It is definitely worth a visit as it is close to the tourist areas but expect to pay premium prices for the yarn on offer here, particularly if it is imported. Full show notes and links at www.shinybees.com/119 Music for this episode with kind permission: Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink' available from iTunes.

Aug 28 2018

37mins

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Ep 118 - British Wool, Labelling and Sourcing with Joy McMillan of The Knitting Goddess

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Joy McMillan of The Knitting Goddess joins the show today to talk about how her business has moved towards sourcing solely British and some very local yarns. Topics discussed include the difference between British and British Overseas Territory when it comes to yarn, mislabelling of yarns, wanton misrepresentation of yarns as British and what you need to think about when doing a custom blend yarn.

History of The Knitting Goddess The Knitting Goddess started around 13 years ago, and having originally been a stockist of yarns from across the world, has steadily moved to all British yarn offering. By this, Joy means mainland Britain specifically, and she works hard with UK based mills to source yarn as locally as possible even within the UK. This includes having her own, custom yarn spun, One Farm Yarn, with a total mileage from sheep to yarn of just 72 miles. Overseas Territories Joy and I discussed the difference between British and British Overseas Territories when it comes to wool: specifically here, the Falkland Islands. Whilst I am a huge fan of Falklands Merino because it is great quality and the sheep are not dipped as there are no pests, and there is no pollution, Joy is less keen. This is not because it isn’t excellent quality, but because it has to travel so far to be processed, which is inefficient. We discussed the relative merit of opening a scouring plant in the Falklands and how, if fleece has travelled so far, then why not use Merino from Australia of New Zealand instead. Whilst Joy is very keen to stay as local as possible, I am more liberal in my yarn tastes, but I like to know where it is from and as much of the story as possible, so I can make a good buying decision. This brought us on to marketing and labelling of yarn. Misleading Marketing This was a big focus of our discussion, probably because it is a huge bugbear for a lot of people. Whilst it’s ok to make informed choices to buy yarn from further afield, it’s not ok for companies to try and pass off yarn as being from a certain place, when it isn’t. Don’t give a yarn British branding when it is spun in Peru, then be coy about it. That is not cool and devalues the British cachet. How Do You Find Out If A Yarn Is British (or Local?) It can be hard to know where to go to look for information on where a yarn is produced, from fleece source, to spinning and dyeing . It is definitely not a habit of yarn companies to show this sort of information, although consumers are becoming increasingly aware of it and are asking the question, thanks in no small part to people like Louise Scollay of Knit British and Felix Ford of Knitsonik and their clear labelling campaign. Joy recommends asking the mills who produce the yarn  as a first stop, but also that dyers and sellers need to make it their business to find out where yarns are produced, if they don’t know already.

Joy has a personal preference to buy from as close to home as possible, but advocates buying Falklands Merino (or anything else that is clearly labelled) as long as you actually get what you are buying. You know where it has come from and you have an awareness of the level of treatment of the animals and labour conditions in the supply chain, which allows informed choice. Basically, if you’re buying something super cheap from the other side of the world, somebody will have paid for it somewhere down the line.

British Yarn Has Value

The number of dishonest brands trying to piggyback the British yarn label indicates clearly that British yarn has value and that these brands need to be called out on their mislabelling. Simply putting a label on in the UK does not make it British yarn.

Support Local

Joy is such a fan of supporting local as there is a rich history of wool production in Yorkshire, which continues to this day. Although she is based in the affluent area of Harrogate, she is right next to West Yorkshire, which has a high unemployment rate and associated issues which come from that. Joy believes in making a difference to local business through her business, and this ambition dictates a lot of her business decisions, even down to moving spinning of her yarns to Yorkshire-based Laxton’s.

How to Design a Custom Spun Yarn

Joy has a number of custom and small run yarns under her belt, and it’s an interesting subject to discuss. A lot of hand dyers buy blank yarn that is already mass-spun and has specific qualities designed for a more mass appeal product. J Joy worked very closely with Laxton’s to develop her One Farm Yarn. Creating a custom yarn is mildly terrifying because you don’t actually know what you are going to get until the yarn comes back, at which point, it’s too late to change it. She put a lot of trust in Laxton’s to help her make the right decisions, and as the company has incredibly experienced staff, which have worked in a variety of places in the wool industry, they were perfectly placed to advise and ensure success. Spinners have more knowledge about how certain fleeces and spins work together to produce the characteristics that a dyer wants in their yarn. Custom Spun Wool is the New Craft Beer

Joy and I compared the recent interest in craft beer to that of more niche breed wools and small batch yarns. What would once have been the preserve of bearded anoraks (real ale) is now super hipster and called craft beer (the beards remain but are more fashionably kempt). Has the same thing happened with yarn, and now we’re moving away from the Fosters of yarn (merino) to something a bit hoppy, with bite?

Listener Discount Code

Joy very kindly has offered 10% off to listeners of the show with the code SHINYBEES10 until 17thSeptember 2018. Only one code per order. Find Joy Online You can find Joy at www.theknittinggoddess.co.uk Full shownotes for this episode are at www.shinybees.com/118 Music for this episode used with kind permission of Adam and the Walter Boys, with ‘I Need a Drink’, available from iTunes

Aug 17 2018

56mins

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Ep 117 - Far East Adventures

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This week is a bit of a catch up as I share my Far East adventures so far. I'm in China, and I share some of the funnier/more unusual observations I've made so far being here, including crotchless baby clothes, sleeping in public and appreciative eating. Also involved is a marching column of riot police. On the knitting side, we revisit ep 114 (Yarn Snob) and I share some of the submitted entries for the remaining three categories of yarn snob. Full show notes and links at www.shinybees.com/117 Music for this episode used with kind permission of Adam and the Walter Boys - 'I Need a Drink' - available on iTunes.

Aug 11 2018

34mins

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