Archives For May 2019

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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.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

On today’s podcast I have brought back stories from Ireland and the lovely Knitting Pipeline retreat, including a visit to an incredible woollen mill and rare-breed sheep farm. There’s a brand new shawl pattern to introduce, and I am really beginning to look forward to my trip to Squam, which is only around the corner.

Show Links:


The New Forest National Park

Cushendale Woollen Mills

Zwartbles Ireland

Zwartbles Ireland Instagram

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Piper’s Journey Shawl

This week I released the shawl pattern I designed for the Knitting Pipeline Ireland retreat, the Mount Juliet Shawl:

Hidden amid peaceful woodlands and velvety green fields in Kilkenny Ireland sits a glorious old manor house called Mount Juliet. It was completed in 1760 and named for the bride of the Viscount of Ikerrin. Juliet Boyle, daughter of the Earl of Shannon, brought with her a generous fortune and an exquisite eye for beauty. The estate was built with her money and named in her honour. It was a tribute to young love and remains a masterclass in elegance and harmony. At this time of year, the woodland walks are carpeted with bluebells, the hedgerows are dappled with hawthorn blossom, and the walled garden is bursting into colour. It is a stunning setting for the Knitting Pipeline Ireland Retreat, and I was honoured to be asked to design a pattern for the attendees.


The Mount Juliet Shawl is inspired by the compelling history and lovely Georgian architecture of its namesake, and dedicated to the vision and courage of women who make things happen, particularly our dear Paula Emons-Fuessle, who planned this wonderful gathering for all of us. This asymmetrical triangle shawl features bands of simple but lovely lace in two colours, to recall the graceful lines and beautiful windows of the great house. Fittingly, the sample was knit with yarn from Olann, a brilliant Irish indie yarn company. This is a relaxing but engaging knit with enough gentle repetition that it is easy to memorise for long chatty evening with friends, but the final result is striking.

The shawl pattern is now available to buy on Ravelry. There is a 20% off Launch sale on this pattern until the end of the weekend!

Get your copy of the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern now!

Episode transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast, you’re listening to episode 264. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hells Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at CuriousHandmade.com

Hello and welcome to the show.

As always, I hope you’re having a wonderful week. I’m having, as always, a busy week. It’s half term here in the UK, so the kids are home from school and we are having a fairly relaxed at home holiday this break. We did go camping on the weekend because it was a bank holiday weekend last weekend, which means that everybody had Monday off work, and so we went camping to the New Forest. There’s quite a few campgrounds down there. They’re really good. We take bikes for the kids and they ride around and enjoy a little bit of independence of being able to go off out of sight for a little while, which we can’t really do very much in London, and yeah, it was really good. The weather was pretty good. I ended up getting quite sick though, so I came home a night early, I caught the train home and I’m glad I did because I ended up having a bit of a temperature and yeah, just with another cold.

It’s a different variation from what I had a couple of weeks ago. But yeah, hopefully I can shake it off pretty quickly, but you might hear it in my voice, okay, in this week, but happily this time my throat’s not too sore so it’s not feeling too bad.

We had gone camping straight after I got back from Ireland last week. So as you might have seen on Instagram or heard on the podcast last week, I spent the week in Ireland near Kilkenny with the Knitting Pipeline Island Retreaters or tourers and joined up with the ladies there after they had been touring around Ireland for about a week by the time I met up with them. And then we got to spend the last few days of their tour together at a wonderful country manor hotel called Mount Juliet. Paula had invited me to be part of the tour well over a year ago now and unfortunately couldn’t be there herself because she is undergoing cancer treatment at the moment.

But she was able to invite a wonderful person called Jan Hamby who is twinsetjan to help guide and host the tour in her absence. And so it was wonderful to meet Jan and many more knitters that I hadn’t met before. Quite a few that I’d heard about quite a lot from the ladies at the Georgia retreat. I think there are about six women that I had met previously at the Knitting Pipeline Georgia retreat. So it was so wonderful to hang out with them, see them again, as well as meet new people. So I had such a wonderful time. The first day we had a knitting day together and I shared the Mount Juliet shawl that I designed especially for the attendees at the retreat and I’ll talk a little bit more about that in a minute. Yeah. So we cast that on, wound the yarn and spent the day knitting together on Tuesday.

And then on Wednesday we had a day sort of out and about touring around the local area. So part of that was a visit to the Cushendale Woollen Mills, which was such a wonderful tour. We were given a tour of the mills by Philip Cushen, who is the sixth generation of his family to own and run the woolen mill there. So we heard all about the history of the site and it, the mill is on a waterway which powered the mill originally and also provided beautiful clear water for the dyeing of the wool and the yarn. So the family have been on this same site, manufacturing Irish wool since the late 1700’s. So it was really wonderful to have that sense of history. The mill has really old machinery in it. I’m not quite sure how old the spinning machine is that we saw, but it’s just a beautiful historical mill and Phil the current owner who gave us the talk was just so enthusiastic about his work and the work that they do there.

It was just, it was lovely, I ended up buying some of their yarn that they spin there at the mill, some yarn they bring in some of the super wash yarn and some Mohair they bring in to make blends and dye on site. And some of it they spin from local wool. So I bought some laceweight wool from them in a beautiful sort of seagreen color and I also couldn’t resist a woven blanket. Because I have a bit of a thing for woolen blankets and have quite a collection. I’m not sure that I’m going to get much use out of them in Australia, but in winter we don’t have a lot of central heating, so I might end up pulling them out more than I think I might. Anyway, it was very beautiful. Perfect for a beach house.

After the visit to the woolen mill, we went to Zwartbles farm and had lunch there and it’s a small farm that the owner, Suzanne has basically created. She has inherited the property from her family. Her mom still owns the farm, but she’s now managing it. And when she first sort of started taking it over, she was trying to figure out what she could do with this land that had been in her family for many, many generations. And it’s not big enough to run a lot of sheep, but she was really interested in keeping sheep and so she decided to go for a rare breed. And so she has a flock of Zwartbles, is how she said it’s pronounced because it’s based on a Dutch word. So it’s zwart is black and bles is blaze because they have a white blaze on the front of their face and they’re basically a very dark brown all over.

