Archives For June 2020

CH 300: Big Milestones

Amanda —  June 26, 2020 — Leave a comment
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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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.

Meet Cindy!

I have a cosy trip down memory lane for us this week. It’s my 300th episode, and also my 10 year anniversary of publishing my first indie design on Ravelry. My heart is very full! Also in heart-bursting territory, our new puppy has joined the family, and she’s keeping us very busy. This week also saw the first clue release of The Stillness MKAL, and the excitement is off the charts.

Show Links:

Jewel Cowl

Radiance Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

You can save this image to use as the first picture in your Ravelry project page or on social media to keep from spoiling knitters who haven’t knit the first clue yet:

If you have any questions or need help that you can’t find in the Ravelry group

#Knit20for2020 June FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Subpod Compost

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 300. 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. Thank you for joining me for a chat today. This is a bit of a special episode milestone for 300 shows and I’m extra grateful to you because when I started this little podcast back in October 2013, I genuinely did not imagine I would still be going seven years later. I think at the time my big hope was to manage to record about 10 episodes and see how things went. So, those 300 episodes are all down to you, keeping me company and your lovely messages, conversations, Curious Handmade knits and photos you’ve shared and really created a community around the podcast and my designs. So from the bottom of my heart, a huge, huge, thank you.

And this month is also another really big milestone because it is 10 years ago in June 2010, that I published my first indie design on Ravelry, the Jewel Cowl. Of course, in some ways it seems no time at all ago, but mostly it feels like a lifetime ago. At that time, when I published that first pattern, I was still working in the city in London, in a law firm. Lexi hadn’t been born yet, and I was seriously into knitting after picking it up again around 2005, I think. I was meeting up with my dear friends at Wednesday night knitting and we still meet up now when we can, which means a lot to me. I had recently moved to London and I was stalking a blog called ACE chick. And then I crashed one of Pauline who is Ace Chick’s knitting groups she shared on her website because I was really lonely.

I just moved back to London and I wanted to meet people and I didn’t know how to meet people outside of work. So I ended up making such great friends through that first uncomfortable knit night when I was so shy. I had to drag my sister with me. And I just shake my head now when I think about how much that changed my whole life and career from that point, really. I was looking early photos of my knitting and thinking how much I’ve changed as a person since then, but I actually don’t think my knitting has changed very much. I mean, my skills have improved quite a bit, but my taste in colors and style hasn’t really changed all that much in 10 years or 15 years since I started knitting. If I look at my early designs, like the Jewel Cowl and the Radiance Shawl, and I actually use some of those stitch patterns even now in designs. I can’t imagine ever not loving a picot bind off.

At that time in my life, 10 years ago, I was dating my now husband. I was living in a share house, working in a corporate job and wondering what I was doing with my life quite a lot of the time. I was finding huge comfort in crafting because I had discovered blogs. I remember the day I was sitting at work and discovered what blogs were. And honestly it changed my working life because all those hours of boredom was suddenly filled by creativity and people from all over the world, sharing their makes. And I discovered the Back Tack Swaps run by Nicole, who was Craftapalooza and Alison at six and a half stitches, who were two Ozzie crafty bloggers whose creativity I absolutely loved. Before I got back into the knitting, I actually got back into sewing and I started sewing things by hand to participate in those swaps.

And then I got back into quilting and bought a little sewing machine and would be making quilts in my share house, and people thought it was really weird, anyway. But yeah, it was just such a lovely time, rediscovering craft and creativity after university days and traveling days where I really didn’t do anything. And yeah, it was a lovely time. Now where I have two tweens, a puppy sitting under my chair sleeping, nine mice. Yes, that escalated quite quickly. And I’m living back in Australia during a pandemic. I’m still knitting, still crafting, quilting, sewing, and am even more grateful for the crafty community all around the world. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you during this year, this time where we’ve had such a big transition in my personal life, as well as this crazy lockdown period. So thank you.

Thank you so much. I still love this community. I love the changes and the awareness that is happening about racism and politics, at the moment. I personally think it’s unavoidable and I am glad to embrace it. And I feel like it’s making me grow as a person. Everything that’s happening, including the pandemic and moving and personal things happening in my life. But as well as the politics and anti-racism work and things like that. Yeah, I think it’s fantastic and I hope to continue to do better in all those areas of my life.

So I better stop gushing and this trip down memory lane, or I will be here pouring over old photos and trying to track down long lost blogging friends for days. And we do have a mystery knit-along to be getting on with. I polished the first clue for the Stillness Mystery Knit-Along yesterday. And we already have people posting their super fast progress. I always find it amazing how quickly people can get through the clues when they’re waiting for it to be published and then just start knitting straightaway. I love it. And I love seeing the instant peaks into people’s shawls and how their colors are coming together. We have the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry, of course, where there is support and sneak peaks to be found if you want them. And we will have a no sneak peek thread or just a general chat thread if you’re not wanting to see any spoilers. But there will be a spoiler thread as well, if you’re like me and can’t resist seeing what’s happening.

