Archives For October 2015

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Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co.

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At The Fibre Co. we add to your fun with our focus on interesting blends of natural fibres. The unique lines in our range of yarns are all carefully developed to achieve the perfect combination of softness and structure. Our yarns are dyed to create subtle variation in tone and saturated, sophisticated colours. The result is an elegant yarn worthy of the most special projects.
You can find The Fibre Company at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn   :

Meadow Yarn 

As we head into full-blown knitting season, here at Meadow Yarn we’re gettingexcited about the endless possibilities. We’ve got gorgeous Autumnal hand dyes nestling next to rustic wool and needles and notions to brighten up the darkest evening… Whether it’s Lopi from Iceland or Navia from the Faroes to keep you warm, rich dappled shades from Life in the Long Grass or a palette of glorious Northbound Knitting greys that inspires you we’ve got it covered. Add some new Zing needles and pattern inspiration courtesy of pompom mag or Amirisu and we think you’ll find it hard to leave your cosy knitting nook this Autumn…”

More links to be added!

I was lucky enough to interview the very talented and lovely Renee Callahan on last week’s podcast. She gave us a glimpse into her fascinating art and fashion background, and chatted about the inspiration behind her new collection of knitting designs. The collection has just been launched, and it’s absolutely beautiful. Today I’m very pleased to be part of a blog tour to spread the word! Before I jump into my own impressions, I’ll share the official description.

The Klee Collection is a collection of modern garments and accessories designed for the knitter to enjoy both the process of knitting, with innovative constructions, as well as the product of their work, with wearable, beautiful garments.

“The Klee Collection is a gathering of knitting patterns close to my heart. Although I trained as an art historian, I rarely get a chance to see even a fraction of the amazing art on offer in London,” explains designer Renée. “A few years ago the Tate Modern held an exhibition of Paul Klee’s work and it was like visiting an old friend. The inspiration to design my first collection came quickly and I have named each of the designs after a painting by Klee.”
Each design features unique geometric lace knitting inspired by the strange and wonderful shapes that run like a language through Klee’s work, providing interest and detail on extremely wearable garments. Selfish knitting at its best, this collection is intended to be worn and loved for years to come.
Angelus Novus Cardi 1 by Renée Callahan

Renee’s passion for art and beauty is apparent in every detail of these designs. I love knowing about her process: I think it adds a real depth to the collection. In honour of that, I thought it would be fun to show you the paintings alongside the designs that they inspired.

Angel in the Making

angel in the making collage

Garment: Pullover sweater
Accessory: Shawl
Yarn: Walk Collection Cozy Merino Fingering (100% Superwash Merino, 400 yd/366 m per 100g skein)
Colours: Sample knit in Nightshade and Lipstick

I think the lace detail on the cardigan’s yoke is so pretty. I’m a big fan of colour blocking and these are two distinctive pieces that could become total wardrobe staples.

Twilight Flowers
twilight flowers collage
Garment: Pullover sweater
Accessory: Long, fingerless gloves
Yarn: The Uncommon Thread Everyday Sport (100% Superwash Merino, 328 yd/300 m per 100g skein)
Colour: Sample knit in Hemlock
I am a little in love with those mitts! So elegant and romantic. They would make a gorgeous holiday gift.

Angelus Novus
angelus novus collage
Garment: Cardigan
Accessory: Shawl
Yarn: Blacker Yarns Swan DK (100% Superwash Falkland Islands Wool, 119 yd/110 m per 50g ball)
Colour: Sample knit in Stone
If I had to pick a favourite from the collection, it would be the Angelus Novus cardigan. I love the interesting construction and it’s so wearable. I also love that Blacker yarn. DK weight is my favourite weight for fall sweaters in London – heavy enough to keep warm but not too bulky.
I can see all of these designs fitting into all different kinds of handmade wardrobes. It’s wonderful to see a collection where every single piece is in harmony with each other. I pre-ordered Renee’s collection because I knew it was going to be something special, and now that it’s here I’m delighted to say it’s every bit as wonderful as I’d hoped!
You can purchase The Klee Collection today on Ravelry. (Go ahead, treat yourself!) To learn more about Renee, her designs, the beautiful things she makes and all the wonderful things she’s up to, you can find hers at all of these places:

