CH 250: Shell Cottage Socks

Helen —  February 15, 2019 — Leave a comment
Play

Shell Cottage Socks knitting pattern

Photo by Deb Hickman

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

Show Sponsors:

 

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

 

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

Show Links:

Skog Candle

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Sew Sweet Violet

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Ysolda Blend no.1

The Shell Cottage Socks

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2

Play

Photo by Adriel Kloppenburg on Unsplash

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

Show Sponsors:

 

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

 

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

Show Links:

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Meadow Yarns

Magpie Fibers

Big Blue Moma Baskets

The Wool Kitchen

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

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

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

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

Join the Handmade Sock Society Season 2 now

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

The Shawl Society Book Giveaway Winners:

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

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

The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com

Winners of Shawl Society Pins:

thereadingstitcher 

jjyauch

nightingaleanddolittle

aviatrix

purls_and_lace

cnschmidt16

ireneknitter

certainstyle_makes

jillyflower653

navel2468

Grand prize winner:

LaurieandOwen

I hope you enjoyed catching up with or reviewing the first three installments of The Sock Series. It’s lovely to hear from newish knitters who are building their confidence around sock knitting. By the time the first pattern of this new season drops, you’ll be unstoppable! I know we have a lot of expert sock knitters in our community, too, so if you have a special tip or trick you’d be willing to share with the rest of us, please let me know: sharing with—and learning from—each other is one of the great joys of the knitting community.

I’ve had a lot of questions about when we’re going to kick off this season, and I’m excited to say…

Membership for The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 opens TOMORROW!

I’ll send out an email with links as soon as it’s live with more details and everything you need to know. I can’t wait!

In the meantime, I want to celebrate this community and the around-the-corner kickoff of The Handmade Sock Society Season 2, so I’ve started a giveaway thread in our Ravelry group! The winner will get a hand-picked special skein of sock yarn from my stash…I’ll choose something I think you’ll like! I’ll also be offering a free pattern of your choice to six more lucky winners (one for each design!) To be in for a chance to win, all you need to do is

  • Make a project page for THSS Season 2 Socks #1
  • Post in the giveaway thread with your favourite seaside memory or place…if you’re landlocked and haven’t spent any time by the sea, where would you love to spend a peaceful week on your own, with your knitting? Share your dream seaside escape with us! Photos are highly encouraged but not required. 🙂

Now…back to the Sock Series!

Today I want to share a technique that I learned from a very dear knitting friend of mine, Paula from The Knitting Pipeline. Paula is an incredibly skilled knitter, and always so generous with her knowledge.  She showed me this very helpful sock-knitting tip on one of her wonderful retreats, and I’ve been using it ever since.

Anatomy of a Sock: The Heel Flap and Gusset

A feature of sock knitting (and one of the bits that scares most newbies the most) is the need to “turn the heel” of the sock. This is how you achieve the “L” shape that makes a sock a comfy, well-fitting sock instead of just being a scrunchy tube. It’s one of those things that sounds so much more complicated than it is. Once you’re actually doing it, it’s not so complicated at all, especially if you have a clearly-written pattern (and maybe a patient knitting friend online or in real life) to walk you through it. There are several different ways to create a heel, but one of the most common (and one of my favourites) is the heel flap and gusset. 

The actual knitting of the heel flap and gusset is actually pretty simple, as you’ll know if you’ve ever knit a sock of this type. But there is one issue that can haunt even experienced knitters: the hole in the gusset. What causes these pesky holes, and how can you avoid them?

When you create the heel flap of a sock, you’re only knitting half the stitches. Once you’re done, and after you’ve shaped the “cup” of the heel (usually with short rows…don’t worry, it’s actually quite easy!) you’ll need a way to resume knitting in the round. So, you pick up the stitches along the side of the heel flap you’ve just created until you reach the waiting stitches at the front of the sock. You could just keep knitting across, but if you do, there will always be a little gap there. This gap is what creates the holes (also known as pig’s eyes!) and it can be very frustrating. Who wants a little hole in a brand new sock?

