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Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

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Rank #129 in Hobbies category

Arts
Fashion & Beauty
Leisure
Hobbies
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Delightful knitting patterns and Knitting Podcast

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Delightful knitting patterns and Knitting Podcast

iTunes Ratings

323 Ratings
Average Ratings
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139
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5
7

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

323 Ratings
Average Ratings
169
139
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 May 29, 2020

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Delightful knitting patterns and Knitting Podcast

Rank #1: CH 278: The Dorsal Socks, and Goodbye 2019!

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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.

Today on the last podcast of the year, I introduce the last secret pattern of 2019, the Dorsal Socks, #6 in The Handmade Sock Society 2. I have news about the closing date for all of our current Curious Handmade KALs, and some plans for the brand new year ahead.

Show Links

The Dorsal Socks

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2

The Shawl Society Season 4

Fragment Socks

The Four Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast, you’re listening to episode 278. 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 and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. It really is that pointy end of the year where things can start getting a little bit stressful. Everybody wants to meet deadlines before the holidays and before the new year. Things just seem to start getting a bit packed in at this time of year. So, I hope you are able to find a little bit of space, a little bit of peace, a little bit of time with your knitting. Hope things aren’t too crazy. Have a look at your to do list and see what you can take off your plate and put on to next year if it’s not urgent. Just try and reduce the stress levels a little bit. That’s what I just did yesterday. Put about 10 things that I was trying to do before Christmas into January and I’m going to deal with them then. That’s okay. It’s important to keep your sanity and your sense of peace at this time of year.

In today’s episode we have a new pattern that was released yesterday to have a chat about. And a few upcoming things, just some knitalongs and things that we have happening at the moment. Perhaps a couple of upcoming patterns. Just do a little bit of a wrap up for the year and it’s going to be just a fairly short episode. I just wanted to say hello for the last time this year and this decade. This will be the last episode for 2019. And I usually try to wrap up the podcast around the time that the kids finish school, which is a little bit earlier here in Australia than it was in the UK or then it is in the UK. Because this is our big summer holiday for the year starting over Christmas holidays rather than over August, July, August, September, as it is in Europe.

So yeah, we’re about to be off for six to eight weeks, depending on your school, and looking forward to it. Although it hasn’t been very long since we had a really long break. But that was because we had a crazy year moving, so I feel like I’m ready for another holiday. It has been a big year, we’ve had three collections with Curious Handmade, The Shawl Society, The Handmade Sock Society, as well as Knitvent and several other individual designs that were released with various events and things happening throughout the year. So that was very fun, but very busy. And yesterday was the release of the last pattern from the surprise collections, which was The Handmade Sock Society and Dorsal socks. I actually designed these socks quite early in the year. I had the idea for them and they were actually meant to be released earlier in the year, but we did a little bit of a reshuffle because I messed up the schedule a little bit. But I think these socks are really nice to wrap up the season and.

I’ll just read out the description. Gazing out over the surface of the ocean, it’s difficult to fathom just how much life teams beneath. It’s a whole other world down there in the depths, one we usually only ever see when there’s a nature documentary on the television or if we’re one of the few brave and fortunate souls who are able to strap on a scuba tank and descend beneath the waves. Otherwise, catching a glimpse of the incredible creatures who make the sea their home, requires a bit of luck and a whole lot of patience. Perhaps today will be the day, armed with your trusty binoculars and flask of hot tea to keep away the chill of the wind, you scan the waves. Suddenly, almost an hour and a stiff neck later, there it is rising out of the water, a triangular dorsal fin. That first sighting brings the thrill of uncertainty. It’s an exciting vision but also faintly menacing. Is that a dolphin or shark you see? Or maybe something else that you’ve never expected.

Cornwall is home to one of the most diverse populations of marine life in all of Britain, so that tell-tale fin could belong to almost anyone. England’s only pod of bottle nose dolphins lives here and large whale sightings happen all year round. Then there are the sharks who patrol the deeper waters with fearsome reputations. All of these fascinating creatures have a role to play in the ecosystem and their presence is only possible because of strict marine conservation zones in the estuaries around the coast. These carefully protected areas give them the room they need to breathe and live and flourish. There are lessons for us here about our own creative life. Waiting for that creative spark to surface can feel a lot like watching for that tell tale dorsal fin. You have to look keenly and wait faithfully. You have to be open to uncertainty. When it does arise at last, it can be frightening, but most of all your time and space must be carefully protected and guarded so that your creative power can grow.

So I think it’s a particularly apt thought for this time of year to protect a little bit of your creative space. And yeah, the last pattern, each season always seems to sneak up on me. No matter how long plans have been in place. This year has especially flown by and it’s been so nice to see so many first time sock knitters joining in The Handmade Sock Society. And lots of experienced sock knitters enjoying the designs as well. So it always makes me so happy to have you join in and also take a chance on a surprise collection that you don’t know what you’re getting into beforehand. I appreciate you taking a punt and having the trust in my design skills, it’s super humbling. And I’ve just been thinking about the knit-alongs. I wasn’t able to keep up with monthly prizes this year because of moving and just having too much on. But I thought what I’ll do is we’ll do a grand prize draw for all the collections, so Knitvent, The Shawl Society and The Handmade Sock Society. 31st of January or after the 31st of January.

So if you post your finished objects in the respective finished object threads by 31st of January and then in early February I’ll do a drawing and a grand prize giving. And just give everybody a little bit of time to finish any partially completed projects, just may as well ease into the new year. I’ll be on holidays with the kids for most of January. School won’t return until late January here. So let’s just take our time and if you’re joining in on any of those collections or knit alongs, you will have an extra month. And I will endeavor to have some nice prizes. I’ll choose some lovely things from my stash. I have extensive various bags and yarn to choose from. So I will put together some gorgeous packages for you and I will try to take photos and post them as soon as I can. I’m not making any promises about when that will be but before the end of the knit-along.

And then also before the end of the year, even though the podcast is of finishing up this week, we will still have a few things happening so I will release the Knitvent patterns from this year’s Knitvent as single patterns on December the 13th. So they’ll be available to purchase individually if you’ve had your eye on just one of them rather than the whole collection. And we’ll also do probably a two for one sale around that time. I think that’s fairly traditional for Curious Handmade to have a little pre-Christmas thank you for a wonderful year sale. And in case people were holding out to buy individual patterns for Knitvent. And as I mentioned last week, I’m also working on the pattern for fragment socks. Now all the other designs are released, I can finally focus on this one. I did say last week that I was going to release it with three sizes, but since having a closer look at it, it was only written in the one size originally.

And I think what I’ll probably do in the interest of just publishing it as a single, I’m going to publish it with the one size and aim to add two more sizes at a later date if I can. It would depend on the calculations for the stitch pattern. I think it will be possible, but I will need a little bit more time to look at that. So I thought rather than delay and put it off even longer, I’m just going to… What is it? Progress is better than perfection. And publish it with the one size that it has at the moment for people who’ve been waiting for that for a really long time and yeah, so still working on that. I don’t have a exact release date for it yet, but just as soon as I can get that pattern produced, I will publish it hopefully before Christmas. I’d like to make it available for Christmas Eve costs on if I can. So that’s what I’m aiming for. So thanks for bearing with me. It’s been a long time and I’m sure a couple more weeks will be at this point.

At the moment I’m enjoying spending some time dreaming about plans for next year and thinking about what might happen next year. I’m, yeah, just enjoying spending a little bit of time working away on that. Thinking about how I want my daily routines to be like and then what collections I might do next year. And also plans for podcast topics and all sorts of things I’m playing with. And yeah, it’s just nice to have a little bit of time at this time of year to be able to do a bit of daydreaming. As usual, I’ve been reading some productivity books and enjoying that. And I always enjoy getting a bit of motivation for, I don’t know, just achieving goals and thinking about life I suppose. And I have just listened to a really great audio book, I would recommend it if you’re into that kind of thing. Not everybody is, but I really am.

I came across this book because I’m thinking quite a lot about my health at the moment. So this particular book is called The 4 Pillar Plan, How to Eat, Sleep, Relax, and Move Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life. That’s by a British doctor, Dr Rangan Chatterjee. And yeah, apparently he’s been on TV shows in the UK. I haven’t seen his TV shows, but he’s written a couple of books. This is his first one, I think the 4 Pillar Plan. I really like it because I’ve always struggled to balance various things like exercise, sleep, diet, stress. And so I really like his framework that he says in the introduction he’s got these four pillars. And about five top tips in each pillar, or five things to focus on. And what he says is to focus on, even if you just do one or two things in each of the pillars, that’s better too than doing everything right in one pillar and then ignoring the rest. So the idea of having a balanced foundation.

So I thought that was quite nice and his suggestions seem fairly doable. So I’m going to be looking at his suggestions and figuring out which ones… Some of them I already do okay with. And then some of them will be quite a challenge. And so working out a little bit of a plan to try and achieve balance across these various pillars. Anyway, I would really recommend that book. I’ll put the link in the show notes as always. And he has a second one, which it’s about reducing stress. I believe there’s a similar four pillar framework to think about it. So I’m having a listen of that one at the moment, but I’ve finished the first one. And yeah, so just try to incorporate healthy things into my routine and as well as work for next year.

And so I’m just taking the opportunity of having moved to a new country, a new lifestyle, new area. So I’m really trying to take the opportunity to set myself up with routines in a intentional way, which is my word for this year, to be intentional. And so that’s what I’m trying to do is just really grasp this opportunity of having a clean slate to start things off in a good way.

So that was a bit of a segue from knitting, but I guess my point is that I’m thinking about an awful lot of things when I’m thinking about my knitting and designing plans for next year as well. I guess that’s the thread that is running through that thought process there. So I’ll be back in January, probably mid January, I’m not sure which week I’ll start back yet actually. Yet to be planned out in detail, but it will be around mid January I think. And I will share more plans and goals then, as well as my word for 2020. I love having a word for the year. This year was intentional and I remembered it all year, unlike last year. And it’s been really helpful. It’s been a really good word. So I recommend intentional. It’s worked for me really well this year and I’m hoping to find a really good one for next year as well.

In the mean time. I would like to thank my amazing team that’s helped me run Curious Handmade this year. My copywriter, Amanda. My tech editors, Emma and Anna. My graphic designers Jacqueline and Vicky. My incredible group moderator as well as test and sample knitter, Deb Tinkhickman. And my podcast editor, Emma and Alex. And last but not least, I wanted to say a huge special thank you to my main test knitter, Tracy. Tracy has been the biggest support and amazing test knitter, great friend. And yeah, just couldn’t produce the patterns at the level I do without my amazing team of colleagues and really good friends.

And of course all my knitters and podcast listeners. I love you all so much. You’ve made my second or third or fourth or whatever it is career, my favorite career so far. So meaningful and happy. You’re just such wonderful, supportive people and so much fun getting to do a job where I can work with beautiful yarn, beautiful textiles and beautiful people. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who’s been in the Curious Crew this year and always. I don’t really monitor who buys my patterns closely, but every now and then I’ll glance at the page and see names from, I don’t know, seven or eight years ago now, from the very beginning still popping up. And that makes me feel so honored and blessed that I have this community of people that has been around for so long and continues to be so great.


So on a bit of a gushy note, thank you. And I hope you have a wonderful holiday. I hope you just get to spend some lovely, peaceful time. I’ve been seeing amazing photos of snow storms and snow and just gorgeous scenes from the Northern hemisphere. So I hope you’re all cozy and well and safe.So happy holidays, happy new year. And I will look forward to chatting with you all again in 2020. Bye for now.

Dec 06 2019

21mins

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Rank #2: CH 273: Settling in, and the In The Dunes Wrap

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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.

We’re just starting to settle in Australia, and as I get my bearings I have a little bit of an update for you, and the newest shawl/wrap from The Shawl Society Season 4 to talk about. I’ve also started a new and lovely novel by a good friend and member of the maker community. It’s just launched and has become part of my summer reading, and I think it might appeal to some of you as well.

Show Links:

Emu Runner movie

In the Dunes Wrap

The Shawl Society Season 4

Meadow from The Fibre Co.

Pure Joy Shawl by Joji Locatelli

Stories for my Sister by Elizabeth Duvivier

Join Elizabeth for a launch party hosted by BROOKLYN TWEED
The Hoxton (Portland, OR)
Thursday, September 5th
doors open at 6pm

space is limited
RSVP at Brooklyn Tweed Events Page

Aug 23 2019

14mins

Play

Rank #3: CH 269: Ravelry and Sewing Plans

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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.

This week I have some thoughts to share about recent events in our knitting community, why I am committed to anti-racism and to how we can make our spaces safer and more inclusive. I’m also thinking about some sewing projects I would really like to get started on this summer, although my plans might need to wait until after the big move.

Show Links:

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

Creative Ceci on Instagram

Adaku Ezeudo

Creating a Culture of Inclusion by Adaku Ezeudo

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Gathered Dress by The Avid Seamstress

Ray Stitch

Merchant & Mills

Chardon Skirt by Deer&Doe

Simplicity 1108

Little Koto’s Closet on Instagram

Pom Pom Quarterly

New Look 6145

The Fold Line Podcast

Brooklyn Knitfolk Podcast

Voolenvine Podcast

Joji’s Journal Podcast

Circus Tonic Handmade

The Wool Kitchen

Show Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmaid podcast, you’re listening to episode 269. 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 Handmaid. You can also find full show notes and the transcript on my website at curioushandmaid.com

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve had a busy week just for something different. I’m sure you have too. Thank you to everybody for your wonderful reading suggestions on Instagram and emails. I have a list of fabulous recommendations, mostly detective series which is what I asked for and, yeah, one thing leads to another one. You start looking at things on Amazon. You get lots of suggestions for similar things, so that’s really fun as well. Yeah, so I’ll have lots of summer reading and thank you again for suggestions.

We are winding up towards the end of the school year here in the UK. I know that in the US things probably wrapped up a few weeks ago and I think Canada is about now as well. So we’re just in the midst of end-of-year concerts, end-of-year sports days, assessments, all that winding up stuff that happens, so it gets really busy. I’ve decided to take next week off the podcast. Yeah, just give myself a little bit of space, because it’s been a bit hectic lately and I’m just coping with things, so I won’t have a show coming out next week, but I thought I’d decide now rather than just not have something come out, let you know.

I am going to be aiming to publish an episode every week or almost every week over the summer and do a summer series like I have in the past, I don’t know, three years now that I think I’ve prerecorded episodes, so when we go on holidays to Australia this year it’s going to be a little bit different because we are moving to Australia, but I’m aiming to prerecord some shows just to get through that period where we’re moving and things are a bit up in the air. I’m not sure how successful that’s going to be, because I’m already behind my schedule of where I wanted to be. Anyway, who knows? I might catch up a little bit or get a burst of energy from somewhere.

I’m hoping to make that one of my priorities, because I love recording the show and keeping in contact with you all. This week I am talking a little bit about sewing and sewing patterns, because when it starts getting warm, that’s what I start thinking about a little bit more, and I know lots of you do, so I’ll be talking a little bit about that, this show as well as what I’m knitting. 

First, I wanted to make an important announcement. I don’t often talk about politics or political things or, I don’t know, stuff like that on the show, but sometimes I do, and today is one of those days that I feel compelled to.

There’s been a lot of discussion on Instagram in the past couple of weeks about the policy Ravelry posted on their homepage this last week. They posted the policy that, “We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy. For more details, read the document.”    This is a statement that has been made by Ravelry and I feel that it’s part of the big discussion and awareness raising campaign, if you like, led primarily by black indigenous people of colour from many countries around the world.

It’s been happening for a long time, but has intensified dramatically in January this year, I would say. Personally, I’m endlessly grateful for those people speaking up. I’ve mostly seen it on Instagram, because that’s my social media of choice. I don’t go onto Twitter at all, and very rarely on Facebook but … so, I’ve seen it mostly on Instagram, and lots of posts of leadership and education. Yeah, just awareness raising that have been posted by the BIPOC and LGBQT people who’ve started these conversations, continued the conversations and, yeah, just opened themselves up to a lot of criticism, actually, from people, but also a lot of support from people as well.

They’ve been the ones that have stood in the firing line and spoken up about issues of racism and inclusivity and diversity. I have learned a lot and am very grateful for them speaking up. I think this raising of awareness has, I don’t know, it’s just led to a lot of conversations. I mean, I’ve been a member of Ravelry since 2007 and I think that would make me a reasonably early member, and I’ve always loved it. I’ve always loved being part of it. We have a really thriving discussion group for Curious Handmade on there. I think that the reason Ravelry has been a really good community over the years, have been as a result of the policies that Jess and Casey, who are the founders of Ravelry, have put in place.

Recently, there was a incident where someone was basically abused, a person of colour was abused, so they have put this policy in place. I support this policy, I don’t support any hate speech or any harassment of anybody. Although the wording is quite confronting, especially if you’re white, and especially if you voted for Trump, Ravelry have made it clear in the policy that Trump supporters are not banned, it’s the talking about supporting Trump that is banned. If you are someone who doesn’t want to talk about politics on Ravelry, then on my reading of the policy, nothing has changed for you.

A lot of people have said that they wish that it wasn’t political, that Ravelry wasn’t political, and that a lot of people like myself and designers and dyers, people who work in the industry aren’t political. People have said that they don’t like that we’re making political statements, but I don’t agree with that. I think it’s important to talk about these things. If you don’t want to talk about them, you don’t have to. There’s plenty of groups where politics aren’t discussed and generally I would say that politics aren’t discussed very much in the Curious Handmade threads. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any discussion along those lines in the threads.