ELK Ravelry group

This is just the first stop on the blog tour: next the collection will be visiting Carmen on The Yarn Story blog on Nov 3rd. I can’t wait to hear everyone’s else’s reaction to this wonderful collection. Now I just need to find some time to get at least one of these projects onto my needles!
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We’re in the very last week of the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, and as a special treat I have a wonderful interview to share with you on the podcast. Renee Callahan of East London Knit is a unique talent and her rich experience in art history and fashion add depth and beauty to everything she does. Renee has been along for the CHMW Challenge journey with us, and we talk a bit about what it has meant to her and what she has achieved. We spend some time exploring the fascinating story of her time at fashion school: what she learned and what she didn’t and what it has brought to her knitting design. We also chat about body image and sustainability as two important motivations for handmade fashion.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their beloved Acadia yarn.

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Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can find Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Along News

It’s the last week for our two big projects!

Summertide Shawl MKAL

A rainbow of beautiful objects keeps growing in the FO thread. Make sure to get yours in there before Oct. 31st for your chance to win one of the prizes from our brilliant sponsors!

Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

I can’t say enough about how awe-inspiring everyone’s achievements have been. The finished objects are evidence of so many makers really stretching themselves and their skills. It’s been incredible to watch.

Don’t forget, we’re seeing both these challenges off in style with the Online Reveal Party on Nov. 3rd. We’ll be celebrating on Instagram and Ravelry, and I’m also planning to do some Periscopes throughout the day. If you’re new to Periscope you can download the app for iPhones in Apple Store and on Google Play for Android

Don’t forget to use the hashtags!

#CHWchallenge

#SummertideMKAL

Knitvent

It’s just around the corner, and just in time to stave off that bereft feeling we always get at the end of a KAL! My annual holiday collection is like a big knitting advent calendar, with a new pattern released each week. You’ll be able to sign up from Tuesday Nov. 3, and the first design will arrive on Thursday Nov. 5. More details as we get closer, but I’m pretty excited. In the meantime, grab yourself a copy of the free Curious Handmade Gift Knitting Planner. It’s a handy PDF to help get us all organized as the holiday knitting season kicks into high gear.

Show Links

Renee’s Curious Handmade Challenge declaration blog post.

One of Renee’s CHMW Challenge finished objects is the Endless Summer Tunic

Here’s her gorgeous version!

Endless summer tunic

Renee is releasing a beautiful new six-pattern collection, now available for pre-order until the 29th of October at a special early bird price.

You can read a little more about the designs and get some sneak peeks here on Renee’s blog

(I’m also going to be taking part in a blog tour to celebrate the launch next week, so stay tuned for a closer look at the beautiful pieces.)

The Paul Klee Exhibit at the Tate Modern which inspired the collection

Renee mentions listening to the new Seamwork Radio

Giveaway Winners

London Stitch and Knit by Leigh Metcalf Winner:  lizicee from Instagram

Westwater Tunic Pattern by Squam and Sam Lamb Winner:  Ronna on the blog with this comment:

October 17, 2015 at 9:29 pm                           

Thanks for another great episode! I’d love to have a copy of this great pattern to jumpstart my handmade wardrobe.

Upcoming events

November 22nd…save the date for a Curious Handmade Christmas Party in London. Details to follow…

That’s everything for this episode! Happy knitting!

We’ve got a little over a week left of the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge. There’s been so much sewing talk over the past few months, and it’s been fabulous to stretch those creative muscles.

 

As we’ve shared our projects in progress and our finished objects over on Ravelry in the Curious Handmade Group, I know that more than one person has wished that there was a similar site for sewists. It’s been a big gap in the internet for years. Two brilliant women have recently stepped up to try to fill that gap.

