Archives For July 2020

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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.

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.

The big reveal of the Stillness Shawl after our MKAL!

After five secret clues and weeks of knitting and good company, today’s the day we reveal the full design of the Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong. On this week’s podcast episode, I’m chatting about the MKAL reveal, updating you on our other KALs and how I’m handling prizes. Along with the Stillness reveal, there’s also a bit of a reveal of my long-term personal project of growing out the grey. It’s the first time my almost-fully silver hair has featured in pattern photos! So today I’m talking about that process, what it was like, and how I feel about it now.

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Altitude Socks

Vapour Socks FO Thread

Altitude Socks FO Thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Stillness MKAL

Call Your Girlfriend podcast

Ann Friedman Newsletter

Grombre

Erica Henry Johnston

Nikol Johnson

@SilverHairandBretonStripes on Instagram

@wellness_with_walda on Instagram

Curious Handmade on Etsy

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 304. 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.

Hello and welcome. I hope you having a good week. We are having lovely weather here in Queensland the past couple of days. We had a rainy week and now we’re having a lovely week. So that’s definitely lifting the spirits. I have been hunkering down on doing lots of design work the last week or two, and that’s going really well. I’m really excited about what’s coming up, but that means I can’t really talk too much about my knitting because I haven’t had any time to do any personal knitting projects, but I thought I would update you on some Knitaong news and just have a bit of a chat with you today. So we have the Handmade Sock society happening at the moment for all your lovely sock knitters. And the last pattern was published last week, the altitude socks.

And it was a little bit bittersweet to see that last pattern come out and the society finished for the year, but we still have some Knitalong time to go. So the vapor sock Knitalong is finishing on Tuesday, the 11th of August. So a little bit more time for that one. And then we have the altitude socks, which have just come out and the grand prize for the Knitalong for people who have knit all six socks that will be drawn on the 8th of September. So quite a few weeks left to finish up all six socks if you’re working on that and also be in the draw for the altitude sock, Knitalong. I am basically planning on switching to gift vouchers for prizes, and I will be offering $50 gift vouchers to the indie dyer or yarn shop of your choice, just so that we can get around this postage situation that we have here in Australia post is very slow from here.

And so I’d rather send you something close by or support a yarn shop or indie dyer that’s your favorite or close to you, just to make things a little bit easier and maybe even a little bit more fun. So I’ll be doing that for the rest of the prizes and I am a bit behind in organizing prizes for the Handmade Sock society so far. I’ve managed to get up to date on the knit 20 for 2020 prizes. That’s all up to date, I think, but having said that, today is the last day of the month for July. So I will be drawing that probably over the weekend or early next week for Knitalong. So if you’re working on the knit 20 for 2020 challenge, make sure that you get any things that you’ve knit this month into the thread on Ravelry or alternatively, I also draw from Instagram.

So if you’re posting something for knit 20 for 2020 on Instagram, be sure to tag it with a hashtag as well as let me know your favorite yarn shop or indie dyer, tag them in the post and the winner, which is randomly drawn winner will receive a voucher from that shop. So I draw both from Instagram and the Ravelry thread for that Knitalong. So that’s all that, I can’t believe its end of July already, but there you go. And also ending today is the habitation throat Knitalong. So that was extended and I’m drawing that over the weekend as well. So you might have a little bit of a leeway. If I haven’t look the post, then you can still enter. I’m just letting everything be a bit Wabi sabi at the moment and not too perfect. So please post any habitation throws in the finished object thread that is just in the Ravelry group. I’m afraid.

So hopefully people can post their apologies if you can’t. I set up this Knitalong, a long time ago, and I don’t feel like I can change that now, but I appreciate that some people can’t use Ravelry at the moment, so huge apologies, but I think that’s the best I can do for this at this moment. For the habitation thread, the prize is some set of hand wound, mini-skeins that I have taken from my stash from various designs over the years as well as a tote, which is a knit and light knit, taught back from French supply company. It is sadly closing up. So that will be a collector’s item. And of course last but not least, today is the big reveal. All of these Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong. Clue five was released last week. And I have seen so many gorgeous shawls that people have finished posted on Instagram and on Raverly.

And I am so thrilled that people are loving this show and have just knit such beautiful shawl. So I’m super excited about that. And from today seeing as we revealing the final pattern and I’m posting the completed pattern. All the clues consolidated together in one file. You don’t need to the post, the spoiler post on your final show anymore. Thank you to everybody who’s done that so diligently, it’s been really, really good. I have seen very few people posting without the spoiler post. So that’s been just amazing. You’ve been awesome. And the final Knitalong will continue until Friday, August the 28th. So you have until then to be in the drawer for the prize, which again, I will do as a voucher and allow plenty of knitting time for that. So if you have been joining in, on the Knitalong and have just received the final file. You might notice a big change in my hair.

I think this is probably, I have posted as of myself over the last year but this is the first pattern that I have really had with my gray transitioned hair and I feel a little bit self-conscious about it, but really happy. It’s not a hundred percent grown out yet though. Its not a hundred percent fully natural. I still have a few bleached tips at the end, which is a little bit frustrating, but I am tantalizingly close to being a hundred percent natural color. And I’m really happy about that. I can’t wait to have those final bleached bits topped off the end. And I just thought because of that, I would give you a little bit of an update today about, about that topic. I know that for some… For lots of people, lots it of women, it’s not an issue. She, they just never dyed their hair and so they never had to deal with a problem and didn’t take it on as something to do.

And I really admire that, but unfortunately I started dying my hair probably in my twenties and probably had some grace coming through then, probably even at university I don’t know. I was quite young when I first started noticing the gray hairs. And at that time I was kind of just dying my head, have fun with different colors, but it then merged into covering up, the grays. I think a lot of us are in that situation, so then it’s quite difficult to change and make the change in the decision to stop dying your hair. And once you’re in that situation and you decide to stop, then yeah, you really need to deal with the transition somehow and you don’t know what it’s going to be like, you don’t know what you’re going to look like, and you can’t really tell exactly what you going to look like until it’s all natural.

I think even, I can’t really tell exactly how it’s going to be, because I think when you have dye in your head, even if it’s just a little bit, it kind of… I don’t know, it skews how it looks somehow like the light reflecting and it… Ordinary, just the way it grows through it just distorts how your natural color looks like, you can’t really tell exactly what it’s like. I had actually been wanting to grow out my hair for a couple of years. I started to become frustrated by having to diet so frequently and it got to the point where there was really no time that the roots weren’t showing through. And I spent a couple of summer holidays, growing it out, thinking I was going to for it and then getting home and chickening out and dying it again.

And because I am a professional model, because I model my designs, I was always conscious of that. And it was a little bit difficult to get photos taken with growing out hair. And I also had a bit of a fear of, that I would look old and feel old, and that I would feel differently. And I also had a fear that I would be treated differently by society, that people would look at me and think I had let myself go or just look old or not really… Yeah, I had a real fear that I would be treated differently as a gray head woman. So I’ll just quickly share how I did progress to the stage and I had to go back and look at photos to get these dates because I couldn’t remember when I started and I had a vague idea, but this just been such a blow lately. I thought, I was like… Which year was it?