I just think that, this is a policy, it’s been made, I think we should abide by it if we want to participate in this free platform that Ravelry provide, it’s free to use. As a designer, I pay very minimal fees, I think, to sell my patterns on Ravelry. I think that Jess and Casey are incredibly inclusive. This platform is amazing and I think that we should all support that. I know that some people have decided not to, but I think that there’s a big difference between feeling confronted and defensive about the policy, because of your political camp compared to genuinely being harassed and made to feel unsafe because of who you are.

I don’t think there’s any room for hate speech in our community or anywhere, that’s why I support them. Obviously, the issue of equality and discrimination is much broader than the fiber community and Ravelry, but for those of us who spend time on Ravelry or Instagram and follow fiber people, we’re getting every wake-up call at the moment. Personally, I’m grateful for that and I’m grateful to the activists that have been doing that work. I mean, I think that the what and the why, are very clear. Discrimination, intolerance and hate speech, it’s just not acceptable.

In most of the countries that most of my listeners live in, definitely the US, UK, Australia, will have anti discrimination laws in legislation and case law as part of our legal system. I think it’s one thing to have the laws and policies, but the how of real change made in our day-to-day lives and as individuals, is really the challenge we’re facing. Just because we have laws protecting people against discrimination on the basis of race or sex or colour, age, physical and mental disabilities, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist in society. It does exist. Discrimination does still exist. I think it’s all of our responsibility to face that.

I am on a steep learning curve, when the conversation sparked up in January, I started doing a lot of reading and I would recommend the ebook, Me and White Supremacy, I thought it was a bit of a confronting title at the time. It’s a book by Layla F Saad, at the time it was a downloadable ebook and now it’s a physical book and ebook on bookstores, including Amazon. My awareness has raised significantly since then. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I was in a bit of a bubble before. I think a lot of us were, to be honest. I think my vocabulary to talk and think about issues around racism and inclusion and diversity have improved a lot, which is helping me analyze all the arguments and understand what people are saying.

I’m still a long way from fully understanding all the issues that people face and knowing what I can do to act better as a person or as Creative Ceci says, to level up, but I really want to and I’m working on it. My hope is, if we all become more tolerant and inclusive and supportive, our community is just going to be more wonderful than before. I’m just don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to do that.    I recently listened to a talk by Adaku Ezeudo and she spoke at Woollinn, which was a recent yarn festival in Dublin, and they’ve published a video of the talk on their website and I’ll link to it in the show notes.

I would recommend, everybody listen to this. It was just a wonderful talk that she gave. She spoke about how small every day actions can make an impact and that leadership is a privilege and responsibility. I was really debating whether I would or could talk about this on the podcast, because I don’t want to be tokenistic, I don’t want to be performative or center myself in this, so I was really wondering if I could talk about it meaningfully. She had line in her speech that said, leadership as a privilege and responsibility.

I am very privileged in society as a white person, a white able-bodied a straight person, and I’m just realizing more and more how privileged I am. I have a lot of listeners, I have a lot of followers on Instagram, so I thought I would, it just felt like my responsibility to say something here, but the point about the talk, by Adaku Ezeudo at Woollinn, is that she had a long list of practical steps we can take. I would encourage you to listen to it. She explains it really, really well and really clearly, it’s really fantastic.

Some of the things she talked about is having a zero tolerance policy towards racism and also evolving your business as you go along and as you learn more and as society evolves and to create inclusive products, to think about advertising and marketing, being inclusive, to create strategic partnerships with minority-owned businesses, have an inclusive mindset to acknowledge our bias, to be aware of our biases when we’re making important decisions. Some of it is only from the perspective of the business owner, but most of these things are just from the perspective of anybody.

She talks about some more business oriented things like hosting trainings and events. She talks about recognizing your privilege, that it’s not just about being wealthy or having money, it’s about things that come to you naturally that don’t come to other people, and use your privilege to advantage people less privileged.    A big one is, when you hear people talking about privilege, to not get defensive, to think about what you can do to promote change. I think from what I’ve seen in comments on Instagram, a lot of people do get defensive, myself included, I feel a little bit under scrutiny as a white person. That’s to be expected and that’s for me to deal with, I think, but I need to stop being defensive and think about it from a different perspective and to overcome that initial reaction. That’s about all I want to say about the topic today. I mean, it’s a huge topic and there’s so much reading and materials out there to educate yourself if you wish to. I’ve found it both confronting and very rewarding to educate myself on all of these things this year. Yeah, and I hope other people can can do the same. I know that many of you are already thinking about these things and doing and acting on them. I am very hopeful for our knitting community and society in general and I hope things improve for everybody.    I have a fairly brief knitting update for you today. Most of my knitting recently has been working on designs and most of my designs are secrets, so I can’t really talk about those too much. I’m working really hard at the moment to try and get a bit ahead of schedule. Never been particularly good at being ahead in my design schedule, but I’m trying very hard this year to do that, because I need to be ahead at the moment and, yeah, just been working like crazy to get on my collections for the year wrapped up before we actually pack up and move. It’s going okay. As I said before, I am behind schedule, but I don’t know, I might have to work a few evenings or just pick up my pace a bit and try and get there.    I have been doing a bit of relaxation, personal knitting, and I’ve been working on Clio by Elizabeth Doherty and I have finished the body now, so I’m excited about that. I have been working on the, what do you call it, the band at the bottom, I’m sure there’s a more technical name for it, but I can’t think of it right now, of the body for the last couple of weeks really and have finally got that cast off and I’m now bobbing away on sleeve island, but I’m quite happy hanging out on sleeve island. I don’t mind knitting sleeves, they’re just part of it and they just have to be done, so I just consider that part of knitting a garment. Yeah, I’m enjoying that. I am looking forward to finishing it.    I don’t know if I will just cast on something else as well for a bit of variety while I’m working on the slaves. I was very generous. They gifted the Yellow Brick Road yarn, how he used in the sample in La Bien Aimee and Amie gave me the yarn, which I’m very grateful for and I am so looking forward to knitting that. Especially now it’s become really summery here in the UK.
I think that bright yellow is just calling my name, so I think I might start that as well and have two garments going at once, which I don’t know, I probably should just finish Clio and then move on to something else, but I just feel like doing that as well, so we’ll see. I haven’t given into that temptation yet, but I’m itching to. Probably by next week it will be on the needles.    As I mentioned in the intro, I’m itching to do some sewing as well. I think realistically this is going to have to wait till later in the year, but again, when summer and warm weather come around, it really sparks my craving to do some sewing.

I just thought I’d talk about a couple of patterns that I have in my queue. I’ve been packing up my knitting and sewing stashes and I’ve been going through these things. I have lots of lovely fabric and patterns that I want to make. The first one I have in the queue is the gathered dress and it’s by The Avid Seamstress. Oh, this dress is so cute. I bought the pattern at Ray Stitch in London. It’s a fabric shop, is LinkedIn. Ray Stitch has an amazing area where they have all their patterns displayed and they also have a fantastic sample rack. There’s often items there that inspire you to want to make a particular pattern.

You can actually try them on if the sample is sort of around your size, just to get an idea of what size you might want to make or how it looks on, so that’s quite cool as well. I got the gathered dress there and I’m not very familiar with The Avid Seamstress. It’s a fairly new to me pattern label. I think they’re UK-based, their website address, which is on the back of the pattern, is theavidseamstress.co.uk. That would indicate that they are UK-based. I also bought Merchant & Mills linen in a dusky pink to make this, it’s a really cute dress. You can make it long or short sleeved, which is quite cute.

This is very, very simple. At the front, it’s, I don’t know what line it is, but it just goes straight down at the front, maybe slightly fitted, then at the back there’s a really cute line of gathers around the waist. It’s gathered at the back, which is quite good for my shape, because I’ve got a bit of a bum and I’m fairly straight at the front. Yeah. I thought this would would be good, it’s also got pockets, which is really cute. I’m looking forward to doing that one at some point.    I also have the pattern for the Chardon skirt by Deer&Doe. I actually have this twice. I bought it and thought I couldn’t find it and then bought it again, so now I have two copies of this pattern. It’s a pleated skirt, a high waisted skirt with inverted box plates, knee length, and you can do it with or without a hem band. I love this pattern on my friend, Stuart, made it years ago and that’s when I bought the pattern the first time. It’s just super classic, I think, and cute as well. I’ve got several lots of fabric to make this. I just need to get on with it. Yeah, so that’s one. I’ve got this really cute print that I bought in Paris and it’s got little Eiffel towers on it. It’s super cute. I think it’s got poodles or something as well. Something sort of French, maybe a bit cliched, but quite fun. I’ve always intended to make this Chardon skirt with that fabric, but it’d be cute in any fabric I think.    The last pattern I have, which I talked about last summer, is Simplicity 1108, which isn’t a very romantic name, but it is a robe sort of cover-up type garment. It’s a really cute pattern. Actually, on the back, they actually call it a kimono, but we know better than to call it a kimono. Having been educated about cultural appropriation, especially about the kimono by, in particular, little_kotos_closet, an Instagram account. An Instagram account that is written by Emi Ito. Emi talks about cultural appropriation specifically around the kimono. She’s written an article that was in Hong Kong Quarterly number 29 and on some other websites, but you can find out more about that at little_kotos, K-O-T-O-S_closet. I think when I was talking about it this time last year I was using that term, Kimono, about this garment, but I’ve now learnt not to do that.   Finally, I have another dress and it’s just a simple fitted dress. Again, I saw the sample for this at Ray Stitch. The pattern is New Look 6145. I think what I liked about this, on the sample, is that it’s got a really cute boat neck option, and I think it’s also a really simple pattern. I think it would be a good pattern for a work dress, probably a more formal dress, but I think it could be also a nice dress for, I don’t know, I think a going-out dress. It’s not a flowy dress, it’s quite a classic fitted dress. I don’t know if I still love it as much as I did. I think, when I bought the pattern, I thought that the pattern really didn’t do the dress in the shop justice, so I’m trying to remember, because I loved the dress when I saw it made up, but I’m looking at the pictures on the pattern cover and it’s not super inspiring.

I’m thinking, why did I love it so much? But I remember the dress, maybe it was the print that they’d used in the shop, but I thought it was super cute at the time. That’s an option as well, but that will probably be the last on my list.    Along with my wish for more sewing time at the moment, I’ve been watching some sewing podcasts and in particular The Foldline by Kate. This because it has been around for a few years and I dip in and out of it from time to time, but I’ve been watching a few episodes recently. It’s a fantastic sewing podcast. I haven’t found any other sewing-dedicated podcasts that I like as much as this one.

I haven’t tried to find that many and I would appreciate any recommendations of fun sewing podcasts that you like listening to. I really like Kate. She does reviews of patterns she finds, new patterns that have come out and talks about why she likes them and features that she thinks are cool. She has episodes where they’re just talking about sewing related but not just sewing patterns. She talks about fabrics, she talks about events. Yeah, just stuff happening in the sewing world. Yeah. She has a nice descriptive way about talking about patterns that, yeah, just makes you look at them in a different way. So I enjoy that one.

Of course, I enjoy some of the knitters who sew, who talk about sewing on their podcast from time to time. I enjoy hearing about Brooklyn Knitfolk’s sewing projects, Kristin on Voolenvine podcasts. Really enjoy listening to her sewing projects. She does a lot of really cute dresses, adorable dresses and skirts. She has a very feminine style, probably more so than what I would go for, but I really enjoy seeing what she’s made, as well as Joji. Joji from time to time will talk about sewing projects as well and she’s really inspiring, because she talks about it from, well, she’s not really a beginner anymore, but when she started talking about sewing, she said she was a complete beginner.

Yeah, it was quite inspiring to see as a beginner what she was accomplishing and she has lots of fun ideas about her makes. Yeah, just really enjoy listening to them talk about knitting, but also I really enjoy hearing about the sewing projects. I’m sure there’s more that I’m not mentioning, but those are the ones that have just come to mind as I’m having a bit of chat about this. This podcast has gone on for a bit longer than usual, mostly because of my serious chat at the beginning.    The colorway name is Homemade Jam and you can find the listing on her website at circustonic.com.au and it’s listed as Helen Stewart The Sock Society Homemade Jam. The pattern itself won’t be out until the 15th of August, if you’re a member of the Handmade Sock Society, but because the yarn is coming from Australia, we are trying to get the listing up nice and early, so it can reach everybody.

Also, we have the yarn for the third pattern for The Shawl Society and we just announced that this week and that is by The Wool Kitchen and the update for that is just starting today. You can find the details for that at thewoolkitchen.com and that’s for the third shawl which is coming out quite soon.    As usual, if you are members of either society and you have signed up for this specific email for the society that you are a member of, you should have gotten an email about that. The details of where to sign up for emails are in your information sheet that’s part of the collection that’s available in your Ravelry library if you are participating.

Thank you to everybody who is participating in the societies this year. I, of course, appreciate all of you and love seeing your shawls and socks popping up on Ravelry and on Instagram and for the messages you send me and, yeah, just really appreciate it. We appreciate your support and love seeing what you’re making with my patterns. I will be with you again in two weeks time. I, as I mentioned, taking next week off and look forward to talking to you again soon.    Happy knitting, bye for now.

Jul 05 2019

35mins

Play

Rank #4: CH 277: The Homebody Hat and Mitts

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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 #5: CH 249: The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 & Some Big News

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Photo by Adriel Kloppenburg on Unsplash

Today on the show I am so excited to tell you all about our newest mystery collection: the Handmade Sock Society. I also have some tidbits of knitting news from my own projects, a VERY BIG announcement about the future location of Curious Handmade Headquarters, and all the winners from our first Shawl Society Book giveaway.

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.

AYS is a wool boutique specialising in hand dyed yarns and luxury fibres from around the world. You’ll always find a well curated collection of yarns and colors on the shelves and a friendly knowledgeable staff on hand. Some of our favourite brands include Hedgehog Fibres, SweetGeorgia Yarn, Julie Asselin, Shibui Knits and The Fibre Co. You can find A Yarn Story on Walcot Street in Bath or online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk

Show Links:

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Meadow Yarns

Magpie Fibers

Big Blue Moma Baskets

The Wool Kitchen

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 is now available to buy on Ravelry!

Run away to a quiet cottage in Cornwall, a remote hideaway overlooking the sea. Outside, the waves crash against the rocks, but you are snug and warm, wrapped in blankets and toasting by a little wood-fired stove. There’s peace to be found in the wildness of the ocean and comfort to be gleaned from the humble pleasures of life on a windswept beach. No matter how fierce the weather may be, the sound of the sea can soothe a ruffled heart. When you’re feeling brave, you can climb the cliffs and take in the exhilaration of the view, or strike out in a sailboat and test your skills and courage against the wind. There is nothing else to do and nowhere else to be but right here, and every moment in this place is full of inspiration.

The second season of The Handmade Sock Society takes us on a voyage away from the complexity and clutter of our modern schedules to a seaside retreat where we can steal a little time for ourselves, our thoughts, and our handmade projects. There will be moments of rest and of excitement, the joy of the unknown and the ease of the familiar, and most of all, the indulgence of as much sock knitting as our hearts desire.

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 is a pattern subscription club inspired by the beautiful Cornish coastline. The six secret sock knitting patterns in the collection are ideal for any knitter who is obsessed with hand-knitted socks, loves a bit of suspense, and enjoys creating along with other enthusiastic makers. The first pattern of the series will be released in early later this month, and then there will be another pattern release every other month until December 2019. There’s never any pressure to “keep up” with the crowd, and our leisurely release schedule should allow knitters of all skill levels and knitting speeds a nurturing and relaxed experience.

Join the Handmade Sock Society Season 2 now

Pattern Release Dates: 
Sock 1: Thursday 14th of February
Sock 2: Thursday 11th of April
Sock 3: Thursday the 13th of June
Sock 4: Thursday the 8th of August
Sock 5: Thursday the 10th of October
Sock 6: Thursday the 5th of December

The Shawl Society Book Giveaway Winners:

A huge thank you to everyone who entered and everyone who has bought a copy of my book. Your support is heartwarming!

The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.co.uk

The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com

Winners of Shawl Society Pins:

thereadingstitcher 

jjyauch

nightingaleanddolittle

aviatrix

purls_and_lace

cnschmidt16

ireneknitter

certainstyle_makes

jillyflower653

navel2468

Grand prize winner:

LaurieandOwen

Feb 08 2019

Play

Rank #6: CH 248 : Settling into the year with some leisurely knitting plans

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It’s a rainy day in London, but I’ve gotten cosy with my cup of tea and a brand new candle burning softly. There has been a lot of reflecting, planning, organizing, and getting sorted recently. It’s all in the service of giving myself some extra space. A bit of breathing room where creativity and enjoyment can settle in. Today I share a bit more of that process, as well as my plans for some leisurely, indulgent knitting projects just for me.

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.

AYS is a wool boutique specialising in hand dyed yarns and luxury fibres from around the world. You’ll always find a well curated collection of yarns and colors on the shelves and a friendly knowledgeable staff on hand. Some of our favourite brands include Hedgehog Fibres, SweetGeorgia Yarn, Julie Asselin, Shibui Knits and The Fibre Co. You can find A Yarn Story on Walcot Street in Bath or online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk

Show Links:

The Grocery Girls

Wild in the Woods Candles

Hay Pullover

Like a Cloud Cardigan

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Handmade Sock Society Grand KAL FO thread…I’m extending this deadline until the 10th of February, so if you’ve managed to knit the whole collection from last year, please upload your photo for a chance to win a prize!

Subscribe to the Curious Handmade Newsletter to get all the latest information about knitalongs, upcoming patterns, and more.

Jan 25 2019

Play

Rank #7: CH 276: The Dwelling Cushion 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.