 

Kate and Rachel launched The Fold Line on the first of October, and the community is growing rapidly. Obviously comparisons to a well-established and beloved place like Ravelry are huge pressure for a newborn website, but The Fold Line is off to an amazing start. Those of us who were there in the early days of Ravelry remember the joy of watching it develop, the celebration over each new feature, and the growing sense of community over time.

 

It’s so exciting to watch The Fold Line beginning their journey. I’m absolutely thrilled to see the progress they’re making, and I wanted to invite them over to Curious Handmade to introduce themselves, as a part of the CHW Challenge. I interviewed Kate to find our more about the dream that turned into The Foldline, how things are going for them, and what’s in store for the future. Welcome, Kate!
*****
katerachelWhy did you decide to build The Fold Line?
We wanted to set something up where sewists could come together and chat about what they were up to. We don’t know about you but we found trying to keep up with all the latest pattern releases and news was really difficult as you had to go to so many places to get it. We thought if we have all the sewing news in once place, with a option to chat to like minded people and a database of patterns to peruse we would want to use it! It started out as a idea and we spoke about it for months and then we decided to go for it. We did a lot of research and planning into what people would want but it’s hard to know what would be popular. “e decided to build a very simple social part of the site to start with with the idea to build on the features everyone wanted. 

What are the now 2500 “early adopters” most excited about?
I think everyone is really excited about hanging out with lots of people who are also sewing mad! My favourite thing has been chatting about everyone’s sewing stash: it’s hilarious and every sewist’s guilty secret. We set up a group called sell your stash which people have started selling off fabric they don’t want to other users which is really popular!

 

Are you knitters?
I used to be a knitwear designer so although I know quite a lot about yarn and the different blends I could probably only knit you a scarf! I’d really like to get into it, I like the fact you can take it with you and do it anywhere, unlike sewing. Rachel does a bit of knitting but is also a keen crocheter. She is making a lot of the animals from the Toft book at the moment, which are so cute and I keep asking her to make me one!

 

Do you have a sense of what sewists (who are not knitters) are looking for? And what about sewists-who-are-also-knitters? Do these 2 groups of members seem similar/different? 
I am pretty sure all the sewists/knitters have come from Ravelry, as they knew the format and got stuck into the groups and started chatting with everyone straight away! We were worried that because we don’t have all the features that Ravelry has that they would all be a bit disappointed but it’s been great because they told us what features they wanted which is what we’d hoped. We’ve booked in our developers to start on stage two next week which is really exciting.
The pure sewists have arrived and are really excited – having all the patterns in one place alone seems to be really exciting and a place to ask for help on fitting issues and a platform to share their makes with like minded people. 

Are efforts underway to recruit more designers and/or invite members to help build the databases? 
Yes we are starting to chase up all the designers that didn’t get back to us about being featured, we spent a long time making a pretty comprehensive list of everyone so this will be easy enough to do. I think how the site us up and running it’s much easier to show them what’s its all about! In terms of members we are hoping this to grow organically. We’d far rather have a smaller amount of really interactive users than lots of dormant ones!

 

What are the features you’re looking to add? Do you have a timeline? Is there a way for members to provide input?
Because of the way we planned it we have got a build starting next week and we are getting the following features added:
Pattern keyword search
Pattern wishlist to store patterns to like
Review Library  – to store all your reviews
Review page – so you can see all the latest reviews in once place
Reviews – featured on the homepage
We have a group on the site called ‘website wishlist’ and this is where everyone had been putting in their suggestions, pretty much the entire second build has come from members ideas – it’s been great! We are thinking about adding a voting poll for ideas too so members can add ideas and other members vote on it. Finally we really want to build an app as we think it will make it so much easier to talk to everyone, but we need to think about how we can do this: but it is on the cards!

