Archives For November 2019

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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 this week’s episode we have TWO new patterns to celebrate! It’s the end of the Knitvent mysteries for this year but it’s not the end of the Knitvent fun and community! I also have news about a couple more upcoming patterns before the end of this year.

Show Links

The Sunshine Coast Collective Markets

Brynn & Co

Knitvent 2019

The Homebody Hat

The Homebody Mitts

Wren and Ollie

Happy Hank

Seren Yarns

Fragment Socks

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 277. 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.

I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story. A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades, and weights from gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and yarns and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimee, and Julie Asselin. There is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.

Can I just say what a gorgeous revamp of her website and rebrand has happened at A Yarn Story in the past week? If you haven’t been following along on Instagram or visited the website recently, Carmen has done a gorgeous job. It’s a gorgeous new logo. It’s so professional and yet so warm and friendly and knitterly at the same time. I just love it. So congratulations, Carmen. I know what a big job that is.

This week on the show we have lots of pattern release news and knit along news for you. I’ll maybe have a little bit of a chat at the end about some future plans, but yeah, mostly it’s about lots of new patterns at the moment. It’s a super busy time of year. Happy Thanksgiving to all US listeners and knitters. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend wherever you are. We’re having a a busy festive weekend here. We’re having a family Christmas party this weekend, a little bit early, so we’ll be joining in the festivities. And yeah, it’s just been one of those days. I’ve been set up my computer all day and I don’t really know what I’ve been doing. Just lots of little bits of admin and you know when you have those days where you get to the end and you’re like, “I don’t really know what I did.” So I thought I’d finish off with having a lovely chat with you and then I will have had something nice in the day that I can remember what I actually did.

Last week again, I actually went to a craft market here on the Sunshine Coast, the Sunshine Coast Collective Markets, I think it’s called up at Coolum State School, and it was a really, really lovely market. We just made it in time for the last half hour or so, and I was able to visit the stall of someone I’ve been following on Instagram for a long time, which is Brynn and Co, and she has created the gorgeous embroidery kits, the Love and Grow kit that I’ve worked on in the past and posted photos of. I’ve been working on the Grow kit. She does lovely graphics and provides all the embroidery floss and everything in the kit. So it was lovely to meet her, and I bought a magnetic needle holder that you can put on your work. It has a magnet on one side and just a little sort of almost like an enamel pin on the other side. And so you sort of pin it to your embroidery and then the needle can stay on it rather than kind of having to poke it through your work when you’re not using it I suppose.

And in knitting news, yesterday saw the release of the last two patterns of Knitvent for this season. Can’t believe it’s come around so quickly. This season I released the patterns over just four weeks. It was a little bit compressed due to starting a little bit late. And so yesterday we released the Homebody hat and mitts, which are sort of companions to the Homebody socks. I really enjoyed this stich pattern. It’s so simple and so effective, so I ended up using it in a couple of the designs and with the idea of making them into a little mini collection if you wanted to put a few things together in a gift.

It’s always a little bit of a wistful feeling when Knitvent’s over. It’s like the end of the year and heading into the holidays, but it’s also an exciting time of year. So I hope you like these two patterns. The description for the hat is “There’s a little bit of the homebody in every heart. Even a globe-trotting extrovert knows that the comforts of home are irreplaceable. Still, there are many different ways to be a home bird, and what that looks like in your life is as personal as your fingerprints. Is it a slow and solitary day where you dabble in your favorite pursuits for hours on end? Is it a big, noisy, delicious feast with a boisterous crew of loved ones trading jokes and stories over five different kinds of homemade pie? Maybe it’s just a stolen moment to yourself, between one happening and the next, where you catch your breath, look around, and know that you are exactly where you belong.

And for the Homebody mitts, “This time of year is often intense, with so many conflicting demands on our schedules. It can be especially challenging for us homebodies. The calendar fills up with parties and concerts, events and outings, shopping, chores, and a thousand errands that drag us away from the fireside and out into the wider world. And it’s all happening just when we instinctively feel a pull towards family and home. Beyond the practical demands, the emotions of the season are often complex. For many people, thoughts of home and the holidays can be bittersweet. When we start to feel as if it’s all a little too much, it’s important to have a calm and quiet place to return to, to regroup and recharge. Often, knitting is that place for me. It’s a portable retreat, a safe haven where I can rest my homebody soul even for a few quiet moments and a few thoughtful stitches.”

I decided to use two Australian indie yarn dyers for these projects. For the hat, the gray hat, I used Wren and Ollie Spin DK in the colorway gingerbread, and for the ready burgundy hat I used Happy Hank Co Classy DK in the colorway rhubarb. And both those yarns are 100% Superwash Merino. For the mitts, I used Wren and Ollie Spin DK again and this one was in the color peony, which is the beautiful light pink color. So I’ve since made Sophie a hat in the peony. So I was able to make a pair of adult mitts as well as a child hat out of 115 gram skein, which is what the put up for that particular yarn is the Spin DK. It’s 230 meters and 252 yards. So yeah, I was pretty happy with that.

I did omit about four rounds on the hat just to make sure I wasn’t playing yarn chicken, but I think actually with the amount I had leftover, I could have probably included a few more rounds. So yeah, so basically you can get a child’s hat and adult mitts out of one skein if it’s that slightly bigger skein. And I have some more Wren and Ollie and Happy Hank colorways that I ordered at the time because I couldn’t quite decide what colors to make the samples in. And so yeah, I’m looking forward to making a few more Hats and mitts sets for various friends for Christmas presents. So thank you to those gorgeous Aussie indie dyers for your gorgeous, inspiring colorways.

