Archives For March 2020

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Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

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

As the schools close here in Australia and we all strive to cope with our anxiety, I’ve been turning to projects that feel like comforting old friends. I also have the Ambient Socks to introduce for you, and details about some KALs I will be hosting to help keep our spirits up.

Show Links:

Meadow Yarn on Instagram

Meadow Yarn

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Ambient Socks

The Walk Collection Yarn

Hedgerow Yarns

Apple Blossom Socks

The Knitting Expat

Tilda Fabric

Elton Cardigan

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 289. 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 and the transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.


I’d like to say a very big thank you to my sponsor Meadow Yarn. Alongside an interesting and eclectic young range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic lopi and CoopKnits. We stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched hand dyed by Meadow Yarn, 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 whites and bases. With regular updates our collections of all of them grow inspired by the landscape and people around us.


You can find them at meadoywarn.co.uk. Or you can click on the ad on my blog. If you follow Meadow Yarn on Instagram, you will have seen that Anj has been dying up some absolutely stunning colorways, especially recently. I’ve just been very drawn to them. And she is still able to post yarn at the moment. So yeah, I’m sure she would appreciate any support and the colorways are just stunning. So very tempting.


Hello and welcome. Well, what another week it’s been. Obviously it’s been a very intense time for everyone and despite me thinking I would sort of reset a little bit this month, March is not the new January after all, that’s for sure. Schools have finally been closed here in Australia and I think most of the schools have been trying to put together online learning, distance learning facilities for the kids when they go back from holidays after Easter.


We have one week before the holidays officially start and so our school is just spending the week having pupil free days preparing and testing some distance learning facilities that they’ve been putting in place. Then we’ll have two weeks Easter holidays and see what happens after that. I’m assuming that we will be homeschooling and yeah. So if you hear any background noise, I’m sorry but I have to record when people are around now. And I’m trying to minimize any background noise but it may be happening despite my best efforts.


So I hope you’re all physically well and also keeping calm and the anxiety isn’t too high. I’m sure that it is quite high, but I think for me I’m trying to be very conscious of that and try to keep it under control. I don’t think that being at home with my family and being super stressed out will do any of us any favors. So I’m trying to just focus on my … Basically my top priority is to just keep calm and keep the kids calm as well.


I think it’s going to help a lot now that they’re not going to school, because that was causing me a lot of anxiety and also them because everyone’s talking about it and they can see a lot of kids in their class starting to drop off and drop out as parents were keeping them at home more and more. And so I think once we can get into a little bit of a routine here that’s going to help in a way. Although it does seem a bit daunting at this point to think that I’ll be trying to do a little bit of work hopefully and as well as looking after them.


But I have had more experience than normal with that over the past year, because due to moving we had a long summer holiday for the Northern hemisphere and then we had another long summer holiday for the Southern hemisphere. So I’m kind of used to having them around more than normal at the moment, which I think might hopefully stand me in a little bit of good stead and will hopefully let us get into a good routine fairly quickly.


My husband did PE class with them this morning and so they practiced their netball. And I think that’s going to be good, because having moved from the UK to Australia, they’re a bit behind in their netball skills from the other kids their age I’d have to say. Netball is such a big sport here and all the kids, pretty much all the kids play it pretty well. Obviously there’s different levels but it’s a much, much bigger sport here than it was in the UK. They did learn how to play netball and there was a netball club in the UK so it’s not like they’re completely unfamiliar with it, but it’s huge here.


So yes, we have a net set up and a netball. So luckily netball doesn’t rely on bouncing the ball too much, so you could do most of the skills without a sort of a too much of a flat concrete area, if that makes sense. So thanks to everybody who’s chatting on all the Ravelry threads and I did set up a thread for people to chat if they wanted to share about how they’re coping at the moment and we’ve had some conversation happening there, which has been nice.


I think it really helps to feel connected to the knitting community during this time. And I certainly very much appreciate it. I already felt very connected to people around the world, knitters around the world. It’s just really nice at the moment to have friends everywhere and be chatting with them.


So this week I released the second pattern for The Handmade Sock Society and they are the Ambient Socks. So I’ll just read the description for those. It’s the sort of sound that’s carried on the wind, the type of music that subtly invokes a specific emotion, the kind of lighting that can make a room feel cozy, intimate, inviting. Ambient is an interesting word. It comes from the Latin for surrounding and circling. Used in turn by great scientists and inspired poets. It has a gentle reputation but holds a secret power. The things it described are so all encompassing and so much a part of our environment that we barely notice them consciously. And yet our environment has immense influence on every part of our lives, our moods and our creativity. When you change your environment, you change your world.


