Archives For June 2019


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

This episode, as part of my effort to design my summer and come up with holiday projects, I am putting together a reading list. I have some really amazing reads coming up but as they are on the more serious side I’m also looking for some fun fiction recommendations, if you have any! I am also building a fantasy sweater knitting queue…if I start now I might have one finished by the end of the year!

Show Links:

Court Number One: The Old Bailey Court Cases That Defined Modern Britain by Thomas Grant

Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture by Bruce Pascoe

Craeft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alexander Langlands

Hay by Clare Mountain

Like a Cloud by Jojo Locatelli 

Confetti by Veera Välimäki

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Zweig Pullover by Caitlin Hunter

Magnolia Pullover by Camilla Vad

Laine Magazine

Cushendale Woollen Mill

La Bien Aimée

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

Winterfell Cardigan by Katrin Schneider

Episode transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 268. 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 Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’ve had a fantastic week. Thank you for everybody who commented and sent me messages about your holiday projects. I loved hearing about those. I’m still working on mine actually. I haven’t had much time this week to think about it in too much detail. But today I thought I would share with you a couple of books that I’m hoping to read over the summer holidays that I have in my pile beside my bed at the moment. Also do an update on my thinking about my knitting capsule wardrobe pattern ideas. Just before I get into all of that, I wanted to remind you that we just have a couple of days left for my birthday sale. It’s my birthday today in fact, so I have been running a sale for the last week or so to celebrate, and it is a buy one, get one free sale.

So all you have to do to make the most of that is to put two or more of my patterns from my Ravelry store into a basket and use the code, happybirthday, oh, one word. So I just wanted to give you a little reminder about that, that runs through to Sunday 30th of June before that offer ends. It’s also to celebrate the release of the individual patterns from last year’s show society collection. So I have just had that available as a collection up until now. And now each of the patterns from the Shawl Society Season 3 from last year are now available as single patterns. So lots of people have been waiting for that, sorry it’s taken me so long. I meant to do it earlier in the year, but the years got away from me a little bit. So we’re doing it now with a lovely buy one get one free sale to go along with it.

So as part of my summer holiday project, along with moving countries, I am compiling a bit of a reading list. I have a few books collected already, and I thought I’d just share about them a little bit with you. So I’ve just grabbed three books from the top of my pile beside my bed. So the first one I grabbed, I picked up recently at a local independent bookshop. And it is called, Court Number One: The Old Bailey Trials That Defined Modern Britain by Thomas Grant QC. This was just on the counter when I was buying some books for the kids and I just thought it looked interesting. When I was working in the city many years ago, in one of my very first jobs in London, I worked in an office building opposite the Old Bailey. And so I was always fascinated with the comings and goings from the court. And also, one or two of my ancestors were tried in the Old Bailey before being transported to the colonies. So I guess that’s why the title piqued my interest a little bit.

The book says,

Court Number One of the Old Bailey is the most famous court room in the world, and the venue of some of the most sensational human dramas ever to be played out in a criminal trial. The principal criminal court of England, historically reserved for the more serious and high-profile trials, Court Number One opened its doors in 1907 after the building of the ‘new’ Old Bailey. In the decades that followed it witnessed the trials of the most famous and infamous defendants of the twentieth century. It was here that the likes of Madame Fahmy, Lord Haw Haw, John Christie, Ruth Ellis, George Blake (and his unlikely jailbreakers, Michael Randle and Pat Pottle), Jeremy Thorpe and Ian Huntley were defined in history, alongside a wide assortment of other traitors, lovers, politicians, psychopaths, spies, con men and – of course – the innocent.

Not only notorious for its murder trials, Court Number One recorded the changing face of modern British society, bearing witness to alternate attitudes to homosexuality, the death penalty, freedom of expression, insanity and the psychology of violence. Telling the stories of twelve of the most scandalous and celebrated cases across a radically shifting century, this book traces the evolving attitudes of Britain, the decline of a society built on deference and discretion, the tensions brought by a more permissive society and the rise of trial by mass media.

So I thought that sounded quite interesting. And yeah, we’ll see, I hadn’t read any of the pages sometimes before buying an unknown author. I like to stand in the bookshop for a while and read a few pages just to see if I like the style, but I didn’t have time, this time. So we’ll see. It’s quite unknown at this point. The next one I have seen recommended on Instagram by mostly Australian Instagrammers I guess, in the knitting community. It’s called Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture by Bruce Pascoe. And this was recommended and I thought sounded very interesting, especially with the move from the UK to Australia. I thought I would inform myself a little bit by reading this book.

So the blurb says history has portrayed Australia’s first peoples the Aboriginals as hunter gatherers who lived on an empty uncultivated land. History is wrong. In the seminal book, Bruce Pascoe uncovers evidence that long before the arrival of white men, Aboriginal people across the continent were building dams and wells, planting and irrigating and harvesting seeds and then preserving the surplus and storing it in houses, sheds or secure vessels and creating elaborate cemeteries and manipulating the landscape. All of these behaviors were inconsistent with a hunter gatherer tag, which turns out to have been a convenient lie that works to justify dispossession. Using compelling evidence from the records and diaries of early Australian explorers and colonists. Pascoe reveals that Aboriginal systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history. And that a new look at Australia’s past is required for the benefit of us all. That gave me a bestseller in Australia, won both the Book of the Year Award and the indigenous writers prize in the New South Wales premiers literary awards. The truth telling must go on.

So I’m looking forward to reading that. When I was in primary school, we learnt a version of Australian history and it will be really interesting to supplement that with this book. Finally, I have a book which was recommended to me by my copywriter and teammate Amanda. And it’s called, Craeft: An Inquiry Into the Origins and True Meaning of Traditional Crafts by Alexander Langlands. Craeft is spelled C-R-A-E-F-T, in one letter F-T. So, not sure quite how to pronounce that, but Craeft, something like that I’m not sure. And this sounds super interesting, especially for crafty creative types.

In the midst of a seemingly endless supply of mass manufactured products, we find ourselves nostalgic for products bearing the mark of authenticity, handmade furniture, artisan breads, craft beers and other goods produced by human hands. What often goes unnoticed is the transformation of our understanding of craft, or rather craft in the wake of industrialization.