Just a reminder for the speedy people to please make sure to use the spoiler images or pictures of your yarn on the first post in Instagram and Ravelry on your projects. And to make sure that any spoilers are posted in the specific spoiler thread on Ravelry, if you’re doing that. Just so that people who are can’t start immediately or are a bit slower or savoring the process. Don’t get the clues spoiled for them before they can get to it. Just in case you missed in the notes, in the pattern. If you’re struggling with the cast on, I have a video linked in the pattern, in the note section to help with the cast on if anyone’s struggling with that. I think it’s not too tricky, but I have a video there to help if you need it.

I won’t say any more than that because it might be a bit of a spoiler. And yeah, as always, there is the email support at curioushandmade.com, or you can ask questions in the threads on Ravelry, as well. And I just hope that everyone has a really fun time. I designed the shawl to be fairly relaxing and I don’t think it’s too complicated. So hopefully it’s a nice relaxing net for people and people can have fun playing with colors and pretty yarn. And I’m really excited to be getting started with it now. In other knitalong news, just a little reminder, we’re actually getting towards the end of June now. So the June Knit 20 for 2020 challenge will be wrapping up in a few days. So if you’ve been knitting anything for that challenge, make sure you post it in the June thread.

Then of course we will be on to July. And as usual, there will be a draw from the Ravelry thread and a draw from Instagram posts. So if you use the #knit20for2020 on Instagram, and I will be able to find your posts. And the idea is to post one of the items from the challenge and nominate a favorite indie dyer or yarn store, and to be in the running for a $50 or equivalent voucher from that dyer or yarnster. I have to admit I’ve been quite slow in organizing the prizes, and apologies for that. I’m sorry, I’m busy and I’m terrible at admin. So I am aiming to get to them as soon as I can, but don’t worry if you’re a winner, I will get to it being a bit slow and I’m going to try and get better at that. But apologies if people are waiting.

So thank you for your patience and thank you for participating in that challenge. I’m having a lot of fun with it myself. And I am currently working on new to me designer with my Hermione Jean Granger Shawl, by Clever Knits, Tyne Swedish. Who’s designed this delightful, relaxing, fun, stripey shawl with tassels. I always love a tassel. And I am really enjoying knitting that with La Bien Aimee yarn in glorious, bright, fun pinks. So that project’s giving me a lot of joy at the moment. So don’t forget to post anything before the end of the month. The other project I’ve been working on quite a lot actually is, not knitting, but my hexie quilt projects, plural. I have succumbed to an Instagram purchase. An Instagram enabled purchase. I saw a post by, I think she’s just an online store or maybe it’s a physical store as well, The Strawberry Thief. They’re based in Perth and specialize in Liberty fabric.

And they were advertising these monthly hexie quilt subscription packs, where they send you certain number of precut hexagon shapes to make an English paper piecing quilt. And I’d kind of started an English paper piecing project a couple of years ago when I was over here in Australia on a summer holiday. But to what really attracted me to this was the fact that the shapes, the fabric was already precut, which saves a massive amount of time. And you can just get to the fun bit for me, which is the sewing. And yeah, and so I didn’t know whether I wanted a one inch size or the two inch size. We ordered both and thought I could see which one I ended up wanting to do. So far I haven’t decided. So far I’m continuing with both, which is a bit crazy and there’s no way I will be able to keep up with it.

But yeah, anyway, I’ve been enjoying that. I’ve made several flowers with the Hexie so far, and it’s just such a nice activity to do. I watch videos, YouTube videos on all sorts of different topics, currently gardening and puppy training. And it’s very relaxing. So thank you to The Strawberry Thief for those lovely subscriptions. It’s giving me a lot of joy at the moment because the fabrics are obviously so gorgeous, and yes. Apart from that, I’ve been doing some gardening as well. Recently, we bought another Instagram enabled purchase, which is a sub pod, and it’s basically a fancy compost bin. And I think it’s a Byron Bay company. It’s an Australian company and they’ve created this. I mean, it’s not too fancy, but it’s fairly well designed. I mean, I haven’t used it yet in earnest, but it’s a compost bin that has holes in the sides.

So you bury it in a garden and then the worms can come in and out of the compost and spread the earthy goodness in your garden. So I bought a raised bed and buried my compost bin yesterday and today I need to move the worms into the bin. We got a parcel in the post and my husband had forgotten we had ordered the worms and he came in and said, “I’ve just received a bag of dirt.” He was so confused. So that was quite amusing. Now I need to settle them into their new home. Anyway, so that’s the domestic life that I am living at the moment. It’s school holidays, and the kids are home and we’re just puttering around and can’t go too far with the new puppy. So it’s really nice actually. And in a way it feels like we’ve been at home forever, but it’s lovely weather at the moment here in Queensland.

We’re just making the best of things and enjoying being homebodies. So just before I sign off, I would also love to give Carmen a huge shout out. Carmen is the owner of A Yarn Story in Bath, and it is her 40th birthday today. So happy birthday, my dear friend, Carmen. I hope you have a fantastic day and a fabulous 40th year. Thank you for joining me for this very special mile stone podcast today. I hope you’re well, I hope you’re having some lovely knitting time. Have a great week, and I’ll talk to you again soon.