The Ambient Socks offer an absorbing knit with eyelet lace on the front of each sock, continuing down the foot and a textured pattern on the back of the leg. The stitch patterns have been chosen to make the most of even highly variegated yarns, spreading and diffusing the different colors. An eye of partridge heel flap and gusset and a round toe in contrast color finish things off. I love to use up scrap sock yarn or minis this way. There are three sizes to choose from and as always the pattern is easy to adapt if you prefer a different heel or toe so you can find a great fit.


The yarn I used for these socks is by The Walk Collection Tough Sock and the main color is Cosmic Chaos, which seems quite appropriate. And the contrast color is Propolis. So a few weeks ago when I was talking about where I came up for the inspiration for this collection, for the theme, which is atmosphere, I was actually at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. And I didn’t mention it at the time, but it was when I was talking to Katrin at her Walk Collection store that that word popped into my head and became the theme for the collection. So it’s actually this yarn that has kind of sort of inspired the whole theme.


I think their Cosmic Chaos colorway is really gorgeous and I have really fond memories of standing, talking with Katrin about choosing contrast colors for the heel and toe. And she is so generous. She gifted me the yarn and I’m very happy to have been able to use it to the collection and how it’s turned out in the design. I think it’s really lovely. So thank you so much Katrin and for your generosity and gorgeous yarn. Thank you to Amanda for writing the gorgeous description I just read out and huge thank you to Deb who is Tinkhickman on Ravelry and Instagram for knitting the sample for me and her gorgeous photography. Also a big thank you to Tracey, who is TraceyRR on Ravelry and Comfy Red Couch on Instagram for her wonderful test knitting, Emma and Anna for their tech editing.


And just thank you, I appreciate my gorgeous knitting team so much and I hope you enjoy knitting these socks if you’re participating in the Handmade Sock Society. So as I was sitting here this week, just watching the news way too much still and just thinking about what I can do in this situation to try and help people which sort of feel a bit powerless. Being on one hand being called to stay at home and not do anything or go anywhere. And then on the other hand, just seeing so many people in need and needing help.


I thought I’d just try and inject a little bit of joy into life for my knitters and formalize some of the knit-alongs that we have happening anyway. I wanted to get a bit organized with the knit-alongs for the Handmade Sock Society. And so I have set dates for the knit-alongs and so I thought I’d give people just under two months for each sock. So they’re just ending just a little bit before another sock comes out. So that the knit-along for the first socks, which is the Luminary Socks, which is happening at the moment will end on Tuesday the 14th of April. There is a finished object thread in Ravelry at the moment and there are already 83 stunning projects in that thread, posted in that thread. So I’ve just formalized the end date for that, which is the 14th of April.


So that still gives you a little bit of time. That will be just over two weeks away. And then I’ll announce the winners on that Friday after, that’s a Tuesday, so on the Friday after that. And I have just had a little hunt around in my stash just now for that first knit-along prize and I found a really, really cheerful, beautiful skein of Hedgerow Yarns, sock yarn, which is called Tickety Boo and Jane dies gorgeous, gorgeous sock yarn. And I actually used her yarn for my very early sock pattern, Apple Blossom Socks, if you remember those ones.


So yes. So I’ve had this yarn for a little while. I was sort of collecting her yarn and I have also found a really, really cute little project bag which is perfect for sock size by MinaMakes, the knitting expat Mina. And this is a project bag that has a print of a map of London, kind of quirky print on it. So just a fun little prize for that knit-along just to make cheer things up a little bit and I’ll try to take it a photo of that and post it soon. And then I’ll find another prize for the socks just publish, the Ambient Socks and post that soon as well. So until the end there’ll be two knit-alongs happening at the same time and they’ll sort of leapfrog each other as we go along.


The other thing I came up with just to inject a bit of fun and community into things is to make a bit more of a formal knit-along for the knit20for2020 Challenge. Earlier in the year I published a list of prompts of things that we can work on and knit and that’s available as a PDF and also as images in Instagram. And it’s just sort of being quite casual and people just working on their own challenges. But I thought what I could do is have a knit-along as well with some prizes and I also wanted to try and support some of our small yarn businesses that are struggling at the moment. And so I thought that the plan is that we’ll have a thread each month in Rivalry for knit20for2020, sort of a monthly thread. You can post a project that you’ve ticked off from one of the knit20for2020 challenges in that thread. And also in the same post if you nominate and independent yarn business, an Indie Dyer or a local yarn shop that you’d like to receive a gift certificate for if you’re the winner.


So you can give a shout-out to one of your favorite Indie Dyers or yarn shops. And similarly on Instagram, if you post a photo of something you’ve completed as part of the challenge and include the hashtag of course, which is knit20for2020, and also in your caption nominate and tag an Indie Yarn Dyer or a local yarn shop that you’d like to receive a gift certificate for.