So I last dyed my hair on the 19th of December, 2018 for the holiday season or the parties I went to. Not really, but a couple. And then the way it happened, I didn’t refresh it in January, and then in February we went on holidays, for the half halftime school holidays. And I was sitting there on holidays and I was subscribed to an email newsletter by Anne Friedman, which I really enjoy. She sends lots of interesting links and she’s one half of the call your girlfriend podcasts that I really enjoy it with her co-host animator, Sal. And they’re just fabulous. I really love listening to friends chat and I cover really fantastic topics. Anyway, she does a weekly newsletter. And there was a link to an article about women going gray young. And so I read that article and was quite inspired and that linked to an Instagram account called Grombre, G-R-O-M-B-R-E so Gro and Ombre.

And it’s Instagram account, celebrating women transitioning from dying their hair to going gray, or just going gray naturally from the beginning, which is much easier path, I think now, but anyway, celebrating women with gray hair. And I was transfixed by this account because it was so positive and so many women were posting. It posts photos, plus a little statement by the women or a little bit of their story or their thoughts. And I was just so inspired by this. And I also thought that the women who had gone through growing their hair out and had natural hair, I just honestly thought it just made them look so beautiful and so fabulous, and it just really made their skin look great. And so I decided then and there that I was going to just continue on not dying my hair because by that stage, it was like two months since I’d dyed it and that was starting to show.

And then a month later I was at EYF and feeling a little bit self-conscious because I had really bad rates by that stage or really good but bad, because of the very severe lawn with my dark brown hair. And so I went to EYF and I survived that and I felt a little bit self conscious for photos, but I just didn’t really care too much because I was happy with my decision and I was happy that I was doing it. And then I got to a point where I was just fixating on it all the time. Every time I saw myself, I would just be really annoyed with the line and the contrast between the gray and the brown. And I just wanted it done. I’ve been following another account on Instagram. There was a hairdresser that was doing a lot of transitions where people were just bleaching the hell out of their hair and then toning it with a gray toner.

And so I decided that I would do that as a way to fast track the changing over and I’d convince myself that it would work. And so then in May, I did that and I had my hairdresser bleach my hair and it took two goes because the first time, she didn’t take enough color and it was this really bad. Light brown weird color and then we did it again. And the problem was, in that process, it ended up taking the dye back to square one because I thought she would be able to just split shit from where the color was, but really I think what happened was it bleached all my hair. And so I didn’t have the benefit of that five months growing up, but I’d already achieved. But I was happy with it initially and I have to say it was very fun being blonde for a little while. And I just sort of decided that yes, I would just have fun with doing it that way. And I don’t regret doing that.

The only thing I regret is not making that decision from the beginning because I thought I could cheat the system but yeah. So my tip would be to work out your strategy early on in the process because I waited five months, had it bleached and then I was back to square one in terms of growing. Growing out to the natural color and in retrospect, I should have just got some strikes probably just to even add that line a little bit, but I was… I had a bee in my bonnet that I just wanted it done then and there, and I couldn’t bring myself to cut it that short. I went for this interim approach and I’m probably… I don’t know what I like. I think if I’d cut it that short, it would have been a bit hard to deal with. I don’t know but probably. It probably would have been fun, but I just wasn’t ready to have such short hair.

And so I think if you can handle having short hair, or if you already have short hair, that’s probably the fastest and easy way to do it, just get it all cut off quite short. If you’re keen to just be fully natural, that’s the definitely the quickest way to do it. But if you’re just going to grow it out and keep a bit of length, then I would say even just for a bulb length, it’s probably going to take you two years to grow it out and I didn’t really fully appreciate that. How long it would take when I started? Because when I started, I felt like it was growing out so quickly, every month I was having to diet every four weeks but in reality, that was just like a centimeter. That just seemed like a lot. But when you’re trying to grow it, it seems super, super slow.

So anyway, I just thought I had talk about it this week because I know that a lot of people have not been able to get to hairdressers recently and perhaps are at a point where they have grown-up, they graze a little and maybe wondering about which way to go. So I just wanted to share my story and say, I am so happy that I’ve done this and it’s taken a while and it’s still ongoing, but I’m absolutely thrilled to not have to dye my hair anymore, to not have to put the chemicals on my hair and not have the expense and mostly just to be. I just feel like the color suits me well and I don’t know. People don’t really say too much, but I’m happy with it. And I feel like I don’t care what anybody else thinks too much because I like it. I really like it. And people who know me probably find it a bit startling if they haven’t seen me for a while. But anyway, I think it’s pretty cool.

And I’ve been really, really boosted by a couple of YouTubers as well. Erica Henry Johnson has a great YouTube channel. She’s smart, she’s funny and she’s super positive and down to earth. But I have found her… I think she’s really cool. And she has beautiful gray hair. She’s maybe 10 years younger than me, I think. And she’s a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and… She’s just super cool and does really funny outtakes of her videos with her kids and yeah, I really love her. And there is also Nicole Johnson who is more into the beauty side of things. She’s a model, but super positive and also relatively down to earth, but she talks a lot more about beauty products and makeup. And it’s really more of a beauty channel, but with a real focus on positivity towards aging, which I really like as well.

They have great YouTube videos and on Instagram there’s a huge community of people posting about this, which I discovered through Grombre. There’s also an account called silver hair and Breton stripes that are quite alike, and I recently discovered wellness with Walda, W-A-L-D-A on Instagram as well. Walda Lorena Sky and she has a great account to follow. So I just wanted to share that story and a little bit of the backstory as to the change in my pattern and photos. Just a little note in regards to my pattern availability as probably a lot of know especially if you’re on Instagram regularly or on Ravelry regularly, you will have seen the issues with the redesigned Ravelry site and that it’s causing people, headaches, seizures, and health issues. So eyes, things like that. And for that reason, I have decided to try to get my patterns up on an alternative platform.

And to be honest, I’ve been planning to try and create my own shop on my website anyway, and this is giving me more of a push to do that. But because it wasn’t sort of a current project it’s taking me a while to do. So, what I’ve decided to do is put at least some of my patterns on Etsy for the time being, I won’t be posting all of them because I have over a hundred now, but I’ll post some of the more recent ones. And in the main time work on developing my own shop on my website. It’s a little bit complicated because I’m currently redeveloping my own website anyway, and that’s been a project that I’ve been working on for about three years. So that might give you an idea of how long it takes me to do these technical things. So I thought I would be able to get a shop up quite quickly, but actually there’s a lot of considerations, especially when you have a lot of patterns.