Today we have a new Knitvent pattern to celebrate, and I’ve been planning out my collections for next year and a new creative space, which I’m very excited about. I’ve also got lots of other little life bits to share in a chatty podcast episode.

Show Links

The Dwelling Cushion Cover

Knitvent 2019

Habitation Throw

Homebody Socks

Bide Shawl

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

The Knitting Pipeline

Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankin

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 276. 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.

Hello and welcome. I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been pretty busy on here with Knitvent happening. Lots of things happening to make that all run smoothly. And yeah, doing a bit of planning, doing lots of still settling in myself and the kids into life in Australia. It seems to be ongoing still. And yeah, it’s been good.

I feel a little bit scattered because there’s just been so many things going on, on so many different fronts. But if we start with Knitvent, perhaps. Thank you so much for everybody who’s joining in. It’s been really, really lovely seeing people’s projects starting on Instagram and Ravelry. I always get a huge thrill. I try and follow hashtags. So if you’re posting under Knitvent 2019 or hashtag curioushandmade on Instagram, then I’m seeing most of your projects hopefully. And yeah, just loving it.

I’m so pleased that you like the Habitation Throw, which was the scrappy advent calendar project for this year. That seems to be quite popular. I am knitting away on one as well, so I’m just using scraps and not being too specific about what yarn I’m using. I’m just grabbing yarn and knitting it in, and so it’s a lovely, relaxing, mindless project to have to hand on the sofa when I get a few minutes to sit down.

And also the Homebody socks seem to be quite popular. DK weight socks, they always knit up really quickly and it’s such a simple pattern. I wanted something that was unisex and super simple but yet looked cute. So I see that lots of people are knitting them for all ages and genders, and yeah, really, really pleased about that too.

So this week, yesterday the Dwelling cushion cover came out. And I felt like I was going out on a little bit of a limb doing a cushion cover, but I wanted to do a couple of at least, home decor kind of things for this homebody hibernation theme. And I’ve been thinking about doing a cushion cover for a while.

One of the technical things about this was whether to do an opening or not. And I did initially swatch it with a band for doing a button closure at one end. But then in the end, I just thought, I’m just going to make it clean and simple and less knitting, and just have it so that it’s closed up with just a whip stitch or a mattress stitch at the end. And then if you need to wash it, you can just undo that stitching and then do it up again later. It’s a little bit more work and maybe not as easy for non-crafters or non-knitters to be able to do that. But I just thought how often do you actually wash your cushion covers? In my case, it’s not often, even though I have messy children. I just sort of do a spot clean and off we go.

So that was the decision I came to you, but if you really feel strongly that you wanted a closure, you could just do a band of ribbing at one end and pop some eyelets in the band, and have some buttons to close it off. That was sort of my original plan. So you could still do that. And if there’s a huge demand, I could write that as an option into the pattern as well. But I just figured for the sake of a simple Knitvent pattern, I’d just do it this way for now and see what you thought.

So it’s also a scrappy project potentially. So you could use your DK weight scraps. You could also use fingering weight scraps held double, and it’s just meant to be a little bit of a Missone inspired stripey fun design. I hope people have fun selecting colors. You could do it all in one color as well. Or you could do more even stripes. There’s lots and lots of room to play with this one. So I hope you like it.

I’ll just read out the description. Dwelling is a very pretty word for home. With a fairy tale sound, it conjures up thatch and cobblestone, Hobbit holes and toadstools, and all those old fashioned signifiers of someplace where you know you’ll find a crackling fire, an overstuffed armchair, and a pantry full of tasty morsels. But dwelling sometimes has a different meaning. One that’s tinged with worry. To dwell on something is to set up camp and hunker down with a problem, to live amid our anxieties. The challenges in our lives do need attention and care, but we deserve a sanctuary in our home, someplace we can shut out the distractions and just be with our own thoughts. A place where trouble cannot follow us. Social media and messy kitchens, current events and squabbling relatives, overstuffed to-do lists, and overdue correspondence can all wait. Fill your favorite mug with something fragrant and steamy, close the door, sit down and breathe. This corner and this moment is yours and yours alone.

The Dwelling cushion cover is a soft place to land, the perfect accessory to mark your favorite chair or window seat as your own particular dwelling place. It’s also a lovely gift for anyone who could use a little extra comfort in their life. Designed to use up scraps of DK weight yarn, this is an easy, speedy knit and a lot of fun. The pattern is written for a 40 centimeter cushion insert but is easy to modify. Artful chevron stripes of random widths offer the creative opportunity to play and experiment with color. The resulting cushion cover is a lovely blend of contemporary style and cottage charm.

So I hope you agree and I’m looking forward to seeing your cushion covers pop up on social media as well.

The other thing I’ve been doing this week is some planning. And I am looking forward to next year. I love doing a little bit of planning for the year ahead, and am gradually getting better at planning ahead for business and life. And it’s getting smoother as I get better at planning ahead.

And this year I was really pleased that I managed to schedule all my pattern releases not in holidays, and not when I was going to be traveling or at a retreat or on a family holiday. So that made a huge, huge difference to my feeling of calm and wellbeing, because the previous year I tried to do that but wasn’t really strict enough about it. And I still had a couple of patterns coming out when I was traveling. It was just super stressful, relying on uncertain wi-fi and things like that.

So last year I think pretty much every single pattern release was when I was at least in a sort of fairly stable place. I know with the move that wasn’t entirely perfect, but yeah it worked out really well. So I’m going to do that again next year, make sure that I schedule around trips and holidays as best I can. And sometimes that means a little bit of juggling if I have something like the Sock Society or the Shawl Society. Sometimes it means that the pattern has to come out a little bit earlier or a little bit later. But generally it’s been fairly even and fairly easy to do that. So I’m going to make sure I do that again next year.

I’m thinking about what collections I’m going to do next year, and I will talk a little bit more about that when I firm that up. I’m going to try to reduce the number of collections I’m planning, just to give myself a little bit more time for creativity.

The last few years, I’ve worked pretty hard and feel like I’m, if not burnt out, verging on burnout. And I feel like I need a bit of time and space for my creativity to come back, and yeah, just have a bit more fun with designing and not have so much pressure on how many things I’m taking on. I did try and take on less this year, and I think I did. I didn’t really pick up any extra projects. I said no to a lot of projects. But there were still a few I couldn’t resist. But yeah, I think I was fairly good being fairly strict with myself. But I think next year with just seeing how it went this year, I might even try and reduce things a little bit more even. It’s really hard saying no to fun projects, but I really feel like it’s necessary for me at the moment to just yeah, just need a bit more time to play, and possibly do a little bit of more fun personal knitting, bring back the joy of that.

And I also am itching to do some other crafts like embroidery and dressmaking or clothes making and some quilting. I think being here in the hot climate that the sewing and quilting is really popular here, and I think there’s just more of an urge to pick up some cool cotton fabric than wooly wool. So I think I’ll be wanting to do a little bit more of that kind of thing and see what happens with that as well.

So yes, I’ve been having fun playing around with planning and thinking about what an ideal day would look like, what the year would ideally look like. I’ve got some fun trips planned, have a very exciting wedding to go to in Ireland, in June next year. And so I’m super looking forward to that. And yeah, just lots and lots of things to look forward to.

One of my very, very favorite planning techniques is to sit down and write a letter to myself from the future. So I think like a three year timeframe is quite a good timeframe. So you sit down and think, okay, it’s Christmas 2022, and what am I doing, what’s happening, what am I working on, where am I living? And I really love that activity, and I find that’s a really, really nice way to set goals because you just envisage what you want your life to look like. And then work right from there. So that’s a really nice one.

And I’m also working on my word for the year, so I’ll announce that probably early next year as well, and have a little bit of a chat about plans and collections and word for the year and all that sort of thing, early in the new year.

So after this episode, we’ve got two more weeks of the podcast before I finish for the holiday season. I usually try and wrap up the podcast for the year around the time that the kids finish school for the year. And this year it’s a bit earlier because they finish a bit earlier in Australia than we did in the UK, just a little bit. But that’s come around pretty quickly as always.

So in terms of personal knitting, I have pulled out my Clio pullover by Elizabeth Doherty again, and I did say that I wanted to finish this by the end of the year, so I need to do some focused knitting on this project if I want that to happen. So I’ve pulled it out again. It’s been in hiatus for a while. I did think I would do a bit more on that before now, but I haven’t had time. So looking forward to doing that. I’m still keeping that as a goal to finish up by the end of the year. So we shall see. We shall see.

I feel like I haven’t been able to catch up with people very much lately and I feel a little bit sad about that. I haven’t caught up with many knitting podcasts or audio podcasts either. And even on Instagram, I’ve been on there and seeing what people are up to a bit less than usual. It’s been super busy settling in here. And just getting the kids settled has been pretty time consuming. They’ve needed a lot of support, understandably. And we’re just getting used to doing packed lunches, new routines, new places to shop. The food is pretty similar to the UK but just a little bit different. And it’s a lot hotter here, so we don’t really want to eat exactly the same things. So meal planning is taking me a bit longer. And yeah, just funny things like that are just taking up a little bit of time as we settle in.

We’re also creating some creative spaces for each of us in the house that we’ve moved into. So that is incredibly exciting. I am going to you have a office, slash craft room, slash studio of my own, and I am thrilled about that. We’re actually building that at the moment. And so I’m having daydreams about how I’m going to decorate that and set it up, and hoping to make it quite practical, as well as really inspiring. So there’s been a little bit of Pinterest and magazine browsing for inspiration on that. And I just wish I could be in touch with people a little bit more. But I think that will come in time as we settle in.

I just wanted to send out my love to Paula from the Knitting Pipeline podcast. Paula, as you might know, has been fighting ovarian cancer this year. She had the diagnosis at the beginning of the year, has had rounds of treatment, chemotherapy, and did have the good news a few months ago that the prognosis looked very good. But we had a message from her last week saying that she just had a checkup and the cancer was aggressively coming back again. And so I just wanted to give you a little update because I know that a lot of my listeners are also fans of Paula’s. And I just wanted to send out my love, and if you could send her your healing vibes, prayers, thoughts and love, I’m sure she will appreciate that and feel it.

And yeah, she is incredible. She is so inspiring, so strong, so positive, and it just makes me want to cry, how amazingly she’s handled it. And I really appreciate how much she’s kept everybody up to date. There’s a website called CaringBridge where she can post updates. It’s kind of like a blog but a bit more private. So you can sign up to get updates there, and that’s been really helpful. I just love Paula so much. She’s the reason I podcast and I just can’t wait for her to get better.

I’m reading a very interesting book at the moment actually. It’s called Mind Over Medicine. And it’s by Lissa Rankin, which is L-I-S-S-A, R-A-N-K-I-N. And this book is just all about how the mind can help with healing. She talks about it in quite a scientific way. I think she’s actually a doctor herself, the author, and she’s reviewed a lot of medical studies on the topic. So it’s not a woo woo book, it’s a scientific book. Yeah, it’s really, really interesting. And also, I don’t know, quite reassuring that the power of positive thinking can have such an impact on everybody’s health. So yeah, I would recommend it. It talks a lot about studies and it’s a little bit chatty. But yeah, just some really, really interesting things in there about how more intangible things like loving relationships or reducing stress and positive thinking can impact very strongly on your health.

So I just thought I’d mention that. It’s a really positive read, so I am thinking about that quite a lot in terms of improving my health. I have been going to Pilates three times a week for just over a month now. I was looking for a new fitness routine to get into and to look after myself as I get a little bit older and creakier. I’m really enjoying doing the Pilates. It’s at a studio where they use the reformer machines, which was super intimidating at first. But it’s kind of just like a really nice gym resistance workout. If I could describe it as anything, I’d say it’s kind of like going to the gym but a lot nicer.

And so you work on strength and core muscles, as well as flexibility and stretching. I think there’s about 10 people in the class. And they’re all women in all the classes I’ve been to anyway. I don’t think it’s a women-only gym, but it tends to be all women. And it’s just a really nice environment. It’s a really nice way to spend 50 minutes looking after yourself. So I’ve been really enjoying that.

Trying to do a little bit of swimming but haven’t been too successful there. Although I have been swimming in the ocean a couple of times, which is just gorgeous. And yeah, doing a little bit of walking. But the temperatures here are getting high that you have to plan walks early in the morning or late in the evening. I can’t just pop out in the middle of the day like I used to in London. So that’s taking a little bit more thought to arrange.

So I hope you’re all well and doing your best in this hectic season, running up to the end of the year, and running up to the holiday season.
Have a wonderful week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Nov 19 2019

23mins

Play

Rank #8: CH 268: Summer Reading and Sweater Knitting

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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 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

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Rank #9: 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 #10: CH 264: KP Ireland and Mount Juliet

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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 #11: 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 #12: CH 257: Off to India and travel projects

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On today’s podcast episode, I have a quick overview of the travel knitting I am planning to take to India on our family holiday, with (finally!) some progress updates on a personal knitting project! I’m also really looking forward to the Sip, Stich, Shop event coming up in Bath next month, with a preview of some of the lovely special guest vendors who will be attending.

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.

AYS is a wool boutique specialising in hand dyed yarns and luxury fibres from around the world. You’ll always find a well curated collection of yarns and colors on the shelves and a friendly knowledgeable staff on hand. Some of our favourite brands include Hedgehog Fibres, SweetGeorgia Yarn, Julie Asselin, Shibui Knits and The Fibre Co. You can find A Yarn Story on Walcot Street in Bath or online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk

Show Links:

Clio Pullover

Pebbles and Pathways Socks

Hey Brown Berry Podcast

Hey Brown Berry Ravelry Group KAL

#pebblesandpathwayskal

Olann Yarn

The Wool Barn

The Fibre Co. 

Meadow Yarn

Moel View Yarn

The Wool Kitchen

la Bien Aimée

Julie Asselin

Walcot Yarns 

The Wool Barn

So Just Shop

Our friends at A Yarn Story are hosting a special event at the Apex Hotel in Bath from 10am to 4pm, 11th May 2019. It is partly a goodbye party: a chance to spend a bit of time together before I move to Australia.

Come join us for a day of tea, cake and knitting. We will have a lovely sociable day and there will be the chance to meet and knit with other yarn lovers. There will be a marketplace with some of my very favourite indie dyers and crafty businesses full of delights.

An advance ticket of £10 will give you access to the marketplace and knit group, plus beverages and cake. Tickets will also be available on the door for £12. All are welcome!

Tickets are now available to purchase here.

There will also be a more intimate dinner event later that same evening: dinner tickets will be offered for sale later, to those who have already bought a ticket to the daytime event.

I hope to have a chance to see and chat with many of you in person!

Apr 03 2019

20mins

Play

Rank #13: CH 259: Paris and St Ouen Flea Market

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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. 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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Over the Easter Long weekend we took the train to Paris as a family to do a little exploring, museum-visiting and flea market-shopping! I also managed to sneak in a visit to a favourite yarn shop and do just a little knitting. Back at home now, I’m looking forward to some upcoming events, including the 4th season of The Shawl Society, which is coming up quickly!

Show Links:

La Bien Aimée

Visiting a Paris Flea Market

Clio Pullover

Pebbles and Pathways Socks

Olann Yarn

The Wool Barn

The Fibre Co. 

Meadow Yarn

Moel View Yarn

The Wool Kitchen

la Bien Aimée

Julie Asselin

Walcot Yarns 

The Wool Barn

So Just Shop

Our friends at A Yarn Story are hosting a special event at the Apex Hotel in Bath from 10am to 4pm, 11th May 2019. It is partly a goodbye party: a chance to spend a bit of time together before I move to Australia.

Come join us for a day of tea, cake and knitting. We will have a lovely sociable day and there will be the chance to meet and knit with other yarn lovers. There will be a marketplace with some of my very favourite indie dyers and crafty businesses full of delights.

An advance ticket of £10 will give you access to the marketplace and knit group, plus beverages and cake. Tickets will also be available on the door for £12. All are welcome!

Tickets are now available to purchase here.

There will also be a more intimate dinner event later that same evening: dinner tickets will be offered for sale later, to those who have already bought a ticket to the daytime event.

I hope to have a chance to see and chat with many of you in person!

Apr 26 2019

Play

Rank #14: CH 255: Edinburgh Lanes and Inkling Shawls for EYF

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Today on the Curious Handmade Podcast I can finally reveal the two secret designs I’ve created as collaborations for Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I’m on my way to EYF right now, and I’m so excited to see everyone: there are two designated meetup points, but I also hope for lots of serendipitous meetings out and about at the Festival. I also have a review of the absolutely stunning new collection from Joji Locatelli and Veera Välimäki: Interpretations Vol. 6.

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.

AYS is a wool boutique specialising in hand dyed yarns and luxury fibres from around the world. You’ll always find a well curated collection of yarns and colors on the shelves and a friendly knowledgeable staff on hand. Some of our favourite brands include Hedgehog Fibres, SweetGeorgia Yarn, Julie Asselin, Shibui Knits and The Fibre Co. You can find A Yarn Story on Walcot Street in Bath or online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk

Show Links:

While there’s not an official podcaster Lounge at this year’s EYF, there will be a few chances for me to meet up with listeners. Come find me:

Friday at 12:15 at the Podcaster table in the Marquee.

Friday from 1pm to 3pm I will be at the A Yarn Story stand.

Get your copy of the Edinburgh Lane Shawl pattern on Ravelry!

Magpie Fibers

The Inkling Shawl pattern is also available to buy on Ravelry now!