And then at the end of each calendar month I am going to draw one entry from Ravelry, one entry from Instagram, you can enter on both. And the prize is going to be a $50, 50 U.S. dollars, not Australian dollars. That would be a bit sad. So 50 U.S. dollars and or the equivalent currency to that, depending on the country. And I will arrange a gift certificate or way of purchasing a prize for you to that value if you win from a random draw.


So I hope that all makes sense and is clear, I’ll put it in the show notes, all the details in the show notes, as well as in the Ravelry thread and I’ll post about it on Instagram as well. So I just thought it would be a nice way of spreading the love a little bit and a chance for you to share some of your favorite Indie businesses and to support them a little bit at this time.


So that will continue for the rest of the year. Hopefully we won’t be in this lockdown situation for the rest of the year, but the knit-along will happen throughout the year and I think it’s going to be really lovely and really fun. So I’m looking forward to seeing your projects as well as discovering some new yarn dyers and Indie businesses.


With that being such a mixed up week, I haven’t really done a lot of knitting and in fact I have pulled out a non-knitting project which was on my list of happiness projects a couple of years ago, which is a patchwork quilt that I made. It’s such a pretty happy quilt. I used Tilda fabrics, so it’s really just really lovely, pretty colors. And it was almost finished, I had it professionally quilted and the binding was sewn on. So all I need to do now is sew down the binding and so I’ve pulled that project out and it has been really the perfect project for this week.


I’ve just been doing some very gentle stitching on the binding of my quilt and I’m, I don’t know, about three quarters of the way around. I think I’ve done about three sides now, so I will continue with that and look forward to finishing that. And then I need to choose my next fun personal knitting project for my knit20for2020 challenge. I’m thinking about doing the Elton Cardigan. I have the yarn for that Aimée from La Bien Aimée gifted me some gorgeous, gorgeous Yellow Brick Road that inspired the name of the cardi.


Aimée gave that to me at a country house retreat a couple of years ago and so it reminds me of lovely times and it’s such a bright, sunny yellow color. And it makes me think of friends and so I think that might be the one. I just have to decide if I’m up to knitting mohair at the moment or not. That’s the only slight reservation in my mind. But I think it could be okay. I think it’s a fairly straightforward design. And yeah, I think that will be a nice one to do at the moment.


So, I’ll keep you posted if that’s what I end up settling on. I still have several whips that I probably should be finishing off, but I’m kind of itching to start something new as well. And just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor A Yarn Story and just to note that A Yarn Story has to close its doors for people coming into the shop, but they are still doing mail order services, online ordering. And they are offering a sort of personal shopping appointment so that you can call them and Carmen will sort of show you different colors of yarn if you can do a FaceTime call or I think that’s how they’re doing it. They will take photos of different color combinations and things like that.


They’re really trying to help serve their customers at this time and I really appreciate them and their beautiful, beautiful yarns they have there. 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 Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui knits, La Bien Aimée 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.


So thank you so much for being here, being part of the Curious crew and I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate you at this time and I appreciate everybody who’s bought patterns recently. I just wanted to remind you that there is a buy one get one free offer still happening till the end of the month, so the 31st of March. And you do need a coupon code for that and the code at checkout is fresh. And all you need to do is put two patterns in your basket and use the code fresh. I think the way I’ve set it up, you could actually put four in there and get two for free. I think I haven’t put a limitation on how many times you can use the coupon code.


So yes, if you fancy stocking up on some patterns, now’s a good time. And thank you to everybody who has taken advantage of that and bought patterns. I really appreciate it. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re okay. Do reach out. We have a thread in Ravelry if you want to chat and on Instagram as well. Love you, take care. 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.

As the news gets more concerning, I am doubling down on calming and self-care practices, and have a few ideas to share about what’s working for me. I also have some long-awaited news: I can tick the “Finish a long-term WIP” line off my #knit20for2020 list finally!!

Show Links:

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Calm App

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

John Arbon Texiles

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 288. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Ellen and you can find me on Ravelry as Health Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at Curioushandmade.com


Hello and welcome. Welcome to this weird and wonderful world we are currently and I just wanted to say, I hope you’re okay. I know that this is a hugely difficult time for a lot of us and I just wanted to have a chat with you today. Hopefully just keep you company for a little while and yes, just a knit with you for a little while possibly. Down here in Australia, things have progressed a bit since I last spoke to you and we have had, I think last time I spoke to you, the main measures that had been implemented were, I think on Monday they’re now just outside gatherings of more than 500 people were banned.


