Archives For April 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.

Aside from getting lost in an absorbing new knitting project, one of the best things I know is escaping into a good book. Today on the podcast I’m talking about some of my recent favourite reads and what’s on my list next. And of course there’s some knitting news, with a new pattern from The Handmade Sock Society 3 to introduce and yet more WIPs on their way off my needles.

Show Links:

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Yarn Ink: the Canadian dyer of the skein I’m using for my vanilla socks WIP

Rainy Window Socks

@tinkhickman on Instagram

Tracyrr aka The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

Ambient Socks FO Thread

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Viola Yarn

Squam Art Workshops

Stories for my Sister by Elizabeth Duvivier

Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths

@HillyFilly on Instagram

Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny

@susanhartmann on Instagram

@DigsKnitting on Instagram

The Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French

@pawsandknit on Instagram

Bob Skinner Series by Quintin Jardin

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

April #knit20for2020 FO Thread

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 292. 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. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadowyarn.

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’re okay, having a good week. I know things are really difficult at the moment for everyone, and I hear you, and I sympathize and empathize. I have been very up and down, and I’m not even sure why. It’s all just a bit overwhelming and crazy at the moment. I’m a little bit fed up with my family and also feeling guilty for feeling fed up with my family because I know how lucky I am. And I’m just super, super grateful for crafting and my online community, to take my mind off being cooped up at home, and just feeling super grateful for all the people that are working, essential workers at the moment. Everyone from healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, amazing healthcare professionals who are overwhelmed at work, to everybody supporting society at the moment, grocery store workers, and just everybody who’s supporting us to stay at home, and stay safe, and try and keep other people safe as well.

We are in our first of five weeks of homeschooling. The government announced that that would be the case for our state last week. And so we’re doing that this week. And yeah, my kids are doing pretty well. It’s fairly intense, I have to say. And I’ve just decided to have really low expectations. I had a really nice chat with one of the girls’ teachers, and she said, basically, just do your best. And if they can do half an hour of reading every day, they’d be happy with that. So that was good to have a reality check on what the teachers’ expectations are. And it was nice to know that they weren’t expecting us to suddenly become fully qualified teachers, and that they didn’t expect the kids to be, I don’t know, concentrating, or doing as much at home. So that was quite a relief. It took a lot of pressure off. Obviously, I’m still trying to get them to follow the routine that the school’s setting out, and trying to maintain for them, but it’s a little bit up and down, and a little bit loosey-goosey, so we’ll just see how it goes.

I’m hoping that it’s only for five weeks. I feel fairly hopeful that it will only be five weeks, because the numbers here in Queensland are looking quite hopeful, so I’m feeling hopeful as well. I hope you’re coping okay as well, whatever your situation is, whether you’re having to go out, having to work at home, or are not working at the moment. I think it’s just really difficult for everybody, but you’re not alone, and I’m happy to be chatting with you today, and I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who’s just posting cheerful things on Instagram and Ravelry, and it’s just nice to be in touch with people and friends.

I’ve had a few Zoom conversations with some friends, some knitting friends, and some non-knitting friends. And that’s been super nice just to have chats with people and feel connected with people. And I’m feeling quite like a bit of a blob at the moment, even though I’ve probably been doing more regular exercise than normal. So I’m not quite sure why. I guess it’s just because I’m normally out and about and moving around a lot more than I realized I was. But being at home a lot more.

So back to knitting news, which is really what we’re all about here. This week, I released the third design in The Handmade Sock Society Season 3, the Rainy Window Socks. And it seems a bit ironic here, because it rains a lot here where I live in Australia, but at the moment, this week has just been gorgeous and sunny and blue skies. So it’s not really quite appropriate for this week. But we do get a lot of rainy windows here. I’ll just read you the description for the socks.

The sky is grey and heavy outside, and the first raindrops begin to trace their paths down the window. They have come a long way, from sea, to sky, to clouds, to end up here on this particular pane of glass. This is rain in its most contemplative mood, but there are others. Brisk, joyful spring rains to turn the fields and gardens green. Strong, quenching rains, long-awaited, to restore the earth after a drought. Fearsome storms that sweep into swell quiet streams, fill the flood plains, and carve new rivers into the landscape. Gentle or fierce, welcome or dreaded, the rain cannot be commanded and will not be controlled. It is on its own journey, from sea to sky to earth and back again.

The Rainy Window Socks are a tribute to the free-spirited nature of the rain and the lessons it can teach about following our own path. The front and top of the foot feature a river of eyelet raindrops, framed with simple cables, balanced on the back with plain stockinette stitch. Knit from the top down, they are finished with a heel flap and gusset and a round toe. With three sizes to choose from, it’s easy to create a beautifully fitted sock.

