Archives For March 2017

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This is a short but packed episode as I pack my bags for the Knitting Pipeline Retreat in Georgia! I chat about my recent projects (lots of secret design work!) and some fun packages that have come through the mail. I also talk about some podcasts and reading I’ve been thinking about recently about slowing your life down a little so that you can be truly present.

Show Sponsors:

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 Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links:

A Homespun House Harry Potter and Charm Yarn Club

A Homespun House Podcast

Norah George Yarn

The new Shawl Society Website

Apple Blossom Socks

Turtlepurl Yarn

Knitting Pipeline Podcast

Harry Potter KAL hosted by Inside Number 23

Box O’ Sox KAL, hosted by the Yarngasm Podcast

Sock Bash KAL hosted by the Grocery Girls Podcast

Slow Your Home Podcast Ep 143

Smart Passive Income Podcast Ep 255

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Work in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

That’s everything for today! Have a wonderful week, wherever you are, and happy knitting!

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Show Sponsors:

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 Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links:

The Brooklyn Knitfolk Podcast

Apple Blossom Sock Pattern

Pebble Beach Shawl

Blacker Yarn St. Kilda Mini Skein Set

Snowmelt Shawl

La Bien Aimee Magellan Speckle Fade Kit

The Tobermory shawl

The Kelso shawl

The Fibre Co. Waves Collection

The Fibre Co. Road to China Light

Viola Yarn

Loop

Ysolda Blend no 1

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Bowen in her gorgeous cabled cardigan with Ysolda

An Caitin Beag

Brooklyn Tweed Arbor

Rhapsody in Cables by Joji Locatelli

Walcot Yarns

A Yarn Story

Great British Yarns

Opus Yarn

On the Surface Collection

Twisted Tracks by Amanda Jones

Caracollo by Rachel C. Brown

Cobbled Streets Shawl by Sharon Spencer

Swinging Medallions by Jo Smith

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Beyond Measure

Woolenflower

Old Maiden Aunt Yarns

Coming Home book

Pink Hazel Project Bags

Ginger Twist Studios

TOFT Alpaca

The Little Grey Girl

Fuss Free Festival Shawl by Louise Tilbrook

IntuitKnit Podcast

Skeindeer Podcast

Inside Number 23 Podcast

Along the Lanes Podcast

Lina Knits Podcast

Yarnesty Podcast

Fruity Knitting Podcast

Sticks + Twine Podcast

Rib Magazine

Yarngasm Podcast

Crafts from the Third Floor

Norah George Yarn

Jämtland Sheep

Solkustens Spinnverkstad

Limmo-Design Yarn on Ravelry

Blacker Yarn Samite

Sonja Bargielowska‘s Designs on Ravelry

Giveaway Winner:

Irene (bluebirdnest on Ravelry) has won the copy of Interpretations IV with her comment:

I love this book, it is joyous! I would really like to knit Double Trouble, you could have so much fun with color in this sweater.
Thanks for the podcast Helen. Have a great time at your yarny events!

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Apple Blossom Socks!

Helen —  March 21, 2017 — 2 Comments

March has been a tremendously busy month, especially in regards to new pattern releases! I think this one will make a lot of you quite happy. Ever since my first sock pattern, the Vintage Fairy Light Socks, I’ve been getting requests to do another sock design. Well, today’s the day! If you follow me on instagram you will have seen this teaser photo of some gorgeous yarn dyed by my friend Jane at Hedgerow Yarns.

Apple Blossom yarn

She created this limited-edition colourway, Apple Blossom, for me to create the sweet, springy Apple Blossom socks. The yarn and the pattern had a sneak preview as kits for the last Curious Handmade Country House Retreat.

Today I’m releasing the pattern on Ravelry so everyone can enjoy them!

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The Apple Blossom socks celebrate that moment of year where everything seems to burst into bloom at once. The magic is strongest in the middle of an orchard, surrounded by thousands of tiny flowers and the lively scent of spring. Apple Blossom features an easy ribbed pattern along the leg and foot features rows of little eyelets like blossoms along a branch. The socks are knit from the cuff down and are finished with a traditional heel flap and gusset.