And as of today they have announced that indoor gatherings of more than a hundred people are band and they’re advising Australians not to travel overseas or abroad at all and anyone arriving has to self isolate for 14 days, but schools are still open and shops are still open. I don’t think there’s been any advice to sort of close shops or restaurants or anything. I don’t know if restaurants having a capacity of more than 100 people counts as a gathering, but it’s a bit hazy at this stage, but we’re not really going out much anyways. So I’m not sure how other people are interpreting it.


My kids have been home sick all week anyway. We’ve had a horrible cold in the family and its main symptom is a really sore throat. So the girls have been off school and I decided I would record this podcast on Wednesday, so it’s March the 18th just in case I get the really sore throat and can’t record later in the week. So by the time this is published on Friday, things might have changed again. I’m not sure, but I thought I’d get this recorded while I had a nice window of quiet and my throat, I keep imagining that I’m getting a tickly throat.


So you know how it is when you’re worried you’re going to get sick, you keep imagining that you are. So far it hasn’t developed into anything yet. Thank goodness. So I guess like most people I know we’re all feeling very anxious at the moment and I’m kind of laughing at myself a bit because I’m finding that compulsion’s to do certain things caused by the anxiety are coming out and they’re sort of things that I’ve experienced in the past when I’ve had high stress like exam periods or really stressful work periods.


And so I’m getting those urges to clean and control my food and maybe shop. Yeah, just sort of my go to anxiety behaviors are coming out at the moment. So I feel like it’s good that I can recognize that now. When I was at university I couldn’t really see those behaviors, but now I can. So that’s good I guess. And what I decided to do is write myself a to do list and a stop doing list. So I am going to concentrate on daily meditation.


Re-implement my walking, my daily walking, which has just completely fallen off the plate or something. I am going to make myself go for a 20 minute walk each day and keep up with pilates as long as it’s open. It’s a very small class. So I think that’s okay. Do my work, practice music and then make time for fun, creative projects, chatting and emailing with friends and family and preparing healthy meals and eating lots of veggies. So that’s on my to do list and stop doing, includes refreshing news feeds constantly. I’m going to set times for catching up with the news and thanks to my copywriter, Amanda for that idea.


I’m going to stop scrolling Instagram and set times for that as well because I get a lot of my news through Instagram and stop worrying about when the schools will close. I’ve sort of been expecting the school’s close and trying to mentally prepare for that and think what I’ll do with the girls and what schoolwork I’ll do with them and how I’ll entertain them, but I’m going to stop worrying about that for now because at the moment the schools open and I think that they are trying to balance out keeping parents free to be able to go to work, especially if they’re in healthcare services versus the risk of kids being at school and the risk of kids having to stay home with grandparents, while their parents work versus being at school.


So I can understand that balancing act and I guess they just must be doing it on a risk assessment basis or some kind of formula. I’m not sure whether I should have that much faith in the powers at be, but I guess I just have to at the moment and in any case that girls aren’t at school anyway so I am going to stop worrying about that as you can probably tell from my little spiel there, I’m not really stopping worrying about it but I’m going to try.


And that’s the main things I’m going to stop trying to do and just worrying, generalized worry is not really helping me. So I’m going to try and catch myself out doing that. Try and minimize the worry because the anxiety won’t help with anything and it will just make me more stressed. So anyway, that’s where I’m at at the moment. After I record this, I’m going to set up a thread in Ravelry for us to chat about things and maybe share ideas for getting through this crisis.


Because I think it’s going to be a reasonably long term issue for everybody now. The advice on travel from the government here was not to travel and the time of frame was indefinitely. So I’ve read some reports saying six months or more so on. So I think we’re going to have to think about this as a being a reasonably long term thing that we will be dealing with. So let’s chat about it together and share ideas for, I don’t know, homeschooling, managing life, helping to support tiny businesses in our community and things like that.


I have to say that one of my sort of new year’s resolutions or goals was to meditate regularly and I have been doing it semi-regularly. I have the Calm app on my phone and so I have been very randomly just putting on any meditation that took my fancy each morning. So I don’t have any particular method to my madness. But yeah, so I’ve just been doing that and I have noticed that it does help calm me down.


And I … probably, if I did it a bit more intentionally, it would work even better. But I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself to meditate in a specific way. So usually when I wake up in the morning and I just lie in bed, I don’t sit up in an upright position. I just lie there and listen to it and try and breathe a bit as they suggest and do some nice deep breaths and just basically relax for 15 minutes or so while the meditation plays.


And so, I would recommend just maybe doing something like that, just not to … I mean if you are in a meditation practice already, that’s fabulous and I’m impressed. But if you aren’t and you’re a bit intimidated by it, just start really small and I don’t know, just find your own thing that works for you, it might help calm the mind even a bit in these stressful times.