And I think their front feet also have a blaze. Really, really pretty sheep. And so we had lunch in the garden. It was a beautiful sunny day and we sat in this beautiful green garden with amazing flowers and trees growing. And Suzanne gave us a talk all about how she’s raising the farm to be super sustainable and all about the ecology on the farm and the variety she’s introducing in terms of grasses and plants and they have apples and apple orchards and it’s just magical, really magical. I think you’re just sitting in the garden and thinking it’s just so beautiful. And then she started talking about everything that she’s doing there and it just makes you feel a bit tired, how hard she is working to make this farm work and pay its way. She’s doing everything from raising the sheep, creating yarn, writing books, taking photography.

I think she’s originally a photographer by trade, so all the social media and photography of the places is really gorgeous as well. So she’s just doing an unbelievable amount of work and it was just very, very charming. So that was a wonderful experience. And then after that we went back to the hotel for some more knitting and on Thursday some of the group went in to Kilkenny just to have a look around there. And I just stayed at the hotel and knit with a group of people who, who didn’t go into town, so I did quite a bit of knitting. I think I was doing probably more chatting than knitting though, so I didn’t do a huge amount of knitting, but I did make some progress on a couple of projects. I’ll talk about that in a minute as well.

The other thing that we did, a small group of us did during our stay at Mount Juliet was go on a a little tour organized by the hotel, of the hotel sort of grounds itself and one of the members of staff gave an amazing talk about the history of the hotel, which went back hundreds of years and it was really, really interesting to hear about how it had come to be and just, yeah, just some of the history and through to current times where it is a fancy golf resort. There’s a very, sort of relatively famous golf course there, a beautiful, beautiful golf course and amazing kitchen gardens, beautiful grounds. It sort of backs onto a sort of a river down the back of the property and then on the other side of the property are horse stables and used to be part of the estate and is now separate.

But yeah, just fascinating place and perfect place to sit and chat and knit. So I took my Clio pullover that I’m still working on and I think last update I was procrastinating on casting on the neck band. So one afternoon when I had quite a bit of time to sit and do that, I picked up all the stitches around the neck band and tackled the braid that goes around the neck band and then started working on that. I haven’t finished the neck band yet, but I realized when I went back to the instructions that I was meant to use a smaller needle picking up the stitches and doing the braid than I did. I had just used the needle for the main body and forgotten to change needle size. So now I’m currently wondering whether I need to pull it out or keep going.

I think what I’m going to do is keep going, finish the neckband and then see if it needs pulling out because it’s just, I don’t know, it’s just, I don’t know, maybe six rows of neck band to go. So I think I’ll just try it, see how it looks and then make a call rather than pulling it out now and starting again at this point. I probably should pull it out at this point, but I’m just kind of hoping that it’s going to be okay. I’m not a loose knitter. I was knitting it reasonably firmly, so hopefully it’s not too loose. Anyway, I might be back with a different version of events next week, but that’s my plan for the time being. I also knit quite a bit on my Piper’s Journey shawl, which was the retreat shawl. All the other attendees had knit a Piper’s Journey for the trip.

Of course I was a bit behind, but really enjoying working on that pattern. It’s a pattern by Paula Emons-Fuessle and I think it was maybe her first shawl design, I think. And it’s a lovely, simple, just really beautiful shawl. So I’m still working on the garter stitch body at the moment, but don’t think that should take me too long. So yeah. So enjoying working on those two projects very much. So as I mentioned before, I designed a shawl for the retreat and named it Mount Juliet after the place we were all staying. So I’ll just read you the description of the shawl that my lovely copywriter Amanda has written for it.

Hidden amid peaceful woodlands and velvety green fields in Kilkenny island sits a glorious old manor house called Mount Juliet. It was completed in 1760 and named for the bride of the Viscount of Ikerrin. Juliet Boyle, daughter of the Earl of Shannon, brought with her a generous fortune and an exquisite eye for beauty.

The estate was built with her money and named in her honour. It was a tribute to young love and remains a masterclass in elegance and harmony. At this time of year the woodland walks are carpeted with bluebells, the hedgerows are dappled with Hawthorn blossom, and the walled garden is bursting into color. It is a stunning setting for the Knitting Pipeline Ireland Retreat and I was honored to be asked to design a pattern for the attendees.

The Mount Juliet shawl is inspired by the compelling history and lovely Georgian architecture of its namesake and dedicated to the vision and courage of women who make things happen. Particularly our dear Paula who planned this wonderful gathering. The asymmetrical triangle shawl features bands of simple, lovely lace in two colors to recall the graceful lines and beautiful windows of the Great House. The sample was knit with yarn from Ireland, a brilliant Irish indie yarn company. This is a relaxing and engaging knit with enough general repetition that it’s easy to memorize for long chatty evenings with friends, but the final result is striking.

So I have just released the shawl on Ravelry and it will be 20% off until the end of the weekend. You don’t need a coupon code, the discount will be automatically applied when you check out. And as the description says, it’s designed to be a fairly simple shawl. It was designed with retreat knitting in mind and it’s a great shawl to use two contrasting colors from your stash or I think it would look really good in one color as well because the lace and the texture would just give it enough interest to make one color look really beautiful. So yeah, I’m really pleased with how it came out. It took me a while to come up with the design because I was really, sometimes when I want something to be just absolutely perfect, it makes it so much harder to come up with a design, but eventually it revealed itself to me and yeah, I’m really pleased. I hope you like it and yeah, it’s now out on Ravelry for everybody.

So I am off to Squam next week in New Hampshire. So I’m back into preparation for travel mode again already and I think I’ll probably just take Cleo pullover to knit on and aim to make some really good progress on that with some monogamous project knitting, I will be seeing the designer Elizabeth Doherty at Squam. So that’s always quite nice when you’re knitting something with the designer there. And yeah, really looking forward to that, catching up with friends there and I will try and record an episode for next week. It’s a little bit chaotic here at the moment with the kids home from school. I’m currently hiding in my bedroom while they make pretend YouTube videos asking people to subscribe to their channel. I don’t let them publish them, but they have a lot of fun making them. So yeah, so whether I get a chance in the next few days to record again, but I’m going to try to, so I’ll just leave it at that. Hopefully I’ll be back with you next week. In the meantime, have a great week or two. Happy knitting. Bye for now.

