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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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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

My long lost Barrett Bear kit has arrived!

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

Show Links:

Knit20for2020 June Giveaway Winners:

Ravelry Winner:

Cuppacha with post #35

Edin Cardigan by Bonne Marie Burns

Hazel Knits

Instagram Winner:

Aviatrix1979

Amulet Shawl

John Arbon Textiles

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

Stitch Mischief

Laine

Skein Australia

Winners of the Stillness MKAL Giveaway:

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

10 Pattern of their choice winners:

Stillness Shawl MKAL

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

Clue 2 Spoiler thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Barrett Wool Company

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

Píosa by Renée Callahan

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH 300: Big Milestones

Amanda —  June 26, 2020 — Leave a comment
Play

Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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

Meet Cindy!

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

Show Links:

Jewel Cowl

Radiance Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

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

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

#Knit20for2020 June FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Subpod Compost

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The first clue of The Stillness MKAL was just revealed, and we have new participants signing up daily…and a few still on the fence! That makes this a great time to dispel any questions or worries you might have about taking part. Whenever we embark on a new adventure, lots of questions come my way. Since I’m being deliberately mysterious about this mystery knitalong, it makes sense that there will be even more than usual!

So let’s get started with some answers to set your mind at ease and help you get even more excited for what lies ahead:

How do I join the MKAL? Do I need to sign up somewhere?
All you need to do to be a part of The Stillnesss MKAL is to buy the pattern on Ravelry and select three skeins of lovely yarn!

There’s no official signup, but being part of the community really enriches the experience. Make sure you set up a project page for your Stillness Shawl to track and share your progress as you go (just use a photo of your yarn or the placeholder images below as your first image: it keeps the mystery for everyone else!) You can also join us on the chat thread in the Curious Handmade Ravelry group. As the weeks and clues go on, we will have separate spoiler and non-spoiler threads for each clue where you can discuss your knitting experience and find support and encouragement to finish your shawl!

I have my three skeins of yarn but I don’t know what order to use them in! How will I know if they’ll look good?
Figuring out yarn is the most nerve-wracking part of a mystery knitalong, I know. To help put your mind at ease, my last two podcasts have had some extra clues and reassurance. Episode 298 has the most info: you can listen or read the transcript at this link. There are no big spoilers in there, just some hints on placement. The most important thing is to choose three skeins that you love and that you think look beautiful together, and then you can’t go wrong. I promise!

I have joined, but I’m having issues accessing Ravelry right now. How can I get my clues?

If you cannot visit Ravelry right now and have purchased the MKAL, please email support@curioushandmade.com and we will do our best to help you!

The listed gauge for the pattern looks loose to me. Are you sure it’s right?
The gauge of 18 stitches and 32 rows = 10 cm in stockinette is correct. It’s a fairly loose gauge to create a drapey fabric. But gauge is not critical at all for this shawl, as long as you have enough yarn. Swatch to play with your colours and to make sure you like the fabric your yarn is creating, but don’t stress out over getting exact gauge.

I’m so excited I’m counting down the hours! What time of day do the clues come out?
It’s a surprise! We are working across several time zones and are sometimes at the mercy of technology, so to avoid disappointment or letting anyone down, I can’t be more specific than Thursdays! Once you’ve purchased the pattern, you’ll be notified through Ravelry as soon as each clue arrives!

This is my first MKAL. What can I expect?
First of all, thank you for your bravery and trust taking a leap and a chance on a pattern you haven’t seen before. I am honoured!!

A mystery knit along is all about surprises: you buy the pattern without knowing what the finished design will look like and get one clue a week until the whole pattern is released. The community aspect is huge, too: people share their progress each week and speculate on what might be coming next. Knitting a project with a group is lots of fun and supportive  – you will find lots of company in the MKAL chat threads and people to ask questions if you run into any problems.

This is my first Curious Handmade shawl. What can I expect?
Enjoyment, on the whole! Relaxing, satisfying knitting. And of course, a beautiful accessory at the end!

On the more technical side of things, you can expect clarity. My patterns are clearly written in the unique Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist style with stitch count for every row and percentages of stitches knit to help you pace yourself and estimate yarn needed. Directions are written in full and also include charted instructions for any lace sections.

I’ve knit many Curious Handmade shawls before. What can I expect?

Well, you’ll recognise the checklist format, and if you’re a fan of my patterns (thank you!) I think you’ll find that this project is quite “typical” of my designs: some lace, feminine, easy-to-wear, and a little dreamy. I also think it will keep you guessing until the last clue is finally revealed!

What is the level of difficulty?
It is beginner to adventurous beginner/intermediate throughout.