So, that’s rather a long introduction. But if you don’t mind me chatting about that stuff because that’s what’s on my mind at the moment. In knitting news, I am super excited and super chuffed because I did manage to finally finish my Clio pullover. Clio is a design by Elizabeth Doherty. It’s been on the needles for at least three years. I should look up when I started it, but I haven’t wanted to do that and after I recorded last week sort of thinking that I might finish it, I became quite determined to finish it before I spoke to you again.


So I put everything else on hold basically, including work and just knit on that and it didn’t really take me too long. Once I got through the short rows at the top of the sleeves, I powered through the sleeves and finished it yesterday. I wove in the ends. It’s yet to be blocked and photographed, but I’m calling it done and I’m so happy. I knitted in yarn which I bought at Edinburgh Yarn Festival three or four years ago and it is Ysolda blend number one, batch number three, which is a gorgeous blend spun by John Arbon in the UK.


And it has some Gotland, which is one of my favorite breeds of fleece, or breeds of sheep. And, it’s just the softest, loveliest, I don’t know, just has a beautiful body to it. So I very much enjoyed the process of knitting that. And I think I’ve got two and a half scans left. So now I’m thinking what else to knit with that yarn because I really did enjoy knitting with that yarn. So that means that I can tick off my WIP category in the knit 20 for 20 challenge which, if super exciting. And it also means that I can now go on to choose some new exciting projects, have a bit of a dream about what I’m going to knit now.


I still have some design work I need to do before I really do that and I have maybe three pairs of socks that have been also quite long, ongoing WIP that are maybe will do while I’m deciding what sort of main project I want to work on next. So I think just for the time being, while I’m still deciding I will work on my Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith who’s, Hey Brown Berry. I’ve also been working on those for quite a long time and you’ve probably heard me mention them many times before as well, so I’d quite like to finish them also.


So I think I’ll spend some time probably later this week planning out another project and I think I will make that a reward for getting something ticked off my work list. I’m not sure exactly what I will have to do to get my reward, but I think I might make that a treat for doing something reasonably substantial on my work side of things. Something else that I will endeavor to do this week is to firm up details for these knit alongs that I’m sort of loosely hosting at the moment. So that is for the handmade sock society. So I will organize and set dates for the monthly knit alongs for each sock as they come out.


The first sock is already published the luminary socks and the second socks will be released next week. So I’ll dip into my stash and really organize some prizes and I’ll also think about some prizes for the knit 20 for 2020 challenge because I think we could all do with some fun and cheering up at the moment and make it a bit more formal. So I’ll have a think about how to structure that, how to structure some prizes and perhaps the yarn that I was planning to do stash, I might contribute to prizes instead because I was all set to do a de-stash, but I really didn’t feel comfortable competing with indie dyers who are relying on the income from their yarn at the moment.

It’s not my main thing and it would just be de-stashing yarn because I want it to go to people who are going to use it because I’ve got way too much to be able to use myself. So I think what I’ll do is allocate some of that yarn to prizes instead and just have a bit of fun with it. I’m not sure when I will be able to do that. I should commit to a time so that I make myself do it, but let’s say next week I’ll get onto that and by next week’s podcast should be able to announce some more details around that. Before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadow Yarn. I just wanted to mention that Ang has some gorgeous colorways in her shop at the moment. Really beautiful. I will probably be tempted to make a purchase there this weekend as well. That could be another treat.

So thanks so much for spending some time with me this week. I hope you’re safe and well and that this crisis is not putting too much stress on you. I know lots of people that it is putting quite a lot of stress on their lives and their families. So my sympathy and thoughts go to you and my love and if you feel like chatting will be the thread in Ravelry, or on Instagram. I also have a promotion at the moment until the end of the month, which is a buy one get one free sale so you can get any of my patterns or collections. Buy one, get one free with the coupon code fresh at the moment. And that was to celebrate the release of the single patterns from last year’s fall society. So please take advantage of that and happy knitting. Stay safe. Stay well, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Play

Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

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

It’s a scary time to watch the news right now. When things are really tough, small comforts mean a lot. Knitting is obviously a big coping strategy for many of us. Today I’m talking about that, about the importance of friendship, and a KAL that I think I’d like to do…once I finish my beloved Clio Pullover!

Show Links:

Bayron Handmade on Instagram

Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Wave of Change KAL

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

#knit20for2020

The Shawl Society Season 4

I am running a special Buy One Get One Free sale on all my patterns and collections to celebrate the release of the single patterns from TSS4: just use the code FRESH when you check out on Ravelry!

