Play

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.

Play

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.

Play

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.

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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.

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Today on the podcast I’m talking about rituals and routines, how I’m experiencing a summery Christmas again and the memories it’s sparking, and I also have not just one but two new Knitvent 2019 patterns to introduce this week.

Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt

Knitvent 2019

The Habitation Throw

tracyrr’s Habitation project page

The Homebody Socks

Lay Family Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 275. 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 on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome to the show. How has your week been? I hope it’s been good. It’s that time of year where things start getting pretty busy for most people. It’s been a bit of a funny week here as in California. The area I live in has been suffering from bush fires. There’ve been some around the Sunshine Coast where I live and also in New South Wales, which is the next state down the coast and although we are not that close to them that we’re affected by actual evacuation warnings or anything, the air has been very smoky and people we know have been affected. My cousin was evacuated from her house and so yeah, so it’s just been quite unsettling and so my thoughts and heart go out to people that have been affected by it because it’s really quite scary. So I hope you’re all safe and well and coping okay with it if you’ve been affected.

Other than that, it’s been warm and sunny here. It’s just such a head spin being on the other side of the world this time of year and so it seems pretty surreal to be in hot weather. I guess the funny thing for me is it’s bringing back all my childhood and memories from younger days. I haven’t really lived in Australia since I was about 25 so for over 20 years. So yeah, so it’s bringing back a lot of memories, but it’s from quite a while ago. So yeah, it’s a little bit strange. I am enjoying it, but I’m also enjoying photos of snow and cold weather and people wearing wooly clothes as well.

Also at this time of year, it’s time to start planning. If you’re a planner, which I now am, I think. I haven’t been much of a planner in the past, but I’m getting better and better. I am starting to enjoy the process.

So I listened to an audio book. I don’t know how I came across it. I think maybe I heard Michael Hyatt being interviewed on a business podcast I listened to. I think that was what happened and he was talking about his most recent book Free to Focus. So I don’t really know what his main thing is, but he’s kind of in the productivity area. I think he has planners in those courses for planning your most productive year ever and that kind of thing. And so I was in the mood for a bit of productivity, so I listened to the audio book actually, and it’s called Free to Focus, and I thought it sounded good because it was not so much about cramming more into your day and how to be the most efficient. The whole premise is about how to take things off your plate and do the things that you want to do the most. So sort of prioritization I suppose, and how to say no to things and how to reduce workload rather than increase it.

So that’s very much along the lines I’m thinking at the moment. So I was really interested to listen to it and it was a really good book. I picked up some really, really practical tips. A couple of the tips that I particularly liked were about having a ritual for the morning and a ritual for the evening. And this isn’t anything particularly new, but just the way he spoke about it made me think about things a little bit differently. So not just that having a morning routine and evening routine, which is not a new concept at all, but he also suggested having a start work and stop work routine. So sort of having your personal morning routine, getting ready to start work, and then another sort of ritual or routine when you start work that you do every day. So that was kind of a little bit of a new way of thinking about it. And I started thinking about other things I could make rituals for or routines for like exercising and practicing music. And I don’t know, like you could make your routine a ritual out of any habit really.

So it just got me thinking down a particular track, which was good. I haven’t really planned my rituals yet, but I’m working on them. And the other thing he had in there, which was really, really helpful or I think will be really, really helpful, is about delegating. And he talks about outsourcing tasks that aren’t your sphere of where you’re most productive. Things that are in, he calls it your drudgery zone, so things you hate doing and things you’re not very good at doing. So for me like bookkeeping and accounting falls in that area, things like that. So once you identify what you could potentially delegate, he has a whole, I guess it’s a chapter, I listened to it so I’m not really sure if it was a chapter or not, but a whole section on levels of delegation, how to delegate effectively.

And this was the best piece I’d ever heard about delegating. So I am really excited to try that out because I do have a lot of help in my business. I do outsource particular tasks, but I don’t think I do it very effectively. So I’m really keen to try out some of this stuff. And he talks about automating things as well in a slightly different way than what I’d heard before. So I would recommend it. I listened to it twice and took notes and I’m sort of hoping to implement some of it. So, so I’d really recommend it if you’re into your productivity and trying to, I don’t know, get organized then yeah, it’s called Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt.