The first clue of The Stillness MKAL was just revealed, and we have new participants signing up daily…and a few still on the fence! That makes this a great time to dispel any questions or worries you might have about taking part. Whenever we embark on a new adventure, lots of questions come my way. Since I’m being deliberately mysterious about this mystery knitalong, it makes sense that there will be even more than usual!

So let’s get started with some answers to set your mind at ease and help you get even more excited for what lies ahead:

How do I join the MKAL? Do I need to sign up somewhere?
All you need to do to be a part of The Stillnesss MKAL is to buy the pattern on Ravelry and select three skeins of lovely yarn!

There’s no official signup, but being part of the community really enriches the experience. Make sure you set up a project page for your Stillness Shawl to track and share your progress as you go (just use a photo of your yarn or the placeholder images below as your first image: it keeps the mystery for everyone else!) You can also join us on the chat thread in the Curious Handmade Ravelry group. As the weeks and clues go on, we will have separate spoiler and non-spoiler threads for each clue where you can discuss your knitting experience and find support and encouragement to finish your shawl!

I have my three skeins of yarn but I don’t know what order to use them in! How will I know if they’ll look good?
Figuring out yarn is the most nerve-wracking part of a mystery knitalong, I know. To help put your mind at ease, my last two podcasts have had some extra clues and reassurance. Episode 298 has the most info: you can listen or read the transcript at this link. There are no big spoilers in there, just some hints on placement. The most important thing is to choose three skeins that you love and that you think look beautiful together, and then you can’t go wrong. I promise!

I have joined, but I’m having issues accessing Ravelry right now. How can I get my clues?

If you cannot visit Ravelry right now and have purchased the MKAL, please email support@curioushandmade.com and we will do our best to help you!

The listed gauge for the pattern looks loose to me. Are you sure it’s right?
The gauge of 18 stitches and 32 rows = 10 cm in stockinette is correct. It’s a fairly loose gauge to create a drapey fabric. But gauge is not critical at all for this shawl, as long as you have enough yarn. Swatch to play with your colours and to make sure you like the fabric your yarn is creating, but don’t stress out over getting exact gauge.

I’m so excited I’m counting down the hours! What time of day do the clues come out?
It’s a surprise! We are working across several time zones and are sometimes at the mercy of technology, so to avoid disappointment or letting anyone down, I can’t be more specific than Thursdays! Once you’ve purchased the pattern, you’ll be notified through Ravelry as soon as each clue arrives!

This is my first MKAL. What can I expect?
First of all, thank you for your bravery and trust taking a leap and a chance on a pattern you haven’t seen before. I am honoured!!

A mystery knit along is all about surprises: you buy the pattern without knowing what the finished design will look like and get one clue a week until the whole pattern is released. The community aspect is huge, too: people share their progress each week and speculate on what might be coming next. Knitting a project with a group is lots of fun and supportive  – you will find lots of company in the MKAL chat threads and people to ask questions if you run into any problems.

This is my first Curious Handmade shawl. What can I expect?
Enjoyment, on the whole! Relaxing, satisfying knitting. And of course, a beautiful accessory at the end!

On the more technical side of things, you can expect clarity. My patterns are clearly written in the unique Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist style with stitch count for every row and percentages of stitches knit to help you pace yourself and estimate yarn needed. Directions are written in full and also include charted instructions for any lace sections.

I’ve knit many Curious Handmade shawls before. What can I expect?

Well, you’ll recognise the checklist format, and if you’re a fan of my patterns (thank you!) I think you’ll find that this project is quite “typical” of my designs: some lace, feminine, easy-to-wear, and a little dreamy. I also think it will keep you guessing until the last clue is finally revealed!

What is the level of difficulty?
It is beginner to adventurous beginner/intermediate throughout.

It is a slight step up from beginner in places due to some easy lace and the amount of knitting involved but it definitely isn’t difficult in any sense. There might be a handful of rows where you really have to concentrate on where you are setting up a new pattern – but it is very achievable for an adventurous lace beginner. And lifelines are always helpful if you are worried! Here is a helpful tutorial on adding lifelines to your knitting.

How much does it cost?
The price for the whole MKAL is £5 (plus applicable VAT).

I think the amount of the price is wrong, it looks higher than £5?
The price of the pattern does not include VAT. Ravelry automatically adds VAT to all purchases of patterns in the EU when you check out. The amount varies by country, so it may show as a higher price than £4, depending on your location. I’m sorry about any inconvenience, but it is out of my control.

When will the clues be released?
Clue #1 release: Thursday, June 25th
Clue #2 release: Thursday, July 2nd
Clue #3 release: Thursday, July 9th
Clue #4 release: Thursday, July 16th
Clue #5 release: Thursday, July 23rd

The final pattern reveal on social media will be Friday, July 31st. We’ll be avoiding spoilers until then. From that date you can share your finished shawl anywhere you like without spoiler alerts!

