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The Shinybees Knitting and Yarn Podcast

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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Episode 27: Toe Up or Cuff Down for Knitting Socks and WTF Knits

It's a yarn, comedy and sock knitting palooza this episode as we review WTF Knits and welcome Clare and Kate for the Sock Surgery. It's time for your luxury yarn fix, with the latest offering from The Golden Skein. Check out our yarns from Knitsch in New Zealand, BaT'at in Yorkshire and Eden Cotatge Yarns in Yorkshire. There's also an announcement of the #tgsonekal, a knitalong to the pattern "Kunye" which was designed for us by Clare Devine. Details over at The Golden Skein group on Ravelry. There will be prizes. Very nice prizes. Interested in weird and wonderful knitting patterns? I review WTF Knits: Weird Adventures in Wool by Gabrielle Grillo and Lucy Sweet, published by Bantam Press. Available now, it's a cracking little stocking filler that is sure to have you chuckling into your knitting. Want to win a copy? Enter the giveaway over on the blog at www.shinybees.com Finally we have Clare and Kate back on the show for the Sock Surgery, discussing the pros and cons of toe up and sock down for knitting socks. We also revisit the needles choice aspect of episode 25, with feedback and discussion from out lovely listeners. Full shownotes for this episode are available at www.shinybees.com


18 Dec 2014

Rank #1

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Episode 34: Making it as a Knitwear Designer - An interview with Kate Davies

Special guest Kate Davies, of Kate Davies Designs, joins us on the podcast this week to discuss her journey as a designer and writer, from her previous life as a university academic to the current day. She shares the highs and lows of running your own enterprise as well as a glimpse into her everyday life as a designer. You can find Kate Davies online at www.katedaviesdesigns.com, as well as on Ravelry, Twitter and Instagram. As always, full shownotes are available at www.shinybees.com.


11 Feb 2015

Rank #2

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Episode 25: Choose Your Weapon! How to Choose Needles For Knitting Socks

Ever wondered how to choose needles for your first attempt at knitting socks? Want to hear some more about those other methods you might not have tried yet? Clare Devine returns to give us the low down on needle choices for knitting socks, ably accompanied by Kate. We also have a review of a new knitting book from South Africa, by Sally Cameron. Msanzi: South Africa on my Needles is a knitted journey from the beaches of the south to the baobabs in the north. Fifteen patterns for all the family are accompanied by breathtaking landscape photography from Cape Town based Andre van Rooyen. Giveaway for this episode is kindly sponsored by Linda of Coach House Yarns, a new to the scene UK indie dyer. The colourway reviewed is 'Tiger Tiger' in the Everyday Sock base. Check out her shop on Etsy, where you can also find a range of colourways inspired by the film Labyrinth. Full shownotes with links are available at www.shinybees.com


24 Nov 2014

Rank #3

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Episode 40: The Prince of Brioche: An Interview With Stephen West

This week, I'm delighted to bring an interview with Stephen West of Westknits. I caught up with Stephen at Edinburgh Yarn Festival where he proclaimed brioche stitch to be the stitch of the year and indeed the new garter stitch, recounted fangirling Ysolda in the early days of his design career and declared Tosh Merino Light in Edison Bulb his Desert Island Skein. No swants were harmed in the making of this podcast. Shownotes for the episode are at www.shinybees.com. Music is provided via Music Alley by Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need A Drink'.


3 Apr 2015

Rank #4

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Episode 39 - Of Socks and Discworld: A Knitty Homage to Sir Terry Pratchett

When your favourite author shuffles off his mortal coil, there's little else you can do but pay homage in a knitty fashion. Following the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, this episode could certainly be described as a knitty tribute. Enablers' Corner takes a non Pratchett-driven form with a rundown of the first quarter yarns from The Golden Skein. These were UK dyer Joy of The Knitting Goddess with the colour way 'Golden Wings Flutter By', dyed onto the Britsock base. This is a 40% BFL, 20% Wensleydale, 20% Alpaca and 20% Nylon, British sourced and spun. Secondly, there is Swiss-based dyeing duo Fides and Gaby of Siidegarte, with the colourway 'Butterfly'. This is dyed onto the Siide-Quirlig base, a heady blend of 70% Silk and 30% Seacell. Finally, there's the fabulour Michelle of Berry Colourful Yarnings, with the colourway 'Peacock's Revenge', dyed onto the Saturated Sock base. This is a 75% Superwash Merino, 25% Nylon base and is a self-striping yarn. The pattern pick is back, with less emphasis on the comedy and more on a collation of Discworld themed patterns. A brief history of Discworld time is offered for the uninitiated. In the Sock Surgery, it's all about afterthought heels. Get that self-stripe out my friends! Clare also introduces a new book review section to the Sock Surgery. This episode is a review of Sock Architecture by Lara Neel. Clare's verdict: not for beginners, but and excellent companion book for those interested in more technical knitting aspects. There is a giveaway running for this book at www.yarnandpointysticks.com As always, full shownotes are available at www.shinybees.com


31 Mar 2015

Rank #5

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Episode 32: Edinburgh Yarn Festival and How to be Enabled

Lots of Edinburgh Yarn Festival news this week for you and there's a pair of weekend tickets up for grabs for a lucky listener. The Podcast Lounge is shaping up to be a fun area to chill out over the weekend of 14-15 March 2015. Clare, Kate and I will be hosting a Sock Surgery drop on Saturday 14th. If you have any sock knitting woes, come and see us to get help with them! I'll be hosting an informal Q&A on the Sunday which is being referred to currently as 'Enterprise Enabling' to answer any questions you migth have about starting your own business. I'm a huge fan of enabling in all senses of the word and more than happy to share my experience with any of you. The Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl is back for its second year. Date for you diaries is 13 and 14 June 2015. Yarn And Knitting are opening their bricks and mortar shop in the North Laines in Brighton. Their Grand Opening party is Saturday 7 Feb, 2-6pm. In the Enablers' Corner, there are two new to me podcasts for you; Wooldiaries of South Africa and The Baarmygirls in the UK. Wippin' Piccadilly is back. There ahs been some casting on. Full shownotes are available at www.shinybees.com. Music for this episode is provided courtesy of Music Alley and Adam and the Walter Boys with "I need a drink".