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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.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Today on the podcast I’m getting ready to head to Ireland for the Knitting Pipeline retreat, so of course I need to consider which projects will come along for the trip. And I also have all the winners from our wonderful Shawl Society 4 giveaway, where members shared their happiest places with us…resulting in lots of warm fuzzies.

Show Links:

Ocean by the Sea

Laine Magazine

Gilly Makes

(Closed) Giveaway Competition Thread

Winners!

Free pattern or collection:

1. Post 136: by SueCQ

2. Post 13: by LizSolomonWright

3. Post 8: by oakbayknits

4. Post 290: by wishfulthkn

5. Post 78: by mebakes

6. Post 16 by teabird

7. Post 276 by Valeknit

8. Post 180 by cathleen55

9. Post 303 by knitterlyobsessed

10. Post 9 by HelenMc

Grand prize winner:

KnittingCounts with post #24

TSS4 General Chat Thread

Sea Gleam Shawl

Sea Gleam Shawl Chat Thread

Sea Gleam Shawl FO Thread

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Pebbles and Pathways Socks

Piper’s Journey Shawl

Quince and Co. Tern

Rev Transcripts

Episode 263 Transcript

_______________________________

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 263. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.
 
Hello, and welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me today. I am recording this episode about a week in advance, because next week, i.e., this week, I will be at the Knitting Pipeline retreat in Ireland, joining some long lost friends and new friends, and I’m so excited. At this point, I’m obviously before the trip. I’m just doing as much as I can to get ready for a week away, and … yeah. But I’m so excited to be meeting people and of course, by the time you’re listening to this, the week of the retreat will almost be over. It’s always a bit confusing when I’m recording a show in advance and trying to chat to you as if time has already passed that hasn’t happened yet. But anyway, I’m sure you’ll forgive me. And I just wanted to not miss a week.
 
So something I promised on last week’s show was that I would announce the winners of the Shawl Society season four launch giveaway. The prizes are 10 patterns. So the winners can choose the pattern or collection of their choice from my designs on Ravelry. There are a couple of patterns that are not actually published on Ravelry that are published in magazines, so I can’t give you those ones, but most of them are available for prizes. So the winners of the 10 patterns or collections are:

Free pattern or collection:

1. Post 136: by SueCQ

2. Post 13: by LizSolomonWright

3. Post 8: by oakbayknits

4. Post 290: by wishfulthkn

5. Post 78: by mebakes

6. Post 16 by teabird

7. Post 276 by Valeknit

8. Post 180 by cathleen55

9. Post 303 by knitterlyobsessed

10. Post 9 by HelenMc

So, congratulations to the winners of the prizes and what you can do to claim your prize is to message me on Ravelry at HellsBells and just let me know what pattern or collection you would like to receive and we’ll get that sent over to you. The grand prize is a little collection I curated from some things I had to hand, sort of stash, sort of just some nice things I had. And so I have a gorgeous skein of botanically dyed yarn from Ocean by the Sea. And when I was looking in my stash for a prize for this giveaway, I couldn’t go past yarn by Ocean by the Sea, because that is basically the theme of the whole collection. There is also a knitting journal from Laine Magazine, My Knitting Notes; a gorgeous project bag which is by gillymakes, and it’s in a lovely Liberty print. It’s a really sweet bag. This bag was one extra I had after the recent Country House retreat, so I thought I’d like to include it in this giveaway. And, of course, a Shawl Society enamel pin.
 
The prompt to enter the giveaway was for people to talk about their happy place. So of course it was lovely to read people’s entries and also lots of people posted photos, which was so nice. And I’ve spent a good few hours reading through the thread and I really enjoy these giveaways because it allows me to get to know you a little bit better as well. Get to know my knitters a bit better. And it’s just so interesting, what people say. I think there are a lot of people whose happy place is the beach, which is nice. And I guess I have quite a few happy places, but the beach is definitely one of the main ones. It always takes me back to childhood and fun, happy times growing up.
 
A lot of people also were forest, woods, mountain people. So they’re more inland. And a lot of you are homebodies. A lot of people’s happy place is their craft room or their couch or sofa, and I can totally relate to that. I’m such a homebody. Being at home is totally my happy place and since I’ve been working from home, I couldn’t be happier. So I totally relate from that, and that was really nice. And then there was quite a contingent of people whose happy place was wherever friends, family, grandchildren and their knitting is. So that was very fun as well. And yes, of course, we can relate to that too.
 
So without further ado, the winner of the grand prize is Terri. Her Ravelry name is KnittingCounts, and her happy place is her home. She has posted a photo of her lovely house, and she said, “My happy place is my home. If I’m not here, you can be sure I am yearning to be here. I love my house so much I want to hug it.” And it is a very sweet looking house. So, congratulations Terri, and if you could message me on Ravelry at HellsBells and let me know your postal address, I will pop this prize in the mail to you. So, congratulations to all our winners and thank you so, so much to everybody for sharing who entered. And I really, really enjoyed reading through, and I know that you all enjoyed reading each other’s posts.
 
I can see in the thread that lots of people have posted and wanted to respond to other people, and then realized it’s a competition thread so they’ve deleted their post, and I think that’s a bit of the frustrating thing about these posts, is that you want to just chat and talk in the post and respond to people. It makes it a bit difficult to draw the prizes if we do that. So I kind of wish that Casey would come up with a way in Ravelry that we could have entry posts and just non-entry chatting posts. But anyway, it’s a lovely thread to read through, and if you’re looking for something to cheer you up on Ravelry at some point, these giveaway posts are really lovely to just scroll through and see people’s beautiful places that they like to go all around the world.
 
I must say that we have some very speedy knitters in the Shawl Society Season Four. A lot of you are well underway with your shawls, if not finished. Probably several of you are finished by now, by the time you’re listening to this. At the time of recording, people are well underway. Really, really loving seeing your yarn choices, and there is a general chat thread in the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry, as well as a finished object thread. I haven’t really thought out prizes for the knit-a-longs for each month, but I think I’ll just try and do prizes as per normal. I will be moving halfway through the Shawl Society, to Australia, so the prizes at some point might get a bit delayed in terms of sending, but I’m trying to be really organized and get things prepared ahead of time. So I will endeavor to do that. But for the time being, for this shawl, it’s all fine. So enter your finished shawls for the Sea Gleam shawl into the thread and we’ll have a little prize for each of the giveaways each month, and a grand prize at the end, which I’ll put together at some point.
 