The yarn I used for this is a gorgeous Woolbarn Cashmere Sock in a dreamy blue color, and I always love knitting that yarn so much. It’s one of my favorites for sure. I’d like to thank Deb Tinkhickman who knit the sample for me and took the absolutely stunning photographs of the sample. And I’d like to thank my test knitter, Tracy, who is TracyRR on Ravelry, and host of The Comfy Red Couch podcast on YouTube, as well as my tech editors, Anna and Emma. Now, more than ever, I’m so grateful for my team who are helping me put these patterns together, and it would be very difficult to be getting any work done at the moment without them. And special thanks to Amanda, who wrote the lovely description.

So that means we currently have a Knit Along happening for two socks from The Handmade Sock Society at the moment. The Ambient Sock Knit Along continues for another few weeks, and the Knit Along for these Rainy Window Socks is just starting. So be sure to post your finished objects in the appropriate threads in Ravelry, and I will be sending out some lovely prizes for the random prize draw from the threads at the end of each Knit Along.

Apart from a little bit of design work, I have been on a bit of a roll with finishing some long-term works in progress that I had a draw of in my cabinet. And I think I said last week that I finished the Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith. And then I went on to pull out another pair of socks that I just had the foot and toe on the second sock to go, and they were a plain vanilla pair of socks that I was knitting in some gorgeous yarn that had been gifted to me by Jodi from the Grocery Girls, when I made my very first Mrs. Brown’s Bags purchase, and that was even before the Grocery Girls podcast.

So I had the yarn in my stash for quite a while, and I’d also had the socks on the needles for quite a while, not quite as long. So yeah, so that was really fun to finish. And I was knitting on them at my parents’ place, and my dad said, “Ooh, I like the look of those.” So his birthday’s coming up soon so I will gift them to him because we actually have the same size feet. So they are beautiful pink and blue yarn, and embarrassingly, I just am having a mental blank on the name of the dyer. I’ll try and dig that out. Of course, the ball band has long since gone missing. It’s a Canadian dyer. I’ll try and dig that out and put it in the show notes. But yeah, so that was good to finish another work in progress, another pair of socks.

And then I pulled out another project from the draw, which is the Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden, that I’m knitting in the suggested yarn, which is Viola Emily yarn. It’s a gorgeous project and it’s knit in mohair silk yarn, held singly, but you knit a tube and then it becomes doubled over. And I’m currently deciding whether to finish the project, or whether to knit a little bit more on the tube and call it a cowl. It’s a lot of knitting of stockinette mohair silk, and while, in a way, it’s a kind of perfect project for mindless knitting and Netflix binges, I am not sure I want to finish it. I do want to finish it because it’s such a beautiful project. I’m just not sure if I want to knit that much stockinette in mohair.

Anyway, I’m not deciding that just yet, but I will have to make a decision at some point, or I might just put it away again for a while and think about it. Yeah, so that’s what I’m working on with my knitting at the moment. I haven’t made any more progress on my quilt, but after I record this, I might give myself a little bit of a crafting break from work and go and cut out some more squares for my quilt project, my houses quilt project that I’m working on at the moment.

Other than that, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. Around this time last year, I was asking for suggestions of series to read, and I put a post on Instagram and got a lot of great suggestions. And one of the responses to that post, I think it was around June last year, so it’s coming up to a year quite quickly that I made that post, and Elizabeth Duvivier from Squam Art Workshops got in touch, and she had recently released her first novel, which is called Stories For My Sister. She sent me a copy all the way to Australia, and it took me a little while to get to it on my reading pile because I just didn’t read while we were moving and settling in here. But then I had a real reading binge for a while.

So I read her lovely book. It’s Stories For My Sister, and it’s just a gorgeous book. It’s about two sisters. It says, “It’s May 1993. Two sisters, Bea and Mona, are about to spend 10 days together under the worst possible circumstances. With seven years between them, as well as a lifetime of hurts and misunderstandings, is it too late for them to become friends?” So it’s a beautiful, gentle book about two sisters, and I always love things about sisters. I have two sisters myself, and so I love the theme, and Elizabeth’s writing is absolutely gorgeous. I was really gripped by the book and yeah, really recommend it if you would like a gentle book about sisters and relationships and friendship. I’d really, really recommend this.

It’s called Stories for My Sister, by Elizabeth Duvivier. It’s available from her website, which is Elizabethduvivier.com. I’ll put a link in the show notes. And it’s available from her website as a paperback, an ebook, and an audio book. So you have various options for this book. So thank you so much for sending me a copy, Elizabeth. I really, really enjoyed it. And congratulations on your first novel, belated congratulations.

Some other suggestions that were given to me at the time, I’ve also really, really enjoyed, so I just thought I’d share those with you as well in case you’re looking for some reading material. I was saying that I do like kind of detective stories or, I don’t know, I guess you call them action novels. So I had a recommendation for the Ruth Galloway series, by Elly Griffiths. That was from Theresa, who is hillyphilly on Instagram. I absolutely loved this series. It’s about an archeologist, Ruth Galloway, who’s the main character. She’s a fabulous main character. The books are set in Norfolk, in the UK, and really atmospheric, really great stories, great plots, great characters, absolutely loved them.