So upcoming for Knitvent. Now all the patterns have been released, I’m going to release the patterns as single patterns on December the 13th which is a Friday the 13th, which is a very lucky day for me because Lexie was born on Friday the 13th. So I always think that it’s a lucky number for me now and we’ll continue the knit along and extend that out until the 31st of January next year just to give people plenty of time to knit their things without pressure. Some of the things like the throw are a little bit bigger, so just to give you lots and lots of relaxing time of knitting in January. We’ll have the knit along going until then, and all you have to do to enter for the giveaway as to post a picture of your finished object in the thread on Ravelry and we’ll draw that after the 31st. I will contribute a nice prize for that. I’m not sure exactly what it will be yet, but probably some yarn and a project bag or something like that. Yeah, so that’s Knitvent.

And then we have the last of the six socks for the Handmade Sock Society coming out next week, next Thursday, and that is in a gorgeous yarn that is made by my friend Emma, I should say, dyed by my friend Emma whose Etsy shop is Seren Yarns, S-E-R-E-N. She does gorgeous, gorgeous colorways and made a special colorway for the Sock Society, which is Seaside Dreaming and it is a really dreamy color. So she’s doing an update at her Etsy shop on Sunday evening, this coming Sunday evening, the 1st of December. So I’ll put a link to her Etsy shop in the show notes, and then the socks will be coming out on this day if you’re a member of the Handmade Sock society. Of course you can use any sock yarn you have in your stash or that you decide to purchase for this, but I just wanted to give you a heads up about the special colorway from Seren Yarns.

And I am endeavoring, I have not really been committing to this goal, but I am now committed to publishing the fragment socks from issue four of Laine Magazine as a single pattern. And every time I post a picture of someone’s fragment socks on Instagram, I get asked, “When is this single pattern coming out?” And I’ve just been so slow, partly because I’m going to publish it with three sizes rather than… I think in the magazine it was just one size. So I wanted to publish it with three sizes like I normally do. So that’s probably been the main delay to be honest. Just the fact that I had that mental block about the extra work I had to do to do that, but now it’s all coming together. I think it should be possible by the end of the year. So I’m working on that basis and committing to that.

And so I will let you know more details about that probably in next week’s episode or newsletter if you subscribe to my newsletter. So thank you for your patience. I don’t even know when that pattern first came out in the magazine, but yes, it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen this year. So thanks for bearing with me through all those updates. It’s been a wonderful year for designing. I’m so honored that you knit my patterns and post photos. I absolutely love seeing what you make on Instagram and on Ravelry. It just is everything to me. I put all my effort and work into designing patterns. It’s a big part of my life now and it’s so rewarding to be in touch with you and knitters and yeah, I just love it. So I’m really looking forward to next year.

I’m planning what collections I’ll do next year and yeah, have lots more fun and creativity for us all to enjoy. It’s been a pretty intense year for me personally for a lot of reasons, but I think it’s been pretty intense for a lot of people around the world politically and all sorts of things have been happening. I feel like life is getting more intense rather than less intense. Obviously the move from the UK to Australia was a huge upheaval for us. A lot of work has been involved in that and, I don’t know, maybe I was a bit naive, but it’s been a lot more work than I anticipated. But we’re getting there, slowly settling in and I’m super happy. I feel a lot closer to nature here. We can always hear birds singing and it’s a lot quieter. We can go for walks on the beach. And when we’re just driving around the neighborhood or the town, we get gorgeous views up and down the coast and yeah, I’ve been appreciating that so much. Just really enjoying it.

I absolutely loved living in London, loved going for walks and so many things about living in London. But yeah, I’m really enjoying being here as well, so I’m so happy that it’s been a good move and the girls are slowly settling in. They are a little bit up and down. I don’t know if it’s been a bit harder for them probably. I’ve been so busy. I haven’t had time to think about things too much, but they’re missing their friends a little bit still. And I guess it’s going to take them probably about a year to really settle and have formed really good friends and everything. But I’m really pleased with how much they are loving school and enjoying the lifestyle here. They’ve both really got into swimming and it’s really good to see. Just before I sign off, I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & Coop Knits, 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 color, 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. You can find them at meadowyarn.co.uk. You can click on the ad on my blog.

So I will have one more episode for this year next week, and then we will take a little break and come back in 2020 the new decade. Can you believe that? So I hope you all have a wonderful week. Until next week. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

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.

Today we have a new Knitvent pattern to celebrate, and I’ve been planning out my collections for next year and a new creative space, which I’m very excited about. I’ve also got lots of other little life bits to share in a chatty podcast episode.

Show Links

The Dwelling Cushion Cover

Knitvent 2019

Habitation Throw

Homebody Socks

Bide Shawl

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

The Knitting Pipeline

Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankin

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 276. 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 and a transcript on my website, at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been pretty busy on here with Knitvent happening. Lots of things happening to make that all run smoothly. And yeah, doing a bit of planning, doing lots of still settling in myself and the kids into life in Australia. It seems to be ongoing still. And yeah, it’s been good.

I feel a little bit scattered because there’s just been so many things going on, on so many different fronts. But if we start with Knitvent, perhaps. Thank you so much for everybody who’s joining in. It’s been really, really lovely seeing people’s projects starting on Instagram and Ravelry. I always get a huge thrill. I try and follow hashtags. So if you’re posting under Knitvent 2019 or hashtag curioushandmade on Instagram, then I’m seeing most of your projects hopefully. And yeah, just loving it.