The knitalong will continue until Friday, August 28th to allow plenty of comfortable knitting time. So you can go at your own pace and still be in with a chance to win a prize for your finished shawl!
At the end of the MKAL I’ll compile all the clues into one pattern document so that you have everything in one place if you’d like to knit it again.

I don’t have time to commit to an MKAL right now, can I still participate somehow?
Life sometimes gets in the way of knitting, and not everyone can keep up with the weekly clue releases. That is perfectly okay! You can jump in and out at any point, or even wait until all the clues are out before you begin. The KAL will run for about a month after the last clue is released, so you can still join in and post your finished shawl on your own schedule. For a taste of the lovely MKAL community experience, hop into the chat threads now and then, and don’t forget to check in on Instagram with the hashtag #StillnesssMKAL

These answers should cover almost everything, but of course if you have other questions that I didn’t address here, you can pop into MKAL Chatter Thread on Ravelry for more answers, or email support@curioushandmade.com for help! As you can imagine, this is a very busy time, so your patience while waiting for a reply is truly appreciated.

Are you feeling more prepared to take the leap now?

Buy the Stillness Shawl MKAL and join the fun!

Play

Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

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.

A Stillness MKAL kit from La Bien Aimée

This week, I have some lucky winners to congratulate from some of our recent knitalongs. I’ve also got updates on my most recent WIP (spoiler alert, I am enjoying it so much!) and more yarn reassurance for any knitters who are stressing themselves out a bit trying to pick the perfect yarn for the Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong

Show Links:

Winners of the May #knit20for2020 KAL

Ravelry : craftytextilelady (hillary On)

Cypress Cardigan by Amy Herzog

The Knitting Loft in Toronto

Instagram: mctrem7

Little Love Cardigan by Ankestrik

Colorista Canada

Winner of The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 Rainy Window Socks

seraines

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

Rainy Window Socks

Vapour Socks

The Wool Barn

Tinkhickman on Instagram

Tracyrr on Instagram

The Stillness Shaw MKAL starts on the 25th of June

Enter Stillness Shawl MKAL Giveaway before the 25th of June

  • An absolutely adorable Stitch Mischief Medium Finch Bucket bag
  • A hard-cover knitting journal from Laine. The “My Knitting Notes” Journal is an elegant way to document your knitting journey with space for 31 knitting projects, 6 pages for keeping track of your yarn purchases, 18 gridded pages, e.g. for charts or colourwork sketches, a knitting needle sizes and conversions table, and the most common abbreviations.
  • A stunning skein of Skein Australia Silk Road, in the rich Atomic colourway.

I’ll also be giving away 10 pattern prizes: each winner can choose the pattern of their choice from my designs on Ravelry!

Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance to win:

  1. Create your project page for The Stillness Shawl MKAL. You can use the placeholder graphic below or upload a photo of your yarn!
  2. Post in the giveaway thread to tell us about your favourite still life artist, painting, or photograph. It would be amazing if you shared an image, but you don’t have to. And if there isn’t a piece that comes to mind, maybe you can share a moment of stillness in your life that you wish you could capture and keep forever, like a painting.

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 299. 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 to the show. How are you this week? I hope you’re having a good week. We’re having a pretty good week here. I’ve got kids still home sick, which is a bit of a worry, but it’s okay, I guess. It is what it is. They have just mild colds, but we’re not allowed to send them to school with any kind of cold. So, they’re at home. They may have gone to school if it wasn’t for that rule.

And we’re rolling into three weeks of holidays here in Queensland, so that’s coming up. So they’ll have a chance to rest, and recuperate, and hopefully I will, as well. And I am going to try to plan, in the last couple of days of term time, theoretically, even though they’re at home already, try and plan some activities for the holidays so that we don’t just mindlessly go through the three weeks without actually doing anything fun. Which way have a bit of a tendency to do if there’s not much structure.

So, yeah, so that’s where I’m at today. I’m recording this on Thursday, just the day before I release the episode. The other hugely exciting thing that is happening in the house is that we are picking up our puppy tomorrow. She is called Cindy, and the puppy breeder had called her Cindy and the girls liked the name, so we’re keeping the name, which is fine. It saves us try to think up a new name. And, yeah, it just seems to suit her.

She is a little toy cavoodle, so she is a bit of a toy, and it reminds me of my Cindy doll that I had when I was a kid. So, we are all very excited about that for tomorrow. I have to say that life has felt a little bit same-same lately, with not really being able to plan any exciting activities, or really know what’s going to happen in the future.

We’ve been fairly happy and content just hunkering down at home, but I’m sure you can relate to that it’s starting to feel a little bit monotonous now. And I know we are, of course, extremely lucky to be in that position where the worst thing is that life is slightly boring. But, yes, anyway, that’s where we are, and I do appreciate our boring, contented life. And, yeah, so hopefully today I can bring you some news about knit-alongs. I have some prize draws to share with you, a little bit of knitting news, and a little bit about the upcoming mystery knit-along.

