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Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

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Rank #65 in Hobbies category

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Fashion & Beauty
Leisure
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Delightful knitting patterns and Knitting Podcast

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Delightful knitting patterns and Knitting Podcast

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140
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Have listened for years

By Esther in CA - Aug 23 2019
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The Curious Handmade podcast is one of the first audiocasts I listened to. I’ve been a loyal fan for about 4 years now. I love the intertwining of knitting along with real life that Helen shares as well as where she finds inspiration. I listen to each new episodes while on my Saturday morning walk.

Curious Handmade

By animor5 - Mar 03 2018
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Love the podcast and your patterns as well!

iTunes Ratings

325 Ratings
Average Ratings
170
140
3
5
7

Have listened for years

By Esther in CA - Aug 23 2019
Read more
The Curious Handmade podcast is one of the first audiocasts I listened to. I’ve been a loyal fan for about 4 years now. I love the intertwining of knitting along with real life that Helen shares as well as where she finds inspiration. I listen to each new episodes while on my Saturday morning walk.

Curious Handmade

By animor5 - Mar 03 2018
Read more
Love the podcast and your patterns as well!
Cover image of Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

Latest release on Aug 07, 2020

Read more

Delightful knitting patterns and Knitting Podcast

Rank #1: CH 274: The Podcast Returns!

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

I’m so thrilled to be chatting with you again after such a long break. Thank you for bearing with me while I found my bearings in my new home. I have a bit of a life update for you. Knitvent 2019 just started yesterday with the reveal of the Bide Shawl, our first pattern. Welcome home!

Show Links

The Knitvent 2019 collection was inspired by the theme of “Home for the Holidays”.

As the year draws to its end, we’ll celebrate all the quiet joys of hibernation and gather close in gratitude for our own cosy nests.

The word “home” can have a hundred different meanings. It might be where you grew up: a place rich with treasured memories, priceless heirlooms, and familiar customs handed down through generations. It can be somewhere brand new, a space you carve out for yourself and fill with chosen family and your own fresh traditions. It may simply be a feeling of safety, hard-won and precious, which you carry with you wherever you go. Whatever home means to you, and wherever your home might be, the six mystery patterns we’ll share this season will spark your love for the life of a homebody. Let the outside world bustle and rush. We’ll be right here in our favourite corner, peacefully knitting to our hearts’ content.

For the past six years, Knitvent has held a special place in the Curious Handmade community. It’s now a favourite holiday that brings us all together by mixing the old-fashioned anticipation of an Advent calendar with all the excitement and fun of a mystery knit along. Over a span of four festive weeks, six secret knitting patterns will make their way to your Ravelry library. It’s an irresistible mix of presents for the most knitworthy people you know, special touches for your home, and treats for yourself to help make this holiday season warm and wonderful. 

The Curious Handmade Ravelry group is a welcoming home for like-minded knitters at this time of year, glowing with Knitvent spirit. The friendship, support, encouragement and enthusiasm you’ll find there are truly heartwarming. Over on Instagram, you’ll also find so many inspiring images and posts from the talented members of the Curious Crew: just use #Knitvent2019 to join in! Throughout the Knitvent season there will be contests, KALs and prizes, holiday stories and surprises, and a delicious sense of togetherness. Every year seems more magical than the last, and I hope you’ll come be a part of it all. 

Become a part of the Knitvent family and treat yourself to a season of joyful holiday surprises!

Purchase the the Knitvent ebook on Ravelry!

Our first pattern, the Bide Shawl, was revealed yesterday!

Bide is such a quiet word. It speaks of stillness, steadiness, and learning to stay. Sometimes it means being able to endure: to bide a winter storm is to withstand its mighty winds. Sometimes it’s just a gentle visit: bide awhile, put your feet up, get comfortable, catch up on all the chat. One definition for bide is “to wait calmly for a good opportunity to do something” which is delightfully specific. There’s so much in that one line. Patience, wisdom and also a kind of peaceful optimism. If you know how to bide your time, you must trust that something wonderful is on the way. 

The pressure to rush around in an exciting holiday whirl seems to come just at the time when the urge to remain close to home and loved ones and quiet pursuits is strongest. It requires a calm and steady intention to stay put instead of saying yes to every invitation and opportunity that comes along. It takes a willingness to bide. 

The Bide Shawl is our first surprise pattern of Knitvent 2019. Knit from bulky yarn with simple texture and eyelet rows, a smart garter border and playful tassels, this triangular shawl is a deeply satisfying, quick knit. It makes an exceptional present as it’s achievable even at the last minute but is substantial enough to make quite the impression. It would also be a lovely thing to knit for yourself, for those cosy moments biding by the fire.

The Bide samples were knit using my favourite cuddly, squishy bulky weight yarn, Tundra, from The Fibre Company. The red shawl (medium sample) used the Red Arctic colourway, and the cream/grey shawl (large sample used the Baby Beluga colourway.

Knitvent 2019 Giveaway winners

The Knitvent 2019 Giveaway has closed, but I’ve left the beautiful Giveaway thread open for anyone else who would like to share their memories and thoughts about their beloved homes. It’s such an uplifting and emotional read: thank you all so much for sharing. Here are our giveaway winners:

Grand Prize
Post 68 by aliad555
“Home is spending time with my husband and dogs, the feeling of safety, warmth and comfort and being very grateful for all that we have.”

Congratulations! Please message HellsBells on Ravelry with your address and we’ll get your prize into the post for you!

Ten Winners of Mount Juliet Shawl Pattern:

Post 82: kristinknitting

Post 134: 2mayboys

Post 73: thierria

Post 109: CarolIsASong

Post 11; sabinaknits

Post 75: craftyMil

Post 146: catvet

Post 149: AlohaGirlBC

Post 108: porthia

Post 30: Bgeldmaker

If you’re one of our lucky winners, please get in touch if you already own the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern and let me know which pattern you’d like instead.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 274. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade.

Hello knitters. I’m back and I’m so happy to be chatting to you today. I wasn’t sure when I would be able to podcast again and I was chatting to a friend who listens to the show, and it just made me realize how much I miss you all. So I decided that I would make a special effort today and get over that slight fear of recording again after a long break.


So as you probably know, if you’ve been listening for a while, the long break was due to moving to the other side of the world, from London in the UK to the Sunshine Coast in Australia. We are living in a town called Buderim, which is right in the middle of the beach area north of Brisbane. So we are, I don’t know what that’s really, it feels tropical, I think it’s called the subtropics and so it’s pretty, pretty warm. We’re heading into summer. See, I can’t even stop giving you a weather report even though I’m on the other side of the world.


But yeah, just to give you a bit of an orientation and a flavour of where I am now. Yeah, it’s a beach community and it’s pretty amazing. We’ve swapped sirens, ambulance and police sirens for bird song. It’s very spacious. I think we’re almost over our slight feeling of agoraphobia. But yeah, wide roads, wide car parks, lots of space in the garden and much bigger houses. Yeah, it’s all quite different, but in quite a nice way, I have to say. People are very friendly. Because we’re not living in a city, it’s just so much more relaxed than city life. I don’t know how you’d describe it. The Sunshine Coast is a very sprawling, sprawling area and it’s made up of lots of little beach towns spread along the coast. And they’ve kind of over the years all joined up to make one sprawling big kind of city, really. But yeah, it’s all very spread out compared to London.


And so, there’s everything we need, like all the shops and grocery stores and everything we need, but just enough, not too much of anything. And yeah, the pace of life is a lot slower. It’s wonderful. So, so far we’re really enjoying it. I don’t think we’ll get bored. We could always entertain ourselves with going to the beach and doing lots of crafts and we always have iPads and TVs for when it gets too boring. It’s been a really interesting time and the kids have started their new school and well, the kids have been so welcoming and friendly and the teachers that they have are wonderful. They have just joined in for the last term of this year and then they’ll start their new school year in January over here. So it’s a bit of a different rhythm to the year.


But yeah, it’s one that’s kind of familiar to me from my school days. So it’s kind of nice to be going back to what I grew up with, in a funny kind of way. So I don’t know if you all notice my accent change. I’m not sure if it has already or not. You probably will notice a bit of a change and I might slow down a bit. We’ll see. I don’t know. I’m a bit embarrassed about that or a bit conscious of it, let’s say. But anyway, I’m just going to not worry about it too much and hope that you can still understand me if I start talking in a broad Australian accent.


So we have moved into our house here and all our boxes arrived from the UK. Lots and lots and lots of boxes, which we’ve almost unpacked. So reunited with the stash, which was nice, and I ended up having lots and lots of boxes of yarn and lots of boxes of books and not a lot else, in terms of personal stuff. There was quite a bit for the kitchen. But yeah, it was quite funny how it ended up being mostly crafting stuff and books. And most of the books are either craft or cooking books. So it’s been funny unpacking everything and seeing it in a new environment. It’s making me look at things with slightly fresh eyes. I’m not sure if it’s going to help me destash or declutter things a bit more, having it in a different environment, but most of it I feel like, oh, I still love it and I’m glad I brought it all this way. So, that’s been really nice.


Yeah. So we’re just gradually settling in. It’s taking a bit longer than I kind of anticipated. I mean, I’m very impatient and also overambitious, so I kind of just always anticipate that I’ll do things quicker than I actually can in real life, but we’re getting that and feeling really quite settled for considering we’ve only been back a month or two.


So mostly what I’ve been doing on the work side of things is working on Knitvent. And while I have had the theme for this year’s Knitvent in mind since the very beginning of the year, back maybe even since the end of last year actually, it just seems so appropriate to me, personally at the moment, because we are settling in and nesting into a new home. And so the theme, come home for the holidays with Knitvent, just seems really even more right.

So as the year draws to its end, we’re celebrating all the quiet joys, hibernation, and gathering close in gratitude for our own coziness. The word home can have a hundred different meanings. It might be where you grew up, a place rich with treasured memories, priceless heirlooms and familiar customs handed down through generations. It can be somewhere brand, a new space you carve out for yourself and fill with chosen family and your own fresh traditions.


It may simply be a feeling of safety, hard won and precious, which you carry with you wherever you go. Whatever home means to you and wherever your home might be, the six mystery patterns we share this season will spark your love for the life of a home body. Let the outside world bustle and rush. We’ll be right here in our favorite corner, peacefully knitting to our heart’s content.


So I hope you enjoy the theme of this year as Knitvent. Knitvent is following its usual format. It’s a little bit more sort of squashed together time wise this year, over four weeks. So we have six patterns and they’re coming out basically as a subscription, a mystery package, over four weeks. So the first week, which just came out yesterday, is the first pattern. And then next week there’ll be two patterns in the one week. The week after one, and the last week, there’ll be two patterns again.


So yes, so very excited about this season. I hope you like the pattern that came out yesterday, the bide shawl and it is knit in one of my very favorite snuggly yarns, which is Tundra by the Fibre Co. They brought out I think six new colors of Tundra this year and so I’ve chosen two of the new colors for two different sizes of the shawl. It’s a really, really snugly quick knit and if you don’t have bulky yarn in your stash, you’re wanting to knit from stash and you don’t have the bulky yarn, I think it might even be super bulky, you can easily substitute another yarn weight with this shawl.


Just use an appropriate size needle. I like to use 4 mm for fingering weight, about four and a half to five for DK, and then maybe about 6 mm for a worsted weight. It’s just whatever fabric you like. With a shawl, it’s not too critical with gauge and this shawl, you can just knit more or less repeats of the very simple pattern or you can add a big garter border if you wanted to, make it a bit bigger or you know, it’s really, really flexible, this one. I deliberately designed it to be flexible as to [mom 00:11:31] size, knowing that people often like to knit their Knitvent patterns from stash.


So even if you are not a bulky wool fan for whatever reason or you know, sometimes the bigger needles can hurt your hands. I can relate to that. Just use something that’s in your stash. My test knitter, Tracy, who’s TracyRR on Ravelry, used a wonderful set of worsted weight yarn. She had enough stash in, I think three or four different colors, so she used some lovely stash in that way and it just looks stunning. A sort of a gradient effect. So thank you so much Tracy for testing for me. As always, thank you to Deb for knitting one of the samples for me. I knit one and Deb knit one this time. And yes, Tracy did a wonderful job test knitting for me, so I just really hope you enjoy this one.


We also had a giveaway for their launch of Knitvent and the prompt in the thread was to talk about the meaning of home for you. And it was super beautiful and moving. I always have so much joy reading these giveaway threads and people were talking about what makes home for them and people mentioned their family, friends, pets, beautiful places, treasured belongings, traditions, some recipes that make people think of home, especially around the holidays, and very much the feeling of being secure and loved and grounded. And just reading through the posts made me so emotional. I was already feeling a bit emotional today and then I started reading these posts and feeling even more emotional, but just so much love and gratitude just beaming out from these pages. So you are all so gorgeous and warm and generous to share your stories and lots of beautiful photos. Such an uplifting thread in Ravelry, if you have a moment to have a look. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, to everybody who joined in.


So I’ll just announce the winners of the giveaway and the grand prize winner, which is a skein of yarn, a project bag and a Laine knit journal. The winner is post number 68, who is aliad555 , Alison, and she said, “Home is spending time with my husband and dogs, the feeling of safety, warmth and comfort, and being very grateful for all that we have.” So, thanks very much and congratulations Alison.


And I’m also giving away 10 copies of the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern, which is my latest single shawl pattern. So the winners of that are;

Post 82: kristinknitting

Post 134: 2mayboys

Post 73: thierria

Post 109: CarolIsASong

Post 11; sabinaknits

Post 75: craftyMil

Post 146: catvet

Post 149: AlohaGirlBC

Post 108: porthia

Post 30: Bgeldmaker

So thank you so much for entering and congratulations. If you would like to message me on Ravelry at HellsBells. For Alison, who won the grand prize, please message your postal address and we’ll get that in the mail to you. And for everybody who won the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern, we’ll pop that over to you in Ravelry. If you already have that one in your library already, you can just message and let me know an alternative that you would like and we can also send you that one.


So I’m just going to keep it pretty short and sweet for this return podcast episode. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t had time to do any personal knitting, so I can’t really talk about that. I have done a few rows here and there on things, but mostly been working on designs and just making sure that Knitvent’s all or ready to go. So, I think I’ll just leave it there today. I just wanted to pop in and say a big hello to you all, get back into the groove of things, and I hope you are all well and enjoying your knitting and I’m just really happy to be back. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Nov 06 2019

18mins

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Rank #2: CH 277: The Homebody Hat and Mitts

Podcast cover
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Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

On this week’s episode we have TWO new patterns to celebrate! It’s the end of the Knitvent mysteries for this year but it’s not the end of the Knitvent fun and community! I also have news about a couple more upcoming patterns before the end of this year.

Show Links

The Sunshine Coast Collective Markets

Brynn & Co

Knitvent 2019

The Homebody Hat

The Homebody Mitts

Wren and Ollie

Happy Hank

Seren Yarns

Fragment Socks

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 277. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story. A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades, and weights from gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and yarns and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimee, and Julie Asselin. There is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.

Can I just say what a gorgeous revamp of her website and rebrand has happened at A Yarn Story in the past week? If you haven’t been following along on Instagram or visited the website recently, Carmen has done a gorgeous job. It’s a gorgeous new logo. It’s so professional and yet so warm and friendly and knitterly at the same time. I just love it. So congratulations, Carmen. I know what a big job that is.

This week on the show we have lots of pattern release news and knit along news for you. I’ll maybe have a little bit of a chat at the end about some future plans, but yeah, mostly it’s about lots of new patterns at the moment. It’s a super busy time of year. Happy Thanksgiving to all US listeners and knitters. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend wherever you are. We’re having a a busy festive weekend here. We’re having a family Christmas party this weekend, a little bit early, so we’ll be joining in the festivities. And yeah, it’s just been one of those days. I’ve been set up my computer all day and I don’t really know what I’ve been doing. Just lots of little bits of admin and you know when you have those days where you get to the end and you’re like, “I don’t really know what I did.” So I thought I’d finish off with having a lovely chat with you and then I will have had something nice in the day that I can remember what I actually did.

Last week again, I actually went to a craft market here on the Sunshine Coast, the Sunshine Coast Collective Markets, I think it’s called up at Coolum State School, and it was a really, really lovely market. We just made it in time for the last half hour or so, and I was able to visit the stall of someone I’ve been following on Instagram for a long time, which is Brynn and Co, and she has created the gorgeous embroidery kits, the Love and Grow kit that I’ve worked on in the past and posted photos of. I’ve been working on the Grow kit. She does lovely graphics and provides all the embroidery floss and everything in the kit. So it was lovely to meet her, and I bought a magnetic needle holder that you can put on your work. It has a magnet on one side and just a little sort of almost like an enamel pin on the other side. And so you sort of pin it to your embroidery and then the needle can stay on it rather than kind of having to poke it through your work when you’re not using it I suppose.

And in knitting news, yesterday saw the release of the last two patterns of Knitvent for this season. Can’t believe it’s come around so quickly. This season I released the patterns over just four weeks. It was a little bit compressed due to starting a little bit late. And so yesterday we released the Homebody hat and mitts, which are sort of companions to the Homebody socks. I really enjoyed this stich pattern. It’s so simple and so effective, so I ended up using it in a couple of the designs and with the idea of making them into a little mini collection if you wanted to put a few things together in a gift.

It’s always a little bit of a wistful feeling when Knitvent’s over. It’s like the end of the year and heading into the holidays, but it’s also an exciting time of year. So I hope you like these two patterns. The description for the hat is “There’s a little bit of the homebody in every heart. Even a globe-trotting extrovert knows that the comforts of home are irreplaceable. Still, there are many different ways to be a home bird, and what that looks like in your life is as personal as your fingerprints. Is it a slow and solitary day where you dabble in your favorite pursuits for hours on end? Is it a big, noisy, delicious feast with a boisterous crew of loved ones trading jokes and stories over five different kinds of homemade pie? Maybe it’s just a stolen moment to yourself, between one happening and the next, where you catch your breath, look around, and know that you are exactly where you belong.

And for the Homebody mitts, “This time of year is often intense, with so many conflicting demands on our schedules. It can be especially challenging for us homebodies. The calendar fills up with parties and concerts, events and outings, shopping, chores, and a thousand errands that drag us away from the fireside and out into the wider world. And it’s all happening just when we instinctively feel a pull towards family and home. Beyond the practical demands, the emotions of the season are often complex. For many people, thoughts of home and the holidays can be bittersweet. When we start to feel as if it’s all a little too much, it’s important to have a calm and quiet place to return to, to regroup and recharge. Often, knitting is that place for me. It’s a portable retreat, a safe haven where I can rest my homebody soul even for a few quiet moments and a few thoughtful stitches.”

I decided to use two Australian indie yarn dyers for these projects. For the hat, the gray hat, I used Wren and Ollie Spin DK in the colorway gingerbread, and for the ready burgundy hat I used Happy Hank Co Classy DK in the colorway rhubarb. And both those yarns are 100% Superwash Merino. For the mitts, I used Wren and Ollie Spin DK again and this one was in the color peony, which is the beautiful light pink color. So I’ve since made Sophie a hat in the peony. So I was able to make a pair of adult mitts as well as a child hat out of 115 gram skein, which is what the put up for that particular yarn is the Spin DK. It’s 230 meters and 252 yards. So yeah, I was pretty happy with that.

I did omit about four rounds on the hat just to make sure I wasn’t playing yarn chicken, but I think actually with the amount I had leftover, I could have probably included a few more rounds. So yeah, so basically you can get a child’s hat and adult mitts out of one skein if it’s that slightly bigger skein. And I have some more Wren and Ollie and Happy Hank colorways that I ordered at the time because I couldn’t quite decide what colors to make the samples in. And so yeah, I’m looking forward to making a few more Hats and mitts sets for various friends for Christmas presents. So thank you to those gorgeous Aussie indie dyers for your gorgeous, inspiring colorways.

So upcoming for Knitvent. Now all the patterns have been released, I’m going to release the patterns as single patterns on December the 13th which is a Friday the 13th, which is a very lucky day for me because Lexie was born on Friday the 13th. So I always think that it’s a lucky number for me now and we’ll continue the knit along and extend that out until the 31st of January next year just to give people plenty of time to knit their things without pressure. Some of the things like the throw are a little bit bigger, so just to give you lots and lots of relaxing time of knitting in January. We’ll have the knit along going until then, and all you have to do to enter for the giveaway as to post a picture of your finished object in the thread on Ravelry and we’ll draw that after the 31st. I will contribute a nice prize for that. I’m not sure exactly what it will be yet, but probably some yarn and a project bag or something like that. Yeah, so that’s Knitvent.

And then we have the last of the six socks for the Handmade Sock Society coming out next week, next Thursday, and that is in a gorgeous yarn that is made by my friend Emma, I should say, dyed by my friend Emma whose Etsy shop is Seren Yarns, S-E-R-E-N. She does gorgeous, gorgeous colorways and made a special colorway for the Sock Society, which is Seaside Dreaming and it is a really dreamy color. So she’s doing an update at her Etsy shop on Sunday evening, this coming Sunday evening, the 1st of December. So I’ll put a link to her Etsy shop in the show notes, and then the socks will be coming out on this day if you’re a member of the Handmade Sock society. Of course you can use any sock yarn you have in your stash or that you decide to purchase for this, but I just wanted to give you a heads up about the special colorway from Seren Yarns.

And I am endeavoring, I have not really been committing to this goal, but I am now committed to publishing the fragment socks from issue four of Laine Magazine as a single pattern. And every time I post a picture of someone’s fragment socks on Instagram, I get asked, “When is this single pattern coming out?” And I’ve just been so slow, partly because I’m going to publish it with three sizes rather than… I think in the magazine it was just one size. So I wanted to publish it with three sizes like I normally do. So that’s probably been the main delay to be honest. Just the fact that I had that mental block about the extra work I had to do to do that, but now it’s all coming together. I think it should be possible by the end of the year. So I’m working on that basis and committing to that.

And so I will let you know more details about that probably in next week’s episode or newsletter if you subscribe to my newsletter. So thank you for your patience. I don’t even know when that pattern first came out in the magazine, but yes, it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen this year. So thanks for bearing with me through all those updates. It’s been a wonderful year for designing. I’m so honored that you knit my patterns and post photos. I absolutely love seeing what you make on Instagram and on Ravelry. It just is everything to me. I put all my effort and work into designing patterns. It’s a big part of my life now and it’s so rewarding to be in touch with you and knitters and yeah, I just love it. So I’m really looking forward to next year.

I’m planning what collections I’ll do next year and yeah, have lots more fun and creativity for us all to enjoy. It’s been a pretty intense year for me personally for a lot of reasons, but I think it’s been pretty intense for a lot of people around the world politically and all sorts of things have been happening. I feel like life is getting more intense rather than less intense. Obviously the move from the UK to Australia was a huge upheaval for us. A lot of work has been involved in that and, I don’t know, maybe I was a bit naive, but it’s been a lot more work than I anticipated. But we’re getting there, slowly settling in and I’m super happy. I feel a lot closer to nature here. We can always hear birds singing and it’s a lot quieter. We can go for walks on the beach. And when we’re just driving around the neighborhood or the town, we get gorgeous views up and down the coast and yeah, I’ve been appreciating that so much. Just really enjoying it.

I absolutely loved living in London, loved going for walks and so many things about living in London. But yeah, I’m really enjoying being here as well, so I’m so happy that it’s been a good move and the girls are slowly settling in. They are a little bit up and down. I don’t know if it’s been a bit harder for them probably. I’ve been so busy. I haven’t had time to think about things too much, but they’re missing their friends a little bit still. And I guess it’s going to take them probably about a year to really settle and have formed really good friends and everything. But I’m really pleased with how much they are loving school and enjoying the lifestyle here. They’ve both really got into swimming and it’s really good to see. Just before I sign off, I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & Coop Knits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched “hand dyed by meadowyarn,” our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of color, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us. You can find them at meadowyarn.co.uk. You can click on the ad on my blog.

So I will have one more episode for this year next week, and then we will take a little break and come back in 2020 the new decade. Can you believe that? So I hope you all have a wonderful week. Until next week. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

Nov 29 2019

18mins

Play

Rank #3: CH 271: Packing, packaging, and stash

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors:

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Today’s episode is just a bit of a snapshot of what life is like here at the Curious Handmade headquarters. We’re in the middle of the first stage of the move now and it’s all very real. As I pack up our lives (and my stash!) I have some thoughts about the emotions stuff holds, how clutter and minimalism and waste interact, and which skeins I should pack for a few month’s transition.

Show Links:

Jarr Market

Gather (Peckham No-Packaging Shop)

The Low Tox Life

Low Tox Life Episode 149

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Episode Transcript

———————————-
Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 271. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com

Hello and welcome to the show, I hope you’re having a great week. We are having a heat wave in London at the moment and it is pretty hot, I have to say. Sometimes when people say, “We’re having a heat wave here,” I’m like no, high twenties is not a heat wave. But yesterday it was well over 30 and tomorrow is predicted to be 38 degrees, which considering that no one in London has any air conditioning, it’s pretty disgusting. So not looking forward to that very much. It’s early in the morning at the moment, so it’s still reasonably cool. So I thought I would pop in and podcast while it’s nice and cool and I have a bit of energy to do it.

I’m not sure how much knitting I will have to talk about today, my mind is a little bit scattered. I’m surrounded by packing boxes at the moment. We are moving out of our house this weekend and we’re not leaving the UK for a couple of weeks, but we’re moving to a temporary place and the people coming to pack what we’re taking to Australia are coming early next week. So, yeah, so my mind is a little bit scattered and it’s partly because I’ve got a lot on, but also partly because this process of packing and going through everything you own is quite emotional. Some of it is a bit disturbing when you discover things that you bought twelve years ago and I’ve just had in the back of a cupboard. Yeah. I’m looking through boxes of cards that people have sent to me.

I actually found a bundle of cards that my best friend had written to me, who’s passed away eight years ago and yeah, just lots and lots of little emotional moments as I go through everything. And as you know, if you’ve been listening to the podcast, I have been decluttering for about five years. I’ve been trying to move to a less stuff life. And so it’s a little bit disheartening to be honest, to still have so much stuff and be confronted with my consumerism. But you know, it is what it is. I’m trying to improve, and this is a great opportunity to really sort of clear the slate a little bit.

Yeah. So it’s been a big week, another big week. But I’m getting there. I’m getting there slowly but surely, I’m running out of energy a little bit. I haven’t been sleeping very well. I’ve been sort of getting really tired and then sleeping and then waking up at anywhere between 3:00 AM to, you know, 5:00 AM and not being able to get back to sleep. So it’s not really helping. But I think I hopefully it’s just a phase and it’s partly because it’s so light so early here in the UK at the moment, that doesn’t really help and all sorts of things going on that’s contributing to that.

But yes, so that’s where I’m at today. Sometimes I record these shows and think it’s amazing that anybody listens to me talking about these I don’t know, personal things or probably quite repetitive and boring things sometimes, I’m not sure. But thank you for listening. I appreciate you. I love all my knitters. I love my listeners on the podcast and yeah, I just really appreciate the community we have. And you know, I guess I’m just feeling that a lot because I’m saying goodbye to people here. I’m thinking about the new friends I’m going to make where I’m moving to in Australia, where we’re moving to is not a place I’ve lived before.

I basically lived in Brisbane for university and working for a couple of years after university and for the last couple of years of high school. Before that we traveled around, lived in three or four different places in Queensland. My Dad was a teacher and worked for the government, so he got transferred to different schools and so yes, so we moved around a reasonable amount until I was about 15 and then I was in Brisbane. So we are moving to the sunshine coast, which is about an hour north of Brisbane. It’s the beach and yeah, so really excited about that. I’m really excited about, instead of walking in the park here in London, I’ll be walking along the beach out there. Maybe some bush walks as well, yeah.

Hoping to find a place where the kids will be able to either walk or cycle to school and yeah, just looking forward to hopefully a really, I don’t know, less intense lifestyle than we have here in London. Living in London, it’s really just hard to avoid, it’s impossible to avoid traffic. It’s impossible to avoid being surrounded by a lot of people all the time. I am certainly going to really, really miss very much my friends here in London, I’ve lived in London three different times in my life. I came here as a working holiday maker when I was about 26 for two years and I came back for almost a year in between that and then lived in Germany for a while and then came back again.

So this is the third time I’ve lived here and I think this time it’s been about 14 years, and in that time I’ve had the girls and we’ve met a lot of really good friends through meeting other parents through school, and I’m really good friends with my mum’s group, girls and women. And I think I can call them the girls because that’s what we say. It’s going to be really, really hard. And I think I’m going to miss the convenience of a lot of things here. Everything is on tap. Amazon has a lot to answer for with that. And you know, nothing’s very particularly far away. Although if someone’s living on the other side of the river in London, you tend not to see them very often. But yeah, it’s really just everything at your fingertips. So many opportunities to go to museums or plays or concerts.

And although I don’t do it very often, I think, oh, I’ll miss the ability to do that as easily. But I’m looking forward to a different lifestyle. I’m really looking forward to quieter, hopefully more, I don’t know, a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. I’m hoping that living at a slower pace, hopefully it will, I don’t know, just mean less consumption, more walking, more time to cook. Yeah, just lots of little changes that I’m looking forward to. I’ve been trying really hard for a long time to minimize plastic and waste and food waste and things like that, but I don’t know. With the fast pace of life, things go by the wayside sometimes, so I find myself slipping in and out of good habits a little bit.

I’m really proud of some of the habits and changes we’ve made. We get all our laundry detergent and washing up detergent refilled. We have a Milkman, so he brings milk in glass bottles. And just a few a few things like that that we’ve been able to change. But when I first started trying to really really reduce plastic and things, it was about, I don’t know, I want to say six years ago that I read an article by BA Johnson in a magazine on the way to a holiday. I was reading this magazine on the plane and I got off, I read the article, it was all about zero waste. And I got off the plane and then downloaded her books on my phone and read them on holidays. And then I came back from holidays and went to find the one shop in London that I could find that had like, package free groceries. It was miles away from where we lived. Really, I went there twice, but it really wasn’t feasible as a grocery shopping option.

And especially when at the time I was working in the city and doing some designing and I think maybe podcasting on the side. So it really wasn’t feasible to schlep across London to go and buy our groceries from this place. But ironically in the last couple of weeks, two package free shops have opened in, you know, my neighboring suburbs to where I live. So just sort of a mile away. So I mean that’s good. I’m really, really excited to see them opening and hope to have a chance to visit them. One is called, I was just looking at it on the Instagram. I found it on Instagram, Jarr Market, J-A-R-R market, and they’re in Herne Hill and there’s another one opening in Peckham, or opened in Peckham as well. I can’t remember the name of that one. So if you’re in southeast London and are wanting to do a bit of bit more packaged, free shopping, there are two shops that are available to you, which is super exciting, really, really exciting. And they look lovely online. I’m sure that they’re lovely in person as well. So I’m looking forward to seeing those.

Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble. I know that where we’re moving to has a package free market near where we’re going to be living. So yes, so hoping to use that a bit. One thing I’ve been doing for the past year or so, is twice a week just sort of doing meal planning and cooking meals and just shopping for those meals that I’m cooking rather than going to the grocery store and buying heaps of like seeing nice fruit and veg or really you know, nice things and just buying things randomly. And that’s really cut down on food waste. And I was just listening to a podcast that I haven’t finished listening to yet called The Low Tox Life, which I dip in and out of occasionally.

And it’s an Australian host called Alex someone and I just saw the title, the climate crisis, the power’s in your hands and she has a guest Ann Foster on the show. So I started listening to that and it’s quite a hopeful discussion. I have most of the episodes still to listen to, so I can’t talk about it too much. But one of the first things they were talking about was how food waste can make a huge difference and also how individuals actions can make a huge difference. And so sometimes you wonder whether if what you’re doing is making any difference whatsoever. But this podcast was really, it was really hopeful and I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of it as I’m doing some more packing today. So that was episode 149 of Low Tox Life.

One of the things that I need to do today before my stash gets packed up is to figure out what yarn I am keeping with me for the next, I don’t know, three months or so? I’m not sure how long I will be without my stash. And they say it takes six to eight weeks for things to ship to Australia in a container. And I think we will probably be house hunting for a bit longer than that. So probably be a bit longer before I get to unpack things. So, yeah, so I’m trying to plan, and my mind is not really in a good place to be thinking about this because I’m so scattered. I wish I had sort of set aside some time to do this a little bit earlier, but I think it’s one of those things, you know you, I tend to do things very last minute. I’m still, even though I talked about this, getting better at it in the last couple of episodes, I’m still not fabulous at planning ahead.

So as a result I will be trying to plan out my knitting for the next three months today I’m thinking I’ll definitely have my Cleo project and I will wind a couple more skeins of yarn for that. Not that there’s anything wrong with winding yarn by hand, but I might just try and wind a few skeins just to make that easier because I know that I’m going to be working on that. So I’m thinking Elton, my Elton Cardi by Joji Locatelli in yellow brick road. I think that might be a nice project for travel. It’s super simple and it’s a beautiful bright yellow color. It’s quite cheerful and yeah, and thinking about Joji patterns, I might, I’ve got pure joy is in my, collection of whips, which is a gorgeous shawl by Joji, I’m knitting that in some really deep stash and it’s lovely, lovely yarn. So I think that might be quite a comforting project to bring with me.
I’m also looking forward to doing some designing, so I’m going to try, if I have time to plan out a couple of designs and pack the yarn for those. I have an idea for a pull over and I have some gorgeous La Bien Aimee dk white yarn. I posted a picture of it in my Instagram feed this week and yeah, it’s just gorgeous yarn, super inspiring. I have a little idea for it. So I think I’ll try to include that in my traveling stash and hopefully just work on that a little bit. And yeah, I think, I don’t know, I’m going to need to be reasonably sensible about what I bring with me, but always so many ideas, so many projects. And I think I will need my knitting more than ever in the next few weeks and months. Yeah, it’s going to be my comfort, I think through a big transition.

So I don’t want to apologize too much, but I am sorry if this has been a bit of a ramble-y episode and I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope you’ll bear with me and understand it’s, yeah, just a lot of upheaval at the moment. A lot of things going on and yeah, but I just wanted to pop in and say hello, have a chat with you. I love you all so much. Hope you’re well. I hope for all the people in the northern hemisphere who are moms and dads, you’re coping okay with school holidays. It’s a challenge at the best of times. I hope you’re enjoying some nice warm weather if you’re in the northern hemisphere.

For all my southern hemisphere listeners, enjoy your knitting weather, enjoy the cold weather. Hope you’re cozy and yeah, I’ll talk to you again soon. Most likely next week and I’ll try and be a bit more together for you. Have a slightly more structured conversation.

That’s all from me. Have a fantastic way and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Jul 26 2019

19mins

Play

Rank #4: CH 279: Destashing, Designs and #Knit20for2020

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

It’s the first podcast of 2020! Today I’m talking about embarking on a big destash to aid Australian bushfire fundraising. I also have news about my design plans for the upcoming year, and a fun little challenge we can all do together to nourish our creativity and stretch our knitting skills in 2020.

Show Links

Go Fund Me for First Nations Communities of Australia Affected by Bushfires

The Happier Podcast

The Literary Life Podcast

#20for2020reads

Use the hashtag #Knit20for2020 to join the challenge

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 279. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m Your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and happy new year. This is the first Curious Handmade show for 2020 and I’m happy to be back chatting with you. It’s pretty busy here still because school doesn’t go back from our long summer holiday here in Australia until the end of January, so we’re having our summer holiday and it’s pretty busy with the kids trying to keep them entertained, bit of a challenge to get any work done. I’m happy to have a short window to record. They’ve gone out to jump on trampolines at the Big Boing, so I’m snatching a few minutes to record an episode. It was meant to be published on Friday a few days ago, but I’m just doing my best at the moment.

I have a new office and studio so I’ve been spending a bit of time trying to set that up and get organized. I’m unpacking yarn and trying to organize that into some kind of order and yeah, that’s a bit of a challenge. I have way too much. I’ve talked about this quite a bit in the past about how I want to do a destash of my yarn. Last year was crazy busy. It was really hectic with moving countries and still keeping up a design and podcasting schedule as well as quite a few trips. So I didn’t manage to destash at all. Last year I did kind of declutter most of the house before we moved so I was pretty happy about that but the yarn was the one thing that I either couldn’t or didn’t do before we left. But now I’m thinking maybe there’s a nice opportunity here.

If you’ve been listening to the news or seen any social media, you will be aware of the terrible bushfires we’ve been experiencing here in Australia. There’s been a huge amount of fundraising happening and I thought what I could do is to destash some yarn and donate the proceeds to some charities to support bushfire charity work that’s happening at the moment.

I was thinking about donating pattern sales and things like that, but I thought it might be nice to send this yarn to people who can use it and also donate the proceeds as well. I’ll probably donate some to the Red Cross who are doing a lot of work for the people that have been affected by the fires. There’s also a fundraiser for indigenous Australians. I will find the page and link to it. It’s a Gofundme page, I think. I have personally donated to that as well, but I’ll send some of the destash proceeds to that also find one or two animal charities that have not had as much exposure as some of the others. Some charities like WIRES in New South Wales have had a huge amount of publicity from various people and there’s a lot of smaller animal charities that are caring for the native wildlife that haven’t had much exposure so I’ll try and find one or two of them to send proceeds to as well.

I will post more details of that soon. I haven’t got that organized yet so I don’t know when I’m going to be posting that. I think I’ll try and do it soon though, obviously. Probably in about a week or so I’ll try and get organized to take photos and post details. I’m going to try and have the attitude of “Done is better than perfect.” I think my perfectionist tendencies have been partly what’s stopping me from destashing in the past and I’m trying to figure out the best way to do it and the best platform and where and how and all that sort of thing. I get a bit caught up in … so yeah, so I’m just going to get on with it this time. Please look out for that and yeah, I’ll figure out if I’ll do some bundles or how I’m going to do it. I’m not sure.

Also, in terms of New Years and planning, I have been working out what designs I’ll be publishing this year. In terms of collections coming up very soon will be the third handmade Sock Society collection starting in February, so presales for that are going to go up quite soon and then the first pattern will come out towards the end of February. I’m doing things a little bit differently this year than the last two years. The last two years, I think I’ve followed a fairly similar format with the Sock Society and the Shawl Society but this year I have decided to not do the Shawl Society, to have a break from that. It might come back again next year, but I am just having a little break because I think I was up to season four with the shawls and I’m kind of having fun doing the socks. So I decided I would do the socks and possibly, I’m not promising, but possibly do a mystery shawl knit-along later on in the year, if I can manage.

So the socks are going to run monthly this time, so instead of being every two months, I’m going to have one pattern per month starting in February. That will run through to July and then see what happens in the second half of the year. I thought I would take a little bit of a step back this year or try to nurture my creativity a little bit. The past year has been crazy, so I need a little bit of time to catch up with some exciting admin and settle into life in Australia and all sorts of things. There’s just so much new admin that I’m discovering every day and finding a new dentist and registering with them and stuff like that so … It’s not terribly exciting, but it’s all part of adulting, I suppose so I’m trying to be realistic.

But I have got a fun plan for my personal knitting. If you’ve been listening for a while, you will know that I listen to the Happier Podcast from time to time. I particularly like listening to it at the beginning of the year because they do a challenge, the happier … happiness challenge? Basically, they started a couple of years ago with I think 18 for 2018 and then obviously 19 for 2019. It’s meant to be projects that make you happy or work towards your goals. It’s just a kind of a fun meme and a fun hashtag to share what you’re working on. The last few years I’ve had happiness projects and it’s been really good because it just focused me on doing, I don’t know, more fun things, more sociable things, less serious things.

I was working away on my list for 2020, my 20 for 2020 happiness projects and I was looking at the hashtag and I came across the Literary Life Podcast had the hashtag 20 for 20 reading. They have a reading list, like read a Shakespeare play, read a children’s novel, like different genres of books to read. I thought, “Ooh, that could be fun, a knitting project list.” I thought I would write a list of things that I wanted to do and I’m going to create a printable if anyone wants to join in.

The 20 things I have on my list are finish a WIP because I have a WIP to finish and Gretchen from the Happier Podcast or says put something on there that you can achieve a quick win so hopefully, hopefully my WIP that I have in mind will be a quick win. Brioche, lace, color work, short rows, cables, and so I had a kind of a selection of techniques, and then a pullover, cardigan, socks, a pattern from a deep pattern library or pattern that I’ve had for ages that I’ve wanted to knit for ages, a hat, a toy, a cowl, knitting something from deep stash yarn, a gift, a shawl, knitting something from non-superwash yarn, a new to me designer, a scrappy or advent calendar project, and for number 20 an intimidating or epic or bucket list project.

So I’m really chuffed with that list actually. I can see it’s going to be lots of fun choosing patterns to match those categories. I already have lists of things in my queue for some of them, not for all of them. I thought on my printable I’m going to have a space beside the category for where you can write either ideas or you could do a sort of a finished version of writing what unit for that category, what you ended up doing to meet that category. I thought also you could either choose to knit 20 things and just tick one thing, one category off at a time, or you could tick one or more categories off at a time. So you could knit something from deep stash, in non-super wash yarn that’s a pullover or something like that, or a gift, or all four of those things, in fact. So yeah, so you could knit, I don’t know, less than 10 things and still tick off all the categories. It just depends on what rules you want to set for yourself.

I thought possibly people might set other boundaries for themselves, like knitting from stash only or maybe knitting things for charity or, I don’t know, there’s all sorts of fun ways you could do this project. Of course, you could adapt it to what you want to do so you don’t have to use my categories. You could substitute any or all of them if you don’t fancy a particular technique or a particular type of item or whatever. Yeah, you might have some completely different categories that would be interesting to share as well.

I hope that people join in on this. So I’m going to use the hashtag #knit20for2020 and if you want to play along, you can use that hashtag too. I haven’t made the printable yet, but I will do and I’ll publish that as soon as I have and start sharing some of my ideas for the things that I’m going to knit for the different categories. I’m thinking that this is going to be for my personal non-work knitting. So this is going to be a really fun project and non-work. It’s probably unrealistic that I’ll manage 20 items so I think I’ll be double dipping. For example, knitting a brioche shawl and ticking off two categories with one item, that kind of thing. That’s fine, I’m happy with that and everybody can decide how they want to do it.

For the first category, finish a work in progress. If you’ve been listening to this show last year, you’ll probably be able to guess what that is and that is the Clio pullover by Elizabeth Doherty. I’ve been working on that for probably three years now, I want to say. I hope it’s not four. It’s at least three. I had set the end of last year as my hard, hard deadline that I could definitely achieve. I didn’t achieve that, but I did finish the body so I’m pretty happy. I made a huge amount of progress with it. I think when I started at the beginning of the year, I really had not done much more than the shoulders and they’re like the very beginning. Yeah, so I knit most of the body throughout the year and I’m pretty happy with that. I had thought I’d finish the body well before Christmas and had cast it off. But then I tried it on and I was just not happy with the length and I wasn’t happy with the bind off so I unpicked the bind off and added probably another inch and a half to two inches of the ribbing.

Then I experimented with different bind offs trying to find one that wasn’t too tight or wasn’t too flarey. I think I eventually settled on Judy’s magic bind off, which is I’ve used before and I don’t know why I didn’t try that one to start with, but I was just Googling random things and trying random things. But Judy’s magic bind off was quite good. I think I took someone’s advice and went down a needle size. I can’t remember. I was in the pre-Christmas haze at this point.

But I’ve finished the body and now I’m just kind of a bit stalled again because I have to pick up for the sleeves and do some more short rows and me and short rows just take quite a bit of concentration and of bit of psyching up to do them just to, because I have to read the instructions so carefully. I think it just slows me down and so I don’t want to do it. But yeah, so I’m going to pick up the stitches for the sleeves and get going on the sleeves and that’s going to definitely be one of my #knit20for2020. I am not going to finish this year without finishing that pullover. There’s no way. If I knit nothing else, if I have to just make myself knit that. But you know, that’s all I’m going to knit until it’s done, apart from work.

That’ll make good motivator because there’s so many other things I want to knit. This list is just really inspiring me to try lots of things that I’ve wanted to do for ages or, you know, there’s so many lovely patterns in my queue that I wanted to do. So yes, so finishing Clio is going to be quite motivating.

It’s a pretty short and sweet episode this week. Thanks for listening and joining me today. I wanted to say one more thing before I say goodbye. Thinking about the bushfires and doing the destash project, I have been so overwhelmed and grateful for knitters all over the world donating their time and money and proceeds, from knitting patterns and supporting the charities that are doing amazing work here. Yeah, just, I can’t believe how many people from the UK, from the US, from Germany, all over, all over the world have posted that they’ve supported various charities. I just always think what a wonderful community we have and how generous knitters are and how wonderful. We just so grateful that we weren’t affected here where we live in Queensland, but we’re so heartbroken by the devastation to people’s lives and to the wildlife and to the environment and, you know. It’s so scary what happened and what is happening. I think every donation and every thought and every person sending love is, makes a big impact so I’m just overwhelmed by that generosity.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to your new year’s, and I hope to see some people joining in for #knit20for2020. Have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, I’ll talk to you soon.

Jan 20 2020

20mins

Play

Rank #5: CH 283: 52 Weeks of Socks Review

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Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Photo Credit: Laine Magazine

Today’s podcast is pretty much exclusively about socks! It’s an exciting time to be a sock knitter just now. The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is now open, with pre-sales over at Ravelry and a very big Early Bird discount on the collection. We also have the release of an incredible new book of patterns produced by Laine Magazine. On today’s podcast I talk a little about the pattern I created for the book, the Snippet Socks, as well as an overall review of the book itself and some of the other incredible designs you’ll find there. I know which one I’m casting on first, but it was not easy to choose!

Show Links

Join The Handmade Sock Society 3 here!

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is a pattern subscription club inspired by the many meanings of atmosphere and the creative quest. The six secret sock knitting patterns in the collection are ideal for any knitter who is obsessed with (or wants to fall in love with) hand-knitted socks, appreciates a bit of suspense, and enjoys creating along with other enthusiastic makers. The first pattern of the series will be released in February 2020, and then there will be another pattern release every month until July. There’s never any pressure to “keep up” with the crowd, and our relaxed knit-along schedule is designed to give knitters of all skill levels and knitting speeds a relaxed experience.

Whether you’re a newish sock knitter or a seasoned pro, these patterns will have something to offer. The difficulty hovers between “intrepid beginner” and intermediate. There will be interesting stitch patterns, a touch of lace, and maybe a little cable or two, but nothing confounding. And of course, if you’re ever at a loss, our warm and welcoming knitalong community is always available to help, encourage, and cheer you along the way. So take a deep breath and a good look around. Stare up at the stars. Soak up the atmosphere. There’s so much to discover.

Sock Pattern Release Schedule:

  • Tuesday, February 25th
  • Tuesday, March 24th
  • Tuesday, April 21st
  • Tuesday, May 19th
  • Tuesday, June 16th
  • Tuesday, July 21st

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Membership in The Handmade Sock Society 3 grants you access to six stunning knitted sock patterns which will be released one every month until July.

  • The patterns will remain completely exclusive to Society members until the session ends.

  • The Handmade Sock Society 3 collection is available at a special early bird price for just a short time. 

  • The early bird price for the collection is £9.95 (+ applicable VAT for EU countries – Ravelry automatically adds this in). This includes all SIX sock designs and works out to less than half price of the patterns individually.

  • The early bird ends when the first pattern is released and the regular price will be £15 (+VAT for EU countries)

  • All the designs are written for fingering weight/4 ply/sock yarn, so this will be an excellent stashbuster for many!

  • If you do want to treat yourself to new yarn or just want some inspiration, I will post yarn spoilers on Ravelry before each pattern is released so you can shop or stash dive to find the perfect yarn for your socks. 

  • The patterns are all for knitted socks. Most will be confident beginner level but one or two will require more intermediate skills.

  • The patterns will be written in the Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist Pattern format and I will include charts for lace.

Laine Magazine’s 52 Weeks of Socks book

Snippet Socks

The Wool Barn

Pebbles and Pathways Socks by Marceline Smith

Intersections Socks by Marceline Smith

Branches by Amanda Jones

House of A La Mode

Porch Light by Lindsey Fowler

Little Lionhead Knits

Lucerna by Fabienne Gassmann

John Arbon

ONION

Riverbed by Joji Locatelli

Bembe by Dawn Henderson

Quince & Co.

Tinkhickman on Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

The Wool Barn on Instagram

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 283. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, hello. Are you having a good week? I hope you are. I am having a hectic week again, I say that every week, don’t I? It’s hectic all the time at the moment. I started off the week sending off the parcels for the Bushfire Relief Auction, the destash I did recently. I still have a couple of those parcels that I need to send out, that I’m still sorting out addresses and things for. Also, this week my goal is to send off all the knit-along prizes. Everybody was super fast getting their addresses back to me, so that was awesome, and so I’m going to work on that later today. Parceling everything up, filling out all the customs forms, and hopefully, getting them to the post office probably tomorrow, if I spend today packaging. There was 15 prizes for the knit-along winners, we did a big Prize-a Palooza all at once, last week. In previous years, I’ve been a bit more sort of spaced out with them throughout the year as each passion or each knit-along comes to an end.