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen Stewart:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 287. 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 curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you wherever you maybe in the world. And just when you think the world can’t get any crazier, it does. This week has been something else in terms of worldwide news, and I just hope that wherever you are you’re staying safe and well. It’s been very distracting watching the news this week and hearing all about the coronavirus. And I don’t normally watch the news, hardly at all, because I need to keep my spirits up. But I have been very distracted this week, and hearing about friends and whole countries being affected is just quite unbelievable. Of course, here in Australia we have had toilet paper gate, and yeah it is quite unnerving going into the supermarket and just the whole aisle of toilet paper is completely bare. And it was this afternoon when I went in. We’ve had several emails from supermarkets saying to keep calm and carry on.

I’ve just received an email from Coles, which is one of the big supermarket chains here, saying that they were going to put rations on pasta, toilet paper, paper towel and a couple of other things. Rationing people to certain amounts of things. They also suggested, which I thought was good, was that if you had too much toilet paper on hand, maybe you could consider donating some to your local food bank. So, I did appreciate them saying that. They had some change to their, change your mind policy, and they said that they weren’t allowing people to change their mind. So, if you’ve stockpiled large amounts of toilet paper, you’re not going to be able to return it.

In Australia, so far they’ve suggested canceling large events, but I don’t think they’ve actually mandated it yet. And then, we’ve had some isolated schools closing, but not across the board like in a lot of countries that I’ve been hearing about today and yesterday. And yeah, so we’re not as affected here as other countries yet. I’m not sure if that’s just because we haven’t got to that point yet, or because our population is not very dense. I’m not sure. But we possibly will get to that point in the next couple of weeks.

And yeah, it’s a little bit unsettling. I don’t know if I should be stocking up on some things or not. I haven’t been yet, but probably should think about getting a bit of food in, a bit of pasta, and the handful of things one of my daughters will eat. So, from comments I’ve read on Instagram and other places, lots of people are feeling quite nervous and anxious about it. So I did hear one very good piece of advice. I follow the account of a journalist on Instagram called Jessica Yellin. She was making the point that one of the things that would compromise your immunity is stress, and so to try to keep stress levels down. I thought that was a really good piece of advice, just generally.

There are a lot of other colds and viruses going around as well at the moment, a lot of my family members and people that I know here have been sick with other bugs, so I thought, well what better time to concentrate on doing stress-relieving activities like meditation, walking, knitting obviously, crafting. I think this is where our stashes will come into their own. So, we’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, most of us. Ridiculous amounts of stash.

So, yeah, I think hopefully we can take some solace in our knitting, and our projects, and find some lovely, relaxing projects to work on. I actually just saw a lovely post on Instagram by Bayron Handmade, and she was expressing how she was feeling a bit anxious, and thinking about how can she help serve others in the community. She was mentioning that she has a knit-along on Ravelry for a gorgeous cardigan that she’s designed called, the Wave of Change KAL.

So, I thought I might join in that KAL, and join the wave of change, and it looks like a fairly chunky weight of yarn. I haven’t looked at the pattern in detail yet, but I might have a look at my stash to see what I have for that one. I might have to hold two skeins of yarn together, two weights of yarn together to make the weight that’s required for the pattern. Of course, when I finish my Clio pullover, I need to finish that first before I start shopping around for other projects, but that’s definitely going in my queue. So thank you for your lovely, reassuring kind words, Bayron.

And actually I had a pretty good week, despite all the nerve-racking news. I had a very dear friend visiting. My friend Stewart, who I met at Squam, and we worked out that we met in 2013 was the first year that I went to Squam. And so we’re old friends now, so it was really lovely to have her here for a few days. And yeah, I haven’t made a lot of friends here yet, or reconnected with people very much. So it was really nice to have an old friend to hang out with for a couple of days and catch up. And we went off on a little girls trip just for two nights. A little bit of a retreat and it was lovely.

We went to a place called Noosa, which is a gorgeous beach, not very far from where I live. And it was raining pretty much the whole time we were there. So I had thought we might do a bush walk. There’s a gorgeous Bush walk to the Headland at Noosa and you often see koalas in the trees there, but it was really too rainy for us to want to. We probably could have done it if we’d really been keen, But we ended up sitting in a cafe for most of the whole day and just sitting and knitting. And it was open to the street so we could watch people passing by, really great for people watching and it was raining so we could watch the rain falling. And it was nice and cool.

So, it hasn’t really been all that cool here generally. But it was a lovely, cool few days. So I made some really, really good progress on my Clio pullover that I had been talking about forever. And it is my Finish a WIP goal for my 20 for 20 knitting challenge. And yeah, so I had been having a major, minor, I don’t know, some sort of roadblock when it came to casting on for the sleeves. Had to pick up stitches and do some short rows. And my lovely friend Stewart picked up the stitches for me. And so I managed to get over the barrier and got through the short rows with a little bit of grumbling, but not too much. And finish the whole sleeve in those couple of days. So I was so happy with that.