At the moment, I am, of course, contemplating my travel knitting for the Knitting Pipeline Ireland retreat. And I think we’re going to have a decent amount of knitting time. There’s quite a lot of knitting sessions earmarked, as well as free time during the week. So I am really, really looking forward to that. I have been working really hard and I am looking forward to a bit of a break, even though it’s a work trip for me. I feel like it’s not real work. The real work has already happened, because I have designed a special shawl for the retreat. The name of the shawl is called Mount Juliet, which is named after the hotel we will be staying at in Ireland. So we’re going to be knitting on that next week, and I’ll share more about that shawl when I get back, in next week’s episode. But I’m looking forward to casting on with retreat attendees.
 
And I am also going to take my Clio pullover, which is a pullover design by Elizabeth Doherty, and I am yet to cast on, or to start working on the neck band, and I’ve been talking about that for a while. I went to start doing it, but definitely needs some concentration. There’s different rates of picking up stitches around the neckline depending on the stitch pattern in the body, and there’s also one of Elizabeth’s signature braids that goes round, and I haven’t done that before. So I will need to have a, I don’t know, an hour or two or three, concentration to do that. I thought it might be a simple picking up stitches and doing a rib neckband, but no. No, no no no no. But it will look gorgeous, so I want to make sure it’s perfect, because that will be a real feature of the pullover.
 
So, as a result, I’m still working on the body and hoping it’s not getting too long. I’m sure it will be fine. I’m not really too fussy about the length of my pullovers, although hopefully Elizabeth’s not listening to me saying that, because she’s very particular about where it should fall for best effect. Which is true, obviously. If it falls in the right place it looks better, but I’m just hoping that it will work out. There’s a reason I have a sweatshirt with “winging it” across the front.
 
What else? So I will be taking my Pebbles and Pathways socks. I’m still working on those socks, which is a design by Marceline Smith, and I have missed the window for the knit-a-long now, but am very much enjoying knitting those socks. I’m on the leg of the second sock. So I’ve finished one of the socks and am a good way through the second. So that might be a finished object fairly soon. I’m not really in a rush to finish those, I’m just really enjoying them, and they’re just really nice easy yet interesting project to pick up from time to time.
 
The other project I’ll be taking with me is a Piper’s Journey shawl, which is a pattern by Paula Emons-Fuessle. And I’m knitting that in some Quince and Co Tern yarn, which we were very generously given at one of Paula’s Knitting Pipeline Georgia retreats. And the color is mist, and Tern is fingering weight, and it is 75% American wool, 25% silk. So I think that’s perfect for a shawl, and I have three skeins of it, which was a very generous gift from Paula. And the pattern calls for Chickadee, which is sport weight, but I think it will be absolutely fine in a fingering weight as well, I think. I looked on the patterns and I couldn’t see anybody who had used Tern, which kind of surprised me, but a lot of people have used Chickadee, which the pattern calls for. But I think it’s going to be okay.
 
And I also think that it could be made slightly bigger if you wanted to. I need to look through some of the patterns on Ravelry again, but it’s got a garter stitch body and an applied lace border. So I don’t really see why you couldn’t just knit as much of the body as you wanted and then put the border on at the end and just sort of go to the end of the shawl with the border. So I think that will work. I haven’t had quite a close enough look at the pattern to be able to tell that, but I’m kind of assuming that would work. And if not, I’ll just knit it to the pattern. I kind of fancy a slightly bigger shawl, but I’m not sure if I’d have enough yarn for that anyways.
 
So I’m looking forward to using this lovely yarn. I haven’t knit with Quince and Co yarn much. I think I went to their Knitting Pipeline Georgia retreat three times, I think. So I have three lots of Quince and Co yarn, and I haven’t used it yet. So I’m really looking forward to using one of the batches. And I’m also using one of the other yarns for a special project as well, which is a secret at the moment.
 
So that’s my travel knitting. I’m sure a couple more projects will sneak in there. Maybe another pair of socks. I don’t know. That’s plenty, isn’t it? I don’t need to take more than that. I’m planning on just taking carry-on luggage, so maybe it should just be those three projects, that’s plenty. So hopefully I can remain relatively restrained when I’m packing. I’m sure when I am faced with a small carry-on bag I will be able to do that.
 
The other thing I mentioned on last week’s show was that I’m planning to have transcripts of the podcast, and I’m super excited to say that that is going ahead, and just soon after I recorded, finished recording last week’s episode, I actually received the transcript back from the company. And it was really good, and just a couple of teeny tiny edits were needed in terms of some of the names, which is to be expected. But yeah, really, really high quality, really good value. And so I am going to be providing transcripts for the podcast on curioushandmade.com in the show notes going forward. And if any other podcasters are listening and are interested, I was recommended the company by my podcast editor. And she said she hadn’t used them, but she had heard good things about rev.com. It’s R-E-V.com.
 
So I tried them out. So they charge one dollar per minute, so it’s really straight forward pricing and the longer I ramble on, the more expensive it is. But that’s okay. Most of my episodes are less than half an hour, so it’s not too bad. I think it’s really good value, and the quality’s really good. And so I’m really pleased to be able to provide that for anyone who needs it. I’m not really sure how to get the word out about that, but hopefully people will discover it, and I will share about it in the newsletter and online a little bit. But if you know anybody who can’t currently listen to the podcast and would like to be able to, please do let them know that that’s going to be available.
 
I don’t know if I’ll go back and do them. I might try and see if I can see from statistics my top x number, most popular episodes or something and do those. But at the moment, I’m just going to start here and go forward. 
 
I hope you’ve enjoyed the show this week. I look forward to catching up with you again next week. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting. Talk to you soon.
Play

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.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

On today’s episode I have stories to share from our wonderful weekend in Bath, and I am excited to introduce the very first pattern of The Shawl Society Season 4. I’m also getting ready to head to Ireland for the Knitting Pipeline retreat, which is exciting. As part of my ongoing quest to make Curious Handmade as accessible and welcoming as possible, I’m also trying out something new with podcast transcripts.