But last year it was so crazy with me being, that I just did them all at once. So yeah. So as I announced recently, we are rolling straight into The Handmade Sock Society number 3, and just as a bit of a heads up, this episode is going to be basically all about socks. So if you’re not a sock knitter and have no interest in sock-knitting, this might not be the episode for you. So we’re starting Season 3 of the Sock Society. So the theme for the season is “Atmosphere” and pre-sales for the collection opened yesterday on Ravelry, it is only going to be available on Ravelry at this stage because it provides such a great delivery mechanism for the patterns. So once you sign up, I can just add the patterns to the collection and you’ll receive them each month. The collection is currently available at a really big discount, early Bird price, and it will be at an early Bird price until the 24th of February, because the first pattern will be released on Tuesday, the 25th of February. So that’s in just over a week’s time.

As always, I’m really excited about this collection. If you’ve enjoyed previous seasons of The Handmade Sock Society, I think you’ll like this one too. I haven’t tried to do anything dramatically different this season. It’s a relatively similar I would say, the socks are top-down and are written in my percentage checklist style. So they’re all written out in full, as well as charts wherever necessary, and I’m looking forward to those of you who love knitting socks to join us.

So the other exciting thing that happened this week is that I received in the post, my designer copy of 52 Weeks of Socks by Laine. Also, my sample of my snippet socks that are in the book, and we have been seeing sneak peaks of the book on Instagram, and it’s just so thrilling to have this book in my hands now. It is absolutely beautiful. It’s as you can imagine with 52 sock patterns, it’s a solid book. I would describe it almost as a coffee table book, they have a beautiful linen cover, which is very tactile and a gorgeous belly band around it. I learnt that term when I was looking into printing patterns at one stage. So it’s where you have the paper wrapped around a thin strip of the cover. So they have a gorgeous photo on that, and then when I opened it up, there’s a little detail shot of my snippet socks on the inside of the front of the belly band. So that was kind of nice to see.

On the back, the inside is a beautiful shot of foliage grasses and it’s just gorgeous. I love little beautiful details like that, that says “52 Weeks of Socks is a unique look into modern international sock- knitting. The designers behind the 52 pairs come from all corners of the world. They’ve used different yarns and techniques in their designs that are either intuitive and relaxing to knit or more challenging. This beautiful book is a future classic that you will return to again and again.” I think that’s absolutely right.

So I have a design in this book obviously, and it’s called Snippet Socks. When Yana and Cindy contacted me to do a design for the book, of course, I was very happy to. My pattern is towards the end of the book, number 45, and I called the socks Snippet. When I started thinking about them, I thought I would do a little bit of a spin-off or connection with my Fragment Socks that were in issue four, of Laine Magazine. And Fragment Socks have been really popular, and when I designed Fragment, I was thinking about patchwork. I was making a patchwork quilt, and I, yeah, I was just thinking about the shapes that are often found in patchwork quilt.

So that’s where Fragment came from. Then, so snippet, I really liked those diagonal shapes and Fragment, and so I, yeah, I just kind of worked from that point when I was thinking about the design. I was quite influenced by the Japanese stitch dictionary, and I was smiling as I was looking through the patterns, because I think a lot of the designers in the book were also influenced by that stitch dictionary. It’s been really popular at the moment, and it’s, I think really influencing a lot of designs that we’re seeing coming out. The aesthetic for that is a lot of twisted stitches and a lot of combining different lace patterns in columns, and I can see that through a lot of the designs in the book. So I do think or wonder if other designers have been enjoying that inspiration as much as I have. I’ve actually been really inspired by that particular book.

So for the yarn, for this design, I used Cashmere Sock, by The Wool Barn, and that is 80% super wash extra-fine merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. The colorway is Walnut. I absolutely love that base, and I really love this color. I think Maya from the Wool Barn is just so talented, and whenever I use her yarn for a design, it just photographs so beautifully. I don’t know what it is about her dyes, but the light really reflects off them, and then also the colors show up beautifully as well. So I am absolutely thrilled with the photos for the socks that are included in the book, they’re just gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous, love everything about the styling. They’ve included these socks in some of the detailed shots throughout the book, and I just couldn’t be happier.

Of course, the photography of the book is one of the highlights. The designs are all beautiful and the photography just shows them off so beautifully. I love the Laine of style of photography, it’s moody and textured, and I love the way they combine textures in their styling. So my socks are photographed on a sort of a jute-textured rug with some native flowers in the background. They look like Australian natives actually, might be South African. And a beautiful silky skirt on the model, and it’s just absolutely gorgeous. So I thought that I would choose one of the designs from another designer to cast on, and I will make that my socks category for my #knit20for2020. But then, I was absolutely struggling to decide which pair to choose. I absolutely love … The first pattern in the book is by Marceline Smith, HeyBrownBerry, who is a friend and I am currently knitting her Pebbles and Pathways Socks already. She has a gorgeous design in the book called Intersections, which is a gorgeous cabled textured design.

I was also looking at number four, Branches by Amanda Jones. This is an example of where I think maybe she’s been influenced by a similar stitch dictionary that I was. It’s much more intricate pattern though, with a lot of lace and some stripes of, I think it’s the not stitch coming down the side, and the lace pattern goes into the cuff, which is really cool. Amanda works at A Yarn Story, and yeah, I’ve met her, she’s absolutely lovely person and these socks are just divine. She’s knit them, and House Fingering by House of A La Mode. And a gorgeous blue, well, actually the colorway is called Sage. It looks quite blue in the picture, but maybe it’s more of a bluey-green.

So I’m very tempted by that, and even though it looks super intricate, when you look at the charts, they’re not that complicated. It’s like an 11 stitch repeat going around. So that’s possibly memorizable, I think that would be okay to keep in your head. Then I was really drawn to a very different pair, they’re a lot plainer, number eight, Porch Light by Lindsey Fowler. These ones just have a small amount of detail around, just underneath the cuff, using sort of a different colorway. She’s used a Tweed Fingering by Little Lionhead Knits. I have a couple of this tweedy-style yarn in my stash, and so I was thinking about these ones, really like them. I think they’re my second choice.

Number 18, Lucerna, is by Fabienne Gassman. These are, again, a more simple design, more textured. So they’re reverse stockinette with some detailing, just sort of lines coming down from the top and up from the toe, and a cute, is it cast on or they knit top-down? Yes. Nobby Estonian cast on, which is quite cool. There’s an Exmoor Sock by John Arbon. That’s a really interesting blend. It’s 60% Exmoor Blueface, 20% Corriedale, and 10% Zwartbles and 10% nylon, and teases colorway Bibble Bug, which is a cute name. Oh, and also held double with silk and kid mohair by Onion, 40% silk, 60% kid mohair. So they’re held double and she’s knit them on, okay, so 2.5 and 2.75 needles. So still quite small needles and they look very cozy and just beautiful texture. Really, really drawn to those.

That’s Lucerna, number 18. There’s a gorgeous design by Joji Locatelli, number 31, Riverbed. She’s used a DK weight yarn for these ones, so she’s used Silky BFL DK by Walk Collection, who’s one of my favorite indie dyers. These are 55% wool, 45% silk, and the colorway Apollo. So they make for a beautiful sheen on the socks, and how he’s used the reverse stockinette with a lace design going down the top of the foot and down the back of the leg. So they’re really cute and would be a great option if you wanted a faster knit, probably with being in the DK. They’re on three millimeter needles.

But I think the pattern that I’m going to cast on is number 22, Bembe, B-E-M-B-E by Dawn Henderson. These are textured, it’s a textured pattern on the leg using just knits and pearls, in a really cool graphical design. The foot’s plane, which is quite nice, because once you’ve done the work on the leg you can just knit round and round on the foot. The yarn she’s used is a gorgeous rust color brownie tones. It’s Finch by Quince & Company, which is 100% American wool, and the colorway is Fox. So that probably gives you an immediate visual of the ready brown color that this yarn is.

So, yes. So I am going to pass them on soon. They’re going to be my first ones I’m going to cast on from the book, and that’s Bembe by Dawn Henderson. I think that would be a really nice unisex pair, actually. I’m looking at them and when you look at them side on, it’s sort of almost like an argyle-diamond pattern along each side of the leg, and yeah, so it makes me think that this would be a nice design for my dad. I like to knit socks for my dad, although I’m very slow.

So yeah, so super honored to be part of this book. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s going to be a treasure for years to come and I know how much work has gone into it. Collating and curating 52 patterns is no mean feat, as well as producing magazines last year. We’ve been working on it for a long time and it’s just absolutely amazing to have it in my hands now. The print quality is absolutely gorgeous, and as a book lover, my heart just sings when I have this book in my hands, because the pages just feel so beautiful to the touch. Just every single detail is just gorgeous, when you feel the paper it just feels so beautiful in your hands. The cover feels beautiful. It’s quite a tactile experience just reading the book, and then there’s all the patterns to knit inside.

So, congratulations Laine and all the designers in this book. It’s going to bring a lot of people a lot of joy. I would also like to thank my sample knitter, Deb, who is Tink Hickman on Instagram and Ravelry for knitting up the gorgeous sample that is pictured in the book. As well as my test knitter, Tracey, who hosts the Comfy Red Couch Podcast and is a huge support. I’d like to thank Maya of the Wool Barn for creating such gorgeous inspiring yarn to work with, and make my designs really shine. So thank you to my little team, I couldn’t do it without you. That’s not all I have to talk about this week.

Thanks for tuning in today. I hope you are enjoying your #knit20for2020 Challenge, if you are joining in with that. I’m looking forward to getting a few things ticked off or starting to work on a few things. I am looking forward to casting on my Bembe socks by Dawn. I will have some very pleasant moments choosing the perfect yarn from my stash, possibly from my deep stash, so I might be able to tick off both of those prompts. Anyway, I hope you have an absolutely fantastic week. Don’t forget, if you want to join The Handmade Sock Society number 3, to get in while the early bird price is still on offer, and apart from that, happy knitting, have a fantastic week and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Feb 14 2020

22mins

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Rank #6: CH 268: Summer Reading and Sweater Knitting

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors:

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

This episode, as part of my effort to design my summer and come up with holiday projects, I am putting together a reading list. I have some really amazing reads coming up but as they are on the more serious side I’m also looking for some fun fiction recommendations, if you have any! I am also building a fantasy sweater knitting queue…if I start now I might have one finished by the end of the year!

Show Links:


Court Number One: The Old Bailey Court Cases That Defined Modern Britain by Thomas Grant

Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture by Bruce Pascoe

Craeft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alexander Langlands

Hay by Clare Mountain

Like a Cloud by Jojo Locatelli 

Confetti by Veera Välimäki

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Zweig Pullover by Caitlin Hunter

Magnolia Pullover by Camilla Vad

Laine Magazine

Cushendale Woollen Mill

La Bien Aimée

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

Winterfell Cardigan by Katrin Schneider

Episode transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 268. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’ve had a fantastic week. Thank you for everybody who commented and sent me messages about your holiday projects. I loved hearing about those. I’m still working on mine actually. I haven’t had much time this week to think about it in too much detail. But today I thought I would share with you a couple of books that I’m hoping to read over the summer holidays that I have in my pile beside my bed at the moment. Also do an update on my thinking about my knitting capsule wardrobe pattern ideas. Just before I get into all of that, I wanted to remind you that we just have a couple of days left for my birthday sale. It’s my birthday today in fact, so I have been running a sale for the last week or so to celebrate, and it is a buy one, get one free sale.

So all you have to do to make the most of that is to put two or more of my patterns from my Ravelry store into a basket and use the code, happybirthday, oh, one word. So I just wanted to give you a little reminder about that, that runs through to Sunday 30th of June before that offer ends. It’s also to celebrate the release of the individual patterns from last year’s show society collection. So I have just had that available as a collection up until now. And now each of the patterns from the Shawl Society Season 3 from last year are now available as single patterns. So lots of people have been waiting for that, sorry it’s taken me so long. I meant to do it earlier in the year, but the years got away from me a little bit. So we’re doing it now with a lovely buy one get one free sale to go along with it.

So as part of my summer holiday project, along with moving countries, I am compiling a bit of a reading list. I have a few books collected already, and I thought I’d just share about them a little bit with you. So I’ve just grabbed three books from the top of my pile beside my bed. So the first one I grabbed, I picked up recently at a local independent bookshop. And it is called, Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials That Defined Modern Britain by Thomas Grant QC. This was just on the counter when I was buying some books for the kids and I just thought it looked interesting. When I was working in the city many years ago, in one of my very first jobs in London, I worked in an office building opposite the Old Bailey. And so I was always fascinated with the comings and goings from the court. And also, one or two of my ancestors were tried in the Old Bailey before being transported to the colonies. So I guess that’s why the title piqued my interest a little bit.

The book says,

Court Number One of the Old Bailey is the most famous court room in the world, and the venue of some of the most sensational human dramas ever to be played out in a criminal trial. The principal criminal court of England, historically reserved for the more serious and high-profile trials, Court Number One opened its doors in 1907 after the building of the ‘new’ Old Bailey. In the decades that followed it witnessed the trials of the most famous and infamous defendants of the twentieth century. It was here that the likes of Madame Fahmy, Lord Haw Haw, John Christie, Ruth Ellis, George Blake (and his unlikely jailbreakers, Michael Randle and Pat Pottle), Jeremy Thorpe and Ian Huntley were defined in history, alongside a wide assortment of other traitors, lovers, politicians, psychopaths, spies, con men and – of course – the innocent.

Not only notorious for its murder trials, Court Number One recorded the changing face of modern British society, bearing witness to alternate attitudes to homosexuality, the death penalty, freedom of expression, insanity and the psychology of violence. Telling the stories of twelve of the most scandalous and celebrated cases across a radically shifting century, this book traces the evolving attitudes of Britain, the decline of a society built on deference and discretion, the tensions brought by a more permissive society and the rise of trial by mass media.

So I thought that sounded quite interesting. And yeah, we’ll see, I hadn’t read any of the pages sometimes before buying an unknown author. I like to stand in the bookshop for a while and read a few pages just to see if I like the style, but I didn’t have time, this time. So we’ll see. It’s quite unknown at this point. The next one I have seen recommended on Instagram by mostly Australian Instagrammers I guess, in the knitting community. It’s called Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture by Bruce Pascoe. And this was recommended and I thought sounded very interesting, especially with the move from the UK to Australia. I thought I would inform myself a little bit by reading this book.

So the blurb says history has portrayed Australia’s first peoples the Aboriginals as hunter gatherers who lived on an empty uncultivated land. History is wrong. In the seminal book, Bruce Pascoe uncovers evidence that long before the arrival of white men, Aboriginal people across the continent were building dams and wells, planting and irrigating and harvesting seeds and then preserving the surplus and storing it in houses, sheds or secure vessels and creating elaborate cemeteries and manipulating the landscape. All of these behaviors were inconsistent with a hunter gatherer tag, which turns out to have been a convenient lie that works to justify dispossession. Using compelling evidence from the records and diaries of early Australian explorers and colonists. Pascoe reveals that Aboriginal systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history. And that a new look at Australia’s past is required for the benefit of us all. That gave me a bestseller in Australia, won both the Book of the Year Award and the indigenous writers prize in the New South Wales premiers literary awards. The truth telling must go on.

So I’m looking forward to reading that. When I was in primary school, we learnt a version of Australian history and it will be really interesting to supplement that with this book. Finally, I have a book which was recommended to me by my copywriter and teammate Amanda. And it’s called, Craeft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alexander Langlands. Craeft is spelled C-R-A-E-F-T, in one letter F-T. So, not sure quite how to pronounce that, but Craeft, something like that I’m not sure. And this sounds super interesting, especially for crafty creative types.

In the midst of a seemingly endless supply of mass manufactured products, we find ourselves nostalgic for products bearing the mark of authenticity, handmade furniture, artisan breads, craft beers and other goods produced by human hands. What often goes unnoticed is the transformation of our understanding of craft, or rather craft in the wake of industrialization.

In craft archeologist and medieval historian Alexander Langlands argues that our modern understanding of craft only skims the surface. His journeys from his home in Wales have taken him along the Atlantic seaboard of Europe, from Spain through France and England to Scotland and Iceland, in search of the last meaning of craft, reaching as far back as the Neolithic period. He combines deep history with scientific analysis and personal anecdotes. We follow the author as he herds sheep, keeps bees, tends hides, spins wool, and thatches roofs. We learned that sides work much better on tall grass than the latest model of wheat trimmers, that you can spin wool using a large wooden spoon, and it was once considered criminal to work on animal hides before a requisite 12 months soak. When it first appeared in old English the word craft signified an indefinable sense of knowledge, wisdom and resourcefulness, rediscovering craft will connect us with our human past, a sense of place and our remarkable capacity to survive in the harshest of landscapes. Craft helps us more fully appreciate human ingenuity, and the passing on of traditions from generation to generation.

So, that sounds a bit interesting. I feel like we would be quite receptive audiences to this message. I wouldn’t go so far as to say preaching to the choir, but you know what I mean. I think we kind of understand the idea, but I’m very interested to delve into it a bit more and find out a bit more of the history and a more in depth analysis of it. So those are three books that I am looking forward to reading. I feel like that towards the heavier end of the spectrum for me, at least, the nonfiction, so I would be very welcome to any suggestions of some fiction series, especially along the lines of Jack Reacher style, John Milton style, action thrillers, I suppose you call them. I really enjoyed books by Mark Dawson. He’s an English writer. He has a podcast about writing and having an author business that I really liked listening to. And so I started reading his thrillers and I’ve read all of them now. So I really enjoyed those.

I’ve also recently just read the Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling books, The Cormorant Strike detective series, really enjoyed those. I like a good detective series I really enjoy Ian Rankin. So if you have any fairly light hearted, not too gory, fun series to recommend I would be very open and would welcome that because I need something light and trashy to offset the serious and the nonfiction. I’ve also been thinking about my capsule wardrobe ideas. And I have really loved having a couple of hand knit sweaters, cardigans to wear in the last year or so. I knit Hay by Claire Mountain and Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli and I mean I’ve knit sweaters before but these two along with Confetti that I knit by Veera Välimäki. I guess the three have been really great wearable pieces, and probably my most successful garments to date.

So I am considering what’s next on the list. As you probably know, I am halfway through knitting Clio by Elizabeth Doherty. And that’s going to be a wonderful staple in the wardrobe as well is sport weight, I’m knitting it in a really lovely neutral, light neutral color. So I think that’s going to be super versatile. But of course, once that’s done, I’m going to be looking for something else. So I’ve got four contenders for my capsule wardrobe. Again, I think this time of year is quite a good time of year to start thinking about knitting garments. Because even though it might not be, you might not think it’s the best time of year to knit. I mean here in the UK, it’s really knitting weather all year round. It doesn’t really get that hot most of the time, that isn’t very pleasant to knit. And I’ll be heading to Australia where it will be winter so again, very pleasant knitting weather. And then you have something ready for the Northern hemisphere winter if you start now. Possibly if you’re a faster knitter than me or Christmas 2020 perhaps.

Anyway, the first one on my list is Zweig by Caitlin Hunter. I met Caitlin at Squam recently very briefly, but it was absolutely lovely to meet her. I’ve been wanting to meet her for ages, and I have been admiring her patterns since she first started publishing them on Ravelry. And so it was so nice to meet her and there were quite a few Zweig pullovers at Squam. So I was admiring those. And this is a fingering white pullover knit in I think two colors. I think I’m right to say two colors. Some people knit it in one color, which looks fabulous as well. And so I think the fingering white pull over is a really great white, especially for me. It doesn’t really get that cold here in the UK, so it’s nice to have light layers. And of course, moving to Queensland where we don’t really have winter, fingering white is about as heavy a pullover as you want as well. So, that’s going to be a good white.

And I think with the lovely yoke detail, it’s got some lace, it’s got some texture. It’s really interesting. And I think this piece can go from casual to a bit more dressy so you can dress it up and dress it down. My uniform is basically jeans 24/7 well, not while I’m sleeping obviously but you know what I mean, I don’t often not wear jeans. And so I think a nice sweater really dresses that look up a little bit. So I think that would be a really nice contender. I’ve just seen so many lovely versions. You can’t go wrong with any color combination almost and yet it just always looks really good. Another one that I think is a nice casual but can also look quite classy is Magnolia by Camilla Vad. This one was in Laine magazine, I can’t remember which issue. I think it comes out at about a sport weight.

Looking at the materials, I’m 99% sure that it’s a lace weight and a silk mohair, how to double, pretty sure that’s what’s happening. And so it’s fairly lightweight, but also cozy and warm. It’s knit on 3.5 millimeter and four millimeter needles. And I have some Cushendale lambs wool in a lace white that I purchased on my trip to Ireland recently and I would have enough I bought four scans of a beautiful greeny blue color called Jade. And I have lots of silk mohair and I think I could find something to match. So potentially I have the yarn in stash for this one. And I think it would just look really adorable with a skirt and boots. It’s a really plain pullover except it has a beautiful lace section around the bottom of the body of the pullover. So it’s really classic but it just has beautiful pretty detail without being over the top. So it’s a little bit romantic. And again, I think it would dress up boring jeans and a T-shirt uniform really well.

So I’m really like that one, I’ve been admiring that since it was first released in Laine a little while ago, lot sometime ages I’ve been admiring it for a long time. And then looking at cardigans. I think if I was to do a cardigan my first pick would be Elton by Joji Locatelli, because I have the exact cold for yarn for that. I have the La Bien Aimee yarn in yellow brick rod and it’s a really fabulous yellow and it’s knit in two skeins of single pi and one skein of lightweight for my size which is I think medium. This is just a super chic cardigan, the mohair and singles or striped it’s really simple in concept but super effective in the end result. It’s quite cropped so I think Joji designed it to wear over dresses over tunic style dresses and would dress up a skirt or jeans and it would be the perfect white for not very cold Australian winters.

Similarly, the Winterfell cardigan jumped out at me. And this is by designer Katrin Schneider she has really gorgeous designs. I love everything she does. She has a tagline of, I think something like pure and timeless which is what all her designs are, just super classic, super timeless, but really lovely details. So this one is a fairly classic cardigan. I think it’s a little bit fitted. I’m not 100% sure, but it has really nice slip stitch diagonal stripes going across the front piece, and I think the rest of it is quite plain. Her description says, beginning with the neck band the cardigan is worked back and forth in rows from the top down diagonal slipped stitch lines are added to the front. The body is worked with a slight A shaping and finished with a rib turn. The front bent picked up a netted after the body is complete. The sleeves are worked in the round and finished with ripped cuffs.

So yes just lovely simple tilled and she has knitted her sample in the La Bien Aimee Winterfell colorway which is an absolutely stunning dark blue almost with a bit of gray in it I think. I’m not very good at describing colors but this is just a lovely really dark rich color. So those would be my picks for my capsule wardrobe that I’m slowly working on. I think that I would have the yarn for all of those except perhaps the Winterfell. I’m not sure if I’ve got anything in my stash, that sport weight and sweater quantities. I definitely have the yarn for Elton and probably have the yarn Magnolia and definitely have some fingering white skeins for Zweig. So yeah, so I think I probably start with Elton first from that list, although they’re all just calling me at the moment. So yeah, so I would like to know what is on your sweater knitting list.

You can leave a comment in the show notes or on Instagram. I’ll do a post about it. And I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about, get some ideas. 

So I hope you all have a fantastic week. Don’t forget last couple of days of my birthday sale. It’s a buy one, get one free on Ravelry. And don’t forget the coupon code. Happybirthday. So have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Jun 27 2019

24mins

Play

Rank #7: CH 292: The Rainy Window Socks and lots of lockdown reading

Podcast cover
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Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Aside from getting lost in an absorbing new knitting project, one of the best things I know is escaping into a good book. Today on the podcast I’m talking about some of my recent favourite reads and what’s on my list next. And of course there’s some knitting news, with a new pattern from The Handmade Sock Society 3 to introduce and yet more WIPs on their way off my needles.

Show Links:

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Yarn Ink: the Canadian dyer of the skein I’m using for my vanilla socks WIP

Rainy Window Socks

@tinkhickman on Instagram

Tracyrr aka The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

Ambient Socks FO Thread

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Viola Yarn

Squam Art Workshops

Stories for my Sister by Elizabeth Duvivier

Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths

@HillyFilly on Instagram

Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny

@susanhartmann on Instagram

@DigsKnitting on Instagram

The Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French

@pawsandknit on Instagram

Bob Skinner Series by Quintin Jardin

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

April #knit20for2020 FO Thread

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 292. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and a transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadowyarn.

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’re okay, having a good week. I know things are really difficult at the moment for everyone, and I hear you, and I sympathize and empathize. I have been very up and down, and I’m not even sure why. It’s all just a bit overwhelming and crazy at the moment. I’m a little bit fed up with my family and also feeling guilty for feeling fed up with my family because I know how lucky I am. And I’m just super, super grateful for crafting and my online community, to take my mind off being cooped up at home, and just feeling super grateful for all the people that are working, essential workers at the moment. Everyone from healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, amazing healthcare professionals who are overwhelmed at work, to everybody supporting society at the moment, grocery store workers, and just everybody who’s supporting us to stay at home, and stay safe, and try and keep other people safe as well.

We are in our first of five weeks of homeschooling. The government announced that that would be the case for our state last week. And so we’re doing that this week. And yeah, my kids are doing pretty well. It’s fairly intense, I have to say. And I’ve just decided to have really low expectations. I had a really nice chat with one of the girls’ teachers, and she said, basically, just do your best. And if they can do half an hour of reading every day, they’d be happy with that. So that was good to have a reality check on what the teachers’ expectations are. And it was nice to know that they weren’t expecting us to suddenly become fully qualified teachers, and that they didn’t expect the kids to be, I don’t know, concentrating, or doing as much at home. So that was quite a relief. It took a lot of pressure off. Obviously, I’m still trying to get them to follow the routine that the school’s setting out, and trying to maintain for them, but it’s a little bit up and down, and a little bit loosey-goosey, so we’ll just see how it goes.

I’m hoping that it’s only for five weeks. I feel fairly hopeful that it will only be five weeks, because the numbers here in Queensland are looking quite hopeful, so I’m feeling hopeful as well. I hope you’re coping okay as well, whatever your situation is, whether you’re having to go out, having to work at home, or are not working at the moment. I think it’s just really difficult for everybody, but you’re not alone, and I’m happy to be chatting with you today, and I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who’s just posting cheerful things on Instagram and Ravelry, and it’s just nice to be in touch with people and friends.

I’ve had a few Zoom conversations with some friends, some knitting friends, and some non-knitting friends. And that’s been super nice just to have chats with people and feel connected with people. And I’m feeling quite like a bit of a blob at the moment, even though I’ve probably been doing more regular exercise than normal. So I’m not quite sure why. I guess it’s just because I’m normally out and about and moving around a lot more than I realized I was. But being at home a lot more.

So back to knitting news, which is really what we’re all about here. This week, I released the third design in The Handmade Sock Society Season 3, the Rainy Window Socks. And it seems a bit ironic here, because it rains a lot here where I live in Australia, but at the moment, this week has just been gorgeous and sunny and blue skies. So it’s not really quite appropriate for this week. But we do get a lot of rainy windows here. I’ll just read you the description for the socks.

The sky is grey and heavy outside, and the first raindrops begin to trace their paths down the window. They have come a long way, from sea, to sky, to clouds, to end up here on this particular pane of glass. This is rain in its most contemplative mood, but there are others. Brisk, joyful spring rains to turn the fields and gardens green. Strong, quenching rains, long-awaited, to restore the earth after a drought. Fearsome storms that sweep into swell quiet streams, fill the flood plains, and carve new rivers into the landscape. Gentle or fierce, welcome or dreaded, the rain cannot be commanded and will not be controlled. It is on its own journey, from sea to sky to earth and back again.

The Rainy Window Socks are a tribute to the free-spirited nature of the rain and the lessons it can teach about following our own path. The front and top of the foot feature a river of eyelet raindrops, framed with simple cables, balanced on the back with plain stockinette stitch. Knit from the top down, they are finished with a heel flap and gusset and a round toe. With three sizes to choose from, it’s easy to create a beautifully fitted sock.

The yarn I used for this is a gorgeous Woolbarn Cashmere Sock in a dreamy blue color, and I always love knitting that yarn so much. It’s one of my favorites for sure. I’d like to thank Deb Tinkhickman who knit the sample for me and took the absolutely stunning photographs of the sample. And I’d like to thank my test knitter, Tracy, who is TracyRR on Ravelry, and host of The Comfy Red Couch podcast on YouTube, as well as my tech editors, Anna and Emma. Now, more than ever, I’m so grateful for my team who are helping me put these patterns together, and it would be very difficult to be getting any work done at the moment without them. And special thanks to Amanda, who wrote the lovely description.

So that means we currently have a Knit Along happening for two socks from The Handmade Sock Society at the moment. The Ambient Sock Knit Along continues for another few weeks, and the Knit Along for these Rainy Window Socks is just starting. So be sure to post your finished objects in the appropriate threads in Ravelry, and I will be sending out some lovely prizes for the random prize draw from the threads at the end of each Knit Along.

Apart from a little bit of design work, I have been on a bit of a roll with finishing some long-term works in progress that I had a draw of in my cabinet. And I think I said last week that I finished the Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith. And then I went on to pull out another pair of socks that I just had the foot and toe on the second sock to go, and they were a plain vanilla pair of socks that I was knitting in some gorgeous yarn that had been gifted to me by Jodi from the Grocery Girls, when I made my very first Mrs. Brown’s Bags purchase, and that was even before the Grocery Girls podcast.

So I had the yarn in my stash for quite a while, and I’d also had the socks on the needles for quite a while, not quite as long. So yeah, so that was really fun to finish. And I was knitting on them at my parents’ place, and my dad said, “Ooh, I like the look of those.” So his birthday’s coming up soon so I will gift them to him because we actually have the same size feet. So they are beautiful pink and blue yarn, and embarrassingly, I just am having a mental blank on the name of the dyer. I’ll try and dig that out. Of course, the ball band has long since gone missing. It’s a Canadian dyer. I’ll try and dig that out and put it in the show notes. But yeah, so that was good to finish another work in progress, another pair of socks.

And then I pulled out another project from the draw, which is the Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden, that I’m knitting in the suggested yarn, which is Viola Emily yarn. It’s a gorgeous project and it’s knit in mohair silk yarn, held singly, but you knit a tube and then it becomes doubled over. And I’m currently deciding whether to finish the project, or whether to knit a little bit more on the tube and call it a cowl. It’s a lot of knitting of stockinette mohair silk, and while, in a way, it’s a kind of perfect project for mindless knitting and Netflix binges, I am not sure I want to finish it. I do want to finish it because it’s such a beautiful project. I’m just not sure if I want to knit that much stockinette in mohair.

Anyway, I’m not deciding that just yet, but I will have to make a decision at some point, or I might just put it away again for a while and think about it. Yeah, so that’s what I’m working on with my knitting at the moment. I haven’t made any more progress on my quilt, but after I record this, I might give myself a little bit of a crafting break from work and go and cut out some more squares for my quilt project, my houses quilt project that I’m working on at the moment.

Other than that, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. Around this time last year, I was asking for suggestions of series to read, and I put a post on Instagram and got a lot of great suggestions. And one of the responses to that post, I think it was around June last year, so it’s coming up to a year quite quickly that I made that post, and Elizabeth Duvivier from Squam Art Workshops got in touch, and she had recently released her first novel, which is called Stories For My Sister. She sent me a copy all the way to Australia, and it took me a little while to get to it on my reading pile because I just didn’t read while we were moving and settling in here. But then I had a real reading binge for a while.

So I read her lovely book. It’s Stories For My Sister, and it’s just a gorgeous book. It’s about two sisters. It says, “It’s May 1993. Two sisters, Bea and Mona, are about to spend 10 days together under the worst possible circumstances. With seven years between them, as well as a lifetime of hurts and misunderstandings, is it too late for them to become friends?” So it’s a beautiful, gentle book about two sisters, and I always love things about sisters. I have two sisters myself, and so I love the theme, and Elizabeth’s writing is absolutely gorgeous. I was really gripped by the book and yeah, really recommend it if you would like a gentle book about sisters and relationships and friendship. I’d really, really recommend this.

It’s called Stories for My Sister, by Elizabeth Duvivier. It’s available from her website, which is Elizabethduvivier.com. I’ll put a link in the show notes. And it’s available from her website as a paperback, an ebook, and an audio book. So you have various options for this book. So thank you so much for sending me a copy, Elizabeth. I really, really enjoyed it. And congratulations on your first novel, belated congratulations.

Some other suggestions that were given to me at the time, I’ve also really, really enjoyed, so I just thought I’d share those with you as well in case you’re looking for some reading material. I was saying that I do like kind of detective stories or, I don’t know, I guess you call them action novels. So I had a recommendation for the Ruth Galloway series, by Elly Griffiths. That was from Theresa, who is hillyphilly on Instagram. I absolutely loved this series. It’s about an archeologist, Ruth Galloway, who’s the main character. She’s a fabulous main character. The books are set in Norfolk, in the UK, and really atmospheric, really great stories, great plots, great characters, absolutely loved them.

Then the other series that I also devoured is by Louise Penny, the Inspector Gamache books, and that was recommended to me by a couple of people. So thank you very much for your recommendation, Susan Hartman, as well as Digs Knitting. And both those series were ones where I was sad when I had read them all. I just read one after the other, and basically couldn’t put the whole series down. I read them all on my phone, basically, in Kindle. And so now I’ve just gone back to the post on Instagram to find more suggestions.

Linda, who’s PawsandKnit, recommended Tana French, the Dublin Murder Squad. So I might check that one out next. And Sarah Cauldron of Color recommended Quintin Jardine’s Bob Skinner series. So both of those sound like they’re up my alley, and I will check them out. I’d love any other suggestions along these lines, if you have them as well, because I tend to be quite a quick reader. I tend to skim a little bit, to be honest, when it’s a series that I really like. So yeah, so I get through them quite quickly. But yeah, looking forward to checking out those two series. I feel like, for the past few weeks I haven’t really been able to concentrate on anything, and I’ve just been scrolling through Instagram and news on my phone a lot, and I think if I had a good series on the go that I went to first, instead of doing that, it would be a lot more enjoyable and fun. So that’s what I’m going to try and get into, get into something else.

Before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story. Find all your favorite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store, based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. Here you’ll find a gorgeous selection to choose from, including sumptuous skeins from House of a la Mode, La Bien Aimée, and Julie Asselin. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, treat your projects to the luxury they deserve. You can also shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk. And while A Yarn Story physical shop in Bath isn’t open at the moment, she is still doing online orders and also doing virtual shopping sessions for customers, either by phone or video call. So do get in touch with A Yarn Story if you need any knitting supplies, especially if you’re in the UK.

And don’t forget to put any entries into the Knit Alongs that are happening at the moment. The Knit 20 for 2020 Knit Along is happening each month. And if you nominate your favorite yarn shop, or indie dyer, or other yarny business, you can go into the draw to win a $50 gift voucher. And I’m doing a draw from both Instagram on the hashtag Knit20for2020, as well as in the Ravelry thread that’s been set up for each month. And we also have the coupon code for the Habitation Throw happening still through to the end of the month. And you can get the Habitation Throw, which is a great, relaxing, meditative knit, and also uses scrap yarn, so I think it’s especially good for us at the moment. And that is free with the code shelter. And if you purchase the pattern, I’ll be donating the proceeds to the UNHCR charity for refugees.

So a huge thank you to everybody who’s downloaded the pattern. I’ve had 19,000 downloads of the pattern, so thank you very much. I can’t believe it’s that many. We’ve also had about £1,900 in purchases that I’ll be able to donate as well, which is incredible. So thank you, thank you, thank you so much, and thank you for posting pictures of your Habitation Throws on Instagram and Ravelry. I love seeing them. Makes me feel really connected to you all, and it’s really joyful. So I hope you have a wonderful week and hope you can find some peaceful moments in the chaos at the moment. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Apr 24 2020

21mins

Play

Rank #8: CH 270: Getting it all done & the Rockpooling Shawl

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors:

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Today on the podcast I’m answering a question I’ve gotten a lot recently…how am I getting so much done this summer, with such a big move on the horizon? I’m always curious about how other busy people manage their time and to-do lists, so maybe this will be helpful. I’m also thrilled to introduce the latest addition to The Shawl Society 4!

Show Links:

The 3rd pattern of The Shawl Society Season 4 was released yesterday!

The Rockpooling Shawl

When the tide is out, there are wonders to be found in the shallow rock pools along the shore. To see what there is to see you have to crouch down, get very still, and peer very keenly into each puddle. You have to take your time, and you may have to visit a few pools before you strike gold. The reflection of sunlight on the water glitters, you squint, and then it’s there, and you’re rewarded with a moment of pure delight.

A flicker of movement turns out to be a shy little hermit crab, a bouncing company of prawns, or a troupe of busy little fish. Look deeper, and you may even spy a waving anemone among the seaweed or one perfect starfish hidden in the sand. Moving from pool to pool, exploring and discovering and wondering: it is a wonderful way to spend a few hours at the seaside. Compared to the wildness of the open ocean, rockpooling seems a very small sort of adventure. Sometimes that’s the very best kind.

The Rockpooling Shawl is our third pattern of the season. A traditional triangle shape with contemporary detailing, it features an easy but evocative slip-stitch pattern. This three colour shawl offers plenty of scope: go for a sharp contrast or a more gentle dappled effect. A smart garter border finishes it all off beautifully.

The Wool Kitchen BFL Silk DK

My amazing test knitter traceyrr has a gorgeous pink version up on Ravelry

Tracey’s Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch Podcast

The One Thing by Gary Keller

Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Hand Made Podcast, you’re listening to episode 270. This podcast is all about crafting a life with happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at Curioushandmade.com

Welcome to the show and I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks. I didn’t publish an episode last week. I took a little bit of a break and I thought I would talk a little bit about that later in the show today. I’ve been asked a lot recently by friends and listeners how I’m getting so much done at the moment, and so I thought I’d share a few thoughts and perhaps some tips about that this week. And firstly I wanted to share with you some Shawl Society news. The third pattern in the Shawl Society was released this week, yesterday. And it is called the Rockpooling shawl. So I’ll just read you the description to set the scene:

“When the tide is out, there are wonders to be found in the shallow rock pools along the shore, to see what there is to see you have to crouch down, get very still and peer very keenly into each puddle. You have to take your time and you may have to visit a few pools before you strike gold. The reflection of sunlight on the water glitters. You squint and then it’s there, and you’re rewarded with a moment of pure delight. A flicker of movement turns out to be a shy little hermit crab, bouncing company of prawns or a troop of busy little fish look deeper and you may even inspire a waving anemone amongst the seaweed, or one perfect starfish hidden in the sand. Moving from pool to pool, exploring and discovering and wondering. It is a wonderful way to spend a few hours at the seaside. Compared to the wilderness of the open ocean, rock pooling seems a very small sort of adventure. Sometimes sets the very best kind.

The Rockpooling shawl is the third pattern of the season, a traditional triangle shape with contemporary detailing, it features an easy but evocative slip stitch pattern. This three color shawl offers plenty of scope. You can go for a sharp contrast or a more gentle dappled effect and a garter border finishes it all off beautifully.”

This design was completely inspired by the yarn this time I saw a post on Instagram that Helen of the Wool Kitchen had published quite a long time ago now. And she published these colorways together in a picture, and I immediately wanted to do something with them and they immediately just said like rocks and rock pools, to me. So it was just one of those times where the inspiration really strikes hard, and I just knew immediately what it was going to be. And I love it when that happens, it’s absolutely brilliant. So Helen is just an absolute dream to work with. And so we worked together on the details about the yarn, came up with the right base and yeah, I’m just absolutely thrilled with this shawl and the yarn.

So the yarn is the Wool Kitchen BFL Silk Dk. So it’s 55% Blue Face Leicester and 25% silk. So that gives it an incredible sheen and drape. And I think a silk content for shawls is really, really good. And it also just makes it, yeah, just lovely and drapey. And although DK weight is a bit of a heavier weight for shawls for this time of year, I think that it still has a sort of a lightness to it because of the silk. So the colorways are called Skyfall, Wild Swimming and Cobalt. And in the shawl there’s a plain section, and then the rest is kind of a way of doing color work, which is using slip stitches rather than carrying yarn behind stitches. It gives us a fairly similar effect, but it also gives a little bit of texture to it as well, which I really like. And so yeah, it’s really, really simple knit and you may not be able to see it at first glance in the photos, but there’s a section of the Skyfall and Wild Swimming together. And then the section of the Wild Swimming and the Cobalt together.

And that’s quite a big contrast between two of the colors. But the middle section is a very subtle contrast, I really like it. Yeah, so it was a really fun knit. I knit this sample while I was doing some traveling and I knitted a lot of it on a plane and so yeah, I can confirm that it’s really good, easy travel knitting. So I thought that was nice for this time of year when we don’t necessarily want to be thinking too much in the heat. The sample did use almost all of the three scans of yarn, so I used 90 grams, 80 grams and 95 grams. And you can pretty easily adapt it to do less repeats if you feel like you’re running out of yarn at any point, you can simply switch to another color or you can play with the yarn amounts that you have fairly easily. So I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

If you’re not wanting to play yarn chicken at the end, you could switch to a different color for the border, or all sorts of options with this one, it’s not going to be the end of the world if you combine more colors or want to make it bigger or smaller or it’s a really flexible design. So thank you so much to my test knitter, Tracy. Tracy RR on Ravelry. She’s the Comfy Red Couch podcast on YouTube, and she’s done an absolutely gorgeous pink version with three different pinks and it’s so pretty and so summary. So if you want to see it in a different color way, our checkout Tracy’s project on Ravelry, it’s really gorgeous. So as I said in the introduction, I have been having a lot of questions lately about how I’m getting everything done. And I think it’s partly because I’ve been quite active on social media and had quite a few patterns coming out, I suppose.

But it kind of doesn’t feel like I’m doing a massive amount, well it does, I am doing a massive amount at the moment. But in terms of what I’m posting, a lot of it has been prepared for some time in advance, if that makes sense? So for example, my designs have been pre-prepared so they’re just kind of publishing them and that’s kind of almost the easiest part in the whole process. So I started thinking about how I’ve been managing, and to be honest in the last couple of weeks or the last month or so, it has been pretty intense, I’ve been quite stressed and just had a huge amount to do with winding things up, helping the girls finish at school and get through to the end of the school year, and just lots of things happening at this time of year for everybody. It’s not just me that has a really, really busy time at this time of year, especially in the northern hemisphere when it’s the end of the school year, if you have kids or I don’t know, it’s particularly busy.

I think a lot of people try to get a lot done before they go on holidays and you know, just all sorts of reasons. It’s a busy time of year, but I’m really pleased with where I’ve ended up at. I feel fairly on top of things and to be honest, that is quite a new feeling for me. I usually feel like I’m way behind and just getting things done in the nick of time, and I don’t know, about a year ago now, I decided that needed to stop, I had to stop feeling like that all the time. It wasn’t making me happy, it was making me too stressed out and too overwhelmed. I wanted to really reduce my feeling of overwhelm that was my constant companion. And so I’ve been working on it bit by bit for about a year and while I haven’t got everything done that I wanted to do, I’m feeling pretty good about where I’ve got to, it feels manageable.

So I just thought I’d just talk about a few tips and things I’ve done to get to this point. So a lot of it has been changing my habits, and one of my really bad habits was just leaving everything until the last minute and just scheduling so much in that that is the only way I could do things. So I would, as soon as I had a spare minute in the schedule, I’d agree to do something else or decide to do something else. So I was always wanting to do all these ideas that I had. And I kind of realized that in order to get ahead, I had to do less for awhile to sort of catch up a bit, get a bit ahead. And to get ahead you really almost have to do twice as much for a while. So it’s really hard work to get to that point. But I guess then once you get to that point, you can continue and keep going.

So I had to change that mindset of planning further ahead, which has been quite difficult and I’m still getting used to it, but I really like it. I really like sitting down now and thinking, “Okay, in six months or a year, this is what I want do? Rather than next week, what I wanna do, or next month, what do I want to do?” So just really extending the timeframe that I’m looking at and that I’m planning for has been the first step, I think, that I really started to change things. And so yeah, starting this whole process basically a year ago and realizing that I needed to start preparing for moving a year ago, basically probably at least six months, but probably to some extent a year ago, you know, I started decluttering with the thought in mind that we would be moving.

So that’s been really, really good. And it’s also helped me do things a lot more thoughtfully, a lot more economically and being more environmentally friendly. I’ve been able to declutter really thoughtfully, taking things to their correct places where they can be reused or recycled, stop buying so much of certain things that I know I won’t need in the future. Yeah, it’s really helped, for lots of different reasons. And the other thing that’s really helped me is to be more focused. So I think before, I was always really distracted by ideas that I would hear on podcasts or YouTube or you know, just so many things, I don’t know, as a crafty person, there’s so many projects you want to do. And so I’ve just gradually also got into a habit of trying to be a bit more focused. And just trying to be happy with having less things on the go, having less things in my queue and just calming all that down quite a bit.

I always loved the idea of the 80, 20 rule where 80% of the effect is from 20% of what you do, I think that’s right. So basically focusing on what’s going to be most effective, I think is my understanding of the rule, my paraphrasing of the rule. I really enjoyed reading and absorbing a book called The One Thing, the Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller, and a similar themed book, which is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. And these books are in line with my minimalist strategies and yeah, just to try and really, it’s part of the focusing idea of just trying to really focus on what’s important and yeah. Just try and work on that rather than getting completely distracted by a million other things.

And along with that, I would say the other big thing that I’ve done that’s really helped me is setting lower goals for myself this year and saying no to lots of stuff. So I have had to really reign myself in. And the last, you know, five or so years I’ve been trying to grow the business, grow Curious Handmade, do more, add more collections and yeah, just basically trying to grow it into a thriving business. But this year I’ve had to consciously say that it wouldn’t be a growth year for the business. I’ve had to pare down to the sort of, what I consider the bare minimum. I’m still doing quite a bit, but for example, I decided not to do a mystery knit along this year even though I really wanted to, I’ve been going to fewer events and saying no to a lot of collaborations that I really, really wanted to do.

So I’ve just been saying no to a lot of things. And no to a lot of social events, which you know, all of which I’ve been getting some quite bad FOMO, but I’m also getting quite a bit of JOMO, the joy of missing out because it is making things more manageable. And so just trying to really consciously and intentionally, which is my word for the year, take things off my plate as much as possible.

So I would highly recommend all of this. And you know, it just depends on what season you’re in or what phase you’re in, whether this kind of strategy would suit you. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by things, maybe you can, I don’t know, take some inspiration from some of this because it’s had such a good effect. I’m so pleased and I will be sort of trying when, after we move and get settled to see, you know how and what I continue to do along these lines. Because I’m just feeling so much freer with having done all the decluttering. It really does lighten, I don’t know, just a feeling of much more lightness in the house. It’s faster to manage things and manage stuff and really, really enjoyed just having that sense of more space and more freedom.

I’ve had more time to spend with the girls. I’ve been able to focus on them more and help them through some tough times. And yeah, just be there for them more than I have been in the past, I think. I’ve definitely been taking better care of my health, been getting a bit more sleep, not enough still, but improving that a bit. And just really enjoying getting some regular gentle exercise with my walking streaks. That has been huge, that’s been the biggest game changer for me, I think is regular walking. It’s not, probably could do as being a bit more vigorous on the exercise front, but just at this point it’s just doing me so much good to get moving more and do something. Like I feel like I could do more, I’d like to do some weights and you know, just all the things you’re supposed to do. But for the time being, just having those daily hour walks has just been awesome.

And in the last month it hasn’t been a regular streak. But you know, I think having been doing it, I still am getting a few walks in. It could be better in the last month, but it’s really helped in the past year or so. So that’s been great. So, yeah, just I guess in summary, I’m a big convert to getting organized and planning a bit more in advance. It’s taken me a really long time, I mean I’ve been sort of actively changing my habits for the past year. But I’d say it’s probably three years before that that I was wanting to be more like this. Yeah, it’s been surprisingly difficult to change in that way, but I feel like it’s a really good change and well worth it. So I just thought I’d share that story with you, that experience.

I’d love to hear if you’re a planner or if you’re a fly by the seat of your pants-er, I’m always intrigued by how people do things and manage workloads and I find it endlessly fascinating to hear stories about that. So if you have any comments on, you can post them on Instagram or on the show notes. Apart from the new shawl for the Shawl Society, I don’t really have much of a knitting update for you, as you can probably tell. I have been working a lot on my sort of secret collections and getting them all up to date. So yeah, I can’t really talk much about what I’ve been knitting recently, I’m afraid.