I’m so pleased that you like the Habitation Throw, which was the scrappy advent calendar project for this year. That seems to be quite popular. I am knitting away on one as well, so I’m just using scraps and not being too specific about what yarn I’m using. I’m just grabbing yarn and knitting it in, and so it’s a lovely, relaxing, mindless project to have to hand on the sofa when I get a few minutes to sit down.

And also the Homebody socks seem to be quite popular. DK weight socks, they always knit up really quickly and it’s such a simple pattern. I wanted something that was unisex and super simple but yet looked cute. So I see that lots of people are knitting them for all ages and genders, and yeah, really, really pleased about that too.

So this week, yesterday the Dwelling cushion cover came out. And I felt like I was going out on a little bit of a limb doing a cushion cover, but I wanted to do a couple of at least, home decor kind of things for this homebody hibernation theme. And I’ve been thinking about doing a cushion cover for a while.

One of the technical things about this was whether to do an opening or not. And I did initially swatch it with a band for doing a button closure at one end. But then in the end, I just thought, I’m just going to make it clean and simple and less knitting, and just have it so that it’s closed up with just a whip stitch or a mattress stitch at the end. And then if you need to wash it, you can just undo that stitching and then do it up again later. It’s a little bit more work and maybe not as easy for non-crafters or non-knitters to be able to do that. But I just thought how often do you actually wash your cushion covers? In my case, it’s not often, even though I have messy children. I just sort of do a spot clean and off we go.

So that was the decision I came to you, but if you really feel strongly that you wanted a closure, you could just do a band of ribbing at one end and pop some eyelets in the band, and have some buttons to close it off. That was sort of my original plan. So you could still do that. And if there’s a huge demand, I could write that as an option into the pattern as well. But I just figured for the sake of a simple Knitvent pattern, I’d just do it this way for now and see what you thought.

So it’s also a scrappy project potentially. So you could use your DK weight scraps. You could also use fingering weight scraps held double, and it’s just meant to be a little bit of a Missone inspired stripey fun design. I hope people have fun selecting colors. You could do it all in one color as well. Or you could do more even stripes. There’s lots and lots of room to play with this one. So I hope you like it.

I’ll just read out the description. Dwelling is a very pretty word for home. With a fairy tale sound, it conjures up thatch and cobblestone, Hobbit holes and toadstools, and all those old fashioned signifiers of someplace where you know you’ll find a crackling fire, an overstuffed armchair, and a pantry full of tasty morsels. But dwelling sometimes has a different meaning. One that’s tinged with worry. To dwell on something is to set up camp and hunker down with a problem, to live amid our anxieties. The challenges in our lives do need attention and care, but we deserve a sanctuary in our home, someplace we can shut out the distractions and just be with our own thoughts. A place where trouble cannot follow us. Social media and messy kitchens, current events and squabbling relatives, overstuffed to-do lists, and overdue correspondence can all wait. Fill your favorite mug with something fragrant and steamy, close the door, sit down and breathe. This corner and this moment is yours and yours alone.

The Dwelling cushion cover is a soft place to land, the perfect accessory to mark your favorite chair or window seat as your own particular dwelling place. It’s also a lovely gift for anyone who could use a little extra comfort in their life. Designed to use up scraps of DK weight yarn, this is an easy, speedy knit and a lot of fun. The pattern is written for a 40 centimeter cushion insert but is easy to modify. Artful chevron stripes of random widths offer the creative opportunity to play and experiment with color. The resulting cushion cover is a lovely blend of contemporary style and cottage charm.

So I hope you agree and I’m looking forward to seeing your cushion covers pop up on social media as well.

The other thing I’ve been doing this week is some planning. And I am looking forward to next year. I love doing a little bit of planning for the year ahead, and am gradually getting better at planning ahead for business and life. And it’s getting smoother as I get better at planning ahead.

And this year I was really pleased that I managed to schedule all my pattern releases not in holidays, and not when I was going to be traveling or at a retreat or on a family holiday. So that made a huge, huge difference to my feeling of calm and wellbeing, because the previous year I tried to do that but wasn’t really strict enough about it. And I still had a couple of patterns coming out when I was traveling. It was just super stressful, relying on uncertain wi-fi and things like that.

So last year I think pretty much every single pattern release was when I was at least in a sort of fairly stable place. I know with the move that wasn’t entirely perfect, but yeah it worked out really well. So I’m going to do that again next year, make sure that I schedule around trips and holidays as best I can. And sometimes that means a little bit of juggling if I have something like the Sock Society or the Shawl Society. Sometimes it means that the pattern has to come out a little bit earlier or a little bit later. But generally it’s been fairly even and fairly easy to do that. So I’m going to make sure I do that again next year.

I’m thinking about what collections I’m going to do next year, and I will talk a little bit more about that when I firm that up. I’m going to try to reduce the number of collections I’m planning, just to give myself a little bit more time for creativity.

The last few years, I’ve worked pretty hard and feel like I’m, if not burnt out, verging on burnout. And I feel like I need a bit of time and space for my creativity to come back, and yeah, just have a bit more fun with designing and not have so much pressure on how many things I’m taking on. I did try and take on less this year, and I think I did. I didn’t really pick up any extra projects. I said no to a lot of projects. But there were still a few I couldn’t resist. But yeah, I think I was fairly good being fairly strict with myself. But I think next year with just seeing how it went this year, I might even try and reduce things a little bit more even. It’s really hard saying no to fun projects, but I really feel like it’s necessary for me at the moment to just yeah, just need a bit more time to play, and possibly do a little bit of more fun personal knitting, bring back the joy of that.