Show Links:

Meadow Yarn Hand Dyed Yarn

Eucalan

Meadow Yarn Stitch Reminders

Cocoknits

Moel View Yarn

The Wool Kitchen

So Just Shop

Big Blue Moma

la Bien Aimée

Land of Sweets Cowl

Learning to Cry Shawl

Snowmelt Shawl

Impressionist Shawl

Walcot Yarns

The Fibre Co.

The Wool Kitchen

The Talisman Shawl

KnitAid

The Sea Gleam Shawl


Join The Shawl Society Season 4 now!

Ocean By The Sea

Laine Magazine

Gilly Makes

The Comfy Red Couch Podcast

Episode 262 Transcript:

——————————-
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 262. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show-notes on my web site at CuriousHandmade.com.

Hello hello and welcome to this week’s episode. I hope you’re all well and having a really good week. I have been having a great week. The sun has been shining here in London and it’s getting warmer, and everybody in London is so happy about that. It makes so much of a difference. Everything’s very green and lovely, and, well, blossom season is pretty much over. The roses have started blooming now, so that is another gorgeous sight that you see a lot around London at this time of year.

I’ve been working really hard the last few weeks. I mentioned last week that I was working hard and just really focusing on my to do list, and I feel like this week finally I’m back in control I think, and I feel like maybe I reached a tipping point in my to do list where things are getting ticked off slightly faster than they’re getting added. So, that’s a good feeling. I feel slightly more on top of things and it’s just making the stress levels go right down. And sometimes I think you don’t realize how stressed you are until it starts reducing and then you realize that you just feel so much better. So that’s all good!

We had a fantastic event in Bath on the weekend. It was so lovely. The event was Sip, Stitch Shop, and that was hosted by A Yarn Story and myself. It was held at a lovely hotel in Bath and we had such wonderful vendors, and lovely knitters coming along. It was such a nice day, so thank you to everybody who came along to that. I hope you had a lovely time. It was so nice to meet my friend and long time podcast sponsor Meadow Yarn in person for the first time. Got to meet Anj. And, yeah. It was just so lovely, Anj brought an amazing array of beautiful hand-dyed yarn. I don’t know how long now but maybe two years they’ve been dyeing their own Meadow Yarn label, and she had some lovely goodies. I stocked up on my favorite Eucalan wool wash and also picked up a magazine as well. So, that was really fun, and Anj also had these really cute stitch markers made up.

I also bought a few bits and bobs by Coco Knits from the A Yarn Story stand, some cable needles, and some more stitch markers. I could never have too many stitch markers, I use so many all the time. And, I bought a couple of skeins from Moel View. I can never resist all those beautiful naturally dyed yarn. And I also couldn’t resist a gorgeous set of minis from the Wool Barn, and Mya gave me a skein and Anj also gave me a skein from Meadow. One of her beautiful oranges. So, that was really fun. We also had ‘so just shop’ with the amazing Big Blue Moma baskets. They were very very popular, I think she sold most of those, although they still have some online for UK or European peeps who find it difficult to get things from the US.

We had some amazing kits that Aimee at La Bien Aimee had made up, for some of my patterns. There was kits of mini skeins for Land of Sweets cowl, as well as some singles and mohair kits for Learning to Cry shawl. She’d also put together some kits for some of my three skein shawls like Snowmelt and Impressionist’s shawl. So that was lost of fun!

We had Walcot Yarn, which is Carmen form A Yarn Story’s yarn brand, and I had designed the Vila shawl for the Shawl Society. Previous year’s Shawl Society shawl. So, it was really really lovely. The Fibre Company was sponsor of the event and Daphne was able to attend which was amazing. It was just a really really lovely day. My good friend Helen from The Wool Kitchen was a vendor as well, and Helen’s yarn was the yarn that inspired the very first Shawl Society shawl: The Talisman Shawl. So, it was lovely to see her and all her gorgeous yarn which was popular on the day.

We also had a sample sale of some of my shawl samples, and that was for Knit-Aid, so we were able to donate £325 to Knit-Aid from the sample sale which I was really pleased about because they are currently funding for warehouse space for the Charity because they have a lot of donations of knitted goods. So, I didn’t sell all the samples there. I think the knitters were more interested in buying yarn to make their own samples, but I will do a online sample sale for the ones that I still have and am happy to donate to such an amazing cause. I’ll probably do that in a couple of weeks when I’ve done my next travels, which I’ll talk a little about.

So thank you so much to Carmen and her amazing team who were all there on the day supporting us, and yeah. It was just incredible. She’s got such a great team at A Yarn Story, and we all went out for burgers in the evening after the event and it was just a lovely time.
I’m recording this on May the 16th, which is the day before the show’s being released, and that means that I have just released the first shawl in this season’s The Shawl Society season four. That shawl is called the Sea Gleam shawl, and I’ll just read you the description:

“At first, you almost can’t be sure of what you’re seeing. It’s likely that the road has been long. That you’ve been traveling since the early hours, and it might just be wishful thinking, but as you continue on, and the landscape rises and falls, and rises again… there it is. A glint. That telltale shimmer in the distance. Your first glimpse of the sea. It is a moment of pure magic. The internal chorus of ‘are we there yet?’ that never really goes away, no matter how grown up you’ve got, falls quiet. It’s just around the bend. Just around the next hill. Just beyond the dunes. Whatever scheming and planning it took to get you hear, the journey has been worth the wait. You’ve arrived, and the day has only just begun.”

The Sea Gleam shawl is the very first pattern of the shawl society season four. It celebrates the feeling of arriving at your favorite place, and the anticipation of all the joy yet to come. This two-skein shawl is a gentle crescent shape. It is big on texture with broad garter and stockinette sections, dappled with eyelets and finished with a simple by highly effective lace border. This is a lighthearted, relaxing, and meditative knit: an ideal beginning to our Shawl Society adventure.”

The Yarn I used for this sample is Suburban Stitcher single sock, and Diane has dyed up a special colorway for the shawl called ‘sea smoke’. As I mentioned in an episode a couple of weeks ago, Diane helped me come up with the theme for this season which is ‘A perfect day by the sea’, and we were in Vancouver and looking at a beautiful hand-painted ceramic whale, and I started thinking about the ocean, the sea, and the beach, and decided to make that the theme of this year’s Shawl Society.