So thanks for joining me. Thanks for all your support and your lovely messages, posting all your projects on Instagram. I follow several hashtags with Curious Handmade, and just love seeing your projects popping up there and on Ravelry. Thanks again for being so awesome. Have a good week. I’ll talk to you soon.

Jul 19 2019

21mins

Play

Rank #9: CH 291: Gentle crafting and self care

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Productivity has been up and down over the last two weeks as we all try to adjust to a new normal. Today on the podcast I’m talking about some of the self-care strategies that are helping to keep me sane, some resources that I’m finding useful, and the gentle, soothing craft projects that are bringing joy and calm into the day-to-day just now. I’m also working through some old WIPs and savouring the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finally casting off.

Show Links:

Yoga With Kassandra

The tree-growing focus app Forest

Hello from my daily walk!

Luminary Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Our winner for the Luminary Socks KAL is Post 131 by DorothyMayNZ

Hedgerow Yarns

Mina Makes, aka The Knitting Expat

Ambient Socks

The Ambient Socks FO Thread in Ravelry

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

JeniB320 on Instagram

In Color Order Blog

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Get the Habitation Throw for free with the code SHELTER

#habitationthrow on Instagram

April FO Thread for #Knit20for2020 KAL

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 291. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry, as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story.


A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique, with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades and weights. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Company and Walcot Yarns, to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath, or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk. A Yarn Story is actually doing online orders at the moment, and Carmel is also offering consultations either by video or phone to help you choose colors and yarn for projects. So be sure to sign up to the Yarn Story email list for all the latest news about what’s happening. Carmel’s doing some really fun projects and knit and craft alongs. So I’d recommend signing up for her cheerful email that comes out about once a week.


Welcome to the show, and I hope you’re well and coping okay with the current pandemic crisis. I am going pretty well here and thinking of all of you, all the time. I have to say, it’s been very up and down on a daily basis. My mental state is all over the place. I haven’t had much concentration and distraction has been very, very high. But I’m slowly, slowly getting myself into a bit of a better state and I’ve been doing some particular things to help me do that. I created a spreadsheet for April to track my streaks. So I have things on there like walking every day, and yoga, meditation, eating healthily, and getting enough sleep. So all the things that I’m just trying to do. And so I have a spreadsheet that I fill in each day with either red or green, depending on whether I’ve achieved that thing that day.


So I’m not aiming to be perfect. It’s far from perfect, but it’s keeping me a little bit on track, and I think I’ve got more green than red over all my streaks. I’ve got a fairly ambitious list of things I’m trying to do all day. So what I just mentioned, plus music practice, and a few other sort of personal things that I’m trying to do, as well as encourage my children to do some of those things as well. It’s definitely not all going to happen every day, but just having a few things that I’m doing most days is really helping keep me a bit more grounded and a bit calmer.


I started a really nice practice with one of my best friends who lives down Sydney way, not in Sydney but near Sydney, and she’s one of my oldest friends. I went to university with Jo. And not right at the beginning of the month but a couple of days in, we decided that we would have a morning yoga practice, and we chose Yoga with Kassandra. I saw that she was doing a month long free stream of classes, and they’re only 10 minutes. So that’s really good for me because I have done yoga in the past but not for years. And so 10 minutes is super doable. It’s easy to fit in, and it’s morning, sort of, it’s meant to be done in the morning. So it’s basically the first thing I try and do. Sometimes I’ll need a coffee before I tackle it, but I can generally just get up and do that straightaway. And at least, then I feel like I’ve done something for the day, something positive.


And Jo lives by herself and is basically self-isolating because she has asthma and immune kind of issues. And so yeah, so it’s really nice for both of us to have that little connection. And we don’t talk every day, but we talk some days before or after the session, and we text and just update each other if we’ve done it. And we’re trying to do it at 7:00 am, but that fell by the wayside a little bit over Easter weekend because we sort of gave ourselves Easter weekend to have some sleep ins, but getting back into it now. So that’s been wonderful. And I’m also trying to do daily walks with my sister, or by myself if she’s not available. I’ve managed to get the girls out on a couple of walks as well, which kind of feels a bit like I’m dragging them out and around, but they kind of enjoy it once they’re out.


So yeah. So just a few things like that to keep me, I don’t know, healthy, I suppose. It is really, really helping. And my work productivity has been pretty low, partly because kids home, and partly because distracted by endless news rabbit holes. But I’m trying to get myself back to doing a little bit of work as well. And I’ve been finding using an app to help me with concentrating has been really good. I’m not sure what the name of the app is. I’ll try and find it and put a link. But basically, it’s you grow a tree, and try and grow a forest. So you set the timer for however long you want to set it for. So I’ve been doing half hour stints. And yeah, so setting the timer, and if you go onto your phone and interrupt the session, then your tree dies. So it’s just a little mindfulness thing to stop you just picking up your phone and getting distracted by Instagram, for example. So I really like that app.


So I have to say, the month of April does seem to be going a little bit faster than March, for me, anyway. And that means we are up to drawing the prize for The Handmade Sock Society. Sock Number One, the Luminary Socks Knit Along. And the random number generator is number 131, and the winner is DorothyMayNZ, who’s posted a gorgeous pair of Luminary Socks with a lovely Easter decoration. And so congratulations, Catherine. Catherine is in Wellington, New Zealand. So waving across the pond. And I’ll get in touch with you about sending your prize, which is some gorgeous Hedgerow Yarns, sock yarn, as well as a little Mina Makes project bag. We currently have the Knit Along happening for the Ambient Socks, and that Knit Along runs through till Tuesday the 12th of May. And we have The Handmade Sock Society Socks Number Three being released next Tuesday. So coming up very soon. So I’m excited to share those with you, and loving seeing everybody’s socks, for people participating in The Handmade Sock Society this year.


I’ve been plugging along on some personal projects, which has been really lovely. I apologize that I didn’t have an episode for you last week, as Easter just came up quite quickly and I didn’t really take into account the fact that it was the Good Friday holiday on Friday, so I didn’t plan for that in advance. Sorry. But anyway, so two weeks ago, I was working on the Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith, Hey BrownBerry. I did finish those by that Friday. I was hoping to finish them sort of before I released the podcast, and I did. I blocked them and have taken some photos. They’re not the best photos in the world, but I might try and get some better photos of them and share them with you. So that was lovely. I used Seren Yarn, by my friend, Emma, and it’s just beautiful. So enjoyed having them off the needles. I’ve been working on those for about two years, I think.


And then I pulled out another WIP from the cupboard, which is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli. And if you’re not familiar with that shawl, it’s a crescent-shaped shawl that’s created with short rows, and it’s a series of wedges, broken up by contrast, color, line of eyelets. And I was up to, I think it’s six wedges in total, and I was up to the fifth, and now am on the last wedge, which is the contrast border. And I’m nearly finished, I think. I’m quite a way into the last wedge, and yeah, excited to be nearly finished another long-term WIP. I started knitting on that when I was going to the first Laine Retreat in Portugal that Joji was attending. So I wanted to be working on something that was one of her designs. And so I chose that shawl. And I think that might be three years ago now. Yeah, I think it was around this time of year as well. So yes, another long-term WIP.


So for my Knit 20 for 2020 Knitting Challenge, I have a lot of items that can be in the Finish a WIP category. So I have Clio, Pebbles & Pathways, and very soon to be finished Pure Joy. I’m recording this on Wednesday the 15th, so a couple of days before it will be released. So maybe by the time I release the episode, that one will be finished as well. Probably not blocked, but maybe cast off. I haven’t decided what the next project will be, whether I will tackle another WIP or start something new. But, yeah, I’ll decide that in the next few days.


I did start my quilt project over the Easter weekend. The pattern I’m using for the quilt is the House Quilt Block by Jeni Baker. Her blog/website is incolororder.com, and this tutorial is free on her blog. She has a lot of patterns for sale as well, and a lovely blog and website. I saw this on Instagram and was so taken by it. It’s just such bright, pretty colors. And she has, one of the samples that she’s made using this block, is kind of like a gradient, I suppose. Kind of a bit of a rainbow gradient. She has blue, then green, then yellow, then pink in the houses, sort of going up the quilt. And so I am basically copying that.


I decided to make a queen-size quilt. So a lot of blocks required. I have cut out the squares for the houses, and now I need to cut all the white squares for the sky part of the block. Yeah, so you cut out two white squares for each block. So I have to cut out a lot of little white squares for that. So I will probably try and do that in the next couple of days so that I’ve got everything cut out and then can start sewing up the blocks. But it’s such a nice gentle, easy project, and pretty colors and working with fabric always makes me happy. So I’ve been enjoying working away on that and I can’t wait to get sewing. That’s another WIP that’s coming along.


And I’m using fabric that I was given by a group of girlfriends for my 40th birthday, as well as some other fabric. I’m using a bunch of different fabrics so I needed to supplement what they’d given me with some more variety of colors and prints because it’s kind of a scrappy project. But I’m using quite a bit of the birthday fabric, so it’s really nice to be finally using that.


I did start a, I don’t know what you call it, it’s like where you just have all different shapes and sizes of fabric blocks, like a really scrappy kind of thing. So I had started working on that with the birthday fabric years and years ago, and I’ve decided that I’ll use that piece. I didn’t get very far with it. Like I don’t know what the dimensions of it would be, but I’ve sort of got a strip of patches put together so I’m going to use that on the back, for the backing, as a stripe across the quilt. So yeah, quite a bit of gentle, relaxing crafting happening. You might have seen that we have the Habitation Throw giveaway happening as well, because I wanted to gift that to people if they needed or wanted some very, very gentle, relaxing knitting during this crazy time we’re in.


So yes, so I’m giving away the Habitation Throw knitting pattern on Ravelry with the code Shelter. And also, if people want to purchase it, I will be donating the proceeds to the UNHCR charity, the United Nations charity for refugees, to help support work with refugees at this time, on the basis that it’s very hard to shelter in place if you don’t have a home. And a lot of generous people have bought the pattern, which I appreciate. I think we have about £1,500 to donate already and we’re only halfway through the month. This is happening for the month of April.


And I’ve also had about, some thousands of people have downloaded the pattern as a gift, which I’m also super happy about. And I’ve seen lots of people posting their Habitation throws on Instagram, and it’s making me so happy. That is really one of the things that cheers me up during this time, seeing people using the pattern and downloading it. I’ve had so many lovely messages from people, thanking me, and it’s just been delightful and just cheered me right up. So thank you for everybody who has done that. And it’s just such a nice reminder of our lovely community, and just makes me feel connected to you. So that’s been really lovely. And yeah, the code is continuing through till the end of April, if you’d like to have a copy of the Habitation Throw.


And don’t forget to post any projects that you finish for the Knit 20 for 2020 Challenge, because we are drawing $50 prizes on both Ravelry and Instagram at the end of each month on that hashtag, and The Handmade Sock Society Knit Along is also happening. So lots of little things happening over here. And yeah, I’m just really enjoying staying in touch with you all through these hashtags and knit alongs, and it’s been a really nice part of my day to go on to Instagram and Ravelry and just see those things popping up.


So thanks for joining me today. It’s been lovely having a chat, and I hope you’re well, I hope you’re staying safe, and staying sane, and having some knitting time. Take care, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Apr 17 2020

20mins

Play

Rank #10: CH 287: Staying calm with stash and friends

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

It’s a scary time to watch the news right now. When things are really tough, small comforts mean a lot. Knitting is obviously a big coping strategy for many of us. Today I’m talking about that, about the importance of friendship, and a KAL that I think I’d like to do…once I finish my beloved Clio Pullover!

Show Links:

Bayron Handmade on Instagram

Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Wave of Change KAL

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

#knit20for2020

The Shawl Society Season 4

I am running a special Buy One Get One Free sale on all my patterns and collections to celebrate the release of the single patterns from TSS4: just use the code FRESH when you check out on Ravelry!

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen Stewart:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 287. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you wherever you maybe in the world. And just when you think the world can’t get any crazier, it does. This week has been something else in terms of worldwide news, and I just hope that wherever you are you’re staying safe and well. It’s been very distracting watching the news this week and hearing all about the coronavirus. And I don’t normally watch the news, hardly at all, because I need to keep my spirits up. But I have been very distracted this week, and hearing about friends and whole countries being affected is just quite unbelievable. Of course, here in Australia we have had toilet paper gate, and yeah it is quite unnerving going into the supermarket and just the whole aisle of toilet paper is completely bare. And it was this afternoon when I went in. We’ve had several emails from supermarkets saying to keep calm and carry on.

I’ve just received an email from Coles, which is one of the big supermarket chains here, saying that they were going to put rations on pasta, toilet paper, paper towel and a couple of other things. Rationing people to certain amounts of things. They also suggested, which I thought was good, was that if you had too much toilet paper on hand, maybe you could consider donating some to your local food bank. So, I did appreciate them saying that. They had some change to their, change your mind policy, and they said that they weren’t allowing people to change their mind. So, if you’ve stockpiled large amounts of toilet paper, you’re not going to be able to return it.

In Australia, so far they’ve suggested canceling large events, but I don’t think they’ve actually mandated it yet. And then, we’ve had some isolated schools closing, but not across the board like in a lot of countries that I’ve been hearing about today and yesterday. And yeah, so we’re not as affected here as other countries yet. I’m not sure if that’s just because we haven’t got to that point yet, or because our population is not very dense. I’m not sure. But we possibly will get to that point in the next couple of weeks.

And yeah, it’s a little bit unsettling. I don’t know if I should be stocking up on some things or not. I haven’t been yet, but probably should think about getting a bit of food in, a bit of pasta, and the handful of things one of my daughters will eat. So, from comments I’ve read on Instagram and other places, lots of people are feeling quite nervous and anxious about it. So I did hear one very good piece of advice. I follow the account of a journalist on Instagram called Jessica Yellin. She was making the point that one of the things that would compromise your immunity is stress, and so to try to keep stress levels down. I thought that was a really good piece of advice, just generally.

There are a lot of other colds and viruses going around as well at the moment, a lot of my family members and people that I know here have been sick with other bugs, so I thought, well what better time to concentrate on doing stress-relieving activities like meditation, walking, knitting obviously, crafting. I think this is where our stashes will come into their own. So, we’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, most of us. Ridiculous amounts of stash.

So, yeah, I think hopefully we can take some solace in our knitting, and our projects, and find some lovely, relaxing projects to work on. I actually just saw a lovely post on Instagram by Bayron Handmade, and she was expressing how she was feeling a bit anxious, and thinking about how can she help serve others in the community. She was mentioning that she has a knit-along on Ravelry for a gorgeous cardigan that she’s designed called, the Wave of Change KAL.

So, I thought I might join in that KAL, and join the wave of change, and it looks like a fairly chunky weight of yarn. I haven’t looked at the pattern in detail yet, but I might have a look at my stash to see what I have for that one. I might have to hold two skeins of yarn together, two weights of yarn together to make the weight that’s required for the pattern. Of course, when I finish my Clio pullover, I need to finish that first before I start shopping around for other projects, but that’s definitely going in my queue. So thank you for your lovely, reassuring kind words, Bayron.

And actually I had a pretty good week, despite all the nerve-racking news. I had a very dear friend visiting. My friend Stewart, who I met at Squam, and we worked out that we met in 2013 was the first year that I went to Squam. And so we’re old friends now, so it was really lovely to have her here for a few days. And yeah, I haven’t made a lot of friends here yet, or reconnected with people very much. So it was really nice to have an old friend to hang out with for a couple of days and catch up. And we went off on a little girls trip just for two nights. A little bit of a retreat and it was lovely.

We went to a place called Noosa, which is a gorgeous beach, not very far from where I live. And it was raining pretty much the whole time we were there. So I had thought we might do a bush walk. There’s a gorgeous Bush walk to the Headland at Noosa and you often see koalas in the trees there, but it was really too rainy for us to want to. We probably could have done it if we’d really been keen, But we ended up sitting in a cafe for most of the whole day and just sitting and knitting. And it was open to the street so we could watch people passing by, really great for people watching and it was raining so we could watch the rain falling. And it was nice and cool.

So, it hasn’t really been all that cool here generally. But it was a lovely, cool few days. So I made some really, really good progress on my Clio pullover that I had been talking about forever. And it is my Finish a WIP goal for my 20 for 20 knitting challenge. And yeah, so I had been having a major, minor, I don’t know, some sort of roadblock when it came to casting on for the sleeves. Had to pick up stitches and do some short rows. And my lovely friend Stewart picked up the stitches for me. And so I managed to get over the barrier and got through the short rows with a little bit of grumbling, but not too much. And finish the whole sleeve in those couple of days. So I was so happy with that.

I have to admit I was a little bit motivated by wanting to finish the first sleeve so that I could ask to Stewart to cast on the second one for me, which she very kindly did. And so now I have managed to get through the short row sections of the second sleeve and I know that it didn’t take me all that long to knit the whole sleeve. So I’m feeling pretty confident that this could be finished quite soon and I’m getting very excited about that. So that was a fantastic couple of days with lovely company, lovely knitting weather, and a wonderful location to do it in.

So I’ve been talking a lot about the Handmade Sock Society recently, as well as the release of the new Laine book, 52 Weeks of Socks. And so I thought perhaps for the shawl knitters amongst you, if you’re a bit tired of hearing about socks so much, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t released my Shawl Society patterns from last year as single patterns. So the six Shawl Society patterns are now available as single patterns. Previously they were just available as the collection. And I am having a buy one get one free sale to celebrate. And that will run until the end of the month. So until the 31st of March, I’m having a buy one get one free sale across all my patterns and collections. I was just going to make it shawls, but then I thought I would just keep it simple and it’s everything.

So all you have to do is put two of my patterns, or collections in your shopping cart in Ravelry, and the less expensive one will be free. I should mention, it does need a coupon code and the coupon code is fresh, F-R-E-S-H. So you need to put the coupon code in as well. And then the second pattern will be free. So thank you to people who’ve taken up on that offer and I hope you enjoy the shawls, the shawl designs and that will run to the end of the month.

So I’d love to hear from you about what comfort knitting you might be doing at the moment. I hope you have a chance to relax a little bit, get some knitting done, stay in touch with friends and family and I hope you stay well. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Mar 13 2020

14mins

Play

Rank #11: CH 288: Coping Strategies and the Clio Pullover

Podcast cover
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Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

As the news gets more concerning, I am doubling down on calming and self-care practices, and have a few ideas to share about what’s working for me. I also have some long-awaited news: I can tick the “Finish a long-term WIP” line off my #knit20for2020 list finally!!

Show Links:

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Calm App

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

John Arbon Texiles

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 288. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Ellen and you can find me on Ravelry as Health Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at Curioushandmade.com


Hello and welcome. Welcome to this weird and wonderful world we are currently and I just wanted to say, I hope you’re okay. I know that this is a hugely difficult time for a lot of us and I just wanted to have a chat with you today. Hopefully just keep you company for a little while and yes, just a knit with you for a little while possibly. Down here in Australia, things have progressed a bit since I last spoke to you and we have had, I think last time I spoke to you, the main measures that had been implemented were, I think on Monday they’re now just outside gatherings of more than 500 people were banned.


And as of today they have announced that indoor gatherings of more than a hundred people are band and they’re advising Australians not to travel overseas or abroad at all and anyone arriving has to self isolate for 14 days, but schools are still open and shops are still open. I don’t think there’s been any advice to sort of close shops or restaurants or anything. I don’t know if restaurants having a capacity of more than 100 people counts as a gathering, but it’s a bit hazy at this stage, but we’re not really going out much anyways. So I’m not sure how other people are interpreting it.


My kids have been home sick all week anyway. We’ve had a horrible cold in the family and its main symptom is a really sore throat. So the girls have been off school and I decided I would record this podcast on Wednesday, so it’s March the 18th just in case I get the really sore throat and can’t record later in the week. So by the time this is published on Friday, things might have changed again. I’m not sure, but I thought I’d get this recorded while I had a nice window of quiet and my throat, I keep imagining that I’m getting a tickly throat.


So you know how it is when you’re worried you’re going to get sick, you keep imagining that you are. So far it hasn’t developed into anything yet. Thank goodness. So I guess like most people I know we’re all feeling very anxious at the moment and I’m kind of laughing at myself a bit because I’m finding that compulsion’s to do certain things caused by the anxiety are coming out and they’re sort of things that I’ve experienced in the past when I’ve had high stress like exam periods or really stressful work periods.


And so I’m getting those urges to clean and control my food and maybe shop. Yeah, just sort of my go to anxiety behaviors are coming out at the moment. So I feel like it’s good that I can recognize that now. When I was at university I couldn’t really see those behaviors, but now I can. So that’s good I guess. And what I decided to do is write myself a to do list and a stop doing list. So I am going to concentrate on daily meditation.


Re-implement my walking, my daily walking, which has just completely fallen off the plate or something. I am going to make myself go for a 20 minute walk each day and keep up with pilates as long as it’s open. It’s a very small class. So I think that’s okay. Do my work, practice music and then make time for fun, creative projects, chatting and emailing with friends and family and preparing healthy meals and eating lots of veggies. So that’s on my to do list and stop doing, includes refreshing news feeds constantly. I’m going to set times for catching up with the news and thanks to my copywriter, Amanda for that idea.


I’m going to stop scrolling Instagram and set times for that as well because I get a lot of my news through Instagram and stop worrying about when the schools will close. I’ve sort of been expecting the school’s close and trying to mentally prepare for that and think what I’ll do with the girls and what schoolwork I’ll do with them and how I’ll entertain them, but I’m going to stop worrying about that for now because at the moment the schools open and I think that they are trying to balance out keeping parents free to be able to go to work, especially if they’re in healthcare services versus the risk of kids being at school and the risk of kids having to stay home with grandparents, while their parents work versus being at school.


So I can understand that balancing act and I guess they just must be doing it on a risk assessment basis or some kind of formula. I’m not sure whether I should have that much faith in the powers at be, but I guess I just have to at the moment and in any case that girls aren’t at school anyway so I am going to stop worrying about that as you can probably tell from my little spiel there, I’m not really stopping worrying about it but I’m going to try.


And that’s the main things I’m going to stop trying to do and just worrying, generalized worry is not really helping me. So I’m going to try and catch myself out doing that. Try and minimize the worry because the anxiety won’t help with anything and it will just make me more stressed. So anyway, that’s where I’m at at the moment. After I record this, I’m going to set up a thread in Ravelry for us to chat about things and maybe share ideas for getting through this crisis.


Because I think it’s going to be a reasonably long term issue for everybody now. The advice on travel from the government here was not to travel and the time of frame was indefinitely. So I’ve read some reports saying six months or more so on. So I think we’re going to have to think about this as a being a reasonably long term thing that we will be dealing with. So let’s chat about it together and share ideas for, I don’t know, homeschooling, managing life, helping to support tiny businesses in our community and things like that.


I have to say that one of my sort of new year’s resolutions or goals was to meditate regularly and I have been doing it semi-regularly. I have the Calm app on my phone and so I have been very randomly just putting on any meditation that took my fancy each morning. So I don’t have any particular method to my madness. But yeah, so I’ve just been doing that and I have noticed that it does help calm me down.


And I … probably, if I did it a bit more intentionally, it would work even better. But I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself to meditate in a specific way. So usually when I wake up in the morning and I just lie in bed, I don’t sit up in an upright position. I just lie there and listen to it and try and breathe a bit as they suggest and do some nice deep breaths and just basically relax for 15 minutes or so while the meditation plays.


And so, I would recommend just maybe doing something like that, just not to … I mean if you are in a meditation practice already, that’s fabulous and I’m impressed. But if you aren’t and you’re a bit intimidated by it, just start really small and I don’t know, just find your own thing that works for you, it might help calm the mind even a bit in these stressful times.


So, that’s rather a long introduction. But if you don’t mind me chatting about that stuff because that’s what’s on my mind at the moment. In knitting news, I am super excited and super chuffed because I did manage to finally finish my Clio pullover. Clio is a design by Elizabeth Doherty. It’s been on the needles for at least three years. I should look up when I started it, but I haven’t wanted to do that and after I recorded last week sort of thinking that I might finish it, I became quite determined to finish it before I spoke to you again.


So I put everything else on hold basically, including work and just knit on that and it didn’t really take me too long. Once I got through the short rows at the top of the sleeves, I powered through the sleeves and finished it yesterday. I wove in the ends. It’s yet to be blocked and photographed, but I’m calling it done and I’m so happy. I knitted in yarn which I bought at Edinburgh Yarn Festival three or four years ago and it is Ysolda blend number one, batch number three, which is a gorgeous blend spun by John Arbon in the UK.


And it has some Gotland, which is one of my favorite breeds of fleece, or breeds of sheep. And, it’s just the softest, loveliest, I don’t know, just has a beautiful body to it. So I very much enjoyed the process of knitting that. And I think I’ve got two and a half scans left. So now I’m thinking what else to knit with that yarn because I really did enjoy knitting with that yarn. So that means that I can tick off my WIP category in the knit 20 for 20 challenge which, if super exciting. And it also means that I can now go on to choose some new exciting projects, have a bit of a dream about what I’m going to knit now.


I still have some design work I need to do before I really do that and I have maybe three pairs of socks that have been also quite long, ongoing WIP that are maybe will do while I’m deciding what sort of main project I want to work on next. So I think just for the time being, while I’m still deciding I will work on my Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith who’s, Hey Brown Berry. I’ve also been working on those for quite a long time and you’ve probably heard me mention them many times before as well, so I’d quite like to finish them also.


So I think I’ll spend some time probably later this week planning out another project and I think I will make that a reward for getting something ticked off my work list. I’m not sure exactly what I will have to do to get my reward, but I think I might make that a treat for doing something reasonably substantial on my work side of things. Something else that I will endeavor to do this week is to firm up details for these knit alongs that I’m sort of loosely hosting at the moment. So that is for the handmade sock society. So I will organize and set dates for the monthly knit alongs for each sock as they come out.


The first sock is already published the luminary socks and the second socks will be released next week. So I’ll dip into my stash and really organize some prizes and I’ll also think about some prizes for the knit 20 for 2020 challenge because I think we could all do with some fun and cheering up at the moment and make it a bit more formal. So I’ll have a think about how to structure that, how to structure some prizes and perhaps the yarn that I was planning to do stash, I might contribute to prizes instead because I was all set to do a de-stash, but I really didn’t feel comfortable competing with indie dyers who are relying on the income from their yarn at the moment.

It’s not my main thing and it would just be de-stashing yarn because I want it to go to people who are going to use it because I’ve got way too much to be able to use myself. So I think what I’ll do is allocate some of that yarn to prizes instead and just have a bit of fun with it. I’m not sure when I will be able to do that. I should commit to a time so that I make myself do it, but let’s say next week I’ll get onto that and by next week’s podcast should be able to announce some more details around that. Before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadow Yarn. I just wanted to mention that Ang has some gorgeous colorways in her shop at the moment. Really beautiful. I will probably be tempted to make a purchase there this weekend as well. That could be another treat.

So thanks so much for spending some time with me this week. I hope you’re safe and well and that this crisis is not putting too much stress on you. I know lots of people that it is putting quite a lot of stress on their lives and their families. So my sympathy and thoughts go to you and my love and if you feel like chatting will be the thread in Ravelry, or on Instagram. I also have a promotion at the moment until the end of the month, which is a buy one get one free sale so you can get any of my patterns or collections. Buy one, get one free with the coupon code fresh at the moment. And that was to celebrate the release of the single patterns from last year’s fall society. So please take advantage of that and happy knitting. Stay safe. Stay well, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Mar 19 2020

19mins

Play

Rank #12: CH 290: Gifts and Giveaways

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

After a week of homeschooling, I’m grabbing an opportunity to chat with you in the hopes of keeping spirits as high as possible. I have some cheerful news, with a free pattern, some giveaway winners, and some fun projects on the horizon.

Show Links:

JeniB320 on Instagram

In Color Order Blog

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Photo credit: In Color Order

melissaH3

Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Yarn

asteride on Instagram

@retrosariarosapomar on Instagram

April FO Thread for #Knit20for2020 KAL

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Get the Habitation Throw for free with the code SHELTER

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

P.E. With Joe

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast, you’re listening to episode 290. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells, and on social media at Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and a transcript on my website, at CuriousHandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Hello, and welcome to the show, I hope you’re well. I am thinking of you at this time, and we’re all facing a lot more challenges in our daily life than we’re used to. So, I am going to try to keep the show light and cheerful, and I’m looking forward to having a nice chat with you today.

We have had a week, with the kids at home from school. I’m conscious that a lot of people listening to the show have had a lot longer than that, so I’m early into the journey. We have had a couple of days of trialing out a distance learning system that the school has put together, before we head into the Easter holidays, so I’m very grateful for that. It’s been reasonably intense trialing, and hopefully it will get easier if we’re using the system for a little while. I appreciate teachers even more than ever. I have never been a person to even think about homeschooling, I’m not that patient with the kids, and have found it fairly frustrating a couple of days, to be honest. I’m just so appreciative of everything the teachers are doing to keep things going for the kids, and the kids have been pretty good in trying to do what they’ve been asked, so I can’t ask for more than that, really.

I have to say, I’m looking forward to the holidays when we can just do our own projects, and that will involve some sewing, and cooking. Both the girls want to do those things, they’re much more interested in doing things like that, crafty things and cooking, than they are in schoolwork. Although, they’re both quite good readers.

I currently have my office floor covered in bits of fabric, because Lexi has decided to make some Easter bunting. So she’s cutting out egg-shaped pieces of fabric and hand sewing them onto a piece of ribbon, which is really cool. Sophie and I have decided to make a quilt, and I am super keen to make a pattern by JeniB320, that’s her Instagram name. Her name is Jenny Baker, and her blog is InColorOrder.com. That’s color spelt the American way, C-O-L-O-R. I can’t remember where I saw the post in Instagram, I’m not sure if someone had it in their stories. I think that might have been what happened.

Jenny had made a post with 10 of her favorite free tutorial projects that she’s provided over the last 10 years or so. One of them is called House Quilt Block tutorial. I was very taken by this, and thought it was appropriate while we’re all stuck in our houses. It’s a very, very simple block, but there’s a little bit more to it than just plain squares. I’ll post a picture of it in the show notes, super cute. I think Sophie was quite keen to do it, but then she said, “Ah, I might just do plain squares.” So I’m not sure if she’s going to join me, with this particular one, but she’s pulled out Grandma’s old suitcase full of the scrap fabric that they’re allowed to use, and she’s pulled out some colors. I am going to use my fabric that I was gifted from a group of girlfriends, for my 40th birthday, which was a few years ago now.

I was intending to use that fabric as one of my happiness projects for this year, and I was planning to just do really simple squares. But, I think I’m going to do this cute house pattern, because I’ve got some white fabric. It has little roofs, little triangles at the top, with white fabric in between. Anyway, that’s a very long, ramble-y introduction, and I went a bit off on a tangent, there.

Yeah, we’re looking forward to having a creative couple of weeks over Easter, and I’m just really relieved tomorrow is a student free day, so I’m taking that to mean a holiday. Yes, well tomorrow as in Friday, so when you’ll be listening to this one day early for the holidays, and I’m looking forward to it.

I am feeling a little bit sad because, amongst other things, amongst the whole trauma of what’s happening, I’m also seeing from lots of Instagramers in London that it’s spring, and it’s magnolia season. So that’s making me a bit homesick for London because we used to have a beautiful magnolia tree in our garden there, and every year around this time it would just be full of blossom, and our street would be full of blossom. Yeah, I have to say I’m also quite grateful that we’re not in London at the moment, poor London is copping it really badly. I’m just thinking a lot about my friends there, and just sending them all my best wishes.

I actually had a friend, and her son who’s Lexi’s age, who have just had the Coronavirus. She just texted me last night to say that they had it for a week, and are on the mend. But, I just felt that like a kick in my guts, it was just so scary. But, she said that they didn’t have it too badly, so I just hope that’s the case and it doesn’t develop into anything worse. That was very close to home, when I got that message.

I hope that people can appreciate spring in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve been seeing pictures of bulbs bursting up, crocuses, daffodils, and I’m hoping that is providing people with a little bit of cheerfulness right now, if spring has reached your part of the world yet. Maybe not, if you’re in Canada, or further up in Scandinavia, so I hope that you can look forward to that.

Something that has been helping me hugely this week is going out for my walking streak. I decided I was definitely going to do a good streak in April, and so far I have been achieving it. It’s only been a few days, but I started a few days early to get into the swing of it. It has been just the best tonic, getting outside, going for a walk in the morning or the evening. Yeah, it’s just really beautiful around here, we’re so lucky. So, I have been doing that, and it has been making a huge difference to my mental state.

Apologies for any background noise in this episode, I’m being interrupted fairly regularly, and I also lose my line of thinking, such as it is.

So, I announced last week that we were going to have the Knit 20 For 20 knit along, with monthly prizes. Even though it was towards the end of the month, I set up a thread for March, and we had lots of entries in the thread in Ravelry, and also in Instagram. The winner from the Ravelry thread is MelissaH3, who knit a gorgeous pair of luminary socks, in Farmers Daughter Fibers yarn, in a lovely blue. She also nominated Farmers Daughter Fibers as her favorite Indie dyer. On Instagram, we have asteride, who entered a lovely … I think it’s a hat, in gorgeous green yarn. She is tagging her LYS Retrosario Rosa Pomar. So, you’re very lucky to have that us your LYS in Portugal, in Lisbon. So, thank you for entering, I will arrange for gift vouchers, or some way of getting the prizes to you. The prize is a US $50 gift voucher or local equivalent, so I will arrange with those two shops, to get them to you.

If you’re listening to the podcast, if you could email me at Helen@CuriousHandmade.com, or message me on Ravelry at HellsBells, with your email address or Ravelry address for Estheride on Instagram, then I will arrange that with you.

I’ve set up the April thread, and for anybody who didn’t hear about the Knit Along last week, all you have to do is post your project that you have ticked off in the month of April for the Knit 20 For 20 challenge. You can find details about that on the blog at Curious Handmade. We have a series of 20 prompts that people are ticking off, ranging from things like knitting lace or brioche, through to knitting a sweater, or using deep stash which is yarn you’ve had in your stash for a long time, and what is deep stash is up to you. The rules are all up to you. If you feel like you’ve ticked something off in the month for many of those categories, or several of those categories, pop a post in either in the Ravelry thread, which I have set up as a sticky thread, or using the hashtag on Instagram.

The idea is to spread the love around to our favorite small or big yarn businesses. But, I really did have Indie businesses in mind when I set it up, but it can be any yarn business, or Indie dyer, or LYS. You can tag them, show them some love, and I can support them in a tiny little way, by purchasing a gift voucher as a prize each month. So, huge thank you to everybody who entered, and I hope you’ve been having fun with the challenge.

We also have another fun giveaway happening at the moment, and I decided to gift my Habitation throw pattern. This was a design that was part of Knitvent last year. I know that lots of people are already working on it. I just thought this is really the perfect pattern for a project while we’re at home, if we’re having to stay at home at the moment. It’s a scrappy project, so you can delve into your scraps, or mini sets that you may have. It’s a very relaxing project, so it’s not too taxing to knit, and it’s quite a big project, so can keep you occupied for quite an amount of time.

It’s actually a project that you can decide how big you want to make it. Basically, you start in a corner of the throw, and just keep increasing until you’ve used about half your yarn, or you want to decrease, where it’s big enough. Then, you start decreasing again, and go back up to the other corner. It’s really flexible, and you can just use any yarn you want, have fun with it. So, I have made that free on Ravelry, with the code Shelter. If people don’t use the code, it’s still for sale and any proceeds that I receive from that pattern through the month of April, I’ll be donating it to the UN Refugee charity, for people that don’t have any shelter or a home at this time.

Yeah, that’s what we’re doing in April. I am trying to think of fun things to keep our spirits up, keep us going, and that’s what I came up with this month. I’m working on something that will hopefully be ready for next month, so stick around for that. I don’t want to commit to it at this stage, because I’m finding that I have less concentration than normal, and less time than normal with the kids at home. I’m having fun working on some ideas for next month.

I have been knitting on my Pebbles and Pathways socks by Marceline Smith this week. That was a WIP that I’ve had going for quite a long time, I’ve been picking it up and putting it down for over a year now I think, or maybe about a year. I’m knitting this in a yarn by my lovely friend Emma, Serena yarn, it’s absolutely gorgeous yarn. She gifted this to me, and it was one of her early skeins that she dyed. Emma is such a talented dyer, she’s such a beautiful person. She’s going through a tough time now, at the moment personally, and I just want to send her all my love. I’m enjoying knitting with her yarn, and thinking about her at the moment. So, really enjoying this project, and I think I’ll be finished this in the next few days. Again, I don’t want to commit, but it’s on the foot, I’m halfway done the foot of the second sock, so I’m zooming along now. Yeah, probably another couple of days knitting on this.

Then, I decided that my next WIP that I’m going to tackle before I start something new is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli. That is, again, a very old WIP, so I want to say that’s been going for three years, now. About three years, maybe a bit less. It’s such a lovely project. If you’re not familiar with Pure Joy, it’s a crescent shawl, I think it’s the first short row shawl I’ve knit, and really enjoying it. I’m using some beautiful yarn by Juno Fiber Arts, that has merino, and a touch of cashmere, so it’s gorgeous, and soft, and drape-y. I think maybe silk, as well. Merino, silk, cashmere I think is the blend? I can’t remember, it’s been so long. A gorgeous, soft blue and a cream, beautiful. Joyful colors for me.

I was just pondering on what I should tackle next, and that popped into my head. What better project to work on, than something called Pure Joy? Before I sign off, I’d like to think my sponsor, A Yarn Story.

Well, I hope you have a good week, I hope you stay safe, stay well, stay sane. Keep up your meditation, keep up your walking if you can, maybe do some PE with Joe. If you haven’t heard of that, it’s a UK fitness guru, who is doing physical education lessons for kids online. I haven’t made my kids do it yet, but I’m planning to. He’s really cheerful, and upbeat, and positive, and a lovely guy. Do some PE with Joe, or whatever other exercise rocks your boat. Yeah, keep knitting, keep crafting, I think it’s going to keep us all sane at the moment.

Don’t forget, you can grab a copy of my Habitation throw pattern for free at the moment, it’s my little gift to you, use the code Shelter when you check out. Also, if you’re doing the Knit 20 For 2020 challenge, post your pictures of your challenges being met on either Instagram or in the Ravelry thread, and we’ll do another prize draw at the end of April. We also have the Knit Along for the Luminary socks, finishing soon. So, if you’re participating in the handmade socks society for this year, season three, the Knit Along for the first sock, the Luminary socks, is finishing on the 14th of April, so you’ve still got a little bit of time to finish your Luminary socks, get them posted in the Finished Object thread. The prize is a beautiful skein of Hedgerow yarn, as well as a lovely, cute project bag, sock sized project bag, from MinaMakes, with a fun London map print on it.

I’ll be drawing that soon after the 14th of April, and announcing that later in the month, as well. Lots of Knit Alongs to participate in. Yes, wishing you all the best, take care, happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Apr 03 2020

21mins

Play

Rank #13: CH 264: KP Ireland and Mount Juliet

Podcast cover
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Show Sponsors:

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

On today’s podcast I have brought back stories from Ireland and the lovely Knitting Pipeline retreat, including a visit to an incredible woollen mill and rare-breed sheep farm. There’s a brand new shawl pattern to introduce, and I am really beginning to look forward to my trip to Squam, which is only around the corner.

Show Links:

The New Forest National Park

Cushendale Woollen Mills

Zwartbles Ireland

Zwartbles Ireland Instagram

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Piper’s Journey Shawl

This week I released the shawl pattern I designed for the Knitting Pipeline Ireland retreat, the Mount Juliet Shawl:

Hidden amid peaceful woodlands and velvety green fields in Kilkenny Ireland sits a glorious old manor house called Mount Juliet. It was completed in 1760 and named for the bride of the Viscount of Ikerrin. Juliet Boyle, daughter of the Earl of Shannon, brought with her a generous fortune and an exquisite eye for beauty. The estate was built with her money and named in her honour. It was a tribute to young love and remains a masterclass in elegance and harmony. At this time of year, the woodland walks are carpeted with bluebells, the hedgerows are dappled with hawthorn blossom, and the walled garden is bursting into colour. It is a stunning setting for the Knitting Pipeline Ireland Retreat, and I was honoured to be asked to design a pattern for the attendees.


The Mount Juliet Shawl is inspired by the compelling history and lovely Georgian architecture of its namesake, and dedicated to the vision and courage of women who make things happen, particularly our dear Paula Emons-Fuessle, who planned this wonderful gathering for all of us. This asymmetrical triangle shawl features bands of simple but lovely lace in two colours, to recall the graceful lines and beautiful windows of the great house. Fittingly, the sample was knit with yarn from Olann, a brilliant Irish indie yarn company. This is a relaxing but engaging knit with enough gentle repetition that it is easy to memorise for long chatty evening with friends, but the final result is striking.

The shawl pattern is now available to buy on Ravelry. There is a 20% off Launch sale on this pattern until the end of the weekend!

Get your copy of the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern now!

Episode transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast, you’re listening to episode 264. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hells Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at CuriousHandmade.com

Hello and welcome to the show.

As always, I hope you’re having a wonderful week. I’m having, as always, a busy week. It’s half term here in the UK, so the kids are home from school and we are having a fairly relaxed at home holiday this break. We did go camping on the weekend because it was a bank holiday weekend last weekend, which means that everybody had Monday off work, and so we went camping to the New Forest. There’s quite a few campgrounds down there. They’re really good. We take bikes for the kids and they ride around and enjoy a little bit of independence of being able to go off out of sight for a little while, which we can’t really do very much in London, and yeah, it was really good. The weather was pretty good. I ended up getting quite sick though, so I came home a night early, I caught the train home and I’m glad I did because I ended up having a bit of a temperature and yeah, just with another cold.

It’s a different variation from what I had a couple of weeks ago. But yeah, hopefully I can shake it off pretty quickly, but you might hear it in my voice, okay, in this week, but happily this time my throat’s not too sore so it’s not feeling too bad.

We had gone camping straight after I got back from Ireland last week. So as you might have seen on Instagram or heard on the podcast last week, I spent the week in Ireland near Kilkenny with the Knitting Pipeline Island Retreaters or tourers and joined up with the ladies there after they had been touring around Ireland for about a week by the time I met up with them. And then we got to spend the last few days of their tour together at a wonderful country manor hotel called Mount Juliet. Paula had invited me to be part of the tour well over a year ago now and unfortunately couldn’t be there herself because she is undergoing cancer treatment at the moment.

But she was able to invite a wonderful person called Jan Hamby who is twinsetjan to help guide and host the tour in her absence. And so it was wonderful to meet Jan and many more knitters that I hadn’t met before. Quite a few that I’d heard about quite a lot from the ladies at the Georgia retreat. I think there are about six women that I had met previously at the Knitting Pipeline Georgia retreat. So it was so wonderful to hang out with them, see them again, as well as meet new people. So I had such a wonderful time. The first day we had a knitting day together and I shared the Mount Juliet shawl that I designed especially for the attendees at the retreat and I’ll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. Yeah. So we cast that on, wound the yarn and spent the day knitting together on Tuesday.

And then on Wednesday we had a day sort of out and about touring around the local area. So part of that was a visit to the Cushendale Woollen Mills, which was such a wonderful tour. We were given a tour of the mills by Philip Cushen, who is the sixth generation of his family to own and run the woolen mill there. So we heard all about the history of the site and it, the mill is on a waterway which powered the mill originally and also provided beautiful clear water for the dyeing of the wool and the yarn. So the family have been on this same site, manufacturing Irish wool since the late 1700’s. So it was really wonderful to have that sense of history. The mill has really old machinery in it. I’m not quite sure how old the spinning machine is that we saw, but it’s just a beautiful historical mill and Phil the current owner who gave us the talk was just so enthusiastic about his work and the work that they do there.

It was just, it was lovely, I ended up buying some of their yarn that they spin there at the mill, some yarn they bring in some of the super wash yarn and some Mohair they bring in to make blends and dye on site. And some of it they spin from local wool. So I bought some laceweight wool from them in a beautiful sort of seagreen color and I also couldn’t resist a woven blanket. Because I have a bit of a thing for woolen blankets and have quite a collection. I’m not sure that I’m going to get much use out of them in Australia, but in winter we don’t have a lot of central heating, so I might end up pulling them out more than I think I might. Anyway, it was very beautiful. Perfect for a beach house.

After the visit to the woolen mill, we went to Zwartbles farm and had lunch there and it’s a small farm that the owner, Suzanne has basically created. She has inherited the property from her family. Her mom still owns the farm, but she’s now managing it. And when she first sort of started taking it over, she was trying to figure out what she could do with this land that had been in her family for many, many generations. And it’s not big enough to run a lot of sheep, but she was really interested in keeping sheep and so she decided to go for a rare breed. And so she has a flock of Zwartbles, is how she said it’s pronounced because it’s based on a Dutch word. So it’s zwart is black and bles is blaze because they have a white blaze on the front of their face and they’re basically a very dark brown all over.

And I think their front feet also have a blaze. Really, really pretty sheep. And so we had lunch in the garden. It was a beautiful sunny day and we sat in this beautiful green garden with amazing flowers and trees growing. And Suzanne gave us a talk all about how she’s raising the farm to be super sustainable and all about the ecology on the farm and the variety she’s introducing in terms of grasses and plants and they have apples and apple orchards and it’s just magical, really magical. I think you’re just sitting in the garden and thinking it’s just so beautiful. And then she started talking about everything that she’s doing there and it just makes you feel a bit tired, how hard she is working to make this farm work and pay its way. She’s doing everything from raising the sheep, creating yarn, writing books, taking photography.

I think she’s originally a photographer by trade, so all the social media and photography of the places is really gorgeous as well. So she’s just doing an unbelievable amount of work and it was just very, very charming. So that was a wonderful experience. And then after that we went back to the hotel for some more knitting and on Thursday some of the group went in to Kilkenny just to have a look around there. And I just stayed at the hotel and knit with a group of people who, who didn’t go into town, so I did quite a bit of knitting. I think I was doing probably more chatting than knitting though, so I didn’t do a huge amount of knitting, but I did make some progress on a couple of projects. I’ll talk about that in a minute as well.

The other thing that we did, a small group of us did during our stay at Mount Juliet was go on a a little tour organized by the hotel, of the hotel sort of grounds itself and one of the members of staff gave an amazing talk about the history of the hotel, which went back hundreds of years and it was really, really interesting to hear about how it had come to be and just, yeah, just some of the history and through to current times where it is a fancy golf resort. There’s a very, sort of relatively famous golf course there, a beautiful, beautiful golf course and amazing kitchen gardens, beautiful grounds. It sort of backs onto a sort of a river down the back of the property and then on the other side of the property are horse stables and used to be part of the estate and is now separate.

But yeah, just fascinating place and perfect place to sit and chat and knit. So I took my Clio pullover that I’m still working on and I think last update I was procrastinating on casting on the neck band. So one afternoon when I had quite a bit of time to sit and do that, I picked up all the stitches around the neck band and tackled the braid that goes around the neck band and then started working on that. I haven’t finished the neck band yet, but I realized when I went back to the instructions that I was meant to use a smaller needle picking up the stitches and doing the braid than I did. I had just used the needle for the main body and forgotten to change needle size. So now I’m currently wondering whether I need to pull it out or keep going.

I think what I’m going to do is keep going, finish the neckband and then see if it needs pulling out because it’s just, I don’t know, it’s just, I don’t know, maybe six rows of neck band to go. So I think I’ll just try it, see how it looks and then make a call rather than pulling it out now and starting again at this point. I probably should pull it out at this point, but I’m just kind of hoping that it’s going to be okay. I’m not a loose knitter. I was knitting it reasonably firmly, so hopefully it’s not too loose. Anyway, I might be back with a different version of events next week, but that’s my plan for the time being. I also knit quite a bit on my Piper’s Journey shawl, which was the retreat shawl. All the other attendees had knit a Piper’s Journey for the trip.

Of course I was a bit behind, but really enjoying working on that pattern. It’s a pattern by Paula Emons-Fuessle and I think it was maybe her first shawl design, I think. And it’s a lovely, simple, just really beautiful shawl. So I’m still working on the garter stitch body at the moment, but don’t think that should take me too long. So yeah. So enjoying working on those two projects very much. So as I mentioned before, I designed a shawl for the retreat and named it Mount Juliet after the place we were all staying. So I’ll just read you the description of the shawl that my lovely copywriter Amanda has written for it.

Hidden amid peaceful woodlands and velvety green fields in Kilkenny island sits a glorious old manor house called Mount Juliet. It was completed in 1760 and named for the bride of the Viscount of Ikerrin. Juliet Boyle, daughter of the Earl of Shannon, brought with her a generous fortune and an exquisite eye for beauty.

The estate was built with her money and named in her honour. It was a tribute to young love and remains a masterclass in elegance and harmony. At this time of year the woodland walks are carpeted with bluebells, the hedgerows are dappled with Hawthorn blossom, and the walled garden is bursting into color. It is a stunning setting for the Knitting Pipeline Ireland Retreat and I was honored to be asked to design a pattern for the attendees.