So you might guess by my rather lengthy chat about something completely non-related to knitting that I possibly don’t have a lot of knitting to talk about this week. I haven’t managed to really do much knitting, although I am quite happy that a couple of the pieces that I’ve designed for Knitvent, which haven’t come out yet, but various family members have requested that I make them some, which doesn’t really happen very often. So I’m pretty excited about that. So I’ve been making a couple of extra samples of upcoming Knitvent designs. So that’s been kind of nice.

And this week, yesterday, two patterns were released for Knitvent. I’ve had to compress this schedule slightly this time because I didn’t start as early as I wanted to with Knitvent. Things got away from me a bit with the move and everything. So I have just started it a week later, which meant that this week I had two patterns released. So the patterns are the habitation throw and this is a super simple, but I think quite effective little throw, you can make it any size you want. I’m quite pleased with the design for this because it’s really flexible. So I have designed it for people with advent calendars.

The sample we knit, we used 10 gram mini skeins, 24 10 gram mini skeins, but you could also use your 20 gram mini skeins if that’s the size of the advent calendar you have. Or you could use leftover scraps from projects. If you’re like me, you have boxes and boxes of fingering weight leftovers. And I actually used… I selected 24 different skeins of leftovers from previous projects for the set this year. I didn’t use a purchased set I used, I made a set and my lovely sample knitter Deb knit it up for me and also took the photographs. And so they’re absolutely gorgeous.

Yeah. So it’s lots of fun. So basically you sort of increase until you’ve used about 50% of your yarn, maybe a little bit less if you don’t want to play yarn chicken, and then decrease for the other 50%. So at the square and it goes out and then back in. And so you can see from that it’s super, super flexible. You could use any weight of yarn. You could use more or less and yeah, you could just do it in one color or lots of stripes. I was quite tempted to do it more stripey, so stripe two of the advent colors together, but I wanted to keep it as a sort of an advent project for Knitvent so that if people are sort of opening one skein a day, they can add a color per day. So I stuck with that concept. But you could do stripes, you can use two colors and stripe it or, yeah, just so flexible. So I’m really pleased with how flexible it is and I hope you have lots of fun with it.

My lovely test knitter Tracy used [Hey set and 00:12:04] and I think she had, I want to say 20 or 30 gram mini skeins. She’ll have the details on her project page on Ravelry and she is Tracy, T-R-A-C-E-Y-R-R on Ravelry. If your interested in sort of seeing a different version from the sample that I knit or that Deb knit, I should say. I am knitting my own sample as well because it’s quite potato chippy. So I started quite a big swatch and I’ll continue. I’ll continue with my swatch.

And then the second pattern that was released this week is the homebody socks. These socks are in DK weight yarn and super squishy. I kind of designed them with sort of house socks, bed socks in mind, but of course you could wear them with boots or shoes and have nice cozy socks. I used Lay Family Yarn, DK yarn. This is a great option. It’s has some nylon in it so it’s good for socks and Kelly from Lay Family Yarns dyes, gorgeous colors and I use the very two-four pink color.

The socks have been written in four sizes. So I’m basically thinking a toddler, toddler size, a child. The medium is approximately a woman’s size and then a large, yeah, so lots and lots of options. They’re pretty flexible as well in terms of sort of length or you could adjust the length of cuff if you wanted to make them a bit shorter or a bit longer depending on how much yarn you have. So yeah, so two patterns this week, the habitation throw and home body socks. I hope you really love them. I’m pretty excited about them. I think they’re really fun and thank you so much for everybody joining in and posting your patterns on Ravelry. I see that there’s lots of bide shawls popping up and they’re being made up pretty quickly as was the intention. Lots of cozy, cozy shawls happening. So that’s fun to see. And if you’re posting on Instagram or social media, you can use Knitvent 2019 hashtag. I’m following the hashtag so I can see everything that you’re making.

As always, it’s not too late to join in. You can still join in with purchasing the Knitvent 2019 ebook. It is only available on Ravelry and there are still two weeks and three patterns to go.

So thanks for tuning in. I hope you have a wonderful week. I am going to make it another short episode this week. I’m still getting back into the swing of it and my best friend from university days is arriving in the morning for the weekend and we’re going to have a nice girly day tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to that and I need to do a little bit of preparation.