Then the other series that I also devoured is by Louise Penny, the Inspector Gamache books, and that was recommended to me by a couple of people. So thank you very much for your recommendation, Susan Hartman, as well as Digs Knitting. And both those series were ones where I was sad when I had read them all. I just read one after the other, and basically couldn’t put the whole series down. I read them all on my phone, basically, in Kindle. And so now I’ve just gone back to the post on Instagram to find more suggestions.

Linda, who’s PawsandKnit, recommended Tana French, the Dublin Murder Squad. So I might check that one out next. And Sarah Cauldron of Color recommended Quintin Jardine’s Bob Skinner series. So both of those sound like they’re up my alley, and I will check them out. I’d love any other suggestions along these lines, if you have them as well, because I tend to be quite a quick reader. I tend to skim a little bit, to be honest, when it’s a series that I really like. So yeah, so I get through them quite quickly. But yeah, looking forward to checking out those two series. I feel like, for the past few weeks I haven’t really been able to concentrate on anything, and I’ve just been scrolling through Instagram and news on my phone a lot, and I think if I had a good series on the go that I went to first, instead of doing that, it would be a lot more enjoyable and fun. So that’s what I’m going to try and get into, get into something else.

Before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story. Find all your favorite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store, based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. Here you’ll find a gorgeous selection to choose from, including sumptuous skeins from House of a la Mode, La Bien Aimée, and Julie Asselin. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, treat your projects to the luxury they deserve. You can also shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk. And while A Yarn Story physical shop in Bath isn’t open at the moment, she is still doing online orders and also doing virtual shopping sessions for customers, either by phone or video call. So do get in touch with A Yarn Story if you need any knitting supplies, especially if you’re in the UK.

And don’t forget to put any entries into the Knit Alongs that are happening at the moment. The Knit 20 for 2020 Knit Along is happening each month. And if you nominate your favorite yarn shop, or indie dyer, or other yarny business, you can go into the draw to win a $50 gift voucher. And I’m doing a draw from both Instagram on the hashtag Knit20for2020, as well as in the Ravelry thread that’s been set up for each month. And we also have the coupon code for the Habitation Throw happening still through to the end of the month. And you can get the Habitation Throw, which is a great, relaxing, meditative knit, and also uses scrap yarn, so I think it’s especially good for us at the moment. And that is free with the code shelter. And if you purchase the pattern, I’ll be donating the proceeds to the UNHCR charity for refugees.

So a huge thank you to everybody who’s downloaded the pattern. I’ve had 19,000 downloads of the pattern, so thank you very much. I can’t believe it’s that many. We’ve also had about £1,900 in purchases that I’ll be able to donate as well, which is incredible. So thank you, thank you, thank you so much, and thank you for posting pictures of your Habitation Throws on Instagram and Ravelry. I love seeing them. Makes me feel really connected to you all, and it’s really joyful. So I hope you have a wonderful week and hope you can find some peaceful moments in the chaos at the moment. 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.

Productivity has been up and down over the last two weeks as we all try to adjust to a new normal. Today on the podcast I’m talking about some of the self-care strategies that are helping to keep me sane, some resources that I’m finding useful, and the gentle, soothing craft projects that are bringing joy and calm into the day-to-day just now. I’m also working through some old WIPs and savouring the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finally casting off.

Show Links:

Yoga With Kassandra

The tree-growing focus app Forest

Hello from my daily walk!

Luminary Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Our winner for the Luminary Socks KAL is Post 131 by DorothyMayNZ

Hedgerow Yarns

Mina Makes, aka The Knitting Expat

Ambient Socks

The Ambient Socks FO Thread in Ravelry

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

JeniB320 on Instagram

In Color Order Blog

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Get the Habitation Throw for free with the code SHELTER

#habitationthrow on Instagram

April FO Thread for #Knit20for2020 KAL

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 291. 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 transcript 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 Company 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. A Yarn Story is actually doing online orders at the moment, and Carmel is also offering consultations either by video or phone to help you choose colors and yarn for projects. So be sure to sign up to the Yarn Story email list for all the latest news about what’s happening. Carmel’s doing some really fun projects and knit and craft alongs. So I’d recommend signing up for her cheerful email that comes out about once a week.