First I’ll announce some knit-along prize winners. First of all, I have the Knit 20 for 2020 prize winners from May to announce. And I know we’re well into June now. I think the first week, I didn’t record an episode, and then last week I completely forgot because we were so far into the month that I’d forgotten that I still hadn’t done that.

And, anyway. So, without further ado, the winners of the Knit 20 for 2020 knit-along are on the Ravelry thread, craftytextilelady, who is Hillary from Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. She knit the Cyprus Cardigan by Amy Herzog, which looks beautiful, by the way. And her chosen yarn store is the Knitting Loft in Toronto. So, congratulations, craftytextilelady, Hillary.

And on Instagram, we have the winner, mctrem7, who is Sepia Pixie. And she also knit a cardigan for her entry for Knit 20 for 2020. And her nominated indie dyer is Colorista, also based in Canada. We have a very Canadian theme this week. And so, if you would both contact me either via Ravelry direct messages at HellsBells, or you can email me at Helen at Curious Handmade. And I just need your email address to get in contact with you to organize a gift voucher from Colorista and The Knitting Loft.

And finally, for the prize draws, we have the Handmade Sock Society prize. And the winner is [Serines 00:06:35], which was entry number 76 with her Rainy Window socks from the Handmade Sock Society, season three. And, Serines, I will need your postal address to email your prize. And hopefully the post from here will not take three or four months like it seems to be at the moment for international parcels. I might have to look into that and arrange something else for you, rather than posting something from here at the moment. It seems to be a bit of a disaster.

But anyway, if you contact me and get in touch, and let me know where you are in the world, and we can have a chat about that. So, congratulations to all the winners. Thank you so, so much for participating in the knit-alongs. It’s a lot of fun. I love seeing your projects. And I’m having a lot of fun discovering new designers, and indie dyers, and yarn stores around the world with the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge.

So, speaking of the Handmade Sock Society, this week we had the release of the fifth pattern in the series. And it’s hard to believe that it’s up to pattern number five already. We are releasing them every month this year, instead of every two months like last year. But the knit-alongs are going for two months, so that you have plenty of time to complete your socks.

That means that at the moment we have two knit-alongs happening for socks four and socks five, which is the vapor socks that have just been released. And then at the end of the series, the knit-alongs will continue for two months after the release of the sixth pattern to give you… Well, seven weeks I’ve made it. Not quite two months. Just shy of two months for each knit-along.

So you have plenty of time to complete your socks, and hopefully we’ll see some people who’ve completed the whole collection. Anyway, the vapor socks are a really pretty pair of socks. And I’ll just read you out the description. Clouds wreathing a mountain peak and fog rolling in over the water. The early morning haze in the distance before the dew dries up. A gentle mist settling on a meadow as the evening draws in. Your own breath, suspended in midair on a frosty walk, and the friendly steam piping from your tea kettle when you come back home.

Vapor is transitory and insubstantial by nature. It can play tricks on us, obscure our vision, transform a landscape, appear and disappear in a matter of moments, as fleeting as a fanciful idea and as wonderful. It reminds us that even ordinary things are worth a second look, and that nothing really lasts forever.

The vapor socks are a gentle and relaxing project with a delicate, but deceptively simple pattern. They begin with a cuff of 1×1 twisted rib, and feature an easy-to-memorize panel of eyelets and airy lace on the front with plain stockinette in back. A snug ribbed heel and wedge toe give you a steady foundation, but it’s always easy to swap in your own favorite heel and toe. As with all the Handmade Sock Society patterns, you have the three sizes to choose from to customize your fit.

These socks were knit in the beautiful The Wool Barn Cashmere Sock, which is a lovely 80% Merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon base. And as always, I just love Maya’s delicate colors. I use the colorway Smitten, and a huge thank you to Deb [Tink-Hickman 00:00:10:31], who knit the sample for me, and also photographed them. And she did this brilliantly, because in these strange times, she had to both photograph and model them herself. So, just huge thanks to Deb for doing that for me.

And also, a huge, huge, thanks to Tracey RR. [He 00:10:55] is the host of the [Cozy 00:10:58] Red Couch podcast for test knitting, and knitting a beautiful test-knit version for me, and finding any mistakes. It’s always a huge help. So, thank you very much. And thank you to Maya for the gorgeous sample yarn. I always want her yarn, it’s so inspiring, so it’s a delight to design with. And I hope you all enjoy these socks if you’re joining in on the Handmade Sock Society.

It’s not too late to join. You can join at any time. Of course, there is just one pair to be released now, so not a huge surprise in the collection like there is if you sign up at the beginning. But this way you get to see what you’re in for. The other big event that we have happening at Curious Homemade at the moment is the upcoming Stillness Mystery Knit-Along. That is a shawl mystery knit-along. The first clue comes out next week, next Thursday, the 25th of June. So that’s coming up very quickly now.