La Bien Aimée Yarn

Maytham Shawl

Pom Pom Quarterly 

Interpretations Vol. 6

Moonlight Socks

The Wintergate Hat

Moonquake Cowl

Resolute Wrap

Evolve Shawl

Frozen Fields

Smoke and Amber Shawl

Madeline Tosh

Saltwater Cardigan

 Julie Asselin Yarn

Hidden Pullover

Understated Pullover

Ravishing Vest

Nature’s Luxury Yarn

Community Tunic

The Knitting Pipeline

Paula on Instagram

Piper’s Journey Shawl

All of Paula’s Patterns

Mar 20 2019

26mins

Play

Rank #15: CH 250: Shell Cottage Socks

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Photo by Deb Hickman

Today on the podcast I have a bit of a catchup and a decision that maybe February is the new January. I also have some personal knitting progress to share. Most of all, I am super excited to introduce our first pair of socks from the new season of The Handmade Sock Society. I’ve got some background on the inspiration for the design and for the whole collection, including a subtle Harry Potter connection.

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.

AYS is a wool boutique specialising in hand dyed yarns and luxury fibres from around the world. You’ll always find a well curated collection of yarns and colors on the shelves and a friendly knowledgeable staff on hand. Some of our favourite brands include Hedgehog Fibres, SweetGeorgia Yarn, Julie Asselin, Shibui Knits and The Fibre Co. You can find A Yarn Story on Walcot Street in Bath or online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk

Show Links:

Skog Candle

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Sew Sweet Violet

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Ysolda Blend no.1

The Shell Cottage Socks

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2

Feb 15 2019

Play

Rank #16: CH 265: Heading off to Squam

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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.

Today I have a chatty little catch-up episode, which I recorded just before heading off to the Squam Art Workshops. As ever, there’s the question of travel knitting. It’s also the time of year where I like to take stock of my goals and plans so far, as we head into the second half of 2019. With the big move to Australia just around the corner, there’s a lot to plan for!

Show Links:


Squam

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Pebbles and Pathways Socks

Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain

Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli

Seren Yarns

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

The Minimal Mom

The Mount Juliet Shawl

————————————————————

Show Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 265. 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 curioushandemade.com.

Hello and welcome to the show and welcome to June. How on earth did that happen? Oh my goodness. Nearly halfway through the year and I guess it’s a really good time for thinking about planning for the second half of the year. I’ve been thinking about planning all year because I have such a big deadline hanging over me, which is moving to Australia in August. So I’ve been very, very conscious of deadlines all year. But I always think that around June, just before halfway through the year, is a really good time to reassess goals and look at what you’ve achieved for the year so far and what you might like to achieve for the second half of the year.

I am even more conscious of time frames because as I sat down to record this, I’ve just been doing a little bit of catching up on my planning, reorganizing myself a little bit. And realized that it’s 10 weeks until we move, until we leave. 10 weeks today in fact. So yeah, there’s a handful of weeks that the kids still have at school or just over a handful, but under two handfuls, and then we’ll have a few weeks in which we will be going to a wedding and having movers come in and pack everything up.

So even though it’s 10 weeks, it’s not really, because I’m off to Squam this week as well. So I am really looking forward to visiting Squam Lake in New Hampshire for the Squam Arts Workshops. And as you will probably gather, if you follow me on Instagram, I am away as this is being released. So I’m prerecording it just a few days in advance this time. But by the time the episode comes out I’ll be over in the US.

So just now I am in the process of packing for that trip and I am not working this trip. Sometimes I have a stall at the art fair that they have at the end of Squam, and it’s always a really beautiful art fair, beautiful vendors. In the past I’ve had a stand there but I’m just pure holiday this time, and I feel like I could do with a break cause I’ve been working really, really hard to try and meet lots of deadlines recently.

So I’m really looking forward to relaxing. And the venue is the most relaxing place I think I’ve ever been to, it’s so beautiful. The lake is gorgeous. Being near water is really nice and being in the woods is beautiful as well. It’s just really low key and relaxed. I just can’t wait for a little break.

I’m thinking about knitting projects I’m taking, so I am taking one design project. But the design work is done, so it’s basically just knitting, which I’m really enjoying. So that’s not too taxing. And I will also be taking Clio, which is a pullover I’ve been working on for some time. At one point I did think maybe, maybe possibly I could finish it for the trip, but no, not even close. I still have part of the neckband, part of the body and the sleeves to go. So although I have done most of the body, which is a substantial part of the knitting, I am still a fair way to go. I would be interested to know what percentage it is, but I haven’t had time to calculate the percentage checklist for it. I sometimes do do that when I’m knitting other people’s patterns, put it into a percentage checklist so I know where I’m at but I haven’t this time.

And I’m looking forward to making some good progress on that as well as I am taking Pebbles and Pathways, which is a pair of socks I’ve been knitting on for awhile. It’s a pattern by Marceline Smith and I met Marc at Squam a few years ago now, probably four years ago because I didn’t attend last year. So yeah, I think it would have been four years ago. Yeah, so I don’t think Marc is going this session, but I will be taking my socks along and thinking of all the good times we’ve had at Squam together and we were cabin mates when I first met her. So I’ll be enjoying working on her design while I’m there as well. Knitting, a few rows on my socks. They are in a really summary yarn. The yarn is dyed by my friend Emma who is Seren Yarns and really loving the yarn that I’m using for that project as well. So that’s always very nice.

I’ll be packing a capsule wardrobe. And over the last few years I’ve really been working on making my wardrobe more and more capsule, which means in a way it’s a little bit boring because it’s fairly black and navy. I have my jeans and T-shirts. It’s fairly simple. I would love to have more hand sewn items in there, but I’m pleased to have two hand-knitted sweaters to take with me for once. I have my Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli and my Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain. So I am really pleased to have two hand-knit sweaters to wear, which is not always the case for me.

Yeah. So I am enjoying how fast it is to pack with my capsule wardrobe because everything goes even though it’s a bit boring, black T-shirts go quite well with black jeans, et cetera, et cetera. So it means that I can just grab a few trousers, pants, jeans and a few tops and it just all goes fairly easily. I don’t have to worry about making outfits. I will be just taking carry-on luggage and usually when I’m traveling I have a problem with space, more because of all the knitting projects I want to take than with clothes. So I’ll probably just take the one pair of shoes to have as much room for knitting as possible and any little pieces I might pick up at the market. Although with my intensive decluttering efforts lately I am less and less inclined to make purchases, although I probably will be tempted by some of the beautiful handmade things.

Anyway. I say that’s what’s coming up for me this week. I just can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to lots and lots of knitting time. I am doing two classes and I can’t remember what they are off the top of my head. So I’ll look forward to telling you all about my adventures and classes when I get back next week. We also have the third Handmade Sock Society socks coming out very soon, next week in fact. And I’ve already updated members with what yarn I used for these socks.

And the first yarn we used is by The Yarn Tart and The Yarn Tart is the hand-dyed yarn range by Julie at Suffolk Socks. Julie’s a great friend of mine and so she very generously has dyed up a gorgeous colorway, called You and me by the Deep Blue Sea, for these socks. A gorgeous, gorgeous tonal blue. Just really my perfect blue, one of my perfect blues. I love all blues. This is a really, really nice one. She still has some available on her website. I’m not sure if they’re pre-orders now or she has some ready to send, but when I checked just now, she still has some of the special colorway for the third socks.

And I also knit a second sample in House of a la Mode in their Fingering Sock weight yarn. And that is available for UK listeners at A Yarn Story, my lovely show sponsor. She has a wonderful range of House of a la Mode and she is one of my new favorite indie dyers. Just really love the jewel tones and beautiful tonals. She’s doing just gorgeous, gorgeous color. She has a a range called something like Simply Smokey or Nearly Smoky, sorry, I can’t quite remember. But a little bit smoky, and smoky colors, and I love this range. In fact, when Carmen posted a picture of a collection of colors, I just went online and bought the exact collection that she had put together. That was some time ago. I’m still wondering what I want to design with that because it was just really, really inspiring.

Anyway, so that is one of the yarns that I’ve used for the socks coming out soon. Of course you can use pretty much any sock yarn for these ones. You might want something not too multicolored or not too variegated for these ones. Let’s just say you’ll want something that will show up a bit of pattern. But that’s all the clue I’m giving you at this stage and they will be out very soon. It’s not too late to join in the Handmade Sock Society, season two. There’s still four socks in the season to come including these next ones, number three. And they will be released every other month through till December. So we still have half a year of the Sock Society still to come.

So when I get back I think I’m going to be in full-on move preparation mode. I’ve been working on getting organized for at least six months now, probably since last, I don’t know, September or October. I started thinking it would be good to start getting organized and I did have a renewed burst of decluttering at that point, which you will have heard about if you been listening to the podcast for a while. And I found myself getting a bit frustrated with the whole thing because I’ve been trying for many years now to follow the Marie Kondo method of decluttering, which is all in one hit, category by category, going through the house and really just doing a great job once. And I’ve been actually trying to do that for years and it hasn’t ever worked. I haven’t ever been able to go through and get it all decluttered in one hit.

So I was feeling a bit frustrated by this because I love the idea of being able to do it. And then I recently discovered a podcast called the Minimal Mom. I’ve mentioned her before and she’s really been very, very helpful because she’s very practical. She’s got four kids. So I know that it’s real, if you know what I mean, for a situation like mine where I have kids. So I can know that if she can do it with four kids then I should be able to do it with two. Whereas sometimes I look at people who have beautifully minimalist times and they don’t have kids and I’m making excuses because I think, “Well, I can’t do that because I have children.”

So on a recent episode she did a, my decluttering journey. And she said that she used the onion method. So obviously it’s like peeling the onion layer by layer and she talked about how she would just go into the kids room, clear a little bit out, get rid of that, then go in again the next week, do a bit more and go around the house like that. Just little bit by little bit. And so I had a little bit of a revelation because I was like, “I’m doing the onion method. Yay. I have a method.” It’s not just slightly hopeless hoarding, unable to let go of things method. It’s just the onion method. It’s bit by bit, layer by layer and that’s okay. So yeah. So I really enjoyed that episode and I’m still working on my layers.

But I think once I get back from Squam, I don’t have a huge amount of time to be too precious about too thin layers. I think I’m going to have to just be now, “Okay, you need to get down to what it is that you’re going to take with you because you don’t really have that much time to faff around anymore.” So I think that’s going to give me a really good boost for a final round. It’s going to help me be really clear about what I am going to pack and what I am not going to pack.

So that’s coming up for me when I get back from Squam and also working on the Knitvent designs. So it’s my goal to try and get those all ready for you for later on in the year so that I can have that all ready and lined up and I don’t have to worry about it or think about it too much while we’re going through the actual move, and settling in and getting kids started at new schools and things like that. So I will be trying to make sure that I have a really good rest while I’m away and hopefully coming back with lots of energy and looking forward to catching up with you again then.

So have a wonderful week everyone. Thank you so, so much for your kind words about the Mount Juliet shawl that I published last week. Lots of people have signed up to start knitting that, purchase the pattern and said lots of lovely things, so I really appreciate that. This design was very dear to my heart and was for a special group of people that we went away together on the retreat, and I’m so pleased that so many of you like it as well and are joining in with us knitting on that.

I am looking forward to seeing … I’m hoping that somebody knits it in one color. I designed it for two colors. And so it’s basically stripes of lace with some ribbing and garter texture in between. And I would quite like to see it in one color. So if you do end up knitting it in one color, do Pin me and tag me in so that I can see what it looks like. Because I think it would look quite, I don’t know, just quite sophisticated in one color as well.

So anyway, I hope you have a fantastic week and thanks for joining me for this rather chatty, somewhat not very knitting related episode. And hopefully when I catch up I’ll have lots of knitting updates to share with you. So have a fantastic week and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

Jun 07 2019

20mins

Play

Rank #17: CH 267: A Birthday Sale and Floating Shawl

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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.

Today on the podcast I’m thinking about what it might mean to design our summer (even with an international move in the middle!) and announcing a little birthday sale on my patterns! The TSS 3 shawls are now available as single patterns. And there’s a brand new TSS 4 shawl to celebrate!

Show Links:

The Shawl Society Season 3

Maytham Shawl

Ivy Over The Door Shawl

Wick Shawl

Planting Seeds Shawl

Learning to Cry Shawl

The Whole World is a Garden Shawl

The Shawl Society Season 4

Sea Gleam Shawl 

Floating Shawl

Sky Map Wrap

The Happier Podcast

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2016

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2017

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2018

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode 2019

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 267. 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 full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Welcome to the show. I hope you have lots of weekend things planned and a little bit of knitting hopefully. We are planning to go to the school fair this weekend, and we have some birthday parties for kids to attend and, hopefully, a bit of knitting for me too, so I’m looking forward to the weekend. And in this episode, we are chatting about the release of the second Shawl Society shawl, a little bit of a happiness project update, and some ideas for some activities.

Before I get into all of that, I wanted to announce a birthday sale. It’s my birthday next week, and so I thought I would have a pattern sale in my Ravelry store. We are also celebrating the release of the Shawl Society season three patterns as single patterns. We are going to have a buy one, get one free offer starting today and running through until Sunday, the 30th of June, and so it will be just over a week, this week and next weekend. All you have to do is put two or more patterns from my Ravelry store into your basket and use the code happybirthday, all one word, and you will get the second least expensive pattern for free. If you’ve been waiting for one of the Shawl Society patterns, a particular pattern from last year’s season, then now is the time to snap that up.

Speaking of the Shawl Society, season four is happening at the moment, and the second shawl has just been released yesterday. I am super excited to introduce you to Floating shawl. We’ve had a really magical start to season four, including the giveaway where people posted about their happy places, and it was so inspiring. I think that people who are knitting away on the Sea Gleam shawl at the moment or have knitted that one are enjoying the season so far and I hope you enjoy Floating just as much. I’ll just read out the pattern description for the Floating shawl for you.

From the moment your feet hit the surf, the first swim of the day feels like freedom. Although swimming may be too strong a word, movement is effortless and this is more about relaxation, about surrendering yourself to the joys of the sea. Finally, you can let go and just float, buoyant and supported by the salt water. Bobbing up and down amongst the waves, you’re almost weightless. Somehow, a dip in the ocean can be both exhilarating and deeply calming. Any stress or fretting that manage to follow you here dissolves and drifts away. When you’ve had enough, there’s a happy striving back to the shore as you are lifted and set back on your feet by the movement of the water, heading for the crisp welcome of a sun-warmed towel. A little sun, a little rest, a cool drink, and then you’ll be ready to venture out into the swing of the sea once more.

Our second shawl of the season is called Floating after the simple pleasure of an ocean swim. It’s a generous half pi or semi-circular shape with beautiful drape around the shoulders. The base of the shawl is mostly garter stitch, the most relaxing stitch I know, perfect for holiday knitting. There’s also a gorgeous panel of simple lace finished with the delicate ripple of a picot bind-off. The Floating shawl is a joyful and rewarding knit and a lovely addition to any outfit.

The sample pictured in the pattern is knit in Sweet Fiber Sweet Merino Lite, which is 100% superwash merino single ply yarn, and the yardage on that is 434 meters per 115 grams. The sample took two 115-gram skeins and I used a significant amount of that. The sample used 215 grams overall. If you are using a regular 100-gram single skein, you will probably need three or, if you’re using the Sweet Fiber, you just need two skeins, or another yarn that has slightly more yardage in the skein. If you’re using a light fingering that has a bit more yardage, you’ll be okay, but just be aware that it uses 112 meters or 888 yards in total, and that was what I actually used, so you want to give yourself a little bit of a buffer so you’re not playing yarn chicken.

It’s quite a nice, generous sized shawl. It’s in one size, and I think it looks good knit in one colour. You could potentially use two different colours. The lace section would probably be a good place to start a new colour and that’s at the 60% mark, so if you’re using three skeins, you could use two colours for the body and change to a different colour for the lace or the lace panel, something like that. It’ll be fun to have a play and think about how you want to do that. Sweet Fiber is a gorgeous yarn. I actually discovered Sweet Fiber through Joji, I think. She was knitting something with Melissa’s yarn and then I met her when I went to Knit City in Vancouver last year, so that was really lovely, and I might’ve purchased a sweater quantity in one of her colorways, so really enjoy knitting with the Sweet Fiber yarn and I hope you do too.

Around this time of the year with my birthday looming, at the almost halfway point of the year, I’ve never really thought about it that much before, but it really is right smack bang in the middle of the year, it’s a good time to do a little bit of a review of what I was thinking about at the beginning of the year in terms of my word for the year and things like that. My word for the year is intentional, and I wanted to be more intentional about how I spend my time this year. And when I decided on that, I hadn’t announced it on the podcast just quite yet, but I knew that we would be moving countries and that I would need to be fairly organised and on top of things this year in particular.

I’ve been focusing on streaks for trying to get into good habits with things like walking, healthy eating, and music practice, and sprints for probably more work-related things like designing patterns and getting other projects up and running. At the moment, behind the scenes, I’m working on creating a new website because my website is pretty old now and needs some love and attention paid to it. I’m working on various streaks and sprints in the background and also intentionally saying no to things and taking things off my plate so that I can de-overwhelm myself a little bit. I’m not sure how realistic that is in a year like this where we’re having a major move, but I’m trying to keep things as calm and minimal schedule as possible in the circumstances.

Because of that, I chose not to have a Make Nine this year because I thought I just don’t have time for that. I would love to have a Make Nine and choose nine projects to work on, but that’s just not on the cards this year, maybe next year. I decided for my personal, fun knitting goals at the beginning of the year to just focus on one project at a time, work away on something, try and finish it, and then do something else and just not have any time pressure around that. I started off working on my Star Map wrap by Emily Foden, and I was working on that for a while, which is lovely, relaxing stockinette in the round, so super good. I’ll probably turn to that again in the summer, but then I picked up my Clio pullover in March and have been just really getting into that and enjoying that, so I’m working on the body of that at the moment and making pretty good progress, so I’m enjoying that as well.

