Archives For March 2014

Introducing the second knitting pattern in the  Dream Big Collection.

Here is the Fireflies Rising Shawlette.

FirefliesRising shawlette knitting pattern

Fireflies Rising is a small crescent shaped shawl, created by increases at the edges on both sides. The lace pattern is really simple and gives a pretty, blossomy detail.

This spring shawlette is a quick, easy one skein accessory. It could be worn over the shoulders with a floral dress or around the neck as a scarf to ward off those sometimes chilly spring breezes.

Now, from the thick grass, the fireflies
begin to rise:
up, then down, then up again:
lit on the ascending flight,
drifting simultaneously to the same height,
–exactly like the bubbles in champagne.

– A Cold Spring by Elizabeth Bishop

The pattern is half price for today only.

*** Sign up to my email newsletter Curious Yarns for an extra special discount on the pattern and the Dream Big collection. ***

£1.75 (after midnight 31 March GMT it will return to usual price of £3.50)

I knit this one with luxurious Juno Fibre Arts Alice yarn (baby alpaca/silk/cashmere) in the Boudior colour way.

You can buy this yarn at the Juno Etsy shop and there is also some gorgeous Belle yarn (British Alpaca / Organically Farmed Falklands Merino) available in the Boudoir colourway.

Fireflies Rising Shawlette Knitting Pattern


Today I’m talking about what’s in the WIP including starting my Aislinn sweater project, the launch of my new design Fireflies Rising and a wander around some Parisian yarn shops.

I’m HellsBells on Ravelry and CuriousHandmade  on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

The Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl by Paula E-F is a very popular way to use up leftover yarn.

What’s in the WIP

I’m working on Aislinn by Amy Herzog – my Aislinn project page on Ravelry

I enjoyed learning how to do a tubular cast on and am enjoying this knit. The yarn is lovely and the pattern is very clear.

I’m nearly ready to release my latest design for the Dream Big Collection.

It is a crescent shaped shawl called Fireflies Rising which was inspired by the feeling of spring in the air.

The name is a reference to a lovely poem called A Cold Spring by Elizabeth Bishop.

The construction is created by increases on each side of the shawl rather than short rows.

If you would like to know when it is being released and to get an exclusive coupon code for the pattern, please join my newsletter (you’ll also get a free Curious Handmade pattern too!).

If you would like to snap up some Juno Alice 4ply yarn for either Fireflies Rising (you need one skein) or Frangipani Shawl (you need two skeins) you can buy it on the Juno Fibre Arts Etsy shop. There is still a little bit left as I write this including some Corn Dolly yellow for Frangipani.

A virtual tour of some Paris Yarn shops

Last summer Mum and I did a tour of Paris yarn shops with Barbara from Stitching up Paris.

La Drogeurie

Lil Weasel

Les Petits Points Parisiens

Photos of my purchases to follow soon!

Have a look at my May 2014 Paris Trip and video 

Join the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group

Don’t forget to play the Instagram game and tag me on a photo of where you are listening to the podcast with curious handmadepodcast hashtag or what you’re knitting.

La Droguerie baby blanket knitting kit

French shopping loot

French alpaca yarn

La Droguerie baby blanket knitting kit


Curious Handmade PodcastToday I’m talking about what’s in the WIP including starting my sweater project, the simple life and events.

Welcome to new members to the Curious Handmade Ravelry group and thank you to farfromharmfarm, techknit and firebrand55 for introducing themselves on the group.

I also announce the winners of the London Underground Tea Towel giveaway from Episode 18.

What’s in the WIP?

Designing a shawlette

The March pattern for the Dream Big collection is coming along nicely.
I’m designing a spring influenced shawlette in Juno Fibre Arts Alice 4ply.

Juno Fibre Arts is having a big shop update of some stunning Alice 4ply on Thursday 27 March.

I’m honoured that Asti from JFA has written a beautiful post  about my latest design, the Frangipani Shawl and gives some gorgeous suggestions for colour combinations for the shawl

(I thought it was 21 March so I mention the wrong date in the episode but you will have more time to have a look so its all good!)

Juno Alice yarn

Juno Alice 4ply in Boudoir and Potpourri || Image credit: Juno Fibre Arts

Self Indulgent Sweater for Squam

I’m knitting  Aislinn  by Amy Herzog for my next sweater project.

I talk about preparing to start the project, choosing the best size to knit, knitting a gauge swatch.

Question for this week is do you swatch and what motivates you to swatch?

I refer to Amy’s book Knit to Flatter and her companion Craftsy Knit to Flatter course.