Coming from the Ravelry experience (sorry, you’ll never get knitters to not use that as a reference)—I think one of the single most desired thing we’re looking for is a place to store our projects. For instance to be able to document that I started the “Washi” pattern by Made by Rae on 10/1/15 using “this fabric” (picture). I made the following adaptations, and had this specific kind of success or failure. I’d do these 3 things the same, but would definitely make an adjustment to narrow the scoop neck. If someone liked what I make (followed me), they’d be able to see over time what I’m making. On the other hand, if I were looking at the Washi pattern-they could see a link to all who had made this (to their projects). Do you have something like this in the works? 
Ravelry is SUCH and amazing site and you can’t find anyone with a bad word to say about it. A bit like them we are going to build gradually! We want to add all the features you are after but unfortunately neither Rachel and I are coders, so we have to build in stages because adding new features is really expensive. We really want to get everything in there but it will take time. The idea of a project store is great!

Do you plan to add the ability to search for a pattern by name of the pattern?
Yes we are adding this in the next couple of weeks!

How can we help you? We want this to be a great site that supports the great sewing community! 
I think it’s spreading the word! Although we have had an amazing response we have only dipped our toes into the amount of sewing enthusiasts out there. Also a bit more chatting in the groups. I think the Ravelry crowd know what to do but the newbies need a bit of warming up!

A huge thanks to Kate for visiting us, and most of all, to both her and Rachel for starting The Fold Line! It’s a wonderful gift to the sewing community, and I’m really looking forward to watching them grow.

It’s never too early for elves, especially knitting elves. It’s no secret that I love the holiday season, and for many knitters it begins right about now. This year I’ve been working on starting earlier, building in a margin, and giving myself the gift of extra time for all kinds of projects.

At this time of year, that extra time becomes even more important. I’m determined that this time there will be no last-minute holiday knitting marathons! That’s why I’ve released the Knitvent 2015 Holiday Knitting Planner a bit earlier to help us all get the season started off right. I’m already scribbling madly in mine!

Planning is half the fun. I love thumbing through holiday magazine shopping guides, dreaming of all the possibilities. With all the thinking I’ve been doing lately about cutting down consumption, I decided to make a different sort of gift guide. This is for all of us who love to give handmade presents instead of going crazy in the shops. With Knitvent 2015 just around the corner, it’s also a little sampler of the kinds of designs you can expect if you join in this year!

forhercollage

Your mum, your bestie, your child’s favourite teacher: all the brilliant women in your life deserve spoiling, and a handmade gift is an incredible way to show them how much they mean to you. Patterns, clockwise from top: Warm Wishes Hottie Cover, Red Robin Shawl, Fresh Powder Cowl.

forhimcollage

Knitting for men can be a challenge, which makes it even more important to pick the right pattern. Make him something he’ll be proud to wear with these man-approved designs. Patterns, clockwise from top: Eden Fells Hat, Checkerboard Mitts, Eden Fells Scarf.

forkidscollage

There’s no sweeter feeling than making something cozy for a favourite little person. Create an instant heirloom with some adorable, cuddly designs for children. Patterns, clockwise from top: Georgie Baby Blanket, Twinkle Twinkle Baby Blanket, Naughty or Nice Pompom Hat.

foryoucollage

This year, maybe it’s your turn. It’s easy to get so caught up in knitting things to give away that you never have a chance to wear your own creations. Be kind to yourself with something sparkly to wear to a holiday party or something snuggly to wear everywhere. Patterns, clockwise from top: Stardust Infinity Scarf, Lind Cowl, Candlelit Shawl.

Choosing the perfect patterns is the first step towards having a successful holiday knitting season, and it’s such an exciting stage of the process. I hope this little guide has sparked your imagination. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve got in store this year!

 

LeighMetcalfCropOn this week’s podcast I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Leigh Metcalf about her brand new book, London Stitch and Knit. It was great to sit down over a cup of tea to talk about what it’s like to take a book from concept to launch, and how we find time to creative while juggling the demands of work and motherhood. Her publisher describes the book perfectly:

With a design aesthetic to inspire any craft lover, London Stitch and Knit: A Craft Lover’s Guide to London’s Fabric, Knitting and Haberdashery Shops
seamlessly documents the city’s best to provide a comprehensive guide that encompasses the handmade and the vintage.