In craft archeologist and medieval historian Alexander Langlands argues that our modern understanding of craft only skims the surface. His journeys from his home in Wales have taken him along the Atlantic seaboard of Europe, from Spain through France and England to Scotland and Iceland, in search of the last meaning of craft, reaching as far back as the Neolithic period. He combines deep history with scientific analysis and personal anecdotes. We follow the author as he herds sheep, keeps bees, tends hides, spins wool, and thatches roofs. We learned that sides work much better on tall grass than the latest model of wheat trimmers, that you can spin wool using a large wooden spoon, and it was once considered criminal to work on animal hides before a requisite 12 months soak. When it first appeared in old English the word craft signified an indefinable sense of knowledge, wisdom and resourcefulness, rediscovering craft will connect us with our human past, a sense of place and our remarkable capacity to survive in the harshest of landscapes. Craft helps us more fully appreciate human ingenuity, and the passing on of traditions from generation to generation.

So, that sounds a bit interesting. I feel like we would be quite receptive audiences to this message. I wouldn’t go so far as to say preaching to the choir, but you know what I mean. I think we kind of understand the idea, but I’m very interested to delve into it a bit more and find out a bit more of the history and a more in depth analysis of it. So those are three books that I am looking forward to reading. I feel like that towards the heavier end of the spectrum for me, at least, the nonfiction, so I would be very welcome to any suggestions of some fiction series, especially along the lines of Jack Reacher style, John Milton style, action thrillers, I suppose you call them. I really enjoyed books by Mark Dawson. He’s an English writer. He has a podcast about writing and having an author business that I really liked listening to. And so I started reading his thrillers and I’ve read all of them now. So I really enjoyed those.

I’ve also recently just read the Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling books, The Cormorant Strike detective series, really enjoyed those. I like a good detective series I really enjoy Ian Rankin. So if you have any fairly light hearted, not too gory, fun series to recommend I would be very open and would welcome that because I need something light and trashy to offset the serious and the nonfiction. I’ve also been thinking about my capsule wardrobe ideas. And I have really loved having a couple of hand knit sweaters, cardigans to wear in the last year or so. I knit Hay by Claire Mountain and Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli and I mean I’ve knit sweaters before but these two along with Confetti that I knit by Veera Välimäki. I guess the three have been really great wearable pieces, and probably my most successful garments to date.

So I am considering what’s next on the list. As you probably know, I am halfway through knitting Clio by Elizabeth Doherty. And that’s going to be a wonderful staple in the wardrobe as well is sport weight, I’m knitting it in a really lovely neutral, light neutral color. So I think that’s going to be super versatile. But of course, once that’s done, I’m going to be looking for something else. So I’ve got four contenders for my capsule wardrobe. Again, I think this time of year is quite a good time of year to start thinking about knitting garments. Because even though it might not be, you might not think it’s the best time of year to knit. I mean here in the UK, it’s really knitting weather all year round. It doesn’t really get that hot most of the time, that isn’t very pleasant to knit. And I’ll be heading to Australia where it will be winter so again, very pleasant knitting weather. And then you have something ready for the Northern hemisphere winter if you start now. Possibly if you’re a faster knitter than me or Christmas 2020 perhaps.

Anyway, the first one on my list is Zweig by Caitlin Hunter. I met Caitlin at Squam recently very briefly, but it was absolutely lovely to meet her. I’ve been wanting to meet her for ages, and I have been admiring her patterns since she first started publishing them on Ravelry. And so it was so nice to meet her and there were quite a few Zweig pullovers at Squam. So I was admiring those. And this is a fingering white pullover knit in I think two colors. I think I’m right to say two colors. Some people knit it in one color, which looks fabulous as well. And so I think the fingering white pull over is a really great white, especially for me. It doesn’t really get that cold here in the UK, so it’s nice to have light layers. And of course, moving to Queensland where we don’t really have winter, fingering white is about as heavy a pullover as you want as well. So, that’s going to be a good white.

And I think with the lovely yoke detail, it’s got some lace, it’s got some texture. It’s really interesting. And I think this piece can go from casual to a bit more dressy so you can dress it up and dress it down. My uniform is basically jeans 24/7 well, not while I’m sleeping obviously but you know what I mean, I don’t often not wear jeans. And so I think a nice sweater really dresses that look up a little bit. So I think that would be a really nice contender. I’ve just seen so many lovely versions. You can’t go wrong with any color combination almost and yet it just always looks really good. Another one that I think is a nice casual but can also look quite classy is Magnolia by Camilla Vad. This one was in Laine magazine, I can’t remember which issue. I think it comes out at about a sport weight.

Looking at the materials, I’m 99% sure that it’s a lace weight and a silk mohair, how to double, pretty sure that’s what’s happening. And so it’s fairly lightweight, but also cozy and warm. It’s knit on 3.5 millimeter and four millimeter needles. And I have some Cushendale lambs wool in a lace white that I purchased on my trip to Ireland recently and I would have enough I bought four scans of a beautiful greeny blue color called Jade. And I have lots of silk mohair and I think I could find something to match. So potentially I have the yarn in stash for this one. And I think it would just look really adorable with a skirt and boots. It’s a really plain pullover except it has a beautiful lace section around the bottom of the body of the pullover. So it’s really classic but it just has beautiful pretty detail without being over the top. So it’s a little bit romantic. And again, I think it would dress up boring jeans and a T-shirt uniform really well.

So I’m really like that one, I’ve been admiring that since it was first released in Laine a little while ago, lot sometime ages I’ve been admiring it for a long time. And then looking at cardigans. I think if I was to do a cardigan my first pick would be Elton by Joji Locatelli, because I have the exact cold for yarn for that. I have the La Bien Aimee yarn in yellow brick rod and it’s a really fabulous yellow and it’s knit in two skeins of single pi and one skein of lightweight for my size which is I think medium. This is just a super chic cardigan, the mohair and singles or striped it’s really simple in concept but super effective in the end result. It’s quite cropped so I think Joji designed it to wear over dresses over tunic style dresses and would dress up a skirt or jeans and it would be the perfect white for not very cold Australian winters.

Similarly, the Winterfell cardigan jumped out at me. And this is by designer Katrin Schneider she has really gorgeous designs. I love everything she does. She has a tagline of, I think something like pure and timeless which is what all her designs are, just super classic, super timeless, but really lovely details. So this one is a fairly classic cardigan. I think it’s a little bit fitted. I’m not 100% sure, but it has really nice slip stitch diagonal stripes going across the front piece, and I think the rest of it is quite plain. Her description says, beginning with the neck band the cardigan is worked back and forth in rows from the top down diagonal slipped stitch lines are added to the front. The body is worked with a slight A shaping and finished with a rib turn. The front bent picked up a netted after the body is complete. The sleeves are worked in the round and finished with ripped cuffs.