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Spring is booming right now in my part of the world, and the Apple Blossom socks are directly inspired by the fresh joy of the season.

The Apple Blossom Socks pattern is now available to buy on Ravelry!

If you’ve fallen in love with this yarn, I don’t blame you. I just love it. Since people were asking on Instagram, we have put together a limited edition of kits, including the Apple Blossom Socks pattern and a skein of the Apple Blossom yearn. Jane is making up a special update for the release day, so keep a close eye on her Etsy shop today at 7pm GMT. You might be able to snag yourself a kit!

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On today’s podcast I fill you in on all the details of the wonderful three days we spent together in Cumbria. I’m saving all my Edinburgh Yarn Festival chat for next week! I also talk about the MKALs that are wrapping up, the new patterns I have out, and what’s in my WIP at the moment!

Show Sponsors:

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 Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links:

My clue for The Not Seen Before MKAL from the Sight is Life eBook is now out: this MKAL has been an incredible experience and it’s wonderful to see some completed shawls starting to show up in the Sight is Life Ravelry group

Snowmelt MKAL is also winding up, and the FO spoiler thread is filling up with some breathtaking shawls. If you’re not the MKAL type (I know lots of people don’t want to commit to a shawl they’ve never seen!) now is a great time to pick up a copy of the complete pattern!

Show Links:

Skeindeer Podcast

La Bien Aimee Magellan Speckle Fade Kit

The Tobermory shawl

The Kelso shawl

The Fibre Co. Waves Collection

The Fibre Co. Road to China Light

The Knitting Pipeline Podcast

Little Bobbins Podcast

Suffolk Socks Podcast

Bumble Stitches Podcast

Threaded with Fibre Podcast

The Fibre Co. Luma Yarn

The Laveer Kerchief

So Just Shop

A Yarn Story yarn shop

Blue Bee Studio

Quince and Co. Sparrow yarn

Suffolk Socks

School Socks Rock

Hedgerow Yarns

Pebble Beach Shawl

Blacker Yarn St. Kilda Mini Skein Set

Turtlepurl Yarn

Life in the Long Grass

LeatherWoolLinen

The Snail Garden Blog with an amazing retreat recap post!

 

That’s all for today’s episode! Thank you so much for listening. Have a great week and happy knitting!

Now that I’m home from all my adventures, I wanted to share a little about the launch of The Waves Collection for The Fibre Co. When I spent some time at The Fibre Co. stand over the course of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I was struck again by what a wonderful experience it was to be in a collection with two incredible designers, working with a company that makes such an amazing product. It was fascinating to see how we all had such unique interpretations of the theme of water: waves, waterfalls, rivers, bays, and quiet pools. Texture was a really huge part of the collection, which makes sense with a yarn as tactile as Road to China. Watching people react to the shawls in person was so meaningful. No one could resist touching them, and people were so generous with their appreciation of all the designs. Hiroko’s gorgeous lacy yellow Lingholm shawl really stood out as a perfect pop of colour, and everyone wanted to try it on!

I absolutely loved seeing all of the shawls together, so I thought I’d share a little of that experience with all of you who couldn’t make it to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival:

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Hiroko Collage

Helen Collage

Top to bottom, left to right: Melanie Berg’s Armadale and Falls of Foyers; Hiroko Payne’s Lingholm and Portinscale; my Kelso and Tobermory.

It was a really big deal for me to be a part of this project, and I want to give a big thank you to The Fibre Co, to my two fellow designers, and to everyone who has commented, sent me messages, and bought the patterns already. It means so much to me to be a part of such a supportive, creative community.

All photos ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

I’m really thrilled to finally be able to share not one but two brand new shawl patterns with you today. Tobermory and Kelso were designed as part of the Waves Collection for The Fibre Co. Three designers each contributed two shawl designs: myself, Melanie Berg, and Hiroko Payne. The Waves collection was created to showcase the incredible Road to China Light yarn from The Fibre Company. Being part of this collection has been a wonderful experience. I’m delighted to be in the company of such wonderful shawl designers, and working with the Road to China Light yarn was a dream.

 

The Tobermory Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The Tobermory shawl is named after an impossibly beautiful seaside town on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, where brightly painted buildings sparkle against the dark blue bay. Legend has it that a Spanish galleon laden with gold lies at the bottom of that bay, lost in the 16th Century and never recovered.