Welcome to the show, and I hope you’re well and coping okay with the current pandemic crisis. I am going pretty well here and thinking of all of you, all the time. I have to say, it’s been very up and down on a daily basis. My mental state is all over the place. I haven’t had much concentration and distraction has been very, very high. But I’m slowly, slowly getting myself into a bit of a better state and I’ve been doing some particular things to help me do that. I created a spreadsheet for April to track my streaks. So I have things on there like walking every day, and yoga, meditation, eating healthily, and getting enough sleep. So all the things that I’m just trying to do. And so I have a spreadsheet that I fill in each day with either red or green, depending on whether I’ve achieved that thing that day.


So I’m not aiming to be perfect. It’s far from perfect, but it’s keeping me a little bit on track, and I think I’ve got more green than red over all my streaks. I’ve got a fairly ambitious list of things I’m trying to do all day. So what I just mentioned, plus music practice, and a few other sort of personal things that I’m trying to do, as well as encourage my children to do some of those things as well. It’s definitely not all going to happen every day, but just having a few things that I’m doing most days is really helping keep me a bit more grounded and a bit calmer.


I started a really nice practice with one of my best friends who lives down Sydney way, not in Sydney but near Sydney, and she’s one of my oldest friends. I went to university with Jo. And not right at the beginning of the month but a couple of days in, we decided that we would have a morning yoga practice, and we chose Yoga with Kassandra. I saw that she was doing a month long free stream of classes, and they’re only 10 minutes. So that’s really good for me because I have done yoga in the past but not for years. And so 10 minutes is super doable. It’s easy to fit in, and it’s morning, sort of, it’s meant to be done in the morning. So it’s basically the first thing I try and do. Sometimes I’ll need a coffee before I tackle it, but I can generally just get up and do that straightaway. And at least, then I feel like I’ve done something for the day, something positive.


And Jo lives by herself and is basically self-isolating because she has asthma and immune kind of issues. And so yeah, so it’s really nice for both of us to have that little connection. And we don’t talk every day, but we talk some days before or after the session, and we text and just update each other if we’ve done it. And we’re trying to do it at 7:00 am, but that fell by the wayside a little bit over Easter weekend because we sort of gave ourselves Easter weekend to have some sleep ins, but getting back into it now. So that’s been wonderful. And I’m also trying to do daily walks with my sister, or by myself if she’s not available. I’ve managed to get the girls out on a couple of walks as well, which kind of feels a bit like I’m dragging them out and around, but they kind of enjoy it once they’re out.


So yeah. So just a few things like that to keep me, I don’t know, healthy, I suppose. It is really, really helping. And my work productivity has been pretty low, partly because kids home, and partly because distracted by endless news rabbit holes. But I’m trying to get myself back to doing a little bit of work as well. And I’ve been finding using an app to help me with concentrating has been really good. I’m not sure what the name of the app is. I’ll try and find it and put a link. But basically, it’s you grow a tree, and try and grow a forest. So you set the timer for however long you want to set it for. So I’ve been doing half hour stints. And yeah, so setting the timer, and if you go onto your phone and interrupt the session, then your tree dies. So it’s just a little mindfulness thing to stop you just picking up your phone and getting distracted by Instagram, for example. So I really like that app.


So I have to say, the month of April does seem to be going a little bit faster than March, for me, anyway. And that means we are up to drawing the prize for The Handmade Sock Society. Sock Number One, the Luminary Socks Knit Along. And the random number generator is number 131, and the winner is DorothyMayNZ, who’s posted a gorgeous pair of Luminary Socks with a lovely Easter decoration. And so congratulations, Catherine. Catherine is in Wellington, New Zealand. So waving across the pond. And I’ll get in touch with you about sending your prize, which is some gorgeous Hedgerow Yarns, sock yarn, as well as a little Mina Makes project bag. We currently have the Knit Along happening for the Ambient Socks, and that Knit Along runs through till Tuesday the 12th of May. And we have The Handmade Sock Society Socks Number Three being released next Tuesday. So coming up very soon. So I’m excited to share those with you, and loving seeing everybody’s socks, for people participating in The Handmade Sock Society this year.


I’ve been plugging along on some personal projects, which has been really lovely. I apologize that I didn’t have an episode for you last week, as Easter just came up quite quickly and I didn’t really take into account the fact that it was the Good Friday holiday on Friday, so I didn’t plan for that in advance. Sorry. But anyway, so two weeks ago, I was working on the Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith, Hey BrownBerry. I did finish those by that Friday. I was hoping to finish them sort of before I released the podcast, and I did. I blocked them and have taken some photos. They’re not the best photos in the world, but I might try and get some better photos of them and share them with you. So that was lovely. I used Seren Yarn, by my friend, Emma, and it’s just beautiful. So enjoyed having them off the needles. I’ve been working on those for about two years, I think.