So yes just lovely simple tilled and she has knitted her sample in the La Bien Aimee Winterfell colorway which is an absolutely stunning dark blue almost with a bit of gray in it I think. I’m not very good at describing colors but this is just a lovely really dark rich color. So those would be my picks for my capsule wardrobe that I’m slowly working on. I think that I would have the yarn for all of those except perhaps the Winterfell. I’m not sure if I’ve got anything in my stash, that sport weight and sweater quantities. I definitely have the yarn for Elton and probably have the yarn Magnolia and definitely have some fingering white skeins for Zweig. So yeah, so I think I probably start with Elton first from that list, although they’re all just calling me at the moment. So yeah, so I would like to know what is on your sweater knitting list.

You can leave a comment in the show notes or on Instagram. I’ll do a post about it. And I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about, get some ideas. 

So I hope you all have a fantastic week. Don’t forget last couple of days of my birthday sale. It’s a buy one, get one free on Ravelry. And don’t forget the coupon code. Happybirthday. So have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.


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

Today on the podcast I’m thinking about what it might mean to design our summer (even with an international move in the middle!) and announcing a little birthday sale on my patterns! The TSS 3 shawls are now available as single patterns. And there’s a brand new TSS 4 shawl to celebrate!

Show Links:

The Shawl Society Season 3

Maytham Shawl

Ivy Over The Door Shawl

Wick Shawl

Planting Seeds Shawl

Learning to Cry Shawl

The Whole World is a Garden Shawl

The Shawl Society Season 4

Sea Gleam Shawl 

Floating Shawl

Sky Map Wrap

The Happier Podcast

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2016

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2017

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2018

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode 2019

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 267. 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 full show notes and transcript on my website at

Welcome to the show. I hope you have lots of weekend things planned and a little bit of knitting hopefully. We are planning to go to the school fair this weekend, and we have some birthday parties for kids to attend and, hopefully, a bit of knitting for me too, so I’m looking forward to the weekend. And in this episode, we are chatting about the release of the second Shawl Society shawl, a little bit of a happiness project update, and some ideas for some activities.

Before I get into all of that, I wanted to announce a birthday sale. It’s my birthday next week, and so I thought I would have a pattern sale in my Ravelry store. We are also celebrating the release of the Shawl Society season three patterns as single patterns. We are going to have a buy one, get one free offer starting today and running through until Sunday, the 30th of June, and so it will be just over a week, this week and next weekend. All you have to do is put two or more patterns from my Ravelry store into your basket and use the code happybirthday, all one word, and you will get the second least expensive pattern for free. If you’ve been waiting for one of the Shawl Society patterns, a particular pattern from last year’s season, then now is the time to snap that up.

Speaking of the Shawl Society, season four is happening at the moment, and the second shawl has just been released yesterday. I am super excited to introduce you to Floating shawl. We’ve had a really magical start to season four, including the giveaway where people posted about their happy places, and it was so inspiring. I think that people who are knitting away on the Sea Gleam shawl at the moment or have knitted that one are enjoying the season so far and I hope you enjoy Floating just as much. I’ll just read out the pattern description for the Floating shawl for you.

From the moment your feet hit the surf, the first swim of the day feels like freedom. Although swimming may be too strong a word, movement is effortless and this is more about relaxation, about surrendering yourself to the joys of the sea. Finally, you can let go and just float, buoyant and supported by the salt water. Bobbing up and down amongst the waves, you’re almost weightless. Somehow, a dip in the ocean can be both exhilarating and deeply calming. Any stress or fretting that manage to follow you here dissolves and drifts away. When you’ve had enough, there’s a happy striving back to the shore as you are lifted and set back on your feet by the movement of the water, heading for the crisp welcome of a sun-warmed towel. A little sun, a little rest, a cool drink, and then you’ll be ready to venture out into the swing of the sea once more.

Our second shawl of the season is called Floating after the simple pleasure of an ocean swim. It’s a generous half pi or semi-circular shape with beautiful drape around the shoulders. The base of the shawl is mostly garter stitch, the most relaxing stitch I know, perfect for holiday knitting. There’s also a gorgeous panel of simple lace finished with the delicate ripple of a picot bind-off. The Floating shawl is a joyful and rewarding knit and a lovely addition to any outfit.

The sample pictured in the pattern is knit in Sweet Fiber Sweet Merino Lite, which is 100% superwash merino single ply yarn, and the yardage on that is 434 meters per 115 grams. The sample took two 115-gram skeins and I used a significant amount of that. The sample used 215 grams overall. If you are using a regular 100-gram single skein, you will probably need three or, if you’re using the Sweet Fiber, you just need two skeins, or another yarn that has slightly more yardage in the skein. If you’re using a light fingering that has a bit more yardage, you’ll be okay, but just be aware that it uses 112 meters or 888 yards in total, and that was what I actually used, so you want to give yourself a little bit of a buffer so you’re not playing yarn chicken.

It’s quite a nice, generous sized shawl. It’s in one size, and I think it looks good knit in one colour. You could potentially use two different colours. The lace section would probably be a good place to start a new colour and that’s at the 60% mark, so if you’re using three skeins, you could use two colours for the body and change to a different colour for the lace or the lace panel, something like that. It’ll be fun to have a play and think about how you want to do that. Sweet Fiber is a gorgeous yarn. I actually discovered Sweet Fiber through Joji, I think. She was knitting something with Melissa’s yarn and then I met her when I went to Knit City in Vancouver last year, so that was really lovely, and I might’ve purchased a sweater quantity in one of her colorways, so really enjoy knitting with the Sweet Fiber yarn and I hope you do too.

Around this time of the year with my birthday looming, at the almost halfway point of the year, I’ve never really thought about it that much before, but it really is right smack bang in the middle of the year, it’s a good time to do a little bit of a review of what I was thinking about at the beginning of the year in terms of my word for the year and things like that. My word for the year is intentional, and I wanted to be more intentional about how I spend my time this year. And when I decided on that, I hadn’t announced it on the podcast just quite yet, but I knew that we would be moving countries and that I would need to be fairly organised and on top of things this year in particular.

I’ve been focusing on streaks for trying to get into good habits with things like walking, healthy eating, and music practice, and sprints for probably more work-related things like designing patterns and getting other projects up and running. At the moment, behind the scenes, I’m working on creating a new website because my website is pretty old now and needs some love and attention paid to it. I’m working on various streaks and sprints in the background and also intentionally saying no to things and taking things off my plate so that I can de-overwhelm myself a little bit. I’m not sure how realistic that is in a year like this where we’re having a major move, but I’m trying to keep things as calm and minimal schedule as possible in the circumstances.