And I’m also rebranding my patterns to be all in the same format and branding. And that’s also a very time intensive project as well. So I thought it would be reasonably simple to do, but it’s proving to be a bit more complicated. But I just wanted to let you know that I will have some patterns on Etsy and I’m working on an alternative solution as I go through the set of requirements. For evaluating different platforms, I do just come back to appreciating how amazing Ravelry is as a platform for knitting patterns and just I’m really hoping that they can get the site back to being accessible for everybody. I am trying to think the best and I’m sure that they’re trying to solve the problem, but have not been able to do it yet and I’m trying to provide an alternative for people as well. And that’s fine because as an indie designer, I think it’s good to have a little bit of independence from just one platform anyway, but it is a big job.

I will post the link to my Etsy shop. At the moment I’ve just set it up and have posted only a couple of patterns so far, but hopefully by the time this podcast is released in the next few days, I will have been able to post a few more patterns up there as well, and that will be an ongoing project. So thank you as always for your support, thank you to the people who buy my patterns and knit them and thank you. To all of you who are listening I appreciate you so much. I hope you’re looking after yourselves and going okay at the moment. I’m thinking of you all and just hoping that everyone all around the world is well and not experiencing too much stress by the situation. I’m sure that most people are experiencing higher levels of stress than normal. So yes, I really hope that this podcast can provide a little bit of light relief, a little bit of company, and yes, I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking about you. Just before I sign off, I like to thank my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

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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.

The tote bag for the Habitation KAL prize

We all know that feeling: we’ve got plenty of projects underway but new adventures and cast-ons are singing their siren song. On today’s podcast I’m stalking some new patterns in my fantasy queue, chatting about some ongoing and near-future projects, and sharing some favourite creative things that are inspiring me right now.

Show Links:

Dreaming of Paris Socks by Joji Locatelli

Adventure Tank by Fatimah Hynes

Meadow by The Fibre Co

Adventure Tank KAL hashtag: #adventureknitalong

SpaceCadet Yarn Thebe

Disturbing the Fleece Ravelry Group

@disturbingthefleece on Instagram

The Winner of the Cirrus Socks KAL is:

Post #42 – TheFibersmith

Mosaic Moon Yarn

SethanyKnits Yarn Shop

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Voolenvine YouTube Podcast

The Patchwork Angel

Scrappy Liberty Hexi Quilt Tutorial

The Friday Pattern Company

The Avenier Jumpsuit

The Cambria Duster

Sage Brush Top

Wilder Gown

I’m a Master Class fan and an affiliate: if you join up by clicking on the photo above I’ll get a small commission. Thanks for supporting the podcast!

Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 303. 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.

Hello and welcome. How are you this week? I hope you’re well. I feel like this is continuing to be a tough year. I am thinking of all of you a lot and thinking about my friends and family all around the world, and I just feel like it’s getting a bit ridiculous now, but actually it feels like it’s been surreal and ridiculous since about February or March. In some ways, it’s almost kind of something we’re getting a bit used to. I don’t know. I saw a story by Joji on Instagram and she posted that it was 119 days of strict lock down in Argentina. I just thought, “Oh, that’s really long and really, really tough.” Really tough.

Speaking of Joji, she’s not letting it keep her back too much in true Joji fashion. She has just released a gorgeous pair of socks called Dreaming in Paris and I really love them. They’re so cute. They’re stripey with a little band of lace around the top of the leg and just really, really cute single round stripes, which is so effective because they have little v’s in them from each of the stitches that really show off each stitch. Super cute, love the colors so gorgeous design, Joji. Thank you. That’s the Dreaming of Paris socks.

When I was looking at the socks, I happened to notice another really cute pattern, which is the Adventure Tank and it is a design by Fatimah Hinds, and she’s a new to me designer. Maybe I will knit this for my new to me designer prompt for the Knit20for2020, because it’s a really cute tank top. And she has knit the sample in Thebe by a SpaceCadet, which I’m not really familiar with that yarn, but it’s a lace weight, 65% silk, 35% linen and 600 meters, 608 meters per 100 grams. And I thought it would be really cute in Meadow by the Fibre Company, which is one of my favorite yarns. And it is heavy lace weight, 40% Merino, 25% llama, 20% silk and 15% linen.

So not exactly the same blend, but some similar kind of features. And I do like a wool blend with other things like linen and silk. And yeah, so Meadow is 500 meters, per 100 grams. So I think similar enough in terms of weight and yeah, it’s just a really, really cute tank. It really popped out when I was having a look at designs on Ravelry and I hadn’t heard of Fatimah before, but she says she has just started at a group on robbery.

She said, “I love to make and design items that are unique and interesting, but not so complicated that you have to work in silence. I want what you make to be practical and beautiful.” So, a woman after my own heart. “I consider my work to be intersex and body inclusive. In keeping with that, I continue to grow my size range so please stay tuned. I believe that beautiful items are for everybody, every gender, every size. You can find me on Instagram and my patterns are also available on Etsy and Loveknitting.” She is Fatimah Hinds designs, AKA Disturbing the Fleece.

I’m not sure what her Instagram name is, but you can find her on Ravelry and yeah this adorable tank top. I’m going to download this pattern now. Well, when I finish recording. Where I live in Queensland, this is super appropriate clothing for me, much more appropriate than heavy sweaters. Even at this time of year, I put a sweater on today when I was inside and it was quite cool. And I went down to the beach and it was blazing sunshine, and I just started sweating instantly. It was so hot. I’m like, “It’s the middle of winter.” It’s been as cold as it has been really. And it’s still not very cold. So yes, a tank top is probably more suitable for me to choose for my knitting these days.

So I’m just creating a little bit of a fantasy queue there. I probably don’t have time to knit those right now. But yes, they are definitely going into the queue and ready for inspiration for the moment I have some spare knitting time. In Curious Handmade knit alongs at the moment, we have the Handmade Sock Society knit along for the Cirrus socks just finished. And so I have drawn via random number generator, number 42 is the winner. And the winner is the Fiber Smith from Oregon. And she has posted a gorgeous pair of Cirrus socks knit in Mosaic Moon Laurel sock yarn, purchased at SethanyKnits in Medford, Oregon.

And she said, “Mosaic Moon Laurel, my new favorite sock yarn.” So, thank you to everybody who has joined in for the Cirrus socks knit along, sock number four in the series. If you can get in touch with me, the Fiber Smith, she hasn’t posted her own name in a profile, so I only know her as the Fiber Smith. If you could get in touch with me on Ravelry and I will organize a prize for you. I think I’m giving up on posting things here from Australia, so I will organize a voucher or a gift to be sent to you from the US.

So currently we have the Vapour sock knit along continuing, and we have the last socks of the series being published next Tuesday, so in just a few days. I can’t believe how quickly that’s come around. Also in knit along news, we have the Habitation throw knit along that was extended and that will be drawn on the 31st of July or the day after. It will be accepting until the 31st of July.