And then I pulled out another WIP from the cupboard, which is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli. And if you’re not familiar with that shawl, it’s a crescent-shaped shawl that’s created with short rows, and it’s a series of wedges, broken up by contrast, color, line of eyelets. And I was up to, I think it’s six wedges in total, and I was up to the fifth, and now am on the last wedge, which is the contrast border. And I’m nearly finished, I think. I’m quite a way into the last wedge, and yeah, excited to be nearly finished another long-term WIP. I started knitting on that when I was going to the first Laine Retreat in Portugal that Joji was attending. So I wanted to be working on something that was one of her designs. And so I chose that shawl. And I think that might be three years ago now. Yeah, I think it was around this time of year as well. So yes, another long-term WIP.


So for my Knit 20 for 2020 Knitting Challenge, I have a lot of items that can be in the Finish a WIP category. So I have Clio, Pebbles & Pathways, and very soon to be finished Pure Joy. I’m recording this on Wednesday the 15th, so a couple of days before it will be released. So maybe by the time I release the episode, that one will be finished as well. Probably not blocked, but maybe cast off. I haven’t decided what the next project will be, whether I will tackle another WIP or start something new. But, yeah, I’ll decide that in the next few days.


I did start my quilt project over the Easter weekend. The pattern I’m using for the quilt is the House Quilt Block by Jeni Baker. Her blog/website is incolororder.com, and this tutorial is free on her blog. She has a lot of patterns for sale as well, and a lovely blog and website. I saw this on Instagram and was so taken by it. It’s just such bright, pretty colors. And she has, one of the samples that she’s made using this block, is kind of like a gradient, I suppose. Kind of a bit of a rainbow gradient. She has blue, then green, then yellow, then pink in the houses, sort of going up the quilt. And so I am basically copying that.


I decided to make a queen-size quilt. So a lot of blocks required. I have cut out the squares for the houses, and now I need to cut all the white squares for the sky part of the block. Yeah, so you cut out two white squares for each block. So I have to cut out a lot of little white squares for that. So I will probably try and do that in the next couple of days so that I’ve got everything cut out and then can start sewing up the blocks. But it’s such a nice gentle, easy project, and pretty colors and working with fabric always makes me happy. So I’ve been enjoying working away on that and I can’t wait to get sewing. That’s another WIP that’s coming along.


And I’m using fabric that I was given by a group of girlfriends for my 40th birthday, as well as some other fabric. I’m using a bunch of different fabrics so I needed to supplement what they’d given me with some more variety of colors and prints because it’s kind of a scrappy project. But I’m using quite a bit of the birthday fabric, so it’s really nice to be finally using that.


I did start a, I don’t know what you call it, it’s like where you just have all different shapes and sizes of fabric blocks, like a really scrappy kind of thing. So I had started working on that with the birthday fabric years and years ago, and I’ve decided that I’ll use that piece. I didn’t get very far with it. Like I don’t know what the dimensions of it would be, but I’ve sort of got a strip of patches put together so I’m going to use that on the back, for the backing, as a stripe across the quilt. So yeah, quite a bit of gentle, relaxing crafting happening. You might have seen that we have the Habitation Throw giveaway happening as well, because I wanted to gift that to people if they needed or wanted some very, very gentle, relaxing knitting during this crazy time we’re in.


So yes, so I’m giving away the Habitation Throw knitting pattern on Ravelry with the code Shelter. And also, if people want to purchase it, I will be donating the proceeds to the UNHCR charity, the United Nations charity for refugees, to help support work with refugees at this time, on the basis that it’s very hard to shelter in place if you don’t have a home. And a lot of generous people have bought the pattern, which I appreciate. I think we have about £1,500 to donate already and we’re only halfway through the month. This is happening for the month of April.


And I’ve also had about, some thousands of people have downloaded the pattern as a gift, which I’m also super happy about. And I’ve seen lots of people posting their Habitation throws on Instagram, and it’s making me so happy. That is really one of the things that cheers me up during this time, seeing people using the pattern and downloading it. I’ve had so many lovely messages from people, thanking me, and it’s just been delightful and just cheered me right up. So thank you for everybody who has done that. And it’s just such a nice reminder of our lovely community, and just makes me feel connected to you. So that’s been really lovely. And yeah, the code is continuing through till the end of April, if you’d like to have a copy of the Habitation Throw.


And don’t forget to post any projects that you finish for the Knit 20 for 2020 Challenge, because we are drawing $50 prizes on both Ravelry and Instagram at the end of each month on that hashtag, and The Handmade Sock Society Knit Along is also happening. So lots of little things happening over here. And yeah, I’m just really enjoying staying in touch with you all through these hashtags and knit alongs, and it’s been a really nice part of my day to go on to Instagram and Ravelry and just see those things popping up.


So thanks for joining me today. It’s been lovely having a chat, and I hope you’re well, I hope you’re staying safe, and staying sane, and having some knitting time. Take care, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Join the Curious Crew as we spread our knitting wings and explore the far reaches of our stash and skills with #Knit20for2020! 