It is a slight step up from beginner in places due to some easy lace and the amount of knitting involved but it definitely isn’t difficult in any sense. There might be a handful of rows where you really have to concentrate on where you are setting up a new pattern – but it is very achievable for an adventurous lace beginner. And lifelines are always helpful if you are worried! Here is a helpful tutorial on adding lifelines to your knitting.

How much does it cost?
The price for the whole MKAL is £5 (plus applicable VAT).

I think the amount of the price is wrong, it looks higher than £5?
The price of the pattern does not include VAT. Ravelry automatically adds VAT to all purchases of patterns in the EU when you check out. The amount varies by country, so it may show as a higher price than £4, depending on your location. I’m sorry about any inconvenience, but it is out of my control.

When will the clues be released?
Clue #1 release: Thursday, June 25th
Clue #2 release: Thursday, July 2nd
Clue #3 release: Thursday, July 9th
Clue #4 release: Thursday, July 16th
Clue #5 release: Thursday, July 23rd

The final pattern reveal on social media will be Friday, July 31st. We’ll be avoiding spoilers until then. From that date you can share your finished shawl anywhere you like without spoiler alerts!

The knitalong will continue until Friday, August 28th to allow plenty of comfortable knitting time. So you can go at your own pace and still be in with a chance to win a prize for your finished shawl!
At the end of the MKAL I’ll compile all the clues into one pattern document so that you have everything in one place if you’d like to knit it again.

I don’t have time to commit to an MKAL right now, can I still participate somehow?
Life sometimes gets in the way of knitting, and not everyone can keep up with the weekly clue releases. That is perfectly okay! You can jump in and out at any point, or even wait until all the clues are out before you begin. The KAL will run for about a month after the last clue is released, so you can still join in and post your finished shawl on your own schedule. For a taste of the lovely MKAL community experience, hop into the chat threads now and then, and don’t forget to check in on Instagram with the hashtag #StillnesssMKAL

These answers should cover almost everything, but of course if you have other questions that I didn’t address here, you can pop into MKAL Chatter Thread on Ravelry for more answers, or email support@curioushandmade.com for help! As you can imagine, this is a very busy time, so your patience while waiting for a reply is truly appreciated.

Are you feeling more prepared to take the leap now?

Buy the Stillness Shawl MKAL and join the fun!

Play

Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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

A Stillness MKAL kit from La Bien Aimée

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

Show Links:

Winners of the May #knit20for2020 KAL

Ravelry : craftytextilelady (hillary On)

Cypress Cardigan by Amy Herzog

The Knitting Loft in Toronto

Instagram: mctrem7

Little Love Cardigan by Ankestrik

Colorista Canada

Winner of The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 Rainy Window Socks

seraines

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

Rainy Window Socks

Vapour Socks

The Wool Barn

Tinkhickman on Instagram

Tracyrr on Instagram

The Stillness Shaw MKAL starts on the 25th of June

Enter Stillness Shawl MKAL Giveaway before the 25th of June

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

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

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

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

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Play

Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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

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

Show Links:

@creativececi

@ggmadeit

@heybrownberry

@jeanettesloane

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

Everyday Lined Hat by Denise Bayron

The Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Píosa KAL

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Snowmelt Shawl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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

Gorgeous colours and photo from Skein Yarn

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

Show Links:

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Liberty Fabric

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Skein Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Coming soon!

Play

Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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

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

Show Links:

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Liberty Fabric

The Handmade Sock Society 1

The Shawl Society 3

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Subpod Compost

iKnit7

A Yarn Story

Emily Foulds

This is Knit

Ginger Twist Studio

Knit with Attitude

Tribe Yarns

Wild and Woolly

A Yarn Story on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Play

Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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

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

Show Links:

The Grocery Girls

Mrs Browns Bags

Yarn Ink

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

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

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Knit City, Vancouver

Ambient Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

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

Rainy Window Socks

Rainy Window Socks FO Thread

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

Habitation Throw KAL FO Thread

The Yarniacs

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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.

Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade sits in an armchair by a window, knitting a sweater.

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

Show Links:

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

May #knit20for2020 FO Thread

April Ravelry winner: porthardy1 with Post 46

April Instagram winner: BlankSlateYarns

Snippet Socks

52 Weeks of Socks Book

Farm to Cable Yarns LYS

Unnathi Shawl by Lana Jois

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

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Impressionists Shawl

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Show Links:

So Just Shop

So Just Shop on Instagram

Grocery Girls Podcast

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Susan B Anderson Panda

Barret Wool Co.

The Strawberry Thief Shop

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Skein Australia

The Habitation Throw


SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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