And I have made a prize for that, which is a set of 24 mini skeins or mini balls. I’ve hand wound little balls, which was really fun to do. And a Live and Let Knit tote bag from Fringe Supply Company. So I will be posting that prize, but I’ll try and minimize prizes that I have to post from here until the situation improves a bit. And of course we have the Stillness Mystery knit along also happening at the moment. And we have just released clue four yesterday. And again, I can’t say how much I’m enjoying seeing the progress photos popping up on Instagram and Ravelry. It is so much fun. I feel like people are enjoying the knit along, and a couple of people have started second projects with different colorways because they’re enjoying it so much, so I was very excited to see that.

And yeah, if you have any problems with getting the clues from Ravelry at the moment, or have any other questions, you can email support@curioushandmade.com. We’ll be happy to help you as much as possible. And yeah, thank you for joining in. It’s made this mystery knit along super fun. I feel like this has been the most fun I’ve had doing a mystery knit along. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a little bit more relaxed this time or what it is. But yes, I’m really enjoying it and I hope you are as well.

I just thought I would spend the rest of the episode chatting about some things that I’ve been enjoying recently. I’m actually purloining this idea from Kristin from the Voolenvine YouTube podcast. And she just published her July favorites episode and talked about various different things. Not necessarily knitting related, but just some fun things that she’d been looking at and into lately. And I thought I might do that because I don’t have a huge amount of knitting to tell you about at the moment. And I’ve been really enjoying a few other things. So I thought I’d share some July favorites with you.

Something that I have mentioned a few times is my hexie quilts that I’m making, and I had some questions from some friends about what that actually meant, what I’m actually talking about. And so I thought I’d just talk about that a little bit. I won’t get into a huge amount of detail. I got into this… I actually started getting into this a couple of years ago when I visited… It’s now my local quilt shop. Well, one of them, there are a few. People in this part of the world seem to be a little bit more into quilting and sewing than they are into knitting for obvious climate reasons.

But I visited this shop with my mom when we were here on some holiday, it’s called the Patchwork Angel. So she had some hexie supplies on display and… Yeah, I just thought it would be a good holiday project. So I bought some bits of little cut up squares and a template and the needles and threads you need. And what English paper piecing is, is basically you start with a cardboard template, hence the paper. I think you could probably use paper, but you really want a very light card. Something that has enough body so that you wrap the fabric around the shape. In this case, a hexagon. And traditionally, you would cut out the fabric with quarter inch or slightly more allowance around your template and then sew the fabric around onto the template basically.

So you’d fold over the edges and then tack or baste the fabric down. And I don’t know when people started doing this, but recently people have started using glue pens so that rather than sewing or basting the fabric to the template, you glue it to the template and that makes it a lot faster. And then you sew your shapes together just by a whip stitch or some people use other stitches, but most people use a whip stitch. So you hold two shapes together, right sides together, and then whip stitch along the edge to sew the hexagons together. The method that I saw recommended is to make flowers out of your hexagons and then that kind of forms a block. So, I will link to a tutorial that explains it a lot better than I have just fumblingly explained it.

And I’m linking to The Strawberry Thief blog, and that is a quilting shop in Perth. I think they’re in Perth, in Western Australia, where I have been getting my Liberty Hexie fabrics and shapes from. So you can buy precut cardboard shapes, which I don’t know, I would recommend. It takes a lot of time to cut out both the cardboard and the fabric. So you can buy them acrylic templates for both the fabric and the cardboard, and you can choose to cut out your paper pieces if you want to, your cardboard. And these kits that I’m subscribed to really appealed because not only are the cardboard shapes cut out, but also the fabric is laser cut into the hexagon shapes, so you don’t have to do any preparation. You can just get straight into the sewing. Well, you have to get the fabric onto the templates, but apart from that, you can basically start sewing.

And so I’ve been having to get up quite early quite a bit lately when I’m on puppy duty. I’ve been sharing puppy duty, early morning puppy wake up calls with my daughter. And so when I get up a little bit earlier than normal, I will sit there and make a flower or part of a flower. So that’s a very enjoyable way to start the day. Speaking of sewing projects, I’ve been thinking a lot about making clothes for a while, and I haven’t managed to actually do any dressmaking, but I saw on Instagram, posted by a lovely shop in the UK, Guthrie and Ghani. I’ve never visited the shop, but I follow on Instagram and the shop is in Birmingham, so I never quite made it to visit. But she posted some patterns by a company called the Friday Pattern Company. And so I visited to their Instagram and was just so taken by my all their designs.

They’re so cute. They have tops, blouses, jumpsuits, coats, and trousers, I think. And they have an inclusive size range and a range of models, an inclusive range of models for their patterns. So I really appreciated that, but mostly I was drawn to their cute designs. And I ordered four patterns directly from them. They’re based in Sacramento, in California. And on their about page they say, “Sewing patterns for the modern woman. Minimalist and easy to sew, we believe in making good things and doing good things. For that reason, Friday Pattern Company donates 5% of all proceeds to a rotating collection of top ranked charities in the world. Each pattern benefits a different charity. For more info on where we are donating for each pattern, click here. Friday Pattern Company is an independent sewing pattern company slash blog based out of Sacramento, California.”

So, I ordered four patterns. I would have ordered more, but I thought I should be realistic about what I’m actually going to sew. And you can do PDF downloads or print it, and I have never used a PDF pattern. I’m so lazy. I much prefer a printed pattern. And so I thought I would order those and wait because it’s not like I have time anytime soon to actually sew them. So I think I ordered the Avenir Jumpsuit, which is like a jersey jumpsuit. It’s super cute. It’s got wide legs and a gathered top and arms.

So it’s kind of a bit dressy if you made it in a dressy fabric or it could be just really casual, super cute. I ordered the Cambria Duster, which is a non lined coat. So I thought that could potentially be wearable here. And it’s got a royal neck collar, a really big collar, and a really nice shape, super chic. And then I think their two most recent patterns that they seem to be promoting, on Instagram at least, is the Sage Brush Top, which is a sort of more like a blouse. It’s got a ruffle across the top of your chest and gathered slaves. Super, super cute. And then I ordered the Wilder Gown, which is a dress. I don’t know why they call it a gown.

It’s a loose, flowy tiered dress that can be sewn up in a bunch of different ways. It has Ragland sleeves and ties up at the neck. It’s easy to sew and perfect for drapey woven fabrics. It can be made as a top or dress, long or short sleeved, one skirt tier or two, so you can customize it. And this looks a little bit like a dress I have in my wardrobe that I wear all the time. And the dress I have is in a jersey fabric by A Light Cotton would be really nice as well. So yeah, that’s my little new to me, sewing pattern company, the Friday Pattern Company, loving their work.

And last but not least, I have been doing a lot of work knitting, which means sort of power knitting. And that’s when I tend to catch up on YouTube as well as any courses that I’ve purchased. I try and watch videos from those, and I tend to be a bit of a serial online course purchaser. And I mentioned a little while ago that I had subscribed to MasterClass and full disclosure, I am an affiliate for MasterClass, so if you purchase a subscription through my link, I will receive a small affiliate fee. And I am recommending it because I really am enjoying the classes. I think I talked about the Ron Finley gardening class, which was the Gangster Gardener, and I love that class so much. And it really inspired me to start growing my own food, which has been moderately successful. I might give a little bit of an update on that in another episode.