And I also am itching to do some other crafts like embroidery and dressmaking or clothes making and some quilting. I think being here in the hot climate that the sewing and quilting is really popular here, and I think there’s just more of an urge to pick up some cool cotton fabric than wooly wool. So I think I’ll be wanting to do a little bit more of that kind of thing and see what happens with that as well.

So yes, I’ve been having fun playing around with planning and thinking about what an ideal day would look like, what the year would ideally look like. I’ve got some fun trips planned, have a very exciting wedding to go to in Ireland, in June next year. And so I’m super looking forward to that. And yeah, just lots and lots of things to look forward to.

One of my very, very favorite planning techniques is to sit down and write a letter to myself from the future. So I think like a three year timeframe is quite a good timeframe. So you sit down and think, okay, it’s Christmas 2022, and what am I doing, what’s happening, what am I working on, where am I living? And I really love that activity, and I find that’s a really, really nice way to set goals because you just envisage what you want your life to look like. And then work right from there. So that’s a really nice one.

And I’m also working on my word for the year, so I’ll announce that probably early next year as well, and have a little bit of a chat about plans and collections and word for the year and all that sort of thing, early in the new year.

So after this episode, we’ve got two more weeks of the podcast before I finish for the holiday season. I usually try and wrap up the podcast for the year around the time that the kids finish school for the year. And this year it’s a bit earlier because they finish a bit earlier in Australia than we did in the UK, just a little bit. But that’s come around pretty quickly as always.

So in terms of personal knitting, I have pulled out my Clio pullover by Elizabeth Doherty again, and I did say that I wanted to finish this by the end of the year, so I need to do some focused knitting on this project if I want that to happen. So I’ve pulled it out again. It’s been in hiatus for a while. I did think I would do a bit more on that before now, but I haven’t had time. So looking forward to doing that. I’m still keeping that as a goal to finish up by the end of the year. So we shall see. We shall see.

I feel like I haven’t been able to catch up with people very much lately and I feel a little bit sad about that. I haven’t caught up with many knitting podcasts or audio podcasts either. And even on Instagram, I’ve been on there and seeing what people are up to a bit less than usual. It’s been super busy settling in here. And just getting the kids settled has been pretty time consuming. They’ve needed a lot of support, understandably. And we’re just getting used to doing packed lunches, new routines, new places to shop. The food is pretty similar to the UK but just a little bit different. And it’s a lot hotter here, so we don’t really want to eat exactly the same things. So meal planning is taking me a bit longer. And yeah, just funny things like that are just taking up a little bit of time as we settle in.

We’re also creating some creative spaces for each of us in the house that we’ve moved into. So that is incredibly exciting. I am going to you have a office, slash craft room, slash studio of my own, and I am thrilled about that. We’re actually building that at the moment. And so I’m having daydreams about how I’m going to decorate that and set it up, and hoping to make it quite practical, as well as really inspiring. So there’s been a little bit of Pinterest and magazine browsing for inspiration on that. And I just wish I could be in touch with people a little bit more. But I think that will come in time as we settle in.

I just wanted to send out my love to Paula from the Knitting Pipeline podcast. Paula, as you might know, has been fighting ovarian cancer this year. She had the diagnosis at the beginning of the year, has had rounds of treatment, chemotherapy, and did have the good news a few months ago that the prognosis looked very good. But we had a message from her last week saying that she just had a checkup and the cancer was aggressively coming back again. And so I just wanted to give you a little update because I know that a lot of my listeners are also fans of Paula’s. And I just wanted to send out my love, and if you could send her your healing vibes, prayers, thoughts and love, I’m sure she will appreciate that and feel it.

And yeah, she is incredible. She is so inspiring, so strong, so positive, and it just makes me want to cry, how amazingly she’s handled it. And I really appreciate how much she’s kept everybody up to date. There’s a website called CaringBridge where she can post updates. It’s kind of like a blog but a bit more private. So you can sign up to get updates there, and that’s been really helpful. I just love Paula so much. She’s the reason I podcast and I just can’t wait for her to get better.

I’m reading a very interesting book at the moment actually. It’s called Mind Over Medicine. And it’s by Lissa Rankin, which is L-I-S-S-A, R-A-N-K-I-N. And this book is just all about how the mind can help with healing. She talks about it in quite a scientific way. I think she’s actually a doctor herself, the author, and she’s reviewed a lot of medical studies on the topic. So it’s not a woo woo book, it’s a scientific book. Yeah, it’s really, really interesting. And also, I don’t know, quite reassuring that the power of positive thinking can have such an impact on everybody’s health. So yeah, I would recommend it. It talks a lot about studies and it’s a little bit chatty. But yeah, just some really, really interesting things in there about how more intangible things like loving relationships or reducing stress and positive thinking can impact very strongly on your health.

So I just thought I’d mention that. It’s a really positive read, so I am thinking about that quite a lot in terms of improving my health. I have been going to Pilates three times a week for just over a month now. I was looking for a new fitness routine to get into and to look after myself as I get a little bit older and creakier. I’m really enjoying doing the Pilates. It’s at a studio where they use the reformer machines, which was super intimidating at first. But it’s kind of just like a really nice gym resistance workout. If I could describe it as anything, I’d say it’s kind of like going to the gym but a lot nicer.

And so you work on strength and core muscles, as well as flexibility and stretching. I think there’s about 10 people in the class. And they’re all women in all the classes I’ve been to anyway. I don’t think it’s a women-only gym, but it tends to be all women. And it’s just a really nice environment. It’s a really nice way to spend 50 minutes looking after yourself. So I’ve been really enjoying that.