Because of that, I chose not to have a Make Nine this year because I thought I just don’t have time for that. I would love to have a Make Nine and choose nine projects to work on, but that’s just not on the cards this year, maybe next year. I decided for my personal, fun knitting goals at the beginning of the year to just focus on one project at a time, work away on something, try and finish it, and then do something else and just not have any time pressure around that. I started off working on my Star Map wrap by Emily Foden, and I was working on that for a while, which is lovely, relaxing stockinette in the round, so super good. I’ll probably turn to that again in the summer, but then I picked up my Clio pullover in March and have been just really getting into that and enjoying that, so I’m working on the body of that at the moment and making pretty good progress, so I’m enjoying that as well.

I also decided that I would have a happiness project this year, and I talked about that in January, I think, and I just went through my list. When I set my list, I only had 17 things on it, so the happiness project is something I heard about on the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft. Last year, they did 18 in 2018 and, this year, they are doing 19 in 2019. I just ended up with 17, intending to add a couple more things, but I think I’m happy with 17. It seems doable. I’ve actually achieved quite a few of the things. I have started learning the flute again. I did my grade four exam back in, I think, March and did really well. I don’t know that I ever came back and told you about that, but I ended up getting a distinction for that exam. That gave me a huge boost and I decided to go for grade five, which is next week. I’ve been practicing quite a bit for that and really, really loving it. That’s been absolutely brilliant.

KonMari to the max was one of my happiness projects, and I am getting there and that was, obviously, put on the list ahead of the move and we’re getting there. I wouldn’t say I’m finished, but we’ve made really good progress on that. I was planning to go to June Squam Arts Workshop and that is ticked off. That was last, not last month, earlier this month. Other things that have happened, our holiday to India, which I talked about on the podcast, as well as Edinburgh in March, which has obviously been and gone. And, yeah, walking streak, a little bit patchy lately, but generally happening. I wanted to walk every day and, yeah, it’s been, to be honest, in the last few weeks, things have been a bit overwhelming on the personal front, so I probably needed to walk even more than usual, but that’s gone by the wayside a little bit. I bet I can pick that up again.

And so some things that are still coming up, making a quilt, I might hopefully be able to do that when we settle in Australia. Reviewing the list has reminded me that I need to book in a date because I have dinner with an old friend of mine, Catherine, on the list, and we haven’t done that yet and I need to do that before we leave in August. And I have to get a really nice pair of black jeans, which is a very frivolous one, and I haven’t done that yet. I’m putting that off a little bit. I’d like to lose a pound or two before I do that, so it’s even more frivolous than it initially sounds, but anyway, we all have our little things. And then there’s also a skive off day with my husband that we do in December, so that will happen later in the year as well.

Yeah, lots of things achieved and quite a few things still to look forward to. I feel pretty good about that. Yeah, I feel good about what I’ve achieved so far in the year. I can’t quite remember if I deliberately spaced things out so that things would automatically get ticked off. I think I was a little bit strategic about it like that. Anyway, that’s all worked out really well.

Speaking of the Happier podcast, I do enjoy listening to that podcast. I tend to listen to it in fits and spurts, probably more when I’m on my walking streak than when I’m not. I listen to podcasts quite a lot when I’m walking, which is really nice to get out and walk around the park and listen to my friends, in inverted commas. Some of them are friends. Some of them have no idea who I am, but I feel like they’re friends. I was listening to Happier podcast recently and Gretchen was talking about her Design Your Summer project. I think this is at least the second year, if not the third year. She got the idea from a quote she read to really intentionally make a nice project for your summer.

Obviously, for Southern Hemisphere people, it’s not quite the same, but you can just consider this as getting ahead and think about it for the end of the year, but summer holidays are either underway for a lot of people in the U.S. or coming up very quickly, I think, for Canadians and, over here, we’re not on summer holidays for kids yet for a couple of weeks, but we’re getting there. The weather definitely isn’t summery here yet. It’s been raining and cold and I’m still wearing sweaters, so it doesn’t feel very summery just yet, but I’m hoping that, when the summer solstice rolls around, we’ll be feeling a bit more summery.

I have been thinking about a summer project and I was talking to my sister, because we both listen to the Happier podcast and sometimes chat about it, and she laughed at me and said, “Your summer project is moving countries,” so there is that, but I would like to hope that I can make it about a little bit more than that, not just about logistics and admin and packing and things like that. I’m going to have a little bit of a think about how I can make the summer holidays more fun, especially for the kids. They have been really patient with all the organizing and KonMari-ing and keeping the house super tidy while we have it on the market to sell and things like that, and so I think that what I’d like to do is have them write a little bucket list. I was looking on Pinterest, and probably because of my searches that I’ve been doing all right the summer project, images for summer bucket lists started popping up, so I think it’s a bit of a thing.

Yeah, there were lots of lists of fun things to do over the summer, with kids or for grownups. There’s lots of different lists on there, things like make s’mores and have picnics and just lovely things like that. I think maybe this weekend or maybe when they are on holidays, we’ll write some lists of just really fun things that they want to do and that I’d like to do as well. I just thought I’d put that out there. If you haven’t been thinking about that, and maybe if you don’t have kids, you might have been thinking about it a bit less because, when you’re just in a work environment, sometimes you think about booking a summer holiday perhaps, but not necessarily about the whole summer as something to particularly enjoy.

I would be interested to know if any of you are planning summer projects and what they are. You can leave a comment on Instagram. I’ll post about it on Instagram or on the show notes thread, post, on the website. I’d love to know what you’re planning. And, of course, if you’re planning any winter projects Down Under, you can talk about them as well. I don’t want to exclude Southern Hemisphere people.

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you have a fantastic week. Don’t forget about the two for one, buy one, get one free sale with the coupon code happybirthday. That will be on my Ravelry pattern store and, yeah, I hope you’re enjoying the Shawl Society, and I hope you have some nice daydreaming about the summer holidays. Happy knitting. Talk to you soon.


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

I’m back from a truly magical week at Squam, and this week on the podcast I have tales of the workshops I experienced, the projects I worked on, and details of some of the treasures I brought home. This week also brings us a new pattern from The Handmade Sock Society, so I have the Cliff Walk Socks to introduce, as well as a bit of help for Society Members who may be confused about how to get onto the secret mailing list.

Show Links:

Abigail Haplin on Instagram

Purplebean Bindery

Hollie Chastain on Instagram

If You Can Cut You Can Collage book by Hollie Chastain

Linen and Spoon

Amy T Won

Wing and a Prayer Farm

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Our third pattern of The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 was released this week!

