Archives For July 2013

knitting pattern shawl

The big reveal is here! The final pattern for the Curious Collective Shawl has been released in full.

This shawl is the result of the decisions of over 2000 knitters from 55 countries around the world. Participants joined in this “create your own adventure” shawl design project through a series of votes on the Curious Handmade blog.

The crescent shape, chosen by voters, is created by several increase rows and designed to sit beautifully on your shoulders. It also shows off the textured stitch patterns which are inspired by a spring meadow. The shawl is knit using two colours of sock weight yarn, the winning purple hues in the original complement the wildflower theme beautifully.

To everyone who took part – honestly I can’t thank you enough!! This design was truly a collective effort as many of the choices that you all made weren’t always what I would have naturally gone to first and so this has really inspired and challenged me to come up with something really different from my usual designs. It has been an amazing creative boost and I’ve loved every minute of it. All the interesting and supportive comments have meant so much to me too!

knitting pattern shawl

The Official Knit Along starts tomorrow, 26 July 2013. Or today if you’re super keen and all prepared.

If not then you have today to have a scan of the pattern, print it out or download to your tablet device, and get your yarn and needles organised.

Like many of my shawl patterns this is written in my totally non-patented Percentage Checklist format and I have provided some charts too for the more detailed sections of the design.
The percentages make it a breeze to organise a KAL! I’m planning a five week KAL starting tomorrow which will bring us to 31 August as an end date.
Breaking it up in to five weeks gives us a goal of completing 20% of the shawl each week.
Anyone can join in the KAL – it isn’t just for people who participated in the voting process – just jump in at any time. Its going to be fun!!
I haven’t quite ironed out all the details of the KAL just yet so stay posted for that! I have set up a KAL board on the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry so feel free to pop over there and post about the yarn you are using and “register” your participation in the KAL. At this stage I will aim to keep a list of all the participants but if there are too many this might be too ambitious!
The Curious Collective Shawl pattern is available to buy on Ravelry for US $6.

knitting pattern shawl

What do you think of the final result? Leave a comment and let me know if its anything like what you expected or imagined!

knitting pattern shawl wrap

knitting pattern shawl wrap

These photos were taken in our garden and around our neighbourhood in South East London.

knitting pattern shawl wrap

Credits: A huge thank you to my tech editor Emma, photographer Kirsty Barton, graphic designer Noa Nesher and wonderful test knitters martiniiis, michelle166, gringaquilmes and arianwenmcb.

A Lighter Summer Holiday

Helen —  July 18, 2013 — 1 Comment

Growing up in Australia, our long summer holiday was in December and January and included Christmas celebrations. We lived near the coast and the beach wasn’t far away. Although you would think from the amount of stuff we packed into the family wagon we were crossing the Nullarbor and travelling for six months, rather than driving an hour away. The daily routine focussed around going to the beach very early in the morning before the heat of the day and then a lot lazing around with the cricket (the sport not the animal) a constant background soundtrack. Once the day had cooled a little there would be a BBQ and backyard cricket.

Living in the UK, I have gradually got used to the different July-August summer rhythm. Holidays to “the sun” loom large in the planning schedule. For the months from about April to the end of August, the question “Where are you going for your summer holiday?” is a key staple of small talk. The planning usually occurs around February when SAD is at its worst.

Several years ago, my workmate, a very glamorous and gorgeous woman, was talking about her summer holiday wardrobe and the importance of having nice new things for “the summer holiday”. This was a lightbulb moment for me. Before that conversation I had just figured that my summer clothes were all pretty new anyway given that we only get to wear them about four weeks a year. That was the beginning of a new habit of buying new things especially for holidays.

However, since reading Zen Habits and especially these two radical posts by Leo and his wife Eva on travelling light I have endeavoured to pack much lighter. I don’t feel like I pack all that much lighter than I used to (I still bring more clothes than I wear, and let’s not even talk about the yarn and knitting stuff). But I must be a bit better, as I now have a lot of the girls clothes in my suitcase, and it doesn’t bulge nearly as much around the edges!

So holiday shopping is now limited to one or two special new things as a holiday treat. For this trip it was this Boden Stripy Maxi which has proven to be an invaluable capsule wardrobe item. Easy to dress up or down with a bit of bling. I’m thinking about a design for a knitted wrap to keep off the evening chill – perhaps in linen?

Boden striped dress

And it was perfect atire for a day trip to the beach town of Cavtat near Dubrovnik in Croatia, where a strong nautical theme prevails.

Cavtat Croatia

Cavtat Croatia Boat Dingy

There were some small, simple boats.