The Simple Life

I did a bit of decluttering in the stash and wonder what you do with your left over yarn from projects??


There are exciting plans afoot for a podcaster meetup at new UK yarn event Unwind Brighton in July

I’ve posted details about my Paris for Yarn Lovers trip in May and please have a look at the video in the post. I’m ridiculously pleased with it!

And A Game!

Join in the Virtual Curious Knitting group on Instagram. Post a photo of where you are listening or what you are knitting while listening to the podcast and tag your photo with CuriousHandmade and add #curioushandmadepodcast in the caption.

(You will need to download the Instagram app on your phone and join up if you haven’t already)

Knitting retreat and yarn shop tour in Paris, France

Two Days, Three Nights in Paris

Thursday evening, May 16 to Sunday morning, May 18, 2014

Paris for Yarn Lovers Knitting Tour Paris

Paris is known as the city for lovers and on this unique tour you will experience Paris tailored especially for YARN lovers!

We will delve into pockets of Paris of special interest to knitters and crafters for two full days. Expect to visit many yarn stores as well as a typical Parisian flea market.

The itinerary also includes a two hour ‘Introduction to Lace and Shawl Design’ workshop with your host, Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade (moi!).

We will enjoy lunches together at cafes and a special celebratory dinner together on Saturday night.

All levels of knitters are welcome and I will tailor the workshop session to the participants’ interests and knitting levels.

The Paris for Yarn Lovers tour includes:

Tour as a Day Guest option:


– Two days of touring Paris with myself and Paris-insider Barbara from ‘Stitching up Paris’ on Friday.
– A two hour knitting workshop with Helen Stewart
– Two lunches at cafes and a celebratory dinner on Saturday evening
– Transportation on the Paris Metro
– Exclusive Curious Handmade goodie bag

Cost: £295

Tour plus Accommodation option:

In addition to the above Day Guest option you will get:

– Three nights accommodation at a beautiful private apartment in Le Marais district of Paris
– Three continental breakfasts at the apartment (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
– Welcome evening on Thursday at the apartment
– Time to knit together in the evenings

Cost for accommodation (including all day guest activities):

Double room (single occupancy):  £780 per person (this total includes £295 day activities and £485 for accommodation options)

Twin room sharing (double occupancy):  £625 per person (this total includes £295 day activities and £430 for accommodation options)

Each room has its own bathroom.

If you would like to share a double room with a friend email me and I’ll advise the cost.

Please note: Transport to Paris is not included.

Paris Yarn tour apartement

Paris Yarn Tour apartment

Space is limited to 8 students.

Itinerary is subject to change due to outside factors.

Please note: There will be a significant amount of walking and travelling on the metro both dates.




drop me an email if you have any questions:

Paris Knitting tour

The legal stuff (sorry, I have to…)

Cancellation policy:

The cost is now payable in full and non-refundable so please double check your availability. 

(You may have someone else take your spot before May 12th 2014, but we must be notified of all changes. If you can’t attend I will do my best to replace you and refund the full cost but I can’t promise that will be possible.).

Release Form: by signing up to Paris for Yarn Lovers you acknowledge that you have read all the above policy information, and you agree to assume all risk of personal harm, injury or other loss relating to or resulting from your participating in all workshops and activities associated with Paris for Yarn Lovers, and to hold Curious Handmade and its representatives, harmless as to liability for any such harm, injury or loss.



How to choose a sweater pattern

Spring and magic is in the air in London this week! I’m planning my self indulgent sweater for Squam and starting a knit along to chat about it.

What’s in the WIP?

This week I’m talking about deciding on my self indulgent sweater for Squam. You can have a look at the main contenders on my Sweater Pinterest board.

Some past sweater efforts

Moonlight by Kim Hargreaves and my Moonlight project page (Rav link)

Dusk by Kim Hargreaves and my Dusk project page (Rav link)

Central Park Hoodie by Heather Lodinsky and my CPH project page (Rav link)

Buttony Sweater by Katie Marcus (I just saw Katie has a fab sewing blog too ) and my Buttony project

I’ve decided to knit Aislinn by Amy Herzog.

I talk about Amy’s excellent Knit to Flatter book and her Knit to Flatter Craftsy course:

UK Amazon link:  Knit to Flatter

US Amazon link: Knit to Flatter

Amy’s Knit to Flatter course on Craftsy is great and is currently on sale at 35% off!!

Amy Herzog Knit to Flatter Craftsy Course

Do you like knitting sweaters? How do you choose what sweater pattern to knit?


Its a sunny day in London and the magnolia tree is about to explode into bloom. There is optimism and joy in the air.