The Cliff Walk Socks

The Yarn Tart at Suffolk Socks

House of A La Mode

House of A La Mode at A Yarn Story

Join the Handmade Sock Society Season 2

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to Episode 266. 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 Hell’s Bells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at

Hello, and I hope you’re well. Welcome to the show. I hope you’ve been having a good week, and I will catch you up on my week and also last week when I was at Squam. I got back to London Monday morning this week, and have basically been catching up for most of the week, I think. It’s been a little bit of a blur, slightly jet lagged, and just sort of catching up on lots of admin and doing a little bit of planning because now the countdown is on before we move countries and head off down under to Australia. So yes, I’m looking at a matter of weeks now and thinking I need to use my time wisely. So spreadsheets have been created and lots of lists are being made.

I’m trying to not spend too much time obsessing about all the details, and just also try and crack on with some of the actual work. But I have to admit that it’s been a little bit slow this week. I have been enjoying the inspiration that I drew on at Squam, and it was a really lovely week. I flew over last Tuesday just in time for the start. Sometimes I go a little bit earlier and spend some time in New York with my friends, but time was at a bit of a premium this time. So I just went over just before it started, and it started off not very auspiciously because the plane that I boarded, we sat there for nearly three hours and they decided that they couldn’t fix the fault in the plane, so we all had to hop off, and shortly after getting off the plane, I got a text saying that the flight was canceled because they could not fix it.

So luckily, I was able to get on another flight about three hours later, so I spent the day at Heathrow and arrived into New York quite late in the evening, but it was okay. I was just really happy to get there that evening, and then the next morning I met my lovely friends Bowen and Stewart, and they came and picked me up from the airport hotel I crashed in that night, and we drove all the way up to New Hampshire and Squam. I think it’s about a five hour drive. We made a little stop on the way for some food and stocking up on snacks and beverages, and we also stopped at a little antiquey secondhand shop, which was really cute, quite close to Squam, in a town near there. So that was the first evening, and we did the usual chicken procedure and found our cabin.

We were staying in a cabin we’d stayed in before and it was just lovely. The cabins there are fairly rustic. They’re not rustic in the sense that there’s electricity, and there are decent showers, decent water pressure. They’re nothing fancy, but there they’re fine and the beds are really comfy, and it’s all quite cozy, and there’s always a fantastic fireplace, and there’s always a great porch, which is part of the routine to sit on the porch, and they have rocking chairs and a lot of time is spent sitting, and knitting, and eating the snacks, and drinking the beverages.

This time the highlight for me, well one of the highlights, was the weather. The first evening we arrived, and there was a big thunderstorm, and so it was raining and it was just really kind of romantic with the rain falling, and falling asleep to heavy rain was really nice. And then the whole rest of the time we spent there was just glorious. It was blue skies, sunny and not too hot, not too hot or sticky, just perfect. It was so nice, and the only downside to that was the bugs. There was a ton of mosquitoes, there were just swarms and swarms of mosquitoes, and there were also lots of ticks, so that was slightly off-putting, but it was okay. We managed to stop up most of the holes on the porch from all the bugs and lit fires, and created enough smoke to keep them away in the cabins.

But whenever you ventured outside you would get bitten for sure. It was a minor thing compared to the beautiful scenery and weather we had. I did two classes, which is the sort of standard thing to do. The first class I did was creating a sketchbook practice, and the teacher was Abigail Halpin, and she is an illustrator, mostly of children’s books. She’s just illustrated a version, a shortened version of Anne of Green Gables, and she’s on Instagram as Abigail Halpin, which is H-A-L-P-I-N. She has a really beautiful Instagram feed of her illustrations mainly, and just also other interesting bits and bobs that she’s thinking about or being inspired by, some posts about her travels and where she lives in Maine. So have a look at her feed. She taught us mostly how to use watercolors for a sketchbook practice.

It was really interesting and enjoyable. I haven’t been much of a sketchbook person. I have never thought of myself as much of an artist, but yeah, I would, I would consider it. I actually purchased three little sketchbooks from the Squam Arts Marketplace on Saturday night with the intention of perhaps using that to have a little sketchbook diary, and I bought one for each of the girls as well because they were really cute. While I’m talking about it, the vendor I bought the sketchbooks from is Purplebean Bindery. So that’s Purplebean Bindery at Etsy, and all the books she makes are unique and they’re just really beautiful.

They’re just handmade, handmade sketchbooks. That was quite inspiring, and then on the second day, which was the Friday, I took a class called Heart of Collage with Hollie Chastain, and that’s H-O-L-L-I-E C-H-A-S-T-A-I-N, and that’s also her Instagram name, and she also has a very inspiring Instagram feed. So as it says on the tin, it was a collage class, and a Hollie was a really wonderful teacher and she was one of these teachers that just lets everybody kind of do their own thing, and then helps and supports them to try and execute their vision. I went in kind of quite stuck.

I didn’t have any plan and I hadn’t brought any materials. Some people have brought paper and old letters and things that were meaningful to them and I hadn’t prepared anything, and so I kind of sat there feeling quite blank for a while, and Hollie suggested I just paint the background of my board in a color just to get started, and it worked. So I kind of had the idea of doing a quote, an inspirational quote. I have, I don’t know if you call it a board, a tab in my Instagram. You can save posts on Instagram, you can create boards with sort of names, a bit like you can on Pinterest, and I find it a really, really good feature for saving things to come back to later.

If you don’t know about that, it’s really, really handy, and you can save them by, when you’re looking at a post, just underneath the picture there’s icons on the left where you like and comment, and then on the right there’s a little sort of banner and then it says, it’s a collection, so it says, “Save to Collection,” and then when you click on “Save to Collection,” you can choose a collection and create a collection. So I decided to go through my quotes collection on Instagram, and while I was looking at that, I saw a picture of Frida Kahlo, which someone had posted with a quote attached to it.

The picture itself was a self portrait of Frieda. I don’t know the name of the particular painting, I’m sorry, but it had sort of lots of lush tropical foliage in the background, and she has a cat sitting on one shoulder, and a monkey on the other shoulder, I think, and so I decided to use that as my inspiration. I basically spent the whole morning making the leaves for the background, and some of her face, and then in the afternoon I finished off her head and her face, and I did some embroidery as part of it and was really, really pleased with the end result.

I have a little Frieda keeping me company on my desk at the moment because I haven’t figured out where to put her just now. That was what was really, really good, and I think that might be something that I would do as an activity with the girls. Holly has a book, it’s called, If You Can Cut, You Can Collage, From Paper Scraps to Works of Art, and so I’ve ordered that book because I saw it when she had a copy there with her at the class, and it’s just got lots of information about techniques, and inspiration, and ideas. So I’ve ordered that thinking that it might be a summer holiday project that I do either for myself or with the girls on our summer holiday camp, which will be transcontinental probably.