And the one that I just finished watching is by Robin Roberts, who is one of the hosts of Good Morning America. And I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of her before. I just don’t watch a lot of TV and I’ve never watched a lot of news or morning shows. And I just thought some of the lesson titles looked really interesting. And she talked about optimism and resiliency for example, and I really enjoyed getting to know her story. And a lot of her lessons were very inspiring and uplifting, I think. And one of the quotes that I wrote down when she was talking about optimism, she said, “You have to change the way you think to change the way you feel.”

And she sort of gave the example of thinking, “You get to get up in the morning and do whatever it is you want to do,” rather than thinking, “You have to get up in the morning and do whatever it is you have to do.” So I really enjoyed that message. Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer and a subsequent illness after that, a blood disorder. And yeah, just her story and her life and what she’d done to get to the point of being host on Good Morning America and her attitude. And she was originally an athlete, or wanted to be a professional athlete, but wasn’t able to. So I very, very much enjoyed that course.

So the way the classes are instructed is that they break them into lessons basically. So you could have 15 to 20 short lessons and I really like that. The lessons are between 10 and 20 minutes each, so you can just dip into a small segment that interests you. And there are so many courses on here that I want to listen to. I thought I would just listen to the introduction or watch the introduction of a few of them. And I started watching Violin by Itzhak Perlman, which I think I will definitely watch the rest of, even though I’m a fairly rubbish violin player, but it’s kind of inspiring to listen to him talking about it.

There are quite a few writing classes, and I think I’d like to start with the one by Neil Gaiman. And I’m also really interested to watch the class by Helen Mirren because I am a big fan of her. So yeah, there’s just so many that looks so interesting. Anyway, that’s a big advertisement for MasterClass, of which I am an affiliate. So yes, take it with a pinch of salt, but if you’re wanting some really high quality, well-produced inspiration, I would really recommend it. So these are just a few of the things I’m into at the moment.

Thank you for joining me today for a little chat. I do you hope you’re well and going okay. I’m thinking of you and I hope you have a great week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.

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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.

24 mini balls for the Habitation Throw KAL prize!

A flying visit! Today’s podcast is short and sweet: a little catch up episode where I update you on some KAL news and chat about my personal creative projects and design work. For anyone that’s been missing The Shawl Society this year, the beginnings of a new shawl design are underway…

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 KALs

The Handmade Society 3 KALs continue!

The Cirrus Socks FO Thread will close on Tuesday the 14th of July, and the Vapour Socks FO Thread will be ongoing for another month!

I’ve decided to extend the deadline for the Habitation Throw KAL again, until the end of July. So many people are still knitting it, and it’s such a big project. It’s meant to be relaxing and I didn’t want to rush you! If you finish your throw by the end of the month, make sure to post it in the Habitation Throw KAL FO thread for your chance to win a 24 mini set of 20oz yarn balls from my own stash and projects.

The 3rd Stillness MKAL clue was just released! So many incredible knitters have been posting their progress, with more starting every day. There is plenty of time to “catch up” if you want to, and knitting at your own pace is highly encouraged…we have two months before the KAL deadline if you want to be in with a chance for a prize so no pressure!

If you want to be a part of this mystery, make sure to grab your copy of the pattern, and then come say hi in the Stillness MKAL chat thread, the Clue 1 Spoiler Thread or the Clue 2 Spoiler thread to see where we’re up to now. If you haven’t joined yet and want to learn more, make sure you check out the blog post with answers to the most frequently asked questions we get about the Stillness MKAL.

Kitch Kreative Project Bags

O’Rielly’s

Lamington National Park

Louie and Lola Yarn

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 302. 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.

Hello, and welcome to this week’s show. I hope you’re having a good week. I’m having a good week. It’s been pretty quiet. Puppy and school holidays are keeping me really busy and I haven’t been able to concentrate on much. It’s been one of those weeks where you can’t even think what’s happened. So I have managed to do a little bit of work, but it has been very interrupted and distracted. So not the most productive, but not terrible.

The kids are going back to school next week, so I’ve been trying to plan ahead a little bit about what this term might look like. I think it might be fairly straightforward, but it’s really too early to say. We have just had Victoria, one of the southern states in Australia be locked down again, well the Melbourne area anyway. And so it really is just a moving feast. And I do not envy our politicians dealing with the ups and downs of what’s happening with COVID-19 and all the businesses and people also dealing with it all around the world. It’s pretty insane and different countries are in very different places with it, but we’re all being impacted. So yeah, it’s pretty crazy. And I feel like it is making it very difficult to plan, but just trying to take it in short blocks at a time. So I’m going to try and look at this coming term and maybe just sort of thinking ahead to about September or October, we’ll see, who knows. Who knows.

So we have lots of knit alongs and things happening at the moment. And I just wanted to give you a little reminder that if you are participating in the handmade sock society knit along the sock four knit along will end on Tuesday, the 14th of July. So, that is the Cirrus socks. And if you’ve knit a pair of the Cirrus socks, get them into the thread by the 14th of July. And then the Vapor socks knit along is continuing for another month or so. And then the final socks for this year’s sock society will be released on the 21st of July. So that is one and a half weeks time. So yeah, so it’s all happening. The handmade sock society is nearly over. We will have the knit alongs continuing right through until September. So we’ll give you another two months from the publication of the sixth and last socks to either knit those ones or finish all six because we’ll have a grand prize for all six socks as well.

Then we have a knit along happening for the habitation throw. And this is my bad, a little bit, a lot. So for the habitation throw, we had the knit along happening through May, and then I was really slow to make the prize because the prize is 24 mini skeins that I’ve selected from my stash and previous projects, a 20 gram mini skein. So it’s a really lovely prize and I’m adding a tote for the prize, it’s from the fringe supply company. So I took ages to make that because it took me quite a while to hand wind the 24 mini skeins. Mini skeins, mini balls. And then I thought, okay, I’ll extend it to the end of June, but I didn’t announce that. Because I kept forgetting, because June was so crazy. And so now I’ve decided I will extend the habitation throw knit along to the end of July. And I’m finally announcing it and I will publish pictures of the prize and put it in the threads.

And so I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me and that if anybody has been knitting away on a habitation throw in the meantime and is continuing a one at the moment, you can enter it in the thread on Ravelry up until the 31st of July. And we’ll draw the prize soon after that. So, yes, apologies for the change of end date. Things are just getting away from me a little bit here. My yarn balls are dropping all around me and I’m just trying to make things happen the best I can. So the habitation throw knit along has been extended until the end of July. So I hope that people … I see a lot of people knitting it on Instagram and Ravelry. So all you have to do is post a picture in the thread of your habitation throw to be in the draw for a really lovely prize.