Freelance writer and photographer Leigh Metcalf discovers the hidden gems in London’s ever-growing craft community, promoting independent shops as well as craftspeople and their work. Ever since she arrived in London from the US, Metcalf had made it her mission to discover the best places for haberdashery supplies. Drawing on her experience from the last five years, she combines well-informed narrative, illustrations and a beautiful, layered design, to discover the history and operations of approximately 50 shops—divided by London territories.


As soon as I got my hands on a copy of London Stitch and Knit, I knew it was something special. The photography alone makes me want to drop everything and go out on a tour of haberdashery shops around London immediately!
londonstitchandknit5

Leigh has really captured the magic of supplies and notions, and each page offers tantalizing shots of the treasures waiting to be unearthed in local shops.

londonstitchandknit3

This isn’t just a pretty picture book, though. Along with the drool-worthy photos, Leigh has gathered a wealth of useful information. The descriptions really give a good flavour of each shop – very practical details about what they stock as well as her description of the overall vibe. Every entry is like a little in-person tour, and all of the most important details for each shop are conveniently positioned at the top of the page for easy access to addresses and websites.

londonstitchandknit4

What’s most amazing to me, as someone who adores shopping for supplies, is that lots of shops I haven’t heard of: it’s so exciting to be able to discover new gems in London. I also LOVE that they are organised by area, and  I will definitely be planning a few “days out” next year to various corners of London. Who would like to join me?

londonstitchandknit

If you didn’t catch the episode, you can have a listen here. Alongside a great interview, you’ll also find out how to enter the two giveaways we have going on this week!

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Today I start the episode with a little round-up of how our -alongs are doing, and then I have a lovely interview to share with you. I sat down with photographer and author Leigh Metcalf, who has just released a wonderful new book. London Stitch and Knit is a guide to the most beautiful and beloved sewing, knitting, and haberdashery shops here in London. We discuss the (impressively quick!) process Leigh went through to bring her book from dream to reality. It was a really inspiring chat for me, and I think you’re going to love it too. Enjoy.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their beloved Acadia yarn.

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Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can find Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

What’s in the WIP

Summertide Shawl MKAL

Just a couple of weeks left! We already have more than 70 gorgeous shawls in the FO thread, and I’m sure we’ll see that number grow dramatically in the coming days. The whole MKAL process has been exciting and extremely satisfying, but there’s nothing like seeing the pattern come to life in so many unique, beautiful ways.

Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

I’m so impressed by how many amazing finished objects are showing up in the Ravelry Group. Everyone has really stretched themselves, and the results are amazing. As for my personal challenge, I finally finished my Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt, and I’m thrilled!

Next, I’m going to be making a brand new pattern that Squam has just released.

The West Water Tunic is designed by the wonderful Sam Lamb (who also has also written very sweet blog post about how it came to be.)

There’s an affordable and supportive video tutorial available, as well. If you order the paper version of the pattern before midnight on Nov. 1st, you’ll get the tutorial as a gift. At the moment they are only shipping the paper pattern to the US and Canada.

They’ve very generously given us a version of the paper pattern to give away, so be sure to listen to the episode to find out how you can win!

Show Links

London Stitch and Knit: A Craft Lover’s Guide to London’s Fabric, Knitting and Haberdashery Shops

Leigh’s website and blog

Leigh mentions the sewing class she took at Sew Over It, which has locations in both South and North London.

She also talks about the Oliver and S Fairytale Dress which she made for both her daughters.

In our conversation about how the book came to be, she mentioned a very helpful Tilly and the Buttons Post on Craft Book Proposals

When Leigh decided to start working on a book, she was inspired by the size, shape, photography and layout of Paris Made By Hand and by Amsterdam Made By Hand
by Pia Jane Bijkerk. I have both these gorgeous books so I could see why she liked the style so much.

Paris: Made By Hand: 50 Shops Where Decorators and Stylists Source the Chic and Unique
Amsterdam: Made By Hand

We talked a little bit about some of our favourite shops, and two we mentioned by name were

DM Buttonholes

and

Ray Stitch

Leigh is letting us give away a copy of London Stitch and Knit to someone in the Curious Handmade community. Details in the podcast! I’ve written a separate book review post, which you’ll find here.