The solution is usually to pick up an extra stitch or two in the gap, but as I learned, if you’re not careful how you pick up those stitches, you can sometimes inadvertently create an even bigger and more noticeable hole. There are a few different ways to tackle this, but the one I learned from Paula is so easy and foolproof that I’ve used it on every single sock since. 

I could try to explain it, but luckily, I don’t have to. The amazing Paula has already made a fabulous, easy-to-follow video, which makes it crystal clear:

Isn’t that ingenious? It’s so simple and so effective. I hope it’s as helpful to you as it has been to me!

If you are a regular listener of Paula’s wonderful podcast, you’ll know that right now she’s dealing with some scary health stuff, with all the grace and good humour we would expect from her. I know that messages of support and encouragement mean a lot to her right now. You can drop by her Ravelry Group to say hello and keep up with her health updates on her Caring Bridge site. She is very much in our hearts and I know so many knitters are sending her so much gratitude, love, and strength right now. 

Happy knitting,
Helen x

Around this time last year, I sent a series of emails full of tips and techniques for knitting handmade socks. They were such a hit in the lead up to the first season of The Handmade Sock Society that I turned them into a blog series, too. As we’re getting ready to start our second season of THSS, it seems like the perfect moment to revisit The Sock Series (and also add to it)!

It was such a joy to watch so many people stretch their sock-knitting skills in the Society last year. I received wonderful emails from knitters who had never made a single sock before but managed to find the courage to dive right in. I marveled at the seasoned sock knitters who said that they’d discovered a new technique or hack that they’d never tried before.

I absolutely love the way that the members of our community are always learning and growing. It pays to stay curious, especially when you’re passionate about making things. So, for everyone who is thinking about filling a box of socks this year (or even just casting on their first-ever pair) here are some links to the first three posts in The Sock Series to get you started:

Part One of The Sock Series: Choosing Yarn for Handmade Socks

Socks work harder than just about any other type of knitwear out there. They need to withstand constant friction and moisture, two things that can quickly break down delicate fibre. This means that for the most comfortable and long-lasting socks, you need to think carefully about your yarn selection. In this post, we take an in-depth look at what makes a great sock yarn great, and how to pick the right yarn for your handmade sock project.

Part Two of The Sock Series: Sock Knitting Needles and How to Use Them

One of the reasons new knitters are sometimes scared of socks is the fact that they are knit “in the round”. The first time you see a set of double-pointed needles or a magic loop, it’s easy to think you’re looking at something really complicated. This post demystifies the most common sock-knitting techniques, from DPNs to two-at-a-time and beyond.

Part Three of The Sock Series: Stretchy Cast-Ons for Hand-Knit Socks

When you’re knitting a cuff-down sock, you need to make sure that you use a flexible, stretchy cast-on method, so that it’s easy to get your foot in and out of the sock. There are so many great cast-ons out there, and I highly recommend experimenting until you find on you love. In this post, I share just a handful of favourites.

New! Part Four of The Sock Series: Avoiding Holes in the Gusset

Those pesky holes in the corners of your sock gusset can be a real pain, but there’s a simple trick to help you get rid of them as you knit!

I hope you’re getting excited for our next season of The Handmade Sock Society, and that you’ll find something here that helps you along the way. I’ll be adding more articles to The Sock Series over the next weeks, so don’t forget to check back. And if you’re not on the mailing list yet, you can sign up right here to get the new posts and all the Curious Handmade news right to your inbox. Happy knitting!