And then for the stillness mystery knit along, we have clue three out yesterday, and I am just absolutely loving seeing your posts on Instagram and Ravelry. It is so delightful to see all the color combinations. It’s so fun and I’m just absolutely loving them. And yeah. So thank you for posting and thank you for posting spoiler cover pictures so that people who don’t get the clues aren’t spoiled just yet. We will have a big reveal after the last clue comes out. But in the meantime, we’re just keeping it a secret for people who are on earlier clues still, and you can still join in any time. You’ll just get whatever clues have been published so far. There’s two clues to come. There’s five clues all together for this mystery knit along. And if you’re someone who doesn’t really like surprises, you can get a sense of what the shawl is like by looking at the spoilers.

I never have the discipline to not look at the spoilers myself, but I admire people who can keep it a surprise for themselves. So apart from trying to get on top of a little bit of admin, and catch up with things over the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a little bit of design work. I’ve been working on a shawl design for a retreat I’m attending here in October. Earlier in the year, I was invited by Kylie, who has a project bag at Sea Shop, which is called Kitch Kreative, which is K-I-T-C-H K-R-E-A-T-I-V-E. And yeah, she’s organizing this wonderful retreat at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a bush getaway. It’s a campground. And it has some cabins and lovely facilities in a place called Lemington National Park, which is a couple of hours south of where I live.

And it’s just an absolutely beautiful location. My parents had their honeymoon at O’Reilly’s and we used to go camping and bush walking there when I was a kid. And I’ve been once camping with my husband when we were dating, maybe, I think, yeah, very early on in our relationship, we went there for a camping trip. And I haven’t been since then. So I’m really, really looking forward to it. It’s such a gorgeous place. So I’m designing a beautiful shawl in yarn, which is Louie and Lola and Karina is a indie dyer based in Tasmania here in Australia. I recently discovered her and yeah, just absolutely delighted to be designing with her yarn. So that’s really fun. And that’s been a really lovely project the last couple of weeks because I haven’t designed a shawl all year. This is the first shawl I’ve designed this year. So that’s kind of funny, but it’s nice to be looking at shawls again.

And it’s got me thinking about what collections and designs I might do next year, because this year I decided I would need a really cut back year in terms of designing. I knew we would be settling into Australia and getting kids sorted, getting my business established here, which has been a lot of admin, sort of closing things down in the UK and setting things up here and sort of personally as well and all sorts of things. And so I made the decision last year to just do the handmade sock society this year and net band. And then I thought if I’m able to I’ll do the mystery knit along. So that happened as well, which was fab. But yes, so now I’m thinking about next year and trying to decide whether I keep it a bit cut down and just do one society or whether I’ll be able to do both next year.

Anyway, so I think I’ll do the shawls next year instead of the socks possibly, but I might be able to do the socks as well. So we’ll see. I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to doing some shawl designs again, because this has really made me realize how much fun it is to design the shawls. I am kind of thinking about doing a little survey to find out what people are looking for at the moment. I feel like I’ve just been kind of going along, making it up and doing collections and sort of managing what I can. And I always like to base it on feedback from my knitters and I do get a lot of feedback, sort of just through comments and emails and responses to things that I do. But I thought maybe it would be a good time to do a little bit more of sort of a formal feedback on what people are looking for next year.

Anyway, that’s another thing that I’m thinking about doing that will probably take me a little bit of time to get organized, but yeah, I’d love to know what people think. With all that going on, I haven’t had a huge amount of time to do much else. I did have an afternoon last weekend where my mom and sister came over for some sewing and I’d managed to set up my sewing machine in preparation for sewing my little houses quilt. And I managed one seam by the time I got everything set up, tidied up the massive mess that the kids had made in the room and figured out my new machine, because I’ve had this machine for about four years and haven’t actually had time to use it. So I had to go back to the manual and figure out how to thread it and some basics like that.

So I didn’t make much progress, but I feel really happy that I’ve made that much progress. Got it set up, ready to go. And I realized that some of the fabric that I had cut out for the blocks wasn’t really the quality that it needed to be. When I was sewing the pieces together, I realized that the white fabric that I bought from Spotlight, which is like, I don’t know whether it’s like a Joanne’s here, but it’s like a kind of more of a budget craft store. I think it’s fair to say. And they have really, really lovely things there, but this fabric, when I looked at it, the weave was really open compared to the other fabric I was using. And so I had to go back to square one with that and purchase different fabric. And now I’ll have to cut that out into a million small squares.

So it was kind of one step forward, two steps backwards with that project, but that’s okay. I’m back on track again. I have the white fabric and yeah, will be able to move forward again. So yeah, so I’ve been working on that. I’ve been working on hand sewing my Liberty hexies, making lots of little hexie flowers and that’s been very enjoyable. And a little bit of knitting on my Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish, but not so much of that because I’ve been doing the other design knitting this week. So I don’t have lots of updates for you. And I think that’s all sort of the news and announcements I need to make. I always remember something after I finished recording, but yes, I think I’ve covered most of it. And I’ll just make it a fairly short and sweet episode this week.

So thank you very much for tuning in. Have a fantastic week, everybody. I hope you’re keeping well. I hope you keeping sane. I hope you’re able to do some lovely crafting and relax a little bit amongst all the ups and downs and basically chaos in our lives at the moment. And yes, all my love. Talk to you soon.

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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.

My long lost Barrett Bear kit has arrived!

We’ve passed the halfway point in this crazy year, and it seemed like a good time to catch up with how things are going and how many things I’ve managed to cross off my 20 in 2020 Happiness Project list. There are a few things that recent events have made impossible, but plenty of other things to be happy about, and even some opportunities in the midst of upheaval. I also have a lovely bunch of winners to announce from our #knit20for2020 and Stillness MKAL giveaways!

Show Links:

Knit20for2020 June Giveaway Winners:

Ravelry Winner:

Cuppacha with post #35

Edin Cardigan by Bonne Marie Burns

Hazel Knits

Instagram Winner:

Aviatrix1979

Amulet Shawl

John Arbon Textiles

You can find all the details on how to enter the July Knit20for2020 giveaway on Ravelry or Instagram, you can visit this link!

Stitch Mischief

Laine

Skein Australia

Winners of the Stillness MKAL Giveaway:

Grand prize winner:
Post 314: https://www.ravelry.com/people/deesuhr

10 Pattern of their choice winners:

Stillness Shawl MKAL

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

Clue 2 Spoiler thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Barrett Wool Company

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

Píosa by Renée Callahan

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 301. 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.

Hello, welcome to the show. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re having a good week. I’ve been having a pretty good week. It’s been a little bit up and down and I feel like a few weeks ago, or maybe it’s a couple of months ago, now, I said on the show that I was a little bit fed up with my family. And this week, I feel like I’ve just been fed up with myself, maybe for a couple of weeks. I’ve just felt fed up with not maybe doing the habits I wanted to do and not being able to get my act together, having no focus and just feeling a bit frustrated and fed up with everything. A bit lonely, a bit bored. But in the last day or so, I feel like I’ve sort of regrouped a little bit and I might talk a little bit about that in the main part of the episode.