I also decided that I would have a happiness project this year, and I talked about that in January, I think, and I just went through my list. When I set my list, I only had 17 things on it, so the happiness project is something I heard about on the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft. Last year, they did 18 in 2018 and, this year, they are doing 19 in 2019. I just ended up with 17, intending to add a couple more things, but I think I’m happy with 17. It seems doable. I’ve actually achieved quite a few of the things. I have started learning the flute again. I did my grade four exam back in, I think, March and did really well. I don’t know that I ever came back and told you about that, but I ended up getting a distinction for that exam. That gave me a huge boost and I decided to go for grade five, which is next week. I’ve been practicing quite a bit for that and really, really loving it. That’s been absolutely brilliant.

KonMari to the max was one of my happiness projects, and I am getting there and that was, obviously, put on the list ahead of the move and we’re getting there. I wouldn’t say I’m finished, but we’ve made really good progress on that. I was planning to go to June Squam Arts Workshop and that is ticked off. That was last, not last month, earlier this month. Other things that have happened, our holiday to India, which I talked about on the podcast, as well as Edinburgh in March, which has obviously been and gone. And, yeah, walking streak, a little bit patchy lately, but generally happening. I wanted to walk every day and, yeah, it’s been, to be honest, in the last few weeks, things have been a bit overwhelming on the personal front, so I probably needed to walk even more than usual, but that’s gone by the wayside a little bit. I bet I can pick that up again.

And so some things that are still coming up, making a quilt, I might hopefully be able to do that when we settle in Australia. Reviewing the list has reminded me that I need to book in a date because I have dinner with an old friend of mine, Catherine, on the list, and we haven’t done that yet and I need to do that before we leave in August. And I have to get a really nice pair of black jeans, which is a very frivolous one, and I haven’t done that yet. I’m putting that off a little bit. I’d like to lose a pound or two before I do that, so it’s even more frivolous than it initially sounds, but anyway, we all have our little things. And then there’s also a skive off day with my husband that we do in December, so that will happen later in the year as well.

Yeah, lots of things achieved and quite a few things still to look forward to. I feel pretty good about that. Yeah, I feel good about what I’ve achieved so far in the year. I can’t quite remember if I deliberately spaced things out so that things would automatically get ticked off. I think I was a little bit strategic about it like that. Anyway, that’s all worked out really well.

Speaking of the Happier podcast, I do enjoy listening to that podcast. I tend to listen to it in fits and spurts, probably more when I’m on my walking streak than when I’m not. I listen to podcasts quite a lot when I’m walking, which is really nice to get out and walk around the park and listen to my friends, in inverted commas. Some of them are friends. Some of them have no idea who I am, but I feel like they’re friends. I was listening to Happier podcast recently and Gretchen was talking about her Design Your Summer project. I think this is at least the second year, if not the third year. She got the idea from a quote she read to really intentionally make a nice project for your summer.

Obviously, for Southern Hemisphere people, it’s not quite the same, but you can just consider this as getting ahead and think about it for the end of the year, but summer holidays are either underway for a lot of people in the U.S. or coming up very quickly, I think, for Canadians and, over here, we’re not on summer holidays for kids yet for a couple of weeks, but we’re getting there. The weather definitely isn’t summery here yet. It’s been raining and cold and I’m still wearing sweaters, so it doesn’t feel very summery just yet, but I’m hoping that, when the summer solstice rolls around, we’ll be feeling a bit more summery.

I have been thinking about a summer project and I was talking to my sister, because we both listen to the Happier podcast and sometimes chat about it, and she laughed at me and said, “Your summer project is moving countries,” so there is that, but I would like to hope that I can make it about a little bit more than that, not just about logistics and admin and packing and things like that. I’m going to have a little bit of a think about how I can make the summer holidays more fun, especially for the kids. They have been really patient with all the organizing and KonMari-ing and keeping the house super tidy while we have it on the market to sell and things like that, and so I think that what I’d like to do is have them write a little bucket list. I was looking on Pinterest, and probably because of my searches that I’ve been doing all right the summer project, images for summer bucket lists started popping up, so I think it’s a bit of a thing.

Yeah, there were lots of lists of fun things to do over the summer, with kids or for grownups. There’s lots of different lists on there, things like make s’mores and have picnics and just lovely things like that. I think maybe this weekend or maybe when they are on holidays, we’ll write some lists of just really fun things that they want to do and that I’d like to do as well. I just thought I’d put that out there. If you haven’t been thinking about that, and maybe if you don’t have kids, you might have been thinking about it a bit less because, when you’re just in a work environment, sometimes you think about booking a summer holiday perhaps, but not necessarily about the whole summer as something to particularly enjoy.

I would be interested to know if any of you are planning summer projects and what they are. You can leave a comment on Instagram. I’ll post about it on Instagram or on the show notes thread, post, on the website. I’d love to know what you’re planning. And, of course, if you’re planning any winter projects Down Under, you can talk about them as well. I don’t want to exclude Southern Hemisphere people.

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you have a fantastic week. Don’t forget about the two for one, buy one, get one free sale with the coupon code happybirthday. That will be on my Ravelry pattern store and, yeah, I hope you’re enjoying the Shawl Society, and I hope you have some nice daydreaming about the summer holidays. Happy knitting. Talk to you soon.

Jun 21 2019

20mins

Play

Rank #18: CH 289: The Ambient Socks and some exciting KALs

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 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 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

Play

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

CH 285: The Luminary Socks

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 I have a brand new sock pattern to introduce and some personal sock-knitting and studio set-up updates! The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is off to an amazing start, with a crowd of brilliant knitters who have already cast on the new Luminary Socks in a gorgeous array of yarn.

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Bembe Socks by Dawn Henderson

Luminary Socks from The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

IndieLynx on Instagram

Tinkhickman on Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to Episode 285. 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 on my website at curioushandmade.com.


Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you this week. We are having a good week here at Curious HQ and we have an addition of five members to the family. My daughter, Lexi was very, very keen to have pet mice. And finally the pet shop had some in but they were available on Monday. So we went down first thing and chose two little mice. And I had them sitting next to me all day by my desk, keeping an eye on them, seeing how they were settling in. And by the end of the day I did fall in love with them and decided they were cute, that we should go back to the pet shop and I wanted one for myself. So I ended up with three more.


And so now we have five little mice pets in our house. And yeah, I’m still slightly shocked at that situation, but they’re so cute and I’m really enjoying them. I haven’t had to clean out the cage yet, so still having to have that ahead of me to figure out how to do and mainly how to teach, like see how to do. But no doubt I’ll have to be involved. And yeah, so that was quite funny and a little bit silly, but also really fun. And it’s making Sophie and I very clucky for a puppy now. But I’m definitely going to hold off on that for a while and hopefully won’t have like a reason to report next week that I’ve caved and we now have a puppy as well. But I don’t think so. I think that’s going to be put off for a while longer to see how we cope with the mice. Anyway, it’s very nice to have a pet.


We haven’t had one for a long time. We used to have cats when the girls were babies, but we haven’t had pets for about… I guess about eight years now. So it is nice I to have a little creature in the house or five. Anyway, so I’ve been quite distracted by that and it’s distracted me from work and knitting. But I did manage to finish my Terracotta socks by Woolfield Studio and I knit them in virtual hollow fibers, yarn, gorgeous yarn. And I can never remember the color, I’m really sorry Robin. It’s a really beautiful golden yellowy base with beautiful pink flecks. It’s something… Roses is in the name. And it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous colourway. And I’m really pleased with them. I knit a kind of… Not a shorty version but just a couple of inches, pattern on the leg plus the cuffs.


So they’re quite short and yeah, I’m really pleased with them. I still have to Kitchener stitch the toe on the second sock. So not 100% finished but very close. And I will in fact do that just in a bit and try and get a photo in the daylight. Although it’s super dark here at the moment because it’s a massive storm clouds overhead and there’s thunder. It was raining a minute ago and I thought I might not be able to record but the rain stopped but it’s very dark so we’ll see if photos are possible or otherwise it might be tomorrow. But yeah, so super happy to have a finished object basically. And yeah, it’s encouraging me to pass on my next socks, which will be the Bambi socks by Don Henderson, which are number 22 in 52 weeks of socks by Liner.


So I am looking forward to getting started on those. I’m looking forward to looking through my stash for some suitable yarn and wondering whether I’ll knit them for myself or for a gift. So yes, I have that to look forward to. I might do that this evening actually as a little treat. I do have at least two other of socks that I’ve had on the needles for ages that I need to finish as well, so maybe I should choose one of those and put them in my handbag for those moments when I’m watching swimming or music lesson and have a bit of time waiting around for children. So yes, I do find socks just the perfect project for that. You can just do around and it’s just a little something, few little stitches and it makes me feel like I haven’t wasted my time even if I don’t achieve very much.


Of course I am still yet to pick up the sleeves stitches, which is the next step on my Clio pull over that’s been in a work in progress for such a long time. And yes, I also need to do that. I just haven’t had the brain power really or spare brain power to do that. But yeah, it’s getting close. It’s coming up my list of many, many things to do, but I am looking forward to getting that done. And I’ll have quite a few things to cross off my knit 20 for 2020 if I manage that one and some socks. Earlier this week, I published the first sock for The Handmade Sock Society number three, season three, and they are the luminary socks, so I was really chuffed to be able to share those finally. They’ve been a work in progress for quite a while. And a huge thank you to Deb Hickman who took the photos and made the sample for me.


And a huge thank you to Claire who is Indielynx who gave Deb some gorgeous origami stars to photograph with the socks. And the socks have a star stitch panel running down the front with a little bit of a lace border on either side of the front panel. And they’re playing on the back and I used Viola sock yarn for those. I do love Viola yarn, I just find the colors really beautiful and have so much depth. And just the color palette really appeals to me. It’s sort of quite dark and moody, really fun and really pretty. So it’s lots of beautiful elements have come together to make up the pattern and a huge thank you to Tracey who is Tracyrr on Ravelry and The Comfy Red Couch for test knitting for me.


So I hope members of The Handmade Sock Society are already pleased with this design. And I am already enjoying seeing people’s socks progressing. Thank you for all the lovely comments on Instagram and Ravelry. And yeah, I’m just so excited to see the different colors and beautiful yarns that people are knitting up their socks in. Apart from a very small amount of knitting and a lot of faffing around with mice and watching them and trying to figure out what they may or may not eat or like to do, I’ve been doing some more organizing in my studio/office and hopefully they should be a little sofa arriving for the office tomorrow.


So I’m really excited about that because I have my desk in here and shelves and office stuff, but I really want this to be a creative area where I can sit and knit and hide from children and husband. So yes. So I’m really excited about my sofa arriving tomorrow. And then basically my studio will be fairly set up. I still have some tidying and organizing to do. But yeah, all the essential furniture will be in by then. And then it will just be a matter of beautifying the space and maybe putting some pictures up and things like that. So when I have it a bit more organized and tidy, I’ll take some photos and then maybe be a little video, maybe do a little studio tour for you.


It’s been taking me a long time to get it all together, it feels like, but I’ll be very pleased once it all comes together. One thing I did do this week, which was kind of a procrastination thing, but it was also quite useful was I had a whole box of swatches and half finished never to be finished projects that I unwound and called time on and managed to release about eight pairs of needles from those projects. And yeah, so that was really good. And I thought I could maybe donate some of the swatches to the yarnbombing project that Lexxie’s working on at school. I haven’t heard much about that this week, so I’m not sure if she’s gone off the idea already.


But yeah, I thought I could use some of my swatches for good and also secretly do a little bit of decluttering in the name of art, public art. So yes. So that was a good thing. And I had about three pairs of socks that I had were kind of swatches, kind of testing out different sizes of patterns and things like that. And so I managed to retrieve three really nice skeins of Sock yarn as well from those projects and from the box of doom. So that was really good. And it’s made me have yet another look at my stash. And I will organize another de-stash. It won’t be for charity this time. It will be for just de-stash purposes. And just wanting to get some of the yarn that I have in my stash into the hands of people that can use it because I am just realizing more and more, I mean it’s taken me a month, two months actually to knit one pair of socks. And that’s just one little skein of yarn.


So the rate at which I can use my stash is very, very low. And as much as I love my yarn and really, really struggle to let go of any of it, I really need to… I’ll feel much better if I know that people can use it. Because in the climate here it’s really, really hot and humid and I just don’t want it to deteriorate or get moldy or anything like that. So I think I should de-stash sooner rather than later and share some of these beautiful skeins of yarn. So look out for that on Instagram. I might get to it this week. Probably not to be honest seeing as I have things like clean out the mice cages on my list of things to do now. But I’m definitely going to be doing that sometime in the near future. So yeah, I’ll put the word out anyway.


If you’re on my mailing list or follow me on Instagram you’ll hear about it in advance of when I do it. So thanks so much for listening in. Sorry, it’s been a bit of a scattered episode today. I just wanted to have a quick chat with you and have a bit of a catch-up, but I don’t have a huge amount of knitting or knitting news to report I’m afraid.


So thanks again for joining me today and I hope you have a really fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

Feb 28 2020

15mins

Play

CH 284: #knit20for2020 and Dear Deep 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 we have a little break from sock-mania (mostly!) and a little more exploration of our community challenge #knit20for2020 so far. People are being very creative and it’s so much fun to see how different knitters are filling their categories. I also have a bit of a chat about deep stash: how it’s defined, what it means to me, and why even (or especially) the deepest stash deserves to come out and play.

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

20 for 2020 Challenge printableDownload

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Follow #quilted on Instagram

Follow #20for2020

The Happier Podcast

The #knit20for2020 Chat Thread on Ravelry

IndieLynx on Instagram

Rose Cardigan by Andrea Mowry

La Bien Aimée

Dahlia Cardigan

Blue Sky Fibers

Moeke Yarns

Moeke Yarns on Instagram

Circus Tonic Yarns

Circus Tonic Yarns Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Hello, and welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 284.

This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness in 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 the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com. 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, and Coop Knits, 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 evolve and grow, 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.

Hello and welcome. Has it been a good knitting week for you? I’ve been doing lots of knitting on a secret design project, so I can’t talk much about that. But I’ve also been knitting happily away on my terracotta socks by Wolf Fields Studio in Birch Hollow Fibers yarn. These were my Christmas Eve cast-on socks. I’m embarrassed to say that I have yet to have any photographic evidence of them, but I’ll just post them as, ta-da, a finished object very soon. They’re almost finished, the foot, and so I basically just have the toe go, which won’t take me too long, of the second sock.

That’s pretty exciting, to have a nearly finished object. That will be able to tick off a box in my 20 for 2020 knitting challenge. The hashtag for that is #knit20for2020. If you haven’t seen that yet, I’ve created a list of prompts. It’s meant to be a fun challenge for the year, so you can use the list of prompts to tick off one item at a time, or as many boxes as you can tick.

We have a chat thread in Ravelry, as well as a hashtag you can follow along with on Instagram. I’m not sure if you realize, it took me a while to realize, that you can actually follow hashtags in Instagram like you can follow accounts. I think the easiest way to do that is if you go into search, and you search for the hashtag, then it gives you an option to follow that hashtag. I find that quite handy for following along with challenges that I’m interested in or topics that I’m interested in.

I’ve just started following the #quilted hashtag, and I haven’t had much time to do it, or any time to do it, to be honest, but I am thinking a lot about quilting at the moment. I have one quilt that I need to finish, and I have one project that’s in my personal happiness projects for the year. So, yeah. You can follow along with any hashtags that interest you. Sometimes your feed can get a bit full with a particular hashtag so you can refine that as you go along.

I’m following the general #20for20 hashtag, which is basically a hashtag… I think it’s basically started by Gretchen Rubin from the Happier podcast, and it’s a happiness challenge. So, you write a list of 20 things you want to do for the year, and that’s where I got the idea for the #knit20for2020 from, was the Happier podcast, and yeah.

So, I have created a couple of printables. There’s a square image for Instagram, as well as a PDF printable, and I will include that again in this week’s newsletter for you, because there’s people that have just joined up with the newsletter and didn’t receive it when I sent it out a few weeks ago. I’ll post those images for you, and eventually we’ll create a page on my website where they belong. But I haven’t done that yet.

So, I’ve been following along with the Ravelry chat thread, and I’m really interested to know how people want to do this challenge. I think there’s lots of scope for putting your own spin on it, like knitting everything from stash, or deciding on your own rules. You can always, if you don’t fancy one of the particular prompts, you can also substitute something you like, and a few people have commented in the thread on Ravelry that they’re not keen on brioche; they just don’t particularly like the look of it. So I think they’re going to substitute something else. You could substitute something like mosaic knitting, or already have color work there, but there’s lots of other techniques that you could substitute, or you could substitute a garment type, or just cross it out and not do that one. I guess that wouldn’t be #20for2020 then. It’d be 19 for 2020. So yes, you might want to make something else up to fill the gap in the spirit of things.

Some people on Ravelry have created a post where they’ve recreated the list and then are posting links to the projects they’re doing. You could also do that in Instagram stories using the Instagram square image. You can put links onto a story. Yeah. So there’s lots of fun ways to join in this challenge.

Shout out to Claire who is indilynx On Instagram and Ravelry, and she completed the rose cardigan by Andrea Maori, and she used gorgeous La Bien Aimée Yarn. And so, she said she was ticking off an Epic or bucket list project prompt for that one. And it is so gorgeous. So, Claire’s been participating in the challenge, and all her projects are so beautifully photographed, and she has just such a gorgeous color sense. So, if you haven’t discovered indilynx Instagram, you should definitely go and have a little look. It’s I-N-D-I-L-Y-N-X.