Thank you so much to everybody who has entered into the giveaway for the Shawl Society. People were posting in the thread about their perfect day of relaxing, or where that would be, and I as always have thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experiences. The prize for the giveaway is a gorgeous skein of hand-dyed yarn by Ocean by the Sea, and when I saw that skein in my stash I knew it was just perfect for this giveaway, as well as a liner knitting notes notebook, a beautiful bag by Gilly Makes, and of course a Shawl Society enamel pin.

I will announce the winner next week, I haven’t drawn the winner just yet. Although the competition is closed now, I’ll let you know who the winner is in next week’s episode. I want to say a special thank you to my sample knitter, Deb, who is TinkHickman on Ravelry, as well as my test knitter Tracy, who is TracyRR on Ravelry (and also the host of the Comfy Red Couch podcast.).

I’d also like to thank Amanda, who wrote the gorgeous description for the shawl, and my tech editor Emma who helps keeps my instructions on the straight and narrow. You might have seen on my Instagram stories or Instagram posts that I’m in the process of revamping my website. So, I’ve been working on a new logo which you might have noticed if you’re subscribed to my newsletters, and I haven’t really rolled that out yet but I’m on the process of working on that now. And, just getting the website up to scratch. It’s a bit clunky and things aren’t working on there very well at the moment, so that needs to be all sorted out which will hopefully happen in the next few months. And, getting some nice photography done for the website and just for general use, which I often seem to need for photos for all sort of things. For social media to when I get asked for photos and head shots for various things.

So, I’ve been working behind the scenes on all of that, and one of the things that I have been thinking about probably since I very first started podcasting when I was setting up how I would podcast, is doing transcripts of the audio. I’ve just been quite psyched about it, and it’s sort of another step that I need to do and bit more of a cost, but I was finally prompted to do something about it because with the diversity conversation that’s happening I thought that was something really practical that I can do to help make my business more inclusive. I asked a couple of people and got a recommendation of a website, so I’m currently doing a test basically to try and find someone or a company that can do the transcripts. I’m not sure how they’re going to go with some of the knitting vocabulary, so that might have to be something that we build up … I’m just not really sure how that’s going to work out. But, yeah, so I’m excited about that, I’m excited to be working on offering that.

I’m not sure about how soon I’ll be able to start adding transcripts to the show notes, but hopefully fairly soon. Especially if this company I’m doing the test with works out to be accurate enough. Yeah, so I’m excited to be working on those projects behind the scenes. It’s a bit frustrating when you’re putting so much work into something and you can’t quite share it yet, but that’s in the pipeline.

And speaking of the pipeline, next week I’m going to Ireland to join the Knitting Pipeline tour. Sadly Paula isn’t attending the tour because she’s having treatment for cancer, but I’m really really looking forward to seeing some friends that I’ve made at the Knitting Pipeline Georgia retreat over the years, as well as some new friends from Paula’s crew. So I can’t wait for that. I’ve designed a special shawl for the event that I’ll reveal after the people on the retreat get to see that next week. I’m just really looking forward to that event. Ireland is so beautiful, and it’s going to be mostly knitting and hanging out with friends.

So I think that’s all my news for this week.
Have a lovely week, happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon!

Play

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.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

In today’s episode I have some personal knitting to share, including a new sweater pattern I have been stalking as my Clio gets closer to completion. I’m delighted that the 4th season of The Shawl Society has launched and we’re just a week away from the first pattern! I’m also gearing up for the Sip. Stitch. Shop. event in Bath this weekend, and we’re having a sample sale to raise funds for KnitAid (have you seen the KnitAid Tedx talk?)

Show Links:

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Ysolda Blend no.1

Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain

Squam

Midding Cardigan by Renée Callahan

Baskerville DK by Kettle Yarn

Triskelion Yarn

This week The Shawl Society Season 4 opened for membership!

It will be available at an early bird price until the first pattern of the season is released on Thursday the 16th of May, 2019.

Join The Shawl Society Season 4 now!

Suburban Stitcher Website

Suburban Stitcher Instagram

KnitAid

KnitAid Ted Talk

Ch. 261 Transcript

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Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 261. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you had a fantastic week. Pull up a chair, grab your knitting, grab a beverage, and let’s us have a chat. Thank you to everyone who commented on social media, and via emails, and messages that you were interested in my conversation about my hair last week. I was talking about how I am embracing my natural color, which I think is going to be quite gray. It’s still in the growing out process, and even sort of four and a half, five months into it, it’s surprising to me, at least, how long it takes to grow. In some ways, when I was dying it to hide the gray, it seemed like it was every five minutes that I was having to dye it, and now that I’m desperately trying to grow it all out, it’s taking forever. So thank you for all your

messages of support and interest. It’s kind of a funny thing to talk about, but I feel like, for me, it’s about embracing happiness and creativity, which is the motto of the show, so I thought it was fair enough to talk about with you.

I have been extremely busy the last couple of weeks. I think after having basically three weeks holiday, I didn’t do much work while the kids were off school, which has always been my goal since having my business. A big part of my goal is to have a more flexible schedule around the kids, and that’s kind of worked and kind of hasn’t worked in some ways. I do have the flexibility with the kids, but that means that my work tends to get pushed into evenings and holidays, and weekends more. So I’m very, very lucky to be able to go to concerts or other events in the middle of the day. I’m lucky to be able to pick them up from school, but I’m basically working at least full-time, so that just means that that work has to happen somewhere else. And it’s taking me a really long time to get to grips with how that works, because I’m always very optimistic about how much I will get done, and then it either takes a lot longer, or I procrastinate, or get sucked into something else. And so I am working hard at the moment on trying to get to grips with that. I feel quite frustrated to be still grappling with this, I don’t know, four or five years since I stopped working full-time in a corporate job. But there you go. We’re always learning and improving, so I’m going to try not to beat myself up about it too much. I’m just trying to prioritize tackling that now.

Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble. Sorry about that. I’m tackling my to-do list with gusto at themoment, and I’m prioritizing by trying to look at what’s most urgent, and also what’s stressing me out the most, which isn’t always the same thing. Usually it is the same thing, because the most urgent thing is stressing me out, because it’s coming up. But sometimes strange, little things really stress me out, and so I’m trying to just get things that are playing a disproportionate, or being disproportionately stressful, out of the way, as well.