And I am just loving seeing everybody’s entries into the launch competition we have at the moment, where if you create a project page and enter it into a thread on Ravelry, then you can be in the running to win a lovely little bundle that I’ve put together. Which is one skein of the yarn that I used in the sample, which is Skein Australia Silk Road, a really luxurious blend. And a gorgeous project bag from Stich Mischief in Canada that I purchased at Knit City a couple of years ago now. And also a [liner 00:12:54] knitting diary. So, there’s a lovely prize, and all you have to do is make a post in the thread over on Ravelry.

I’ve had a lot of questions about the yarn, and I talked about this last week, so I won’t go into it again. But really I think that anything goes, and so if you have some yarn in your stash, you can probably put together a combination. It’s fingering weight yarn. I think lace weight could work as well, easily well. So, that’s something to consider if you enjoy knitting with lace weight yarn.

So the yarn I used is Skein Australia. And because we have postage delays here to and from Australia, all our parcels are coming via ship, and going via ship at the moment. So it’s very, very slow. It’s taking three months or more. So, I am trying to suggest other yarn dyers in various countries to give you some ideas of other options. Of course, you can purchase from your local yarn shop, or any local dyer.

And really, you don’t have to be in the know to put a combination together. I will actually try and do a blog post to show lots of different combinations, and highlight some of the dyers that I’ve been sharing in my newsletter and on Instagram. But I know this is the most stressful part of a mystery knit-along is choosing the yarn. And I really just want to say don’t stress about it. It’s going to be fine.

It’s, I think, a reasonably uncomplicated pattern. It’s no more difficult than the Snowmelt shawl. And I will email some frequently asked questions, or answers to frequently asked questions in the next few days. But it’s meant to be fun. I designed it when I was on lockdown. So I wanted something very relaxing, and just enjoyable. Nothing stressful. And so, that’s the kind of vibe that you’ll get with this shawl.

So, if you’re interested in joining up, you can do that over on Ravelry, just Google Stillness Mystery Knit-Along. And you just purchase the pattern on Ravelry, and then all the clues will be delivered one per week from the 25th of June. There will be five clues. And there is an early-bird price at the moment, which is four pounds. And that will go up to five pounds the day the first clue comes out. So I hope that gives you a bit more information, and I look forward to hopefully seeing you in the mystery knit-along.

I have been doing a little bit of personal knitting. I think I mentioned last week that I had started the Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish, who is clevereststitch on Instagram. I am really, really enjoying that. I chose three skeins from my stash, which is La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in really vibrant pinks. And I do love pink. I love blue, and I love pink. I love all the colors, but probably those two are the ones I’m drawn to the most. And so, yeah, so heaps of fun. It’s a stripey garter stitch shawl.

It’s just really, really relaxing knitting. And I can just take it with me in the car, or, I’m not getting out much at the moment, but occasionally I’ll take it with me for the car, or for a doctor’s appointment, something like that. Or mostly watching TV at night in the evenings. It’s super, super relaxing knitting. So, thank you very much for that lovely pattern, Tyne, and highly recommend it if you’re looking for something very chill to knit at the moment.

That’s about all I have for you this week. Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor, Meadow Yarn. And just to say that if you’re in the UK, both my sponsors, A Yarn Story and Meadow Yarn, do you have some lovely kits available for the mystery knit-along. So, if you’re in the UK, or nearby, you might find a good option for your yarn there if you haven’t already.

So, hope you have a wonderful week. Congratulations to the knit-along winners, and please get in touch with me. And, yeah, I’ll talk to you again next week for the 300th episode. Have a great week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.

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Show Sponsors

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

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

On today’s show I’m talking about the ongoing need for anti-racist work and my gratitude for the knitters who are making a difference. I’m also celebrating some new personal knitting cast-ons. The Stillness MKAL is approaching swiftly, and I’m hosting a special giveaway. I also have some extra clues and tips for choosing your MKAL yarn colours.

Show Links:

@creativececi

@ggmadeit

@heybrownberry

@jeanettesloane

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

Everyday Lined Hat by Denise Bayron

The Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Píosa KAL

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Snowmelt Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL Presale is open on Ravelry! Join here!

To celebrate the launch of our new mystery knitalong, I’m hosting a special giveaway! I’ve put together a beautiful prize for one grand winner, which includes:

  • An absolutely adorable Stitch Mischief Medium Finch Bucket bag
  • A hard-cover knitting journal from Laine. The “My Knitting Notes” Journal is an elegant way to document your knitting journey with space for 31 knitting projects, 6 pages for keeping track of your yarn purchases, 18 gridded pages, e.g. for charts or colourwork sketches, a knitting needle sizes and conversions table, and the most common abbreviations.
  • A stunning skein of Skein Australia Silk Road, in the rich Atomic colourway.

I’ll also be giving away 10 pattern prizes: each winner can choose the pattern of their choice from my designs on Ravelry!

Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance to win:

  1. Create your project page for The Stillness Shawl MKAL. You can use the placeholder graphic below or upload a photo of your yarn!
  2. Post in the giveaway thread to tell us about your favourite still life artist, painting, or photograph. It would be amazing if you shared an image, but you don’t have to. And if there isn’t a piece that comes to mind, maybe you can share a moment of stillness in your life that you wish you could capture and keep forever, like a painting.