The Mount Juliet shawl is inspired by the compelling history and lovely Georgian architecture of its namesake and dedicated to the vision and courage of women who make things happen. Particularly our dear Paula who planned this wonderful gathering. The asymmetrical triangle shawl features bands of simple, lovely lace in two colors to recall the graceful lines and beautiful windows of the Great House. The sample was knit with yarn from Ireland, a brilliant Irish indie yarn company. This is a relaxing and engaging knit with enough general repetition that it’s easy to memorize for long chatty evenings with friends, but the final result is striking.

So I have just released the shawl on Ravelry and it will be 20% off until the end of the weekend. You don’t need a coupon code, the discount will be automatically applied when you check out. And as the description says, it’s designed to be a fairly simple shawl. It was designed with retreat knitting in mind and it’s a great shawl to use two contrasting colors from your stash or I think it would look really good in one color as well because the lace and the texture would just give it enough interest to make one color look really beautiful. So yeah, I’m really pleased with how it came out. It took me a while to come up with the design because I was really, sometimes when I want something to be just absolutely perfect, it makes it so much harder to come up with a design, but eventually it revealed itself to me and yeah, I’m really pleased. I hope you like it and yeah, it’s now out on Ravelry for everybody.

So I am off to Squam next week in New Hampshire. So I’m back into preparation for travel mode again already and I think I’ll probably just take Cleo pullover to knit on and aim to make some really good progress on that with some monogamous project knitting, I will be seeing the designer Elizabeth Doherty at Squam. So that’s always quite nice when you’re knitting something with the designer there. And yeah, really looking forward to that, catching up with friends there and I will try and record an episode for next week. It’s a little bit chaotic here at the moment with the kids home from school. I’m currently hiding in my bedroom while they make pretend YouTube videos asking people to subscribe to their channel. I don’t let them publish them, but they have a lot of fun making them. So yeah, so whether I get a chance in the next few days to record again, but I’m going to try to, so I’ll just leave it at that. Hopefully I’ll be back with you next week. In the meantime, have a great week or two. Happy knitting. Bye for now.

May 31 2019

Play

Rank #14: CH 286: March is the new January

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a little do-over of the start of the year! Today I’m talking about getting all my healthy streaks back on track, and tackling a few beautiful WIPs that deserve to be finished before I go casting on any of the shiny new patterns that are calling my name!

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Bembe Socks by Dawn Henderson

IndieLynx on Instagram

IndieLynx’s gorgeous Bembe socks in progress

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 286. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.


Hello, I hope you’re having a good week. Welcome to the show. I am a bit in shock that it’s March already and I’ve decided to declare March as the new January, as far as goals and resolutions go. I’m not quite sure what’s happened this year, but it’s all gone a bit pear shaped and I haven’t managed really any of my plans that are right to achieve with so much enthusiasm at the beginning of the year.


I had a grand plans for regular exercise and healthy food and all sorts of things and I just haven’t been very good with my, my streaks so far, so I’m rather than sort of give up and not worry about it, which is kind of tempting, I am resetting and starting again. So I’ve managed to get to Pilates at least twice this week, which is pretty good and I’m booked in for tomorrow, so that will be my goal of three times this week. I haven’t managed, I’ve managed very little walking and I think I’m really feeling it, in, I don’t know, just not being relaxed and feeling as good as I wish I did at the moment.


But yeah. So yeah, I need to, I need to just work out why I’m not getting to it. Currently the weather, it’s been raining an awful lot the last month or so. I don’t know if that’s really a very good excuse. I’m not sure what happened really. I need to sort of sit down and think back across month to actually think what’s happened. Anyway, I’ve been doing a little bit of knitting. I was switching on a design today and maybe that’s why I’m feeling a bit frustrated because I planned out a design, I drew a chart and the end result didn’t look how I wanted it to. It didn’t have the feeling that I wanted. I had a concept for the design and it just didn’t evoke the feeling. Sorry. So I watched all day on that and worked on the stitch pattern and the chart and, and I’ve decided I, I like it.


So it’s probably adding to my frustrated mood tonight. So I always just tell myself if I keep swatching for long enough, I will get there eventually. It’s just, yeah, I think I’m just frustrated that I took my whole day to realize that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. But I’ll, I’ll just start again. I’ll look for some new ideas and start again. I spoke last week about how I’d finished my terracotta socks by WoolFields Studio and I talked about the Birch Hollow Fibers yarn and that I couldn’t remember the name. And so I just wanted to add in that I looked up the name and it’s Roses for Sophrenia. It’s one of her, I think a regular colorway that Robin does and yeah, it’s just really gorgeous. I have taken photos and we’ll get them up on social media and I was talking about starting a pattern from 52 weeks of socks by Laine.


And the pattern was Bembe by Dawn Henderson. And I had picked out some yarn, which was a really soft pink, and then I saw Claire who is indielynx on Instagram knitting those same socks. And she had tries in this really vibrant sort of golden, golden yellowy, browny color. And it was just so, I don’t know, I just loved it and I just thought, Oh, the pale pink isn’t going to cut it for these socks. And they were a little bit variegated as well. And I think this needs a really strong, solid or semi-solid, at least yarn. So I’m going to go back to the stash. Back to the drawing board. I’d chosen this yarn because I already had it wound into a ball. It was one of the yarns that I rescued for my swatching and I thought, Oh, I’ll just use that because it’s already wound and it’s easily to hand.


But yeah, no, I don’t think so. I think I will just continue using that yarn for swatching as I will be continuing my swatch. So rather than start that, I decided that I should finish my pebbles and pathways socks, which I’m probably three quarters done with. I’m onto the second sock and I’ve done the leg, so I’m up to the heel flap with those and yeah, I think I should just finish them. They’re so cute. The yarn is by my friend Emma Saren Yarns. She’s an English indie Dyer and it’s just such gorgeous yarn and it’s going really, really well with the pattern. So I need to finish those socks first, I think. Yeah, just finish something before I start another thing. Oh otherwise I’ll just sit there forever and not get finished and they’re nearly done. So that’s my plan now. And I’m also going to this weekend, this is my accountability, You’re my accountability partners this week, and I am going to pick up the stitches for a sleeve on my Clio pullover.


This is a WIP that’s been going on for a very, very long time and I need to get that done as well. So I am kind of sick of talking about it, sick of talking about not doing it. So I’m going to pick up the stitches this weekend and then I’ll be able to just putter away on it doing a pickup stitches, and I think there’s a little bit of short rows involved. Just means you know, that bit of extra concentration needed that is being a barrier to me doing it at all. So I’m going to overcome the barrier I’m going to cost on the sleeve and start working on that again. It’s had so many, not really timeouts, just time resting.


Yeah. So that’s my plan. That’s my knitting plan for the next week or two or three. Yeah. Pebbles and pathway socks by HeyBrownBerry, Marceline Smith and Clio by Elizabeth Doherty. Of course I’m so distracted by so many other projects I want to cast on, but I’m just going to, I just need to focus and finish some things.


And other exciting news this week, my sofa arrived from my studio and I’m very excited about this. It’s really nice and very comfy. And when I was dreaming about my studio, before we even moved to Australia, I was planning to have a friend’s chair in my office or studio and my mom has started this concept or trend within our family, and in her office she has a little comfy arm chair and dad goes in and sits with her and has a cup of tea with her. And when we have visiting, we sit with her and if she’s crafting or just at her computer, something like that, we’ll go in and have a chat.


And so I really liked that idea and I planned, to get a friend’s chair, but my studio is quite big and I thought what would be even better as friend’s sofa because I thought, Oh, it’d be nice to be able to be working in my studio. Maybe if I fancied it, have a little lie down and read something. And I also was hoping that the girls would come down and maybe do a little bit of homework or a little bit of cross with me and yeah, and already they’re doing that. So that’s working really well. And so if he comes down and does her math homework and Lexi’s craze of knitting Nancy, knitting tubes with a toilet paper and pedal pop sticks is still going strong, it’s seems to be back back happening again. So she’s been making some, some French knitting, knitting Nancy and keeping me company while I do tedious admin.


So now I have all the furniture and now I really need to just a little bit of sorting out a little bit of decluttering. I’ve got some piles of things that I can’t quite deal with. So I need to make myself deal with some filing and some things like that. Just get this into a lovely, relaxing, serene space. It’s a little bit too cluttered and too many piles of doom at the moment to be relaxing, but maybe I’ll tackle a few of the piles this weekend as well. I think what I need today is find a inspirational picture on Pinterest or in a magazine that I know what I’m aiming for as something very Zen and relaxing to motivate me. At the moment I just have a mouse cage and they’re very messy. They keep throwing things out of their cage. I need to need to sort that out and find a home or at least some sort of tray to put the cage in so that I don’t end up with food and bedding all over my studio.


I hope it isn’t TMI when I talk about the mice because I know that they’re not everybody’s favorite pets and give people the heebie-jeebies but including me, we had a couple of infestations in our house in London because just happens in houses in London pretty regularly and I was not at all happy about that. But having them as pets, it really is different and I am finding them surprisingly cute, so I’m quite surprised that I liked them as much as I do. Lexi absolutely adores hers and is in the process of training one to do tricks now. So yeah, it’s all quite fun. It’s nice having a pet.


Well, I hope you have a really good week in the midst of all the madness that seems to be happening in the world, again, at the moment. There’s so many crazy things happening that it’s quite hard to focus and I am definitely relying on my knitting to keep calm and relaxed and I should probably get back into my walking with a bit more regularity to be able to keep stress levels down. So, yes, I hope you’re all well, happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Mar 06 2020

14mins

Play

Rank #15: CH 260: Shawls on the way and adventures in grombre…

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Show Sponsors:

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

This week I revealed the theme for our 4th season of The Shawl Society and I’m getting so, so, excited to begin another adventure with so many brilliant knitters. I also have a bit of a story about how I got inspired for this collection. Finally, I have recently decided to try something a bit different with my hair and I’ve got some resources to share!

Show Links:

Suburban Stitcher

Olann Yarn

Ann Friedman

Aminatou Sow

Call Your Girlfriend Podcast

Shine Theory

#grombre

Erica Henry Johnston

Nikol Johnson

Annika Von Holdt

Don’t forget, there are still tickets available for the upcoming Sip, Stitch, Shop event in Bath on May 11th, and I’d love to see lots of the Curious Crew there!

May 03 2019

Play

Rank #16: CH 266: Squam recap and Cliff Walk socks

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Show Sponsors:

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

I’m back from a truly magical week at Squam, and this week on the podcast I have tales of the workshops I experienced, the projects I worked on, and details of some of the treasures I brought home. This week also brings us a new pattern from The Handmade Sock Society, so I have the Cliff Walk Socks to introduce, as well as a bit of help for Society Members who may be confused about how to get onto the secret mailing list.

Show Links:


Abigail Haplin on Instagram

Purplebean Bindery

Hollie Chastain on Instagram

If You Can Cut You Can Collage book by Hollie Chastain

Linen and Spoon

Amy T Won

Wing and a Prayer Farm

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Our third pattern of The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 was released this week!

The Cliff Walk Socks

The Yarn Tart at Suffolk Socks

House of A La Mode

House of A La Mode at A Yarn Story

Join the Handmade Sock Society Season 2

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to Episode 266. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com

Hello, and I hope you’re well. Welcome to the show. I hope you’ve been having a good week, and I will catch you up on my week and also last week when I was at Squam. I got back to London Monday morning this week, and have basically been catching up for most of the week, I think. It’s been a little bit of a blur, slightly jet lagged, and just sort of catching up on lots of admin and doing a little bit of planning because now the countdown is on before we move countries and head off down under to Australia. So yes, I’m looking at a matter of weeks now and thinking I need to use my time wisely. So spreadsheets have been created and lots of lists are being made.

I’m trying to not spend too much time obsessing about all the details, and just also try and crack on with some of the actual work. But I have to admit that it’s been a little bit slow this week. I have been enjoying the inspiration that I drew on at Squam, and it was a really lovely week. I flew over last Tuesday just in time for the start. Sometimes I go a little bit earlier and spend some time in New York with my friends, but time was at a bit of a premium this time. So I just went over just before it started, and it started off not very auspiciously because the plane that I boarded, we sat there for nearly three hours and they decided that they couldn’t fix the fault in the plane, so we all had to hop off, and shortly after getting off the plane, I got a text saying that the flight was canceled because they could not fix it.

So luckily, I was able to get on another flight about three hours later, so I spent the day at Heathrow and arrived into New York quite late in the evening, but it was okay. I was just really happy to get there that evening, and then the next morning I met my lovely friends Bowen and Stewart, and they came and picked me up from the airport hotel I crashed in that night, and we drove all the way up to New Hampshire and Squam. I think it’s about a five hour drive. We made a little stop on the way for some food and stocking up on snacks and beverages, and we also stopped at a little antiquey secondhand shop, which was really cute, quite close to Squam, in a town near there. So that was the first evening, and we did the usual chicken procedure and found our cabin.

We were staying in a cabin we’d stayed in before and it was just lovely. The cabins there are fairly rustic. They’re not rustic in the sense that there’s electricity, and there are decent showers, decent water pressure. They’re nothing fancy, but there they’re fine and the beds are really comfy, and it’s all quite cozy, and there’s always a fantastic fireplace, and there’s always a great porch, which is part of the routine to sit on the porch, and they have rocking chairs and a lot of time is spent sitting, and knitting, and eating the snacks, and drinking the beverages.

This time the highlight for me, well one of the highlights, was the weather. The first evening we arrived, and there was a big thunderstorm, and so it was raining and it was just really kind of romantic with the rain falling, and falling asleep to heavy rain was really nice. And then the whole rest of the time we spent there was just glorious. It was blue skies, sunny and not too hot, not too hot or sticky, just perfect. It was so nice, and the only downside to that was the bugs. There was a ton of mosquitoes, there were just swarms and swarms of mosquitoes, and there were also lots of ticks, so that was slightly off-putting, but it was okay. We managed to stop up most of the holes on the porch from all the bugs and lit fires, and created enough smoke to keep them away in the cabins.

But whenever you ventured outside you would get bitten for sure. It was a minor thing compared to the beautiful scenery and weather we had. I did two classes, which is the sort of standard thing to do. The first class I did was creating a sketchbook practice, and the teacher was Abigail Halpin, and she is an illustrator, mostly of children’s books. She’s just illustrated a version, a shortened version of Anne of Green Gables, and she’s on Instagram as Abigail Halpin, which is H-A-L-P-I-N. She has a really beautiful Instagram feed of her illustrations mainly, and just also other interesting bits and bobs that she’s thinking about or being inspired by, some posts about her travels and where she lives in Maine. So have a look at her feed. She taught us mostly how to use watercolors for a sketchbook practice.

It was really interesting and enjoyable. I haven’t been much of a sketchbook person. I have never thought of myself as much of an artist, but yeah, I would, I would consider it. I actually purchased three little sketchbooks from the Squam Arts Marketplace on Saturday night with the intention of perhaps using that to have a little sketchbook diary, and I bought one for each of the girls as well because they were really cute. While I’m talking about it, the vendor I bought the sketchbooks from is Purplebean Bindery. So that’s Purplebean Bindery at Etsy, and all the books she makes are unique and they’re just really beautiful.

They’re just handmade, handmade sketchbooks. That was quite inspiring, and then on the second day, which was the Friday, I took a class called Heart of Collage with Hollie Chastain, and that’s H-O-L-L-I-E C-H-A-S-T-A-I-N, and that’s also her Instagram name, and she also has a very inspiring Instagram feed. So as it says on the tin, it was a collage class, and a Hollie was a really wonderful teacher and she was one of these teachers that just lets everybody kind of do their own thing, and then helps and supports them to try and execute their vision. I went in kind of quite stuck.

I didn’t have any plan and I hadn’t brought any materials. Some people have brought paper and old letters and things that were meaningful to them and I hadn’t prepared anything, and so I kind of sat there feeling quite blank for a while, and Hollie suggested I just paint the background of my board in a color just to get started, and it worked. So I kind of had the idea of doing a quote, an inspirational quote. I have, I don’t know if you call it a board, a tab in my Instagram. You can save posts on Instagram, you can create boards with sort of names, a bit like you can on Pinterest, and I find it a really, really good feature for saving things to come back to later.

If you don’t know about that, it’s really, really handy, and you can save them by, when you’re looking at a post, just underneath the picture there’s icons on the left where you like and comment, and then on the right there’s a little sort of banner and then it says, it’s a collection, so it says, “Save to Collection,” and then when you click on “Save to Collection,” you can choose a collection and create a collection. So I decided to go through my quotes collection on Instagram, and while I was looking at that, I saw a picture of Frida Kahlo, which someone had posted with a quote attached to it.

The picture itself was a self portrait of Frieda. I don’t know the name of the particular painting, I’m sorry, but it had sort of lots of lush tropical foliage in the background, and she has a cat sitting on one shoulder, and a monkey on the other shoulder, I think, and so I decided to use that as my inspiration. I basically spent the whole morning making the leaves for the background, and some of her face, and then in the afternoon I finished off her head and her face, and I did some embroidery as part of it and was really, really pleased with the end result.

I have a little Frieda keeping me company on my desk at the moment because I haven’t figured out where to put her just now. That was what was really, really good, and I think that might be something that I would do as an activity with the girls. Holly has a book, it’s called, If You Can Cut, You Can Collage, From Paper Scraps to Works of Art, and so I’ve ordered that book because I saw it when she had a copy there with her at the class, and it’s just got lots of information about techniques, and inspiration, and ideas. So I’ve ordered that thinking that it might be a summer holiday project that I do either for myself or with the girls on our summer holiday camp, which will be transcontinental probably.

Then, Saturday was a completely free day. There were some extra classes offered, but I did not partake in any of those, even though I sort of wanted to, but I wanted to relax and knit even more so that’s what I did, and in the evening was a wonderful art fair, and as I mentioned, I purchased the sketchbooks. I purchased some lovely things from Linen and Spoon. That’s linenandspoon.com and they’re two makers, husband and wife team. He carves beautiful objects including spoons from wood, and she makes beautiful items from linen. I bought a small wooden tray or platter as well as a gorgeous drawstring linen bag. She labels it as a bread bag, but I think it’s going to be a project bag. So that’s so tactile and gorgeous.

I had bought a spoon from them before and it just reminded me that I need to find that. I think it’s in my photo props box. I also bought A Deck For Wonder-Walking, and this is by Amy T. Won, who was one of the teachers at Squam, and she had this deck of cards and I asked if it was a Tarot deck. I don’t really know how to use a Tarot deck, but she explained it’s a walking-deck and I’m not sure if this is a concept she’s developed herself or whether it’s a thing, but she has this absolutely gorgeous deck of cards with different prompts on them, and then a little booklet to explain what the prompts mean.

The idea is that you draw a card to get an idea and then go for a walk and then look for that thing. For example, I drew The Woods, “Enigmatic, mysterious, and full of life. The woods is for exploring the unknown within and without.” So when you’re walking you can just think about that prompt and maybe put a little journal or a little notebook in your pocket and make some notes about that or just sort of meditate on it while you’re walking.

I thought with my walking streak, that would be a way to make it a lot more interesting, and they’re just beautiful works of art in their own right. While I was determined not to buy any yarn, I did buy some yarn because I couldn’t resist some yarn from Wing and a Prayer Farm, who does breed-specific yarn from Beloved Flocks in Vermont. I met Tammy at the arts fair last time I was at Squam two years ago, and I kind of regretted not buying some of her yarn then, and so when I saw her there again, I had to get some.

I got some of the hundred percent Como wool, and I got two skeins of natural, and two skeins of, I think it’s avocado. It’s a pink, pinky skein and it’s so squishy, and it smells really good. I keep sniffing that because it’s sitting on my desk. It’s so nice, and then before we knew it, the whole experience was wrapping up. Sunday morning we said goodbye, and my lovely friend, Elizabeth, gave me a lift back to Boston and I made my way home. It was a lovely, lovely time. I saw lots of friends there and it was a joy to spend time with my cabin mates. Every time I go, since the first time, I have stayed with Stewart, and Bowen, and Elizabeth Doherty, who is Blue Bee Studio, and this time we also had the lovely Natalie, Susan, and Ann staying with us.

We spent most of our time when we weren’t in classes, or eating, which is another big thing at Squam. We just chatted and sat on our porch knitting, and I got a lot of knitting done. So that was really, really good. I got a lot of work done a design, which was very good, and I also worked on the neckband for my Clio with Elizabeth’s guidance, and bound that off. So I got that done. Now, I have made a little bit of progress on that, and am going to finish the body and then start working on the sleeves. I am up to the ribbing on the body. We decided that it was long enough in the pattern, and I could start the ribbing. So I’m pretty excited about that, and we’ll continue that rather epic project. But it’s definitely on track to finish before the end of the year, which was one of my goals.

So thank you to Meg, and Elizabeth, and the Squam team for putting on such an amazing event, and just very, very grateful to be able to go to that and to have had such a relaxing and restorative week away. I’ve come back with more energy and just feeling a lot more relaxed, so that was exactly what I was hoping for and I’m very grateful to have had that time.

Coming back into reality, this week at Curious Handmade HQ, we have the release of The Third Socks in the Handmade Sock Society yesterday. The Cliff Walk Socks. I knit two samples of these. The first sample is knit in The Yarn Tart’s sock yarn, and the colorway that she developed, especially for these socks is Just You and Me by The Deep Blue Sea. It’s a gorgeous deep blue. I also knit a pair in House of A La Mode sock yarn. I’d just like to read you the description for the pattern as written by my lovely copywriter, Amanda.

Breathe deeply. The air is salty and clean. The light is soft and magical. Seabirds wheel and cry here at the edge of the cliffs, they are as likely to be below you as overhead. There are almost three hundred miles of breathtaking Cornish coastline. You could walk your legs right off if you wanted to. There’s so much to see, so many places to explore, and centuries of history and romance to ponder. Hidden coves and mysterious sea caves, legends of smugglers and tales of ghosts.

Evocative names like The Devil’s Frying Pan, Mousehole, and Tintagel. Climbing up the winding footpath, you may find yourself completely alone, looking out over the water, keeping company with your own thoughts. There’s a peculiar kind of privacy at the top of a cliff. You can see for miles, but who can see you? You’re just a little dot on the horizon, hidden in plain sight. If it’s lonely up here, it’s the very best kind of lonesome there is.

Time spent in this landscape holds a constant reminder of what is possible. It’s a place to get perspective. The scale and wildness of the ocean find a counterpoint in the very small and very fragile. These ancient limestone cliffs may look sheer and forbidding, but they are home and shelter to a huge community of little lives. Rugged wildflowers and grasses set their seeds in the rocky crevices and cling, blossoming courageously just out of the salty spray.

The birds who make their nests and lay their precious eggs on narrow ledges are braver still, or maybe just silly. Their name, Fulmar, comes from the Dutch for foolish gull. But this is life, and the creative life most of all: dizzying heights and humble, hard-fought corners, and a knowing that beauty can spring up even in the most unexpected and inauspicious places when you’re willing to take a risk.

The Cliff Walk Socks are the third pattern in this season of the Handmade Sock Society. All-over lace makes them seem a little fancy, but look closer and you’ll see that the cushy stitch pattern makes these socks perfect for pulling on with a pair of boots and heading out over the dunes. The wavy lace brings to mind the ocean swell crashing into the cliffs. A simple twisted rib cuff, my trusty heel flap and gusset, and a comfortable wedge toe round out the details. Like all the Handmade Sock Society patterns, the Cliff Walk Socks is easy to customize and includes three sizes, so you can find your perfect fit every time.

So I hope you like this third pattern in the Handmade Sock Society, and you can still join in any time as a member. I just wanted to make a little note about both societies, the Shawl Society and the Handmade Sock Society, that if you are a member and you wish to get any secret emails that I might send out about yarn coming up and the next design, and any notifications about patterns coming out, then you need to join the email list for that specific season and that specific society.

You can find where to sign up in your information sheet. That is the first document, not pattern but document in the collection in Ravelry. For each of the societies there’s an information sheet in Ravelry where you find your patterns, and in that is a URL to sign up to the email. It’s a little bit complicated. We used to just sign people up, but now with the GDPR laws in the EU, we’re not allowed to do that anymore. You have to sign up yourself, and so I just wanted to make that clear if there’s any confusion.

I think people get quite confused about the emails. I have my main email list that is just newsletters and news about everything happening, but if you want to find out specific news for the society for the current season, you have to sign up to that particular list. So thank you to everybody that has, and I hope you’re enjoying it, and if your are a member of either society and you haven’t, and that’s the way to do it if you’d like to. There’s no obligation of course, but it’s mostly just information about upcoming yarn, and yarn hints for the next pattern coming out.

That’s all the news I have for you this week. Thanks for tuning in. I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Jun 14 2019

Play

Rank #17: CH 261: Clio Progress and TSS 4

Podcast cover
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Show Sponsors:

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

In today’s episode I have some personal knitting to share, including a new sweater pattern I have been stalking as my Clio gets closer to completion. I’m delighted that the 4th season of The Shawl Society has launched and we’re just a week away from the first pattern! I’m also gearing up for the Sip. Stitch. Shop. event in Bath this weekend, and we’re having a sample sale to raise funds for KnitAid (have you seen the KnitAid Tedx talk?)

Show Links:

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Ysolda Blend no.1

Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain

Squam

Midding Cardigan by Renée Callahan

Baskerville DK by Kettle Yarn

Triskelion Yarn

This week The Shawl Society Season 4 opened for membership!

It will be available at an early bird price until the first pattern of the season is released on Thursday the 16th of May, 2019.

Join The Shawl Society Season 4 now!

Suburban Stitcher Website

Suburban Stitcher Instagram

KnitAid

KnitAid Ted Talk

Ch. 261 Transcript

_________________________________

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 261. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you had a fantastic week. Pull up a chair, grab your knitting, grab a beverage, and let’s us have a chat. Thank you to everyone who commented on social media, and via emails, and messages that you were interested in my conversation about my hair last week. I was talking about how I am embracing my natural color, which I think is going to be quite gray. It’s still in the growing out process, and even sort of four and a half, five months into it, it’s surprising to me, at least, how long it takes to grow. In some ways, when I was dying it to hide the gray, it seemed like it was every five minutes that I was having to dye it, and now that I’m desperately trying to grow it all out, it’s taking forever. So thank you for all your

messages of support and interest. It’s kind of a funny thing to talk about, but I feel like, for me, it’s about embracing happiness and creativity, which is the motto of the show, so I thought it was fair enough to talk about with you.

I have been extremely busy the last couple of weeks. I think after having basically three weeks holiday, I didn’t do much work while the kids were off school, which has always been my goal since having my business. A big part of my goal is to have a more flexible schedule around the kids, and that’s kind of worked and kind of hasn’t worked in some ways. I do have the flexibility with the kids, but that means that my work tends to get pushed into evenings and holidays, and weekends more. So I’m very, very lucky to be able to go to concerts or other events in the middle of the day. I’m lucky to be able to pick them up from school, but I’m basically working at least full-time, so that just means that that work has to happen somewhere else. And it’s taking me a really long time to get to grips with how that works, because I’m always very optimistic about how much I will get done, and then it either takes a lot longer, or I procrastinate, or get sucked into something else. And so I am working hard at the moment on trying to get to grips with that. I feel quite frustrated to be still grappling with this, I don’t know, four or five years since I stopped working full-time in a corporate job. But there you go. We’re always learning and improving, so I’m going to try not to beat myself up about it too much. I’m just trying to prioritize tackling that now.

Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble. Sorry about that. I’m tackling my to-do list with gusto at themoment, and I’m prioritizing by trying to look at what’s most urgent, and also what’s stressing me out the most, which isn’t always the same thing. Usually it is the same thing, because the most urgent thing is stressing me out, because it’s coming up. But sometimes strange, little things really stress me out, and so I’m trying to just get things that are playing a disproportionate, or being disproportionately stressful, out of the way, as well.

So despite being so busy, I have still been doing some personal knitting, and I think that’s actually been helping with stress levels. I have been knitting on my Clio, which is a gorgeous pullover by Elizabeth Doherty. I’m knitting that in Ysolda’s blend number one that I purchased at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, a couple of years ago. And I’m really enjoying knitting with that yarn. It’s just beautiful. It’s a very calming pale gray color, so that’s really nice as well. And the stitch pattern, now I’m onto the body, is interesting and really fun to knit. So I’m really into that at the moment, and it’s at the stage where it’s quite an easy go-to project to pick up. I can read the stitch pattern where I’m up to. It’s just a four row repeat at this stage. So, yeah, that’s quite a relaxing knit. I talked about, I don’t know, a couple of weeks ago, that I was thinking I should do the neckband. And I think what I might do is wind another skein of yarn into a ball, and have a look at the neckband after I finish recording, because I still haven’t done that, and I need to measure the body actually. It’s meant to be the cropped version, so I’m currently at risk of having an 80s tunic length version at the rate I’m going on the body. So I need to measure how much I’ve done on the body, see where I’m at with that. And also put the neckband in so that I can try it on, and measure and see how it’s going. Maybe I’ve been procrastinating on doing the neckband a little bit. It’s a little bit of a mental block, because I want the picked up stitches to be perfect, perfectly neat, and match the rest of the sweater, because often that’s where I fall down on a sweater project is not having quite perfectly picked up stitches around the neckband. I made a mistake in my Hay Pullover when I picked up the neckband stitches, and it’s not massively noticeable, but I can notice sort of a glitch in the smooth line of the neckline. And so maybe I’ve been procrastinating on that a bit as well. I did set a goal for finishing it by the end of the year, which I thought was nice, realistic goal. And then I started getting excited about the progress I was making and thinking maybe I could finish this before Squam, which I’m going to this year. But then, I looked at the calendar, and that’s only three weeks away, just over three weeks away. So, that made me feel slightly panicky, because I have a lot to do before then. And also think possibly not realistic to get Clio finished by then, sadly. So maybe it could be a finish it while I’m at Squam kind of goal. That might be more realistic. I don’t know. We’ll see. I need to assess where I’m at, especially in regards to how much more of the body I have to go.

So, enjoying that project a lot, and also starting to think about what’s coming next in the sweater queue. I have been stalking a brand new pattern released this month. It’s called Midding, M-I-D-D-I-N-G, by Renee Callahan. It’s been popping up on Instagram and in Ravelry, and I’m in love with this cardigan. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s quite a similar color to what I’m knitting with at the moment. And Renee’s used Baskerville DK, by Kettle Yarn Co, which is a DK for this. And Baskerville has some Gotland in it, and silk, so that’s probably partly why I love it so much. I just adore Gotland. So, it’s a cardigan with cable panels down the front, down the sleeves, and across the back. It’s a really, really nice, modern cable, and I really love the neckline. It looks like just a very, very delicate simple i-cord around the neck, and so there’s no band as such. It just goes straight from this, I think it’s an i-cord.

I’m not sure if it’s cast on from the top down. No, work from the bottom up. I’ll read the description. All questions will be answered.

Midding is feeling the tranquil pleasure near a gathering, but not quite in it, hovering on the perimeter of a camp fire, chatting outside a party while others dance inside, resting your head in the backseat of a car listening to your friends chatting up front, feeling blissfully invisible yet still fully included, safe in the knowledge that everyone is together and everyone is okay, with all the thrill of being there without the burden of having to be. Some projects suggest a kind of sweet nostalgia. Midding is a project like that. A classic cardigan shape, with long, fitted sleeves, a straight body, and panels of open cables. This cardigan is worked from the bottom up, with raglan shaping in the yoke, and i-cord finishing at the neck and button bands.

It’s in DK weight yarn, and she has some very, very gorgeous testers, who’ve knit this up, beautiful, sample projects that are making me fall even more in love with it. So, I think this is going to be in my queue. I do have some DK weight yarn, in sweater quantities of yarn in my stash, including some Triskelion, and I think that’s in a nice, can’t remember the blend, but I think

it’s called Arthur, but I could be making that up completely. So that might be good for this one actually. So, so beautiful. I can’t stop looking at it. She’s done a settled shoulder, so the cable goes right up to the neckline. Really love it. Good one, Renee. It’s beautiful. I have to get cracking, cracking on my Clio, so that I can get on to this one.

So apart from knitting sweaters, and stalking sweaters, this week has also seen the opening of the Shawl Society, Season 4, and the theme is Perfect Day At The Beach. I announced the theme, and talked a little bit about it last week. So you can now purchase the collection at a presale, early bird price of 12 pounds. And once the first pattern is released next week on Thursday the 16th of May, the price will go up to 15 pounds. So it’s a nice discount at the moment, and it’s basically two pounds per pattern. That price is for all six designs, that will be released from May through to October, one pattern per month. There’s going to be a range of sizes, shapes, yarn weights. So the yarn weights will range from a heavy lace weight/light fingering weight, through fingering, and through to a DK weight yarn. A little bit of a range there. I’m including a bulky one this year like I have in previous years. In terms of the sizes, a lot of

people have been asking about what size they’re going to be. Last year I kind of got ambitious and flamboyant with the sizes. A lot of them were quite big, and this year they’re going to be probably a little bit more constrained than last year overall, but possibly not going down to small sizes. I don’t think there’s any that are small, shawlette size this time again. But I can offer suggestions for adapting them to smaller or bigger in most cases, I think. So I will try and do that wherever possible.

If you have anymore questions just email me or put them on the Ravelry group, and I’m preparing a frequently asked questions email for people, so I’ll be sending that out next week. If you have any questions about the Shawl Society, you can let me know. It’s going to follow a fairly similar format to previous years, in terms of how it rolls out. So, as I mentioned, you have just under a week to sign up at the early bird price. The first pattern is coming out next Thursday, and the yarn I’ve used for the first pattern is by Suburban Stitcher in a special colorway called sea smoke. Diane is having some updates for this colorway, including one on the 16th of May, and so if you’re interested in that colorway, you can check out her website and Instagram for any updates about that.

We also have an In Real Life event happening this weekend, which is Sip, Stitch, Knit, with me in Bath, with A Yarn Story. And I’m really looking forward to seeing everybody who’s coming along to that. We’re going to have a lovely day. There’s going to be amazing vendors. We’re going to have a sample sale of about 20 of my samples, and the proceeds of that are going to go to a UK based charity called Knit Aid, who send knitted items to refugees. I’ve been a big supporter and fan of their work for, I don’t know, a couple of years now, I think. And Shahnaz, who is the founder of Knit Aid, has actually done a TED Talk, which was recently published. So, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. It’s a lovely talk. It just makes you feel happy and proud to be a knitter, when she tells her story.

So, I can’t wait to see you there, if you’re coming along. So, if I don’t see you in Bath, have a fantastic week, happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

May 09 2019

Play

CH 305: A bigger Little Meg Shawl!

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Big Little Meg!

Today we have some more lucky giveaway winners to announce, and I’m chatting a little bit about my current approach to goals and habits and how they are working out for me these days. I’ve also got a special pattern update to share: after many requests and much ado, I’ve just released a second, larger size of the Little Meg Shawl: some very cosy, comforting knitting for these difficult days.

Show Links:

Tiny Habits book

Habitation Throw KAL Winner

AnnaRobyn

Hedgerow Yarns

Knit20for2020 July Ravelry Winner

Qtar – Nuuk Pullover

Nurja Yarn

Instagram Winner

The_Knitting_Gurg

Snowmelt Shawl

Kitch Kreative

O’Rielly’s

The Little Meg Shawl

Curious Handmade on Etsy

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 305. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. It’s a stressful time, I think in the world at the moment. There’s a lot of things going on and I guess we’re all just trying to do our best to stay calm and healthy as possible. And I feel like that’s all being done in the face of a lot of uncertainty, a lot of conflicting advice, or a moving feast of advice that’s changing constantly. And I think everybody is trying to do their best to stay well with themselves, their loved ones and society as a whole. But I have to say it’s pretty difficult to know what we’re meant to be doing at any point in time. We have had a spike in cases here in Australia, in the state of Victoria. And also to a lesser extent in New South Wales, we have had some new cases here in Queensland, which is not that high by worldwide standards, but by relative standards to what we’ve had, it’s high. So there’s a certain amount of freaking out happening.

I went to the supermarket yesterday and the toilet paper shelves were completely bare again. So I think that’s a bit of a indicator of the state of mind of people. I feel like there should be some kind of toilet paper availability index as to how we’re all feeling about things. I have had the kids home from school this week because they have colds and can’t go to school. I don’t think they’d be well enough to go to school anyway, but if they’ve got any sniffles or coughs they can’t go in. Which is completely fair enough. And I just feel a bit frustrated because they seem to be getting a cold every two weeks. And I think it’s maybe because we’ve moved back to Australia and they don’t have immunity to the local bugs. Maybe it’s like when kids start going to school or daycare and they’re just sick all the time for the first year, I feel like that’s what’s happening here.

Anyway, we’re taking lots of vitamin C lots of vitamin D trying to get lots of sleep. I’ve been working on sleep as a particular habit to improve. I mentioned a few episodes ago that I recently listened to the audio book of Tiny Habits, which is by a guy called BJ Fogg, and really, really love this book. I’ve been implementing some of the strategies and would highly recommend it if you’ve tried to change habits and not succeeded. I really like his method, and it makes a lot of sense to me. At first, I thought it was a bit strange, the whole concept of flossing one tooth, I kind of thought was a little bit pointless. But once he explained that it’s all about making habits doable, that you have the ability to action them and that you make them small enough to be able to do and have success and have that feeling of feeling good about yourself and your ability to do the habit and then really gradually build it up.

And so I’ve been doing that with a couple of things and it’s working pretty well. And so I’m now trying to have one night a week where I have eight hours sleep. And I’m not really succeeding yet, but getting closer. So it’s a long, drawn out, painful process to get these habits in place. But I guess hopefully it will be more sustainable. Anyway, that’s just what’s happening here. You’ve had a bit of a random personal update there. But I hope that you’re all finding ways to cope with the uncertainty and disruption that’s happening everywhere at the moment. I’m certainly not complaining because we have it pretty good here in Australia, especially where I’m living. But it’s still causing a lot of disruption to our life. And things like travel and the ability to get together for knitting retreats and everything like that. It just is making me appreciate a lot of things.

So just a little update on knit alongs and things happening in Curious Handmade world at the moment. We have the handmade sock society. The last sock pattern was released and the knit along is continuing until the 8th of September. And that day is for both the altitude socks and the grand prize for people who’ve knit all six socks. We’ve opened up a thread in Ravelry, and the Curious Handmade group for that now. And we had some knit alongs finished. So I have drawn the winners for the habitation throw knit along. We have the winner, AnnaRobyn, who is from California and she knit her habitation throw in a gorgeous, advent, mini set from Hedgerow Yarns, who’s one of my favorite indie dyers in the UK. I just love her beautiful, pretty colors. So congratulations Anna Robin. I have a physical price to send to you.

So if you can get in touch either via Ravelry, HellsBells or email me Helen@curioushandmade.com and I’ll need your address to send that to you. And for the knit 20 for 2020 challenge, the Revelry winner is Qutar Q-U-T-A-R, who knit a gorgeous nuk N-U-U-K pullover designed by Jonna Hietala. And she’s nominated. Nurja, I think you say it N-U-R-J-A which is a Finnish yarn shop. So congratulations and I’ll get in touch with you, or you can get in touch with me to let me know your email address so that I can organize a gift voucher. I might need some help with this one because the website is in Finnish and I can’t see an English version, so I might not be able to purchase a gift voucher. But I’m sure if I email them they will be able to help me.

Our Instagram when it is the knitting gurg And she knit a snow melt shawl as a gift for her daughter in law for her 30th birthday. In lovely, beautiful green Fru Valborg yarn. So again, if you’d like to get in touch or I’ll try and get in touch with you to organize a prize for you for the July knit 20 for 2020 challenge. We have the thread up on Ravelry for the August challenge, and you can also post on Instagram using the hashtag knit20for2020. I’ve been getting quite behind in my knit 20 for 2020 challenge because I’ve been doing a lot of design knitting lately for the past month or so. I don’t know, it’s gone very quickly. I’ve been working on a design for a retreat I am very hopefully attending in October, which is local. So it’s in my state. So hopefully that will still be okay to go ahead.

And I’ve designed a shawl for that. That retreat is organized by the lovely Kylie from Kitsch Creative, and it’s at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a beautiful camp and resort in the rainforest in a national park here. So I’m really looking forward to that. I think it’s going to be a beautiful location, and retreat. And just fingers crossed that we can go ahead with it, but I’m sure we will be able to. Thinking very positive and optimistically. And the other design work I’ve been working on is knit vent patterns for this year. I’m really excited about this year’s knit vent. And I feel really pleased that I’m working on the designs relatively early in the year for me, probably not for other designers. But for me, this is quite early and quite on top of things and yeah, they’re coming along really well.

I think it’s definitely helping that it’s not last minute pressure and that I can have a little bit more time and ease to get a bit more creative and just think it out and plan it out a bit more. And have a bit more time to let the muse visit. So that’s going really well, but it’s meant that I’ve been really focusing on that pretty much exclusively. And I haven’t had time for any of my personal projects. So my sewing projects and quilting projects and other knitting projects, are all just waiting for me at the moment. And I think what I might try and do, hopefully is to work really during the week this week, and then do some fun projects on the weekend and take at least one day of the weekend off to do a little bit of personal crafting. But we’ll see, I don’t know. I’m just wanting to really focus on the designing at the moment.

I have released a pattern this week, which is an update to the Little Meg shawl that was originally published in 2018 and was quite a popular little shawl. I designed it for a retreat, the country house retreat in Cumbria. And so I designed it as a shawlette so that people could potentially knit it during the retreat, or knit quite a bit of it during the retreat. And I had a lot of requests for a larger size because it is just a really lovely, simple triangular shawl. And so I’ve had the sample and photographs for ages, maybe a year. And so I finally got it together and updated the pattern. I’ll just read you the description so that you can hear the inspiration behind the design.

“The ancient fields of Cumbria are scattered with fragments of time worn buildings and monuments. Many layers of history have been laid down here. And these remnants hint at the stories of the people who lived here long ago. Some of the most mysterious ruins of all are Cumbria’s prehistoric stone circles. Whether they were once used as ritual sites, way markers or for some other purpose, we can never know. Today, they are places of wonder. Little Meg is named after one of Cumbria’s smallest circles, which has endured since the bronze age and her magic is intact. One of her stones is carved with graceful symbols, spirals and circles within circles. This triangular shawl was created for the Curious Handmade country house retreat in March, 2018, using the magical canopy fingering from the Fibre Company designed to be an ideal retreat knitting. The design is simple. Eyelets dotted across a field of stockinette stitch, just like the standing stones of Cumbria moors. Wrap the shawl around your shoulders and the circle is complete. A crisp, garter border provides an elegant finishing touch.”

The small version can be knit in 100 grams of the Fibre Company, canopy fingering. And that’s two 50 gram hanks. It comes in 50 grams and canopy fingering is a gorgeous blend of 30% Merino, 20% Rayon from bamboo and 50% baby alpaca. And then for the large, it uses five times 50 gram hanks. So for the small, it’s about 400 yards and for the large, it’s about a thousand yards. I have the pattern at 20% off for the month of August. So it’s £4 rather than £5. And I’ve just put it at that price of £4 without any coupon code or anything. It’s just a reduced price. So you don’t have to worry about it. But it will go back to its normal price of £5 at the end of August or beginning of September.

So if you would like that pattern at a discount, it’s available now, it’s available on both Ravelry and Etsy. I have a pattern shop on Etsy now, which is curioushandmadeshop, curious handmade was taken. So I now have curious handmade shop and I have some of my patterns available there, not all of them, but some of them. And I’ll post the newer ones there until I figure out a more permanent solution.

So that’s about all the news I have for you this week. I’ll just keep it to a fairly short episode. Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you have a good week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Aug 07 2020

17mins

Play

CH 303: The Stillness Shawl and Silver Hair

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

The big reveal of the Stillness Shawl after our MKAL!

After five secret clues and weeks of knitting and good company, today’s the day we reveal the full design of the Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong. On this week’s podcast episode, I’m chatting about the MKAL reveal, updating you on our other KALs and how I’m handling prizes. Along with the Stillness reveal, there’s also a bit of a reveal of my long-term personal project of growing out the grey. It’s the first time my almost-fully silver hair has featured in pattern photos! So today I’m talking about that process, what it was like, and how I feel about it now.

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Altitude Socks

Vapour Socks FO Thread

Altitude Socks FO Thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Stillness MKAL

Call Your Girlfriend podcast

Ann Friedman Newsletter

Grombre

Erica Henry Johnston

Nikol Johnson

@SilverHairandBretonStripes on Instagram

@wellness_with_walda on Instagram

Curious Handmade on Etsy

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 304. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. I hope you having a good week. We are having lovely weather here in Queensland the past couple of days. We had a rainy week and now we’re having a lovely week. So that’s definitely lifting the spirits. I have been hunkering down on doing lots of design work the last week or two, and that’s going really well. I’m really excited about what’s coming up, but that means I can’t really talk too much about my knitting because I haven’t had any time to do any personal knitting projects, but I thought I would update you on some Knitaong news and just have a bit of a chat with you today. So we have the Handmade Sock society happening at the moment for all your lovely sock knitters. And the last pattern was published last week, the altitude socks.

And it was a little bit bittersweet to see that last pattern come out and the society finished for the year, but we still have some Knitalong time to go. So the vapor sock Knitalong is finishing on Tuesday, the 11th of August. So a little bit more time for that one. And then we have the altitude socks, which have just come out and the grand prize for the Knitalong for people who have knit all six socks that will be drawn on the 8th of September. So quite a few weeks left to finish up all six socks if you’re working on that and also be in the draw for the altitude sock, Knitalong. I am basically planning on switching to gift vouchers for prizes, and I will be offering $50 gift vouchers to the indie dyer or yarn shop of your choice, just so that we can get around this postage situation that we have here in Australia post is very slow from here.

And so I’d rather send you something close by or support a yarn shop or indie dyer that’s your favorite or close to you, just to make things a little bit easier and maybe even a little bit more fun. So I’ll be doing that for the rest of the prizes and I am a bit behind in organizing prizes for the Handmade Sock society so far. I’ve managed to get up to date on the knit 20 for 2020 prizes. That’s all up to date, I think, but having said that, today is the last day of the month for July. So I will be drawing that probably over the weekend or early next week for Knitalong. So if you’re working on the knit 20 for 2020 challenge, make sure that you get any things that you’ve knit this month into the thread on Ravelry or alternatively, I also draw from Instagram.

So if you’re posting something for knit 20 for 2020 on Instagram, be sure to tag it with a hashtag as well as let me know your favorite yarn shop or indie dyer, tag them in the post and the winner, which is randomly drawn winner will receive a voucher from that shop. So I draw both from Instagram and the Ravelry thread for that Knitalong. So that’s all that, I can’t believe its end of July already, but there you go. And also ending today is the habitation throat Knitalong. So that was extended and I’m drawing that over the weekend as well. So you might have a little bit of a leeway. If I haven’t look the post, then you can still enter. I’m just letting everything be a bit Wabi sabi at the moment and not too perfect. So please post any habitation throws in the finished object thread that is just in the Ravelry group. I’m afraid.

So hopefully people can post their apologies if you can’t. I set up this Knitalong, a long time ago, and I don’t feel like I can change that now, but I appreciate that some people can’t use Ravelry at the moment, so huge apologies, but I think that’s the best I can do for this at this moment. For the habitation thread, the prize is some set of hand wound, mini-skeins that I have taken from my stash from various designs over the years as well as a tote, which is a knit and light knit, taught back from French supply company. It is sadly closing up. So that will be a collector’s item. And of course last but not least, today is the big reveal. All of these Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong. Clue five was released last week. And I have seen so many gorgeous shawls that people have finished posted on Instagram and on Raverly.

And I am so thrilled that people are loving this show and have just knit such beautiful shawl. So I’m super excited about that. And from today seeing as we revealing the final pattern and I’m posting the completed pattern. All the clues consolidated together in one file. You don’t need to the post, the spoiler post on your final show anymore. Thank you to everybody who’s done that so diligently, it’s been really, really good. I have seen very few people posting without the spoiler post. So that’s been just amazing. You’ve been awesome. And the final Knitalong will continue until Friday, August the 28th. So you have until then to be in the drawer for the prize, which again, I will do as a voucher and allow plenty of knitting time for that. So if you have been joining in, on the Knitalong and have just received the final file. You might notice a big change in my hair.

I think this is probably, I have posted as of myself over the last year but this is the first pattern that I have really had with my gray transitioned hair and I feel a little bit self-conscious about it, but really happy. It’s not a hundred percent grown out yet though. Its not a hundred percent fully natural. I still have a few bleached tips at the end, which is a little bit frustrating, but I am tantalizingly close to being a hundred percent natural color. And I’m really happy about that. I can’t wait to have those final bleached bits topped off the end. And I just thought because of that, I would give you a little bit of an update today about, about that topic. I know that for some… For lots of people, lots it of women, it’s not an issue. She, they just never dyed their hair and so they never had to deal with a problem and didn’t take it on as something to do.