Trying to do a little bit of swimming but haven’t been too successful there. Although I have been swimming in the ocean a couple of times, which is just gorgeous. And yeah, doing a little bit of walking. But the temperatures here are getting high that you have to plan walks early in the morning or late in the evening. I can’t just pop out in the middle of the day like I used to in London. So that’s taking a little bit more thought to arrange.

So I hope you’re all well and doing your best in this hectic season, running up to the end of the year, and running up to the holiday season.
Have a wonderful 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.

Show Links

Today on the podcast I’m talking about rituals and routines, how I’m experiencing a summery Christmas again and the memories it’s sparking, and I also have not just one but two new Knitvent 2019 patterns to introduce this week.

Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt

Knitvent 2019

The Habitation Throw

tracyrr’s Habitation project page

The Homebody Socks

Lay Family Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 275. This podcast is all about crafting your life with 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. How has your week been? I hope it’s been good. It’s that time of year where things start getting pretty busy for most people. It’s been a bit of a funny week here as in California. The area I live in has been suffering from bush fires. There’ve been some around the Sunshine Coast where I live and also in New South Wales, which is the next state down the coast and although we are not that close to them that we’re affected by actual evacuation warnings or anything, the air has been very smoky and people we know have been affected. My cousin was evacuated from her house and so yeah, so it’s just been quite unsettling and so my thoughts and heart go out to people that have been affected by it because it’s really quite scary. So I hope you’re all safe and well and coping okay with it if you’ve been affected.

Other than that, it’s been warm and sunny here. It’s just such a head spin being on the other side of the world this time of year and so it seems pretty surreal to be in hot weather. I guess the funny thing for me is it’s bringing back all my childhood and memories from younger days. I haven’t really lived in Australia since I was about 25 so for over 20 years. So yeah, so it’s bringing back a lot of memories, but it’s from quite a while ago. So yeah, it’s a little bit strange. I am enjoying it, but I’m also enjoying photos of snow and cold weather and people wearing wooly clothes as well.

Also at this time of year, it’s time to start planning. If you’re a planner, which I now am, I think. I haven’t been much of a planner in the past, but I’m getting better and better. I am starting to enjoy the process.

So I listened to an audio book. I don’t know how I came across it. I think maybe I heard Michael Hyatt being interviewed on a business podcast I listened to. I think that was what happened and he was talking about his most recent book Free to Focus. So I don’t really know what his main thing is, but he’s kind of in the productivity area. I think he has planners in those courses for planning your most productive year ever and that kind of thing. And so I was in the mood for a bit of productivity, so I listened to the audio book actually, and it’s called Free to Focus, and I thought it sounded good because it was not so much about cramming more into your day and how to be the most efficient. The whole premise is about how to take things off your plate and do the things that you want to do the most. So sort of prioritization I suppose, and how to say no to things and how to reduce workload rather than increase it.

So that’s very much along the lines I’m thinking at the moment. So I was really interested to listen to it and it was a really good book. I picked up some really, really practical tips. A couple of the tips that I particularly liked were about having a ritual for the morning and a ritual for the evening. And this isn’t anything particularly new, but just the way he spoke about it made me think about things a little bit differently. So not just that having a morning routine and evening routine, which is not a new concept at all, but he also suggested having a start work and stop work routine. So sort of having your personal morning routine, getting ready to start work, and then another sort of ritual or routine when you start work that you do every day. So that was kind of a little bit of a new way of thinking about it. And I started thinking about other things I could make rituals for or routines for like exercising and practicing music. And I don’t know, like you could make your routine a ritual out of any habit really.

So it just got me thinking down a particular track, which was good. I haven’t really planned my rituals yet, but I’m working on them. And the other thing he had in there, which was really, really helpful or I think will be really, really helpful, is about delegating. And he talks about outsourcing tasks that aren’t your sphere of where you’re most productive. Things that are in, he calls it your drudgery zone, so things you hate doing and things you’re not very good at doing. So for me like bookkeeping and accounting falls in that area, things like that. So once you identify what you could potentially delegate, he has a whole, I guess it’s a chapter, I listened to it so I’m not really sure if it was a chapter or not, but a whole section on levels of delegation, how to delegate effectively.

And this was the best piece I’d ever heard about delegating. So I am really excited to try that out because I do have a lot of help in my business. I do outsource particular tasks, but I don’t think I do it very effectively. So I’m really keen to try out some of this stuff. And he talks about automating things as well in a slightly different way than what I’d heard before. So I would recommend it. I listened to it twice and took notes and I’m sort of hoping to implement some of it. So, so I’d really recommend it if you’re into your productivity and trying to, I don’t know, get organized then yeah, it’s called Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt.

So you might guess by my rather lengthy chat about something completely non-related to knitting that I possibly don’t have a lot of knitting to talk about this week. I haven’t managed to really do much knitting, although I am quite happy that a couple of the pieces that I’ve designed for Knitvent, which haven’t come out yet, but various family members have requested that I make them some, which doesn’t really happen very often. So I’m pretty excited about that. So I’ve been making a couple of extra samples of upcoming Knitvent designs. So that’s been kind of nice.

And this week, yesterday, two patterns were released for Knitvent. I’ve had to compress this schedule slightly this time because I didn’t start as early as I wanted to with Knitvent. Things got away from me a bit with the move and everything. So I have just started it a week later, which meant that this week I had two patterns released. So the patterns are the habitation throw and this is a super simple, but I think quite effective little throw, you can make it any size you want. I’m quite pleased with the design for this because it’s really flexible. So I have designed it for people with advent calendars.