So despite being so busy, I have still been doing some personal knitting, and I think that’s actually been helping with stress levels. I have been knitting on my Clio, which is a gorgeous pullover by Elizabeth Doherty. I’m knitting that in Ysolda’s blend number one that I purchased at Edinburgh Yarn Festival, a couple of years ago. And I’m really enjoying knitting with that yarn. It’s just beautiful. It’s a very calming pale gray color, so that’s really nice as well. And the stitch pattern, now I’m onto the body, is interesting and really fun to knit. So I’m really into that at the moment, and it’s at the stage where it’s quite an easy go-to project to pick up. I can read the stitch pattern where I’m up to. It’s just a four row repeat at this stage. So, yeah, that’s quite a relaxing knit. I talked about, I don’t know, a couple of weeks ago, that I was thinking I should do the neckband. And I think what I might do is wind another skein of yarn into a ball, and have a look at the neckband after I finish recording, because I still haven’t done that, and I need to measure the body actually. It’s meant to be the cropped version, so I’m currently at risk of having an 80s tunic length version at the rate I’m going on the body. So I need to measure how much I’ve done on the body, see where I’m at with that. And also put the neckband in so that I can try it on, and measure and see how it’s going. Maybe I’ve been procrastinating on doing the neckband a little bit. It’s a little bit of a mental block, because I want the picked up stitches to be perfect, perfectly neat, and match the rest of the sweater, because often that’s where I fall down on a sweater project is not having quite perfectly picked up stitches around the neckband. I made a mistake in my Hay Pullover when I picked up the neckband stitches, and it’s not massively noticeable, but I can notice sort of a glitch in the smooth line of the neckline. And so maybe I’ve been procrastinating on that a bit as well. I did set a goal for finishing it by the end of the year, which I thought was nice, realistic goal. And then I started getting excited about the progress I was making and thinking maybe I could finish this before Squam, which I’m going to this year. But then, I looked at the calendar, and that’s only three weeks away, just over three weeks away. So, that made me feel slightly panicky, because I have a lot to do before then. And also think possibly not realistic to get Clio finished by then, sadly. So maybe it could be a finish it while I’m at Squam kind of goal. That might be more realistic. I don’t know. We’ll see. I need to assess where I’m at, especially in regards to how much more of the body I have to go.

So, enjoying that project a lot, and also starting to think about what’s coming next in the sweater queue. I have been stalking a brand new pattern released this month. It’s called Midding, M-I-D-D-I-N-G, by Renee Callahan. It’s been popping up on Instagram and in Ravelry, and I’m in love with this cardigan. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s quite a similar color to what I’m knitting with at the moment. And Renee’s used Baskerville DK, by Kettle Yarn Co, which is a DK for this. And Baskerville has some Gotland in it, and silk, so that’s probably partly why I love it so much. I just adore Gotland. So, it’s a cardigan with cable panels down the front, down the sleeves, and across the back. It’s a really, really nice, modern cable, and I really love the neckline. It looks like just a very, very delicate simple i-cord around the neck, and so there’s no band as such. It just goes straight from this, I think it’s an i-cord.

I’m not sure if it’s cast on from the top down. No, work from the bottom up. I’ll read the description. All questions will be answered.

Midding is feeling the tranquil pleasure near a gathering, but not quite in it, hovering on the perimeter of a camp fire, chatting outside a party while others dance inside, resting your head in the backseat of a car listening to your friends chatting up front, feeling blissfully invisible yet still fully included, safe in the knowledge that everyone is together and everyone is okay, with all the thrill of being there without the burden of having to be. Some projects suggest a kind of sweet nostalgia. Midding is a project like that. A classic cardigan shape, with long, fitted sleeves, a straight body, and panels of open cables. This cardigan is worked from the bottom up, with raglan shaping in the yoke, and i-cord finishing at the neck and button bands.

It’s in DK weight yarn, and she has some very, very gorgeous testers, who’ve knit this up, beautiful, sample projects that are making me fall even more in love with it. So, I think this is going to be in my queue. I do have some DK weight yarn, in sweater quantities of yarn in my stash, including some Triskelion, and I think that’s in a nice, can’t remember the blend, but I think

it’s called Arthur, but I could be making that up completely. So that might be good for this one actually. So, so beautiful. I can’t stop looking at it. She’s done a settled shoulder, so the cable goes right up to the neckline. Really love it. Good one, Renee. It’s beautiful. I have to get cracking, cracking on my Clio, so that I can get on to this one.

So apart from knitting sweaters, and stalking sweaters, this week has also seen the opening of the Shawl Society, Season 4, and the theme is Perfect Day At The Beach. I announced the theme, and talked a little bit about it last week. So you can now purchase the collection at a presale, early bird price of 12 pounds. And once the first pattern is released next week on Thursday the 16th of May, the price will go up to 15 pounds. So it’s a nice discount at the moment, and it’s basically two pounds per pattern. That price is for all six designs, that will be released from May through to October, one pattern per month. There’s going to be a range of sizes, shapes, yarn weights. So the yarn weights will range from a heavy lace weight/light fingering weight, through fingering, and through to a DK weight yarn. A little bit of a range there. I’m including a bulky one this year like I have in previous years. In terms of the sizes, a lot of

people have been asking about what size they’re going to be. Last year I kind of got ambitious and flamboyant with the sizes. A lot of them were quite big, and this year they’re going to be probably a little bit more constrained than last year overall, but possibly not going down to small sizes. I don’t think there’s any that are small, shawlette size this time again. But I can offer suggestions for adapting them to smaller or bigger in most cases, I think. So I will try and do that wherever possible.

If you have anymore questions just email me or put them on the Ravelry group, and I’m preparing a frequently asked questions email for people, so I’ll be sending that out next week. If you have any questions about the Shawl Society, you can let me know. It’s going to follow a fairly similar format to previous years, in terms of how it rolls out. So, as I mentioned, you have just under a week to sign up at the early bird price. The first pattern is coming out next Thursday, and the yarn I’ve used for the first pattern is by Suburban Stitcher in a special colorway called sea smoke. Diane is having some updates for this colorway, including one on the 16th of May, and so if you’re interested in that colorway, you can check out her website and Instagram for any updates about that.