Back of the Tobermory Shawl designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The stripes of the crescent shaped Tobermory shawl hint at the promise of riches beneath the waves. Its easy lace and eyelets were planned to thoughtfully showcase two colours of the gorgeous Road to China Light yarn: lustrous, subtly tonal, and always treasured.

Buy Tobermory on Ravelry!

Kelso Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The Kelso shawl takes its name from a charming Scottish border town which lies nestled in the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot rivers. Known for the romance of its ruined abbey, graceful bridges, and cobblestone streets, it is a place to lose yourself in time as you wander along the riverbanks.

Kelso Shawl designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

An elongated triangle shawl, Kelso captures the different textures of river and town, with wonderful three-coloured stripes, flickering eyelets and simple lace. The pattern was designed to feature the distinct beauty of the Road to China Light yarn, bringing its complex saturated tones and gentle lustre centrestage.

Buy Kelso on Ravelry!

 

Like so many knitters, my work is deeply influenced by fibre. So many of my designs can trace their beginnings back to a skein of yarn that captured my heart and set my mind working. I always like to share a little about how the fibres I work with spark my creativity, so here’s a little bit more about the fantastic yarn which inspired the Waves Collection. I spent ages pouring over the Road to China shade cards to choose colours…they are all so jewel like and luscious. I spent ages pouring over the shade cards to choose colours. I decided on something a bit more dramatic for Tobermory, and was really influenced by the water theme for Kelso with the blues…I imagine a misty morning on the water with the lavender.

Here’s the description from The Fibre Co.

The Road to China blend was born from our days of owning a small mill back in Maine in the early days of The Fibre Co. Years of fibre exploration at the carding machine hand blending raw fleeces led to the pursuit of the perfect yarn made from truly luxurious fibres. The resulting Road to China blend creates a knit fabric with a soft halo but enough definition to explore subtle textures and shifting patterns. In keeping with the tone of gentle decadence that Road to China brings, we developed a colour palette that is inspired by nature’s jewels and dyed each hank to work in harmony with the raw fibres that go into the blend. Combining the light fawn of the baby alpaca with the soft tones of camel and cashmere as well as the lustrous sheen of silk gives the perfect base for subtle duotones that peek through our saturated colours. Road to China Light is the hank we reach for when we want to create something truly special.

This is one of, if not the, most luxurious yarns I’ve knit with. It’s so soft and silky — incredible to both knit with and wear. Super cosy. I also really came to love the sport weight. It has a bit more body than fingering but still very light. I’m just such a fan.

It’s so exciting to send these two patterns out into the world after working on the designs in secret for so long. I absolutely love this shawls, and I hope you will too! The samples will be on display at The Fibre Company’s stand at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, so you can visit them in person. (I also recommend taking a moment to pet a few skeins of the Road To China yarn!)

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Today I’m taking a glimpse back at the wonderful Curious Handmade Country House Retreat, and already getting excited about the Edinburgh Yarn festival. Thanks to the magic of technology (time travel?) as this episode is released I may be on a train between the two events! I chat about my shopping strategy for EYF and think about how I might prevent myself from buying all the yarn.

Show Sponsors:

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 Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links:

So Just Shop

Luma yarn from The Fibre Company

Laveer Kerchief

Yarn in The City Podcast

Pink Hazel Project Bags

A Yarn Story

Great British Yarns

La Bien Aimée

Eden Cottage Yarns

Blacker Yarns

Road to China Light from The Fibre Company

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Just a quick episode today, as I’m on the road. If you’re going to EYF, remember to drop by the Blacker Podcast lounge to say hi between 1 and 2 pm on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re not, I’m hoping to bring back lots of stories from EYF to share with you soon. Happy knitting!

It has become a Curious Handmade tradition that I design a special pattern for each retreat. We’ve been so lucky to have The Fibre Company as a retreat sponsor since we began running these events: each time I’ve had the privilege to create a pattern inspired by one of their luxury yarns.  The very first retreat pattern was the Hilltop Shawl, which used the perfectly-named Cumbria yarn. Next came the Bracile Hat and Cowl for the last autumn retreat. They used the amazing woolen-spun Arranmore yarn.