The sample we knit, we used 10 gram mini skeins, 24 10 gram mini skeins, but you could also use your 20 gram mini skeins if that’s the size of the advent calendar you have. Or you could use leftover scraps from projects. If you’re like me, you have boxes and boxes of fingering weight leftovers. And I actually used… I selected 24 different skeins of leftovers from previous projects for the set this year. I didn’t use a purchased set I used, I made a set and my lovely sample knitter Deb knit it up for me and also took the photographs. And so they’re absolutely gorgeous.

Yeah. So it’s lots of fun. So basically you sort of increase until you’ve used about 50% of your yarn, maybe a little bit less if you don’t want to play yarn chicken, and then decrease for the other 50%. So at the square and it goes out and then back in. And so you can see from that it’s super, super flexible. You could use any weight of yarn. You could use more or less and yeah, you could just do it in one color or lots of stripes. I was quite tempted to do it more stripey, so stripe two of the advent colors together, but I wanted to keep it as a sort of an advent project for Knitvent so that if people are sort of opening one skein a day, they can add a color per day. So I stuck with that concept. But you could do stripes, you can use two colors and stripe it or, yeah, just so flexible. So I’m really pleased with how flexible it is and I hope you have lots of fun with it.

My lovely test knitter Tracy used [Hey set and 00:12:04] and I think she had, I want to say 20 or 30 gram mini skeins. She’ll have the details on her project page on Ravelry and she is Tracy, T-R-A-C-E-Y-R-R on Ravelry. If your interested in sort of seeing a different version from the sample that I knit or that Deb knit, I should say. I am knitting my own sample as well because it’s quite potato chippy. So I started quite a big swatch and I’ll continue. I’ll continue with my swatch.

And then the second pattern that was released this week is the homebody socks. These socks are in DK weight yarn and super squishy. I kind of designed them with sort of house socks, bed socks in mind, but of course you could wear them with boots or shoes and have nice cozy socks. I used Lay Family Yarn, DK yarn. This is a great option. It’s has some nylon in it so it’s good for socks and Kelly from Lay Family Yarns dyes, gorgeous colors and I use the very two-four pink color.

The socks have been written in four sizes. So I’m basically thinking a toddler, toddler size, a child. The medium is approximately a woman’s size and then a large, yeah, so lots and lots of options. They’re pretty flexible as well in terms of sort of length or you could adjust the length of cuff if you wanted to make them a bit shorter or a bit longer depending on how much yarn you have. So yeah, so two patterns this week, the habitation throw and home body socks. I hope you really love them. I’m pretty excited about them. I think they’re really fun and thank you so much for everybody joining in and posting your patterns on Ravelry. I see that there’s lots of bide shawls popping up and they’re being made up pretty quickly as was the intention. Lots of cozy, cozy shawls happening. So that’s fun to see. And if you’re posting on Instagram or social media, you can use Knitvent 2019 hashtag. I’m following the hashtag so I can see everything that you’re making.

As always, it’s not too late to join in. You can still join in with purchasing the Knitvent 2019 ebook. It is only available on Ravelry and there are still two weeks and three patterns to go.

So thanks for tuning in. I hope you have a wonderful week. I am going to make it another short episode this week. I’m still getting back into the swing of it and my best friend from university days is arriving in the morning for the weekend and we’re going to have a nice girly day tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to that and I need to do a little bit of preparation.

CH 274: The Podcast Returns!

Helen —  November 6, 2019 — Leave a comment
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I’m so thrilled to be chatting with you again after such a long break. Thank you for bearing with me while I found my bearings in my new home. I have a bit of a life update for you. Knitvent 2019 just started yesterday with the reveal of the Bide Shawl, our first pattern. Welcome home!

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The Knitvent 2019 collection was inspired by the theme of “Home for the Holidays”.

As the year draws to its end, we’ll celebrate all the quiet joys of hibernation and gather close in gratitude for our own cosy nests.

The word “home” can have a hundred different meanings. It might be where you grew up: a place rich with treasured memories, priceless heirlooms, and familiar customs handed down through generations. It can be somewhere brand new, a space you carve out for yourself and fill with chosen family and your own fresh traditions. It may simply be a feeling of safety, hard-won and precious, which you carry with you wherever you go. Whatever home means to you, and wherever your home might be, the six mystery patterns we’ll share this season will spark your love for the life of a homebody. Let the outside world bustle and rush. We’ll be right here in our favourite corner, peacefully knitting to our hearts’ content.

For the past six years, Knitvent has held a special place in the Curious Handmade community. It’s now a favourite holiday that brings us all together by mixing the old-fashioned anticipation of an Advent calendar with all the excitement and fun of a mystery knit along. Over a span of four festive weeks, six secret knitting patterns will make their way to your Ravelry library. It’s an irresistible mix of presents for the most knitworthy people you know, special touches for your home, and treats for yourself to help make this holiday season warm and wonderful. 

The Curious Handmade Ravelry group is a welcoming home for like-minded knitters at this time of year, glowing with Knitvent spirit. The friendship, support, encouragement and enthusiasm you’ll find there are truly heartwarming. Over on Instagram, you’ll also find so many inspiring images and posts from the talented members of the Curious Crew: just use #Knitvent2019 to join in! Throughout the Knitvent season there will be contests, KALs and prizes, holiday stories and surprises, and a delicious sense of togetherness. Every year seems more magical than the last, and I hope you’ll come be a part of it all. 

Become a part of the Knitvent family and treat yourself to a season of joyful holiday surprises!

Purchase the the Knitvent ebook on Ravelry!

Our first pattern, the Bide Shawl, was revealed yesterday!