Its been a rollercoaster week with a sick kid, a awards ceremony and some knitting ups and downs.

Thank you to everyone for listening, joining in the conversation on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Board and to the new members who have introduced themselves.

Magnolia blooms

Magnolia blooms Magnolia blooms


Brand Amplifier Awards ceremony

I mention a few of my lovely fellow finalists and winners:

Magpie Haberdashery, Van Girls, Thinking Bob, Archie Mac London, Nalla Skincare, Rose Fullbright, Vicki’s Kitchen

Whats in the WIP?

Design Fail – the Feburary Dream Big design was behaving badly.

My new free easy Bobble Hat Pattern for beginner knitters

free easy hat knitting pattern

A Curious Handmade Giveaway

So …….we’re having a giveaway instead!

It is a well known fact that when things are going wrong, the best thing to do is sit down and have a lovely cup of tea.

With that theme in mind I will be sending two listeners a London Underground tea towel. Here they are here:

London Underground Tea towel for Curious Handmade Giveaway London Underground Tea towel for Curious Handmade Giveaway

Aren’t they fun?!

To enter the giveaway leave a comment on the blog or on the Curious Handmade Ravelry group by Sunday 16 March, and let me know what problems stop you from finishing your knitting projects?

The Simple Life

I tried out the Honey Mask recommended by Vintage Amanda and really liked it.


Look out for the details of my Paris for Yarn Lovers trip. In the Marais district of Paris on 15-18 May 2014.

Easy Bobble Hat Pattern

by Helen Stewart

free beginners hat knitting pattern

This free knitting pattern for beginners (or experienced knitters who want a fast satisfying knit) gives you easy to follow instructions for how to make a fun bobble hat for the whole family.

Once you have mastered the basic knit and purl stitches you will be able to knit up this easy hat in about 2-5 hours. Not bad for an evening of knitting.

It is knit flat on straight knitting needles and then seamed up the back.


If you have a tape measure, and the recipient’s head close by, measure the circumference of their head and choose the size closest to their size. If in doubt or in between sizes, I would suggest selecting the smaller size for a snugger fit but it depends on personal preference as slouchy hats are very on trend at the moment.


Baby 14”, (Toddler 16”, Child 18”, Woman 20”, Man 22”) head circumference.


1 x 100g ball of Rowan Big Wool (100% Merino wool; 80m/87yds) or

2 x 100g skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky (50% Alpaca, 50% wool; 41m/45yds)

Or similar yardage of other bulky weight yarn.


10mm (US 15) straight knitting needles


Yarn needle

Tape measure


8 sts/12 rows = 10cm (4″)


k          knit

k2tog   knit 2 together

p          purl

st(s)    stitch(es)

*           repeat instructions between asterisks


Cast on 30, (34, 38, 42, 46) sts.

Row 1: Knit all stitches

Row 2-6: *k1, p1* to end of row. (5 rows of ribbing)

If you are making a two colour hat, start colour B here.

Row 7: Knit all sts.

Row 8: Purl all sts

Repeat rows 7 and 8,  4, (5, 6, 7, 8) more times. (10, (12, 14, 16, 18) rounds of stockinette)

Decrease for crown as follows:

K1, then *K2tog* to 1 st before the end of the row, k1. 16, (18, 20, 22, 24) sts

Purl all sts.

K1, then *K2tog* to 1 st before the end of the row, k1.  9, (10, 11, 12, 13) sts

Purl all sts

K1, then *K2tog* to 2, (1, 2, 1, 2) st/s before the end of the row, k2 (k1, k2, k1, k2). 6, (6, 7, 7, 8) sts

Cut thread leaving approx. 18” tail. Using yarn needle, thread the tail through the remaining sts and pull firm.

Using tail, sew the sides of the hat together. Mattress stitch is the best stitch to use.

Weave in ends.

Make PomPom

Use a large pompom maker or make your own template out of card.

I used a circle approximately 3” in diameter.

free beginners hat knitting pattern

free beginners hat knitting pattern

Photo Credit: Photos of me are by Kirsty Barton Creations


This week is a short update.

I was on holidays with my family in France and thought I’d quickly update you on a couple of things rather than miss an episode.

What’s in the WIP?

The February pattern for Dream Big is running a little late but is coming along nicely. It’s going to be an infinity scarf in Erika Knight’s Vintage Wool Aran.

The shades I’m using are #09 drizzle and #33 gorgeous (darling!).

I’ve also made some hats for the girls in Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky (50% alpaca, 50% wool).

I’m also organising a yarn lover’s tour of Paris with Barbara from Stitching up Paris on 16-17 May 2014.