Play

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

Show Sponsors:

 

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

 

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

Show Links:

The Grocery Girls

Wild in the Woods Candles

Hay Pullover

Like a Cloud Cardigan

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

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

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

Play

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Today on the podcast, I share some of the learning and thinking I’ve been doing in these first two weeks of the year, and my dedication to making this a warm, welcoming, supportive and uplifting place for every member of our community. I also have some plans for the months ahead…

Show Sponsors:

 

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

 

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

Show Links:

Ravelry post on Racism and inclusion in the yarn community

@creativececi on Instagram

@su.krita on Instagram

@nadiratani on Instagram and her honest, moving, beautifully written story

The Minimal Mom on YouTube

Play

It’s wonderful to be back! Today I have a nice long chatty catch-up episode of the podcast for you, to kick the new Curious Handmade Year off right. I have stories from our time in Sweden and I share some hopes and dreams for the year ahead, with my word for the year and most of my 19 in 2019 Happiness Project List.

Show Sponsors:

 

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

 

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

Show Links:

Laine Magazine

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Happier Podcast 19 in 2019

Squam

We have a new crop of winners to close out our 2018 KALs!

TSS Season 3:

The Whole World is a Garden winner:

gweneverafter with post 6

Grand KAL winner:

vereader with post 6

 

Knitvent:

Knitvent winner:

THSS Season 1:

Red Robin Socks
I’m extending the Shawl Society book giveaway deadline until the end of January.  Just take a cute photo of the book, or a photo of a WIP or completed shawl from The Shawl Society Season 1 and tag it with #TheShawlSociety1Book for the chance to win a very lovely prize, including a signed copy of the book, a basket from Big Blue Moma, a gorgeous skein from The Wool Kitchen, and an enamel Shawl Society pin!
Play

It’s the very last podcast of the year! Today I’m reviewing my 18 in 2018 Happiness project, looking forward to my new word of the year, sharing some inspiration I found on a lovely workshop, and plotting what I’ll be knitting over the break. I also have news about a special pattern sale starting today!

Show Sponsors:

 

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

 

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

Show Links:

The Curious Handmade Handmade Gift Guide for Knitters and Makers

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

The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com

The Brand Stylist

The Happier Podcast

Brynn & Co Etsy

Sweet Felicia Hat

Mrs. Browns Bags

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Elton by Joji Locatelli

Sockvent 2018

Vintage Fairy Lights Socks

All the patterns in The Handmade Sock Society and Knitvent 2018 are now available to buy as single patterns!

I don’t know about you, but these last few weeks before Christmas are prime shopping time for a lot of us. Giving and receiving handmade gifts is pretty much the pinnacle of presents for me, but gifts related to making or knitting are a pretty close runner up. What knitter or maker doesn’t want more beautiful yarn, useful tools, and inspiring books? Could anything be better than settling in during those lovely lulled days after Christmas to cast on a new project (or three) using something you’ve just received? When you really want to pamper the creative people in your life (and that certainly includes yourself!) I think that any of the items on this list would do the trick nicely.

Literally anything from Beyond Measure

 

I mean it. Literally anything. This little shop is so full of gorgeous little things: I’m warning you, to see them is to want them. I am a huge believer in investing in beautiful tools whenever possible, and the brilliant minds behind Beyond Measure have an eye for the lovely and the useful. As their own tagline says, their inventory is made up of “beautiful things for folk who make” and you could fill the best Christmas stocking ever from Beyond Measure.

 

A Subscription to Pom Pom Quarterly

I think subscriptions make wonderful gifts, as you get to spread the surprise throughout the year. Ever since the very first issue, the day my Pom Pom Quarterly magazine arrives in the post is automatically a great day. This magazine is so aspirational and so inspirational. I love pouring over the photos and daydreaming about future makes. Meghan, Lydia and their absurdly talented team outdo themselves every issue.

 

A Wax & Wool Candle

There’s nothing like getting cosy, lighting a luscious candle, and settling in for a nice long knitting session: to me that’s the essence of relaxation. Kjerste of Wax & Wool makes the most beautiful hand-poured soy candles in apothecary jars. She has done some wonderful collaborations with yarnies, including the delicious-smelling (and sadly now sold out) candle she made for La Bien Aimee. Wax & Wool have a selection of Christmas scents in their Etsy shop right now which would make an ideal little pampering present for any knitter.