Cavtat Croatia Boat

And some big, fancy-schmancy boats.

Cavtat Croatia

These beautiful coloured fishing nets caught my eye.

Cavtat Croatia

My little daydreamer looking out to sea.

Cavtat Croatia

We had a swim in the harbour but it was a very stony shore.

Cavtat Croatia

Putting my feet up after a hard day hanging out by the water eating ice-cream with my lovely family. Contemplating buying the dress in the other colours! Ah, I see its on sale (yay!) but sadly out of stock in my size (boo). Just as well for my new (slightly more) minimalist lifestyle.

I just wanted to pop in with a little update for all those eagerly awaiting the Curious Collective Shawl Pattern.

The good news is that it is now written up and just being checked and double checked for mistakes. I’m still hoping I’ll be able to release it this week.

The bad news is that it will probably be later in the week. It was really quite easy to knit, but has taken a lot of time to write up! It is also my first time charting cabled patterns so that had me a bit stumped. It might be the very warm weather in London and now here in Croatia where we’re having a summer holiday that is making my brain a bit slower than usual.

My lovely friend Emma is helping check it and if anyone would like to get in super early and help test it let me know. I am looking for two to three testers who are fairly speedy knitters who could start testing in the next day or two. (From a not quite finalised pattern!)

I’ll keep you updated on progress!

In the meantime, here are some postcards from Croatia.

We’re staying near Dubrovnik at an “agritoursim” villa. Its run by a husband and wife team who have five kids. We were invited to their church yesterday to watch the traditional local dancing after the ceremony.

I was worried that it would be too hot and our little English Roses would melt but its warm without being over the top. We have only been here a few days but it is one of the most relaxing places I’ve been. Everyone we’ve met is really friendly and the whole vibe is chilled out. Just perfect.




roof detail

Croatian Dancers

Croatian Dancers


Croatian Dancers

I has been a bit quiet around here hasn’t it?!

But not at Curious Handmade HQ, not at all.

I have been knitting like an absolute ninja here. I’ve knitted on the sofa, at swimming practice, at the pub, on my birthday, in the garden and I even knitted a long and cable-y row at Wimbledon (go Andy!) such was my dedication to getting it finished for you!

After five days solid of knitting, lots of scribbling, frequent punching numbers into a calculator and a substantial amount of ripping and re-knitting at one point I can present a sneak preview of the Curious Collective Shawl!

I know that many of you are really excited to get started. I am also itching to start another one too!

So I’ll be finalising my notes, writing everything up and getting the pattern tested over the next week. I can’t give an exact date just yet but I am aiming to release the pattern and kick off the knit along in the week starting 15 July.

knitting shawl pattern

I am really happy with the shawl design – until its finally blocked I am never sure if it is going to work.

My lovely photographer Kirsty came over on Thursday and took some photos. I think the pictures are gorgeous.

I so hope you like it, as I know that many of you have invested a lot of ideas and voting into it and I really appreciate all the participation along the way. I can say without a doubt this shawl has been the most fun to design of all my shawls so far.

Now I have a little confession to make. I was so nervous to show you the final result that I procrastinated writing this post all day yesterday and most of today!

shawl knitting pattern

I am thrilled with the colour choice (Juno Alice Raisin and Heather Shadow). I realised while I was knitting it that this exact colour combination was the first Juno Alice yarn I bought from Loop well over a year ago and I had planned to make a striped shawl with it from the beginning! It was obviously meant to be!

If you would like this exact colour combination or one of the other combinations (or make up your own) you can contact Asti at the Juno Etsy shop and she will custom dye the yarn for you.

Shawl knitting pattern

The Curious Collective Shawl pattern will be available for $3 on Ravelry until I publish the pattern and then it will go up to the full price of $6.

Of course everyone who has signed up for the pattern already will get an update with the full pattern just as soon as I have it ready for you. Thank you so much for your patience!

I’m starting to plan the KAL and would love to hear your thoughts about how best to structure it and how long people would ideally like to knit the shawl. Please leave any ideas and requests in the comments!

ETA:  A few people have asked about yardage – I just weighed what I have left from the two 100g skeins.

I used 82g of the Raisin (darker purple) and 60g of Heather Shadow. So as the Juno Alice is 437 yards/100g that makes yarn requirements about 360 yards of Raisin and 260 yards of Heather Shadow.

I used 3.5mm (US 4) circular needles (100cm length) and recommend using 4mm (US 6) for the cast on. You’ll also need a cable needle.

If you haven’t tried cables before – don’t be scared – its a really easy pattern (and only for a section of the shawl) and would be a great introduction for a bit of cable knitting 🙂