CH 274: The Podcast Returns!

Helen —  November 6, 2019 — Leave a comment
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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 so thrilled to be chatting with you again after such a long break. Thank you for bearing with me while I found my bearings in my new home. I have a bit of a life update for you. Knitvent 2019 just started yesterday with the reveal of the Bide Shawl, our first pattern. Welcome home!

Show Links

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase the the Knitvent ebook on Ravelry!

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

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

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

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

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

Knitvent 2019 Giveaway winners

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

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

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

Ten Winners of Mount Juliet Shawl Pattern:

Post 82: kristinknitting

Post 134: 2mayboys

Post 73: thierria

Post 109: CarolIsASong

Post 11; sabinaknits

Post 75: craftyMil

Post 146: catvet

Post 149: AlohaGirlBC

Post 108: porthia

Post 30: Bgeldmaker

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

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Post 82: kristinknitting

Post 134: 2mayboys

Post 73: thierria

Post 109: CarolIsASong

Post 11; sabinaknits

Post 75: craftyMil

Post 146: catvet

Post 149: AlohaGirlBC

Post 108: porthia

Post 30: Bgeldmaker

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


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

Knitvent through the years

Helen —  October 21, 2019 — Leave a comment

This time of year naturally invites a bit of nostalgia. Our brains make much stronger memories any time there is a strong emotion involved, which is why we remember how we’ve spent most of the holidays in our lives but not what we were doing on most random Tuesdays in June, for example. Making and giving handmade gifts is another good way of creating a lasting memory. All the love and care and all the hours that go into each project have a way of working them deep into our hearts.

This will be the 7th Knitvent, a number that’s a little boggling when I look at it typed out there. Just like the holidays, each year is a mix of the comfortingly familiar and the unexpectedly new. It is astonishing to think about how many memories and gifts we’ve made together over the years, and I am so looking forward to doing it all again very soon.

I know we have many knitters, readers, and listeners with us who remember all the way back to the very first Knitvent, but we’re also lucky enough to have new friends joining the Curious Crew who have never taken part before. I love taking a moment before the season kicks off to look back. If you’re a long-time Knitventer I hope this retrospective shakes loose some happy memories and maybe inspires you to double back and knit something you always meant to make from a previous season (or to knit another version of an old favourite.) And if you’re a new knitter who is not quite sure what to expect, I think seeing all the past collections lined up together like this will give you some idea of what you’re in for if you join in!

We have a buy-one-get-one free sale happening right now, and all of our Knitvent collections are still available to purchase as full collections or as individual patterns, so if you’d like to revisit Knitvents past, now’s your chance to spoil yourself a little while you wait for this year’s fun to start!

Two-for-one sale on all Curious Handmade Patterns and Collections (Including past Knitvents!)


Knitvent 2018

Last year’s Knitvent explored the theme of Peace, drawing inspiration from some of the most beautiful poetry on the subject. Finding peace in a busy, conflicted world at a particularly hectic time of year isn’t always a simple task. I find that using knitting and stolen quiet moments of reflection as a kind of meditation, as a way to find my centre, helps me show up in the world in a more peaceful way. This was an introspective Knitvent, and I was very moved by the thoughtful response (and of course, gorgeous knitting!) from the community.

A collage of the knitting patterns from Knitvent 2018 by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Large photo: Dust of Snow Wrap

Small photos, clockwise from top: Peace of Wild Things Shawl, Frost at Midnight CowlWinter Sleep SocksHow Quiet Mitts, How Quiet Hat

Buy the whole Knitvent 2018 Collection


Knitvent 2017

This was the year of our Nutcracker Knitvent, and it was one of my favourite collections to date. The community response was spectacular, with floods of happy memories sparked and shared by the Nutcracker theme. Favourite childhood moments, pure holiday magic, the real-life-fairytale of ballerinas and sweeping orchestral music: it was all incredibly inspiring and it was an absolute joy to see how much fun everyone had with these patterns.