Then, Saturday was a completely free day. There were some extra classes offered, but I did not partake in any of those, even though I sort of wanted to, but I wanted to relax and knit even more so that’s what I did, and in the evening was a wonderful art fair, and as I mentioned, I purchased the sketchbooks. I purchased some lovely things from Linen and Spoon. That’s and they’re two makers, husband and wife team. He carves beautiful objects including spoons from wood, and she makes beautiful items from linen. I bought a small wooden tray or platter as well as a gorgeous drawstring linen bag. She labels it as a bread bag, but I think it’s going to be a project bag. So that’s so tactile and gorgeous.

I had bought a spoon from them before and it just reminded me that I need to find that. I think it’s in my photo props box. I also bought A Deck For Wonder-Walking, and this is by Amy T. Won, who was one of the teachers at Squam, and she had this deck of cards and I asked if it was a Tarot deck. I don’t really know how to use a Tarot deck, but she explained it’s a walking-deck and I’m not sure if this is a concept she’s developed herself or whether it’s a thing, but she has this absolutely gorgeous deck of cards with different prompts on them, and then a little booklet to explain what the prompts mean.

The idea is that you draw a card to get an idea and then go for a walk and then look for that thing. For example, I drew The Woods, “Enigmatic, mysterious, and full of life. The woods is for exploring the unknown within and without.” So when you’re walking you can just think about that prompt and maybe put a little journal or a little notebook in your pocket and make some notes about that or just sort of meditate on it while you’re walking.

I thought with my walking streak, that would be a way to make it a lot more interesting, and they’re just beautiful works of art in their own right. While I was determined not to buy any yarn, I did buy some yarn because I couldn’t resist some yarn from Wing and a Prayer Farm, who does breed-specific yarn from Beloved Flocks in Vermont. I met Tammy at the arts fair last time I was at Squam two years ago, and I kind of regretted not buying some of her yarn then, and so when I saw her there again, I had to get some.

I got some of the hundred percent Como wool, and I got two skeins of natural, and two skeins of, I think it’s avocado. It’s a pink, pinky skein and it’s so squishy, and it smells really good. I keep sniffing that because it’s sitting on my desk. It’s so nice, and then before we knew it, the whole experience was wrapping up. Sunday morning we said goodbye, and my lovely friend, Elizabeth, gave me a lift back to Boston and I made my way home. It was a lovely, lovely time. I saw lots of friends there and it was a joy to spend time with my cabin mates. Every time I go, since the first time, I have stayed with Stewart, and Bowen, and Elizabeth Doherty, who is Blue Bee Studio, and this time we also had the lovely Natalie, Susan, and Ann staying with us.

We spent most of our time when we weren’t in classes, or eating, which is another big thing at Squam. We just chatted and sat on our porch knitting, and I got a lot of knitting done. So that was really, really good. I got a lot of work done a design, which was very good, and I also worked on the neckband for my Clio with Elizabeth’s guidance, and bound that off. So I got that done. Now, I have made a little bit of progress on that, and am going to finish the body and then start working on the sleeves. I am up to the ribbing on the body. We decided that it was long enough in the pattern, and I could start the ribbing. So I’m pretty excited about that, and we’ll continue that rather epic project. But it’s definitely on track to finish before the end of the year, which was one of my goals.

So thank you to Meg, and Elizabeth, and the Squam team for putting on such an amazing event, and just very, very grateful to be able to go to that and to have had such a relaxing and restorative week away. I’ve come back with more energy and just feeling a lot more relaxed, so that was exactly what I was hoping for and I’m very grateful to have had that time.

Coming back into reality, this week at Curious Handmade HQ, we have the release of The Third Socks in the Handmade Sock Society yesterday. The Cliff Walk Socks. I knit two samples of these. The first sample is knit in The Yarn Tart’s sock yarn, and the colorway that she developed, especially for these socks is Just You and Me by The Deep Blue Sea. It’s a gorgeous deep blue. I also knit a pair in House of A La Mode sock yarn. I’d just like to read you the description for the pattern as written by my lovely copywriter, Amanda.

Breathe deeply. The air is salty and clean. The light is soft and magical. Seabirds wheel and cry here at the edge of the cliffs, they are as likely to be below you as overhead. There are almost three hundred miles of breathtaking Cornish coastline. You could walk your legs right off if you wanted to. There’s so much to see, so many places to explore, and centuries of history and romance to ponder. Hidden coves and mysterious sea caves, legends of smugglers and tales of ghosts.

Evocative names like The Devil’s Frying Pan, Mousehole, and Tintagel. Climbing up the winding footpath, you may find yourself completely alone, looking out over the water, keeping company with your own thoughts. There’s a peculiar kind of privacy at the top of a cliff. You can see for miles, but who can see you? You’re just a little dot on the horizon, hidden in plain sight. If it’s lonely up here, it’s the very best kind of lonesome there is.

Time spent in this landscape holds a constant reminder of what is possible. It’s a place to get perspective. The scale and wildness of the ocean find a counterpoint in the very small and very fragile. These ancient limestone cliffs may look sheer and forbidding, but they are home and shelter to a huge community of little lives. Rugged wildflowers and grasses set their seeds in the rocky crevices and cling, blossoming courageously just out of the salty spray.

The birds who make their nests and lay their precious eggs on narrow ledges are braver still, or maybe just silly. Their name, Fulmar, comes from the Dutch for foolish gull. But this is life, and the creative life most of all: dizzying heights and humble, hard-fought corners, and a knowing that beauty can spring up even in the most unexpected and inauspicious places when you’re willing to take a risk.

The Cliff Walk Socks are the third pattern in this season of the Handmade Sock Society. All-over lace makes them seem a little fancy, but look closer and you’ll see that the cushy stitch pattern makes these socks perfect for pulling on with a pair of boots and heading out over the dunes. The wavy lace brings to mind the ocean swell crashing into the cliffs. A simple twisted rib cuff, my trusty heel flap and gusset, and a comfortable wedge toe round out the details. Like all the Handmade Sock Society patterns, the Cliff Walk Socks is easy to customize and includes three sizes, so you can find your perfect fit every time.

So I hope you like this third pattern in the Handmade Sock Society, and you can still join in any time as a member. I just wanted to make a little note about both societies, the Shawl Society and the Handmade Sock Society, that if you are a member and you wish to get any secret emails that I might send out about yarn coming up and the next design, and any notifications about patterns coming out, then you need to join the email list for that specific season and that specific society.