These threads are always so fun and enjoyable, and a great way to get to know each other better. In the past they’ve also offered some amazing colour and yarn inspiration thanks to all the beautiful stories and photos! I can’t wait to see what you contribute.

I’ll be announcing winners on our official start day, Thursday June 25th. Good luck!

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 298. 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 to the show. I hope you’re having a good week and finding some time to do some knitting, or crafting, or something else nice for yourself. I have been having a really good week here. It’s sort of back to normal here. Not completely, not really. It’s been a bit of a funny week because, well, school has been back for, now this is the third week now for my age kids. They were poorly with colds this week so that meant that they couldn’t go in. So I’ve had them back home again.

And yeah, travel is opening up again in our state, but if you want to go further afield, you can’t really at the moment. You could go, but our state hasn’t opened up their borders yet so we’d have to quarantine for two weeks coming back, which would kind of take some of the fun out of a trip. So we will be having school holidays here at the end of next week, and we’ll just be staying pretty local and lying pretty low, I think, having a staycation, which will be nice. I’m a bit of a homebody, so I have projects and crafty things that I want to do that will last me for many years, if I had to staycation for a while. So yeah, it’s okay. And the kids are also homebodies, so it will be a nice, relaxing holiday. I think we’ll try and make up activities to do, like go for bush walks and go to the beach and things like that. Just local little day trips. So that’s what’s going on here on that front at the moment.

And of course, we saw last week, the huge Black Lives Matter protests all over the U.S. and in countries around the world. We had protests here in Australia, which, of course, were controversial in the sense that the authorities, the powers that be, weren’t wanting people to protest because of COVID regulations here at the moment. But in the end, there were protests in most of the major cities.

So I think that was a good thing, personally. I think it’s such an important issue that if it was worth the people who chose to protest risking health, I think we are at a state here in Australia at the moment where cases are very low, and yes, I think it’s an important issue. It’s a very important issue for indigenous, for Aboriginals, and Torres Strait Islanders here in Australia. There’s a lot of racism and issues with deaths in custody with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. So I was personally supporting the protests. I didn’t participate but I was in support.

And in our own knitting community, I am just so grateful again for the black knitters in our community who are so generously sharing their perspectives, their experiences, and taking the time to educate on the topic of racism and anti-racism. Yeah, just people I have met in real life and love and respect. And yeah, just so grateful. I mean, they were talking about this last year when we started discussing the issue in the knitting and fiber community, and they’re still sharing educational perspectives with grace and eloquence and generosity. People I follow are Creative Ceci, GGmadeit, heyBrownBerry, and Jeanette Sloan, just a few. And just thank you to everybody who is just taking the time to post about it and share their perspective, especially when it’s a personal perspective.

As a white person, I feel pretty insignificant sometimes in what change I can help make in the world, but I really believe that everyone’s actions, however tiny, can have a ripple effect and can add up. And at a time, especially when there are big global protests and lots of media attention on the issue, then I think everybody’s support really counts, especially when it comes to voting and engaging with politics and big issues in society. So I think the biggest lesson for me, or one of the biggest lessons, is to appreciate my democratic rights, appreciate how lucky we are living in democratic societies. I say we, because I know that most of my listeners are living in democracies, and we’re just so lucky, and I don’t think I appreciated that enough in the past. So yes, I’m appreciating it more now.

I have been, of course, reading and thinking and also thinking about what tangible actions I can take towards anti-racism. And one of the things that I’ve done, which is relevant to the topic of this podcast, is cast on two projects by two fantastic black designers, and both were patterns that I had in my queue that I’d had my eye on for some time. So I decided to take the week to cast them on. The first design is the Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish. And Tyne is theclevereststitch on Instagram. And she is another person I’ve been following her stories about racism and anti-racism since last year, early last year, and also been admiring her lovely shawl designs. She designs shawls that are fun, quite classic, elegant, simple, but have lovely details like tassels, which I particularly like.

And so, yeah, I had recently bought the Hermione Jean Granger shawl pattern. So I wound some yarn from my stash, which is La Bien Aimée Merino Singles I’ve had for quite a while. I think I bought these skeins at some yarn festivals in London. And the colors are Aimée’s Lipstick, Pinku Graffiti, and Pom Pom. So they’re all pink. Aimée’s Lipstick is a hot pink. Pinku Graffiti is a sort of a mid-pink with speckles. And then Pom Pom has a light sort of creamy white base with pinks and purple speckles. And that color was, I think, a special color for the Pompom magazine fifth anniversary party. So is all the pink, it’s going to be a super bright, happy shawl. And yeah, it’s a lovely stripy, melty pattern.

And then the other design I’ve cast on is by Denise Bayron, Bayron Handmade. And it’s the Everyday Lined Hat. I think this has come out fairly recently. I was looking at Denise’s design, which was the Wave of Change Jacket. And I think I mentioned that in a previous podcast that I was thinking about casting that on. But then I realized it’s knit in bulky yarn, which is not going to ever be used while I’m living here in Queensland. So I kind of went off that idea. And when I saw the hat pattern, I thought it was much more likely that I would use a hat, a lovely DK weight hat, or worsted weight hat.