 

An “Inside Story” membership from A Yarn Story

One of my favourite yarn stores of all time (and one of my lovely podcast sponsors, although this is not a sponsored post) started a VIP membership club this year for devoted yarn lovers. It’s a great opportunity to spoil an avid knitter this holiday, with goodies, a gift bag, special discounts, free shipping, a birthday gift-card, exclusive early access to the newest and most popular inventory, and much more.

 

Conscious Creativity by Phillipa Stanton 

This thoughtful, beautiful book from Phillipa Stanton is a wonderful way to nurture the inner artist in all of us. Exploring mindfulness, creativity, and emotion, it is an invitation to step back from our screens and engage with the beauty around us. I found it extremely inspiring and helpful, with easy exercises and thought-experiments to keep my creativity engaged in daily life. A brilliant gift for anyone who wants to flex their creative muscles in the new year.

 

Betty Etiquette Stationary

I am such a fan of all the lovely cards and stationary Betty Etiquette puts out. They’re pretty, they’re hand-crafted, they are joyful and light, and they help me be more thoughtful throughout the year. A beautiful card in the mail can transform someone’s whole day. It’s a lot of payback for a little gesture. Everything on the site is wonderful, from the stationary to the prints, home & gifts section, and the make-it-yourself resources of supplies, books, and workshops.

 

The Maker’s Yearbook 

A fresh new year means a fresh new planner around the corner: it’s always a joy to see the days stretch out before you and to start daydreaming about what’s possible. This special 2019 planner is especially designed for makers and artists. If you run a handmade business or are even thinking about it, I highly, highly recommend getting your hands on this one: I’ve gotten one for myself and have given it as a gift. Potentially game-changing and extremely inspiring. Now is the perfect time to pick one up, as it also includes a comprehensive and very helpful year-in-review section for 2018

 

Yarn Fictions Collections by Meadow Yarn

I could have made this gift guide nothing but yarn, but I decided to hold myself back and just include one. I just adore Meadow Yarn, which is why I’m so honoured to have them as a podcast sponsor. (Although again, this isn’t a sponsored post!) They’ve always carried the most beautiful selection of yarn, but when they started dyeing their own —inspired by brilliant short stories Anj wrote herself—they took things to a whole new level. Each of the Yarn Fictions collections revolves around a compelling fictional world, and the deep, saturated, tonal colours are an absolute delight. I love the idea that when you give this yarn as a gift you’re giving a whole experience.

 

A Big Blue Moma Basket

I have been all about baskets this year, and these baskets in particular ran away with me. First of all, I just find them so beautiful. The weaving, the hand-dying, the richness of the colours and natural textures…they make themselves at home in pretty much any interior. They’re also incredibly useful, whether you’re toting one along to the farmer’s market on the weekend, or stashing one beside the couch to hold your scrappy blanket project. And last (but certainly not least) I am deeply inspired by the story behind them. Big Blue Moma is a Canadian company, but the empowerment of craftspeople in Ghana is at the heart of everything they do. The women who make these stunning and useful pieces of art are paid a fair market price for their work. I love supporting other artisans and makers around the world with my purchases. Any of these baskets would make a thoughtful and generous gift to a beloved knitter (maybe even with a few goodies tucked inside!)

You can also get 10% OFF your basket at So Just Shop with code CURIOUS10

 

Knits about Winter

I’ve already mentioned this book and its gorgeous patterns once or twice on the podcast, but I’m just in love with it, and I think it would be a wonderful gift. Everything Emily does is exquisite and this book is no exception. Along with 12 fabulous knitting patterns, Knits About Winter offers sweet stories about Emily’s life as an indie dyer and some of the most evocative winter photography you’ll ever see. I might have grown up celebrating sunny Australian Christmases, but there is still something quintessentially Christmas about snow.