Discovering new things is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of being a maker. The small improvements we make with each project add up to a lifetime of knowledge and skill, so gradually that we don’t even notice until we take a step back and see how far we’ve come.

This year, I wanted to branch out with my knitting and nurture my creativity. Although I knit every day for work, my personal knitting projects often take a back seat. The Knit 20 for 2020 project began as a way to encourage myself to try new things, reach beyond my comfort zone, and cross a few things off my wish list. And once I’d made the plan for myself, it was only natural to invite the Curious Crew to play along with me. 

To take part, you can download our Knitting Checklist, and start to tick off boxes as you complete projects. If you want to really push yourself, you can knit a separate item for each item on the list, or you can tick off several boxes with one project. For example you could knit a pair of colourwork socks from a new-to-you designer using deep stash yarn and give them away as a gift, and you’d already have 5 boxes ticked! You can also get creative and substitute your own ideas for any of the items in the list, if something doesn’t suit you or you have a personal knitting goal that’s not included. 

As you work through your list, don’t forget to share your progress with the community!

There’s the #knit20for2020 hashtag on Instagram which you can visit, follow, and use to tag your projects. 

We also have a thread in the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group where people are sharing their plans, their lovely makes, and a lot of praise and encouragement!

The chance to win a lovely prize and support your favourite yarn business with the #Knit20for2020 KAL and monthly giveaway!

As something positive for us all to focus on and look forward to, and to help support small businesses who may be struggling as a result of the pandemic, I decided to add an ongoing KAL for the whole community. The Knit 20 for 2020 KAL will take place in our Curious Handmade Ravelry Group and Instagram. Here’s how it will work:

Every month I’ll post a #Knit20for2020 Finished Object thread in the Ravelry group. This will be a no-chat thread. At the end of each month I’ll draw a winner from this thread, and another from the #Knit20for2020 hashtag on Instagram.

To enter on Ravelry:

  • Post a photo you’ve completed as a part of the challenge.
  • Nominate an independent yarnie business, indie dyer, or local yarn shop you’d like to receive a gift certificate for, if you are a winner. 

To enter on Instagram:

  • Post a photo you’ve completed as a part of the challenge.
  • Nominate and tag an independent yarnie business, indie dyer, or local yarn shop you’d like to receive a gift certificate for, if you are a winner. 
  • Use the #Knit20for2020 hashtag and tag @curioushandmade so I can find your post!

Each monthly winner will receive a $50 USD (or approximate equivalent currency) gift certificate to the business of their choice!

I hope you all have a lot of fun with the project: I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things you make and hear about all the new things you learn. 

Play

Show Sponsors

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After a week of homeschooling, I’m grabbing an opportunity to chat with you in the hopes of keeping spirits as high as possible. I have some cheerful news, with a free pattern, some giveaway winners, and some fun projects on the horizon.

Show Links:

JeniB320 on Instagram

In Color Order Blog

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Photo credit: In Color Order

melissaH3

Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Yarn

asteride on Instagram

@retrosariarosapomar on Instagram

April FO Thread for #Knit20for2020 KAL

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Get the Habitation Throw for free with the code SHELTER

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

P.E. With Joe

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast, you’re listening to episode 290. 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 at Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and a transcript on my website, at CuriousHandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Hello, and welcome to the show, I hope you’re well. I am thinking of you at this time, and we’re all facing a lot more challenges in our daily life than we’re used to. So, I am going to try to keep the show light and cheerful, and I’m looking forward to having a nice chat with you today.

We have had a week, with the kids at home from school. I’m conscious that a lot of people listening to the show have had a lot longer than that, so I’m early into the journey. We have had a couple of days of trialing out a distance learning system that the school has put together, before we head into the Easter holidays, so I’m very grateful for that. It’s been reasonably intense trialing, and hopefully it will get easier if we’re using the system for a little while. I appreciate teachers even more than ever. I have never been a person to even think about homeschooling, I’m not that patient with the kids, and have found it fairly frustrating a couple of days, to be honest. I’m just so appreciative of everything the teachers are doing to keep things going for the kids, and the kids have been pretty good in trying to do what they’ve been asked, so I can’t ask for more than that, really.

I have to say, I’m looking forward to the holidays when we can just do our own projects, and that will involve some sewing, and cooking. Both the girls want to do those things, they’re much more interested in doing things like that, crafty things and cooking, than they are in schoolwork. Although, they’re both quite good readers.

I currently have my office floor covered in bits of fabric, because Lexi has decided to make some Easter bunting. So she’s cutting out egg-shaped pieces of fabric and hand sewing them onto a piece of ribbon, which is really cool. Sophie and I have decided to make a quilt, and I am super keen to make a pattern by JeniB320, that’s her Instagram name. Her name is Jenny Baker, and her blog is InColorOrder.com. That’s color spelt the American way, C-O-L-O-R. I can’t remember where I saw the post in Instagram, I’m not sure if someone had it in their stories. I think that might have been what happened.