25 Jan 2015

Rank #6

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

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


10 Dec 2019

Rank #7

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Episode 3: The C Word

This week we take a trip to the Kruger National Park in search of the 'Big 5'. For those unable to spot the Big 5, we have the Shinybees Big 5 for your perusement! There is the return of the Wippin' Piccadilly section and we hear why Google is not always your friend, especially in Afrikaans. Show notes, as always, can be found at http://shinybees.wordpress.com


9 Sep 2012

Rank #8

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Episode 69: Man Socks

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'.

1hr 14mins

9 Nov 2015

Rank #9

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Ep 132 - Stolen Stitches with Carol Feller

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.


22 Jan 2019

Rank #10

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Ep 133 - I Aten't Dead

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.


5 Mar 2019

Rank #11

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Episode 76: Knitting Calendar

Welcome to the first show of 2016! This week it's all about planning your knitting calendar when it comes to attending shows. What are the top tips for survival? I'll share mine with you today! Podcast news, there's more detail on both the podcast Patreon and the Shinybees Swagporium. Also, check out my interview with Kathryn Bryant on the Podcast Divas show. Enablers' Corner features Katya Frankel's new mini-collection, Flatland: Adventures in Geometry. There's a giveaway of Ann Kingstone's Lace Knits. In a new segment, I give you the yarn events for this month - Waltham Abbey Wool show on 17th March. In order to prepare you fully for this year's yarny festivities I've also included my top tips for surviving a yarn show. Show notes are at www.shinybees.com Music for this episode is Adam and the Walter Boys and 'I Need a Drink'.


5 Jan 2016

Rank #12

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Episode 78 - What to Knit in 2016

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'.


19 Jan 2016

Rank #13

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Episode 77: Knitting Goals

Got knitting goals for 2016? Lots of wild plans? Let me help you get super focused with my five top tips for knitty goal setting. For not the first time on the podcast, we talk about David Bowie's package and Labyrinth. Join us on the first Shinybees Virtual Knit Night by becoming a patron of the podcast over at Patreon. In Enabler's Corner, it's about KALs again with the Nature's Shades KAL at KnitBritish and the Vintage KAL at The Golden Skein. Then we have a lot of chat about goal setting. Lots of people hate goal setting. Goal setting for knitting can help you achieve your ambitions this year, done well. I have put together 5 tips for setting goals so you make progress without being overwhelmed. In the review section, Woolly Wormhead's 'Painted Woolly Toppers' takes centre stage. It's written for hand painted yarns and comprises of ten patterns for hats. It's a great looking book with lovely styling and very interesting construction on the knitting front. Show notes are at www.shinybees.com Music for this episode is Adam and The Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink'.


14 Jan 2016

Rank #14

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Episode 96 - This Thing Of Paper - An Interview with Karie Westermann

Karie Westermann joins me this week as my interview guest to tell us all about her journey into designing knitwear. Also a teacher and writer, Danish-born Karie calls Glasgow in Scotland her home since moving to the UK. A regular contributor to knitting magazines and publications as well as independent and commercial yarn companies, Karie became self employed two years ago.  Author of the Doggerland collection, Karie has now embarked upon her first actual print book project - This Thing Of Paper. Previously a book historian, she will be bringing all this knowledge to the new project, which is funded by a Kickstarter (fully funded within 25 hours!) Kara's journey back into knitting came as a result of quite a serious illness that left her sick in bed for nine months. It was during this time she returned to knitting, which aided in her recovery and became her main occupation shortly afterward. You can find everything about Karie at kariebookish.com Show notes are at shinybees.com Music for this episode is Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink.'

1hr 10mins

14 Jun 2016

Rank #15

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Ep129 - Knitting Trends for 2019

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


28 Dec 2018

Rank #16

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

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.


15 Jan 2019

Rank #17

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

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'.


27 Oct 2015

Rank #18

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Hat In A Weekend

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.


29 Nov 2019

Rank #19

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Episode 100 - The Great Shinybees Hexipuff Amnesty

The tonne! A century! Episode 100 is upon us and a hearty thanks to all of you that have listened, do listen and are new to listening. Welcome one and all. Two topics of conversation this week, one of which contains zero knitting and a lot of the young Wigan version of Paul Rudd and his fit-for-his-age Dad. Don't ask... To celebrate episode 100 (and total credit to one Countess Ablaze for this idea) I am instigating The Great Shinybees Hexipuff Amnesty. Got Hexipuffs? Want to donate them for a good cause? Post them to Countess Ablaze's studio in Manchester then clear your diary for the Great Swinton Sewing Bee (keepers' Quilt). In support of Monthly Gift Mcr, all proceeds from the raffled off Beekeepers' Quilts (and party) will go to the supply of sanitary products to this charity for distribution to homeless women. #hexipuffamnesty and #sodhexipuffs are your hashtags of choice. I am team #sodhexipuffs, but for every 100 that arrive, I'll actually knit one of the buggers.  Show notes of crazy (and Paul Rudd) at shinybees.com. Music for episode is Adam and the Walter Boys with 'I Need a Drink.'


10 Aug 2016

Rank #20