We’ve been very much enjoying new puppy and she’s settling in really, really well. Little Cindy, she’s a cavoodle. I had quite a lot of questions about what breed she was when I posted a photo, which means that she’s a cavalier spaniel and poodle cross. So that means that she’s hopefully low for allergies and she’s going to be quite small. But she’s sleeping really well at night, which has been pretty amazing. We’re putting her in a crate and that’s in my office, which is sort of a little bit apart from our bedrooms. So I’ve been putting her in there at night and then putting ear plugs in, and she has been going pretty well. I think the last few nights she hasn’t been crying when I’ve left her, so that’s amazing. And she’s been managing to get through to the morning without any accidents as well. So, super happy about that. Fingers crossed that continues and it’s not just like first week sort of miracle. And yeah, so she’s going well.

So that’s been really, really lovely, and I think it’s cheered us all up quite a bit in the family. It’s also caused a little bit of lack of sleep because Sophie and I are getting up quite early to get her out of the crate. So we’ve been having some early mornings and we’ve gotten into a bit of a routine where we take it in turns. So, that’s going pretty well.

So it’s a new month and that means that we have some Knitalong winners to announce. So I will do that first. And we have the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge winners. The first one is for the Ravelry thread and the winner is number 35, who is Cuppacha, Carol. And she lives on Whitby Island in Washington State and she entered with a Edin cardie. A beautiful cardigan. And as I was scrolling through the thread, I noticed that she also had two other entries, a pair of socks and a beautiful shawl. So congratulations, Carol, Cuppacha on Ravelry, and she’s nominated hazelknits for her prize of a $50 gift voucher. And so Carol, if you can contact me either on Ravelry to HellsBells or support@curioushandmade.com, and just let me know your email address so I can organize the gift voucher.

And on Instagram we have aviatrix1979, who is Charlotte. She’s based in the UK. She knit a beautiful amulet shawl, which was from the first season of The Shawl Society in John Arbon Textiles. So again, Charlotte, if you could contact me either Instagram or one of the previous methods that I suggested, and just let us know your email address and I can send you your gift voucher.

So thank you to everybody who is participating in Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. I noticed that I had about 80 projects on the Ravelry thread, which was amazing, and I didn’t have so many projects tagged in Instagram. So if you’re working on the 20 in 2020 challenge, you can tag your projects in Instagram and nominate a indie dyer or LYS that you’d like to win a $50 voucher from, and I will draw prizes at the end of each month, beginning of the next month.

I’ve been really slack about organizing the prizes, but I am on it. I will get there eventually. So please be patient with me, but know that I will get there and sorry about that. But yes, I will be better. The second half of the year, I’m turning over a new leaf with my admin and emails.

We also had a really fun giveaway for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl. In the lead up to the first clue coming out, people could post their inspiration for their colors for the shawl or post their favorite still life painting or other still life scene from in real life. And the prize is a beautiful skein of Skein Australia Yarn that I used in this sample, one of the colors that I used in the sample, a Laine knitting diary, as well as a beautiful project bag from Stitch Mischief.

And so the winner of the grand prize is Deesuhr. That’s spelled D-E-E-S-U-H-R. She doesn’t have any details in Ravelry profile about name or location, so I think maybe her name is Dee. Anyway, if you can contact me, send me a Ravelry message at HellsBells or contact support@curioushandmade.com on email, and I’ll organize to get that prize sent to you.

We were also offering 10 winners a pattern of their choice from my pattern library. And so the winners are Lynhart, Fynbo31, Knit4Keeps, Quilt and Yarn, gypsycraft, Andystitch, Konkyliedesign, emmoswmr, ceglaw, and NellyJake. We’ve posted the winners also on Ravelry in the thread. So if all those people who’ve won a pattern of their choice could message on Ravelry to HellsBells, and we will arrange for those patterns to be gifted to you.

So, thanks so much for joining in with the competition and all the Knitalongs and everything that’s happening. I always enjoy seeing your entries and comments. It’s always very inspiring and just nice to feel part of the community. So for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl, clue two was released yesterday and I am loving seeing you’re spoiler pictures on Instagram and Ravelry. Thank you so, so much for everybody posting their photos behind the spoiler image, or as a second image on Instagram and in the spoiler thread. It really is lovely for people who aren’t quite up to your pace to not have the surprise spoiled if they’re really keen for that. And so, yes, I appreciate that.

But I also appreciate seeing all your photos of your progress. And I am loving the color combinations. As I said when people were choosing yarn that I really didn’t think you could go wrong, and I was kind of crossing my fingers that that was the case for everyone. And I really feel like I haven’t seen a single color combination that I thought wouldn’t work. I think they’re all working beautifully, and I’m so excited to see that and just getting so much joy from the beautiful colors that people are using. So excited about that and thanks for everybody joining in. I mean, if you still wanted to join in, I don’t think it’s too late to catch up. The second clue has just been released, so if you felt like joining in, perhaps you’ve had a peak at the sneak peeks and like the look of how it’s coming out, then I think you can jump in at any time.

There’s not really any obligation to keep up. I think a lot of people seem to be though, so that’s good. I try to pace it so that people can keep up if they want to. I want to make it achievable. So I hope everyone joining in is having a really fun time with it.

Speaking of Knitalongs, we have the July thread for Knit 20 for 2020 now open. So you can either post on Ravelry or on Instagram using the hashtag #Knit20for2020. And so if you’re knitting anything on the challenge list of prompts, you can post if you finish it in the month of July.

And I’m so excited because I ordered a kit from Barrett Wool Co. which is Susan B. Anderson’s yarn company, and I always thought if I was ever going to make a toy, it would be one of her patterns. They’re just so, so, so cute. And so I ordered a little bear kit and the bear is a polar bear. It has a gorgeous red cardie with heart-shaped buttons, and it’s just pretty adorable. And I ordered that back in April and then obviously mail went a bit pear-shaped. And I think in Australia, I’m not sure when this happened, but I think it was after I ordered the kit, but they stopped doing air freight. So I think any mail going or coming is going by boat. That might be just true of parcels, rather than letters. I’m not sure what really what’s happening, but anyway.

I had kind of almost given up on this kit. I was thinking, okay, it’s just coming by boat. It’s just taking a long time, but I was a little bit worried that it had got lost. And it arrived yesterday. So I was super happy about that. And so now I can work on my toy prompt for the challenge. I’m not sure when I’m going to start that. I have a few projects on the go already, a few sort of personal, non-work projects, including the Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish and the Píosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits. And I think a few other deep whip things as well, some socks and so on. So I would like to finish at least one or two of those things before I start on the toy, but I’m just so happy that the kit arrived and it’s gorgeous. It’s so cute. The packaging is beautiful and I can’t wait to knit that.

So, as I mentioned in the introduction, I had a little bit of a revisit of goals and reassessment of my mood and what’s going on this week. So I took the opportunity of it being halfway through the year and in Australia, it’s a new financial year here. So the tax year ends at the end of June. So that was a little bit of a time to catch up on a bit of admin and clear the decks. I’ve decluttered and cleaned my desk so that I have a nice fresh space to work.