And I really admire that, but unfortunately I started dying my hair probably in my twenties and probably had some grace coming through then, probably even at university I don’t know. I was quite young when I first started noticing the gray hairs. And at that time I was kind of just dying my head, have fun with different colors, but it then merged into covering up, the grays. I think a lot of us are in that situation, so then it’s quite difficult to change and make the change in the decision to stop dying your hair. And once you’re in that situation and you decide to stop, then yeah, you really need to deal with the transition somehow and you don’t know what it’s going to be like, you don’t know what you’re going to look like, and you can’t really tell exactly what you going to look like until it’s all natural.

I think even, I can’t really tell exactly how it’s going to be, because I think when you have dye in your head, even if it’s just a little bit, it kind of… I don’t know, it skews how it looks somehow like the light reflecting and it… Ordinary, just the way it grows through it just distorts how your natural color looks like, you can’t really tell exactly what it’s like. I had actually been wanting to grow out my hair for a couple of years. I started to become frustrated by having to diet so frequently and it got to the point where there was really no time that the roots weren’t showing through. And I spent a couple of summer holidays, growing it out, thinking I was going to for it and then getting home and chickening out and dying it again.

And because I am a professional model, because I model my designs, I was always conscious of that. And it was a little bit difficult to get photos taken with growing out hair. And I also had a bit of a fear of, that I would look old and feel old, and that I would feel differently. And I also had a fear that I would be treated differently by society, that people would look at me and think I had let myself go or just look old or not really… Yeah, I had a real fear that I would be treated differently as a gray head woman. So I’ll just quickly share how I did progress to the stage and I had to go back and look at photos to get these dates because I couldn’t remember when I started and I had a vague idea, but this just been such a blow lately. I thought, I was like… Which year was it?

So I last dyed my hair on the 19th of December, 2018 for the holiday season or the parties I went to. Not really, but a couple. And then the way it happened, I didn’t refresh it in January, and then in February we went on holidays, for the half halftime school holidays. And I was sitting there on holidays and I was subscribed to an email newsletter by Anne Friedman, which I really enjoy. She sends lots of interesting links and she’s one half of the call your girlfriend podcasts that I really enjoy it with her co-host animator, Sal. And they’re just fabulous. I really love listening to friends chat and I cover really fantastic topics. Anyway, she does a weekly newsletter. And there was a link to an article about women going gray young. And so I read that article and was quite inspired and that linked to an Instagram account called Grombre, G-R-O-M-B-R-E so Gro and Ombre.

And it’s Instagram account, celebrating women transitioning from dying their hair to going gray, or just going gray naturally from the beginning, which is much easier path, I think now, but anyway, celebrating women with gray hair. And I was transfixed by this account because it was so positive and so many women were posting. It posts photos, plus a little statement by the women or a little bit of their story or their thoughts. And I was just so inspired by this. And I also thought that the women who had gone through growing their hair out and had natural hair, I just honestly thought it just made them look so beautiful and so fabulous, and it just really made their skin look great. And so I decided then and there that I was going to just continue on not dying my hair because by that stage, it was like two months since I’d dyed it and that was starting to show.

And then a month later I was at EYF and feeling a little bit self-conscious because I had really bad rates by that stage or really good but bad, because of the very severe lawn with my dark brown hair. And so I went to EYF and I survived that and I felt a little bit self conscious for photos, but I just didn’t really care too much because I was happy with my decision and I was happy that I was doing it. And then I got to a point where I was just fixating on it all the time. Every time I saw myself, I would just be really annoyed with the line and the contrast between the gray and the brown. And I just wanted it done. I’ve been following another account on Instagram. There was a hairdresser that was doing a lot of transitions where people were just bleaching the hell out of their hair and then toning it with a gray toner.

And so I decided that I would do that as a way to fast track the changing over and I’d convince myself that it would work. And so then in May, I did that and I had my hairdresser bleach my hair and it took two goes because the first time, she didn’t take enough color and it was this really bad. Light brown weird color and then we did it again. And the problem was, in that process, it ended up taking the dye back to square one because I thought she would be able to just split shit from where the color was, but really I think what happened was it bleached all my hair. And so I didn’t have the benefit of that five months growing up, but I’d already achieved. But I was happy with it initially and I have to say it was very fun being blonde for a little while. And I just sort of decided that yes, I would just have fun with doing it that way. And I don’t regret doing that.

The only thing I regret is not making that decision from the beginning because I thought I could cheat the system but yeah. So my tip would be to work out your strategy early on in the process because I waited five months, had it bleached and then I was back to square one in terms of growing. Growing out to the natural color and in retrospect, I should have just got some strikes probably just to even add that line a little bit, but I was… I had a bee in my bonnet that I just wanted it done then and there, and I couldn’t bring myself to cut it that short. I went for this interim approach and I’m probably… I don’t know what I like. I think if I’d cut it that short, it would have been a bit hard to deal with. I don’t know but probably. It probably would have been fun, but I just wasn’t ready to have such short hair.

And so I think if you can handle having short hair, or if you already have short hair, that’s probably the fastest and easy way to do it, just get it all cut off quite short. If you’re keen to just be fully natural, that’s the definitely the quickest way to do it. But if you’re just going to grow it out and keep a bit of length, then I would say even just for a bulb length, it’s probably going to take you two years to grow it out and I didn’t really fully appreciate that. How long it would take when I started? Because when I started, I felt like it was growing out so quickly, every month I was having to diet every four weeks but in reality, that was just like a centimeter. That just seemed like a lot. But when you’re trying to grow it, it seems super, super slow.

So anyway, I just thought I had talk about it this week because I know that a lot of people have not been able to get to hairdressers recently and perhaps are at a point where they have grown-up, they graze a little and maybe wondering about which way to go. So I just wanted to share my story and say, I am so happy that I’ve done this and it’s taken a while and it’s still ongoing, but I’m absolutely thrilled to not have to dye my hair anymore, to not have to put the chemicals on my hair and not have the expense and mostly just to be. I just feel like the color suits me well and I don’t know. People don’t really say too much, but I’m happy with it. And I feel like I don’t care what anybody else thinks too much because I like it. I really like it. And people who know me probably find it a bit startling if they haven’t seen me for a while. But anyway, I think it’s pretty cool.

And I’ve been really, really boosted by a couple of YouTubers as well. Erica Henry Johnson has a great YouTube channel. She’s smart, she’s funny and she’s super positive and down to earth. But I have found her… I think she’s really cool. And she has beautiful gray hair. She’s maybe 10 years younger than me, I think. And she’s a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and… She’s just super cool and does really funny outtakes of her videos with her kids and yeah, I really love her. And there is also Nicole Johnson who is more into the beauty side of things. She’s a model, but super positive and also relatively down to earth, but she talks a lot more about beauty products and makeup. And it’s really more of a beauty channel, but with a real focus on positivity towards aging, which I really like as well.

They have great YouTube videos and on Instagram there’s a huge community of people posting about this, which I discovered through Grombre. There’s also an account called silver hair and Breton stripes that are quite alike, and I recently discovered wellness with Walda, W-A-L-D-A on Instagram as well. Walda Lorena Sky and she has a great account to follow. So I just wanted to share that story and a little bit of the backstory as to the change in my pattern and photos. Just a little note in regards to my pattern availability as probably a lot of know especially if you’re on Instagram regularly or on Ravelry regularly, you will have seen the issues with the redesigned Ravelry site and that it’s causing people, headaches, seizures, and health issues. So eyes, things like that. And for that reason, I have decided to try to get my patterns up on an alternative platform.

And to be honest, I’ve been planning to try and create my own shop on my website anyway, and this is giving me more of a push to do that. But because it wasn’t sort of a current project it’s taking me a while to do. So, what I’ve decided to do is put at least some of my patterns on Etsy for the time being, I won’t be posting all of them because I have over a hundred now, but I’ll post some of the more recent ones. And in the main time work on developing my own shop on my website. It’s a little bit complicated because I’m currently redeveloping my own website anyway, and that’s been a project that I’ve been working on for about three years. So that might give you an idea of how long it takes me to do these technical things. So I thought I would be able to get a shop up quite quickly, but actually there’s a lot of considerations, especially when you have a lot of patterns.

And I’m also rebranding my patterns to be all in the same format and branding. And that’s also a very time intensive project as well. So I thought it would be reasonably simple to do, but it’s proving to be a bit more complicated. But I just wanted to let you know that I will have some patterns on Etsy and I’m working on an alternative solution as I go through the set of requirements. For evaluating different platforms, I do just come back to appreciating how amazing Ravelry is as a platform for knitting patterns and just I’m really hoping that they can get the site back to being accessible for everybody. I am trying to think the best and I’m sure that they’re trying to solve the problem, but have not been able to do it yet and I’m trying to provide an alternative for people as well. And that’s fine because as an indie designer, I think it’s good to have a little bit of independence from just one platform anyway, but it is a big job.

I will post the link to my Etsy shop. At the moment I’ve just set it up and have posted only a couple of patterns so far, but hopefully by the time this podcast is released in the next few days, I will have been able to post a few more patterns up there as well, and that will be an ongoing project. So thank you as always for your support, thank you to the people who buy my patterns and knit them and thank you. To all of you who are listening I appreciate you so much. I hope you’re looking after yourselves and going okay at the moment. I’m thinking of you all and just hoping that everyone all around the world is well and not experiencing too much stress by the situation. I’m sure that most people are experiencing higher levels of stress than normal. So yes, I really hope that this podcast can provide a little bit of light relief, a little bit of company, and yes, I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking about you. Just before I sign off, I like to thank my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Jul 31 2020

29mins

Play

CH 302: Fantasy queue and some favourite things

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Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

The tote bag for the Habitation KAL prize

We all know that feeling: we’ve got plenty of projects underway but new adventures and cast-ons are singing their siren song. On today’s podcast I’m stalking some new patterns in my fantasy queue, chatting about some ongoing and near-future projects, and sharing some favourite creative things that are inspiring me right now.

Show Links:

Dreaming of Paris Socks by Joji Locatelli

Adventure Tank by Fatimah Hynes

Meadow by The Fibre Co

Adventure Tank KAL hashtag: #adventureknitalong

SpaceCadet Yarn Thebe

Disturbing the Fleece Ravelry Group

@disturbingthefleece on Instagram

The Winner of the Cirrus Socks KAL is:

Post #42 – TheFibersmith

Mosaic Moon Yarn

SethanyKnits Yarn Shop

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Voolenvine YouTube Podcast

The Patchwork Angel

Scrappy Liberty Hexi Quilt Tutorial

The Friday Pattern Company

The Avenier Jumpsuit

The Cambria Duster

Sage Brush Top

Wilder Gown

I’m a Master Class fan and an affiliate: if you join up by clicking on the photo above I’ll get a small commission. Thanks for supporting the podcast!

Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 303. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. How are you this week? I hope you’re well. I feel like this is continuing to be a tough year. I am thinking of all of you a lot and thinking about my friends and family all around the world, and I just feel like it’s getting a bit ridiculous now, but actually it feels like it’s been surreal and ridiculous since about February or March. In some ways, it’s almost kind of something we’re getting a bit used to. I don’t know. I saw a story by Joji on Instagram and she posted that it was 119 days of strict lock down in Argentina. I just thought, “Oh, that’s really long and really, really tough.” Really tough.

Speaking of Joji, she’s not letting it keep her back too much in true Joji fashion. She has just released a gorgeous pair of socks called Dreaming in Paris and I really love them. They’re so cute. They’re stripey with a little band of lace around the top of the leg and just really, really cute single round stripes, which is so effective because they have little v’s in them from each of the stitches that really show off each stitch. Super cute, love the colors so gorgeous design, Joji. Thank you. That’s the Dreaming of Paris socks.

When I was looking at the socks, I happened to notice another really cute pattern, which is the Adventure Tank and it is a design by Fatimah Hinds, and she’s a new to me designer. Maybe I will knit this for my new to me designer prompt for the Knit20for2020, because it’s a really cute tank top. And she has knit the sample in Thebe by a SpaceCadet, which I’m not really familiar with that yarn, but it’s a lace weight, 65% silk, 35% linen and 600 meters, 608 meters per 100 grams. And I thought it would be really cute in Meadow by the Fibre Company, which is one of my favorite yarns. And it is heavy lace weight, 40% Merino, 25% llama, 20% silk and 15% linen.

So not exactly the same blend, but some similar kind of features. And I do like a wool blend with other things like linen and silk. And yeah, so Meadow is 500 meters, per 100 grams. So I think similar enough in terms of weight and yeah, it’s just a really, really cute tank. It really popped out when I was having a look at designs on Ravelry and I hadn’t heard of Fatimah before, but she says she has just started at a group on robbery.

She said, “I love to make and design items that are unique and interesting, but not so complicated that you have to work in silence. I want what you make to be practical and beautiful.” So, a woman after my own heart. “I consider my work to be intersex and body inclusive. In keeping with that, I continue to grow my size range so please stay tuned. I believe that beautiful items are for everybody, every gender, every size. You can find me on Instagram and my patterns are also available on Etsy and Loveknitting.” She is Fatimah Hinds designs, AKA Disturbing the Fleece.

I’m not sure what her Instagram name is, but you can find her on Ravelry and yeah this adorable tank top. I’m going to download this pattern now. Well, when I finish recording. Where I live in Queensland, this is super appropriate clothing for me, much more appropriate than heavy sweaters. Even at this time of year, I put a sweater on today when I was inside and it was quite cool. And I went down to the beach and it was blazing sunshine, and I just started sweating instantly. It was so hot. I’m like, “It’s the middle of winter.” It’s been as cold as it has been really. And it’s still not very cold. So yes, a tank top is probably more suitable for me to choose for my knitting these days.

So I’m just creating a little bit of a fantasy queue there. I probably don’t have time to knit those right now. But yes, they are definitely going into the queue and ready for inspiration for the moment I have some spare knitting time. In Curious Handmade knit alongs at the moment, we have the Handmade Sock Society knit along for the Cirrus socks just finished. And so I have drawn via random number generator, number 42 is the winner. And the winner is the Fiber Smith from Oregon. And she has posted a gorgeous pair of Cirrus socks knit in Mosaic Moon Laurel sock yarn, purchased at SethanyKnits in Medford, Oregon.

And she said, “Mosaic Moon Laurel, my new favorite sock yarn.” So, thank you to everybody who has joined in for the Cirrus socks knit along, sock number four in the series. If you can get in touch with me, the Fiber Smith, she hasn’t posted her own name in a profile, so I only know her as the Fiber Smith. If you could get in touch with me on Ravelry and I will organize a prize for you. I think I’m giving up on posting things here from Australia, so I will organize a voucher or a gift to be sent to you from the US.

So currently we have the Vapour sock knit along continuing, and we have the last socks of the series being published next Tuesday, so in just a few days. I can’t believe how quickly that’s come around. Also in knit along news, we have the Habitation throw knit along that was extended and that will be drawn on the 31st of July or the day after. It will be accepting until the 31st of July.

And I have made a prize for that, which is a set of 24 mini skeins or mini balls. I’ve hand wound little balls, which was really fun to do. And a Live and Let Knit tote bag from Fringe Supply Company. So I will be posting that prize, but I’ll try and minimize prizes that I have to post from here until the situation improves a bit. And of course we have the Stillness Mystery knit along also happening at the moment. And we have just released clue four yesterday. And again, I can’t say how much I’m enjoying seeing the progress photos popping up on Instagram and Ravelry. It is so much fun. I feel like people are enjoying the knit along, and a couple of people have started second projects with different colorways because they’re enjoying it so much, so I was very excited to see that.

And yeah, if you have any problems with getting the clues from Ravelry at the moment, or have any other questions, you can email support@curioushandmade.com. We’ll be happy to help you as much as possible. And yeah, thank you for joining in. It’s made this mystery knit along super fun. I feel like this has been the most fun I’ve had doing a mystery knit along. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a little bit more relaxed this time or what it is. But yes, I’m really enjoying it and I hope you are as well.

I just thought I would spend the rest of the episode chatting about some things that I’ve been enjoying recently. I’m actually purloining this idea from Kristin from the Voolenvine YouTube podcast. And she just published her July favorites episode and talked about various different things. Not necessarily knitting related, but just some fun things that she’d been looking at and into lately. And I thought I might do that because I don’t have a huge amount of knitting to tell you about at the moment. And I’ve been really enjoying a few other things. So I thought I’d share some July favorites with you.

Something that I have mentioned a few times is my hexie quilts that I’m making, and I had some questions from some friends about what that actually meant, what I’m actually talking about. And so I thought I’d just talk about that a little bit. I won’t get into a huge amount of detail. I got into this… I actually started getting into this a couple of years ago when I visited… It’s now my local quilt shop. Well, one of them, there are a few. People in this part of the world seem to be a little bit more into quilting and sewing than they are into knitting for obvious climate reasons.

But I visited this shop with my mom when we were here on some holiday, it’s called the Patchwork Angel. So she had some hexie supplies on display and… Yeah, I just thought it would be a good holiday project. So I bought some bits of little cut up squares and a template and the needles and threads you need. And what English paper piecing is, is basically you start with a cardboard template, hence the paper. I think you could probably use paper, but you really want a very light card. Something that has enough body so that you wrap the fabric around the shape. In this case, a hexagon. And traditionally, you would cut out the fabric with quarter inch or slightly more allowance around your template and then sew the fabric around onto the template basically.

So you’d fold over the edges and then tack or baste the fabric down. And I don’t know when people started doing this, but recently people have started using glue pens so that rather than sewing or basting the fabric to the template, you glue it to the template and that makes it a lot faster. And then you sew your shapes together just by a whip stitch or some people use other stitches, but most people use a whip stitch. So you hold two shapes together, right sides together, and then whip stitch along the edge to sew the hexagons together. The method that I saw recommended is to make flowers out of your hexagons and then that kind of forms a block. So, I will link to a tutorial that explains it a lot better than I have just fumblingly explained it.

And I’m linking to The Strawberry Thief blog, and that is a quilting shop in Perth. I think they’re in Perth, in Western Australia, where I have been getting my Liberty Hexie fabrics and shapes from. So you can buy precut cardboard shapes, which I don’t know, I would recommend. It takes a lot of time to cut out both the cardboard and the fabric. So you can buy them acrylic templates for both the fabric and the cardboard, and you can choose to cut out your paper pieces if you want to, your cardboard. And these kits that I’m subscribed to really appealed because not only are the cardboard shapes cut out, but also the fabric is laser cut into the hexagon shapes, so you don’t have to do any preparation. You can just get straight into the sewing. Well, you have to get the fabric onto the templates, but apart from that, you can basically start sewing.

And so I’ve been having to get up quite early quite a bit lately when I’m on puppy duty. I’ve been sharing puppy duty, early morning puppy wake up calls with my daughter. And so when I get up a little bit earlier than normal, I will sit there and make a flower or part of a flower. So that’s a very enjoyable way to start the day. Speaking of sewing projects, I’ve been thinking a lot about making clothes for a while, and I haven’t managed to actually do any dressmaking, but I saw on Instagram, posted by a lovely shop in the UK, Guthrie and Ghani. I’ve never visited the shop, but I follow on Instagram and the shop is in Birmingham, so I never quite made it to visit. But she posted some patterns by a company called the Friday Pattern Company. And so I visited to their Instagram and was just so taken by my all their designs.

They’re so cute. They have tops, blouses, jumpsuits, coats, and trousers, I think. And they have an inclusive size range and a range of models, an inclusive range of models for their patterns. So I really appreciated that, but mostly I was drawn to their cute designs. And I ordered four patterns directly from them. They’re based in Sacramento, in California. And on their about page they say, “Sewing patterns for the modern woman. Minimalist and easy to sew, we believe in making good things and doing good things. For that reason, Friday Pattern Company donates 5% of all proceeds to a rotating collection of top ranked charities in the world. Each pattern benefits a different charity. For more info on where we are donating for each pattern, click here. Friday Pattern Company is an independent sewing pattern company slash blog based out of Sacramento, California.”

So, I ordered four patterns. I would have ordered more, but I thought I should be realistic about what I’m actually going to sew. And you can do PDF downloads or print it, and I have never used a PDF pattern. I’m so lazy. I much prefer a printed pattern. And so I thought I would order those and wait because it’s not like I have time anytime soon to actually sew them. So I think I ordered the Avenir Jumpsuit, which is like a jersey jumpsuit. It’s super cute. It’s got wide legs and a gathered top and arms.

So it’s kind of a bit dressy if you made it in a dressy fabric or it could be just really casual, super cute. I ordered the Cambria Duster, which is a non lined coat. So I thought that could potentially be wearable here. And it’s got a royal neck collar, a really big collar, and a really nice shape, super chic. And then I think their two most recent patterns that they seem to be promoting, on Instagram at least, is the Sage Brush Top, which is a sort of more like a blouse. It’s got a ruffle across the top of your chest and gathered slaves. Super, super cute. And then I ordered the Wilder Gown, which is a dress. I don’t know why they call it a gown.

It’s a loose, flowy tiered dress that can be sewn up in a bunch of different ways. It has Ragland sleeves and ties up at the neck. It’s easy to sew and perfect for drapey woven fabrics. It can be made as a top or dress, long or short sleeved, one skirt tier or two, so you can customize it. And this looks a little bit like a dress I have in my wardrobe that I wear all the time. And the dress I have is in a jersey fabric by A Light Cotton would be really nice as well. So yeah, that’s my little new to me, sewing pattern company, the Friday Pattern Company, loving their work.

And last but not least, I have been doing a lot of work knitting, which means sort of power knitting. And that’s when I tend to catch up on YouTube as well as any courses that I’ve purchased. I try and watch videos from those, and I tend to be a bit of a serial online course purchaser. And I mentioned a little while ago that I had subscribed to MasterClass and full disclosure, I am an affiliate for MasterClass, so if you purchase a subscription through my link, I will receive a small affiliate fee. And I am recommending it because I really am enjoying the classes. I think I talked about the Ron Finley gardening class, which was the Gangster Gardener, and I love that class so much. And it really inspired me to start growing my own food, which has been moderately successful. I might give a little bit of an update on that in another episode.

And the one that I just finished watching is by Robin Roberts, who is one of the hosts of Good Morning America. And I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of her before. I just don’t watch a lot of TV and I’ve never watched a lot of news or morning shows. And I just thought some of the lesson titles looked really interesting. And she talked about optimism and resiliency for example, and I really enjoyed getting to know her story. And a lot of her lessons were very inspiring and uplifting, I think. And one of the quotes that I wrote down when she was talking about optimism, she said, “You have to change the way you think to change the way you feel.”

And she sort of gave the example of thinking, “You get to get up in the morning and do whatever it is you want to do,” rather than thinking, “You have to get up in the morning and do whatever it is you have to do.” So I really enjoyed that message. Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer and a subsequent illness after that, a blood disorder. And yeah, just her story and her life and what she’d done to get to the point of being host on Good Morning America and her attitude. And she was originally an athlete, or wanted to be a professional athlete, but wasn’t able to. So I very, very much enjoyed that course.

So the way the classes are instructed is that they break them into lessons basically. So you could have 15 to 20 short lessons and I really like that. The lessons are between 10 and 20 minutes each, so you can just dip into a small segment that interests you. And there are so many courses on here that I want to listen to. I thought I would just listen to the introduction or watch the introduction of a few of them. And I started watching Violin by Itzhak Perlman, which I think I will definitely watch the rest of, even though I’m a fairly rubbish violin player, but it’s kind of inspiring to listen to him talking about it.

There are quite a few writing classes, and I think I’d like to start with the one by Neil Gaiman. And I’m also really interested to watch the class by Helen Mirren because I am a big fan of her. So yeah, there’s just so many that looks so interesting. Anyway, that’s a big advertisement for MasterClass, of which I am an affiliate. So yes, take it with a pinch of salt, but if you’re wanting some really high quality, well-produced inspiration, I would really recommend it. So these are just a few of the things I’m into at the moment.

Thank you for joining me today for a little chat. I do you hope you’re well and going okay. I’m thinking of you and I hope you have a great week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.

Jul 18 2020

28mins

Play

CH 302: KAL updates and a new shawl design

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

24 mini balls for the Habitation Throw KAL prize!

A flying visit! Today’s podcast is short and sweet: a little catch up episode where I update you on some KAL news and chat about my personal creative projects and design work. For anyone that’s been missing The Shawl Society this year, the beginnings of a new shawl design are underway…

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 KALs

The Handmade Society 3 KALs continue!

The Cirrus Socks FO Thread will close on Tuesday the 14th of July, and the Vapour Socks FO Thread will be ongoing for another month!

I’ve decided to extend the deadline for the Habitation Throw KAL again, until the end of July. So many people are still knitting it, and it’s such a big project. It’s meant to be relaxing and I didn’t want to rush you! If you finish your throw by the end of the month, make sure to post it in the Habitation Throw KAL FO thread for your chance to win a 24 mini set of 20oz yarn balls from my own stash and projects.

The 3rd Stillness MKAL clue was just released! So many incredible knitters have been posting their progress, with more starting every day. There is plenty of time to “catch up” if you want to, and knitting at your own pace is highly encouraged…we have two months before the KAL deadline if you want to be in with a chance for a prize so no pressure!

If you want to be a part of this mystery, make sure to grab your copy of the pattern, and then come say hi in the Stillness MKAL chat thread, the Clue 1 Spoiler Thread or the Clue 2 Spoiler thread to see where we’re up to now. If you haven’t joined yet and want to learn more, make sure you check out the blog post with answers to the most frequently asked questions we get about the Stillness MKAL.

Kitch Kreative Project Bags

O’Rielly’s

Lamington National Park

Louie and Lola Yarn

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 302. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to this week’s show. I hope you’re having a good week. I’m having a good week. It’s been pretty quiet. Puppy and school holidays are keeping me really busy and I haven’t been able to concentrate on much. It’s been one of those weeks where you can’t even think what’s happened. So I have managed to do a little bit of work, but it has been very interrupted and distracted. So not the most productive, but not terrible.

The kids are going back to school next week, so I’ve been trying to plan ahead a little bit about what this term might look like. I think it might be fairly straightforward, but it’s really too early to say. We have just had Victoria, one of the southern states in Australia be locked down again, well the Melbourne area anyway. And so it really is just a moving feast. And I do not envy our politicians dealing with the ups and downs of what’s happening with COVID-19 and all the businesses and people also dealing with it all around the world. It’s pretty insane and different countries are in very different places with it, but we’re all being impacted. So yeah, it’s pretty crazy. And I feel like it is making it very difficult to plan, but just trying to take it in short blocks at a time. So I’m going to try and look at this coming term and maybe just sort of thinking ahead to about September or October, we’ll see, who knows. Who knows.

So we have lots of knit alongs and things happening at the moment. And I just wanted to give you a little reminder that if you are participating in the handmade sock society knit along the sock four knit along will end on Tuesday, the 14th of July. So, that is the Cirrus socks. And if you’ve knit a pair of the Cirrus socks, get them into the thread by the 14th of July. And then the Vapor socks knit along is continuing for another month or so. And then the final socks for this year’s sock society will be released on the 21st of July. So that is one and a half weeks time. So yeah, so it’s all happening. The handmade sock society is nearly over. We will have the knit alongs continuing right through until September. So we’ll give you another two months from the publication of the sixth and last socks to either knit those ones or finish all six because we’ll have a grand prize for all six socks as well.

Then we have a knit along happening for the habitation throw. And this is my bad, a little bit, a lot. So for the habitation throw, we had the knit along happening through May, and then I was really slow to make the prize because the prize is 24 mini skeins that I’ve selected from my stash and previous projects, a 20 gram mini skein. So it’s a really lovely prize and I’m adding a tote for the prize, it’s from the fringe supply company. So I took ages to make that because it took me quite a while to hand wind the 24 mini skeins. Mini skeins, mini balls. And then I thought, okay, I’ll extend it to the end of June, but I didn’t announce that. Because I kept forgetting, because June was so crazy. And so now I’ve decided I will extend the habitation throw knit along to the end of July. And I’m finally announcing it and I will publish pictures of the prize and put it in the threads.

And so I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me and that if anybody has been knitting away on a habitation throw in the meantime and is continuing a one at the moment, you can enter it in the thread on Ravelry up until the 31st of July. And we’ll draw the prize soon after that. So, yes, apologies for the change of end date. Things are just getting away from me a little bit here. My yarn balls are dropping all around me and I’m just trying to make things happen the best I can. So the habitation throw knit along has been extended until the end of July. So I hope that people … I see a lot of people knitting it on Instagram and Ravelry. So all you have to do is post a picture in the thread of your habitation throw to be in the draw for a really lovely prize.

And then for the stillness mystery knit along, we have clue three out yesterday, and I am just absolutely loving seeing your posts on Instagram and Ravelry. It is so delightful to see all the color combinations. It’s so fun and I’m just absolutely loving them. And yeah. So thank you for posting and thank you for posting spoiler cover pictures so that people who don’t get the clues aren’t spoiled just yet. We will have a big reveal after the last clue comes out. But in the meantime, we’re just keeping it a secret for people who are on earlier clues still, and you can still join in any time. You’ll just get whatever clues have been published so far. There’s two clues to come. There’s five clues all together for this mystery knit along. And if you’re someone who doesn’t really like surprises, you can get a sense of what the shawl is like by looking at the spoilers.

I never have the discipline to not look at the spoilers myself, but I admire people who can keep it a surprise for themselves. So apart from trying to get on top of a little bit of admin, and catch up with things over the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a little bit of design work. I’ve been working on a shawl design for a retreat I’m attending here in October. Earlier in the year, I was invited by Kylie, who has a project bag at Sea Shop, which is called Kitch Kreative, which is K-I-T-C-H K-R-E-A-T-I-V-E. And yeah, she’s organizing this wonderful retreat at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a bush getaway. It’s a campground. And it has some cabins and lovely facilities in a place called Lemington National Park, which is a couple of hours south of where I live.

And it’s just an absolutely beautiful location. My parents had their honeymoon at O’Reilly’s and we used to go camping and bush walking there when I was a kid. And I’ve been once camping with my husband when we were dating, maybe, I think, yeah, very early on in our relationship, we went there for a camping trip. And I haven’t been since then. So I’m really, really looking forward to it. It’s such a gorgeous place. So I’m designing a beautiful shawl in yarn, which is Louie and Lola and Karina is a indie dyer based in Tasmania here in Australia. I recently discovered her and yeah, just absolutely delighted to be designing with her yarn. So that’s really fun. And that’s been a really lovely project the last couple of weeks because I haven’t designed a shawl all year. This is the first shawl I’ve designed this year. So that’s kind of funny, but it’s nice to be looking at shawls again.

And it’s got me thinking about what collections and designs I might do next year, because this year I decided I would need a really cut back year in terms of designing. I knew we would be settling into Australia and getting kids sorted, getting my business established here, which has been a lot of admin, sort of closing things down in the UK and setting things up here and sort of personally as well and all sorts of things. And so I made the decision last year to just do the handmade sock society this year and net band. And then I thought if I’m able to I’ll do the mystery knit along. So that happened as well, which was fab. But yes, so now I’m thinking about next year and trying to decide whether I keep it a bit cut down and just do one society or whether I’ll be able to do both next year.

Anyway, so I think I’ll do the shawls next year instead of the socks possibly, but I might be able to do the socks as well. So we’ll see. I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to doing some shawl designs again, because this has really made me realize how much fun it is to design the shawls. I am kind of thinking about doing a little survey to find out what people are looking for at the moment. I feel like I’ve just been kind of going along, making it up and doing collections and sort of managing what I can. And I always like to base it on feedback from my knitters and I do get a lot of feedback, sort of just through comments and emails and responses to things that I do. But I thought maybe it would be a good time to do a little bit more of sort of a formal feedback on what people are looking for next year.

Anyway, that’s another thing that I’m thinking about doing that will probably take me a little bit of time to get organized, but yeah, I’d love to know what people think. With all that going on, I haven’t had a huge amount of time to do much else. I did have an afternoon last weekend where my mom and sister came over for some sewing and I’d managed to set up my sewing machine in preparation for sewing my little houses quilt. And I managed one seam by the time I got everything set up, tidied up the massive mess that the kids had made in the room and figured out my new machine, because I’ve had this machine for about four years and haven’t actually had time to use it. So I had to go back to the manual and figure out how to thread it and some basics like that.

So I didn’t make much progress, but I feel really happy that I’ve made that much progress. Got it set up, ready to go. And I realized that some of the fabric that I had cut out for the blocks wasn’t really the quality that it needed to be. When I was sewing the pieces together, I realized that the white fabric that I bought from Spotlight, which is like, I don’t know whether it’s like a Joanne’s here, but it’s like a kind of more of a budget craft store. I think it’s fair to say. And they have really, really lovely things there, but this fabric, when I looked at it, the weave was really open compared to the other fabric I was using. And so I had to go back to square one with that and purchase different fabric. And now I’ll have to cut that out into a million small squares.

So it was kind of one step forward, two steps backwards with that project, but that’s okay. I’m back on track again. I have the white fabric and yeah, will be able to move forward again. So yeah, so I’ve been working on that. I’ve been working on hand sewing my Liberty hexies, making lots of little hexie flowers and that’s been very enjoyable. And a little bit of knitting on my Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish, but not so much of that because I’ve been doing the other design knitting this week. So I don’t have lots of updates for you. And I think that’s all sort of the news and announcements I need to make. I always remember something after I finished recording, but yes, I think I’ve covered most of it. And I’ll just make it a fairly short and sweet episode this week.

So thank you very much for tuning in. Have a fantastic week, everybody. I hope you’re keeping well. I hope you keeping sane. I hope you’re able to do some lovely crafting and relax a little bit amongst all the ups and downs and basically chaos in our lives at the moment. And yes, all my love. Talk to you soon.

Jul 10 2020

17mins

Play

CH 301: How is The 2020 Happiness Project going?

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Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

My long lost Barrett Bear kit has arrived!

We’ve passed the halfway point in this crazy year, and it seemed like a good time to catch up with how things are going and how many things I’ve managed to cross off my 20 in 2020 Happiness Project list. There are a few things that recent events have made impossible, but plenty of other things to be happy about, and even some opportunities in the midst of upheaval. I also have a lovely bunch of winners to announce from our #knit20for2020 and Stillness MKAL giveaways!

Show Links:

Knit20for2020 June Giveaway Winners:

Ravelry Winner:

Cuppacha with post #35

Edin Cardigan by Bonne Marie Burns

Hazel Knits

Instagram Winner:

Aviatrix1979

Amulet Shawl

John Arbon Textiles

You can find all the details on how to enter the July Knit20for2020 giveaway on Ravelry or Instagram, you can visit this link!

Stitch Mischief

Laine

Skein Australia

Winners of the Stillness MKAL Giveaway:

Grand prize winner:
Post 314: https://www.ravelry.com/people/deesuhr

10 Pattern of their choice winners:

Stillness Shawl MKAL

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

Clue 2 Spoiler thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Barrett Wool Company

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

Píosa by Renée Callahan

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 301. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, welcome to the show. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re having a good week. I’ve been having a pretty good week. It’s been a little bit up and down and I feel like a few weeks ago, or maybe it’s a couple of months ago, now, I said on the show that I was a little bit fed up with my family. And this week, I feel like I’ve just been fed up with myself, maybe for a couple of weeks. I’ve just felt fed up with not maybe doing the habits I wanted to do and not being able to get my act together, having no focus and just feeling a bit frustrated and fed up with everything. A bit lonely, a bit bored. But in the last day or so, I feel like I’ve sort of regrouped a little bit and I might talk a little bit about that in the main part of the episode.

We’ve been very much enjoying new puppy and she’s settling in really, really well. Little Cindy, she’s a cavoodle. I had quite a lot of questions about what breed she was when I posted a photo, which means that she’s a cavalier spaniel and poodle cross. So that means that she’s hopefully low for allergies and she’s going to be quite small. But she’s sleeping really well at night, which has been pretty amazing. We’re putting her in a crate and that’s in my office, which is sort of a little bit apart from our bedrooms. So I’ve been putting her in there at night and then putting ear plugs in, and she has been going pretty well. I think the last few nights she hasn’t been crying when I’ve left her, so that’s amazing. And she’s been managing to get through to the morning without any accidents as well. So, super happy about that. Fingers crossed that continues and it’s not just like first week sort of miracle. And yeah, so she’s going well.

So that’s been really, really lovely, and I think it’s cheered us all up quite a bit in the family. It’s also caused a little bit of lack of sleep because Sophie and I are getting up quite early to get her out of the crate. So we’ve been having some early mornings and we’ve gotten into a bit of a routine where we take it in turns. So, that’s going pretty well.

So it’s a new month and that means that we have some Knitalong winners to announce. So I will do that first. And we have the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge winners. The first one is for the Ravelry thread and the winner is number 35, who is Cuppacha, Carol. And she lives on Whitby Island in Washington State and she entered with a Edin cardie. A beautiful cardigan. And as I was scrolling through the thread, I noticed that she also had two other entries, a pair of socks and a beautiful shawl. So congratulations, Carol, Cuppacha on Ravelry, and she’s nominated hazelknits for her prize of a $50 gift voucher. And so Carol, if you can contact me either on Ravelry to HellsBells or support@curioushandmade.com, and just let me know your email address so I can organize the gift voucher.

And on Instagram we have aviatrix1979, who is Charlotte. She’s based in the UK. She knit a beautiful amulet shawl, which was from the first season of The Shawl Society in John Arbon Textiles. So again, Charlotte, if you could contact me either Instagram or one of the previous methods that I suggested, and just let us know your email address and I can send you your gift voucher.

So thank you to everybody who is participating in Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. I noticed that I had about 80 projects on the Ravelry thread, which was amazing, and I didn’t have so many projects tagged in Instagram. So if you’re working on the 20 in 2020 challenge, you can tag your projects in Instagram and nominate a indie dyer or LYS that you’d like to win a $50 voucher from, and I will draw prizes at the end of each month, beginning of the next month.

I’ve been really slack about organizing the prizes, but I am on it. I will get there eventually. So please be patient with me, but know that I will get there and sorry about that. But yes, I will be better. The second half of the year, I’m turning over a new leaf with my admin and emails.

We also had a really fun giveaway for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl. In the lead up to the first clue coming out, people could post their inspiration for their colors for the shawl or post their favorite still life painting or other still life scene from in real life. And the prize is a beautiful skein of Skein Australia Yarn that I used in this sample, one of the colors that I used in the sample, a Laine knitting diary, as well as a beautiful project bag from Stitch Mischief.

And so the winner of the grand prize is Deesuhr. That’s spelled D-E-E-S-U-H-R. She doesn’t have any details in Ravelry profile about name or location, so I think maybe her name is Dee. Anyway, if you can contact me, send me a Ravelry message at HellsBells or contact support@curioushandmade.com on email, and I’ll organize to get that prize sent to you.

We were also offering 10 winners a pattern of their choice from my pattern library. And so the winners are Lynhart, Fynbo31, Knit4Keeps, Quilt and Yarn, gypsycraft, Andystitch, Konkyliedesign, emmoswmr, ceglaw, and NellyJake. We’ve posted the winners also on Ravelry in the thread. So if all those people who’ve won a pattern of their choice could message on Ravelry to HellsBells, and we will arrange for those patterns to be gifted to you.

So, thanks so much for joining in with the competition and all the Knitalongs and everything that’s happening. I always enjoy seeing your entries and comments. It’s always very inspiring and just nice to feel part of the community. So for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl, clue two was released yesterday and I am loving seeing you’re spoiler pictures on Instagram and Ravelry. Thank you so, so much for everybody posting their photos behind the spoiler image, or as a second image on Instagram and in the spoiler thread. It really is lovely for people who aren’t quite up to your pace to not have the surprise spoiled if they’re really keen for that. And so, yes, I appreciate that.

But I also appreciate seeing all your photos of your progress. And I am loving the color combinations. As I said when people were choosing yarn that I really didn’t think you could go wrong, and I was kind of crossing my fingers that that was the case for everyone. And I really feel like I haven’t seen a single color combination that I thought wouldn’t work. I think they’re all working beautifully, and I’m so excited to see that and just getting so much joy from the beautiful colors that people are using. So excited about that and thanks for everybody joining in. I mean, if you still wanted to join in, I don’t think it’s too late to catch up. The second clue has just been released, so if you felt like joining in, perhaps you’ve had a peak at the sneak peeks and like the look of how it’s coming out, then I think you can jump in at any time.

There’s not really any obligation to keep up. I think a lot of people seem to be though, so that’s good. I try to pace it so that people can keep up if they want to. I want to make it achievable. So I hope everyone joining in is having a really fun time with it.

Speaking of Knitalongs, we have the July thread for Knit 20 for 2020 now open. So you can either post on Ravelry or on Instagram using the hashtag #Knit20for2020. And so if you’re knitting anything on the challenge list of prompts, you can post if you finish it in the month of July.

And I’m so excited because I ordered a kit from Barrett Wool Co. which is Susan B. Anderson’s yarn company, and I always thought if I was ever going to make a toy, it would be one of her patterns. They’re just so, so, so cute. And so I ordered a little bear kit and the bear is a polar bear. It has a gorgeous red cardie with heart-shaped buttons, and it’s just pretty adorable. And I ordered that back in April and then obviously mail went a bit pear-shaped. And I think in Australia, I’m not sure when this happened, but I think it was after I ordered the kit, but they stopped doing air freight. So I think any mail going or coming is going by boat. That might be just true of parcels, rather than letters. I’m not sure what really what’s happening, but anyway.

I had kind of almost given up on this kit. I was thinking, okay, it’s just coming by boat. It’s just taking a long time, but I was a little bit worried that it had got lost. And it arrived yesterday. So I was super happy about that. And so now I can work on my toy prompt for the challenge. I’m not sure when I’m going to start that. I have a few projects on the go already, a few sort of personal, non-work projects, including the Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish and the Píosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits. And I think a few other deep whip things as well, some socks and so on. So I would like to finish at least one or two of those things before I start on the toy, but I’m just so happy that the kit arrived and it’s gorgeous. It’s so cute. The packaging is beautiful and I can’t wait to knit that.

So, as I mentioned in the introduction, I had a little bit of a revisit of goals and reassessment of my mood and what’s going on this week. So I took the opportunity of it being halfway through the year and in Australia, it’s a new financial year here. So the tax year ends at the end of June. So that was a little bit of a time to catch up on a bit of admin and clear the decks. I’ve decluttered and cleaned my desk so that I have a nice fresh space to work.

And actually it was my birthday on the weekend, last weekend. And the girls gave me some lovely gifts. I had suggested that they go to a particular shop that sells… I like face cream, organic face cream and things like that, and was hoping for some moisturizer. And instead I unwrapped some crystals, a water bottle that has crystals at the bottom, and a diffuser that diffuses essential oils. So that was quite funny and quite adorable. And so that really prompted me to clean and refresh and declutter my office a little bit. So now I have some healing crystals and some beautiful essential oils. Oh, they gave me a candle as well with crystals in it. It was like really crystal, crystal-tastic. So that was really sweet and was also a really nice prompt to do a bit of tidying up.

So I’m feeling a lot calmer. I don’t know if it’s the crystals or just having a desk that I can see, but either way it’s good. And I decided to have a look at my happiness project, my 20 in 2020 happiness project. And this kind of gave me the inspiration for the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And it’s an idea from the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Croft that I listen to somewhat regularly, not all the time, but every now and then I’ll dip into it. And they have this happiness project where you make a list of things to do for the year that will make you happy.

So I’ve pulled out my list and as I suspected, at least four of the things have been sort of kiboshed by the lockdown. We were actually meant to be in the UK right now and going to my friend Amanda’s wedding on the weekend in Ireland, which has been postponed for a year. So maybe next summer we’ll be doing that. But in the meantime, I’ll have to find something else for that item. And also when I wrote this list, there was going to be a trip to Shetland, which I was not 100% sure about anyway, but in any case that was canceled as well. And I also had a relaxing holiday. So I want to just lie on a beach somewhere in hot sun, and I had Bali Villa question marked for that. So also not happening.

And then there was also catching up with my friend who’s in New South Wales, which is the adjoining state to where I am in Queensland. And our border has been closed since the lockdown, but very excitingly, the Queensland premier has just announced that the borders will open on the 10th of July for Queensland. So we’ll be able to go interstate again, which is very exciting. And I’ll be able to see my friend, my best friend.

So I had a few things that I’ll need to basically postpone to next year or cancel or rejig. Some things are happening and some things I have achieved. Most of the things on the list are things that are in progress or I haven’t started yet. So I had create and tend a house plant family. So I have some pot plants that I have been managing to keep alive, so I’m on track with that. I don’t know if I have to keep them alive till the end of the year to be able to take that off, but I’m pretty pleased. The maidenhair ferns are going particularly well. Some plants have not survived, but I have about six or seven that are doing pretty well.

I have my 40th birthday quilt that’s in progress. That is the little houses quilt that I’ve been talking on the podcast a little bit about. And I pretty much have that almost cut out now. I have enough pieces to start sewing up the blocks, and I’m gradually inching towards starting sewing that up, piecing the blocks together. So that’s happening. And I feel like I will have at least the top piece together by the end of the year. Knowing my progress, I probably won’t have it finished, but I feel like if I can get the top pieced by the end of the year, that will be fantastic.

I have my gray hair (don’t care) full transition, which is on track. I have been growing out my color for, I don’t really know exact date I started because I kind of started and then went backwards with bleaching it blonde for a while to try and make the transition easier. But that put me back about six months, I think. So I’m not really sure exactly when I started. I guess I should count it from that time. So probably just over a year, I guess. So, that’s not too bad. It feels like it’s been taking forever. I think I’ve really been trying to start it for more like, oh, I don’t know. I’m a bit confused. Maybe two years, I don’t know. A year and a half, let’s say.

Oh dear. Yeah, so I have a couple of inches left. I’ve cut it quite short. I haven’t really been posting photos of myself for a while because I’m a bit fed up with the transitional step, but that’s happening and it’s on track. Every time I go for haircut, I’m so tempted to say, “Just cut off any color,” but that would make it really quite short. So I haven’t had the guts to do that yet, but I’m kind of thinking maybe next time I might say that. I might just say, “Get rid of any color and just do what you need to do to, to do that.”

Oh yeah. Another thing that I got sidetracked from with the lockdown was joining a music group, an orchestra or a band for the flute. But that is starting up again here now, so I might be able to get into that before the end of the year. So I think a step before that will be for me to find a flute teacher. I’ve been trying to find a teacher since we got back here, but I haven’t really managed to find someone. I did go to a couple of lessons with a couple of different teachers and they were okay, but they were high school teachers. And I just felt like they weren’t really in the groove of teaching adults.

So I’m going to persevere with that and try one more teacher. And I think if that doesn’t work, I might contact my teacher in London and see if she’d be willing to teach me via Zoom, because we were getting on very well. And perhaps with the lockdown, she might have gone more into teaching online. I don’t know, but that’s maybe a possibility, although the time zone between Australia and London is terrible and it seems a little bit ridiculous to me, but I guess I just have to accept my circumstances. And also that online learning to me is actually pretty convenient now because I have more options with time slots if I do that, although the problem with trying to coordinate with London means that those time slots are actually quite limited.

So anyway, we’ll see. Something I’m working on and something that if I can sort out, it will make me very, very happy, because I was going great with learning, taking up the flute again, after 20 years of not playing. It was something I really, really loved. And then I found a wonderful teacher in London and made really, really great progress. And I was so happy because I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pick it up again. And so I was so thrilled that I could. And now, since I’ve been back in Australia, it’s just all being dropped again. So I think I’ll make that a priority as something that gives me a lot of joy to try and work out for the last half of this year.

Sorry. That was a bit of a ramble, but I’m kind of thinking out loud as I’m chatting with you. So thank you for listening. What am I like? Anyway, I’ve got a whole list of things that would make me happy, but I think that would make me really, really happy. So I’m going to focus on that.

So I would love to know if you have a 20 in 20 happiness project happening and let me know how many things you’ve been having to re jiggle this year. It’s been such a crazy year. Oh my goodness. I still can’t get my head around it. And I just hope that people are going okay. I listened to a lovely podcast when I was out on my walk yesterday and it was kind of a productivity podcast. And the guy was talking about just trying to see the opportunity in the situation we’re in.

He gave a really lovely example that I will try and take on board, which is he was home, he has a little kid, and the kids are home from school and he’s trying to work. And his kid came up to him and said, “Can I help you with something?” And he was about to say, “Oh no, no, I’ve nearly finished now. It’s fine.” And then he thought to himself, no, actually this is an opportunity to connect with my son and teach him. So he decided from that moment to take his son on as an apprentice and just take the opportunity to teach him stuff that he knows. He didn’t really go into details, but I thought how wonderful is that idea of just reframing kids home from school? Not an easy situation and reframing it to taking his little son under his wing and teaching him stuff. And I’ve been thinking about that with the girls, trying to teach some cooking skills and cleaning skills and craft skills and trying to do that. So I thought I really like that idea of an apprenticeship. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway, that’s my little chatty ramble for the week and I’m going to wrap it up there.