You can find where to sign up in your information sheet. That is the first document, not pattern but document in the collection in Ravelry. For each of the societies there’s an information sheet in Ravelry where you find your patterns, and in that is a URL to sign up to the email. It’s a little bit complicated. We used to just sign people up, but now with the GDPR laws in the EU, we’re not allowed to do that anymore. You have to sign up yourself, and so I just wanted to make that clear if there’s any confusion.

I think people get quite confused about the emails. I have my main email list that is just newsletters and news about everything happening, but if you want to find out specific news for the society for the current season, you have to sign up to that particular list. So thank you to everybody that has, and I hope you’re enjoying it, and if your are a member of either society and you haven’t, and that’s the way to do it if you’d like to. There’s no obligation of course, but it’s mostly just information about upcoming yarn, and yarn hints for the next pattern coming out.

That’s all the news I have for you this week. Thanks for tuning in. I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.


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

Today I have a chatty little catch-up episode, which I recorded just before heading off to the Squam Art Workshops. As ever, there’s the question of travel knitting. It’s also the time of year where I like to take stock of my goals and plans so far, as we head into the second half of 2019. With the big move to Australia just around the corner, there’s a lot to plan for!

Show Links:


Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Pebbles and Pathways Socks

Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain

Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli

Seren Yarns

The Yarn Tart at Suffolk Socks

House of A La Mode

House of A La Mode at A Yarn Story

Join the Handmade Sock Society Season 2

The Minimal Mom

The Mount Juliet Shawl


Show Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 265. 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 and transcript on my website at

Hello and welcome to the show and welcome to June. How on earth did that happen? Oh my goodness. Nearly halfway through the year and I guess it’s a really good time for thinking about planning for the second half of the year. I’ve been thinking about planning all year because I have such a big deadline hanging over me, which is moving to Australia in August. So I’ve been very, very conscious of deadlines all year. But I always think that around June, just before halfway through the year, is a really good time to reassess goals and look at what you’ve achieved for the year so far and what you might like to achieve for the second half of the year.

I am even more conscious of time frames because as I sat down to record this, I’ve just been doing a little bit of catching up on my planning, reorganizing myself a little bit. And realized that it’s 10 weeks until we move, until we leave. 10 weeks today in fact. So yeah, there’s a handful of weeks that the kids still have at school or just over a handful, but under two handfuls, and then we’ll have a few weeks in which we will be going to a wedding and having movers come in and pack everything up.

So even though it’s 10 weeks, it’s not really, because I’m off to Squam this week as well. So I am really looking forward to visiting Squam Lake in New Hampshire for the Squam Arts Workshops. And as you will probably gather, if you follow me on Instagram, I am away as this is being released. So I’m prerecording it just a few days in advance this time. But by the time the episode comes out I’ll be over in the US.

So just now I am in the process of packing for that trip and I am not working this trip. Sometimes I have a stall at the art fair that they have at the end of Squam, and it’s always a really beautiful art fair, beautiful vendors. In the past I’ve had a stand there but I’m just pure holiday this time, and I feel like I could do with a break cause I’ve been working really, really hard to try and meet lots of deadlines recently.

So I’m really looking forward to relaxing. And the venue is the most relaxing place I think I’ve ever been to, it’s so beautiful. The lake is gorgeous. Being near water is really nice and being in the woods is beautiful as well. It’s just really low key and relaxed. I just can’t wait for a little break.

I’m thinking about knitting projects I’m taking, so I am taking one design project. But the design work is done, so it’s basically just knitting, which I’m really enjoying. So that’s not too taxing. And I will also be taking Clio, which is a pullover I’ve been working on for some time. At one point I did think maybe, maybe possibly I could finish it for the trip, but no, not even close. I still have part of the neckband, part of the body and the sleeves to go. So although I have done most of the body, which is a substantial part of the knitting, I am still a fair way to go. I would be interested to know what percentage it is, but I haven’t had time to calculate the percentage checklist for it. I sometimes do do that when I’m knitting other people’s patterns, put it into a percentage checklist so I know where I’m at but I haven’t this time.

And I’m looking forward to making some good progress on that as well as I am taking Pebbles and Pathways, which is a pair of socks I’ve been knitting on for awhile. It’s a pattern by Marceline Smith and I met Marc at Squam a few years ago now, probably four years ago because I didn’t attend last year. So yeah, I think it would have been four years ago. Yeah, so I don’t think Marc is going this session, but I will be taking my socks along and thinking of all the good times we’ve had at Squam together and we were cabin mates when I first met her. So I’ll be enjoying working on her design while I’m there as well. Knitting, a few rows on my socks. They are in a really summary yarn. The yarn is dyed by my friend Emma who is Seren Yarns and really loving the yarn that I’m using for that project as well. So that’s always very nice.

I’ll be packing a capsule wardrobe. And over the last few years I’ve really been working on making my wardrobe more and more capsule, which means in a way it’s a little bit boring because it’s fairly black and navy. I have my jeans and T-shirts. It’s fairly simple. I would love to have more hand sewn items in there, but I’m pleased to have two hand-knitted sweaters to take with me for once. I have my Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli and my Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain. So I am really pleased to have two hand-knit sweaters to wear, which is not always the case for me.

Yeah. So I am enjoying how fast it is to pack with my capsule wardrobe because everything goes even though it’s a bit boring, black T-shirts go quite well with black jeans, et cetera, et cetera. So it means that I can just grab a few trousers, pants, jeans and a few tops and it just all goes fairly easily. I don’t have to worry about making outfits. I will be just taking carry-on luggage and usually when I’m traveling I have a problem with space, more because of all the knitting projects I want to take than with clothes. So I’ll probably just take the one pair of shoes to have as much room for knitting as possible and any little pieces I might pick up at the market. Although with my intensive decluttering efforts lately I am less and less inclined to make purchases, although I probably will be tempted by some of the beautiful handmade things.

Anyway. I say that’s what’s coming up for me this week. I just can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to lots and lots of knitting time. I am doing two classes and I can’t remember what they are off the top of my head. So I’ll look forward to telling you all about my adventures and classes when I get back next week. We also have the third Handmade Sock Society socks coming out very soon, next week in fact. And I’ve already updated members with what yarn I used for these socks.

And the first yarn we used is by The Yarn Tart and The Yarn Tart is the hand-dyed yarn range by Julie at Suffolk Socks. Julie’s a great friend of mine and so she very generously has dyed up a gorgeous colorway, called You and me by the Deep Blue Sea, for these socks. A gorgeous, gorgeous tonal blue. Just really my perfect blue, one of my perfect blues. I love all blues. This is a really, really nice one. She still has some available on her website. I’m not sure if they’re pre-orders now or she has some ready to send, but when I checked just now, she still has some of the special colorway for the third socks.