And actually it was my birthday on the weekend, last weekend. And the girls gave me some lovely gifts. I had suggested that they go to a particular shop that sells… I like face cream, organic face cream and things like that, and was hoping for some moisturizer. And instead I unwrapped some crystals, a water bottle that has crystals at the bottom, and a diffuser that diffuses essential oils. So that was quite funny and quite adorable. And so that really prompted me to clean and refresh and declutter my office a little bit. So now I have some healing crystals and some beautiful essential oils. Oh, they gave me a candle as well with crystals in it. It was like really crystal, crystal-tastic. So that was really sweet and was also a really nice prompt to do a bit of tidying up.

So I’m feeling a lot calmer. I don’t know if it’s the crystals or just having a desk that I can see, but either way it’s good. And I decided to have a look at my happiness project, my 20 in 2020 happiness project. And this kind of gave me the inspiration for the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And it’s an idea from the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Croft that I listen to somewhat regularly, not all the time, but every now and then I’ll dip into it. And they have this happiness project where you make a list of things to do for the year that will make you happy.

So I’ve pulled out my list and as I suspected, at least four of the things have been sort of kiboshed by the lockdown. We were actually meant to be in the UK right now and going to my friend Amanda’s wedding on the weekend in Ireland, which has been postponed for a year. So maybe next summer we’ll be doing that. But in the meantime, I’ll have to find something else for that item. And also when I wrote this list, there was going to be a trip to Shetland, which I was not 100% sure about anyway, but in any case that was canceled as well. And I also had a relaxing holiday. So I want to just lie on a beach somewhere in hot sun, and I had Bali Villa question marked for that. So also not happening.

And then there was also catching up with my friend who’s in New South Wales, which is the adjoining state to where I am in Queensland. And our border has been closed since the lockdown, but very excitingly, the Queensland premier has just announced that the borders will open on the 10th of July for Queensland. So we’ll be able to go interstate again, which is very exciting. And I’ll be able to see my friend, my best friend.

So I had a few things that I’ll need to basically postpone to next year or cancel or rejig. Some things are happening and some things I have achieved. Most of the things on the list are things that are in progress or I haven’t started yet. So I had create and tend a house plant family. So I have some pot plants that I have been managing to keep alive, so I’m on track with that. I don’t know if I have to keep them alive till the end of the year to be able to take that off, but I’m pretty pleased. The maidenhair ferns are going particularly well. Some plants have not survived, but I have about six or seven that are doing pretty well.

I have my 40th birthday quilt that’s in progress. That is the little houses quilt that I’ve been talking on the podcast a little bit about. And I pretty much have that almost cut out now. I have enough pieces to start sewing up the blocks, and I’m gradually inching towards starting sewing that up, piecing the blocks together. So that’s happening. And I feel like I will have at least the top piece together by the end of the year. Knowing my progress, I probably won’t have it finished, but I feel like if I can get the top pieced by the end of the year, that will be fantastic.

I have my gray hair (don’t care) full transition, which is on track. I have been growing out my color for, I don’t really know exact date I started because I kind of started and then went backwards with bleaching it blonde for a while to try and make the transition easier. But that put me back about six months, I think. So I’m not really sure exactly when I started. I guess I should count it from that time. So probably just over a year, I guess. So, that’s not too bad. It feels like it’s been taking forever. I think I’ve really been trying to start it for more like, oh, I don’t know. I’m a bit confused. Maybe two years, I don’t know. A year and a half, let’s say.

Oh dear. Yeah, so I have a couple of inches left. I’ve cut it quite short. I haven’t really been posting photos of myself for a while because I’m a bit fed up with the transitional step, but that’s happening and it’s on track. Every time I go for haircut, I’m so tempted to say, “Just cut off any color,” but that would make it really quite short. So I haven’t had the guts to do that yet, but I’m kind of thinking maybe next time I might say that. I might just say, “Get rid of any color and just do what you need to do to, to do that.”

Oh yeah. Another thing that I got sidetracked from with the lockdown was joining a music group, an orchestra or a band for the flute. But that is starting up again here now, so I might be able to get into that before the end of the year. So I think a step before that will be for me to find a flute teacher. I’ve been trying to find a teacher since we got back here, but I haven’t really managed to find someone. I did go to a couple of lessons with a couple of different teachers and they were okay, but they were high school teachers. And I just felt like they weren’t really in the groove of teaching adults.

So I’m going to persevere with that and try one more teacher. And I think if that doesn’t work, I might contact my teacher in London and see if she’d be willing to teach me via Zoom, because we were getting on very well. And perhaps with the lockdown, she might have gone more into teaching online. I don’t know, but that’s maybe a possibility, although the time zone between Australia and London is terrible and it seems a little bit ridiculous to me, but I guess I just have to accept my circumstances. And also that online learning to me is actually pretty convenient now because I have more options with time slots if I do that, although the problem with trying to coordinate with London means that those time slots are actually quite limited.

So anyway, we’ll see. Something I’m working on and something that if I can sort out, it will make me very, very happy, because I was going great with learning, taking up the flute again, after 20 years of not playing. It was something I really, really loved. And then I found a wonderful teacher in London and made really, really great progress. And I was so happy because I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pick it up again. And so I was so thrilled that I could. And now, since I’ve been back in Australia, it’s just all being dropped again. So I think I’ll make that a priority as something that gives me a lot of joy to try and work out for the last half of this year.

Sorry. That was a bit of a ramble, but I’m kind of thinking out loud as I’m chatting with you. So thank you for listening. What am I like? Anyway, I’ve got a whole list of things that would make me happy, but I think that would make me really, really happy. So I’m going to focus on that.

So I would love to know if you have a 20 in 20 happiness project happening and let me know how many things you’ve been having to re jiggle this year. It’s been such a crazy year. Oh my goodness. I still can’t get my head around it. And I just hope that people are going okay. I listened to a lovely podcast when I was out on my walk yesterday and it was kind of a productivity podcast. And the guy was talking about just trying to see the opportunity in the situation we’re in.

He gave a really lovely example that I will try and take on board, which is he was home, he has a little kid, and the kids are home from school and he’s trying to work. And his kid came up to him and said, “Can I help you with something?” And he was about to say, “Oh no, no, I’ve nearly finished now. It’s fine.” And then he thought to himself, no, actually this is an opportunity to connect with my son and teach him. So he decided from that moment to take his son on as an apprentice and just take the opportunity to teach him stuff that he knows. He didn’t really go into details, but I thought how wonderful is that idea of just reframing kids home from school? Not an easy situation and reframing it to taking his little son under his wing and teaching him stuff. And I’ve been thinking about that with the girls, trying to teach some cooking skills and cleaning skills and craft skills and trying to do that. So I thought I really like that idea of an apprenticeship. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway, that’s my little chatty ramble for the week and I’m going to wrap it up there.

I hope you have a fantastic week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.