Jenny had made a post with 10 of her favorite free tutorial projects that she’s provided over the last 10 years or so. One of them is called House Quilt Block tutorial. I was very taken by this, and thought it was appropriate while we’re all stuck in our houses. It’s a very, very simple block, but there’s a little bit more to it than just plain squares. I’ll post a picture of it in the show notes, super cute. I think Sophie was quite keen to do it, but then she said, “Ah, I might just do plain squares.” So I’m not sure if she’s going to join me, with this particular one, but she’s pulled out Grandma’s old suitcase full of the scrap fabric that they’re allowed to use, and she’s pulled out some colors. I am going to use my fabric that I was gifted from a group of girlfriends, for my 40th birthday, which was a few years ago now.

I was intending to use that fabric as one of my happiness projects for this year, and I was planning to just do really simple squares. But, I think I’m going to do this cute house pattern, because I’ve got some white fabric. It has little roofs, little triangles at the top, with white fabric in between. Anyway, that’s a very long, ramble-y introduction, and I went a bit off on a tangent, there.

Yeah, we’re looking forward to having a creative couple of weeks over Easter, and I’m just really relieved tomorrow is a student free day, so I’m taking that to mean a holiday. Yes, well tomorrow as in Friday, so when you’ll be listening to this one day early for the holidays, and I’m looking forward to it.

I am feeling a little bit sad because, amongst other things, amongst the whole trauma of what’s happening, I’m also seeing from lots of Instagramers in London that it’s spring, and it’s magnolia season. So that’s making me a bit homesick for London because we used to have a beautiful magnolia tree in our garden there, and every year around this time it would just be full of blossom, and our street would be full of blossom. Yeah, I have to say I’m also quite grateful that we’re not in London at the moment, poor London is copping it really badly. I’m just thinking a lot about my friends there, and just sending them all my best wishes.

I actually had a friend, and her son who’s Lexi’s age, who have just had the Coronavirus. She just texted me last night to say that they had it for a week, and are on the mend. But, I just felt that like a kick in my guts, it was just so scary. But, she said that they didn’t have it too badly, so I just hope that’s the case and it doesn’t develop into anything worse. That was very close to home, when I got that message.

I hope that people can appreciate spring in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve been seeing pictures of bulbs bursting up, crocuses, daffodils, and I’m hoping that is providing people with a little bit of cheerfulness right now, if spring has reached your part of the world yet. Maybe not, if you’re in Canada, or further up in Scandinavia, so I hope that you can look forward to that.

Something that has been helping me hugely this week is going out for my walking streak. I decided I was definitely going to do a good streak in April, and so far I have been achieving it. It’s only been a few days, but I started a few days early to get into the swing of it. It has been just the best tonic, getting outside, going for a walk in the morning or the evening. Yeah, it’s just really beautiful around here, we’re so lucky. So, I have been doing that, and it has been making a huge difference to my mental state.

Apologies for any background noise in this episode, I’m being interrupted fairly regularly, and I also lose my line of thinking, such as it is.

So, I announced last week that we were going to have the Knit 20 For 20 knit along, with monthly prizes. Even though it was towards the end of the month, I set up a thread for March, and we had lots of entries in the thread in Ravelry, and also in Instagram. The winner from the Ravelry thread is MelissaH3, who knit a gorgeous pair of luminary socks, in Farmers Daughter Fibers yarn, in a lovely blue. She also nominated Farmers Daughter Fibers as her favorite Indie dyer. On Instagram, we have asteride, who entered a lovely … I think it’s a hat, in gorgeous green yarn. She is tagging her LYS Retrosario Rosa Pomar. So, you’re very lucky to have that us your LYS in Portugal, in Lisbon. So, thank you for entering, I will arrange for gift vouchers, or some way of getting the prizes to you. The prize is a US $50 gift voucher or local equivalent, so I will arrange with those two shops, to get them to you.

If you’re listening to the podcast, if you could email me at Helen@CuriousHandmade.com, or message me on Ravelry at HellsBells, with your email address or Ravelry address for Estheride on Instagram, then I will arrange that with you.

I’ve set up the April thread, and for anybody who didn’t hear about the Knit Along last week, all you have to do is post your project that you have ticked off in the month of April for the Knit 20 For 20 challenge. You can find details about that on the blog at Curious Handmade. We have a series of 20 prompts that people are ticking off, ranging from things like knitting lace or brioche, through to knitting a sweater, or using deep stash which is yarn you’ve had in your stash for a long time, and what is deep stash is up to you. The rules are all up to you. If you feel like you’ve ticked something off in the month for many of those categories, or several of those categories, pop a post in either in the Ravelry thread, which I have set up as a sticky thread, or using the hashtag on Instagram.