One of the other prompts on the list is deep stash, deep yarn stash, and there’s also deep pattern stash. And I had a couple of people question what that was. And so, I thought I would just talk about that a little bit on the podcast today as well. And so, deep yarn stash means yarn that you’ve had in your stash for a long time. So, it’s deep buried at the bottom of the stash. And I guess there’s no particular rule for what deep stash is, because we’ve all been knitting for different lengths of time, and so what might be deep stash for a relatively new knitter might be one or two years. Whereas for people that have been knitting for 40+ years, it might be a bit older than that.

And I was trying to think what my oldest yarn in my stash would be, and I’ve had a pretty good cull of my deep stash. I’ve given a lot of yarn away and yeah. I’ve done a little bit of deep de-stashing and a little bit of donating. So, some of the really deep stash that I… I don’t know, just bought yarn on sale, and my tastes have changed. Lots of reasons I didn’t want it anymore. Yeah, some of that has gone, and so I’m not really sure what the oldest is now. I’d have to really have a good look and have a good think back to what’s the oldest.

I have some prized deep stash, which is from Juno Fiber Arts, who was my absolute favorite indie dyer, who stopped dying. I’m not sure when she stopped dying. I think maybe around 2015. Maybe about five years ago. I’m not 100% sure. It’s definitely a while ago, and yeah, I really should use that yarn because it’s so beautiful, and I love it so much, and I don’t want it to deteriorate and not be as nice anymore before I use it. One of the… Not problems but considerations I have is that I have probably about eight skeins, but they’re all different colors. I don’t have two skeins of the same color. And then not necessarily super coordinating, so I’m not sure. I need to find a suitable project for that. Yeah, I just don’t know what I want to do with that.

If I could crochet, if my poor old sore wrists would allow me to crochet, I would probably do a granny stripe blanket. It would just be so, so gorgeous. They’re all beautiful jewel tones and it would really be stunning if I could do that. But there’s no way I can crochet a whole blanket. I’ve always had the idea because I can’t crochet a granny square blanket. I’ve always had the idea of trying to figure out a knitting design that looks a bit like a granny blanket, granny striped blanket. I don’t know if it would be the same, but I’ve always been thinking about doing something a little bit like that to get the feeling of those beautiful textured stripes.

Anyway, so I’ve just gone off on quite a tangent there. But yeah, so that’s what deep stash is, and it’s basically beautiful yarn that you loved and bought, and have kept, and now’s the time to use it. You might want to match it up with a deep patterned stash. So a pattern you’ve had in your library for a really long time. Often they go together. Often we buy yarn for a particular pattern, and sometimes that’s the reason we don’t use the yarn because we decide we’re not so keen on that design anymore. But yeah, I’ve got a few patterns and yarn that I still, many years later, still want to make.

One of them is the Dahlia cardigan by Heather Zoppetti, and it was published in Interweave Knits Fall 2011. So, super deep stash pattern. And to me, this is just the most gorgeous, perfect cardigan. It’s got a gorgeous lace panel on the back, and I think at the front it’s like a waterfall style front, and it is just so beautiful. I bought some blue-sky yarn for it when Loop was having a sale, and that’s also probably around 2014, maybe 2015, that I bought the yarn for that. So, that would be a great achievement if I could knit that cardigan with that deep stash. I’m not sure if I can commit to that this year, but yeah, I’d love to do that.

It’s just dreamy. If you’re romantic lace knitter, you’ll probably love this one. I’m just looking at it on screen now and drooling, still drooling. So, that one is a really good pattern for me, because even six years later, I still absolutely love it. So I know that probably, yeah, no matter how old I am, or how much time passes, I think I’ll still love this cardigan.

So, I’ll stop rambling on about that now. But I am very, very curious about some of these prompts, especially what other people come up with. And so, deep stash yarn and deep pattern stash are definitely ones I’m interested in seeing what other people are doing. I’m also really interested in new to me designers, and hopefully discovering some fab new designers and yeah, and of course I’m interested in what people do for their epic or bucket list projects as well. So, I’m interested in all of them, and seeing what other people want to make for all of them. But those ones especially, I’m quite curious about.

Speaking of deep stash and special yarns, we had some, for me, quite sad news in the knitting community recently, and that was a post by Moeke Yarns, who is… It’s a company by a wonderful person called Ioana. She recently announced on Instagram that she and her family have taken the sad decision to close down Moeke Yarns. And yeah. It was really sad to me. I’ve purchased some of her yarn at a knitting festival from Rail work, who stocked their yarn. I also participated in their crowd funding campaign, and had a sweater quantity of gorgeous yarn, and they specialized in traditional Romanian yarn. Yeah, it was really special. But she explained on this Instagram post that she had a baby a couple of years ago, and she actually works as a professor in the Netherlands, and the company was based in Romania where her family lives, and yeah, just all sorts of… She had so much happening, and as a mom who’s been through having young kids, and I just can’t even imagine being able to do that.

Yeah. So, I completely understand but also just really, really feel for her, because obviously it was just obviously such a hard decision, and it was so nice that she made the post on Instagram, and sort of talked about it, and was so open and honest. So, thank you for doing that Ioana, and for us lucky people that have some of your yarn in our stash, we’ll get to use it, and your legacy will live on in the beautiful yarn that you’ve put out into the world, and the garments that people enjoy wearing.

Same with my lovely friend, Hannah, Circus Tonic Yarns, she has recently decided to stop dying her beautiful indie dyed yarn here in Australia, and I’m very sad about that as well because I was looking forward to coming back to Australia, and perhaps collaborating with Hannah a bit more. But you know, again, life happens, and Hannah’s got three young kids and so much going on, and gosh, I can just really relate to it. And there are days where I felt like just not working anymore, and not being able to keep going as a one woman company. And it’s only through my amazing team of people that I have working with me as freelancers that I can keep going. Otherwise, there’s no way I could keep going, doing what I’m doing.

And yeah, it’s also a bit easier because I don’t have to deal with physical products. So, it’s all almost online and on the internet. So, it’s super portable and quite easy to handle. I can do things on my phone, and I can have my designs, carry around with me in my handbag, and I super appreciate that, and I super appreciate you who listen to me rambling on about knitting, and buy my patterns, and join in with knit-alongs, and charity auctions, and all sorts of things and challenges, and everything. It just makes it possible and so much more fun.

So, yeah. Just a little thank you, and just, I guess, a little reminder to just always be kind to people, and you just don’t know what people are going through, and most people are very kind and very generous, and that’s what I love about this community, and doing this work. So, yeah. So, just ending on a slightly emotional note there, but on that note, I think I’d just 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.

So, I hope you have a wonderful week, and have some lovely knitting to do. I’m actually immensely enjoying watching my younger daughter at the moment, because in their lunchtime art club at school, they’re working on an installation to yarn bomb one of the trees at school, and she’s been coming home and doing French knitting, and it just came out of the blue that she was like, “I’ve got to do French knitting mommy,” and I didn’t realize at first what it was for. And so, she was like, “I need a toilet roll.” She kind of unwound the last of the toilet roll, and there’s toilet paper everywhere, to use paddle pop sticks to make this French knitting tube thing. And yeah, has been just rummaging around my scraps for yarn.

I thought it was just some crazy thing that she was doing, and then I dropped her off at school one day, and they were like about six other kids with their French knitting. And then we had a a call out from the art teacher, email today saying, “if anyone has any acrylic yarn, we need 100% acrylic yarn,” and my heart just sank because I didn’t really have much acrylic yarn to provide. I have a lot of other yarn I could give you, but not acrylic. So, that was a bit sad and I also felt like, “why acrylic?” I guess, because they’re putting it on the tree, I don’t know.

Anyway. So, I can’t wait to see the yarn bombed tree come together, and what they’re going to do with that. But yeah, what a great project. I’m so excited.

And finally, just before I sign off, a plug for the Handmade Sock Society, season three is in pre-sale, early bird stage at the moment. And so, you can get the collection, the whole collection for £9.95, which is a bit more in US dollars, but not too bad. It’s a great deal at the moment. And then, once the first pattern comes out this Tuesday, the 25th of February, the price will go up to £15. So, it’s a great deal at the moment. So, I just thought I’d give you a little reminder in case you were thinking about it. And it will be at that price until Monday, this Monday. So you have the weekend to snap up that bargain.

So, thank you very much for everybody who has already joined, and I look forward to seeing you in the knit alongs that will be kicking off soon. So, that’s all from me. Happy knitting. Have a fantastic week, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Feb 21 2020

24mins

Play

CH 283: 52 Weeks of Socks Review

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.

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

Play

CH 282: The Handmade Sock Society 3 theme reveal!

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 I have news about the results of our Australian Bushfire Instagram Auction, our winners from all of last year’s KALs, and an introduction to the theme of the next season of The Handmade Sock Society….I can’t wait to hear what you think about the plans and patterns for this year!

Show Links

We raised almost $3000 AUD for Bushfire Relief. I’ll be splitting the funds between three amazing charities:

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

The Australian Red Cross

The Nature Foundation in South Australia

Thank you so much for all your love and support!

Ravelry names of our KAL winners:

Knitvent2019 KAL winner: tweedy2shoes

The Shawl Society 4 Grand KAL winner: wikinger

The Handmade Sock Society Grand KAL winner: madamepurl

Winners for the individual shawls:

Sea Gleam Shawl: muddancer
Floating Shawl: nanavolo
Rockpooling Shawl: nextdoorknitter

In The Dunes Wrap: Nadeknits
Sunset Skies: bdelargy
Gathering Driftwood: KrabbaKravle

Winners for the individual socks:

Shell Cottage Socks: malu89
Samphire Socks: Unfading Spring
Cliff Walk Socks: YarnsieBarnsie

Cornish Cream Tea Socks: Certainstyle
Sailing School Socks: skistricken
Dorsal Socks: Joline

Show Transcript: 

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 282. 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’ve had a good week. It’s been another busy week here of course, and I’m slowly getting back into the rhythm of work again. Kids are finally back at school. They had two months off and I always forget that the first week or two of the school year is very much spending a lot of time getting routines sorted out and figuring out what uniform to wear on which day and so on. So I always think I can leap back into it on that first day they’re back, but then it takes about another week or two before I can actually get back into it.

But I think we’re nearly there now and so I’m pretty happy about that, I have to say. And we had an amazing week with the Destash I did for Bushfire Relief on Instagram. I think I had about 17 lots in the end. I think I put 13 up initially and then added another four for the last 24 hours just because I hadn’t had time to do the full lots at the beginning. But that worked out just fine and people were super, super generous. I’m so grateful to you guys. And I added up the figures and it came to almost 3000 Australian dollars by the time I did the conversion. So I decided I would top it up to 3000 myself, because I’m donating to three charities, so that seemed quite a nice round number. I think the actual amount came to about 2,830 or something. So I’m just topping up that last 150 or so. So I will be donating $1,000 each to the Australian Red Cross, the Nature Foundation in South Australia and the GoFundMe campaign for the First Nations communities of Australia affected by bush fires.

So the Wildlife Recovery Fund, I guess I chose it because it’s going towards helping to restore the habitat in South Australia, and in particular they are working on directing funds to Kangaroo Island, which is an island off the coast of South Australia and was a really special… Well, is but kind of was a really special habitat for some particularly endangered species. And it was a special area where the koala population wasn’t effected by disease, like it is in lots of other parts of Australia. And so it was a really, really, really special habitat. And so it was quite particularly devastating that this habitat was almost completely destroyed. So I feel good about donating some money to go towards restoring that habitat. Hopefully they can restore it. I don’t know. I mean all these things are going to take so much time and effort, but… Sorry, I feel like crying talking about it. But yes, the Fire Relief Fund for the First Nations communities.

So this has been organized by Neil Morris, and he says the aim of this fundraiser is to offer a culturally sensitive, specific direct support to some of those communities with critical cost to cover expenses, including temporary relocation costs, other basic amenity and emergency relief costs, refurbishment of damaged property, resettling expenses and replacement of vital items. And he said very sadly, many First Nations peoples have been affected by the tragic fires and many of the community have been forced to evacuate the region of their homes and forced to seek temporary ongoing living arrangements. And this specific campaign is, there will be relief funds set up through means such as government relief programs. These will hopefully make a marked difference. However, experience shows us that as First Nations people, we have experienced major gaps in what the government gives and what is actually needed for community to heal and prosper thoroughly.

So I felt like this was another wonderful cause and if we can help this campaign as well. I just checked the page and they say they have raised 1,700,000 and something, raised over 1.5 million goals. So they’ve achieved their goal and that’s really great. So I hope that can help some people in need.

And then the Australian Red Cross are doing amazing work and I’ve been following their Instagram page and they’ve been publishing what they’re doing and how they’re distributing their funds and how they’re on the ground helping people, both emotionally and physically. So that’s really great too. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for everybody who supported that and supported it by sharing as well as bidding on lots.

I have been a little bit slow this week. I had some health issues. I’m fine, but I was a bit slow this week so I am hoping to start packaging up the parcels today. I’m not sure if I’ll get to the post office today. I’m recording this on Friday as I’m releasing it, but if not today, then very early next week, Monday I will be able to get everything. Hopefully, all the parcels packaged up over the weekend as well as the knit-along winners from the three major knit-alongs we had last year. So I’m just going to announce the winners of those quickly as well.

So again, thank you to everybody who participated in the knit-alongs. We had The Shawl Society, The Handmade Sock Society and Knitvent. And when I look back on the year, I think how wonderful and amazing it is that we had so many people participating and enjoying my designs. It means the world to me of course. And I just love it. So it just really encourages me to keep going and keep finding the inspiration to design things that I know you will like because I get so much feedback from when people post their makes on Ravelry or Instagram. And just the little comments, it gives me lots of clues about what guys like and maybe don’t like sometimes. But that’s fine. And yeah, so it’s so helpful for me when I see your posts and so lovely as well.

So without further ado, the grand winner for the Knitvent 2019 knit-along is Tweedy Two-Shoes  from the UK and she knitted the Habitation Throw. And yeah, so for Knitvent we just had the one thread and all the finished objects in the one thread. So congratulations to Tweedy Two-Shoes. I will be sending you a parcel. All the prizes are going to be sort of mystery prizes and I have a big box of yarn that I’ve chosen for my stash, beautiful designer, hand-dyed yarn and I’ll also be adding a project bag to their grand prize winners. So Tweedy Two-Shoes, I’ll be sending you a nice package and I’ve actually gone through all the winners to look at what they say their favorite colors are and projects. And so I will try to match up the yarns to things I think the person will like as well.

So for The Handmade Sock Society we have Madam Pearl from the US and for The Shawl Society we have Wikinger, W-I-K-I-N-G-E-R, from Germany who has joined The Shawl Society for the first time. So welcome and thank you for participating. And the grand prize for The Sock Society was for people who have knit all six socks. So, that was quite amazing. And for The Shawl Society, I let people have a slightly easier entry with five or six shawls. Some people had knit all six which was amazing and just made my heart want to burst and some people had knit five. So I thought that was a pretty good effort and worthy of entry into the grand prize. So congratulations.

And I’ll just quickly announce the winners of the individual socks and shawls. So for Sea Gleam the first of the shawl society last year we have Mud Dancer from the US. For the Floating Shawl, the winner is Nana Volvo also from the US. And for the Rockpooling Shawl is Nextdoor Knitter, again, from the US. In The Dunes Shawl is Naid Knits, who’s in the UK and for the Sunset Skies Shawl, B. Delargy. B, D-E-L-A-R-G-Y. And finally for The Shawl Society we have Krabba Kravle. I’m probably messing up that pronunciation, but K-R-A-B-B-A, K-R-A-V-L-E- from Norway. So congratulations to all The Shawl Society winners.

And now for The Handmade Sock Society Shell Cottage Socks, the winner is Malu 89 from Chile. For the Samphire Socks, the winner is Unfading Spring from the UK. Cliff Walk Socks is Yarnsy Barnsy, I love that name, from the UK. And Cornish Cream Tea is Certain Style, also from the UK. Then we have the Sailing School Socks who is… This is a bit of a tongue-twister. SkiStricken in the US. And Dorsal Socks is Joline from Canada.

So people from all over the world, although none from Australia. Sorry Aussies and Kiwis. But yes, lots of prizes going to the Northern hemisphere. I guess it’s knitting season over there at the moment. So you could  probably do with yarn more than us right now because it’s very, very hot here. So congratulations to all the winners. I will put that in a newsletter as well as post it on Ravelry. And so if you can please DM me or email me your postal addresses, please, and I will get those packages off to you hopefully early next week or as soon as I find out your address.

I’ve had quite a few questions just in the last week or so from people asking when the single patterns for The Shawl Society and The Handmade Sock Society will be released. And I will do that pretty soon. I don’t have an exact date for you yet, but I will work on figuring out when a good time for that is.

And so finally my last announcement for the episode, this is a bit of an announcy episode rather than a chatty episode, but a lot of you’ve been asking and it’s coming up very soon, is the 2020 Handmade Sock Society. So the presales for that are going to open next week. And today I just wanted to tell you a little bit about the theme and one major change that’s happening this year compared to the last two years.

So the theme for The Handmade Sock Society for 2020 is atmosphere. And I’ll just read you the beautiful description that my copywriter Amanda has written for it. “Ever since we human beings began trying to explain the world to ourselves, we have looked for and found meaning everywhere. We hear messages on the wind and see shapes in the clouds, we read stories written in the stars. We can walk into a room and somehow instantly understand what’s going on without saying or hearing a single word, a hum of anticipation and excitement that travels like a ripple through our awareness. It’s something in the air. It’s the atmosphere. Call it a scientific name like pattern recognition, call it something spiritual like intuition, call it a kind of magic.