Upcoming Events

Leigh’s Book Launch

You’re so welcome to join Leigh at one of her little celebrations over her book launch weekend. Feel free to bring a portable project to work on while you chat. There will be cake!

Saturday 17th of October:

Fringe, Muswell Hill: 11:00am to 1:00pm

Stag and Bow, Forest Hill: 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Sunday 18th of October:

Rye Books, East Dulwich:  2:00pm to 4:00pm

Online Reveal Party for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and Summertide MKAL

Save the Date! Tuesday November 3rd

We’re all getting together on Ravelry and Instagram to showcase styled photos of our completed items from both of these projects. They’ve been such a huge part of my life for the last few months, and I want them to have a proper send-off. I’ll be starting a thread on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group, and the hashtags should be hopping!

#CHWchallenge

#SummertideMKAL

There will be prizes and lots of oohing and awwing and generally a big celebration of our creativity. Can’t wait.

That’s all for this episode. Thank you so much for listening, and until next week, happy knitting.

Week two of Slow Fashion October has just finished. The prompt for this week, “Small” was actually a big one for me.

From Fringe Association:

Week 2, October 5-11: SMALL
handmade / living with less / quality over quantity / capsule wardrobe / indie fashion / small-batch makers / sustainability

A lot of those words have been coming up for me over and over again this past year. From my interview with Ben Hole a few months ago about his family’s ultimate small-batch one-flock yarn to the ongoing Curious Handmade Wardrobe project, I’m diving into these themes repeatedly. What’s funny is that when I saw the prompt “Small” my mind immediately went to a slightly different place. I remembered a project I made eight yeas ago: my very first pair of handmade socks.

socks

The pattern was Falling Leaves by Jessica Landers, and I’ll never forget about it. It was definitely a slow project for me! But I gained a totally disproportionate amount of joy from such a small garment, I learned how to knit a sock, started to learn how lace operated…I’m pretty sure I followed the chart upside down and back to front and it was years later before I realised why I could never get it to look like the picture (slow process alright). I also used a completely inappropriate yarn for socks but loved the project so much anyway that it didn’t matter that I could only wear them around the house and to bed.

With my current projects, I’m still stretching myself. Learning is still a slow process for me, and the results are still incredibly satisfying. I have just finished a single tunic dress. It’s a simple piece but the fabric feels wonderful. It’s a classic navy colour, which wasn’t the easiest to sew (at least not at night) but it will be a perfect capsule wardrobe piece. As a beautiful neutral canvas, it will look amazing with all my lovingly-knit shawls. After all the planning and talking about less being more, and quality over quantity, this piece feels like a real achievement…one small step closer to my ultimate goal of living with less.

Now I’m planning a skirt out of The Fibre Co (Dry Goods) woollen fabric. This fabric is a new venture for The Fibre Co and is currently very small batch! With this project I really want to relish every small detail of the process, from start to finish. I plan to draft the pattern to fit me and take my time designing it exactly how I want it. This is a garment I want to suit me and and make me happy and no one else, without having to care if its “fashionable” or not!!

I wrote a lot last week about my desire to live with less, and a more recent part of that process has been serious decluttering process. I went through my wardrobe pretty carefully, and selling/giving away so many clothes I didn’t love was a real lesson in not making rash, un-thought-out purchases. There were lot of things bought on sale because they were a good deal or in a rush because I was desperate for an event or change of size. They didn’t bring me joy. (A quality Marie Kondo talks a lot about in her wonderful book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.) Taking my time means I need a lot less things – and having a smaller wardrobe means it is much easier to see what will coordinate with what I have. It has dramatically shifted my shopping and making habits for the better.

Resources/links

There are still three weeks left in the Summertide MKAL, but since the last clue came out last week, we’re already starting to see some breathtaking FOs! (spoiler alert!!)