I have to admit I was a little bit motivated by wanting to finish the first sleeve so that I could ask to Stewart to cast on the second one for me, which she very kindly did. And so now I have managed to get through the short row sections of the second sleeve and I know that it didn’t take me all that long to knit the whole sleeve. So I’m feeling pretty confident that this could be finished quite soon and I’m getting very excited about that. So that was a fantastic couple of days with lovely company, lovely knitting weather, and a wonderful location to do it in.

So I’ve been talking a lot about the Handmade Sock Society recently, as well as the release of the new Laine book, 52 Weeks of Socks. And so I thought perhaps for the shawl knitters amongst you, if you’re a bit tired of hearing about socks so much, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t released my Shawl Society patterns from last year as single patterns. So the six Shawl Society patterns are now available as single patterns. Previously they were just available as the collection. And I am having a buy one get one free sale to celebrate. And that will run until the end of the month. So until the 31st of March, I’m having a buy one get one free sale across all my patterns and collections. I was just going to make it shawls, but then I thought I would just keep it simple and it’s everything.

So all you have to do is put two of my patterns, or collections in your shopping cart in Ravelry, and the less expensive one will be free. I should mention, it does need a coupon code and the coupon code is fresh, F-R-E-S-H. So you need to put the coupon code in as well. And then the second pattern will be free. So thank you to people who’ve taken up on that offer and I hope you enjoy the shawls, the shawl designs and that will run to the end of the month.

So I’d love to hear from you about what comfort knitting you might be doing at the moment. I hope you have a chance to relax a little bit, get some knitting done, stay in touch with friends and family and I hope you stay well. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a little do-over of the start of the year! Today I’m talking about getting all my healthy streaks back on track, and tackling a few beautiful WIPs that deserve to be finished before I go casting on any of the shiny new patterns that are calling my name!

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Bembe Socks by Dawn Henderson

IndieLynx on Instagram

IndieLynx’s gorgeous Bembe socks in progress

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 286. 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 the full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.


Hello, I hope you’re having a good week. Welcome to the show. I am a bit in shock that it’s March already and I’ve decided to declare March as the new January, as far as goals and resolutions go. I’m not quite sure what’s happened this year, but it’s all gone a bit pear shaped and I haven’t managed really any of my plans that are right to achieve with so much enthusiasm at the beginning of the year.


I had a grand plans for regular exercise and healthy food and all sorts of things and I just haven’t been very good with my, my streaks so far, so I’m rather than sort of give up and not worry about it, which is kind of tempting, I am resetting and starting again. So I’ve managed to get to Pilates at least twice this week, which is pretty good and I’m booked in for tomorrow, so that will be my goal of three times this week. I haven’t managed, I’ve managed very little walking and I think I’m really feeling it, in, I don’t know, just not being relaxed and feeling as good as I wish I did at the moment.


But yeah. So yeah, I need to, I need to just work out why I’m not getting to it. Currently the weather, it’s been raining an awful lot the last month or so. I don’t know if that’s really a very good excuse. I’m not sure what happened really. I need to sort of sit down and think back across month to actually think what’s happened. Anyway, I’ve been doing a little bit of knitting. I was switching on a design today and maybe that’s why I’m feeling a bit frustrated because I planned out a design, I drew a chart and the end result didn’t look how I wanted it to. It didn’t have the feeling that I wanted. I had a concept for the design and it just didn’t evoke the feeling. Sorry. So I watched all day on that and worked on the stitch pattern and the chart and, and I’ve decided I, I like it.


So it’s probably adding to my frustrated mood tonight. So I always just tell myself if I keep swatching for long enough, I will get there eventually. It’s just, yeah, I think I’m just frustrated that I took my whole day to realize that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. But I’ll, I’ll just start again. I’ll look for some new ideas and start again. I spoke last week about how I’d finished my terracotta socks by WoolFields Studio and I talked about the Birch Hollow Fibers yarn and that I couldn’t remember the name. And so I just wanted to add in that I looked up the name and it’s Roses for Sophrenia. It’s one of her, I think a regular colorway that Robin does and yeah, it’s just really gorgeous. I have taken photos and we’ll get them up on social media and I was talking about starting a pattern from 52 weeks of socks by Laine.