Bide is such a quiet word. It speaks of stillness, steadiness, and learning to stay. Sometimes it means being able to endure: to bide a winter storm is to withstand its mighty winds. Sometimes it’s just a gentle visit: bide awhile, put your feet up, get comfortable, catch up on all the chat. One definition for bide is “to wait calmly for a good opportunity to do something” which is delightfully specific. There’s so much in that one line. Patience, wisdom and also a kind of peaceful optimism. If you know how to bide your time, you must trust that something wonderful is on the way. 

The pressure to rush around in an exciting holiday whirl seems to come just at the time when the urge to remain close to home and loved ones and quiet pursuits is strongest. It requires a calm and steady intention to stay put instead of saying yes to every invitation and opportunity that comes along. It takes a willingness to bide. 

The Bide Shawl is our first surprise pattern of Knitvent 2019. Knit from bulky yarn with simple texture and eyelet rows, a smart garter border and playful tassels, this triangular shawl is a deeply satisfying, quick knit. It makes an exceptional present as it’s achievable even at the last minute but is substantial enough to make quite the impression. It would also be a lovely thing to knit for yourself, for those cosy moments biding by the fire.

The Bide samples were knit using my favourite cuddly, squishy bulky weight yarn, Tundra, from The Fibre Company. The red shawl (medium sample) used the Red Arctic colourway, and the cream/grey shawl (large sample used the Baby Beluga colourway.

Knitvent 2019 Giveaway winners

The Knitvent 2019 Giveaway has closed, but I’ve left the beautiful Giveaway thread open for anyone else who would like to share their memories and thoughts about their beloved homes. It’s such an uplifting and emotional read: thank you all so much for sharing. Here are our giveaway winners:

Grand Prize
Post 68 by aliad555 
“Home is spending time with my husband and dogs, the feeling of safety, warmth and comfort and being very grateful for all that we have.”

Congratulations! Please message HellsBells on Ravelry with your address and we’ll get your prize into the post for you!

Ten Winners of Mount Juliet Shawl Pattern:

Post 82: kristinknitting

Post 134: 2mayboys

Post 73: thierria

Post 109: CarolIsASong

Post 11; sabinaknits

Post 75: craftyMil

Post 146: catvet

Post 149: AlohaGirlBC

Post 108: porthia

Post 30: Bgeldmaker

If you’re one of our lucky winners, please get in touch if you already own the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern and let me know which pattern you’d like instead.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 274. 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.

Hello knitters. I’m back and I’m so happy to be chatting to you today. I wasn’t sure when I would be able to podcast again and I was chatting to a friend who listens to the show, and it just made me realize how much I miss you all. So I decided that I would make a special effort today and get over that slight fear of recording again after a long break.


So as you probably know, if you’ve been listening for a while, the long break was due to moving to the other side of the world, from London in the UK to the Sunshine Coast in Australia. We are living in a town called Buderim, which is right in the middle of the beach area north of Brisbane. So we are, I don’t know what that’s really, it feels tropical, I think it’s called the subtropics and so it’s pretty, pretty warm. We’re heading into summer. See, I can’t even stop giving you a weather report even though I’m on the other side of the world.


But yeah, just to give you a bit of an orientation and a flavour of where I am now. Yeah, it’s a beach community and it’s pretty amazing. We’ve swapped sirens, ambulance and police sirens for bird song. It’s very spacious. I think we’re almost over our slight feeling of agoraphobia. But yeah, wide roads, wide car parks, lots of space in the garden and much bigger houses. Yeah, it’s all quite different, but in quite a nice way, I have to say. People are very friendly. Because we’re not living in a city, it’s just so much more relaxed than city life. I don’t know how you’d describe it. The Sunshine Coast is a very sprawling, sprawling area and it’s made up of lots of little beach towns spread along the coast. And they’ve kind of over the years all joined up to make one sprawling big kind of city, really. But yeah, it’s all very spread out compared to London.


And so, there’s everything we need, like all the shops and grocery stores and everything we need, but just enough, not too much of anything. And yeah, the pace of life is a lot slower. It’s wonderful. So, so far we’re really enjoying it. I don’t think we’ll get bored. We could always entertain ourselves with going to the beach and doing lots of crafts and we always have iPads and TVs for when it gets too boring. It’s been a really interesting time and the kids have started their new school and well, the kids have been so welcoming and friendly and the teachers that they have are wonderful. They have just joined in for the last term of this year and then they’ll start their new school year in January over here. So it’s a bit of a different rhythm to the year.


But yeah, it’s one that’s kind of familiar to me from my school days. So it’s kind of nice to be going back to what I grew up with, in a funny kind of way. So I don’t know if you all notice my accent change. I’m not sure if it has already or not. You probably will notice a bit of a change and I might slow down a bit. We’ll see. I don’t know. I’m a bit embarrassed about that or a bit conscious of it, let’s say. But anyway, I’m just going to not worry about it too much and hope that you can still understand me if I start talking in a broad Australian accent.


So we have moved into our house here and all our boxes arrived from the UK. Lots and lots and lots of boxes, which we’ve almost unpacked. So reunited with the stash, which was nice, and I ended up having lots and lots of boxes of yarn and lots of boxes of books and not a lot else, in terms of personal stuff. There was quite a bit for the kitchen. But yeah, it was quite funny how it ended up being mostly crafting stuff and books. And most of the books are either craft or cooking books. So it’s been funny unpacking everything and seeing it in a new environment. It’s making me look at things with slightly fresh eyes. I’m not sure if it’s going to help me destash or declutter things a bit more, having it in a different environment, but most of it I feel like, oh, I still love it and I’m glad I brought it all this way. So, that’s been really nice.