Today I’m excited to release the third CHCH pattern, the Laveer Kerchief, made from The Fibre Company’s luxurious new yarn, Luma.

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Laveer is an evocative old nautical term for sailing against the wind. I love the sense of striving, adventure, and exhilaration in that word, and I think this snug little accessory captures that same sense of exploration. Perfect for windy days on land or sea, Laveer is a jaunty sailor-striped kerchief which exists somewhere in the space between a cowl and a shawl. Knit in the round and featuring easy lace and eyelets, it’s versatile and cosy, but light enough to wear even on warmer days.

You can buy the Laveer pattern here now!

A little bit about the yarn: Luma has a tagline which really sums up this wonderful yarn: “threads of sunlight.” 50% Merino wool, 25% Organic cotton, 15% Linen, 10% Silk.

Here’s the Fibre Company’s description…

A classic DK weight yarn, Luma is inspired by the mood and light found in mid-latitude savannas—those grassland ecosystems with open canopies allowing plenty of sunlight. Daily life in mid-latitude climates, whether in the drier Mediterranean or temperate Great Plains of the USA, is best handled with a layered approach to clothing. Plant-based fibres mixed with silk and wool provide a built-in layer of warmth in winter yet lightness when required in warmer temperatures. The Luma palette includes soft neutrals and bright shades of pink, blue and green.

The colour palette is super fresh and pretty: very spring like and light. I absolutely love it. All of the colours go together very well, so I am very excited to see what combinations the retreat attendees choose for their stripey Laveer kerchiefs! (I also love that you can get two kerchiefs out of two skeins just by reversing the colours!)
The combination of plant and animal fibres is really interesting. The wool gives it some elasticity, the plant fibres give it that light summer feeling and the silk makes it lovely and smooth to knit. The feel of the fabric is soft and light with a nice body to it. This would be really very nice for summer cardis and tops. As always with The Fibre Company yarns the blend is very intriguing and different and very enjoyable to work with…it seems to knit up surprisingly fast, as well. I’m not sure if it’s the touch of silk in there which makes my needles fly or some mysterious sort of magic, but I love it.
If you have a bit of retreat FOMO, hopefully this pattern will cheer you up. I decided to release it as the retreat gets underway. I’m hoping it will inspire you to take a little special knitting time for yourself this week, even if carving out space for a whole retreat wasn’t possible this time. I’m wishing you a special cup full of fragrant tea, your favourite chair, and a few hours of uninterrupted creativity, wherever you may be.
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March is shaping up to be a very exciting month, with many fun new things coming up. Today I’m taking a break from preparing for the Curious Handmade Country House Retreat and the Edinburgh yarn festival to chat about my works in progress and everything we have to look forward to in the next few weeks.

Show Sponsors:

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 Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

KAL News:

Sight is Life MKAL

Hale-bopp MKAL

Snowmelt MKAL

BlackerPOD KAL

Giveaways:

Mina Philip New York Collection Sock Club

There were more than 200 entries in Ravelry Group Giveaway Thread and they make for some great reading, so thank you all for your contributions!

The winner was post 121 by Ravelry user fyjjkj

Congratulations, I know you’ll love your prize!

Show Links:

The Wool Kitchen yarn

The Wool Kitchen Instagram

Blue Pop colourway photo on instagram

Niji colourway photo on Instagram

The Talisman Shawl

Yarngasm Podcast

Voolenvine Yarn

Blacker Yarns

Blacker Yarns Samite Blend

Ahimisa (Peace) Silk

Road to China Light

What’s in the WIP:

A new sock design! The Apple Blossom socks will make their debut at the Curious Handmade Retreat next week, and then the pattern will be launched on the 17th of March

My rainbow Pebble Beach Shawl in the Blacker Yarn St. Kilda Mini Skein Set

Events:

Edinburgh Yarn Festival is happening on the 12th and 11th, where I’ll be in the Podcaster’s Lounge sponsored by Blacker Yarns. We’ll be having a Podcaster meetup at 1pm both Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday we’re also hosting a little panel on audio podcasting! You can find out the whole Podcaster Lounge Schedule here!