The idea is to spread the love around to our favorite small or big yarn businesses. But, I really did have Indie businesses in mind when I set it up, but it can be any yarn business, or Indie dyer, or LYS. You can tag them, show them some love, and I can support them in a tiny little way, by purchasing a gift voucher as a prize each month. So, huge thank you to everybody who entered, and I hope you’ve been having fun with the challenge.

We also have another fun giveaway happening at the moment, and I decided to gift my Habitation throw pattern. This was a design that was part of Knitvent last year. I know that lots of people are already working on it. I just thought this is really the perfect pattern for a project while we’re at home, if we’re having to stay at home at the moment. It’s a scrappy project, so you can delve into your scraps, or mini sets that you may have. It’s a very relaxing project, so it’s not too taxing to knit, and it’s quite a big project, so can keep you occupied for quite an amount of time.

It’s actually a project that you can decide how big you want to make it. Basically, you start in a corner of the throw, and just keep increasing until you’ve used about half your yarn, or you want to decrease, where it’s big enough. Then, you start decreasing again, and go back up to the other corner. It’s really flexible, and you can just use any yarn you want, have fun with it. So, I have made that free on Ravelry, with the code Shelter. If people don’t use the code, it’s still for sale and any proceeds that I receive from that pattern through the month of April, I’ll be donating it to the UN Refugee charity, for people that don’t have any shelter or a home at this time.

Yeah, that’s what we’re doing in April. I am trying to think of fun things to keep our spirits up, keep us going, and that’s what I came up with this month. I’m working on something that will hopefully be ready for next month, so stick around for that. I don’t want to commit to it at this stage, because I’m finding that I have less concentration than normal, and less time than normal with the kids at home. I’m having fun working on some ideas for next month.

I have been knitting on my Pebbles and Pathways socks by Marceline Smith this week. That was a WIP that I’ve had going for quite a long time, I’ve been picking it up and putting it down for over a year now I think, or maybe about a year. I’m knitting this in a yarn by my lovely friend Emma, Serena yarn, it’s absolutely gorgeous yarn. She gifted this to me, and it was one of her early skeins that she dyed. Emma is such a talented dyer, she’s such a beautiful person. She’s going through a tough time now, at the moment personally, and I just want to send her all my love. I’m enjoying knitting with her yarn, and thinking about her at the moment. So, really enjoying this project, and I think I’ll be finished this in the next few days. Again, I don’t want to commit, but it’s on the foot, I’m halfway done the foot of the second sock, so I’m zooming along now. Yeah, probably another couple of days knitting on this.

Then, I decided that my next WIP that I’m going to tackle before I start something new is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli. That is, again, a very old WIP, so I want to say that’s been going for three years, now. About three years, maybe a bit less. It’s such a lovely project. If you’re not familiar with Pure Joy, it’s a crescent shawl, I think it’s the first short row shawl I’ve knit, and really enjoying it. I’m using some beautiful yarn by Juno Fiber Arts, that has merino, and a touch of cashmere, so it’s gorgeous, and soft, and drape-y. I think maybe silk, as well. Merino, silk, cashmere I think is the blend? I can’t remember, it’s been so long. A gorgeous, soft blue and a cream, beautiful. Joyful colors for me.

I was just pondering on what I should tackle next, and that popped into my head. What better project to work on, than something called Pure Joy? Before I sign off, I’d like to think my sponsor, A Yarn Story.

Well, I hope you have a good week, I hope you stay safe, stay well, stay sane. Keep up your meditation, keep up your walking if you can, maybe do some PE with Joe. If you haven’t heard of that, it’s a UK fitness guru, who is doing physical education lessons for kids online. I haven’t made my kids do it yet, but I’m planning to. He’s really cheerful, and upbeat, and positive, and a lovely guy. Do some PE with Joe, or whatever other exercise rocks your boat. Yeah, keep knitting, keep crafting, I think it’s going to keep us all sane at the moment.

Don’t forget, you can grab a copy of my Habitation throw pattern for free at the moment, it’s my little gift to you, use the code Shelter when you check out. Also, if you’re doing the Knit 20 For 2020 challenge, post your pictures of your challenges being met on either Instagram or in the Ravelry thread, and we’ll do another prize draw at the end of April. We also have the Knit Along for the Luminary socks, finishing soon. So, if you’re participating in the handmade socks society for this year, season three, the Knit Along for the first sock, the Luminary socks, is finishing on the 14th of April, so you’ve still got a little bit of time to finish your Luminary socks, get them posted in the Finished Object thread. The prize is a beautiful skein of Hedgerow yarn, as well as a lovely, cute project bag, sock sized project bag, from MinaMakes, with a fun London map print on it.

I’ll be drawing that soon after the 14th of April, and announcing that later in the month, as well. Lots of Knit Alongs to participate in. Yes, wishing you all the best, take care, happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.