I hope you have a fantastic week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Jul 03 2020

28mins

Play

CH 300: Big Milestones

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Meet Cindy!

I have a cosy trip down memory lane for us this week. It’s my 300th episode, and also my 10 year anniversary of publishing my first indie design on Ravelry. My heart is very full! Also in heart-bursting territory, our new puppy has joined the family, and she’s keeping us very busy. This week also saw the first clue release of The Stillness MKAL, and the excitement is off the charts.

Show Links:

Jewel Cowl

Radiance Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

You can save this image to use as the first picture in your Ravelry project page or on social media to keep from spoiling knitters who haven’t knit the first clue yet:

If you have any questions or need help that you can’t find in the Ravelry group

#Knit20for2020 June FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Subpod Compost

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 300. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. Thank you for joining me for a chat today. This is a bit of a special episode milestone for 300 shows and I’m extra grateful to you because when I started this little podcast back in October 2013, I genuinely did not imagine I would still be going seven years later. I think at the time my big hope was to manage to record about 10 episodes and see how things went. So, those 300 episodes are all down to you, keeping me company and your lovely messages, conversations, Curious Handmade knits and photos you’ve shared and really created a community around the podcast and my designs. So from the bottom of my heart, a huge, huge, thank you.

And this month is also another really big milestone because it is 10 years ago in June 2010, that I published my first indie design on Ravelry, the Jewel Cowl. Of course, in some ways it seems no time at all ago, but mostly it feels like a lifetime ago. At that time, when I published that first pattern, I was still working in the city in London, in a law firm. Lexi hadn’t been born yet, and I was seriously into knitting after picking it up again around 2005, I think. I was meeting up with my dear friends at Wednesday night knitting and we still meet up now when we can, which means a lot to me. I had recently moved to London and I was stalking a blog called ACE chick. And then I crashed one of Pauline who is Ace Chick’s knitting groups she shared on her website because I was really lonely.

I just moved back to London and I wanted to meet people and I didn’t know how to meet people outside of work. So I ended up making such great friends through that first uncomfortable knit night when I was so shy. I had to drag my sister with me. And I just shake my head now when I think about how much that changed my whole life and career from that point, really. I was looking early photos of my knitting and thinking how much I’ve changed as a person since then, but I actually don’t think my knitting has changed very much. I mean, my skills have improved quite a bit, but my taste in colors and style hasn’t really changed all that much in 10 years or 15 years since I started knitting. If I look at my early designs, like the Jewel Cowl and the Radiance Shawl, and I actually use some of those stitch patterns even now in designs. I can’t imagine ever not loving a picot bind off.

At that time in my life, 10 years ago, I was dating my now husband. I was living in a share house, working in a corporate job and wondering what I was doing with my life quite a lot of the time. I was finding huge comfort in crafting because I had discovered blogs. I remember the day I was sitting at work and discovered what blogs were. And honestly it changed my working life because all those hours of boredom was suddenly filled by creativity and people from all over the world, sharing their makes. And I discovered the Back Tack Swaps run by Nicole, who was Craftapalooza and Alison at six and a half stitches, who were two Ozzie crafty bloggers whose creativity I absolutely loved. Before I got back into the knitting, I actually got back into sewing and I started sewing things by hand to participate in those swaps.

And then I got back into quilting and bought a little sewing machine and would be making quilts in my share house, and people thought it was really weird, anyway. But yeah, it was just such a lovely time, rediscovering craft and creativity after university days and traveling days where I really didn’t do anything. And yeah, it was a lovely time. Now where I have two tweens, a puppy sitting under my chair sleeping, nine mice. Yes, that escalated quite quickly. And I’m living back in Australia during a pandemic. I’m still knitting, still crafting, quilting, sewing, and am even more grateful for the crafty community all around the world. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you during this year, this time where we’ve had such a big transition in my personal life, as well as this crazy lockdown period. So thank you.

Thank you so much. I still love this community. I love the changes and the awareness that is happening about racism and politics, at the moment. I personally think it’s unavoidable and I am glad to embrace it. And I feel like it’s making me grow as a person. Everything that’s happening, including the pandemic and moving and personal things happening in my life. But as well as the politics and anti-racism work and things like that. Yeah, I think it’s fantastic and I hope to continue to do better in all those areas of my life.

So I better stop gushing and this trip down memory lane, or I will be here pouring over old photos and trying to track down long lost blogging friends for days. And we do have a mystery knit-along to be getting on with. I polished the first clue for the Stillness Mystery Knit-Along yesterday. And we already have people posting their super fast progress. I always find it amazing how quickly people can get through the clues when they’re waiting for it to be published and then just start knitting straightaway. I love it. And I love seeing the instant peaks into people’s shawls and how their colors are coming together. We have the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry, of course, where there is support and sneak peaks to be found if you want them. And we will have a no sneak peek thread or just a general chat thread if you’re not wanting to see any spoilers. But there will be a spoiler thread as well, if you’re like me and can’t resist seeing what’s happening.

Just a reminder for the speedy people to please make sure to use the spoiler images or pictures of your yarn on the first post in Instagram and Ravelry on your projects. And to make sure that any spoilers are posted in the specific spoiler thread on Ravelry, if you’re doing that. Just so that people who are can’t start immediately or are a bit slower or savoring the process. Don’t get the clues spoiled for them before they can get to it. Just in case you missed in the notes, in the pattern. If you’re struggling with the cast on, I have a video linked in the pattern, in the note section to help with the cast on if anyone’s struggling with that. I think it’s not too tricky, but I have a video there to help if you need it.

I won’t say any more than that because it might be a bit of a spoiler. And yeah, as always, there is the email support at curioushandmade.com, or you can ask questions in the threads on Ravelry, as well. And I just hope that everyone has a really fun time. I designed the shawl to be fairly relaxing and I don’t think it’s too complicated. So hopefully it’s a nice relaxing net for people and people can have fun playing with colors and pretty yarn. And I’m really excited to be getting started with it now. In other knitalong news, just a little reminder, we’re actually getting towards the end of June now. So the June Knit 20 for 2020 challenge will be wrapping up in a few days. So if you’ve been knitting anything for that challenge, make sure you post it in the June thread.

Then of course we will be on to July. And as usual, there will be a draw from the Ravelry thread and a draw from Instagram posts. So if you use the #knit20for2020 on Instagram, and I will be able to find your posts. And the idea is to post one of the items from the challenge and nominate a favorite indie dyer or yarn store, and to be in the running for a $50 or equivalent voucher from that dyer or yarnster. I have to admit I’ve been quite slow in organizing the prizes, and apologies for that. I’m sorry, I’m busy and I’m terrible at admin. So I am aiming to get to them as soon as I can, but don’t worry if you’re a winner, I will get to it being a bit slow and I’m going to try and get better at that. But apologies if people are waiting.

So thank you for your patience and thank you for participating in that challenge. I’m having a lot of fun with it myself. And I am currently working on new to me designer with my Hermione Jean Granger Shawl, by Clever Knits, Tyne Swedish. Who’s designed this delightful, relaxing, fun, stripey shawl with tassels. I always love a tassel. And I am really enjoying knitting that with La Bien Aimee yarn in glorious, bright, fun pinks. So that project’s giving me a lot of joy at the moment. So don’t forget to post anything before the end of the month. The other project I’ve been working on quite a lot actually is, not knitting, but my hexie quilt projects, plural. I have succumbed to an Instagram purchase. An Instagram enabled purchase. I saw a post by, I think she’s just an online store or maybe it’s a physical store as well, The Strawberry Thief. They’re based in Perth and specialize in Liberty fabric.

And they were advertising these monthly hexie quilt subscription packs, where they send you certain number of precut hexagon shapes to make an English paper piecing quilt. And I’d kind of started an English paper piecing project a couple of years ago when I was over here in Australia on a summer holiday. But to what really attracted me to this was the fact that the shapes, the fabric was already precut, which saves a massive amount of time. And you can just get to the fun bit for me, which is the sewing. And yeah, and so I didn’t know whether I wanted a one inch size or the two inch size. We ordered both and thought I could see which one I ended up wanting to do. So far I haven’t decided. So far I’m continuing with both, which is a bit crazy and there’s no way I will be able to keep up with it.

But yeah, anyway, I’ve been enjoying that. I’ve made several flowers with the Hexie so far, and it’s just such a nice activity to do. I watch videos, YouTube videos on all sorts of different topics, currently gardening and puppy training. And it’s very relaxing. So thank you to The Strawberry Thief for those lovely subscriptions. It’s giving me a lot of joy at the moment because the fabrics are obviously so gorgeous, and yes. Apart from that, I’ve been doing some gardening as well. Recently, we bought another Instagram enabled purchase, which is a sub pod, and it’s basically a fancy compost bin. And I think it’s a Byron Bay company. It’s an Australian company and they’ve created this. I mean, it’s not too fancy, but it’s fairly well designed. I mean, I haven’t used it yet in earnest, but it’s a compost bin that has holes in the sides.

So you bury it in a garden and then the worms can come in and out of the compost and spread the earthy goodness in your garden. So I bought a raised bed and buried my compost bin yesterday and today I need to move the worms into the bin. We got a parcel in the post and my husband had forgotten we had ordered the worms and he came in and said, “I’ve just received a bag of dirt.” He was so confused. So that was quite amusing. Now I need to settle them into their new home. Anyway, so that’s the domestic life that I am living at the moment. It’s school holidays, and the kids are home and we’re just puttering around and can’t go too far with the new puppy. So it’s really nice actually. And in a way it feels like we’ve been at home forever, but it’s lovely weather at the moment here in Queensland.

We’re just making the best of things and enjoying being homebodies. So just before I sign off, I would also love to give Carmen a huge shout out. Carmen is the owner of A Yarn Story in Bath, and it is her 40th birthday today. So happy birthday, my dear friend, Carmen. I hope you have a fantastic day and a fabulous 40th year. Thank you for joining me for this very special mile stone podcast today. I hope you’re well, I hope you’re having some lovely knitting time. Have a great week, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Jun 26 2020

19mins

Play

CH 299: KAL prize day and extra MKAL hints

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

A Stillness MKAL kit from La Bien Aimée

This week, I have some lucky winners to congratulate from some of our recent knitalongs. I’ve also got updates on my most recent WIP (spoiler alert, I am enjoying it so much!) and more yarn reassurance for any knitters who are stressing themselves out a bit trying to pick the perfect yarn for the Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong

Show Links:

Winners of the May #knit20for2020 KAL

Ravelry : craftytextilelady (hillary On)

Cypress Cardigan by Amy Herzog

The Knitting Loft in Toronto

Instagram: mctrem7

Little Love Cardigan by Ankestrik

Colorista Canada

Winner of The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 Rainy Window Socks

seraines

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

Rainy Window Socks

Vapour Socks

The Wool Barn

Tinkhickman on Instagram

Tracyrr on Instagram

The Stillness Shaw MKAL starts on the 25th of June

Enter Stillness Shawl MKAL Giveaway before the 25th of June

  • An absolutely adorable Stitch Mischief Medium Finch Bucket bag
  • A hard-cover knitting journal from Laine. The “My Knitting Notes” Journal is an elegant way to document your knitting journey with space for 31 knitting projects, 6 pages for keeping track of your yarn purchases, 18 gridded pages, e.g. for charts or colourwork sketches, a knitting needle sizes and conversions table, and the most common abbreviations.
  • A stunning skein of Skein Australia Silk Road, in the rich Atomic colourway.

I’ll also be giving away 10 pattern prizes: each winner can choose the pattern of their choice from my designs on Ravelry!

Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance to win:

  1. Create your project page for The Stillness Shawl MKAL. You can use the placeholder graphic below or upload a photo of your yarn!
  2. Post in the giveaway thread to tell us about your favourite still life artist, painting, or photograph. It would be amazing if you shared an image, but you don’t have to. And if there isn’t a piece that comes to mind, maybe you can share a moment of stillness in your life that you wish you could capture and keep forever, like a painting.

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 299. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. How are you this week? I hope you’re having a good week. We’re having a pretty good week here. I’ve got kids still home sick, which is a bit of a worry, but it’s okay, I guess. It is what it is. They have just mild colds, but we’re not allowed to send them to school with any kind of cold. So, they’re at home. They may have gone to school if it wasn’t for that rule.

And we’re rolling into three weeks of holidays here in Queensland, so that’s coming up. So they’ll have a chance to rest, and recuperate, and hopefully I will, as well. And I am going to try to plan, in the last couple of days of term time, theoretically, even though they’re at home already, try and plan some activities for the holidays so that we don’t just mindlessly go through the three weeks without actually doing anything fun. Which way have a bit of a tendency to do if there’s not much structure.

So, yeah, so that’s where I’m at today. I’m recording this on Thursday, just the day before I release the episode. The other hugely exciting thing that is happening in the house is that we are picking up our puppy tomorrow. She is called Cindy, and the puppy breeder had called her Cindy and the girls liked the name, so we’re keeping the name, which is fine. It saves us try to think up a new name. And, yeah, it just seems to suit her.

She is a little toy cavoodle, so she is a bit of a toy, and it reminds me of my Cindy doll that I had when I was a kid. So, we are all very excited about that for tomorrow. I have to say that life has felt a little bit same-same lately, with not really being able to plan any exciting activities, or really know what’s going to happen in the future.

We’ve been fairly happy and content just hunkering down at home, but I’m sure you can relate to that it’s starting to feel a little bit monotonous now. And I know we are, of course, extremely lucky to be in that position where the worst thing is that life is slightly boring. But, yes, anyway, that’s where we are, and I do appreciate our boring, contented life. And, yeah, so hopefully today I can bring you some news about knit-alongs. I have some prize draws to share with you, a little bit of knitting news, and a little bit about the upcoming mystery knit-along.

First I’ll announce some knit-along prize winners. First of all, I have the Knit 20 for 2020 prize winners from May to announce. And I know we’re well into June now. I think the first week, I didn’t record an episode, and then last week I completely forgot because we were so far into the month that I’d forgotten that I still hadn’t done that.

And, anyway. So, without further ado, the winners of the Knit 20 for 2020 knit-along are on the Ravelry thread, craftytextilelady, who is Hillary from Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. She knit the Cyprus Cardigan by Amy Herzog, which looks beautiful, by the way. And her chosen yarn store is the Knitting Loft in Toronto. So, congratulations, craftytextilelady, Hillary.

And on Instagram, we have the winner, mctrem7, who is Sepia Pixie. And she also knit a cardigan for her entry for Knit 20 for 2020. And her nominated indie dyer is Colorista, also based in Canada. We have a very Canadian theme this week. And so, if you would both contact me either via Ravelry direct messages at HellsBells, or you can email me at Helen at Curious Handmade. And I just need your email address to get in contact with you to organize a gift voucher from Colorista and The Knitting Loft.

And finally, for the prize draws, we have the Handmade Sock Society prize. And the winner is [Serines 00:06:35], which was entry number 76 with her Rainy Window socks from the Handmade Sock Society, season three. And, Serines, I will need your postal address to email your prize. And hopefully the post from here will not take three or four months like it seems to be at the moment for international parcels. I might have to look into that and arrange something else for you, rather than posting something from here at the moment. It seems to be a bit of a disaster.

But anyway, if you contact me and get in touch, and let me know where you are in the world, and we can have a chat about that. So, congratulations to all the winners. Thank you so, so much for participating in the knit-alongs. It’s a lot of fun. I love seeing your projects. And I’m having a lot of fun discovering new designers, and indie dyers, and yarn stores around the world with the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge.

So, speaking of the Handmade Sock Society, this week we had the release of the fifth pattern in the series. And it’s hard to believe that it’s up to pattern number five already. We are releasing them every month this year, instead of every two months like last year. But the knit-alongs are going for two months, so that you have plenty of time to complete your socks.

That means that at the moment we have two knit-alongs happening for socks four and socks five, which is the vapor socks that have just been released. And then at the end of the series, the knit-alongs will continue for two months after the release of the sixth pattern to give you… Well, seven weeks I’ve made it. Not quite two months. Just shy of two months for each knit-along.

So you have plenty of time to complete your socks, and hopefully we’ll see some people who’ve completed the whole collection. Anyway, the vapor socks are a really pretty pair of socks. And I’ll just read you out the description. Clouds wreathing a mountain peak and fog rolling in over the water. The early morning haze in the distance before the dew dries up. A gentle mist settling on a meadow as the evening draws in. Your own breath, suspended in midair on a frosty walk, and the friendly steam piping from your tea kettle when you come back home.

Vapor is transitory and insubstantial by nature. It can play tricks on us, obscure our vision, transform a landscape, appear and disappear in a matter of moments, as fleeting as a fanciful idea and as wonderful. It reminds us that even ordinary things are worth a second look, and that nothing really lasts forever.

The vapor socks are a gentle and relaxing project with a delicate, but deceptively simple pattern. They begin with a cuff of 1×1 twisted rib, and feature an easy-to-memorize panel of eyelets and airy lace on the front with plain stockinette in back. A snug ribbed heel and wedge toe give you a steady foundation, but it’s always easy to swap in your own favorite heel and toe. As with all the Handmade Sock Society patterns, you have the three sizes to choose from to customize your fit.

These socks were knit in the beautiful The Wool Barn Cashmere Sock, which is a lovely 80% Merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon base. And as always, I just love Maya’s delicate colors. I use the colorway Smitten, and a huge thank you to Deb [Tink-Hickman 00:00:10:31], who knit the sample for me, and also photographed them. And she did this brilliantly, because in these strange times, she had to both photograph and model them herself. So, just huge thanks to Deb for doing that for me.

And also, a huge, huge, thanks to Tracey RR. [He 00:10:55] is the host of the [Cozy 00:10:58] Red Couch podcast for test knitting, and knitting a beautiful test-knit version for me, and finding any mistakes. It’s always a huge help. So, thank you very much. And thank you to Maya for the gorgeous sample yarn. I always want her yarn, it’s so inspiring, so it’s a delight to design with. And I hope you all enjoy these socks if you’re joining in on the Handmade Sock Society.

It’s not too late to join. You can join at any time. Of course, there is just one pair to be released now, so not a huge surprise in the collection like there is if you sign up at the beginning. But this way you get to see what you’re in for. The other big event that we have happening at Curious Homemade at the moment is the upcoming Stillness Mystery Knit-Along. That is a shawl mystery knit-along. The first clue comes out next week, next Thursday, the 25th of June. So that’s coming up very quickly now.

And I am just loving seeing everybody’s entries into the launch competition we have at the moment, where if you create a project page and enter it into a thread on Ravelry, then you can be in the running to win a lovely little bundle that I’ve put together. Which is one skein of the yarn that I used in the sample, which is Skein Australia Silk Road, a really luxurious blend. And a gorgeous project bag from Stich Mischief in Canada that I purchased at Knit City a couple of years ago now. And also a [liner 00:12:54] knitting diary. So, there’s a lovely prize, and all you have to do is make a post in the thread over on Ravelry.

I’ve had a lot of questions about the yarn, and I talked about this last week, so I won’t go into it again. But really I think that anything goes, and so if you have some yarn in your stash, you can probably put together a combination. It’s fingering weight yarn. I think lace weight could work as well, easily well. So, that’s something to consider if you enjoy knitting with lace weight yarn.

So the yarn I used is Skein Australia. And because we have postage delays here to and from Australia, all our parcels are coming via ship, and going via ship at the moment. So it’s very, very slow. It’s taking three months or more. So, I am trying to suggest other yarn dyers in various countries to give you some ideas of other options. Of course, you can purchase from your local yarn shop, or any local dyer.

And really, you don’t have to be in the know to put a combination together. I will actually try and do a blog post to show lots of different combinations, and highlight some of the dyers that I’ve been sharing in my newsletter and on Instagram. But I know this is the most stressful part of a mystery knit-along is choosing the yarn. And I really just want to say don’t stress about it. It’s going to be fine.

It’s, I think, a reasonably uncomplicated pattern. It’s no more difficult than the Snowmelt shawl. And I will email some frequently asked questions, or answers to frequently asked questions in the next few days. But it’s meant to be fun. I designed it when I was on lockdown. So I wanted something very relaxing, and just enjoyable. Nothing stressful. And so, that’s the kind of vibe that you’ll get with this shawl.

So, if you’re interested in joining up, you can do that over on Ravelry, just Google Stillness Mystery Knit-Along. And you just purchase the pattern on Ravelry, and then all the clues will be delivered one per week from the 25th of June. There will be five clues. And there is an early-bird price at the moment, which is four pounds. And that will go up to five pounds the day the first clue comes out. So I hope that gives you a bit more information, and I look forward to hopefully seeing you in the mystery knit-along.

I have been doing a little bit of personal knitting. I think I mentioned last week that I had started the Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish, who is clevereststitch on Instagram. I am really, really enjoying that. I chose three skeins from my stash, which is La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in really vibrant pinks. And I do love pink. I love blue, and I love pink. I love all the colors, but probably those two are the ones I’m drawn to the most. And so, yeah, so heaps of fun. It’s a stripey garter stitch shawl.

It’s just really, really relaxing knitting. And I can just take it with me in the car, or, I’m not getting out much at the moment, but occasionally I’ll take it with me for the car, or for a doctor’s appointment, something like that. Or mostly watching TV at night in the evenings. It’s super, super relaxing knitting. So, thank you very much for that lovely pattern, Tyne, and highly recommend it if you’re looking for something very chill to knit at the moment.

That’s about all I have for you this week. Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor, Meadow Yarn. And just to say that if you’re in the UK, both my sponsors, A Yarn Story and Meadow Yarn, do you have some lovely kits available for the mystery knit-along. So, if you’re in the UK, or nearby, you might find a good option for your yarn there if you haven’t already.

So, hope you have a wonderful week. Congratulations to the knit-along winners, and please get in touch with me. And, yeah, I’ll talk to you again next week for the 300th episode. Have a great week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Jun 19 2020

18mins

Play

CH 298: More yarn-choosing hints for the Stillness MKAL

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

On today’s show I’m talking about the ongoing need for anti-racist work and my gratitude for the knitters who are making a difference. I’m also celebrating some new personal knitting cast-ons. The Stillness MKAL is approaching swiftly, and I’m hosting a special giveaway. I also have some extra clues and tips for choosing your MKAL yarn colours.

Show Links:

@creativececi

@ggmadeit

@heybrownberry

@jeanettesloane

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

Everyday Lined Hat by Denise Bayron

The Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Píosa KAL

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Snowmelt Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL Presale is open on Ravelry! Join here!

To celebrate the launch of our new mystery knitalong, I’m hosting a special giveaway! I’ve put together a beautiful prize for one grand winner, which includes:

  • An absolutely adorable Stitch Mischief Medium Finch Bucket bag
  • A hard-cover knitting journal from Laine. The “My Knitting Notes” Journal is an elegant way to document your knitting journey with space for 31 knitting projects, 6 pages for keeping track of your yarn purchases, 18 gridded pages, e.g. for charts or colourwork sketches, a knitting needle sizes and conversions table, and the most common abbreviations.
  • A stunning skein of Skein Australia Silk Road, in the rich Atomic colourway.

I’ll also be giving away 10 pattern prizes: each winner can choose the pattern of their choice from my designs on Ravelry!

Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance to win:

  1. Create your project page for The Stillness Shawl MKAL. You can use the placeholder graphic below or upload a photo of your yarn!
  2. Post in the giveaway thread to tell us about your favourite still life artist, painting, or photograph. It would be amazing if you shared an image, but you don’t have to. And if there isn’t a piece that comes to mind, maybe you can share a moment of stillness in your life that you wish you could capture and keep forever, like a painting.

These threads are always so fun and enjoyable, and a great way to get to know each other better. In the past they’ve also offered some amazing colour and yarn inspiration thanks to all the beautiful stories and photos! I can’t wait to see what you contribute.

I’ll be announcing winners on our official start day, Thursday June 25th. Good luck!

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 298. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week and finding some time to do some knitting, or crafting, or something else nice for yourself. I have been having a really good week here. It’s sort of back to normal here. Not completely, not really. It’s been a bit of a funny week because, well, school has been back for, now this is the third week now for my age kids. They were poorly with colds this week so that meant that they couldn’t go in. So I’ve had them back home again.

And yeah, travel is opening up again in our state, but if you want to go further afield, you can’t really at the moment. You could go, but our state hasn’t opened up their borders yet so we’d have to quarantine for two weeks coming back, which would kind of take some of the fun out of a trip. So we will be having school holidays here at the end of next week, and we’ll just be staying pretty local and lying pretty low, I think, having a staycation, which will be nice. I’m a bit of a homebody, so I have projects and crafty things that I want to do that will last me for many years, if I had to staycation for a while. So yeah, it’s okay. And the kids are also homebodies, so it will be a nice, relaxing holiday. I think we’ll try and make up activities to do, like go for bush walks and go to the beach and things like that. Just local little day trips. So that’s what’s going on here on that front at the moment.

And of course, we saw last week, the huge Black Lives Matter protests all over the U.S. and in countries around the world. We had protests here in Australia, which, of course, were controversial in the sense that the authorities, the powers that be, weren’t wanting people to protest because of COVID regulations here at the moment. But in the end, there were protests in most of the major cities.

So I think that was a good thing, personally. I think it’s such an important issue that if it was worth the people who chose to protest risking health, I think we are at a state here in Australia at the moment where cases are very low, and yes, I think it’s an important issue. It’s a very important issue for indigenous, for Aboriginals, and Torres Strait Islanders here in Australia. There’s a lot of racism and issues with deaths in custody with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. So I was personally supporting the protests. I didn’t participate but I was in support.

And in our own knitting community, I am just so grateful again for the black knitters in our community who are so generously sharing their perspectives, their experiences, and taking the time to educate on the topic of racism and anti-racism. Yeah, just people I have met in real life and love and respect. And yeah, just so grateful. I mean, they were talking about this last year when we started discussing the issue in the knitting and fiber community, and they’re still sharing educational perspectives with grace and eloquence and generosity. People I follow are Creative Ceci, GGmadeit, heyBrownBerry, and Jeanette Sloan, just a few. And just thank you to everybody who is just taking the time to post about it and share their perspective, especially when it’s a personal perspective.

As a white person, I feel pretty insignificant sometimes in what change I can help make in the world, but I really believe that everyone’s actions, however tiny, can have a ripple effect and can add up. And at a time, especially when there are big global protests and lots of media attention on the issue, then I think everybody’s support really counts, especially when it comes to voting and engaging with politics and big issues in society. So I think the biggest lesson for me, or one of the biggest lessons, is to appreciate my democratic rights, appreciate how lucky we are living in democratic societies. I say we, because I know that most of my listeners are living in democracies, and we’re just so lucky, and I don’t think I appreciated that enough in the past. So yes, I’m appreciating it more now.

I have been, of course, reading and thinking and also thinking about what tangible actions I can take towards anti-racism. And one of the things that I’ve done, which is relevant to the topic of this podcast, is cast on two projects by two fantastic black designers, and both were patterns that I had in my queue that I’d had my eye on for some time. So I decided to take the week to cast them on. The first design is the Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish. And Tyne is theclevereststitch on Instagram. And she is another person I’ve been following her stories about racism and anti-racism since last year, early last year, and also been admiring her lovely shawl designs. She designs shawls that are fun, quite classic, elegant, simple, but have lovely details like tassels, which I particularly like.

And so, yeah, I had recently bought the Hermione Jean Granger shawl pattern. So I wound some yarn from my stash, which is La Bien Aimée Merino Singles I’ve had for quite a while. I think I bought these skeins at some yarn festivals in London. And the colors are Aimée’s Lipstick, Pinku Graffiti, and Pom Pom. So they’re all pink. Aimée’s Lipstick is a hot pink. Pinku Graffiti is a sort of a mid-pink with speckles. And then Pom Pom has a light sort of creamy white base with pinks and purple speckles. And that color was, I think, a special color for the Pompom magazine fifth anniversary party. So is all the pink, it’s going to be a super bright, happy shawl. And yeah, it’s a lovely stripy, melty pattern.

And then the other design I’ve cast on is by Denise Bayron, Bayron Handmade. And it’s the Everyday Lined Hat. I think this has come out fairly recently. I was looking at Denise’s design, which was the Wave of Change Jacket. And I think I mentioned that in a previous podcast that I was thinking about casting that on. But then I realized it’s knit in bulky yarn, which is not going to ever be used while I’m living here in Queensland. So I kind of went off that idea. And when I saw the hat pattern, I thought it was much more likely that I would use a hat, a lovely DK weight hat, or worsted weight hat.

So I am using some more yarn from my stash, which is the Magpie Fibers’ Swanky DK. It’s in the HellsBells colorway, of course. And the pattern really calls for a worsted weight yarn, but she says you can use a DK. And I think this particular DK is on the plumper side. It’s sort of going towards a worsted weight. So I think that will be fine. So yeah. And it’s just a really, really lovely, simple, as it says in the title, everyday hat. And she’s very cleverly incorporated a lining, which is the sewing part of the pattern. So it’s a sewing pattern and a knitting pattern. And yeah, I just think it’s a lovely, lovely, simple design. So I’m knitting that as well.

And so once I have made Ravelry pages for these projects, because I know, as a designer, the project pages that knitters create just really help for a designer’s visibility on Ravelry and platforms. So I went ahead and made some project pages for these patterns just before I recorded today. And I’ll have to remember to update them with finished object photos. I am quite slack with creating project pages. I should go back and update a few things because it’s so nice to be able to go back and look at a record of what you’ve made. And it’s so handy to be able to look up details.

The other project that I’ve been working on is Píosa by Renée Callahan. And I did sort of finish part three. That was my goal for the week, was to finish part three. But I decided I wouldn’t do the pockets yet because I thought I’m not quite sure about my yarn yardage that I have in this color. So I thought I would do part four, knit the sleeves and the neck band, and then add the pocket slider if I have enough yarn, just in case I run out.

So in design news, I released the Stillness Mystery Knitalong pattern on Ravelry as a presale. And so you can now purchase the pattern at an early bird price of £4, plus any VAT or GST that’s applicable in your country. And that price will be going up to £5 when the first clue comes out. And that will be on the 25th of June. So yeah, coming up fairly soon.

And I have been sharing some lovely yarn dyers, trying to cover some different countries with dyers who are offering kits. And I should have probably said that if you’re a yarn dyer and want to offer kits, that is totally fine with me. I’ve had a couple of people contact me to ask if it was okay. And of course, yes, that’s absolutely fine. I would appreciate that. Yes, please. Just tag me, and I’ll try and share it.

The theme of the Knitalong is still life. And we have a competition happening at the moment to keep us occupied while we’re waiting for the first clue. So if you create a project page on Ravelry and then share it in the thread, then you can also share your favorite still life painting, or photograph, or another scene that inspires you. And you can be in the running to win a prize, which includes a skein of the yarn I used in the sample, which is Skein Australia Silk Road. It’s a really lovely blend. And a Laine knitting diary, as well as a gorgeous project bag from Stitch Mischief, a lovely crafter in Canada. I’m hoping that by the time I am sending out the prize that the post might not be so slow, but anyway, we’ll have to see how that’s going in another month or so.

Of course, people are wondering how to choose their yarn. And I just thought I’d chat very briefly about that. So it’s three colors, and I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with a yarn choice. If you love the yarn, you’ll love your project. Sometimes it can pay to do a little bit of swatching with the colors together just to make sure that they relate to each other the way you anticipate they will. And just to give you a few clues about the different colors. So color A, I would say choose maybe a yarn that will be more of a feature of the shawl. It might pop out a bit more than the other two colors. And it is also the color that any lace in the shawl is done in. So if you don’t really like heavily variegated yarn for lace, then this is not the color to use your variegated yarn.

And then B and C will need to be contrasting a little bit. They are striped together a little bit in the shawl, so you want something that will contrast. When I chose my colors, I thought I had contrasting colors, and in the end they weren’t highly contrasting, but I still like the effect. So it’s just up to you how contrasty you want the shawl to be. But that’s just a little tip for colors B and C. And I’d say, if you have a variegated or speckled yarn that you want to use, I would use that for C because the stitches will be more plain. And B could be possibly more semi-solid because there’ll be a bit of texture with B. So I hope I have given you enough guidance for colors without giving away too much about the shawl. I don’t think I have. I think it will still be a big surprise even with those clues. But I hope that helps you choose your colors with a little bit more confidence.

I know that that’s the thing that stresses people out the most with a mystery knitalong. And yes, and me included in that. So, but really, I don’t think you can go wrong. I think if you choose three colors that contrast a lot with each other, you’ll end up with a shawl that is quite contrasty, maybe a little bit color blocky looking. And then if you have a lower contrast, it will be more subtle. Too low contrast, maybe some of the design will be a little bit lost, but I don’t think it matters too much. I think it would still be fine. And I think any color combination will create a beautiful shawl. So don’t stress about it too much, just choose yarn you love and that you think goes together nicely, and it’ll be fine.

In terms of difficulty, I think it’s probably about the same level of difficulty as the Snowmelt shawl. So if you want to see, it’s very, very similar in level of difficulty, I would say. So yeah, so that’s my clues for the Stillness Mystery Knitalong. That’s going to be starting soon and is available on Ravelry to join in with now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this show and I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Jun 12 2020

21mins

Play

Ch 297: More exciting MKAL news!

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Gorgeous colours and photo from Skein Yarn

Our first Curious Handmade MKAL in quite a while is coming up quickly! I’ve finally got some details to share with you, including our theme (which I hope you’re going to love) and the yarn requirements. I’ve also got a little chat about life with the kids heading back to school, my own personal crafting projects, and the garden.

Show Links:

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Liberty Fabric

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Skein Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Coming soon!

May 29 2020

23mins

Play

CH 296: A puppy, a garden, and a satisfying WIP

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

The Curious Handmade family is growing, with a very fuzzy new friend on the way. And so is my garden, and so is my Piosa Cardigan! There’s a lot of exciting stuff to celebrate this week, and I have a fun virtual event to share which includes some of my very favourite yarn shops and some brilliant opportunities to win giveaway prizes.

Show Links:

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Liberty Fabric

The Handmade Sock Society 1

The Shawl Society 3

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Subpod Compost

iKnit7

A Yarn Story

Emily Foulds

This is Knit

Ginger Twist Studio

Knit with Attitude

Tribe Yarns

Wild and Woolly

A Yarn Story on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 296. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry, as HellsBells and on social media, as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. I do hope you’re having a good week. I hope you’ve been able to get in lots of knitting and probably some other creative crafty pursuits judging by lots of people I’ve been following on Instagram. It seems like a lot of my friends and people I follow are taking the opportunity to delve into some more hobbies. It’s quite funny to see. I am certainly doing that here. We’ve been having a pretty exciting week here. Today, we had an extremely exciting day because I got an email yesterday in answer to an inquiry I had made about a potential puppy for the family. It was a little bit out of the blue. We had been promising the girls a puppy for a couple of years before we moved.

It had always been, when we move to Australia, we’ll be able to get a dog, but we can’t get one now because we have no yard and we’re moving to Australia. Since we’ve moved, I’ve been putting it off a little bit. I guess just being at home and having a little bit more head space to think about things, it clicked that I could manage a puppy now. I just put an inquiry out on Monday and got an email back on Wednesday, which I was really surprised about because puppies are in huge demand at the moment, apparently. We went and saw a little puppy today and agreed that when she’s ready to come home, we would take her. That’s going to be about a month time. Happily we have another month to mentally prepare and physically prepare for a new puppy.

Other exciting things that have happened this week, not quite that exciting, but the Liberty Hexies kit I mentioned a couple of weeks ago finally arrived. I bought it here in Australia from a Perth company called the Strawberry Thief, which is named after one of the Liberty Prints, so that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to doing my personal crafting time on the weekend and starting some hexie flowers. The Strawberry Thief Instagram has some great tutorials about English paper piecing for hexies to go along with these kits that they’re doing. And I’ll have to go and have a quick watch. I did make some hexies a couple of years ago because I sort of got into it a little bit, but haven’t done it for a little while. I think I’ll go and have a look at those. They use a method where they recommend using a glue stick to glue the fabric onto your paper piece.

I guess I’ll try that. That’s what I tried before and I found that slightly irritating, but I’ll give it another go. And if that doesn’t work, I can go back to sewing the fabric into the paper. Anyway, I am very excited to start that project because Liberty fabric is so beautiful. The other very exciting thing happening around here is that the kids are going back to school next week here in Queensland. That’s going to be a bit of an adventure. I need to check their school bags to make sure that there’s not some long forgotten lunchboxes still festering there and things like that. I think I’d got the lunchboxes out, but I don’t think I did anything else. Find school shoes and things like that because it’s been five weeks and then two weeks of Easter holidays and then a week before that, so eight weeks.

Quite a while. I have to say it hasn’t been too bad. It’s been fine. The girls like hanging at home and I like hanging at home so we’ve been getting on pretty well. I’ve kind of liked having my little office buddy sitting next to me in the mornings. I could probably do some of the online courses and Lexi’s poor teacher asking the kids in the class to mute their microphones every two minutes. Apart from that, it’s been quite nice. The story that’s being read is The Secret Garden, which is a gorgeous book and if you’ve been following along for a while, you know I’m a big fan. It was the theme for the first Sock Society and also the Shawl Society that same year. I had a secret garden theme around my two societies that year and very much enjoyed getting into that theme.

That’s been kind of nice. It will certainly be nice to have a little bit more time and a little bit more thinking space and we’ll see how it goes. They both asked me this week if I could keep homeschooling them so I’m taking that as a compliment. I tried not to have too shocked an expression on my face. I replied that they’d better go back to school and see their friends. So I have been doing a little bit of personal knitting this week, not a huge amount, but some. And I have been knitting away on my Piosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits, and I now on part three, which is the main body. It’s a top down cardigan so I’ve joined under the arms for the body. I’m loving this pattern so much. It’s a really fun knit.

It’s very potato chippy and the worsted weight means that it’s knitting up very satisfyingly quickly. I think also because I’m using such a lovely yarn, it’s a very smooth yarn, it’s the Sweet Fiber Cashmerino worsted, which is 80% Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon in the beautiful rose gold color. So that’s an absolute delight to knit so that’s helping it make it go smoothly and quickly. I think this week I’ll just be working away on the body. And the other thing I’ve been doing apart from a little bit of knitting and a little bit of work, and a lot of homeschooling and childcare, is becoming more and more obsessed with my gardening projects. It’s kind of escalating quite quickly from buying a few seedlings in a few pots, to this week I ordered two quite large raised garden beds.

That was because I think earlier in the year, I had had one of those Instagram facilitated adverts purchases, which was a sub pod. So I don’t know why I was suggested that ad, I guess I was already Googling or talking about gardening and wanting to grow things. We have been collecting our compost, our vegetable scraps and taking it to my parents because dad has a garden and a compost bin. We have been doing that for quite some time now, since we moved into the house in October. I guess when I saw this composting system advertised, it was like music to my ears sort of. Sight for sore eyes. It’s basically a bin that has holes for worms to come in and out of and you kind of bury it into a garden, so theoretically it doesn’t smell as badly as an above ground compost bin might smell.

We bought this sub pod thing and it had a long waiting list. I think it was originally a Kickstarter and now they’re sort of doing batches, so you order them and then I think they order the production when they have enough orders. We’ve been waiting for quite a while, but it’s due to arrive sort of at the end of this month, early next month. I thought I better order the garden bed that that’s going to go into. Anyway, a lot of gardening chat, it’s not really that exciting, but it’s kind of exciting to me because it’s new to me. My basil cuttings are starting to grow roots after a week, which is kind of exciting.

And thank you, I have to make a shout out to Lisa who emailed me to say, I just wanted to let you know if you don’t already that basil freezes amazingly well. I learned this after a bumper crop myself. It will never be fresh again because the leaves are softened by freezing, but it retains its fresh taste and is wonderful to cook with. I just rinse and dry the leaves and then freeze them in a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl and break off what I need. So thank you Lisa, for a fab tip. I wouldn’t have thought about freezing it so that’s really good.

I’m yet to grow too much for me to be able to use, but I think it’s going to happen. I’m trying to grow lots of cuttings. I love this community and sharing knowledge on all sorts of topics, not just knitting/ speaking of community, I heard about a really fun knitting community event that is happening next week from the 25th to the 31st of May. And it’s a virtual yarn extravaganza and it’s been put together by a collective called iKnit7, the number seven. It’s seven independent yarn shops that have joined together in these crazy times to do something fun for the yarn community.

What you need to know is that there is a website it’s iKnit7, the number seven, .co.uk. And there is a email newsletter to sign up for and when you sign up for that, you’ll get special access to discount codes, free gifts, exclusive patterns and more. It says shop from three or more of us during the week and you will be in for a chance to win an incredible prize. And the seven independent yarn shops, probably all my favorite yarn shops in the UK. So iKnit7 is a collaboration between Carmen of A Yarn Story in Bath, Layli of Emily Foulds in Coln, Lisa of This is Knit in Dublin, Jess of Ginger Twists Studio in Edinburgh, May Linn Bang from Knit With Attitude in London, Milli Abrams from Tribe Yarn in Richmond, and Anna Feldman from Wild and Woolly in London. As I said, some of my absolute favorite UK yarn shops, I’m so sad not to be able to visit them anymore.

For all the locals who have lost the chance to visit these beautiful shops due to the virus, I think this is a fab way to support these great yarn shops. It’s seven days, seven shops, seven special offers, and one amazing knitting community. So each day next week, one of the shops is going to have a special day dedicated to them and they’re going to have really fabulous activities going on. So make sure you sign up to the newsletter at IKnit7.co.uk to find out about all the discounts and fun activities happening next week.

Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my lovely sponsor, A Yarn Story.

I just wanted to give a special shout out to Carmen. She’s doing such a great job during these difficult times, maintaining a community around A Yarn Story and Bath and keeping us all up to date, doing fun Instagram stories and posts, and lots of photos of beautiful peaches, her gorgeous dog, and just keeping spirits up I think is really important. And Carmen’s doing a lovely job of it, so if you don’t follow her on Instagram, I really recommend giving her a follow because she’s just such a breath of fresh air and so fun and kind. Well, I think that’s all the news I have for you this week. It’s just a short, sweet episode. I have rain on our tin roof here, which I’m not sure if it’s going to be too noisy and kids kind of helping themselves to goodness knows what in the kitchen. I just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello and say that I hope you’re all doing well and that I’ll talk again soon. So see you next week. Happy knitting. Bye for now.

May 22 2020

17mins

Play

CH 295: Gardening and Casting on the Píosa Cardigan

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

In my constant quest to nurture my creativity, I’ve added gardening to my list of personal projects! I’m finding lots of help and inspiration through the Master Class website and on YouTube. I’m also working on my daily habits and enjoying a new project, and I have news about our KALs and the final donation to the UN Refugee Council from Habitation!

Show Links:

The Grocery Girls

Mrs Browns Bags

Yarn Ink

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

I’m a Master Class fan and an affiliate: if you join up by clicking on the photo above I’ll get a small commission. Thanks for supporting the podcast!

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Knit City, Vancouver

Ambient Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

The Ambient Sock KAL just finished and our winner was
Toveme with Post 32!

Rainy Window Socks

Rainy Window Socks FO Thread

We raised $3000 AUS for the Australian UNHCR with the Habitation Throw last month!

Habitation Throw KAL FO Thread

The Yarniacs

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 295. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity.

I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

I would like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Hello, and welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me for a chat today. We have had a big week here at Curious HQ with lots of celebrations. Last weekend we had Mother’s Day here in Australia. We also had my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary as well as dad’s birthday, and this week Lexie’s birthday as well.

So there has been a lot going on, a lot of celebrating, a lot of cake, and a lot of fun. So that’s been very nice. I also wanted to give a shout out to the Grocery Girls, Tracie and Jodi for their 100th episode. I very clearly remember watching their very first episode, because I had only just discovered them via Mrs. Brown’s Bags, Jodi’s bag shop.

I think it’s fitting that I have finally finished a pair of socks with the yarn that Jodi sent me with my first bag purchase before they even started recording their podcast, which I gifted to my dad for his birthday. So thank you, Jodi, and thank you for all the amazing entertainment you have given us over the years.

I did finally remember the name of the indie dyer of that yarn from Canada as well, which is Yarn Ink, of course. I’ve also been getting out most days this month, my walking streak is going really well. I’ve been doing combination of hill walks and a little bit of flat walking, which I actually have to drive to do a flat walk around here.

And I’ve been listening to a great audio book, which is called Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. And if you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll know how much I love my productivity and habit books, and this is a really good one. I would rate it very highly in the habit genre. It’s super encouraging, super positive psychology, and the main philosophy is that you can only get yourself to do things that you enjoy and that you feel good about.

And so to start really small and get your confidence up, basically is the kind of in a nutshell, but there’s a lot more to it. And it’s really well-researched and in-depth theory behind all his suggestions, and a really nice framework as well. So if you’re wanting to start some good habits or give up some bad habits, then I would really recommend Tiny Habits.

And the habit that I have decided to work on, I suppose, is I’ve got a lot that I want to be working on, but I’ve decided to aim for eating more vegetables, which is slightly random, but it is one of the things I’ve been reading about a lot lately in terms of the thing that you can do that’s best for your health. And as my word for the year is healing, I’m focusing on health and just getting healthier.

And so I’m going to focus on eating more vegetables. And as I am one to do, when I start thinking about one thing, it leads to another mini obsession. And so I’ve now gone down a bit of a rabbit hole of gardening, and I’ve been thinking about this for a long time as well. I attempted growing things in London, but there was never enough sun in our garden.

And when there was a summer with enough sun, we would head off to Australia just at that time of year. And so tomatoes would rot and it was never very successful. So now we are living in a subtropical climate and it’s very lush and green, I figure things should grow a lot better and that I should try again. So I have been watching some videos. I was a member of MasterClass, which is an online learning platform, probably a couple of years ago.

It was when they were first starting. So they weren’t that many classes, but they have put a lot more classes on the platform now and a lot more variety in the types of classes. And one of them that I saw an advert for was growing vegetables, and I thought the class looked really fun. So after thinking about it and getting emails and seeing adverts for a while now, I finally decided to sign up again.

And I watched the MasterClass, it’s by a guy called Ron Finley and he’s based in LA in the U.S., and is a community activist and he calls himself the gangster gardener. I have to say, it’s a little bit sweary. So quite a bit of swearing peppered throughout it, but I don’t know, I quite enjoyed his style and he’s definitely passionate about gardening.

And it was really, really inspirational and very enjoyable to watch the production value of the classes on MasterClass is super high. It’s amazing, beautiful filming, and just the quality is really good. So I just went through that class on MasterClass, and he ends up with talking about finding your creativity and how gardening is a place for creativity, and it’s something that is within all of us.

And so I really appreciated his whole philosophy towards gardening. So I really recommend that. I am a affiliate for MasterClass. I signed up for the affiliate program a couple of years ago when I first joined and I’ve never really promoted it, but I will put a link or an image in the show notes. So if you do fancy joining up and do so via my link, I would appreciate it. I get a small commission for that.

And now I need to look at what class I’m going to take next. I’m quite interested in a lot of the writing classes. There are a lot of different creative writing classes from different big name authors on there now. So I’ll probably look at some of those next. There’s also some interior design and just a lot of ones that seem to be very much about creativity and expressing your creativity in different areas.

The other really great video I found was on YouTube and it’s called Basil, How To Grow More Than You Can Eat on a channel called Gardening at 58 North, which is a guy in Scotland who has a gardening YouTube channel. And I haven’t watched any of his other videos yet, but this basil propagation video was really, really good. And he starts off with a 50p supermarket basil container and then grows a massive amount of basil plants from it.

So I have started a little basil propagation project in our window sill. I’m hoping to get the kids interested in that, and I’m hoping that it works as well as it did for him. I can’t say I have a green thumb at all. I am definitely a house plant killer, but I’m trying, and I’m trying to learn how to not kill my plants mostly by loving them too much with too much water. So I’m trying to be better about that, and it seems to be going a bit better this time with my latest family of houseplants.

So hopefully I can have some luck with growing some veggies as well. I’m hoping to grow some tomatoes and some greens like kale and lettuce, things like that, some herbs. What else did I think I might be able to grow? Some sweet potatoes. In the Ron Finley MasterClass, he talks about growing sweet potatoes and my dad has actually just growing some sweet potatoes this year, successfully, nearby. So I think I’m going to try that as well.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on that little project. Last week I mentioned that I was going to take the weekend off and try and do some personal crafting projects, and I didn’t get to my quilting at all, but I did make some really great progress on my Píosa cardigan by Renée Callahan. So I think I did a swatch on Friday night and let that dry.

And I always find it so difficult with swatches. It’s a ribbed swatch. It’s a five by one ribbing pattern that you do the swatch on, and I’m just always so tempted to just stretch it to the right gauge. But anyway, I think that it’s the right gauge. I’m not sure how to dye. I mean, it was tricky and it always changes anyway, depending on the fiber of the yarn, it can stretch or felt or do all sorts of things after a wash or two, but I think I’ve got gauge.