 

LouLeigh Needle & Notions Cases

While we can never (ever) have enough adorable project bags in our lives, I love the fact that LouLeigh does something a little different by offering beautifully made and extremely useful needle and notions cases. It can be a challenge to keep all our crafty bits together and organised in the flurry of  multiple WIPs and impulsive cast-ons. (I know it’s not just me.) Leigh is such a thoughtful maker, with an incredible eye for an adorable fabric and a commitment to being as sustainable as possible. She also sells brilliant patterns for her bags and cases, so that you can make them for yourself (or as a gift!)

 

The Shawl Society Season 1 Book

Of course, I couldn’t let this gift guide go by without a little shameless plug for my own book. I’m very proud of it, and very touched by all the lovely things people have said about it so far. As you can probably tell by this gift guide, I am a big book lover, and creating a beautiful, tangible book of my own has been a goal of mine for a long time. I have had so many hours of joy curled up with a cup of tea and a lovely book of knitting patterns, considering all the possibilities and being inspired by the lovely photos. That feeling is something I tried to capture in this book. I worked hard to make it worthy of all the amazing knitters I know, and I think it would make a great present for anyone you know who enjoys knitting shawls. The six patterns are all achievable for intrepid beginner knitters, and also contain enough gorgeous details to entertain veteran shawl makers.

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

The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com

 


I hope this guide has given you a few ideas to let you cross a name or two off your Christmas list. I feel honoured to be part of a community that is so full of talent and passion. I know what a challenge and adventure it is to head out into the great unknown of starting a creative business. That’s why it’s so wonderful to have an opportunity  to support some of the fantastic independent businesses who are an integral part of our making and knitting community. I hope that you’ll remember small and local handmade businesses in your own shopping this year, too.

 

 

In celebration of today’s book launch, I thought it would be lovely to take a peek inside at all six beautiful shawls. I know we’ll be welcoming some new members in the days and weeks to come, who might never have had a chance to see the whole collection together. So, without further ado, here are the six shawls of The Shawl Society Season 1:

Talisman

Magical, safe, and full of good fortune, Talisman is a carefree crescent shawl, inscribed with a simple star stitch.

Traditional lore advises that a talisman should always be made by the hands of the one who intends to use it. By my reckoning that makes this shawl perfect for some selfish knitting. These cherished objects were often made to protect pilgrims on their journey, and it just so happens that Talisman makes wonderful travel knitting.

The pattern has been designed to showcase beautiful hand dyed yarn: subtly tonal, boldly variegated or a tranquil gradient, and it includes three versatile sizes. The small is a one skein project, ideal for crafting a special yarn into something charmed. The large size is just right for two skeins of fingering yarn or a beautiful lace weight.

 

 

 


Amulet

Amulet was inspired by the mystical beauty of an ancient Egyptian carving of a powerful scarab beetle with wings outstretched to provide shelter and protection from harm. The elongated triangle shape of this shawl recalls the scarab’s wings, which are also echoed in the graphically striking rib section. The most important characteristic of any amulet is the power ascribed to it by its owner, and I have tried to infuse this design with some of that energy and intention. The sacred significance of handmade objects is something that every knitter knows. Made for yourself, it is an eloquent act of self-care. When knit for a loved one, it is a compelling symbol of comfort and love.

Featuring lace, eyelets, and optional beading (for a little extra magic), the Amulet shawl pattern offers two sizes, medium and large. With plenty of intriguing details to keep you interested, this is an exciting knit that is also well within the reach of courageous new shawl knitters. It can be knit in one, two, or even more colours, making it an excellent project for stash busting.

 


Asana

A gentle crescent shawl with flowing lace and garter sections, Asana is a lovely special occasion shawl, whether you’re preparing for one magical day or making an ordinary day magical through a bit of mindfulness. Optional beads add a flicker of light to its soft textures and quiet curves. Designed for lace or fingering weight yarn, it is delicate and light enough to wear even in the warmer months.