So I am using some more yarn from my stash, which is the Magpie Fibers’ Swanky DK. It’s in the HellsBells colorway, of course. And the pattern really calls for a worsted weight yarn, but she says you can use a DK. And I think this particular DK is on the plumper side. It’s sort of going towards a worsted weight. So I think that will be fine. So yeah. And it’s just a really, really lovely, simple, as it says in the title, everyday hat. And she’s very cleverly incorporated a lining, which is the sewing part of the pattern. So it’s a sewing pattern and a knitting pattern. And yeah, I just think it’s a lovely, lovely, simple design. So I’m knitting that as well.

And so once I have made Ravelry pages for these projects, because I know, as a designer, the project pages that knitters create just really help for a designer’s visibility on Ravelry and platforms. So I went ahead and made some project pages for these patterns just before I recorded today. And I’ll have to remember to update them with finished object photos. I am quite slack with creating project pages. I should go back and update a few things because it’s so nice to be able to go back and look at a record of what you’ve made. And it’s so handy to be able to look up details.

The other project that I’ve been working on is Píosa by Renée Callahan. And I did sort of finish part three. That was my goal for the week, was to finish part three. But I decided I wouldn’t do the pockets yet because I thought I’m not quite sure about my yarn yardage that I have in this color. So I thought I would do part four, knit the sleeves and the neck band, and then add the pocket slider if I have enough yarn, just in case I run out.

So in design news, I released the Stillness Mystery Knitalong pattern on Ravelry as a presale. And so you can now purchase the pattern at an early bird price of £4, plus any VAT or GST that’s applicable in your country. And that price will be going up to £5 when the first clue comes out. And that will be on the 25th of June. So yeah, coming up fairly soon.

And I have been sharing some lovely yarn dyers, trying to cover some different countries with dyers who are offering kits. And I should have probably said that if you’re a yarn dyer and want to offer kits, that is totally fine with me. I’ve had a couple of people contact me to ask if it was okay. And of course, yes, that’s absolutely fine. I would appreciate that. Yes, please. Just tag me, and I’ll try and share it.

The theme of the Knitalong is still life. And we have a competition happening at the moment to keep us occupied while we’re waiting for the first clue. So if you create a project page on Ravelry and then share it in the thread, then you can also share your favorite still life painting, or photograph, or another scene that inspires you. And you can be in the running to win a prize, which includes a skein of the yarn I used in the sample, which is Skein Australia Silk Road. It’s a really lovely blend. And a Laine knitting diary, as well as a gorgeous project bag from Stitch Mischief, a lovely crafter in Canada. I’m hoping that by the time I am sending out the prize that the post might not be so slow, but anyway, we’ll have to see how that’s going in another month or so.

Of course, people are wondering how to choose their yarn. And I just thought I’d chat very briefly about that. So it’s three colors, and I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with a yarn choice. If you love the yarn, you’ll love your project. Sometimes it can pay to do a little bit of swatching with the colors together just to make sure that they relate to each other the way you anticipate they will. And just to give you a few clues about the different colors. So color A, I would say choose maybe a yarn that will be more of a feature of the shawl. It might pop out a bit more than the other two colors. And it is also the color that any lace in the shawl is done in. So if you don’t really like heavily variegated yarn for lace, then this is not the color to use your variegated yarn.

And then B and C will need to be contrasting a little bit. They are striped together a little bit in the shawl, so you want something that will contrast. When I chose my colors, I thought I had contrasting colors, and in the end they weren’t highly contrasting, but I still like the effect. So it’s just up to you how contrasty you want the shawl to be. But that’s just a little tip for colors B and C. And I’d say, if you have a variegated or speckled yarn that you want to use, I would use that for C because the stitches will be more plain. And B could be possibly more semi-solid because there’ll be a bit of texture with B. So I hope I have given you enough guidance for colors without giving away too much about the shawl. I don’t think I have. I think it will still be a big surprise even with those clues. But I hope that helps you choose your colors with a little bit more confidence.

I know that that’s the thing that stresses people out the most with a mystery knitalong. And yes, and me included in that. So, but really, I don’t think you can go wrong. I think if you choose three colors that contrast a lot with each other, you’ll end up with a shawl that is quite contrasty, maybe a little bit color blocky looking. And then if you have a lower contrast, it will be more subtle. Too low contrast, maybe some of the design will be a little bit lost, but I don’t think it matters too much. I think it would still be fine. And I think any color combination will create a beautiful shawl. So don’t stress about it too much, just choose yarn you love and that you think goes together nicely, and it’ll be fine.

In terms of difficulty, I think it’s probably about the same level of difficulty as the Snowmelt shawl. So if you want to see, it’s very, very similar in level of difficulty, I would say. So yeah, so that’s my clues for the Stillness Mystery Knitalong. That’s going to be starting soon and is available on Ravelry to join in with now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this show and I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.