A collage of images showing all the knitting patterns from the Knitvent 2017 collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Large photo: Land of Sweets Cowl

Small photos, clockwise from top: Marzipan LegwarmersClara’s CapeTchaikovsky MittsTchaikovsky HatTulle Shawl

Buy the whole Knitvent 2017 Collection


Knitvent 2016

This year’s collection had a fun colour story with lots of pops of teal, one of my favourites. I was inspired by old fashioned travel posters and postcards, and by the idea of a ski holiday in an alpine forest. In 2016 we had a guest designer, which was exciting and brought a new perspective to the collection: Renée Callahan of East London Knit designed the very stylish Boreal Forest hat and cowl, featuring retro-styled graphical colourwork.

A collage showing all the knitting patterns from the Knitvent 2016 collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Large photo: Alpine Sunset Shawl
Small photos, clockwise from top: Fresh Tracks HeadbandBoreal Forest HatBoreal Forest CowlJuniper SocksJuniper Mitts

Buy the Knitvent 2016 Collection


Knitvent 2015

The theme for 2015 was “light and bright” and captured the glitter and sparkle of wintertime and the cosy warmth of comforting, texture-rich yarns. From twinkling fairylights to far-off stars, from crisp unbroken snow and frosty icicles to the crackling glow of the fireplace, we reveled in everything that makes the season bright.

A collage image showing all the knitting patterns from the Knitvent 2015 Collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Large image: Winter Wander Shawl
Small images, clockwise from top: Ice River HatIce River SnoodCabin Path ShawlKindling MittsKindling Hat

Buy the Knitvent 2015 Collection


Knitvent 2014

The second year of Knitvent played with texture and detail. The shine of sequins, beads, and ribbons contrasted with the tactile softness of mohair, cables, and tassels. I love seeing these patterns pop up again and again through the years, bringing more happiness to new people every season. Every time I come across a new project someone has made from the Knitvent archive my heart just glows.

A collge image showing the knitting patterns in the Knitvent 2014 collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Large image: Adorn Gift Bags
Small images, clockwise from top right: Candlelit Beaded ShawlIce Skating Scarf and WrapLind CowlCrisp and Even Cowl

Buy the Knitvent 2014 Collection


Knitvent 2013

Our very first Knitvent together was ambitious and exciting and so, so much fun. I didn’t know how I was going to pull off releasing eight designs so quickly, but we managed it and I think it really gave me a burst of confidence as a newish knitting designer at the time. It’s been a remarkable journey since then, and I still see people knitting these designs all the time: the Red Robin Shawl and the Warm Wishes Hottie Cover in particular have really gone on to lead rich lives of their own since then!

A collage of the first 4 patterns in the Knitvent 2013 Collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade
A collection of the next 4 patterns in the Knivent 2013 Collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Top row, right to left: Red Robin ShawlCheckerboard MittsFresh Powder CowlWarm Wishes Hottie.
Bottom row, right to left: Stardust Infinity ScarfRella MittsQuicksilver CowlNaughty or Nice Hat.

Buy the Knitvent 2013 Collection


I want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has ever been a part of Knitvent and to everyone who is considering joining us in 2019. Your joy, enthusiasm, and generosity make this event so special, and I’m so grateful that I get to do this again with you this year! If you would like to make sure that you don’t miss any information about Knitvent 2019, make sure that you are signed up for the Curious Handmade Newsletter. That’s where you can hear all the news about our theme this year, the early bird special, upcoming giveaways and pop-up sales, and every bit of the Knivent magic. Happy knitting!

As Knitvent time approaches, I know many of you are already deep in your planning for this year’s gift knits. Handmade gifts are truly precious, and so much preparation and anticipation goes into the process: making a list, matching patterns and yarn, and somehow scheduling all that knitting into our busy days. It is one of the great joys of the season, as long as you have a plan, give yourself plenty of time, and remember that this is supposed to be fun!

There will be exciting new gift-knitting patterns on the way when Knitvent begins, but to help you in your early stages of gift knitting, here is our annual Curious Handmade Gift Guide. We’ve curated some tried-and-tested favourite designs which are sure to delight your dear ones this holiday season.