And so that was exciting and I’m using gorgeous, gorgeous yarn by Sweet Fiber, another Canadian yarny. And I purchased this yarn at Knit City, I think 2018 it was. I think I often say Knitty City when I’m referring to it, but that’s a yarn shop in New York. So it’s Knit City, the yarn festival in Vancouver.

And the yarn is Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted, which is 80% Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. So it’s absolutely gorgeous. And it’s the Rose Gold colorway, which is also stunning. And I am alternating skeins on the advice of Tracie from the Grocery Girls, because I know that she knit a pullover, I think, in the same yarn. And I asked her if she alternated skeins and she said, “You definitely need to.”

So which indie dyed, hand dyed yarn, you should generally alternate skeins, but I’m very lazy. So I try not to wherever I can, but I am being good and trying it. Not 100% sure how you do it for a cardigan with yarn going up the side of an open piece. I think I might have to Google how to do that once I get down into the body, but I’m just going across the back now and where the yarn’s going up the sides, alternating will be in the sleeve side at the moment.

So I’m not worried yet, but I think once I get down a bit, I’ll have to figure out a bit of technique. Maybe I’ll change over the skeins in from the edge. If anyone has any suggestions, they can message me on Ravelry or on Instagram about that. I am absolutely enjoying the pattern. It’s beautifully written as is all Renée’s patterns, but she also has videos to go along with it, which just adds to my confidence.

So the videos just give a fantastic extra confidence that you’re doing the techniques correctly and it saves a lot of time and energy wondering if you’re doing it right. You can confirm by watching Renée’s great instructions. And she’s such a wonderful teacher. I’ve done a couple of classes with Renée in the past and she’s a brilliant teacher. So if you’d like to knit a gorgeous cardigan with extra support, there’s a knit along happening at the moment and it’s really fun, so join us.

I decided to knit the small size though, so I’m a little bit nervous about that, because it’s meant to have generous ease, and Renée is about the same size as me and she knit a medium and it’s really sort of slouchy on her. And I was a bit undecided because I do like the slouchy look, but also I like the fitted look that some of the test knitters have done as well, but it was the amount of yarn that I had that kind of decided me to go for the smaller size, because it was quite touch and go for yarn amount.

So, I’m not sure that I had quite enough to do the medium. So I thought, “Well, I think I’ll just go for the small and worst case scenario Sophie can wear it, if it doesn’t fit me.” She’d absolutely love it as well. So, I decided to go for the small. Hopefully I will be able to wear it, but we’ll see. We’ll see. I’m not sure.

But I did very, very much enjoy having a weekend off and doing my personal crafting. So I am going to aim to do that again this weekend, get all my work done. It’s a really good way of motivating myself to get all my work done and then have the weekend off. I have some Handmade Sock Society news. So the fourth sock will be released next week for the third Handmade Sock Society series.

And we have just finished the knit along for the Ambient socks, which are the second socks. That finished up on Tuesday. And the winner, which was chosen by random number generator is number 32, who is Tove Me. So I think her Ravelry name is short for Tove Metta and she is based in Norway. So, congratulations Tove, and I’ll get in touch with you via Ravelry and find out your address to send your prize.

The knit along for the Rainy Window Socks is still going, and that will be drawn on Tuesday, the 9th of June. So if you’re needing the Rainy Window Socks, you can post that in the finished object thread on Ravelry by the 9th of June to be in the draw for some sock yarn and other little goodies that I will put together.

And I realized after I finished recording last week, that I forgot to mention the results, I guess you’d say, of the habitation event that we had happening last month. So I was giving away the habitation throw pattern and anyone who purchased the pattern, the proceeds were to be donated to the UNHCR, which is the UN Refugee Agency. And so thank you to hundreds of generous knitters, I was able to donate 3,000 Australian dollars to the Australian UNHCR.

And I selected the option wherever it’s needed most. When you do your donation, you can donate to Covid or Syria or other places that they’re supporting at the moment. And I was, I was going to choose the Covid support, but I decided to just say wherever it’s needed most at the moment. So thank you so much to everybody who purchased the pattern. I’d like to say a special thank you to a lovely knitter called Terry who sent a generous donation to be included in the main donation, because she already had the pattern. So that was absolutely lovely.

Thank you, Terry, for your lovely email and support. And a huge thank you to everybody who downloaded the pattern and is using it to knit and bring themselves some peace and joy and fun at the moment. It was completely overwhelming. And we actually had 21,832 downloads using the code “Shelter,” for the pattern, which amounted to over £100,000 of habitations throw pattern that we gave away last month.

So that’s pretty phenomenal, and I feel really good about that. I hope it’s just brought so much joy. It’s brought so much joy to me, and I get a thrill every time I see someone’s posts on Instagram or on Ravelry. So I decided to extend the fun by having a more official knit along on Ravelry. So if you finish your habitation throw this month, in the month of May, I will do a draw and send the winner a set of 24 minis that I will make from my leftover stash, from patterns and samples and projects.

I’ve just been through my stash this morning and found 24 gorgeous colors to send to the winner. So all you have to do to be in the draw for that is to create a project page on Ravelry and then post in the finished object thread in The Curious Handmade group. So we’ll put links to that in the show notes. And we will draw that after the 31st of May, early April, we’ll draw that, but the entries will close on the 31st of May.

So I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everybody who’s shared their habitation throw projects on Instagram or Ravelry or on podcasts. I know that The Yarniacs have mentioned it and I can see on Ravelry that I’m getting a lot of people linking from their website. So thank you so much Yarniacs and anyone else who’s shared it, because it really helps get the word out about my designs and is just a huge help. So I’m very, very appreciative.

Just before I sign off today, I’d like to say a huge thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story. I just wanted to mention that while the A Yarn Story shop in Bath is closed at the moment, Carmen is doing virtual shopping sessions for people. You can make appointment with her to do a video call, to help choose yarn and colors and get her advice.

So have a look on her website for details about that. Thanks so much for joining me today. It’s been lovely having a chat and it’s been so nice to stay connected with you during this crazy time. And I hope you’re doing well, I hope you’re staying well and happy, and I will talk to you again soon. Happy knitting and bye for now.

May 15 2020

24mins

Play

CH 294: April Knit20for2020 Winners and the MKAL is coming!

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Three weeks of homeschooling down, maybe two more to go? Somehow, I’m still managing to get some exciting knitting done in between it all. Today on the podcast I’ve got a short and sweet life catch-up, some KAL winners to announce, and more news on the upcoming Curious Handmade Mystery Knit Along, which I’m really excited about.

Show Links:

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

May #knit20for2020 FO Thread

April Ravelry winner: porthardy1 with Post 46

April Instagram winner: BlankSlateYarns

Snippet Socks

52 Weeks of Socks Book

Farm to Cable Yarns LYS

Unnathi Shawl by Lana Jois

The Ambient Socks is ending on Tuesday the 13th of May, so get your photos into the Ambient Socks FO Thread on Ravelry!

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Impressionists Shawl

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 294. This podcast is all about crafting your life with happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Welcome and thank you for joining me for a chat today. I’m just snatching a moment in a busy day to record so it might be quite a short episode, but I just wanted to pop in and have a quick chat with you and not let a week go past without recording. It’s been a really busy week. We are now just finished week three of homeschooling. The girls’ school is providing a really great service with online classes and a lot of support for them, but especially with Lexi, she needs a lot of support here at home as well to encourage her to do some work. So I have her set up in my office on a little folding camping table beside me, and I’ve decided it’s been quite interesting to see how she works.

Sophie is a couple of years older and is doing really great. She has a little desk set up upstairs and she doesn’t need as much support but still needs help with some things. I just kind of decided when we were homeschooling that I was going to enjoy the process and I was going to be patient with it and not expect to get any work done or expect too much of them in terms of what they would do. So that’s been working pretty well. They’ve been doing more than I expected that they would to be honest. Their school’s been really sensible and has just basically put on a schedule that goes until about one o’clock rather than the normal three o’clock, and in Lexi’s case it really only goes till about midday. So that’s really good and we can manage a morning quite happily.

Lexi sits there listening to her teacher and passing me notes, so we have a massive pile of little hand scribbled notes from, “I found my pen,” to “I need a hug.” And it’s quite funny. So week three, at the moment it’s scheduled to happen for another two weeks that they’re at home. Here in Queensland, some kids are going back next week. So they are opening schools up again for littlies, little kids like prep, grade one, and our school’s also sending back grade twos and then the oldest kids so the year 11 and 12s and our school is also having the year 10s back. So it’s starting again for some grades, not our grades though. It’s okay, two weeks isn’t that long really. She says slightly hysterically. And I think they’re going to see how things go with the numbers of cases and all of that jazz over the next couple of weeks.

But I think as it stands at the moment, it’s fairly as certain as it can be that they’ll be back at school soon, which will be nice for them to see their friends. I think they’re getting quite, not lonely but missing their friends quite a bit. And because we’re quite new to the school, we didn’t really have sort of the level of friends that they wanted to FaceTime very much or call people or get in touch all that much with their friends. Their friends were quite new. So we have caught up with some people a little bit but not very much.

I’ve been enjoying having some Zoom calls with knitting friends. Although with the kids home from school, that’s been a little bit tricky and the time zones here with Australia are a bit crazy regardless of where else you are in the world. I haven’t felt too lonely. I’ve started feeling a little bit like I’d like to have a bit more contact with people but it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been working from home by myself for a long time, quite a few years now. So I’m quite used to it. It doesn’t feel like such a massive change for me. I think my husband is going pretty loopy with being stuck at home because he’s not used to it at all. But we’re getting there, we’re getting there.

We have acquired another mouse for the mouse house. So we’re now up to six mice. And yesterday I started Googling to see if there are any puppies available locally. So maybe it is affecting me a bit more than I’m trying to let on. But yes, I hope you’re staying fairly sane and safe and I hope your friends and family are safe and well also. I’ve been enjoying some very nice walks and maybe feeling like I’m getting slightly fitter. It’s quite hilly where I live so most of the walking routes involves some sort of hill if not quite a big hill as part of it although there are some flat routes I can take you from feeling lazy. So I’ve been enjoying that. My yoga has slipped this week. I was doing so well on a 30 day yoga challenge but that slipped a bit this week. But hopefully I’ll get back into it again next week.

So first up in knitting chat, I have the winners of the April Knit 20 for 2020 challenge to announce. So to be in the draw for prizes for Knit 20 for 2020, all you need to do is post a finished object in either the thread on Ravelry for their respective month or on Instagram using the hashtag and just any finished object that ticks one or more boxes on the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And you can find the details of that on my website curioushandmade.com. It involves a series of 20 prompts of different items and techniques and types of yarn to try over the course of the year. And when you enter into the prize draw, you can nominate a favorite dyer or yarn shop or online yarn shop to win a $50 US or local currency equivalent gift voucher from that shop. So I wanted to encourage both participation in the challenge as well as encourage our local yarn shops and indie dyers, especially at the moment.

This challenge has got to run every month this year. So the winners for this month on the Ravelry thread is porthardy1 who is Joanne in Canada. And she has knit an absolutely gorgeous pair of snippet socks, which is my design in the Laine 52 Weeks of Socks book. And I have to say it doesn’t have to be one of my designs for an entry into the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge by any means. But I do love these socks and she has nominated Farm to Cables LYS, which is a wonderful online yarn shop in Canada. So congratulations Joanne, and you can either drop me a message on Ravelry at HellsBells or I’ll get in contact with you as well.

And on Instagram the winner is blankslateyarns, and that’s Avery, and she’s entered a picture of a gorgeous lacy shawl or wrap I think it is. It’s a design called Unathi by Lana Joyce. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous design. Really beautiful lace, so thank you for sharing that. And I don’t think she’s nominated a particular yarn shop or dyer. She looks like she’s an indie dyer herself. So I’ll be in touch to organize your prize as well. So thanks so much for joining in. It’s a really fun challenge and I love looking at all your projects, seeing all the different things people have made because it’s such a variety of prompts. There’s so many different projects and I’m getting lots of ideas of things to knit as well, which is fabulous. So if you’re finishing anything this month, don’t forget to post it for the May prize draw.

We also have the Handmade Sock Society knit along happening as well. And the knit along for their second socks which is the Ambient Socks, is finishing on next Tuesday the 12th of May. So if you have knit a pair of Ambient Socks from the Handmade Sock Society, you can post your finished object and the thread on Ravelry and be in the running to win a prize for that which will be a skein of sock yarn and possibly some other little goodies that I pop in there.

So last week I mentioned that I was sort of thinking about a mystery knit along coming up, and in the past week I’ve actually got the bit between my teeth and worked all week on a design and have been knitting like crazy. So that looks like it’s going to be coming up for sure. And I just need to work out a timeline now for testing and writing up the pattern and all that jazz. I haven’t worked it out yet because I’ve literally just basically cast off the sample today, a couple of hours ago, so it will be at least a few weeks away but not too far. So keep an eye out for more details of that if you’re interested in participating in a shawl mystery knit along.

The last mystery knit along I did was The Impressionist Shawl and that was two years ago, so March 2018 that started. I loved that knit along and I am really, really looking forward to this next one as well. So I hope you are able to join in. Perhaps some of us might have a bit more time on our hands than usual at the moment. Some of us possibly busier than ever, especially if you’re an essential worker or trying to work full time and homeschool your kids. But lots of people in lots of different situations at the moment, but hopefully we can have some fun with our knitting in these crazy times.

So as a result of working pretty much full time on that shawl design this week, I haven’t had much time for anything else and I think that what I’ll do is this weekend give myself a proper weekend from work, try not to do any work, and I’m just absolutely desperate to start my Piosa Cardigan, which is a knit along that Renee Callahan of East London Knit is hosting at the moment. I signed up for the knit along and it’s a gorgeous cardigan I wound a couple of skeins of the Sweet Fiber Yarn in Rose Gold, but I didn’t get as far as swatching yet. So that’s going to be my challenge for the weekend is to swatch and hopefully cast on my Piosa Cardigan. And if I can be really ambitious, I like to finish cutting out the fabric for my houses quilt that I started a few weeks ago.

I had a weekend where I cut out almost all the fabric but I didn’t quite get to finish that. So I like to get everything cut this weekend so that I can start sewing up little house blocks for my quilt and it is Mother’s Day here on Sunday so I think I deserve it and hopefully will be given some time to do some things for myself. We’ll see, I don’t know. I’m hopeful. I think we’re in sync with the US, so maybe it’s mother’s day in the US. I think we’re out of sync with the UK. I can never quite remember where we match up with, but yes, Mother’s Day here on Sunday and if it’s Mother’s Day where you are, have a good day. And.

I’m looking forward to seeing my mom and being in the same country as my mom after many, many years, so that will be quite nice. And I hope you can have some lovely, lovely crafting, knitting, relaxing time this weekend as well even if it’s just for a few moments.

So thanks again for joining me. Hope you have a wonderful day, a wonderful weekend. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

May 08 2020

17mins

Play

CH 293: New projects and a small haul

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

I’m feeling cheerful and full of crafty mojo this week, so in this episode I’m sharing my plans for several new projects: knitting, quilting…and even an upcoming mystery knit along! And of course, new projects provide a good excuse for some lovely new materials, so I have some recent purchases to talk about (along with some special stash.) I even have another Curious Handmade KAL to announce!

Show Links:

So Just Shop

So Just Shop on Instagram

Grocery Girls Podcast

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Susan B Anderson Panda

Barret Wool Co.

The Strawberry Thief Shop

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Skein Australia

The Habitation Throw

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me today for a chat about knitting and other crafty things. I am having a much better week this week than I was last week. Last week I felt like I was slightly negative compared to what I normally try to be. I’ve been on some lovely walks this week. The weather has been a bit better. It’s been really gorgeous. We’re heading into autumn here now, so it’s starting to cool down a little bit. It’s been blue skies and just really lovely. I’m also feeling quite good about the routine. We’re settling into a bit of a better routine now with the homeschooling and getting used to what me and the kids can manage in any one buy. So that’s becoming a little bit easier as well. I feel like I’ve got a little bit more knitting and crafting mojo back and just lots of projects happening or about to happen. So I’ll chat a little bit about that this week.

I just wanted to give a little shout out to our friends at So Just Shop.’So Just Shop is an online shop. They’re based in the UK, but will send items anywhere in the world, I think subject to COVID mail restrictions at the moment. The ethos of the shop is to support artisans, especially female led artisans in producing craft products and jewelry and all sorts of handmade products all around the world in the communities where the women are providing for their families and don’t have any other means to do so apart from making these things. So one of the groups that So Just Shop supports is the Big Blue Moma Bags for example. I’m a huge fan of these bags. I first saw them on the grocery girls and I said to my friend Jen, who runs So Just Shop, “You must stock these bags because they’re so beautiful. They’re so beautifully made.” So they have some in stock, and they’re also doing a really special campaign at the moment to support all the communities where possible during these uncertain times.

Some of the groups are not able to work at the moment or produce their goods due to lockdowns. I’m just reading from the website now, and they say, “And so we have developed a plan to allow us to offer financial support through the crisis. We have approached groups in the most adversely affected areas and asked them to design a product which they will produce and supply as soon as they are able to return to normal working practices.” These products are available to pre-purchase and the So Just Shop platform or organization is donating all the profits from the sale of the products directly back to the artisan groups to help them sustain through this really difficult period. You’re also able to add a voluntary donation to your purchase which will equate to a specific staple item for a family to buy. For example, the cost of a bag of rice or a basket of vegetables. “We are committed to transferring all of the profits and anything additional back to the groups as soon as we practically can.”

Anyway, you can have a look at the page if you’re interested in helping support these are artisan groups, and I’ve accessed the page via So Just Shop accessories’ Instagram page, but if you Google, sojustshop.com you can find it as well. So some of the products include a Big Blue Moma special bag, which is a small u-shopper, which is just a gorgeous shape, really cool shape. There’s a Krisha bracelet from Tara, which is beautiful bracelet with, it looks like, pearls and maybe a leather band. There’s gorgeous earrings, another bracelet, sari embroidered cushion, giant crunchies, and a beautiful mug are some of the products that are available for pre-purchase to support these artisans. I know that it’s difficult for a lot of people right now, but if you were interested in supporting these groups and interested in having a look at any of these products, that would be great. And also if you could just support the So Just Shop by liking the page or liking posts, following, commenting in support, all these things mean so much to people running businesses or the artisan groups themselves. And yeah, you could support in other ways even if you can’t or don’t want to purchase something from the site.

I have to admit I have been super influenced by Instagram in my purchasing recently. I was chuckling to myself so much recently because I heard Jody and Tracy from the Grocery Girls talking about things that they had bought after seeing them on Instagram, including the pink clay, the Australian pink clay, which I had also bought on the basis of the Instagram ads and other weird things that you buy once you see an Instagram ad. I haven’t been doing that for a while. Not since we moved, probably. I’ve scaled back a lot on my internet purchasing partly because here in Australia it’s a lot slower and more postage, more expensive postage than when I was in London. But anyway, I have made a couple of purchases this week I post on Instagram.

The first one is the piosa cardigan pattern by Renee Callahan. I did a little story about it. I hardly ever do video stories, but I plucked up the courage to do a story about the cardigan because I wanted everybody to know about this new pattern that Renee has just released, because she’s releasing the pattern in parts. I’ll just read out the description that encouraged me to get involved when I saw it on Instagram. So she said, “Are you looking for a new cardigan to cast on?” Yes I was. She says, “I have just the thing, piosa is a top down seamless cardigan knit in a gorgeous Worsted weight yarn which is Nua by Carol Feller. The pattern will be released in four parts. Part one will be tomorrow,” which was actually lost Thursday. “And then you’ll have a week to get your yarn, your needles, and gauge already to cast on for next week,” which was yesterday, when you’re listening to this, if you’re listening to this on Friday when I release the podcast. Sounds a bit confusing.

But anyway, so the first clue or part is already just released. Each part of the pattern will be accompanied by a video with tips, demonstrations and tutorials to guide you through the process. I was very drawn to the photograph. It’s gorgeous, grandpa’s style cardy with a reverse ribbed design and gorgeous pockets. Lovely details, and I love these big cozy pockets. So I can’t wait to cast this on. And I had the yard for it and my stash, which was super bonus. I’m using some sweet fiber yarn that I bought in Vancouver at Knitty City a couple of years ago on a wonderful trip. So I’ll have wonderful memories of buying the yarn and it’s rose gold, which is such a gorgeous color way. So yeah I can’t wait to cross this on and get into it and I’m excited about having the tutorials and videos to go along with it in case of any getting stuck, which I sometimes do with cardigans. So yeah, very exciting. And thanks Renee, for doing this. It’s super fun to do a knit along and I’m going to endeavor to keep up with it, this knit along.

I don’t normally keep up with knit alongs very well at all, but this is Worsted weight, so I’m thinking that bodes well doesn’t it, that you can knit fairly quickly in Worsted weight yarn. So that was one thing that I was tempted into and it was true. I was looking for a cardy pattern for knit 20 for 2020 challenge and I’ve been tossing around different ideas. But then when I saw this it was just like, “Yes, that’s perfect.” So much more fun to do it as a knit along. And then also I’ve been keeping an eye out for a toy option for my knit 20 for 2020, and when I wrote that prompt to make a toy, I had in mind to make a toy by Susan B. Anderson. I’d been wanting to make one of her toy patterns for years, and I’d seen people on retreats with them, specifically the Knitting Pipeline retreat where people had done classes with Susan and were knitting her gorgeous dolls and toys. I just always found them so cute.

So I’d been thinking, “Oh, which one of her patterns will I knit because there’s so many.” And then she showed on Instagram the panda kits with custom heart buttons were in the shop, and it says the kits include our Wisconsin woolen spun yarn. It’s an amazingly fun, seamless knit with a lot of charm and character to boot. So when she said it was relatively easy, I was sold, and this panda is so adorable. It’s got a lovely red cardy. It’s just the cutest thing ever. It’s so cute. So I ordered one of the kits from Barrett Wool co because I’d also been wanting to try Barrett Wool co yarn for ages. So yeah, Barrett Wool Co kit combined with pattern from Susan B. Anderson will be my toy. So hopefully it will arrive soonish. Post is taking a fair bit longer than normal at the moment, but I think our postal service is working okay, so it’ll just be a matter of whether there’s flights taking freight between the US and Australia or maybe it will go on a slow boat. I’m not sure. Anyway, it’ll probably take a little while to get here, but hopefully not too long. Anyway, so I’ll have that to look forward to.

And then another thing that I bought just yesterday. As you will have gathered from previous recent episodes, I’ve been getting into quilting. I have never been a huge quilter but I’ve made a few quilts over the years and I’ve just finished one that I’ve been making over the past three years. Very simple squares, nothing fancy at all, just squares. As a result of that, I’ve started following some quilting and fabric and sewing accounts on Instagram and I came across this one which is called the Strawberry Thief, and the Strawberry Thief is a online shop based in Perth. I don’t know if they have a physical shop in Perth, but anyway, they have a great online shop. It’s thestrawberrythief.com.au is the website, and the Instagram account is The_Strawberry_Thief. The owner was doing some tutorials about making hexie quilts, which I thought were fabulous. I did start a hexie project a couple of years ago, and the girls also started making hexies and we never really got very far with it, but she was having some great tips on making a hexie quilt in this video.

And then a few days later they were advertising a club and they specialize in Liberty of London prints. I don’t know that they sell any other type of fabric. It’s all Liberty of London, I think. So I saw a post saying, “This is the last day for our hexie clubs. To sign up for our hexie clubs for the month.” So I was just in that mood where I was like, “Oh, that sounds so cool.” So I ordered, I went in on this hexie club. I don’t know where I think I’m going to get the time to do this, especially once life gets back to normal, which hopefully won’t be too long away. But anyway, I just signed up for that on a bit of a whim and thought maybe that’s something I could do when I feel like doing something other than knitting. So I have a little Hexie project making these types of quilts by hand, which I think might be quite meditative and the fabric is so beautiful and inspiring. So yes.

So I have been on an absolute Instagram shopping roll this week and I’m not feeling too guilty because I haven’t been buying much online at all, if anything, until this little spree. And I certainly haven’t been shopping outside of the house, so I don’t feel too bad about having a little splurge. And it’s been quite satisfying to do it all at once, in a funny kind of way. So yes, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’ve also been doing some design work and have had a little bit more mojo for that as well. I had on my schedule for the year to maybe do a mystery knit along later on in the year, but with being at home and not having as much to do and not being able to get out and about, I thought, “Well, I might just work on that now.”

So I’ve been working on some ideas for a mystery knit along shawl, and I just thought I’d drop that in there. I’ll let you know that that might be coming out at some point. I’m not going to decide on a timeframe until I get a bit further into the design and knitting up the sample. But yes, I’ve been really enjoying that and working with some gorgeous yarn. Actually some gorgeous yarn from Skein Australia that arrived recently, so I’ve been having a lot of fun getting out my stitch dictionaries and playing with color and thinking about themes and all of that fun stuff that comes into designing.

Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadow Yarn. Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knit, Icelandic lopi, and CoopKnits, We stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched Hand Dyed by Meadow Yarn, our very own in-house hand dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of color producing complex tonal kettle dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and growth inspired by the landscape and people around us. You can find them at meadowyarn.co.uk, or you can click on the ad on my blog.

I just wanted to say a huge, huge thank you to everybody who downloaded the habitation throw in the month of April, and for the people that purchased the pattern I will be sending off a really generous donation to UNHCR Australia and a huge, huge thank you enabling me to do that. And I had one lovely knitter who actually contacted me and said she already had the pattern but she sent me money to include in the donation, so thank you for all those generous people out there. I thought what I might do during May is to open up a knit along thread on Ravelry for people to post their habitation throws, and I am going to make a prize of 24 minis from my stash, which will come from patterns that I’ve designed and special yarns and put together a mini set as a prize.

So we’ll have that knit along going through the month of May, and anybody who started a habitation throw, or finished a habitation throw can post in the thread and be in the draw to win a special prize of minis. So just when you thought you were getting rid of your scraps, you can win some more. So thank you again. It has been so wonderful to feel the community joining in on that and seeing people’s habitation throws on Instagram and Ravelry. It’s brought a lot of joy to me during this quite difficult month and yes, thank you, thank you, thank you so much. So on that note, I will say goodbye. I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.

May 01 2020

21mins

Play

CH 292: The Rainy Window Socks and lots of lockdown reading

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Aside from getting lost in an absorbing new knitting project, one of the best things I know is escaping into a good book. Today on the podcast I’m talking about some of my recent favourite reads and what’s on my list next. And of course there’s some knitting news, with a new pattern from The Handmade Sock Society 3 to introduce and yet more WIPs on their way off my needles.

Show Links:

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Yarn Ink: the Canadian dyer of the skein I’m using for my vanilla socks WIP

Rainy Window Socks

@tinkhickman on Instagram

Tracyrr aka The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

Ambient Socks FO Thread

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Viola Yarn

Squam Art Workshops

Stories for my Sister by Elizabeth Duvivier

Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths

@HillyFilly on Instagram

Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny

@susanhartmann on Instagram

@DigsKnitting on Instagram

The Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French

@pawsandknit on Instagram

Bob Skinner Series by Quintin Jardin

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

April #knit20for2020 FO Thread

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 292. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and a transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadowyarn.

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’re okay, having a good week. I know things are really difficult at the moment for everyone, and I hear you, and I sympathize and empathize. I have been very up and down, and I’m not even sure why. It’s all just a bit overwhelming and crazy at the moment. I’m a little bit fed up with my family and also feeling guilty for feeling fed up with my family because I know how lucky I am. And I’m just super, super grateful for crafting and my online community, to take my mind off being cooped up at home, and just feeling super grateful for all the people that are working, essential workers at the moment. Everyone from healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, amazing healthcare professionals who are overwhelmed at work, to everybody supporting society at the moment, grocery store workers, and just everybody who’s supporting us to stay at home, and stay safe, and try and keep other people safe as well.

We are in our first of five weeks of homeschooling. The government announced that that would be the case for our state last week. And so we’re doing that this week. And yeah, my kids are doing pretty well. It’s fairly intense, I have to say. And I’ve just decided to have really low expectations. I had a really nice chat with one of the girls’ teachers, and she said, basically, just do your best. And if they can do half an hour of reading every day, they’d be happy with that. So that was good to have a reality check on what the teachers’ expectations are. And it was nice to know that they weren’t expecting us to suddenly become fully qualified teachers, and that they didn’t expect the kids to be, I don’t know, concentrating, or doing as much at home. So that was quite a relief. It took a lot of pressure off. Obviously, I’m still trying to get them to follow the routine that the school’s setting out, and trying to maintain for them, but it’s a little bit up and down, and a little bit loosey-goosey, so we’ll just see how it goes.

I’m hoping that it’s only for five weeks. I feel fairly hopeful that it will only be five weeks, because the numbers here in Queensland are looking quite hopeful, so I’m feeling hopeful as well. I hope you’re coping okay as well, whatever your situation is, whether you’re having to go out, having to work at home, or are not working at the moment. I think it’s just really difficult for everybody, but you’re not alone, and I’m happy to be chatting with you today, and I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who’s just posting cheerful things on Instagram and Ravelry, and it’s just nice to be in touch with people and friends.

I’ve had a few Zoom conversations with some friends, some knitting friends, and some non-knitting friends. And that’s been super nice just to have chats with people and feel connected with people. And I’m feeling quite like a bit of a blob at the moment, even though I’ve probably been doing more regular exercise than normal. So I’m not quite sure why. I guess it’s just because I’m normally out and about and moving around a lot more than I realized I was. But being at home a lot more.

So back to knitting news, which is really what we’re all about here. This week, I released the third design in The Handmade Sock Society Season 3, the Rainy Window Socks. And it seems a bit ironic here, because it rains a lot here where I live in Australia, but at the moment, this week has just been gorgeous and sunny and blue skies. So it’s not really quite appropriate for this week. But we do get a lot of rainy windows here. I’ll just read you the description for the socks.

The sky is grey and heavy outside, and the first raindrops begin to trace their paths down the window. They have come a long way, from sea, to sky, to clouds, to end up here on this particular pane of glass. This is rain in its most contemplative mood, but there are others. Brisk, joyful spring rains to turn the fields and gardens green. Strong, quenching rains, long-awaited, to restore the earth after a drought. Fearsome storms that sweep into swell quiet streams, fill the flood plains, and carve new rivers into the landscape. Gentle or fierce, welcome or dreaded, the rain cannot be commanded and will not be controlled. It is on its own journey, from sea to sky to earth and back again.

The Rainy Window Socks are a tribute to the free-spirited nature of the rain and the lessons it can teach about following our own path. The front and top of the foot feature a river of eyelet raindrops, framed with simple cables, balanced on the back with plain stockinette stitch. Knit from the top down, they are finished with a heel flap and gusset and a round toe. With three sizes to choose from, it’s easy to create a beautifully fitted sock.

The yarn I used for this is a gorgeous Woolbarn Cashmere Sock in a dreamy blue color, and I always love knitting that yarn so much. It’s one of my favorites for sure. I’d like to thank Deb Tinkhickman who knit the sample for me and took the absolutely stunning photographs of the sample. And I’d like to thank my test knitter, Tracy, who is TracyRR on Ravelry, and host of The Comfy Red Couch podcast on YouTube, as well as my tech editors, Anna and Emma. Now, more than ever, I’m so grateful for my team who are helping me put these patterns together, and it would be very difficult to be getting any work done at the moment without them. And special thanks to Amanda, who wrote the lovely description.

So that means we currently have a Knit Along happening for two socks from The Handmade Sock Society at the moment. The Ambient Sock Knit Along continues for another few weeks, and the Knit Along for these Rainy Window Socks is just starting. So be sure to post your finished objects in the appropriate threads in Ravelry, and I will be sending out some lovely prizes for the random prize draw from the threads at the end of each Knit Along.

Apart from a little bit of design work, I have been on a bit of a roll with finishing some long-term works in progress that I had a draw of in my cabinet. And I think I said last week that I finished the Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith. And then I went on to pull out another pair of socks that I just had the foot and toe on the second sock to go, and they were a plain vanilla pair of socks that I was knitting in some gorgeous yarn that had been gifted to me by Jodi from the Grocery Girls, when I made my very first Mrs. Brown’s Bags purchase, and that was even before the Grocery Girls podcast.

So I had the yarn in my stash for quite a while, and I’d also had the socks on the needles for quite a while, not quite as long. So yeah, so that was really fun to finish. And I was knitting on them at my parents’ place, and my dad said, “Ooh, I like the look of those.” So his birthday’s coming up soon so I will gift them to him because we actually have the same size feet. So they are beautiful pink and blue yarn, and embarrassingly, I just am having a mental blank on the name of the dyer. I’ll try and dig that out. Of course, the ball band has long since gone missing. It’s a Canadian dyer. I’ll try and dig that out and put it in the show notes. But yeah, so that was good to finish another work in progress, another pair of socks.

And then I pulled out another project from the draw, which is the Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden, that I’m knitting in the suggested yarn, which is Viola Emily yarn. It’s a gorgeous project and it’s knit in mohair silk yarn, held singly, but you knit a tube and then it becomes doubled over. And I’m currently deciding whether to finish the project, or whether to knit a little bit more on the tube and call it a cowl. It’s a lot of knitting of stockinette mohair silk, and while, in a way, it’s a kind of perfect project for mindless knitting and Netflix binges, I am not sure I want to finish it. I do want to finish it because it’s such a beautiful project. I’m just not sure if I want to knit that much stockinette in mohair.

Anyway, I’m not deciding that just yet, but I will have to make a decision at some point, or I might just put it away again for a while and think about it. Yeah, so that’s what I’m working on with my knitting at the moment. I haven’t made any more progress on my quilt, but after I record this, I might give myself a little bit of a crafting break from work and go and cut out some more squares for my quilt project, my houses quilt project that I’m working on at the moment.

Other than that, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. Around this time last year, I was asking for suggestions of series to read, and I put a post on Instagram and got a lot of great suggestions. And one of the responses to that post, I think it was around June last year, so it’s coming up to a year quite quickly that I made that post, and Elizabeth Duvivier from Squam Art Workshops got in touch, and she had recently released her first novel, which is called Stories For My Sister. She sent me a copy all the way to Australia, and it took me a little while to get to it on my reading pile because I just didn’t read while we were moving and settling in here. But then I had a real reading binge for a while.

So I read her lovely book. It’s Stories For My Sister, and it’s just a gorgeous book. It’s about two sisters. It says, “It’s May 1993. Two sisters, Bea and Mona, are about to spend 10 days together under the worst possible circumstances. With seven years between them, as well as a lifetime of hurts and misunderstandings, is it too late for them to become friends?” So it’s a beautiful, gentle book about two sisters, and I always love things about sisters. I have two sisters myself, and so I love the theme, and Elizabeth’s writing is absolutely gorgeous. I was really gripped by the book and yeah, really recommend it if you would like a gentle book about sisters and relationships and friendship. I’d really, really recommend this.

It’s called Stories for My Sister, by Elizabeth Duvivier. It’s available from her website, which is Elizabethduvivier.com. I’ll put a link in the show notes. And it’s available from her website as a paperback, an ebook, and an audio book. So you have various options for this book. So thank you so much for sending me a copy, Elizabeth. I really, really enjoyed it. And congratulations on your first novel, belated congratulations.

Some other suggestions that were given to me at the time, I’ve also really, really enjoyed, so I just thought I’d share those with you as well in case you’re looking for some reading material. I was saying that I do like kind of detective stories or, I don’t know, I guess you call them action novels. So I had a recommendation for the Ruth Galloway series, by Elly Griffiths. That was from Theresa, who is hillyphilly on Instagram. I absolutely loved this series. It’s about an archeologist, Ruth Galloway, who’s the main character. She’s a fabulous main character. The books are set in Norfolk, in the UK, and really atmospheric, really great stories, great plots, great characters, absolutely loved them.

Then the other series that I also devoured is by Louise Penny, the Inspector Gamache books, and that was recommended to me by a couple of people. So thank you very much for your recommendation, Susan Hartman, as well as Digs Knitting. And both those series were ones where I was sad when I had read them all. I just read one after the other, and basically couldn’t put the whole series down. I read them all on my phone, basically, in Kindle. And so now I’ve just gone back to the post on Instagram to find more suggestions.

Linda, who’s PawsandKnit, recommended Tana French, the Dublin Murder Squad. So I might check that one out next. And Sarah Cauldron of Color recommended Quintin Jardine’s Bob Skinner series. So both of those sound like they’re up my alley, and I will check them out. I’d love any other suggestions along these lines, if you have them as well, because I tend to be quite a quick reader. I tend to skim a little bit, to be honest, when it’s a series that I really like. So yeah, so I get through them quite quickly. But yeah, looking forward to checking out those two series. I feel like, for the past few weeks I haven’t really been able to concentrate on anything, and I’ve just been scrolling through Instagram and news on my phone a lot, and I think if I had a good series on the go that I went to first, instead of doing that, it would be a lot more enjoyable and fun. So that’s what I’m going to try and get into, get into something else.

Before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story. Find all your favorite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store, based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. Here you’ll find a gorgeous selection to choose from, including sumptuous skeins from House of a la Mode, La Bien Aimée, and Julie Asselin. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, treat your projects to the luxury they deserve. You can also shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk. And while A Yarn Story physical shop in Bath isn’t open at the moment, she is still doing online orders and also doing virtual shopping sessions for customers, either by phone or video call. So do get in touch with A Yarn Story if you need any knitting supplies, especially if you’re in the UK.

And don’t forget to put any entries into the Knit Alongs that are happening at the moment. The Knit 20 for 2020 Knit Along is happening each month. And if you nominate your favorite yarn shop, or indie dyer, or other yarny business, you can go into the draw to win a $50 gift voucher. And I’m doing a draw from both Instagram on the hashtag Knit20for2020, as well as in the Ravelry thread that’s been set up for each month. And we also have the coupon code for the Habitation Throw happening still through to the end of the month. And you can get the Habitation Throw, which is a great, relaxing, meditative knit, and also uses scrap yarn, so I think it’s especially good for us at the moment. And that is free with the code shelter. And if you purchase the pattern, I’ll be donating the proceeds to the UNHCR charity for refugees.

So a huge thank you to everybody who’s downloaded the pattern. I’ve had 19,000 downloads of the pattern, so thank you very much. I can’t believe it’s that many. We’ve also had about £1,900 in purchases that I’ll be able to donate as well, which is incredible. So thank you, thank you, thank you so much, and thank you for posting pictures of your Habitation Throws on Instagram and Ravelry. I love seeing them. Makes me feel really connected to you all, and it’s really joyful. So I hope you have a wonderful week and hope you can find some peaceful moments in the chaos at the moment. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Apr 24 2020

21mins

Play

CH 291: Gentle crafting and self care

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Productivity has been up and down over the last two weeks as we all try to adjust to a new normal. Today on the podcast I’m talking about some of the self-care strategies that are helping to keep me sane, some resources that I’m finding useful, and the gentle, soothing craft projects that are bringing joy and calm into the day-to-day just now. I’m also working through some old WIPs and savouring the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finally casting off.

Show Links:

Yoga With Kassandra

The tree-growing focus app Forest

Hello from my daily walk!

Luminary Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Our winner for the Luminary Socks KAL is Post 131 by DorothyMayNZ

Hedgerow Yarns

Mina Makes, aka The Knitting Expat

Ambient Socks

The Ambient Socks FO Thread in Ravelry

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

JeniB320 on Instagram

In Color Order Blog

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Get the Habitation Throw for free with the code SHELTER

#habitationthrow on Instagram

April FO Thread for #Knit20for2020 KAL

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 291. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry, as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story.


A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique, with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades and weights. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Company and Walcot Yarns, to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath, or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk. A Yarn Story is actually doing online orders at the moment, and Carmel is also offering consultations either by video or phone to help you choose colors and yarn for projects. So be sure to sign up to the Yarn Story email list for all the latest news about what’s happening. Carmel’s doing some really fun projects and knit and craft alongs. So I’d recommend signing up for her cheerful email that comes out about once a week.


Welcome to the show, and I hope you’re well and coping okay with the current pandemic crisis. I am going pretty well here and thinking of all of you, all the time. I have to say, it’s been very up and down on a daily basis. My mental state is all over the place. I haven’t had much concentration and distraction has been very, very high. But I’m slowly, slowly getting myself into a bit of a better state and I’ve been doing some particular things to help me do that. I created a spreadsheet for April to track my streaks. So I have things on there like walking every day, and yoga, meditation, eating healthily, and getting enough sleep. So all the things that I’m just trying to do. And so I have a spreadsheet that I fill in each day with either red or green, depending on whether I’ve achieved that thing that day.


So I’m not aiming to be perfect. It’s far from perfect, but it’s keeping me a little bit on track, and I think I’ve got more green than red over all my streaks. I’ve got a fairly ambitious list of things I’m trying to do all day. So what I just mentioned, plus music practice, and a few other sort of personal things that I’m trying to do, as well as encourage my children to do some of those things as well. It’s definitely not all going to happen every day, but just having a few things that I’m doing most days is really helping keep me a bit more grounded and a bit calmer.


I started a really nice practice with one of my best friends who lives down Sydney way, not in Sydney but near Sydney, and she’s one of my oldest friends. I went to university with Jo. And not right at the beginning of the month but a couple of days in, we decided that we would have a morning yoga practice, and we chose Yoga with Kassandra. I saw that she was doing a month long free stream of classes, and they’re only 10 minutes. So that’s really good for me because I have done yoga in the past but not for years. And so 10 minutes is super doable. It’s easy to fit in, and it’s morning, sort of, it’s meant to be done in the morning. So it’s basically the first thing I try and do. Sometimes I’ll need a coffee before I tackle it, but I can generally just get up and do that straightaway. And at least, then I feel like I’ve done something for the day, something positive.


And Jo lives by herself and is basically self-isolating because she has asthma and immune kind of issues. And so yeah, so it’s really nice for both of us to have that little connection. And we don’t talk every day, but we talk some days before or after the session, and we text and just update each other if we’ve done it. And we’re trying to do it at 7:00 am, but that fell by the wayside a little bit over Easter weekend because we sort of gave ourselves Easter weekend to have some sleep ins, but getting back into it now. So that’s been wonderful. And I’m also trying to do daily walks with my sister, or by myself if she’s not available. I’ve managed to get the girls out on a couple of walks as well, which kind of feels a bit like I’m dragging them out and around, but they kind of enjoy it once they’re out.


So yeah. So just a few things like that to keep me, I don’t know, healthy, I suppose. It is really, really helping. And my work productivity has been pretty low, partly because kids home, and partly because distracted by endless news rabbit holes. But I’m trying to get myself back to doing a little bit of work as well. And I’ve been finding using an app to help me with concentrating has been really good. I’m not sure what the name of the app is. I’ll try and find it and put a link. But basically, it’s you grow a tree, and try and grow a forest. So you set the timer for however long you want to set it for. So I’ve been doing half hour stints. And yeah, so setting the timer, and if you go onto your phone and interrupt the session, then your tree dies. So it’s just a little mindfulness thing to stop you just picking up your phone and getting distracted by Instagram, for example. So I really like that app.


So I have to say, the month of April does seem to be going a little bit faster than March, for me, anyway. And that means we are up to drawing the prize for The Handmade Sock Society. Sock Number One, the Luminary Socks Knit Along. And the random number generator is number 131, and the winner is DorothyMayNZ, who’s posted a gorgeous pair of Luminary Socks with a lovely Easter decoration. And so congratulations, Catherine. Catherine is in Wellington, New Zealand. So waving across the pond. And I’ll get in touch with you about sending your prize, which is some gorgeous Hedgerow Yarns, sock yarn, as well as a little Mina Makes project bag. We currently have the Knit Along happening for the Ambient Socks, and that Knit Along runs through till Tuesday the 12th of May. And we have The Handmade Sock Society Socks Number Three being released next Tuesday. So coming up very soon. So I’m excited to share those with you, and loving seeing everybody’s socks, for people participating in The Handmade Sock Society this year.


I’ve been plugging along on some personal projects, which has been really lovely. I apologize that I didn’t have an episode for you last week, as Easter just came up quite quickly and I didn’t really take into account the fact that it was the Good Friday holiday on Friday, so I didn’t plan for that in advance. Sorry. But anyway, so two weeks ago, I was working on the Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith, Hey BrownBerry. I did finish those by that Friday. I was hoping to finish them sort of before I released the podcast, and I did. I blocked them and have taken some photos. They’re not the best photos in the world, but I might try and get some better photos of them and share them with you. So that was lovely. I used Seren Yarn, by my friend, Emma, and it’s just beautiful. So enjoyed having them off the needles. I’ve been working on those for about two years, I think.


And then I pulled out another WIP from the cupboard, which is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli. And if you’re not familiar with that shawl, it’s a crescent-shaped shawl that’s created with short rows, and it’s a series of wedges, broken up by contrast, color, line of eyelets. And I was up to, I think it’s six wedges in total, and I was up to the fifth, and now am on the last wedge, which is the contrast border. And I’m nearly finished, I think. I’m quite a way into the last wedge, and yeah, excited to be nearly finished another long-term WIP. I started knitting on that when I was going to the first Laine Retreat in Portugal that Joji was attending. So I wanted to be working on something that was one of her designs. And so I chose that shawl. And I think that might be three years ago now. Yeah, I think it was around this time of year as well. So yes, another long-term WIP.


So for my Knit 20 for 2020 Knitting Challenge, I have a lot of items that can be in the Finish a WIP category. So I have Clio, Pebbles & Pathways, and very soon to be finished Pure Joy. I’m recording this on Wednesday the 15th, so a couple of days before it will be released. So maybe by the time I release the episode, that one will be finished as well. Probably not blocked, but maybe cast off. I haven’t decided what the next project will be, whether I will tackle another WIP or start something new. But, yeah, I’ll decide that in the next few days.


I did start my quilt project over the Easter weekend. The pattern I’m using for the quilt is the House Quilt Block by Jeni Baker. Her blog/website is incolororder.com, and this tutorial is free on her blog. She has a lot of patterns for sale as well, and a lovely blog and website. I saw this on Instagram and was so taken by it. It’s just such bright, pretty colors. And she has, one of the samples that she’s made using this block, is kind of like a gradient, I suppose. Kind of a bit of a rainbow gradient. She has blue, then green, then yellow, then pink in the houses, sort of going up the quilt. And so I am basically copying that.


I decided to make a queen-size quilt. So a lot of blocks required. I have cut out the squares for the houses, and now I need to cut all the white squares for the sky part of the block. Yeah, so you cut out two white squares for each block. So I have to cut out a lot of little white squares for that. So I will probably try and do that in the next couple of days so that I’ve got everything cut out and then can start sewing up the blocks. But it’s such a nice gentle, easy project, and pretty colors and working with fabric always makes me happy. So I’ve been enjoying working away on that and I can’t wait to get sewing. That’s another WIP that’s coming along.


And I’m using fabric that I was given by a group of girlfriends for my 40th birthday, as well as some other fabric. I’m using a bunch of different fabrics so I needed to supplement what they’d given me with some more variety of colors and prints because it’s kind of a scrappy project. But I’m using quite a bit of the birthday fabric, so it’s really nice to be finally using that.


I did start a, I don’t know what you call it, it’s like where you just have all different shapes and sizes of fabric blocks, like a really scrappy kind of thing. So I had started working on that with the birthday fabric years and years ago, and I’ve decided that I’ll use that piece. I didn’t get very far with it. Like I don’t know what the dimensions of it would be, but I’ve sort of got a strip of patches put together so I’m going to use that on the back, for the backing, as a stripe across the quilt. So yeah, quite a bit of gentle, relaxing crafting happening. You might have seen that we have the Habitation Throw giveaway happening as well, because I wanted to gift that to people if they needed or wanted some very, very gentle, relaxing knitting during this crazy time we’re in.


So yes, so I’m giving away the Habitation Throw knitting pattern on Ravelry with the code Shelter. And also, if people want to purchase it, I will be donating the proceeds to the UNHCR charity, the United Nations charity for refugees, to help support work with refugees at this time, on the basis that it’s very hard to shelter in place if you don’t have a home. And a lot of generous people have bought the pattern, which I appreciate. I think we have about £1,500 to donate already and we’re only halfway through the month. This is happening for the month of April.


And I’ve also had about, some thousands of people have downloaded the pattern as a gift, which I’m also super happy about. And I’ve seen lots of people posting their Habitation throws on Instagram, and it’s making me so happy. That is really one of the things that cheers me up during this time, seeing people using the pattern and downloading it. I’ve had so many lovely messages from people, thanking me, and it’s just been delightful and just cheered me right up. So thank you for everybody who has done that. And it’s just such a nice reminder of our lovely community, and just makes me feel connected to you. So that’s been really lovely. And yeah, the code is continuing through till the end of April, if you’d like to have a copy of the Habitation Throw.