And the pattern was Bembe by Dawn Henderson. And I had picked out some yarn, which was a really soft pink, and then I saw Claire who is indielynx on Instagram knitting those same socks. And she had tries in this really vibrant sort of golden, golden yellowy, browny color. And it was just so, I don’t know, I just loved it and I just thought, Oh, the pale pink isn’t going to cut it for these socks. And they were a little bit variegated as well. And I think this needs a really strong, solid or semi-solid, at least yarn. So I’m going to go back to the stash. Back to the drawing board. I’d chosen this yarn because I already had it wound into a ball. It was one of the yarns that I rescued for my swatching and I thought, Oh, I’ll just use that because it’s already wound and it’s easily to hand.


But yeah, no, I don’t think so. I think I will just continue using that yarn for swatching as I will be continuing my swatch. So rather than start that, I decided that I should finish my pebbles and pathways socks, which I’m probably three quarters done with. I’m onto the second sock and I’ve done the leg, so I’m up to the heel flap with those and yeah, I think I should just finish them. They’re so cute. The yarn is by my friend Emma Saren Yarns. She’s an English indie Dyer and it’s just such gorgeous yarn and it’s going really, really well with the pattern. So I need to finish those socks first, I think. Yeah, just finish something before I start another thing. Oh otherwise I’ll just sit there forever and not get finished and they’re nearly done. So that’s my plan now. And I’m also going to this weekend, this is my accountability, You’re my accountability partners this week, and I am going to pick up the stitches for a sleeve on my Clio pullover.


This is a WIP that’s been going on for a very, very long time and I need to get that done as well. So I am kind of sick of talking about it, sick of talking about not doing it. So I’m going to pick up the stitches this weekend and then I’ll be able to just putter away on it doing a pickup stitches, and I think there’s a little bit of short rows involved. Just means you know, that bit of extra concentration needed that is being a barrier to me doing it at all. So I’m going to overcome the barrier I’m going to cost on the sleeve and start working on that again. It’s had so many, not really timeouts, just time resting.


Yeah. So that’s my plan. That’s my knitting plan for the next week or two or three. Yeah. Pebbles and pathway socks by HeyBrownBerry, Marceline Smith and Clio by Elizabeth Doherty. Of course I’m so distracted by so many other projects I want to cast on, but I’m just going to, I just need to focus and finish some things.


And other exciting news this week, my sofa arrived from my studio and I’m very excited about this. It’s really nice and very comfy. And when I was dreaming about my studio, before we even moved to Australia, I was planning to have a friend’s chair in my office or studio and my mom has started this concept or trend within our family, and in her office she has a little comfy arm chair and dad goes in and sits with her and has a cup of tea with her. And when we have visiting, we sit with her and if she’s crafting or just at her computer, something like that, we’ll go in and have a chat.


And so I really liked that idea and I planned, to get a friend’s chair, but my studio is quite big and I thought what would be even better as friend’s sofa because I thought, Oh, it’d be nice to be able to be working in my studio. Maybe if I fancied it, have a little lie down and read something. And I also was hoping that the girls would come down and maybe do a little bit of homework or a little bit of cross with me and yeah, and already they’re doing that. So that’s working really well. And so if he comes down and does her math homework and Lexi’s craze of knitting Nancy, knitting tubes with a toilet paper and pedal pop sticks is still going strong, it’s seems to be back back happening again. So she’s been making some, some French knitting, knitting Nancy and keeping me company while I do tedious admin.


So now I have all the furniture and now I really need to just a little bit of sorting out a little bit of decluttering. I’ve got some piles of things that I can’t quite deal with. So I need to make myself deal with some filing and some things like that. Just get this into a lovely, relaxing, serene space. It’s a little bit too cluttered and too many piles of doom at the moment to be relaxing, but maybe I’ll tackle a few of the piles this weekend as well. I think what I need today is find a inspirational picture on Pinterest or in a magazine that I know what I’m aiming for as something very Zen and relaxing to motivate me. At the moment I just have a mouse cage and they’re very messy. They keep throwing things out of their cage. I need to need to sort that out and find a home or at least some sort of tray to put the cage in so that I don’t end up with food and bedding all over my studio.


I hope it isn’t TMI when I talk about the mice because I know that they’re not everybody’s favorite pets and give people the heebie-jeebies but including me, we had a couple of infestations in our house in London because just happens in houses in London pretty regularly and I was not at all happy about that. But having them as pets, it really is different and I am finding them surprisingly cute, so I’m quite surprised that I liked them as much as I do. Lexi absolutely adores hers and is in the process of training one to do tricks now. So yeah, it’s all quite fun. It’s nice having a pet.


Well, I hope you have a really good week in the midst of all the madness that seems to be happening in the world, again, at the moment. There’s so many crazy things happening that it’s quite hard to focus and I am definitely relying on my knitting to keep calm and relaxed and I should probably get back into my walking with a bit more regularity to be able to keep stress levels down. So, yes, I hope you’re all well, happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.