In yoga, Asana means “a position that is firm, but relaxed.” This attitude should be familiar to anyone who has ever learned to knit, or tried a new technique just outside of your comfort zone. Gritting your teeth and clenching your hands around your needles never helps. This shawl is a higher level of difficulty than the previous Shawl Society patterns: the lace is a bit more challenging and there are four rows where you are knitting lace rows on the wrong side. The actual stitches aren’t difficult, but you need to be in meditation mode (not multitasking mode!).

Concentration, relaxation and focus will get you through to the graceful result you want.

 


Aurorae

Aurorae are the spellbinding flames of light that gather in the sky at both ends of the earth. In the far north, in Finland, it’s said that the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, occur when a great arctic fox brushes sparks from the mountain tops with his huge fluffy tail. On the other side of planet, the Aboriginal Australians believed that the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, were fires from the spirit world: the raging bushfires of sky spirits or the glow of their ancestors’ campfires.

I love the idea that people from different places can look at one phenomenon and interpret it so differently and creatively. In a much smaller way we can see this same magic happening in something as simple as a knitting pattern, when the gifted imaginations and hands of knitters from every corner of the world create their own versions of a beautiful object.

The Aurorae Shawl gathers up the strands of that sense of wonder, with rippling shifts of colour and flickering eyelet lace. Aurorae Shawl was designed using a six colour gradient set, with both sport weight and fingering weight versions. If you’re knitting from stash, this is a wonderful way to use up leftovers from other projects: just pick six colours that blend or play well together. This asymmetrical shawl features garter, eyelet and slip stitches: it looks intricate and complicated, but in fact it’s a gentle, easy knit. An i-cord edge gives Aurorae a lovely, polished finish.

 


Quill

The design for Quill draws from older, more patient ways of making and doing. This elongated, triangular shawl features stripes like the lines of a letter on a parchment page and a lace border inspired by feathers. Dream dictionaries say that to dream of writing with a quill pen “symbolizes the way you view your creative process — slow, methodical, beautiful, and not very technological.” For me, that lines up beautifully with the way I approach my knitting, and the way I imagine the Quill shawl in the world.

Quill is a generously sized shawl with an engaging mix of colour and texture. It makes for relaxing knitting, and the yarn selected adds another layer of old-fashioned comfort. Tamar DK yarn from Blacker Yarns is a soft, squishy DK weight with rustic charm and a sophisticated colour palette. It is made from historic Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool, all British heritage breeds chosen for their long, wavy, lustre fleece. A generous helping of local Cornish mule lambs’ fleece gives this yarn extra bounce and give.

Even though the knitting community today is largely bound together with the modern magic of the Internet, the objects we make with our hands are a throwback to a graceful past. Knitting Quill is a beautiful way to slow down at the end of a busy day, giving yourself over to an uncomplicated creative practice and a quieter way of being in the world.


Sonder

The Sonder Shawl is a big, soft, cosy shawl to wrap up the Shawl Society journey. “Sonder” is a new word, originally defined as “the realization that each random passer by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.“ That sudden flash of recognition occurs at random moments. Sometimes it’s brought on by the novelty of a new place: taking a crowded train through a foreign country and watching the evidence of thousands of unknown lives flash by in seconds. Other times, a mundane moment spent standing in a coffee shop queue becomes suddenly mysterious as you wonder about the inner lives of the strangers who surround you.

The moment we meet a new friend, we gain entrance into the rich story of their lives. It is the best way we have of tapping into that abundance of experience, and for the final Shawl Society project I wanted a design that reflected the connection and warmth we share as a community of knitters. The Sonder Shawl is an elongated triangle shape, veering towards a scarf. It has an open, easy to memorise stitch pattern and is finished with playful tassels. In the spirit of sharing, it is wonderful gift knitting: the bulky yarn knits up super fast and the contemporary design will appeal even to shawl sceptics.


Publishing this collection as a real-life book is a realisation of a life-long dream. I’m so excited to finally share it with the world. If you’d like to grab your own copy, it is available right now on Amazon.

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

Buy The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com