And don’t forget to post any projects that you finish for the Knit 20 for 2020 Challenge, because we are drawing $50 prizes on both Ravelry and Instagram at the end of each month on that hashtag, and The Handmade Sock Society Knit Along is also happening. So lots of little things happening over here. And yeah, I’m just really enjoying staying in touch with you all through these hashtags and knit alongs, and it’s been a really nice part of my day to go on to Instagram and Ravelry and just see those things popping up.


So thanks for joining me today. It’s been lovely having a chat, and I hope you’re well, I hope you’re staying safe, and staying sane, and having some knitting time. Take care, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Apr 17 2020

20mins

Play

CH 290: Gifts and Giveaways

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

After a week of homeschooling, I’m grabbing an opportunity to chat with you in the hopes of keeping spirits as high as possible. I have some cheerful news, with a free pattern, some giveaway winners, and some fun projects on the horizon.

Show Links:

JeniB320 on Instagram

In Color Order Blog

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Photo credit: In Color Order

melissaH3

Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Yarn

asteride on Instagram

@retrosariarosapomar on Instagram

April FO Thread for #Knit20for2020 KAL

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Get the Habitation Throw for free with the code SHELTER

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

P.E. With Joe

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast, you’re listening to episode 290. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells, and on social media at Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and a transcript on my website, at CuriousHandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Hello, and welcome to the show, I hope you’re well. I am thinking of you at this time, and we’re all facing a lot more challenges in our daily life than we’re used to. So, I am going to try to keep the show light and cheerful, and I’m looking forward to having a nice chat with you today.

We have had a week, with the kids at home from school. I’m conscious that a lot of people listening to the show have had a lot longer than that, so I’m early into the journey. We have had a couple of days of trialing out a distance learning system that the school has put together, before we head into the Easter holidays, so I’m very grateful for that. It’s been reasonably intense trialing, and hopefully it will get easier if we’re using the system for a little while. I appreciate teachers even more than ever. I have never been a person to even think about homeschooling, I’m not that patient with the kids, and have found it fairly frustrating a couple of days, to be honest. I’m just so appreciative of everything the teachers are doing to keep things going for the kids, and the kids have been pretty good in trying to do what they’ve been asked, so I can’t ask for more than that, really.

I have to say, I’m looking forward to the holidays when we can just do our own projects, and that will involve some sewing, and cooking. Both the girls want to do those things, they’re much more interested in doing things like that, crafty things and cooking, than they are in schoolwork. Although, they’re both quite good readers.

I currently have my office floor covered in bits of fabric, because Lexi has decided to make some Easter bunting. So she’s cutting out egg-shaped pieces of fabric and hand sewing them onto a piece of ribbon, which is really cool. Sophie and I have decided to make a quilt, and I am super keen to make a pattern by JeniB320, that’s her Instagram name. Her name is Jenny Baker, and her blog is InColorOrder.com. That’s color spelt the American way, C-O-L-O-R. I can’t remember where I saw the post in Instagram, I’m not sure if someone had it in their stories. I think that might have been what happened.

Jenny had made a post with 10 of her favorite free tutorial projects that she’s provided over the last 10 years or so. One of them is called House Quilt Block tutorial. I was very taken by this, and thought it was appropriate while we’re all stuck in our houses. It’s a very, very simple block, but there’s a little bit more to it than just plain squares. I’ll post a picture of it in the show notes, super cute. I think Sophie was quite keen to do it, but then she said, “Ah, I might just do plain squares.” So I’m not sure if she’s going to join me, with this particular one, but she’s pulled out Grandma’s old suitcase full of the scrap fabric that they’re allowed to use, and she’s pulled out some colors. I am going to use my fabric that I was gifted from a group of girlfriends, for my 40th birthday, which was a few years ago now.

I was intending to use that fabric as one of my happiness projects for this year, and I was planning to just do really simple squares. But, I think I’m going to do this cute house pattern, because I’ve got some white fabric. It has little roofs, little triangles at the top, with white fabric in between. Anyway, that’s a very long, ramble-y introduction, and I went a bit off on a tangent, there.

Yeah, we’re looking forward to having a creative couple of weeks over Easter, and I’m just really relieved tomorrow is a student free day, so I’m taking that to mean a holiday. Yes, well tomorrow as in Friday, so when you’ll be listening to this one day early for the holidays, and I’m looking forward to it.

I am feeling a little bit sad because, amongst other things, amongst the whole trauma of what’s happening, I’m also seeing from lots of Instagramers in London that it’s spring, and it’s magnolia season. So that’s making me a bit homesick for London because we used to have a beautiful magnolia tree in our garden there, and every year around this time it would just be full of blossom, and our street would be full of blossom. Yeah, I have to say I’m also quite grateful that we’re not in London at the moment, poor London is copping it really badly. I’m just thinking a lot about my friends there, and just sending them all my best wishes.

I actually had a friend, and her son who’s Lexi’s age, who have just had the Coronavirus. She just texted me last night to say that they had it for a week, and are on the mend. But, I just felt that like a kick in my guts, it was just so scary. But, she said that they didn’t have it too badly, so I just hope that’s the case and it doesn’t develop into anything worse. That was very close to home, when I got that message.

I hope that people can appreciate spring in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve been seeing pictures of bulbs bursting up, crocuses, daffodils, and I’m hoping that is providing people with a little bit of cheerfulness right now, if spring has reached your part of the world yet. Maybe not, if you’re in Canada, or further up in Scandinavia, so I hope that you can look forward to that.

Something that has been helping me hugely this week is going out for my walking streak. I decided I was definitely going to do a good streak in April, and so far I have been achieving it. It’s only been a few days, but I started a few days early to get into the swing of it. It has been just the best tonic, getting outside, going for a walk in the morning or the evening. Yeah, it’s just really beautiful around here, we’re so lucky. So, I have been doing that, and it has been making a huge difference to my mental state.

Apologies for any background noise in this episode, I’m being interrupted fairly regularly, and I also lose my line of thinking, such as it is.

So, I announced last week that we were going to have the Knit 20 For 20 knit along, with monthly prizes. Even though it was towards the end of the month, I set up a thread for March, and we had lots of entries in the thread in Ravelry, and also in Instagram. The winner from the Ravelry thread is MelissaH3, who knit a gorgeous pair of luminary socks, in Farmers Daughter Fibers yarn, in a lovely blue. She also nominated Farmers Daughter Fibers as her favorite Indie dyer. On Instagram, we have asteride, who entered a lovely … I think it’s a hat, in gorgeous green yarn. She is tagging her LYS Retrosario Rosa Pomar. So, you’re very lucky to have that us your LYS in Portugal, in Lisbon. So, thank you for entering, I will arrange for gift vouchers, or some way of getting the prizes to you. The prize is a US $50 gift voucher or local equivalent, so I will arrange with those two shops, to get them to you.

If you’re listening to the podcast, if you could email me at Helen@CuriousHandmade.com, or message me on Ravelry at HellsBells, with your email address or Ravelry address for Estheride on Instagram, then I will arrange that with you.

I’ve set up the April thread, and for anybody who didn’t hear about the Knit Along last week, all you have to do is post your project that you have ticked off in the month of April for the Knit 20 For 20 challenge. You can find details about that on the blog at Curious Handmade. We have a series of 20 prompts that people are ticking off, ranging from things like knitting lace or brioche, through to knitting a sweater, or using deep stash which is yarn you’ve had in your stash for a long time, and what is deep stash is up to you. The rules are all up to you. If you feel like you’ve ticked something off in the month for many of those categories, or several of those categories, pop a post in either in the Ravelry thread, which I have set up as a sticky thread, or using the hashtag on Instagram.

The idea is to spread the love around to our favorite small or big yarn businesses. But, I really did have Indie businesses in mind when I set it up, but it can be any yarn business, or Indie dyer, or LYS. You can tag them, show them some love, and I can support them in a tiny little way, by purchasing a gift voucher as a prize each month. So, huge thank you to everybody who entered, and I hope you’ve been having fun with the challenge.

We also have another fun giveaway happening at the moment, and I decided to gift my Habitation throw pattern. This was a design that was part of Knitvent last year. I know that lots of people are already working on it. I just thought this is really the perfect pattern for a project while we’re at home, if we’re having to stay at home at the moment. It’s a scrappy project, so you can delve into your scraps, or mini sets that you may have. It’s a very relaxing project, so it’s not too taxing to knit, and it’s quite a big project, so can keep you occupied for quite an amount of time.

It’s actually a project that you can decide how big you want to make it. Basically, you start in a corner of the throw, and just keep increasing until you’ve used about half your yarn, or you want to decrease, where it’s big enough. Then, you start decreasing again, and go back up to the other corner. It’s really flexible, and you can just use any yarn you want, have fun with it. So, I have made that free on Ravelry, with the code Shelter. If people don’t use the code, it’s still for sale and any proceeds that I receive from that pattern through the month of April, I’ll be donating it to the UN Refugee charity, for people that don’t have any shelter or a home at this time.

Yeah, that’s what we’re doing in April. I am trying to think of fun things to keep our spirits up, keep us going, and that’s what I came up with this month. I’m working on something that will hopefully be ready for next month, so stick around for that. I don’t want to commit to it at this stage, because I’m finding that I have less concentration than normal, and less time than normal with the kids at home. I’m having fun working on some ideas for next month.

I have been knitting on my Pebbles and Pathways socks by Marceline Smith this week. That was a WIP that I’ve had going for quite a long time, I’ve been picking it up and putting it down for over a year now I think, or maybe about a year. I’m knitting this in a yarn by my lovely friend Emma, Serena yarn, it’s absolutely gorgeous yarn. She gifted this to me, and it was one of her early skeins that she dyed. Emma is such a talented dyer, she’s such a beautiful person. She’s going through a tough time now, at the moment personally, and I just want to send her all my love. I’m enjoying knitting with her yarn, and thinking about her at the moment. So, really enjoying this project, and I think I’ll be finished this in the next few days. Again, I don’t want to commit, but it’s on the foot, I’m halfway done the foot of the second sock, so I’m zooming along now. Yeah, probably another couple of days knitting on this.

Then, I decided that my next WIP that I’m going to tackle before I start something new is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli. That is, again, a very old WIP, so I want to say that’s been going for three years, now. About three years, maybe a bit less. It’s such a lovely project. If you’re not familiar with Pure Joy, it’s a crescent shawl, I think it’s the first short row shawl I’ve knit, and really enjoying it. I’m using some beautiful yarn by Juno Fiber Arts, that has merino, and a touch of cashmere, so it’s gorgeous, and soft, and drape-y. I think maybe silk, as well. Merino, silk, cashmere I think is the blend? I can’t remember, it’s been so long. A gorgeous, soft blue and a cream, beautiful. Joyful colors for me.

I was just pondering on what I should tackle next, and that popped into my head. What better project to work on, than something called Pure Joy? Before I sign off, I’d like to think my sponsor, A Yarn Story.

Well, I hope you have a good week, I hope you stay safe, stay well, stay sane. Keep up your meditation, keep up your walking if you can, maybe do some PE with Joe. If you haven’t heard of that, it’s a UK fitness guru, who is doing physical education lessons for kids online. I haven’t made my kids do it yet, but I’m planning to. He’s really cheerful, and upbeat, and positive, and a lovely guy. Do some PE with Joe, or whatever other exercise rocks your boat. Yeah, keep knitting, keep crafting, I think it’s going to keep us all sane at the moment.

Don’t forget, you can grab a copy of my Habitation throw pattern for free at the moment, it’s my little gift to you, use the code Shelter when you check out. Also, if you’re doing the Knit 20 For 2020 challenge, post your pictures of your challenges being met on either Instagram or in the Ravelry thread, and we’ll do another prize draw at the end of April. We also have the Knit Along for the Luminary socks, finishing soon. So, if you’re participating in the handmade socks society for this year, season three, the Knit Along for the first sock, the Luminary socks, is finishing on the 14th of April, so you’ve still got a little bit of time to finish your Luminary socks, get them posted in the Finished Object thread. The prize is a beautiful skein of Hedgerow yarn, as well as a lovely, cute project bag, sock sized project bag, from MinaMakes, with a fun London map print on it.

I’ll be drawing that soon after the 14th of April, and announcing that later in the month, as well. Lots of Knit Alongs to participate in. Yes, wishing you all the best, take care, happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Apr 03 2020

21mins

Play

CH 289: The Ambient Socks and some exciting KALs

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

As the schools close here in Australia and we all strive to cope with our anxiety, I’ve been turning to projects that feel like comforting old friends. I also have the Ambient Socks to introduce for you, and details about some KALs I will be hosting to help keep our spirits up.

Show Links:

Meadow Yarn on Instagram

Meadow Yarn

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Ambient Socks

The Walk Collection Yarn

Hedgerow Yarns

Apple Blossom Socks

The Knitting Expat

Tilda Fabric

Elton Cardigan

La Bien Aimée

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 289. This podcast is all about crafting your life with happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and the transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.


I’d like to say a very big thank you to my sponsor Meadow Yarn. Alongside an interesting and eclectic young range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic lopi and CoopKnits. We stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched hand dyed by Meadow Yarn, our very own in-house hand dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio nestled in the Suffolk countryside we are able to indulge our love of color producing complex tonal kettle dyed shades across a range of whites and bases. With regular updates our collections of all of them grow inspired by the landscape and people around us.


You can find them at meadoywarn.co.uk. Or you can click on the ad on my blog. If you follow Meadow Yarn on Instagram, you will have seen that Anj has been dying up some absolutely stunning colorways, especially recently. I’ve just been very drawn to them. And she is still able to post yarn at the moment. So yeah, I’m sure she would appreciate any support and the colorways are just stunning. So very tempting.


Hello and welcome. Well, what another week it’s been. Obviously it’s been a very intense time for everyone and despite me thinking I would sort of reset a little bit this month, March is not the new January after all, that’s for sure. Schools have finally been closed here in Australia and I think most of the schools have been trying to put together online learning, distance learning facilities for the kids when they go back from holidays after Easter.


We have one week before the holidays officially start and so our school is just spending the week having pupil free days preparing and testing some distance learning facilities that they’ve been putting in place. Then we’ll have two weeks Easter holidays and see what happens after that. I’m assuming that we will be homeschooling and yeah. So if you hear any background noise, I’m sorry but I have to record when people are around now. And I’m trying to minimize any background noise but it may be happening despite my best efforts.


So I hope you’re all physically well and also keeping calm and the anxiety isn’t too high. I’m sure that it is quite high, but I think for me I’m trying to be very conscious of that and try to keep it under control. I don’t think that being at home with my family and being super stressed out will do any of us any favors. So I’m trying to just focus on my … Basically my top priority is to just keep calm and keep the kids calm as well.


I think it’s going to help a lot now that they’re not going to school, because that was causing me a lot of anxiety and also them because everyone’s talking about it and they can see a lot of kids in their class starting to drop off and drop out as parents were keeping them at home more and more. And so I think once we can get into a little bit of a routine here that’s going to help in a way. Although it does seem a bit daunting at this point to think that I’ll be trying to do a little bit of work hopefully and as well as looking after them.


But I have had more experience than normal with that over the past year, because due to moving we had a long summer holiday for the Northern hemisphere and then we had another long summer holiday for the Southern hemisphere. So I’m kind of used to having them around more than normal at the moment, which I think might hopefully stand me in a little bit of good stead and will hopefully let us get into a good routine fairly quickly.


My husband did PE class with them this morning and so they practiced their netball. And I think that’s going to be good, because having moved from the UK to Australia, they’re a bit behind in their netball skills from the other kids their age I’d have to say. Netball is such a big sport here and all the kids, pretty much all the kids play it pretty well. Obviously there’s different levels but it’s a much, much bigger sport here than it was in the UK. They did learn how to play netball and there was a netball club in the UK so it’s not like they’re completely unfamiliar with it, but it’s huge here.


So yes, we have a net set up and a netball. So luckily netball doesn’t rely on bouncing the ball too much, so you could do most of the skills without a sort of a too much of a flat concrete area, if that makes sense. So thanks to everybody who’s chatting on all the Ravelry threads and I did set up a thread for people to chat if they wanted to share about how they’re coping at the moment and we’ve had some conversation happening there, which has been nice.


I think it really helps to feel connected to the knitting community during this time. And I certainly very much appreciate it. I already felt very connected to people around the world, knitters around the world. It’s just really nice at the moment to have friends everywhere and be chatting with them.


So this week I released the second pattern for The Handmade Sock Society and they are the Ambient Socks. So I’ll just read the description for those. It’s the sort of sound that’s carried on the wind, the type of music that subtly invokes a specific emotion, the kind of lighting that can make a room feel cozy, intimate, inviting. Ambient is an interesting word. It comes from the Latin for surrounding and circling. Used in turn by great scientists and inspired poets. It has a gentle reputation but holds a secret power. The things it described are so all encompassing and so much a part of our environment that we barely notice them consciously. And yet our environment has immense influence on every part of our lives, our moods and our creativity. When you change your environment, you change your world.


The Ambient Socks offer an absorbing knit with eyelet lace on the front of each sock, continuing down the foot and a textured pattern on the back of the leg. The stitch patterns have been chosen to make the most of even highly variegated yarns, spreading and diffusing the different colors. An eye of partridge heel flap and gusset and a round toe in contrast color finish things off. I love to use up scrap sock yarn or minis this way. There are three sizes to choose from and as always the pattern is easy to adapt if you prefer a different heel or toe so you can find a great fit.


The yarn I used for these socks is by The Walk Collection Tough Sock and the main color is Cosmic Chaos, which seems quite appropriate. And the contrast color is Propolis. So a few weeks ago when I was talking about where I came up for the inspiration for this collection, for the theme, which is atmosphere, I was actually at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. And I didn’t mention it at the time, but it was when I was talking to Katrin at her Walk Collection store that that word popped into my head and became the theme for the collection. So it’s actually this yarn that has kind of sort of inspired the whole theme.


I think their Cosmic Chaos colorway is really gorgeous and I have really fond memories of standing, talking with Katrin about choosing contrast colors for the heel and toe. And she is so generous. She gifted me the yarn and I’m very happy to have been able to use it to the collection and how it’s turned out in the design. I think it’s really lovely. So thank you so much Katrin and for your generosity and gorgeous yarn. Thank you to Amanda for writing the gorgeous description I just read out and huge thank you to Deb who is Tinkhickman on Ravelry and Instagram for knitting the sample for me and her gorgeous photography. Also a big thank you to Tracey, who is TraceyRR on Ravelry and Comfy Red Couch on Instagram for her wonderful test knitting, Emma and Anna for their tech editing.


And just thank you, I appreciate my gorgeous knitting team so much and I hope you enjoy knitting these socks if you’re participating in the Handmade Sock Society. So as I was sitting here this week, just watching the news way too much still and just thinking about what I can do in this situation to try and help people which sort of feel a bit powerless. Being on one hand being called to stay at home and not do anything or go anywhere. And then on the other hand, just seeing so many people in need and needing help.


I thought I’d just try and inject a little bit of joy into life for my knitters and formalize some of the knit-alongs that we have happening anyway. I wanted to get a bit organized with the knit-alongs for the Handmade Sock Society. And so I have set dates for the knit-alongs and so I thought I’d give people just under two months for each sock. So they’re just ending just a little bit before another sock comes out. So that the knit-along for the first socks, which is the Luminary Socks, which is happening at the moment will end on Tuesday the 14th of April. There is a finished object thread in Ravelry at the moment and there are already 83 stunning projects in that thread, posted in that thread. So I’ve just formalized the end date for that, which is the 14th of April.


So that still gives you a little bit of time. That will be just over two weeks away. And then I’ll announce the winners on that Friday after, that’s a Tuesday, so on the Friday after that. And I have just had a little hunt around in my stash just now for that first knit-along prize and I found a really, really cheerful, beautiful skein of Hedgerow Yarns, sock yarn, which is called Tickety Boo and Jane dies gorgeous, gorgeous sock yarn. And I actually used her yarn for my very early sock pattern, Apple Blossom Socks, if you remember those ones.


So yes. So I’ve had this yarn for a little while. I was sort of collecting her yarn and I have also found a really, really cute little project bag which is perfect for sock size by MinaMakes, the knitting expat Mina. And this is a project bag that has a print of a map of London, kind of quirky print on it. So just a fun little prize for that knit-along just to make cheer things up a little bit and I’ll try to take it a photo of that and post it soon. And then I’ll find another prize for the socks just publish, the Ambient Socks and post that soon as well. So until the end there’ll be two knit-alongs happening at the same time and they’ll sort of leapfrog each other as we go along.


The other thing I came up with just to inject a bit of fun and community into things is to make a bit more of a formal knit-along for the knit20for2020 Challenge. Earlier in the year I published a list of prompts of things that we can work on and knit and that’s available as a PDF and also as images in Instagram. And it’s just sort of being quite casual and people just working on their own challenges. But I thought what I could do is have a knit-along as well with some prizes and I also wanted to try and support some of our small yarn businesses that are struggling at the moment. And so I thought that the plan is that we’ll have a thread each month in Rivalry for knit20for2020, sort of a monthly thread. You can post a project that you’ve ticked off from one of the knit20for2020 challenges in that thread. And also in the same post if you nominate and independent yarn business, an Indie Dyer or a local yarn shop that you’d like to receive a gift certificate for if you’re the winner.


So you can give a shout-out to one of your favorite Indie Dyers or yarn shops. And similarly on Instagram, if you post a photo of something you’ve completed as part of the challenge and include the hashtag of course, which is knit20for2020, and also in your caption nominate and tag an Indie Yarn Dyer or a local yarn shop that you’d like to receive a gift certificate for.


And then at the end of each calendar month I am going to draw one entry from Ravelry, one entry from Instagram, you can enter on both. And the prize is going to be a $50, 50 U.S. dollars, not Australian dollars. That would be a bit sad. So 50 U.S. dollars and or the equivalent currency to that, depending on the country. And I will arrange a gift certificate or way of purchasing a prize for you to that value if you win from a random draw.


So I hope that all makes sense and is clear, I’ll put it in the show notes, all the details in the show notes, as well as in the Ravelry thread and I’ll post about it on Instagram as well. So I just thought it would be a nice way of spreading the love a little bit and a chance for you to share some of your favorite Indie businesses and to support them a little bit at this time.


So that will continue for the rest of the year. Hopefully we won’t be in this lockdown situation for the rest of the year, but the knit-along will happen throughout the year and I think it’s going to be really lovely and really fun. So I’m looking forward to seeing your projects as well as discovering some new yarn dyers and Indie businesses.


With that being such a mixed up week, I haven’t really done a lot of knitting and in fact I have pulled out a non-knitting project which was on my list of happiness projects a couple of years ago, which is a patchwork quilt that I made. It’s such a pretty happy quilt. I used Tilda fabrics, so it’s really just really lovely, pretty colors. And it was almost finished, I had it professionally quilted and the binding was sewn on. So all I need to do now is sew down the binding and so I’ve pulled that project out and it has been really the perfect project for this week.


I’ve just been doing some very gentle stitching on the binding of my quilt and I’m, I don’t know, about three quarters of the way around. I think I’ve done about three sides now, so I will continue with that and look forward to finishing that. And then I need to choose my next fun personal knitting project for my knit20for2020 challenge. I’m thinking about doing the Elton Cardigan. I have the yarn for that Aimée from La Bien Aimée gifted me some gorgeous, gorgeous Yellow Brick Road that inspired the name of the cardi.


Aimée gave that to me at a country house retreat a couple of years ago and so it reminds me of lovely times and it’s such a bright, sunny yellow color. And it makes me think of friends and so I think that might be the one. I just have to decide if I’m up to knitting mohair at the moment or not. That’s the only slight reservation in my mind. But I think it could be okay. I think it’s a fairly straightforward design. And yeah, I think that will be a nice one to do at the moment.


So, I’ll keep you posted if that’s what I end up settling on. I still have several whips that I probably should be finishing off, but I’m kind of itching to start something new as well. And just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor A Yarn Story and just to note that A Yarn Story has to close its doors for people coming into the shop, but they are still doing mail order services, online ordering. And they are offering a sort of personal shopping appointment so that you can call them and Carmen will sort of show you different colors of yarn if you can do a FaceTime call or I think that’s how they’re doing it. They will take photos of different color combinations and things like that.


They’re really trying to help serve their customers at this time and I really appreciate them and their beautiful, beautiful yarns they have there. A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades and weights. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co. and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui knits, La Bien Aimée and Julie Asselin. There is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath, or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.


So thank you so much for being here, being part of the Curious crew and I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate you at this time and I appreciate everybody who’s bought patterns recently. I just wanted to remind you that there is a buy one get one free offer still happening till the end of the month, so the 31st of March. And you do need a coupon code for that and the code at checkout is fresh. And all you need to do is put two patterns in your basket and use the code fresh. I think the way I’ve set it up, you could actually put four in there and get two for free. I think I haven’t put a limitation on how many times you can use the coupon code.


So yes, if you fancy stocking up on some patterns, now’s a good time. And thank you to everybody who has taken advantage of that and bought patterns. I really appreciate it. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re okay. Do reach out. We have a thread in Ravelry if you want to chat and on Instagram as well. Love you, take care. Talk to you again soon.

Mar 27 2020

22mins

Play

CH 288: Coping Strategies and the Clio Pullover

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

As the news gets more concerning, I am doubling down on calming and self-care practices, and have a few ideas to share about what’s working for me. I also have some long-awaited news: I can tick the “Finish a long-term WIP” line off my #knit20for2020 list finally!!

Show Links:

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Calm App

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

John Arbon Texiles

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 288. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Ellen and you can find me on Ravelry as Health Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at Curioushandmade.com


Hello and welcome. Welcome to this weird and wonderful world we are currently and I just wanted to say, I hope you’re okay. I know that this is a hugely difficult time for a lot of us and I just wanted to have a chat with you today. Hopefully just keep you company for a little while and yes, just a knit with you for a little while possibly. Down here in Australia, things have progressed a bit since I last spoke to you and we have had, I think last time I spoke to you, the main measures that had been implemented were, I think on Monday they’re now just outside gatherings of more than 500 people were banned.


And as of today they have announced that indoor gatherings of more than a hundred people are band and they’re advising Australians not to travel overseas or abroad at all and anyone arriving has to self isolate for 14 days, but schools are still open and shops are still open. I don’t think there’s been any advice to sort of close shops or restaurants or anything. I don’t know if restaurants having a capacity of more than 100 people counts as a gathering, but it’s a bit hazy at this stage, but we’re not really going out much anyways. So I’m not sure how other people are interpreting it.


My kids have been home sick all week anyway. We’ve had a horrible cold in the family and its main symptom is a really sore throat. So the girls have been off school and I decided I would record this podcast on Wednesday, so it’s March the 18th just in case I get the really sore throat and can’t record later in the week. So by the time this is published on Friday, things might have changed again. I’m not sure, but I thought I’d get this recorded while I had a nice window of quiet and my throat, I keep imagining that I’m getting a tickly throat.


So you know how it is when you’re worried you’re going to get sick, you keep imagining that you are. So far it hasn’t developed into anything yet. Thank goodness. So I guess like most people I know we’re all feeling very anxious at the moment and I’m kind of laughing at myself a bit because I’m finding that compulsion’s to do certain things caused by the anxiety are coming out and they’re sort of things that I’ve experienced in the past when I’ve had high stress like exam periods or really stressful work periods.


And so I’m getting those urges to clean and control my food and maybe shop. Yeah, just sort of my go to anxiety behaviors are coming out at the moment. So I feel like it’s good that I can recognize that now. When I was at university I couldn’t really see those behaviors, but now I can. So that’s good I guess. And what I decided to do is write myself a to do list and a stop doing list. So I am going to concentrate on daily meditation.


Re-implement my walking, my daily walking, which has just completely fallen off the plate or something. I am going to make myself go for a 20 minute walk each day and keep up with pilates as long as it’s open. It’s a very small class. So I think that’s okay. Do my work, practice music and then make time for fun, creative projects, chatting and emailing with friends and family and preparing healthy meals and eating lots of veggies. So that’s on my to do list and stop doing, includes refreshing news feeds constantly. I’m going to set times for catching up with the news and thanks to my copywriter, Amanda for that idea.


I’m going to stop scrolling Instagram and set times for that as well because I get a lot of my news through Instagram and stop worrying about when the schools will close. I’ve sort of been expecting the school’s close and trying to mentally prepare for that and think what I’ll do with the girls and what schoolwork I’ll do with them and how I’ll entertain them, but I’m going to stop worrying about that for now because at the moment the schools open and I think that they are trying to balance out keeping parents free to be able to go to work, especially if they’re in healthcare services versus the risk of kids being at school and the risk of kids having to stay home with grandparents, while their parents work versus being at school.


So I can understand that balancing act and I guess they just must be doing it on a risk assessment basis or some kind of formula. I’m not sure whether I should have that much faith in the powers at be, but I guess I just have to at the moment and in any case that girls aren’t at school anyway so I am going to stop worrying about that as you can probably tell from my little spiel there, I’m not really stopping worrying about it but I’m going to try.


And that’s the main things I’m going to stop trying to do and just worrying, generalized worry is not really helping me. So I’m going to try and catch myself out doing that. Try and minimize the worry because the anxiety won’t help with anything and it will just make me more stressed. So anyway, that’s where I’m at at the moment. After I record this, I’m going to set up a thread in Ravelry for us to chat about things and maybe share ideas for getting through this crisis.


Because I think it’s going to be a reasonably long term issue for everybody now. The advice on travel from the government here was not to travel and the time of frame was indefinitely. So I’ve read some reports saying six months or more so on. So I think we’re going to have to think about this as a being a reasonably long term thing that we will be dealing with. So let’s chat about it together and share ideas for, I don’t know, homeschooling, managing life, helping to support tiny businesses in our community and things like that.


I have to say that one of my sort of new year’s resolutions or goals was to meditate regularly and I have been doing it semi-regularly. I have the Calm app on my phone and so I have been very randomly just putting on any meditation that took my fancy each morning. So I don’t have any particular method to my madness. But yeah, so I’ve just been doing that and I have noticed that it does help calm me down.


And I … probably, if I did it a bit more intentionally, it would work even better. But I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself to meditate in a specific way. So usually when I wake up in the morning and I just lie in bed, I don’t sit up in an upright position. I just lie there and listen to it and try and breathe a bit as they suggest and do some nice deep breaths and just basically relax for 15 minutes or so while the meditation plays.


And so, I would recommend just maybe doing something like that, just not to … I mean if you are in a meditation practice already, that’s fabulous and I’m impressed. But if you aren’t and you’re a bit intimidated by it, just start really small and I don’t know, just find your own thing that works for you, it might help calm the mind even a bit in these stressful times.


So, that’s rather a long introduction. But if you don’t mind me chatting about that stuff because that’s what’s on my mind at the moment. In knitting news, I am super excited and super chuffed because I did manage to finally finish my Clio pullover. Clio is a design by Elizabeth Doherty. It’s been on the needles for at least three years. I should look up when I started it, but I haven’t wanted to do that and after I recorded last week sort of thinking that I might finish it, I became quite determined to finish it before I spoke to you again.


So I put everything else on hold basically, including work and just knit on that and it didn’t really take me too long. Once I got through the short rows at the top of the sleeves, I powered through the sleeves and finished it yesterday. I wove in the ends. It’s yet to be blocked and photographed, but I’m calling it done and I’m so happy. I knitted in yarn which I bought at Edinburgh Yarn Festival three or four years ago and it is Ysolda blend number one, batch number three, which is a gorgeous blend spun by John Arbon in the UK.


And it has some Gotland, which is one of my favorite breeds of fleece, or breeds of sheep. And, it’s just the softest, loveliest, I don’t know, just has a beautiful body to it. So I very much enjoyed the process of knitting that. And I think I’ve got two and a half scans left. So now I’m thinking what else to knit with that yarn because I really did enjoy knitting with that yarn. So that means that I can tick off my WIP category in the knit 20 for 20 challenge which, if super exciting. And it also means that I can now go on to choose some new exciting projects, have a bit of a dream about what I’m going to knit now.


I still have some design work I need to do before I really do that and I have maybe three pairs of socks that have been also quite long, ongoing WIP that are maybe will do while I’m deciding what sort of main project I want to work on next. So I think just for the time being, while I’m still deciding I will work on my Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith who’s, Hey Brown Berry. I’ve also been working on those for quite a long time and you’ve probably heard me mention them many times before as well, so I’d quite like to finish them also.


So I think I’ll spend some time probably later this week planning out another project and I think I will make that a reward for getting something ticked off my work list. I’m not sure exactly what I will have to do to get my reward, but I think I might make that a treat for doing something reasonably substantial on my work side of things. Something else that I will endeavor to do this week is to firm up details for these knit alongs that I’m sort of loosely hosting at the moment. So that is for the handmade sock society. So I will organize and set dates for the monthly knit alongs for each sock as they come out.


The first sock is already published the luminary socks and the second socks will be released next week. So I’ll dip into my stash and really organize some prizes and I’ll also think about some prizes for the knit 20 for 2020 challenge because I think we could all do with some fun and cheering up at the moment and make it a bit more formal. So I’ll have a think about how to structure that, how to structure some prizes and perhaps the yarn that I was planning to do stash, I might contribute to prizes instead because I was all set to do a de-stash, but I really didn’t feel comfortable competing with indie dyers who are relying on the income from their yarn at the moment.

It’s not my main thing and it would just be de-stashing yarn because I want it to go to people who are going to use it because I’ve got way too much to be able to use myself. So I think what I’ll do is allocate some of that yarn to prizes instead and just have a bit of fun with it. I’m not sure when I will be able to do that. I should commit to a time so that I make myself do it, but let’s say next week I’ll get onto that and by next week’s podcast should be able to announce some more details around that. Before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadow Yarn. I just wanted to mention that Ang has some gorgeous colorways in her shop at the moment. Really beautiful. I will probably be tempted to make a purchase there this weekend as well. That could be another treat.

So thanks so much for spending some time with me this week. I hope you’re safe and well and that this crisis is not putting too much stress on you. I know lots of people that it is putting quite a lot of stress on their lives and their families. So my sympathy and thoughts go to you and my love and if you feel like chatting will be the thread in Ravelry, or on Instagram. I also have a promotion at the moment until the end of the month, which is a buy one get one free sale so you can get any of my patterns or collections. Buy one, get one free with the coupon code fresh at the moment. And that was to celebrate the release of the single patterns from last year’s fall society. So please take advantage of that and happy knitting. Stay safe. Stay well, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Mar 19 2020

19mins

Play

CH 287: Staying calm with stash and friends

Podcast cover
Read more

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

It’s a scary time to watch the news right now. When things are really tough, small comforts mean a lot. Knitting is obviously a big coping strategy for many of us. Today I’m talking about that, about the importance of friendship, and a KAL that I think I’d like to do…once I finish my beloved Clio Pullover!

Show Links:

Bayron Handmade on Instagram

Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Wave of Change KAL

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

#knit20for2020

The Shawl Society Season 4

I am running a special Buy One Get One Free sale on all my patterns and collections to celebrate the release of the single patterns from TSS4: just use the code FRESH when you check out on Ravelry!

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen Stewart:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 287. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you wherever you maybe in the world. And just when you think the world can’t get any crazier, it does. This week has been something else in terms of worldwide news, and I just hope that wherever you are you’re staying safe and well. It’s been very distracting watching the news this week and hearing all about the coronavirus. And I don’t normally watch the news, hardly at all, because I need to keep my spirits up. But I have been very distracted this week, and hearing about friends and whole countries being affected is just quite unbelievable. Of course, here in Australia we have had toilet paper gate, and yeah it is quite unnerving going into the supermarket and just the whole aisle of toilet paper is completely bare. And it was this afternoon when I went in. We’ve had several emails from supermarkets saying to keep calm and carry on.

I’ve just received an email from Coles, which is one of the big supermarket chains here, saying that they were going to put rations on pasta, toilet paper, paper towel and a couple of other things. Rationing people to certain amounts of things. They also suggested, which I thought was good, was that if you had too much toilet paper on hand, maybe you could consider donating some to your local food bank. So, I did appreciate them saying that. They had some change to their, change your mind policy, and they said that they weren’t allowing people to change their mind. So, if you’ve stockpiled large amounts of toilet paper, you’re not going to be able to return it.

In Australia, so far they’ve suggested canceling large events, but I don’t think they’ve actually mandated it yet. And then, we’ve had some isolated schools closing, but not across the board like in a lot of countries that I’ve been hearing about today and yesterday. And yeah, so we’re not as affected here as other countries yet. I’m not sure if that’s just because we haven’t got to that point yet, or because our population is not very dense. I’m not sure. But we possibly will get to that point in the next couple of weeks.

And yeah, it’s a little bit unsettling. I don’t know if I should be stocking up on some things or not. I haven’t been yet, but probably should think about getting a bit of food in, a bit of pasta, and the handful of things one of my daughters will eat. So, from comments I’ve read on Instagram and other places, lots of people are feeling quite nervous and anxious about it. So I did hear one very good piece of advice. I follow the account of a journalist on Instagram called Jessica Yellin. She was making the point that one of the things that would compromise your immunity is stress, and so to try to keep stress levels down. I thought that was a really good piece of advice, just generally.

There are a lot of other colds and viruses going around as well at the moment, a lot of my family members and people that I know here have been sick with other bugs, so I thought, well what better time to concentrate on doing stress-relieving activities like meditation, walking, knitting obviously, crafting. I think this is where our stashes will come into their own. So, we’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, most of us. Ridiculous amounts of stash.

So, yeah, I think hopefully we can take some solace in our knitting, and our projects, and find some lovely, relaxing projects to work on. I actually just saw a lovely post on Instagram by Bayron Handmade, and she was expressing how she was feeling a bit anxious, and thinking about how can she help serve others in the community. She was mentioning that she has a knit-along on Ravelry for a gorgeous cardigan that she’s designed called, the Wave of Change KAL.

So, I thought I might join in that KAL, and join the wave of change, and it looks like a fairly chunky weight of yarn. I haven’t looked at the pattern in detail yet, but I might have a look at my stash to see what I have for that one. I might have to hold two skeins of yarn together, two weights of yarn together to make the weight that’s required for the pattern. Of course, when I finish my Clio pullover, I need to finish that first before I start shopping around for other projects, but that’s definitely going in my queue. So thank you for your lovely, reassuring kind words, Bayron.

And actually I had a pretty good week, despite all the nerve-racking news. I had a very dear friend visiting. My friend Stewart, who I met at Squam, and we worked out that we met in 2013 was the first year that I went to Squam. And so we’re old friends now, so it was really lovely to have her here for a few days. And yeah, I haven’t made a lot of friends here yet, or reconnected with people very much. So it was really nice to have an old friend to hang out with for a couple of days and catch up. And we went off on a little girls trip just for two nights. A little bit of a retreat and it was lovely.

We went to a place called Noosa, which is a gorgeous beach, not very far from where I live. And it was raining pretty much the whole time we were there. So I had thought we might do a bush walk. There’s a gorgeous Bush walk to the Headland at Noosa and you often see koalas in the trees there, but it was really too rainy for us to want to. We probably could have done it if we’d really been keen, But we ended up sitting in a cafe for most of the whole day and just sitting and knitting. And it was open to the street so we could watch people passing by, really great for people watching and it was raining so we could watch the rain falling. And it was nice and cool.

So, it hasn’t really been all that cool here generally. But it was a lovely, cool few days. So I made some really, really good progress on my Clio pullover that I had been talking about forever. And it is my Finish a WIP goal for my 20 for 20 knitting challenge. And yeah, so I had been having a major, minor, I don’t know, some sort of roadblock when it came to casting on for the sleeves. Had to pick up stitches and do some short rows. And my lovely friend Stewart picked up the stitches for me. And so I managed to get over the barrier and got through the short rows with a little bit of grumbling, but not too much. And finish the whole sleeve in those couple of days. So I was so happy with that.

I have to admit I was a little bit motivated by wanting to finish the first sleeve so that I could ask to Stewart to cast on the second one for me, which she very kindly did. And so now I have managed to get through the short row sections of the second sleeve and I know that it didn’t take me all that long to knit the whole sleeve. So I’m feeling pretty confident that this could be finished quite soon and I’m getting very excited about that. So that was a fantastic couple of days with lovely company, lovely knitting weather, and a wonderful location to do it in.

So I’ve been talking a lot about the Handmade Sock Society recently, as well as the release of the new Laine book, 52 Weeks of Socks. And so I thought perhaps for the shawl knitters amongst you, if you’re a bit tired of hearing about socks so much, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t released my Shawl Society patterns from last year as single patterns. So the six Shawl Society patterns are now available as single patterns. Previously they were just available as the collection. And I am having a buy one get one free sale to celebrate. And that will run until the end of the month. So until the 31st of March, I’m having a buy one get one free sale across all my patterns and collections. I was just going to make it shawls, but then I thought I would just keep it simple and it’s everything.

So all you have to do is put two of my patterns, or collections in your shopping cart in Ravelry, and the less expensive one will be free. I should mention, it does need a coupon code and the coupon code is fresh, F-R-E-S-H. So you need to put the coupon code in as well. And then the second pattern will be free. So thank you to people who’ve taken up on that offer and I hope you enjoy the shawls, the shawl designs and that will run to the end of the month.

So I’d love to hear from you about what comfort knitting you might be doing at the moment. I hope you have a chance to relax a little bit, get some knitting done, stay in touch with friends and family and I hope you stay well. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Mar 13 2020

14mins

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CH 286: March is the new January

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I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a little do-over of the start of the year! Today I’m talking about getting all my healthy streaks back on track, and tackling a few beautiful WIPs that deserve to be finished before I go casting on any of the shiny new patterns that are calling my name!

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Bembe Socks by Dawn Henderson

IndieLynx on Instagram

IndieLynx’s gorgeous Bembe socks in progress

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 286. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.


Hello, I hope you’re having a good week. Welcome to the show. I am a bit in shock that it’s March already and I’ve decided to declare March as the new January, as far as goals and resolutions go. I’m not quite sure what’s happened this year, but it’s all gone a bit pear shaped and I haven’t managed really any of my plans that are right to achieve with so much enthusiasm at the beginning of the year.


I had a grand plans for regular exercise and healthy food and all sorts of things and I just haven’t been very good with my, my streaks so far, so I’m rather than sort of give up and not worry about it, which is kind of tempting, I am resetting and starting again. So I’ve managed to get to Pilates at least twice this week, which is pretty good and I’m booked in for tomorrow, so that will be my goal of three times this week. I haven’t managed, I’ve managed very little walking and I think I’m really feeling it, in, I don’t know, just not being relaxed and feeling as good as I wish I did at the moment.


But yeah. So yeah, I need to, I need to just work out why I’m not getting to it. Currently the weather, it’s been raining an awful lot the last month or so. I don’t know if that’s really a very good excuse. I’m not sure what happened really. I need to sort of sit down and think back across month to actually think what’s happened. Anyway, I’ve been doing a little bit of knitting. I was switching on a design today and maybe that’s why I’m feeling a bit frustrated because I planned out a design, I drew a chart and the end result didn’t look how I wanted it to. It didn’t have the feeling that I wanted. I had a concept for the design and it just didn’t evoke the feeling. Sorry. So I watched all day on that and worked on the stitch pattern and the chart and, and I’ve decided I, I like it.


So it’s probably adding to my frustrated mood tonight. So I always just tell myself if I keep swatching for long enough, I will get there eventually. It’s just, yeah, I think I’m just frustrated that I took my whole day to realize that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. But I’ll, I’ll just start again. I’ll look for some new ideas and start again. I spoke last week about how I’d finished my terracotta socks by WoolFields Studio and I talked about the Birch Hollow Fibers yarn and that I couldn’t remember the name. And so I just wanted to add in that I looked up the name and it’s Roses for Sophrenia. It’s one of her, I think a regular colorway that Robin does and yeah, it’s just really gorgeous. I have taken photos and we’ll get them up on social media and I was talking about starting a pattern from 52 weeks of socks by Laine.


And the pattern was Bembe by Dawn Henderson. And I had picked out some yarn, which was a really soft pink, and then I saw Claire who is indielynx on Instagram knitting those same socks. And she had tries in this really vibrant sort of golden, golden yellowy, browny color. And it was just so, I don’t know, I just loved it and I just thought, Oh, the pale pink isn’t going to cut it for these socks. And they were a little bit variegated as well. And I think this needs a really strong, solid or semi-solid, at least yarn. So I’m going to go back to the stash. Back to the drawing board. I’d chosen this yarn because I already had it wound into a ball. It was one of the yarns that I rescued for my swatching and I thought, Oh, I’ll just use that because it’s already wound and it’s easily to hand.


But yeah, no, I don’t think so. I think I will just continue using that yarn for swatching as I will be continuing my swatch. So rather than start that, I decided that I should finish my pebbles and pathways socks, which I’m probably three quarters done with. I’m onto the second sock and I’ve done the leg, so I’m up to the heel flap with those and yeah, I think I should just finish them. They’re so cute. The yarn is by my friend Emma Saren Yarns. She’s an English indie Dyer and it’s just such gorgeous yarn and it’s going really, really well with the pattern. So I need to finish those socks first, I think. Yeah, just finish something before I start another thing. Oh otherwise I’ll just sit there forever and not get finished and they’re nearly done. So that’s my plan now. And I’m also going to this weekend, this is my accountability, You’re my accountability partners this week, and I am going to pick up the stitches for a sleeve on my Clio pullover.


This is a WIP that’s been going on for a very, very long time and I need to get that done as well. So I am kind of sick of talking about it, sick of talking about not doing it. So I’m going to pick up the stitches this weekend and then I’ll be able to just putter away on it doing a pickup stitches, and I think there’s a little bit of short rows involved. Just means you know, that bit of extra concentration needed that is being a barrier to me doing it at all. So I’m going to overcome the barrier I’m going to cost on the sleeve and start working on that again. It’s had so many, not really timeouts, just time resting.


Yeah. So that’s my plan. That’s my knitting plan for the next week or two or three. Yeah. Pebbles and pathway socks by HeyBrownBerry, Marceline Smith and Clio by Elizabeth Doherty. Of course I’m so distracted by so many other projects I want to cast on, but I’m just going to, I just need to focus and finish some things.


And other exciting news this week, my sofa arrived from my studio and I’m very excited about this. It’s really nice and very comfy. And when I was dreaming about my studio, before we even moved to Australia, I was planning to have a friend’s chair in my office or studio and my mom has started this concept or trend within our family, and in her office she has a little comfy arm chair and dad goes in and sits with her and has a cup of tea with her. And when we have visiting, we sit with her and if she’s crafting or just at her computer, something like that, we’ll go in and have a chat.


And so I really liked that idea and I planned, to get a friend’s chair, but my studio is quite big and I thought what would be even better as friend’s sofa because I thought, Oh, it’d be nice to be able to be working in my studio. Maybe if I fancied it, have a little lie down and read something. And I also was hoping that the girls would come down and maybe do a little bit of homework or a little bit of cross with me and yeah, and already they’re doing that. So that’s working really well. And so if he comes down and does her math homework and Lexi’s craze of knitting Nancy, knitting tubes with a toilet paper and pedal pop sticks is still going strong, it’s seems to be back back happening again. So she’s been making some, some French knitting, knitting Nancy and keeping me company while I do tedious admin.


So now I have all the furniture and now I really need to just a little bit of sorting out a little bit of decluttering. I’ve got some piles of things that I can’t quite deal with. So I need to make myself deal with some filing and some things like that. Just get this into a lovely, relaxing, serene space. It’s a little bit too cluttered and too many piles of doom at the moment to be relaxing, but maybe I’ll tackle a few of the piles this weekend as well. I think what I need today is find a inspirational picture on Pinterest or in a magazine that I know what I’m aiming for as something very Zen and relaxing to motivate me. At the moment I just have a mouse cage and they’re very messy. They keep throwing things out of their cage. I need to need to sort that out and find a home or at least some sort of tray to put the cage in so that I don’t end up with food and bedding all over my studio.


I hope it isn’t TMI when I talk about the mice because I know that they’re not everybody’s favorite pets and give people the heebie-jeebies but including me, we had a couple of infestations in our house in London because just happens in houses in London pretty regularly and I was not at all happy about that. But having them as pets, it really is different and I am finding them surprisingly cute, so I’m quite surprised that I liked them as much as I do. Lexi absolutely adores hers and is in the process of training one to do tricks now. So yeah, it’s all quite fun. It’s nice having a pet.


Well, I hope you have a really good week in the midst of all the madness that seems to be happening in the world, again, at the moment. There’s so many crazy things happening that it’s quite hard to focus and I am definitely relying on my knitting to keep calm and relaxed and I should probably get back into my walking with a bit more regularity to be able to keep stress levels down. So, yes, I hope you’re all well, happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Mar 06 2020

14mins

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Have listened for years

By Esther in CA - Aug 23 2019
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The Curious Handmade podcast is one of the first audiocasts I listened to. I’ve been a loyal fan for about 4 years now. I love the intertwining of knitting along with real life that Helen shares as well as where she finds inspiration. I listen to each new episodes while on my Saturday morning walk.

Curious Handmade

By animor5 - Mar 03 2018
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Love the podcast and your patterns as well!