And I also knit a second sample in House of a la Mode in their Fingering Sock weight yarn. And that is available for UK listeners at A Yarn Story, my lovely show sponsor. She has a wonderful range of House of a la Mode and she is one of my new favorite indie dyers. Just really love the jewel tones and beautiful tonals. She’s doing just gorgeous, gorgeous color. She has a a range called something like Simply Smokey or Nearly Smoky, sorry, I can’t quite remember. But a little bit smoky, and smoky colors, and I love this range. In fact, when Carmen posted a picture of a collection of colors, I just went online and bought the exact collection that she had put together. That was some time ago. I’m still wondering what I want to design with that because it was just really, really inspiring.

Anyway, so that is one of the yarns that I’ve used for the socks coming out soon. Of course you can use pretty much any sock yarn for these ones. You might want something not too multicolored or not too variegated for these ones. Let’s just say you’ll want something that will show up a bit of pattern. But that’s all the clue I’m giving you at this stage and they will be out very soon. It’s not too late to join in the Handmade Sock Society, season two. There’s still four socks in the season to come including these next ones, number three. And they will be released every other month through till December. So we still have half a year of the Sock Society still to come.

So when I get back I think I’m going to be in full-on move preparation mode. I’ve been working on getting organized for at least six months now, probably since last, I don’t know, September or October. I started thinking it would be good to start getting organized and I did have a renewed burst of decluttering at that point, which you will have heard about if you been listening to the podcast for a while. And I found myself getting a bit frustrated with the whole thing because I’ve been trying for many years now to follow the Marie Kondo method of decluttering, which is all in one hit, category by category, going through the house and really just doing a great job once. And I’ve been actually trying to do that for years and it hasn’t ever worked. I haven’t ever been able to go through and get it all decluttered in one hit.

So I was feeling a bit frustrated by this because I love the idea of being able to do it. And then I recently discovered a podcast called the Minimal Mom. I’ve mentioned her before and she’s really been very, very helpful because she’s very practical. She’s got four kids. So I know that it’s real, if you know what I mean, for a situation like mine where I have kids. So I can know that if she can do it with four kids then I should be able to do it with two. Whereas sometimes I look at people who have beautifully minimalist times and they don’t have kids and I’m making excuses because I think, “Well, I can’t do that because I have children.”

So on a recent episode she did a, my decluttering journey. And she said that she used the onion method. So obviously it’s like peeling the onion layer by layer and she talked about how she would just go into the kids room, clear a little bit out, get rid of that, then go in again the next week, do a bit more and go around the house like that. Just little bit by little bit. And so I had a little bit of a revelation because I was like, “I’m doing the onion method. Yay. I have a method.” It’s not just slightly hopeless hoarding, unable to let go of things method. It’s just the onion method. It’s bit by bit, layer by layer and that’s okay. So yeah. So I really enjoyed that episode and I’m still working on my layers.

But I think once I get back from Squam, I don’t have a huge amount of time to be too precious about too thin layers. I think I’m going to have to just be now, “Okay, you need to get down to what it is that you’re going to take with you because you don’t really have that much time to faff around anymore.” So I think that’s going to give me a really good boost for a final round. It’s going to help me be really clear about what I am going to pack and what I am not going to pack.

So that’s coming up for me when I get back from Squam and also working on the Knitvent designs. So it’s my goal to try and get those all ready for you for later on in the year so that I can have that all ready and lined up and I don’t have to worry about it or think about it too much while we’re going through the actual move, and settling in and getting kids started at new schools and things like that. So I will be trying to make sure that I have a really good rest while I’m away and hopefully coming back with lots of energy and looking forward to catching up with you again then.

So have a wonderful week everyone. Thank you so, so much for your kind words about the Mount Juliet shawl that I published last week. Lots of people have signed up to start knitting that, purchase the pattern and said lots of lovely things, so I really appreciate that. This design was very dear to my heart and was for a special group of people that we went away together on the retreat, and I’m so pleased that so many of you like it as well and are joining in with us knitting on that.

I am looking forward to seeing … I’m hoping that somebody knits it in one color. I designed it for two colors. And so it’s basically stripes of lace with some ribbing and garter texture in between. And I would quite like to see it in one color. So if you do end up knitting it in one color, do Pin me and tag me in so that I can see what it looks like. Because I think it would look quite, I don’t know, just quite sophisticated in one color as well.

So anyway, I hope you have a fantastic week and thanks for joining me for this rather chatty, somewhat not very knitting related episode. And hopefully when I catch up I’ll have lots of knitting updates to share with you. So have a fantastic week and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

The Knitting Pipeline Ireland tour was a triumph. What an incredible group of ladies. What a magical place. What beautiful memories. Even though Paula wasn’t there with us in person, her unmistakable touch was everywhere for each of those wonderful days.

I joined the group after they had toured around Ireland a little bit. They had settled into the glorious Mount Juliet country house estate for the knitting retreat portion of the trip, and I was so delighted to be a part of this company of amazing women. There was so much relaxing free time to chat and knit and soak up the surroundings, but we also had a few marvelous field trips, including a visit to a woollen mill and a rare breed sheep farm. I’ve recorded a podcast episode all about our time together, which you can listen to here.

I also have some really beautiful photos to share. Just look at this place!

Our home base, Mount Juliet, was a glorious spot, and it also inspired the shawl I designed for this retreat.

This is 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 hawthorne 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.

S I Z E 
One size

Approximately 150cm/ 59” on the curved edge, 135cm/53” straight edge and 97cm/38” cast off edge.

Olann Sock Lite 80% superwash merino; 20% nylon; 425m / 465yds per 100g skein, 2 x 100g skeins, 
Colour A: Muir (Grey) 
Colour B: Annex (Pink)

Sample knit in a light fingering weight yarn used approximately: 
Colour A: 90g 382m / 420yds 
Colour B: 75g, 320m / 350 yds

4mm (US 6), 100cm (40”) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)

Tapestry needle 
Safety pin or detachable stitch marker

24 sts/30 rows = 10cm (4”) in stockinette stitch after blocking 
Exact gauge is not critical but may affect the amount of yarn needed if different.

I love designing shawls for retreats. They seem to capture a little of the energy and magic that happens in these little pockets of sacred creative and social time. They mean a lot to those of us who were there, but they also provide a welcoming doorway for those who couldn’t be there…it’s a kind of sharing that I value highly. The Mount Juliet Shawl Pattern is now available to purchase on Ravelry. I hope that whoever casts this on feels a measure of the excitement and togetherness we felt in Mount Juliet, and enjoys every single stitch.

Buy the Mount Juliet Shawl Pattern on Ravelry!