We also have an In Real Life event happening this weekend, which is Sip, Stitch, Knit, with me in Bath, with A Yarn Story. And I’m really looking forward to seeing everybody who’s coming along to that. We’re going to have a lovely day. There’s going to be amazing vendors. We’re going to have a sample sale of about 20 of my samples, and the proceeds of that are going to go to a UK based charity called Knit Aid, who send knitted items to refugees. I’ve been a big supporter and fan of their work for, I don’t know, a couple of years now, I think. And Shahnaz, who is the founder of Knit Aid, has actually done a TED Talk, which was recently published. So, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. It’s a lovely talk. It just makes you feel happy and proud to be a knitter, when she tells her story.

So, I can’t wait to see you there, if you’re coming along. So, if I don’t see you in Bath, have a fantastic week, happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Play

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.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

This week I revealed the theme for our 4th season of The Shawl Society and I’m getting so, so, excited to begin another adventure with so many brilliant knitters. I also have a bit of a story about how I got inspired for this collection. Finally, I have recently decided to try something a bit different with my hair and I’ve got some resources to share!

Show Links:

Suburban Stitcher

Olann Yarn

Ann Friedman

Aminatou Sow

Call Your Girlfriend Podcast

Shine Theory

#grombre

Erica Henry Johnston

Nikol Johnson

Annika Von Holdt

Don’t forget, there are still tickets available for the upcoming Sip, Stitch, Shop event in Bath on May 11th, and I’d love to see lots of the Curious Crew there!



Yesterday, I sent out an email to my mailing list that gave a peek into part of my design process. The response was so lovely that I decided to share it with the whole community as a blog post here. I hope you enjoy it!

The launch of TSS 4 is just a few days away and I am bursting to begin. I’m just tying up the last loose ends before this mystery collection is available to buy on Ravelry on May 4th. In the meantime, I wanted to share a bit about how I approached the design for this season.

One of the most beautiful things about knitting is that the design process from pattern to finished object is actually a collaboration. As a designer, I bring together concepts, shapes, stitches, and textures, and I am almost always deeply inspired by colour and the character of a specific yarn. After all the scheming and experimenting in solitude, the real magic happens when the pattern leaves my hands and goes out into the world. New hands, new minds, and new imaginations interpret what I have begun, and it is always a thrill to see the flow and swell of new ideas from the knitters who create from my designs. 

We talk a lot about choosing colours for our projects, because it’s such an exciting process, and I think because it can be a bit daunting as well. I often see knitters fretting that they might not choose the “right” yarn or that the colours they are drawn to might not go together well. To begin with, I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a right or a wrong yarn, only yarns that you love or don’t love. If you choose colours that spark inspiration and happiness for you, you’re already halfway there. With that said, I get so many questions about how I choose my colours and where I get my inspiration that I wanted to offer a bit of help to anyone who is having trouble getting started. 

Because The Shawl Society is all about building that collaborative community and deepening our creative confidence, I thought I would let you in behind the scenes to see how I gathered inspiration for this collection. I hope it gives you some inspiration as well, while you begin to gather your yarn choices for the upcoming patterns. 

The Theme

Choosing a theme or story for a pattern or a collection is an amazing jumping-off point for colour and design inspiration. Sometimes that’s a very literal interpretation: a design based on spring flowers might immediately bring to mind the fresh pastels of hyacinths or the sunny yellow of daffodils. Other times it can be more emotional and abstract: for example, last Knitvent had a theme of peace. Peace might not have a specific or defined colour, but we all know which colours and shades feel peaceful for us, personally. Thinking about colour in this way can lead to a very personal and beautiful palette.

For the upcoming season of The Shawl Society, my approach was a little of both. The sea has a million shades of blue, soft sandy neutrals, warm and glowing sunrises and sunsets, and all of those references spoke to me. But there’s also that feeling that I wanted to capture, that sense of being exactly where you want to be, of time slowing down, of pure quiet happiness. I had to search for colours that reminded me of what it feels like to spend a day by the shore. 

One of the most powerful tools I know for exploring these kinds of ideas is a Pinterest board. Here is the board I put together for this collection. I think the best way to build a board like this is to go in with a very loose idea of what you’re looking for. Just create a board and start pinning. Don’t hold back or try to curate anything at first, just add everything that speaks to you. Over time, you will probably start to identify themes and similarities developing: certain colours and textures that appear over and over again. This is an excellent way to start to understand your own tastes in a deeper way. 

True Collaboration: What Inspires You?

I chose an ocean theme for the six secret patterns of The Shawl Society Season 4, but you don’t have to. Maybe you also feel the draw of the waves, but maybe your “happy place” is somewhere completely different, and you’d like to explore that creatively. I’m imagining Shawl Society Members choosing far off cities, fictional locations, or even their own back yards, and building a palette from the inspiration they find there.

Maybe you don’t have a place or a theme in mind and your response to certain colours is instinctive: you just love it because you love it and it is as simple as that. That pure attraction to a yarn is pure and thrilling and I know it well…there doesn’t always need to be a concept! There’s a chance you might visit your local yarn store and a certain skein will sing out from the shelf, even though it’s completely different from what you thought you were looking for. Listen to those promptings and see where they take you! The first and only rule is to knit with what you love.

What About Colour Theory?

Colour theory can be a helpful tool in design. It shouldn’t be an intimidating subject or a set of hard-and-fast rules that dictate what’s “wrong” or “right” and it shouldn’t cramp your creative freedom. If you haven’t explored it before, there’s a wealth of inspiration online. We’ve visited it a few times on the podcast and blog, if you need something to get you started. 

I did an early podcast on the subject: Episode 46 has some handy definitions and links. 

A few years ago during a Curious Handmade MKAL, we were fortunate enough to have two guest bloggers share their wealth of knowledge about colour, colour theory, and shawls. These posts both have some really lovely inspiration photos with a wide range of colour combinations that might spark some ideas:

Kristen from Skein

Anj from Meadow Yarn
Watching what creative and talented knitters add to my design with their own colour and yarn choices is one of the most rewarding and heartwarming parts of this job. I absolutely cannot wait to watch that miracle unfold again for the 4th season of The Shawl Society. As you start to experiment and play, I’d love to see the choices you are considering: please share them on Instagram with the hashtag #TheShawlSociety so we can all begin to get inspired together!!

Happy Knitting!

Helen x