This has been one of the most exciting KALs we’ve ever done: so many projects, so much camaraderie, and an incredible buzz. Now that the finish line is in sight, I wanted to take a moment to thank the amazing sponsors who have contributed some delicious prizes. I think all the eventual winners will be thrilled.

skeinnewsletter

Skein Australia is providing two skeins of their gorgeous hand-dyed yarn. Kristen is such an artist, and her yarn was very popular with participants. The guest post she did for us about pairing colours really got the creative juices going and will continue to be a great resource even after the MKAL is officially finished.

meadow-yarn

Meadow Yarn, our much-loved podcast sponsor and a loyal supporter of Curious Handmade. They stepped it up yet again with a generous £50 Gift Voucher. Anj also contributed a brilliant guest post on colour pairings and there are many beautiful Tosh Merino Light Summertide Shawls nearing completion.
mariaelena

Maria Elena Bliss creates wonderful project bags. She’s giving us an XL Bliss Bag. One lucky knitter will have the perfect place to store their big wooly winter project!

We all get into KALs for the fun and support, but special prizes like this just add so much to the energy. I can’t thank my sponsors enough for their generosity. So if you haven’t finished yet, get knitting! One of these beauties could be yours!

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On this week’s show I’m introducing a really fascinating swatch along, catching up on the Summertide MKAL and Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge, and continuing to explore what Slow Fashion means for me and for us as a society. It’s a subject that I’m really passionate about (as you’ll hear!) and the deeper I go with it the more meaningful it becomes.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their beautiful Acadia yarn.

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

You can snag yourself some Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include madelinetosh, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links

I was excited to learn about the Breed Swatch Along that the Knit British Podcast is hosting!

Shiny Bees Podcast where I first heard about the SAL

Knit British Podcast Episode 42 which introduces the SAL

Breed Swatch Along FAQs

I mention several natural yarns I’ve got stashed (and/or have used in the past) which would be great for the Breed Swatch Along:

Black Bat

Blacker Yarns

whisperingislandblacker2

Whispering Island in Blacker Yarns Shetland DK

Hole and Sons Poll Dorset

I’m hoping to participate because the Meet My Yarn KAL I hosted a while back was so fascinating to me, and I didn’t quite feel finished with exploring the subject of fibre-focused swatching when it was over.

The Curious Handmade Meet My Yarn KAL thread…lots of great info there

Fibre Company Cumbria which sponsored the Meet My Yarn KAL

I also have two books that I think would be amazing resources for this SAL:

The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds & How to Use Their Fibers

Pure Wool: A Knitter’s Guide to Using Single-breed Yarns

What’s in the WIP

Slow Fashion October 

– Karen Templer from Fringe Association is giving us all great prompts for thinking about how we consume fashion, and I’ve started a blog series in response.

– I mention Fashion Revolution

The Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge

The challenge is still going strong! It ties in beautifully with Slow Fashion October, so it’s been great to see the cross-pollination going on. I’m still working on my Times Square and need to put the sleeves into my Merchant and Mills Dress Shirt. The finishing date is October 31st, so you’ve still got some time!

Summertide MKAL

The last clue has been out for a week, and the FOs are beginning to flow! We’ve got great prizes, so make sure to post a photo of your finished shawl in the Summertide FO thread by Oct 31st to enter!

Knitvent 2015

This project is still top secret, but I’m working hard to get it ready! I’ll be offering an updated version of my popular (and free!) Holiday Gift Knitting Planner very soon, so that you have lots of time to get properly prepared for the season. Keep your eyes out for that, along with hints about the new Knitvent collection!

Upcoming Events

Online Reveal Party for the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge and Summertide MKAL

Save the Date! Tuesday November 3rd

Since we’ve got two big projects finishing at the same time, I thought it would be really fun to get together on Ravelry and Instagram to showcase styled photos of our completed items. I’ll be starting a thread on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group, and we’ll take the hashtags by storm.

#CHWchallenge

#SummertideMKAL

There might even be a surprise or two!

The Pebble Beach Workshop:

Friday October 23rd

I’m hosting and teaching an in-person lace-knitting workshop based on Pebble Beach at the beautiful Makelight Studios in London. It’s going to be a wonderful day of exploring creativity and skills, and I’d love to see you there if you can make it!

That’s it for the show notes today. Happy knitting!