As a Knitvent warm-up treat and to make sure the season gets off to a glorious start, I’m running a buy-one-get-one free sale across all Curious Handmade patterns and collections from now until Monday, October 21st, 2019. Now’s the time to stock up on any patterns you might have missed. There’s no code necessary to get your free pattern. Just put any two of my patterns or collections into your cart by the end of Monday, October 21st and the least expensive item we be automatically free as a gift from me to you and your loved ones!

Shop The Curious Handmade Gift-Knitting BOGO Sale!

I hope you find some perfect patterns to keep you busy while we wait for the Knitvent launch: maybe you’ll be able to cross a few names off your list a little early this year!


One Skein Wonders

A smallish shawl makes an ideal gift. You don’t need much time or yarn to whip up one of these beauties. Easy to knit and easy to wear, these one-skein shawls are great for showcasing a special yarn. Choose something lacy and delicate for a special-occasion shawl (you can even add beads) or look for something solidly comforting to wrap them up warm for every day.

Large image: The Peace of Wild Things Shawl. Small images, clockwise from top left: Tulle Shawl, Little Meg Shawl, Alpine Sunset Shawl, Rewilding Shawl

Perfectly Matched

Any one of these items would make a fabulous quick-knit gift, but if you have the time to make a matching set you can really make your knitworthy loved one feel cherished. Pair a stylish hat with a coordinating warm cowl or a toasty pair of mitts. Almost all of these patterns come in multiple sizes or are easily adjustable, and with the right yarn choice they should suit just about anyone on your list.

A collection of accessory knitting patterns from Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade
Left to Right: Ice River Hat, Ice River Snood, How Quiet Hat, How Quiet Mitts
Left to Right: Kindling Hat, Kindling Mitts, Tchaikovsky Hat, Tchaikovsky Mitts

Snug Socks

A handmade pair of warm woolly socks is a wonderfully nurturing gift. Choose a squishy DK-weight yarn for the ultimate cosy kicking-around-the-house-pair or look for a sock yarn with a little touch of luxury (a bit of cashmere never went astray) and your lucky recipient will be dancing for joy.

A collection of five pairs of socks designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade
Large image: Vintage Fairy Lights Socks. Small images clockwise from top left: Winter Sleep Socks, Juniper Socks, Red Robin Socks, Winter Rose Socks

Cuddly Cowls

Much quicker to knit than a scarf but just as warm and comforting, a cowl makes an excellent gift. If you have a bit of time before you’re exchanging presents, you can chose a delicate yarn, but for knitters in a hurry, a chunky, cosy cowl is often the answer. With large enough yarn and needles, anything is possible: many a knitter has been known to work a one-evening miracle with a super bulky cowl!

Large photo: Land of Sweets Cowl. Small photos clockwise from top left: Crisp and Even Cowl, Frost at Midnight Cowl, Fresh Powder Cowl, Laveer Kerchief

Grand Gesture Shawls

Reserved for only the most knitworthy of all your loved ones, a grand gesture shawl is a magnificent way to show how much you care. If you’re planning to knit a present on this scale, be extra sure to start early. With their interplay of colours, lace, and fancy stitches, these designs are a joy to knit, but it takes an investment of precious yarn, time, and energy to create a shawl like this. A true labor of love. The final result is sure to be cherished for a lifetime. This is how heirlooms happen!

Large photo: Inkling Shawl. Small photos, clockwise from top left: Sprite’s Fen Shawl, Maytham Shawl, Surprise Party Shawl, Snowmelt Shawl

Hopefully this guide has given you an idea or two to get you started! If you’d like even more inspiration, why not pour yourself a cup of tea and spend a little time exploring the whole library of Curious Handmade designs? Remember, every pattern and collection is buy-one-get-one-free from now until Monday 21 October 2019. Happy knitting!

Play

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.

Knitting Designer Helen Stewart models a green lace shawl named the In The Dunes Wrap

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

Play

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 couple of weeks of packing, moving into and out of a temporary flat, and generally uprooting life, it’s finally time to fly away to to Australia! I also have some really sweet new socks to share with you from The Handmade Sock Society.

Show Links:

The Cornish Cream Tea Socks

Circus Tonic Handmade

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Play

Show Sponsors:

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

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

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

Show Links:

Jarr Market

Gather (Peckham No-Packaging Shop)

The Low Tox Life

Low Tox Life Episode 149

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Episode Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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