“This ability of ours to pluck meaning from the world is the root of all creativity. Creativity might seem like something drawn out of thin air, but it’s much more ordinary and wonderful than that. Part observation, part imagination, it’s about being present and open to our senses, our experiences and the atmosphere around us. The third season of The Handmade Sock Society explores that atmosphere and the stories of those who have found enlightenment and meaning there. The first astronomers fathoming the skies, intrepid explorers forging new parts up unconquered mountains. Long ago, alchemists extracting elixirs from obscure ingredients and modern-day knitters summoning beauty from nothing more than sticks and string and symbols on a page. All of us here are engaged in the same work of meaning-making. All of us are capable of more than we know.”

So if you’re new to the show, The Handmade Sock Society is a pattern subscription club and there will be six knitting patterns in the subscription. And the change this year is that I will be publishing them each month. So starting in a couple of weeks, the first pattern is due out on Tuesday the 25th of February and then each pattern will come out February, March, April, et cetera through July. The difficulty level of the socks is medium, I would say. They’re not particularly difficult and I lay out the instructions very clearly. I’d say maybe intermediate with some of the sort of lace patterns. There’s some cables, some lace. I tend to stick to fairly traditional or simple construction for my socks. I just like my socks that way and I just like working with the canvas.

And so yeah, I’m really excited to be sharing this collection with you. I got the inspiration for the collection, it just was one of those ones where it just popped into my head. The word just popped into my head. Sometimes when that happens, I’m so happy and grateful because it’s like a gift and it’s, I don’t know whether it’s the muse or something in my subconscious working away on it, but sometimes I’ll just be thinking, “Oh, what will I do for the socks next year?” And then the word just pops in my head, so that was what happened with atmosphere.

I was actually at Edinburgh Yarn Festival and I was looking at yarn and I was thinking, “Oh, I should kind of start forming some ideas for this collection so that I can choose the yarn more thoughtfully while I’m here. And yeah, and the word just popped into my head. So super happy about that. And when that happens I usually try and run with it because it was a bit of a weird word. I was like, “What am I going to do with that?” Thanks very much muse. So yeah, so I decided to run with it and it’s been really inspiring.

So look out for news about that in my newsletter and on the blog and if you’re a newsletter subscriber you’ll get heads-up when the early bird pricing is starting and that will be from sometime next week up to when the first pattern comes out. I have a really generous discount for early bird people because I always feel like if you’re willing to jump in to an unknown collection of patterns that you have no idea what they’re going to look like, then I like to reward that adventurousness with a good discount.

So thank you very much and that’s really all I have for this week. I’ve started Pilates again, so I have to get off to my class. I hope you have a wonderful week. Thanks again for participating in the knit-alongs, the Bushfire Relief Auction, and hopefully Season Three of The Handmade Sock Society coming up very soon. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Feb 07 2020

21mins

Play

CH 281: #knit20for2020 kicks off!

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 kids have made it back to school, our charity auction for those affected by the Australian bush fires is underway, and I’m starting to pick out my dream projects for our #knit20for2020 challenge. It’s pretty exciting to consider all the possibilities, and I’m feeling very inspired. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things we’ll knit together this year!

Show Links

KAL News

All the 2019 Curious Handmade KALs are ending this Friday the 31st, so add your FO photos to the Ravelry thread for a chance to win a lovely yarny prize.

A couple of housekeeping notes to keep things tidy:

  • Make sure you create a Ravelry project page for any design you’ll be entering!
  • For the individual shawl and sock threads, you can post one photo per completed project. So for example, if you knit two Sea Gleam Shawls or two pairs of Sailing School Socks, you can post each one separately for a chance to win.
  • For the Grand KAL Threads, please make one post per collection. You can use a collage type photo or photos of each finished object, but put them all into one post.
  • For the Knitvent 2019 FO Thread, you can make one post per finished item, however many you knitted from the collection. So one post for the Homebody Socks, another for the Habitation Throw, etc. 
  • Remember that these are no-chat threads (to make drawing winners easier) so you should also post the same photo over in the chat threads so we can admire it out loud!

The Shawl Society Season 4:

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2:

Knitvent 2019:

I will use a random number generator to draw a winner from each of the following threads on January 31st, 2020

Destash Auction to Benefit Bushfire Relief

I am currently holding my destash auction on Instagram. There is a separate post for each lot, and people can enter their bids in the comments. We’re working across a lot of time zones, so I’ve done my best to choose a time that will work for most people.

LA: 2pm Saturday 1st Feb
New York: 5pm Saturday 1st Feb
London: 10pm Saturday 1st Feb
Brisbane: 8am Sunday 2nd Feb
Sydney: 9am Sunday 2nd Feb
NZ: 11am Sunday 2nd Feb

I will cover shipping internationally as part of my contribution and will divide all sums raised between these three charity efforts:

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

The Australian Red Cross

The Nature Foundation in South Australia

Other things I talked about:

Sama Wrap by Renée Callahan

Exploration Station by Stephen West

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Terracotta Socks

Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 281. 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 welcome to the show. I hope you’ve been having a good week. I’ve been having a pretty crazy week, just for something different. Managed to get the kids back to school. It’s a shorter week than normal with the bank holiday or public holiday we had on Monday here, in Australia. So, it’s been a short and sharp week. I am still setting up my office/studio and I’ve made quite a bit of progress on that this week. Although it’s still puzzle stuff everywhere that I need to sort through, I did manage to get my Ikea shelves together, so some things could be put away.

So, that was good. Slightly less stuff on the floor, but still quite a lot of things to sort through. The pile is not really going down, because now my mom has realized I have the space. She keeps bringing boxes over, that are just appearing and she’s hiding them amongst the other boxes that are there. No, she’s not really, but I’m not really getting to the bottom of things just yet.

So, I will have lots of yarn going out of the stash in the next week, because I have chosen 15 skeins for prizes, for all the knit-alongs. Basically, all the knit-alongs we had for all of last year, we will be drawing prizes for on Monday. So, you still have this weekend to post. I won’t close off the Finished Object threads in Ravelry until the end of the weekend or Monday. Yeah, so we have individual threads for each sock for the Handmade Sock Society as well as threads for each shawl for the Shawl Society from last year.

We also have a grand prize for Knitvent and a grand prize if you’ve knit all six socks from the Handmade Sock Society as well as a thread if you knit at least five or six shawls from the Shawl Society. It’s going to be a Prize-a-Palooza and I will find a cute project bag for the grand prizes as well to send the winners. They are going to be drawn at random from the Finished Object threads. So, post your projects in there before the end of this weekend.

We also have the destash auction happening right now for three charities I’ve chosen, for the bushfire relief effort happening here in Australia. And, of course the rehabilitation of people’s lives, people houses and the native Bush where lots of animals have lost their homes, will be continuing for many years to come. But, I have chosen three charities that I will split the proceeds between. One is the Australian Red Cross, one is the GoFundMe for First Nations Communities of Australia, and the third one is the Nature Foundation in South Australia.

I chose the Red Cross, because they’re doing amazing work for people across Australia and I just feel like they’re well-organized, and they are posting lots of updates on how they’re distributing the funds and what they’re doing with the money. So, I really like that. The First Nations Communities GoFundMe, I think is a wonderful initiative for Indigenous Australians, just to make sure that their needs are met through this particular fund. I chose the Nature Foundation in South Australia, because I think some of the New South Wales and Victorian charities are probably getting more publicity and more donations.

So, I just basically went online and found a charity that was in a different area and I really liked the sound of what they’re aiming to do. They said the objective is to help the wildlife recover from the devastating Bush fires in South Australia. While many community groups have mobilized to provide an immediate response to caring for injured wildlife, the Wildlife Recovery Fund will be used to re-establish habitat, particularly for threatened and vulnerable species.

The donations will go to local landowners, farmers and community groups in fire affected regions to urgently assist natural regeneration through activities, and just to give the threatened animal and plant life the best chance of recovery. Also, some funds towards fire-devastated national parks, particularly on Kangaroo Island, which is a really special area for nature.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve chosen and we have the auction happening at the moment. I posted, I think 13 lots on Instagram last night and already people have bid very generously. I’m so happy that people are getting into the spirit of it. If I have time today, I might try and add a couple of lots. I still have more yarn that I can add into it. I just ran out of time last night to do it. Yeah, so I’ll see if I can add a little bit more, and because I’m just really enjoying the fact that we can raise some money for these amazing charities, and I can contribute in a small way with your help and support. So, that’s really wonderful.

I am going to pay for postage internationally. And then, at the end of the auction which ends 10:00 p.m. UK time on Saturday, i.e., tomorrow, then I will contact the highest bidders for each lot and request payment, and then post out the parcels next week. So, hopefully that can all go smoothly. In the meantime, thank you so much for your support with that.

I’m also excited that I now have my printable and posts ready for Instagram, for the Curious Handmade Knit 20 for 2020. This is a fun knitting challenge that I’m going to be participating in this year, and hopefully other people will join in with me. I have a list of 20 prompts. Some of them are particular techniques, some of them are particular items such as cardigan or socks. And then, other prompts to do with the type of yarn like using deep stash or non-superwash yarn, and just some other fun random things that occurred to me like doing a scrappy project or an epic or bucket list project.

Yeah, so I’ll post that on my website as well as on Instagram. So, if anybody wants to use the template and use the same prompts that I’ve suggested or perhaps substitute in ones of your own that you’d like to do this year, that’s fine too. I’ve left space on the printable for people to write in either what they’re thinking about doing for that prompt, or what they end up doing for the prompt. I’m hoping that at the end of the year we can post these lists with quite full lines. It’s designed so that you can either knit 20 items using one item per prompt or you could knit less items and cover different prompts with one item.

So for example, I’m thinking about knitting a shawl with brioche and possibly color work. I was looking at, Renée Callahan has a gorgeous new shawl she’s just published called Sama and that is actually available right now for a discounted price if you’re a subscriber to her newsletter. So, if you go to the Sama pattern page on Ravelry, it does have the details of that and a link to her newsletter. That’s good from 16th of January to the 3rd of February. So, there’s still a couple of days for that discount if you like this pattern and it’s a gorgeous Brioche rectangular wrap. She said it’s named for a lost but never forgotten friend. Sama is a brioche and garter stitch, rectangular wrap that is big enough to keep you warm all winter and elegant enough to be draped over your shoulders on a glamorous evening out. She’s knit her sample in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles, in Winterfell, which is one of my favorite La Bien Aimée colors, and Dusk.

It’s a really striking wrap and I was thinking I might attempt this for my brioche prompt in my knitting challenge. But, I contacted Renée and said, “Would it be a good brioche beginner project? She said, “Maybe you don’t want to do this for your first brioche project.” Although she said, “If you really want to, you can.” Obviously, if we are determined enough we can do anything, but I am thinking I might look for an easier first brioche pattern just so that I don’t get discouraged and give up on it.

I have been eyeing off Exploration Station by Stephen West for the longest time and this would cover short rows, brioche, and a shawl. It could probably even be a scrappy project as well. Yeah, so I’m thinking about that one. It is a lot of knitting in that though, so I’m wondering if I might do a smaller project like a cowl for my brioche project. So, if anyone has any suggestions for something simple brioche, a cowl or slightly smaller project, perhaps a hat, I don’t know. I haven’t done brioche before, so I just want to get into the rhythm of doing fairly straightforward to color brioche, without too much in the way of increasing and decreasing and patterns. Basically, don’t want to have to think too much about it. I just want to practice the stitch.

So yes, that’s what I’m thinking about. Although, I am not allowed to start that until I’ve finished my WIP, i.e., my Clio pullover by Elizabeth Doherty. I have not found time this week to even pick up the sleeve stitches, which is I think my next step for that project. I have been way too crazy this week with getting kids back to school to do that, but it hasn’t stopped me from fantasizing about future projects.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at with my knitting. I’ve been doing a few stitches on my terracotta socks by Woolfield Studio. So, that’s at least been something I can work on without having to think and just easy to pick up and put down, which is good because swimming’s started again. So, I am having to go and sit by the pool for periods of time and things like that. So yes, a nice little sock project is perfect for those situations.

That’s about all I have for you this week. Thank you to everybody supporting my destash auction on Instagram. If you have participated in the Handmade Sock Society, the Shawl Society, or Knitvent last year, please don’t forget to post your finished objects in the threads this weekend, to be in draw for some lovely yarn prizes.

I have had quite a few questions asking me if the Handmade Sock Society is happening again this year. Yes, it is. It’ll be starting soon. I have been pushing the date back a little bit the last couple of weeks as I have been a bit overwhelmed by life and things, but it is coming and it is coming very soon. I am working towards getting it up and running in February, so very soon. Well that’s all from me. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.

Jan 31 2020

16mins

Play

CH 280: KAL Catchup, Destash Details, and a Word for the Year

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 another slightly tardy podcast as we prepare for the start of a new school year here in Australia! But I have news about the prizes for our Curious Handmade KALs from last year (The Handmade Sock Society 2, The Shawl Society 4, and Knitvent 2019) as well as some specifics about how my destash charity auctions for Australian Bushfire relief will work. And last but not least, my new word for the year.

Show Links

KAL News

All the 2019 Curious Handmade KALs are ending this Friday the 31st, so add your FO photos to the Ravelry thread for a chance to win a lovely yarny prize.

A couple of housekeeping notes to keep things tidy:

  • Make sure you create a Ravelry project page for any design you’ll be entering!
  • For the individual shawl and sock threads, you can post one photo per completed project. So for example, if you knit two Sea Gleam Shawls or two pairs of Sailing School Socks, you can post each one separately for a chance to win.
  • For the Grand KAL Threads, please make one post per collection. You can use a collage type photo or photos of each finished object, but put them all into one post.
  • For the Knitvent 2019 FO Thread, you can make one post per finished item, however many you knitted from the collection. So one post for the Homebody Socks, another for the Habitation Throw, etc. 
  • Remember that these are no-chat threads (to make drawing winners easier) so you should also post the same photo over in the chat threads so we can admire it out loud!

The Shawl Society Season 4:

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2:

Knitvent 2019:

I will use a random number generator to draw a winner from each of the following threads on January 31st, 2020

Destash Auction to Benefit Bushfire Relief

I am going to be holding my destash auction on Instagram. There will be a post for each lot, and people can enter their bids in the comments. We’re working across a lot of time zones, so I’ve done my best to choose a time that will work for most people. In UK time: the listings will go up on Thursday and bidding will be open until Saturday February 1st at 10pm

I will cover shipping internationally as part of my contribution.

Other things I talked about:

Woolfield Studio on Instagram

Join the Sockvent KAL in the Woolfield Studio Ravelry Group

Terracotta Socks

Birch Hollow Fibers on Instagram

Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 280. 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 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. As you can probably tell, this podcast is late again this week. Kids are still not back at school, but we are in the last week of holidays and I am just working on getting things ready, finding school bags, making sure that there are enough socks, and exciting things like that.

So apologies again for a late publishing of the podcast and also as a result, this will probably be a pretty short and sweet episode. But I have a few announcements and reminders, so I wanted to record and not skip the whole week.

This week I’ve been really trying hard to set up my office and studio. I wanted everything ready for when the kids went back to school so that I could hit the ground running, finally, and get back into work in designing and podcasting on time and things like that. But yeah, I just struggled a little bit.

I had ordered a KALLAX, which is the Ikea cube shelves for my office because after I’d got lots of stuff out of boxes and was starting to organize things, I had piles and piles of stuff on the floor. I just realized that I needed more storage, even if it’s temporary while I’m de-stashing. I’ve just got tons of books and lots of things that I can’t get rid of straight away, even though eventually I would like to pare things down a lot.

But I just find that these things take time and I’m not there yet. So I decided to be realistic. I ordered some shelves. They were meant to arrive on Monday and Ikea delivered two number one boxes instead of a number one and a number two, because it came in two boxes, and so we got halfway through constructing it and realized that I didn’t have the right pieces.

Rang Ikea, they said they would deliver it on Wednesday. Wednesday came and went, so I rang them again and they said the picker didn’t pick it off the shelf. So they rescheduled for Friday.

Friday came and went and I rang them again. They said that the picker had picked it but it hadn’t managed to make its way onto a truck for delivery. So it was rescheduled for Saturday, a whole week after I started the process. Meanwhile just had a half built shelves in the office, which just did not do very much for my mental state and it was very distracting all week. That was a real pain.

Anyway, finally got it delivered and shelves put together and with it very quickly I could get myself fairly organized. Unpacked a few more boxes and things like that. But yeah, that was really, really distracting for the week. I know it’s first world problems, but still.

Eventually I was able to go through some stash and I have chosen prizes for the knit alongs that we have had going from last year. The cut off date for the knit alongs is the end of January, so 31st of January. We have a knit along for The Shawl Society and that is I’m going to do a prize draw from each individual shawl thread as well as the overall thread. And for The Shawl Society, if you post five or six shawls, if you’ve knit five or six shawls from the last year’s shawl society, you can go in the grand prize draw.

And similarly for The Handmade Sock Society, I will do a prize draw from each individual sock, finished object thread in Reverie as well as the overall thread where people can put a compilation. For the socks I’ve made it you have to have knit all six. I figured with the shawls they’re a bit more of a commitment, so I am letting people enter if they’ve knit five shawls. But for the socks you have to have knit all six for the grand prize.

And then for Knitvent we just have one thread for Knitvent. So anyone who’s knit anything from Knitvent 2019, can post in the finished objects thread and there will be a prize for that as well, a grand prize.