Yeah. So we’re just gradually settling in. It’s taking a bit longer than I kind of anticipated. I mean, I’m very impatient and also overambitious, so I kind of just always anticipate that I’ll do things quicker than I actually can in real life, but we’re getting that and feeling really quite settled for considering we’ve only been back a month or two.


So mostly what I’ve been doing on the work side of things is working on Knitvent. And while I have had the theme for this year’s Knitvent in mind since the very beginning of the year, back maybe even since the end of last year actually, it just seems so appropriate to me, personally at the moment, because we are settling in and nesting into a new home. And so the theme, come home for the holidays with Knitvent, just seems really even more right.

So as the year draws to its end, we’re celebrating all the quiet joys, hibernation, and gathering close in gratitude for our own coziness. The word home can have a hundred different meanings. It might be where you grew up, a place rich with treasured memories, priceless heirlooms and familiar customs handed down through generations. It can be somewhere brand, a new space you carve out for yourself and fill with chosen family and your own fresh traditions.


It may simply be a feeling of safety, hard won and precious, which you carry with you wherever you go. Whatever home means to you and wherever your home might be, the six mystery patterns we share this season will spark your love for the life of a home body. Let the outside world bustle and rush. We’ll be right here in our favorite corner, peacefully knitting to our heart’s content.


So I hope you enjoy the theme of this year as Knitvent. Knitvent is following its usual format. It’s a little bit more sort of squashed together time wise this year, over four weeks. So we have six patterns and they’re coming out basically as a subscription, a mystery package, over four weeks. So the first week, which just came out yesterday, is the first pattern. And then next week there’ll be two patterns in the one week. The week after one, and the last week, there’ll be two patterns again.


So yes, so very excited about this season. I hope you like the pattern that came out yesterday, the bide shawl and it is knit in one of my very favorite snuggly yarns, which is Tundra by the Fibre Co. They brought out I think six new colors of Tundra this year and so I’ve chosen two of the new colors for two different sizes of the shawl. It’s a really, really snugly quick knit and if you don’t have bulky yarn in your stash, you’re wanting to knit from stash and you don’t have the bulky yarn, I think it might even be super bulky, you can easily substitute another yarn weight with this shawl.


Just use an appropriate size needle. I like to use 4 mm for fingering weight, about four and a half to five for DK, and then maybe about 6 mm for a worsted weight. It’s just whatever fabric you like. With a shawl, it’s not too critical with gauge and this shawl, you can just knit more or less repeats of the very simple pattern or you can add a big garter border if you wanted to, make it a bit bigger or you know, it’s really, really flexible, this one. I deliberately designed it to be flexible as to [mom 00:11:31] size, knowing that people often like to knit their Knitvent patterns from stash.


So even if you are not a bulky wool fan for whatever reason or you know, sometimes the bigger needles can hurt your hands. I can relate to that. Just use something that’s in your stash. My test knitter, Tracy, who’s TracyRR on Ravelry, used a wonderful set of worsted weight yarn. She had enough stash in, I think three or four different colors, so she used some lovely stash in that way and it just looks stunning. A sort of a gradient effect. So thank you so much Tracy for testing for me. As always, thank you to Deb for knitting one of the samples for me. I knit one and Deb knit one this time. And yes, Tracy did a wonderful job test knitting for me, so I just really hope you enjoy this one.


We also had a giveaway for their launch of Knitvent and the prompt in the thread was to talk about the meaning of home for you. And it was super beautiful and moving. I always have so much joy reading these giveaway threads and people were talking about what makes home for them and people mentioned their family, friends, pets, beautiful places, treasured belongings, traditions, some recipes that make people think of home, especially around the holidays, and very much the feeling of being secure and loved and grounded. And just reading through the posts made me so emotional. I was already feeling a bit emotional today and then I started reading these posts and feeling even more emotional, but just so much love and gratitude just beaming out from these pages. So you are all so gorgeous and warm and generous to share your stories and lots of beautiful photos. Such an uplifting thread in Ravelry, if you have a moment to have a look. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, to everybody who joined in.


So I’ll just announce the winners of the giveaway and the grand prize winner, which is a skein of yarn, a project bag and a Laine knit journal. The winner is post number 68, who is aliad555 , Alison, and she said, “Home is spending time with my husband and dogs, the feeling of safety, warmth and comfort, and being very grateful for all that we have.” So, thanks very much and congratulations Alison.


And I’m also giving away 10 copies of the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern, which is my latest single shawl pattern. So the winners of that are;

Post 82: kristinknitting

Post 134: 2mayboys

Post 73: thierria

Post 109: CarolIsASong

Post 11; sabinaknits

Post 75: craftyMil

Post 146: catvet

Post 149: AlohaGirlBC

Post 108: porthia

Post 30: Bgeldmaker

So thank you so much for entering and congratulations. If you would like to message me on Ravelry at HellsBells. For Alison, who won the grand prize, please message your postal address and we’ll get that in the mail to you. And for everybody who won the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern, we’ll pop that over to you in Ravelry. If you already have that one in your library already, you can just message and let me know an alternative that you would like and we can also send you that one.


So I’m just going to keep it pretty short and sweet for this return podcast episode. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t had time to do any personal knitting, so I can’t really talk about that. I have done a few rows here and there on things, but mostly been working on designs and just making sure that Knitvent’s all or ready to go. So, I think I’ll just leave it there today. I just wanted to pop in and say a big hello to you all, get back into the groove of things, and I hope you are all well and enjoying your knitting and I’m just really happy to be back. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.