So overall that makes six shawls finish object threads, six socks, and three grand prizes for Knitvent, shawl society, and handmade sock society, which has 15 prizes.

So just be sure if you finish something to post a project page and link to it in the finished object thread to be in the running for a prize draw.

All the prizes are a skein of fingering weight yarn and for the grand prizes I will also add in a project bag and probably some stitch markers as well. These are all things from my stash as part of my de-stashing efforts, or just really lovely, beautiful skeins and bags that I’ve collected over the years. Whenever I go to a yarn festival I’m always very tempted by the beautiful things on offer and so usually purchase way too many things than I can actually use or need. So I’m very happy to offer them as prizes for the knit alongs.

We will draw those after the 31st. On the 1st or 2nd of February and announce winners in the newsletter and podcast that follows that, which is probably next week’s podcast. I think. I have a vague idea of what day it is because I have to be conscious of what day to get the kids back to school. But I’ve been pretty hazy on which day of the week and what date it is for a while.

The other project that is happening is I am planning a big de-stash and the proceeds of that are going to go to fire relief charities to help out people and animals affected by the major Bush fires that have been happening here in Australia for several months now. And so again, I went through my stash and have pulled out a small fraction of it to donate to the de-stash. I am going to do this on Instagram and it’s going to be an auction style event.

I’ll have, I think, about 12 bundles of yarn. Some will be single skeins, some will be twos, some will be sets of three or four skeins. I’m going to have individual posts for each of those. People can bid in the comments. It’s going to happen this week and it’s going to happen Australia time, Friday morning to Sunday morning, but the rest of the world is going to be Thursday to Saturday. Well, Australia and New Zealand is going to be Friday to Sunday. I’ve worked at dates. I spent some time playing around with different times because I figure that if it’s going to be an auction style event, we want a clear finishing time so that people can get in any last bids that they want to and they know when it’s going to be cut off.

I worked out that if I make it say UK time, 10:00 PM, finishing on 10:00 PM Saturday night, which is 8:00 PM Queensland time, and I think, I can’t remember New South Wales. Queensland is on a different time zone to New South Wales., IE Sydney and Victoria. We’re a bit out of sync up here in Queensland.

Anyway, but I figured it’s going to be Sunday morning in Australia, basically, Sunday morning in New Zealand, Saturday night in the UK and Saturday during the day in the US, and Saturday night in Europe as well, but slightly later than the UK. I think that’s the best I can do so that people in both Australia, Europe, and the UK are awake. It might be a little bit late for people in Europe and a little bit early for Australians on a Sunday morning, but I think that’s a pretty good time for everything to finish up.

It will kick off on Thursday, or Friday morning if you’re in Australia, and finish Saturday afternoon, Saturday night, or Sunday morning, depending on where you.

Anyway, I’m going to publish all this on an explanation post on Instagram as well as on my website just to try and make it all clear. But basically while the auctions running you can just make a bid. You just find the last bit in the comments and if you want a bid, make a higher bid. I can’t think of any other roles at the moment.

I am going to pay for the postage as my contribution as well as contributing the yarn. I’ll pay the postage. I think I’ll make the prices in US dollars just to have something that most people are familiar with rather than have it in Australian dollars. It might be a bit confusing as most people either operate in pounds or US dollars, I suppose. I’ve just decided on US dollars as something probably hopefully the most familiar. It’s going to be international and all the proceeds are going to go to various charities for fire relief for the bushfires here in Australia.

With all of my organizing and planning and unpacking, I haven’t done a lot of knitting, but I have done some. I’ve been knitting some socks. I’m not sure if you saw it on Instagram in December, but I participated in Sockvent, which was a really fun lead up to Christmas and organized by Warfield Studio. She has organized this for the second year in a row now. This year was much bigger than the year before.

I contributed a pattern for the Sockvent and there was, I think, 18 of us and we each put a pattern up in the days leading up to December the 24th, with 40% discount off that pattern for the day.

Now there is a knit along with all the patterns from the Sockvent that all the designers contributed and that’s being hosted on Nicole Warfield Studios Reverie group.

I cast on the terracotta socks by Woolfield Studio, Nicole, for my Christmas Eve cast on and I haven’t even had time to take a photo of them or post it on Instagram, whether it really happened or not.

Anyway, I’ve been knitting away on those. Really enjoying them. It’s a super simple design but really cute. I’ve been using some gorgeous yarn that I had in my stash from Birch Hollow Fibers and it’s a really gorgeous, yellowy, creamy base with some beautiful pinky speckles through it. Very subtle, very beautiful. Birch Hollow Fibers sock yarn.

I finished the first sock quite quickly. I think I finished that before, in the between Christmas and New Year’s week and I’ve just gradually been working away on the second sock. So there’s been some lovely knitting and I do have on my list to take a nice photo of it and post it in the knit along and on Instagram. Haven’t quite got there. But that’s about the extent of my knitting, but I have been doing some. It has been quite comforting to just knit a very simple pair of socks.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is my word for the year. I have been choosing a word for the year for a while. Last year my word was intentional and it was pretty good word. I did use it as a touchstone for making decisions and just keeping myself calm through lots of upheaval and packing and change and making lots and lots of decisions about random things. So, intentional was my word last year.

This year my word is healing and it applies to both physical, mental, and emotional. I was quite stressed by the end of last year, so I need to calm down and work out ways to de-stress and really heal my nervous system, my cortisol levels, and things like that. Also physically I could do with some stretching, some fitness work, dealing with aches and pains, like my RSI, instead of just ignoring it and pretending I don’t have a painful wrist. Just concentrate on my health in a really deep way. So that’s my word for the year is healing.

Hopefully by the end of the year I’ll be a little bit healthier, feeling more energetic, and feeling really good. That’s the goal with that word of the year.

I think if I’ve had a particularly good word the year before, I also keep that one in mind as well. So I had a good word with intentional and also a couple of years ago I had the word ease. I might bring back ease as well because I think that will go nicely with healing and being intentional about things.

As always, I love to hear if you’ve chosen a word for the year and what that is. I’m always looking for ideas and very interested and curious about what other people have chosen for their theme or word for the year.

That’s all I have for you this week. Don’t forget to post any finished projects you have for last yeah’s sock society, last year’s shawl society, or Knitvent in the finished object threads in Ravelry to be in the draw for some lovely prizes and look out for them being announced in the next show.

As well as I’d really appreciate it if you either participate or share about the de-stash I’m doing this week for the bushfire relief. Thanks so much for tuning in and sharing this time with me. I hope you have a fantastic week and I’ll talk to you again soon. Happy knitting.

Jan 28 2020

20mins

Play

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

CH 278: The Dorsal Socks, and Goodbye 2019!

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 last podcast of the year, I introduce the last secret pattern of 2019, the Dorsal Socks, #6 in The Handmade Sock Society 2. I have news about the closing date for all of our current Curious Handmade KALs, and some plans for the brand new year ahead.

Show Links

The Dorsal Socks

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2

The Shawl Society Season 4

Fragment Socks

The Four Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast, you’re listening to episode 278. 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 and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. It really is that pointy end of the year where things can start getting a little bit stressful. Everybody wants to meet deadlines before the holidays and before the new year. Things just seem to start getting a bit packed in at this time of year. So, I hope you are able to find a little bit of space, a little bit of peace, a little bit of time with your knitting. Hope things aren’t too crazy. Have a look at your to do list and see what you can take off your plate and put on to next year if it’s not urgent. Just try and reduce the stress levels a little bit. That’s what I just did yesterday. Put about 10 things that I was trying to do before Christmas into January and I’m going to deal with them then. That’s okay. It’s important to keep your sanity and your sense of peace at this time of year.

In today’s episode we have a new pattern that was released yesterday to have a chat about. And a few upcoming things, just some knitalongs and things that we have happening at the moment. Perhaps a couple of upcoming patterns. Just do a little bit of a wrap up for the year and it’s going to be just a fairly short episode. I just wanted to say hello for the last time this year and this decade. This will be the last episode for 2019. And I usually try to wrap up the podcast around the time that the kids finish school, which is a little bit earlier here in Australia than it was in the UK or then it is in the UK. Because this is our big summer holiday for the year starting over Christmas holidays rather than over August, July, August, September, as it is in Europe.

So yeah, we’re about to be off for six to eight weeks, depending on your school, and looking forward to it. Although it hasn’t been very long since we had a really long break. But that was because we had a crazy year moving, so I feel like I’m ready for another holiday. It has been a big year, we’ve had three collections with Curious Handmade, The Shawl Society, The Handmade Sock Society, as well as Knitvent and several other individual designs that were released with various events and things happening throughout the year. So that was very fun, but very busy. And yesterday was the release of the last pattern from the surprise collections, which was The Handmade Sock Society and Dorsal socks. I actually designed these socks quite early in the year. I had the idea for them and they were actually meant to be released earlier in the year, but we did a little bit of a reshuffle because I messed up the schedule a little bit. But I think these socks are really nice to wrap up the season and.

I’ll just read out the description. Gazing out over the surface of the ocean, it’s difficult to fathom just how much life teams beneath. It’s a whole other world down there in the depths, one we usually only ever see when there’s a nature documentary on the television or if we’re one of the few brave and fortunate souls who are able to strap on a scuba tank and descend beneath the waves. Otherwise, catching a glimpse of the incredible creatures who make the sea their home, requires a bit of luck and a whole lot of patience. Perhaps today will be the day, armed with your trusty binoculars and flask of hot tea to keep away the chill of the wind, you scan the waves. Suddenly, almost an hour and a stiff neck later, there it is rising out of the water, a triangular dorsal fin. That first sighting brings the thrill of uncertainty. It’s an exciting vision but also faintly menacing. Is that a dolphin or shark you see? Or maybe something else that you’ve never expected.

Cornwall is home to one of the most diverse populations of marine life in all of Britain, so that tell-tale fin could belong to almost anyone. England’s only pod of bottle nose dolphins lives here and large whale sightings happen all year round. Then there are the sharks who patrol the deeper waters with fearsome reputations. All of these fascinating creatures have a role to play in the ecosystem and their presence is only possible because of strict marine conservation zones in the estuaries around the coast. These carefully protected areas give them the room they need to breathe and live and flourish. There are lessons for us here about our own creative life. Waiting for that creative spark to surface can feel a lot like watching for that tell tale dorsal fin. You have to look keenly and wait faithfully. You have to be open to uncertainty. When it does arise at last, it can be frightening, but most of all your time and space must be carefully protected and guarded so that your creative power can grow.

So I think it’s a particularly apt thought for this time of year to protect a little bit of your creative space. And yeah, the last pattern, each season always seems to sneak up on me. No matter how long plans have been in place. This year has especially flown by and it’s been so nice to see so many first time sock knitters joining in The Handmade Sock Society. And lots of experienced sock knitters enjoying the designs as well. So it always makes me so happy to have you join in and also take a chance on a surprise collection that you don’t know what you’re getting into beforehand. I appreciate you taking a punt and having the trust in my design skills, it’s super humbling. And I’ve just been thinking about the knit-alongs. I wasn’t able to keep up with monthly prizes this year because of moving and just having too much on. But I thought what I’ll do is we’ll do a grand prize draw for all the collections, so Knitvent, The Shawl Society and The Handmade Sock Society. 31st of January or after the 31st of January.

So if you post your finished objects in the respective finished object threads by 31st of January and then in early February I’ll do a drawing and a grand prize giving. And just give everybody a little bit of time to finish any partially completed projects, just may as well ease into the new year. I’ll be on holidays with the kids for most of January. School won’t return until late January here. So let’s just take our time and if you’re joining in on any of those collections or knit alongs, you will have an extra month. And I will endeavor to have some nice prizes. I’ll choose some lovely things from my stash. I have extensive various bags and yarn to choose from. So I will put together some gorgeous packages for you and I will try to take photos and post them as soon as I can. I’m not making any promises about when that will be but before the end of the knit-along.

And then also before the end of the year, even though the podcast is of finishing up this week, we will still have a few things happening so I will release the Knitvent patterns from this year’s Knitvent as single patterns on December the 13th. So they’ll be available to purchase individually if you’ve had your eye on just one of them rather than the whole collection. And we’ll also do probably a two for one sale around that time. I think that’s fairly traditional for Curious Handmade to have a little pre-Christmas thank you for a wonderful year sale. And in case people were holding out to buy individual patterns for Knitvent. And as I mentioned last week, I’m also working on the pattern for fragment socks. Now all the other designs are released, I can finally focus on this one. I did say last week that I was going to release it with three sizes, but since having a closer look at it, it was only written in the one size originally.

And I think what I’ll probably do in the interest of just publishing it as a single, I’m going to publish it with the one size and aim to add two more sizes at a later date if I can. It would depend on the calculations for the stitch pattern. I think it will be possible, but I will need a little bit more time to look at that. So I thought rather than delay and put it off even longer, I’m just going to… What is it? Progress is better than perfection. And publish it with the one size that it has at the moment for people who’ve been waiting for that for a really long time and yeah, so still working on that. I don’t have a exact release date for it yet, but just as soon as I can get that pattern produced, I will publish it hopefully before Christmas. I’d like to make it available for Christmas Eve costs on if I can. So that’s what I’m aiming for. So thanks for bearing with me. It’s been a long time and I’m sure a couple more weeks will be at this point.

At the moment I’m enjoying spending some time dreaming about plans for next year and thinking about what might happen next year. I’m, yeah, just enjoying spending a little bit of time working away on that. Thinking about how I want my daily routines to be like and then what collections I might do next year. And also plans for podcast topics and all sorts of things I’m playing with. And yeah, it’s just nice to have a little bit of time at this time of year to be able to do a bit of daydreaming. As usual, I’ve been reading some productivity books and enjoying that. And I always enjoy getting a bit of motivation for, I don’t know, just achieving goals and thinking about life I suppose. And I have just listened to a really great audio book, I would recommend it if you’re into that kind of thing. Not everybody is, but I really am.

I came across this book because I’m thinking quite a lot about my health at the moment. So this particular book is called The 4 Pillar Plan, How to Eat, Sleep, Relax, and Move Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life. That’s by a British doctor, Dr Rangan Chatterjee. And yeah, apparently he’s been on TV shows in the UK. I haven’t seen his TV shows, but he’s written a couple of books. This is his first one, I think the 4 Pillar Plan. I really like it because I’ve always struggled to balance various things like exercise, sleep, diet, stress. And so I really like his framework that he says in the introduction he’s got these four pillars. And about five top tips in each pillar, or five things to focus on. And what he says is to focus on, even if you just do one or two things in each of the pillars, that’s better too than doing everything right in one pillar and then ignoring the rest. So the idea of having a balanced foundation.

So I thought that was quite nice and his suggestions seem fairly doable. So I’m going to be looking at his suggestions and figuring out which ones… Some of them I already do okay with. And then some of them will be quite a challenge. And so working out a little bit of a plan to try and achieve balance across these various pillars. Anyway, I would really recommend that book. I’ll put the link in the show notes as always. And he has a second one, which it’s about reducing stress. I believe there’s a similar four pillar framework to think about it. So I’m having a listen of that one at the moment, but I’ve finished the first one. And yeah, so just try to incorporate healthy things into my routine and as well as work for next year.

And so I’m just taking the opportunity of having moved to a new country, a new lifestyle, new area. So I’m really trying to take the opportunity to set myself up with routines in a intentional way, which is my word for this year, to be intentional. And so that’s what I’m trying to do is just really grasp this opportunity of having a clean slate to start things off in a good way.

So that was a bit of a segue from knitting, but I guess my point is that I’m thinking about an awful lot of things when I’m thinking about my knitting and designing plans for next year as well. I guess that’s the thread that is running through that thought process there. So I’ll be back in January, probably mid January, I’m not sure which week I’ll start back yet actually. Yet to be planned out in detail, but it will be around mid January I think. And I will share more plans and goals then, as well as my word for 2020. I love having a word for the year. This year was intentional and I remembered it all year, unlike last year. And it’s been really helpful. It’s been a really good word. So I recommend intentional. It’s worked for me really well this year and I’m hoping to find a really good one for next year as well.

In the mean time. I would like to thank my amazing team that’s helped me run Curious Handmade this year. My copywriter, Amanda. My tech editors, Emma and Anna. My graphic designers Jacqueline and Vicky. My incredible group moderator as well as test and sample knitter, Deb Tinkhickman. And my podcast editor, Emma and Alex. And last but not least, I wanted to say a huge special thank you to my main test knitter, Tracy. Tracy has been the biggest support and amazing test knitter, great friend. And yeah, just couldn’t produce the patterns at the level I do without my amazing team of colleagues and really good friends.

And of course all my knitters and podcast listeners. I love you all so much. You’ve made my second or third or fourth or whatever it is career, my favorite career so far. So meaningful and happy. You’re just such wonderful, supportive people and so much fun getting to do a job where I can work with beautiful yarn, beautiful textiles and beautiful people. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who’s been in the Curious Crew this year and always. I don’t really monitor who buys my patterns closely, but every now and then I’ll glance at the page and see names from, I don’t know, seven or eight years ago now, from the very beginning still popping up. And that makes me feel so honored and blessed that I have this community of people that has been around for so long and continues to be so great.


So on a bit of a gushy note, thank you. And I hope you have a wonderful holiday. I hope you just get to spend some lovely, peaceful time. I’ve been seeing amazing photos of snow storms and snow and just gorgeous scenes from the Northern hemisphere. So I hope you’re all cozy and well and safe.So happy holidays, happy new year. And I will look forward to chatting with you all again in 2020. Bye for now.

Dec 06 2019

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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!