Archives For September 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.

Keeping this little fluff busy is a big job.

In this week’s short and sweet episode, I have puppy stories: we’re learning to train our little rascal and keep her entertained (and out of my stash!) I also have some WIP reports and a gift for anyone who might be suffering with Yarn Advent Calendar FOMO right now. Finally, as we enter the last quarter of the year, I’m taking stock of the Knit 20 for 2020 projects and seeing what’s left to check off my list.

Show Links:

Kong dog toys

Sign up to the Curious Handmade Newsletter and Get the Make Your Own Yarn Calendar ebook

(If you’re already on the mailing list, I’ll be sending out a copy in the next newsletter, so you don’t need to sign up again!)

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

Píosa by Renée Callahan

The Knit 20 for 2020 KAL instructions

Knit 20 for 2020 Ravelry FO Thread

Barrett Wool Co.

Show Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 310. 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 curious handmade.com.

Hello, and welcome. How are you this week? I’m having a great week. My tactics that I talked about on the show to reduce anxiety are definitely helping. It’s still there, but I seem to be keeping it at reasonably manageable levels this week, and I hope you are too. If you can hear a little bit of background noise, that’s puppy playing with her new toy, which I’ll tell you about in a minute. This week is the first of two weeks school holidays here, and we’re not doing too many activities, but I’m aiming for some fun gentle moments with the kids throughout the two weeks. It was the spring equinox here for us in the Southern hemisphere this week on Tuesday, and here in Queensland, it felt like we were going straight into summer some days. It was 28 degrees Celsius. I don’t have a conversion for that off the top of my head, but it was quite warm. And also quite humid.

The kids had first swim in the pool for the season this week, Lexi had her cast taken off on Friday before the holidays, much to her delight. And my delight as well. What else have we been up to? Oh yes, yesterday we had a puppy training session for Sindy, which was really fun and I learned a lot, and then as soon as the puppy trainer left, I couldn’t really remember exactly what he did and how he managed to do things. So I think I need to spend some time just focusing on that with her. It’s a little bit difficult to do that sometimes. But I just thought I’d mention a really interesting tip that he gave us. He introduced us to a toy called a Kong, which is K-O-N-G as in King Kong. I’m not sure what the name means, if anything. It’s the name of the company. It’s a cone-shaped thing that you can… It’s hollow, so you can put food into it or just the puppy can just chew on it.

I’ve seen them around, but what he said was quite interesting, was that… He said we could put all her meals in it, and then she eats the meals from that all the time. And he said he has a client who has six of them, and they hide them around the garden for their German shepherd throughout the day. It gives them an activity as well as their food. So he said you could get good value out of meals by making them into drawn out activities for the puppy, and that keeps them quite occupied and happy throughout the day. So I thought that was pretty interesting, and I’d never really heard of that as an idea before. I always thought you just put food in the bowl for them. So, yeah. I just thought I’d share that for you, and I’ll put a link to the company in the show notes. I’m sure there’s other companies that do this kind of thing as well, but this is what I’ve seen around here and what he recommended.

On the Curious Handmade work front, I have been doing a little bit of work this week. Not as much as the last couple of weeks where I was quite productive, but still managed to get a little bit of work on Knitvent done, and I’m so working away on the collection and putting final touches to it. Inevitably I decide to do an extra sample of something just to have a bit more variety in the photographs and things like that. So even after eight years, it still takes me a lot longer than I anticipate to get everything together. I’m doing some photographs on the weekend, so I’m looking forward to that. As I mentioned last week, the past few years, I have included a pattern designed especially for the Advent Yarn Kits and this year I’m continuing that tradition.

I remember that last year we created a little make your own yarn advent calendar ebook, with some tips and ideas for creating your own yarn advent calendar, because I’ve had a lot of comments from knitters asking where they can get hold of yarn advent calendars. Some people are always sad because they do get sold out quite quickly, and a lot of the dyers put them on sale very early in the year because they’re so time-intensive to make, so they sell them and get them ready quite early for four people. So if you’ve missed out or it’s outside your budget, then it’s a great way to use up scraps if you’ve been knitting for a little while. Most of us have a lot of leftovers in the stash already and if we tend to stick to a particular color palette, they probably coordinate quite well. I have quite a few friends now who established an annual tradition to swap with their knitting BFF or in their knitting group where everybody makes up a yarn advent calendar from their stash and then they swap.

If you don’t have lots of leftovers, but still want to make your own, you can use full skeins of yarn and then either divide it up so that some of the colors are repeated or dip into some skeins to top up a set of minis or something like that. So you can be quite creative with it, and I think now is a really good time to think about this. So I have a revived the ebooklet, and I’ll put a link in the show notes where you can get hold of that if you would like to get a copy and make your own yarn advent calendar. I think I’m going to make one or two this year for some friends. I really enjoyed putting together the minis for the prize.

I put together basically a yarn advent calendar for the prize for the habitation throw knit along, and I used a nostepinne, which is a little wooden stick for want of a better word. It’s a bit nicer than a stick, but it’s just a shaped wooden turned knitting tool to hand wind yarn around. So I did that with 24 minis, and it was a very relaxing activity while I watched some YouTube videos and knitting podcasts and things like that. It was very enjoyable. So I think I’ll make another couple of those with some of my many leftovers.

Apart from working away on Knitvent samples this week, I have been knitting on my Hermione Jean Granger by The Cleverest Stitch, who’s Tyne Swedish, and I’m just kind of making that a little bit bigger than the pattern calls for, because I have some of the gorgeous La Bien Aimée yarn to use, and the pattern doesn’t use all of the… It’s a three skein, three color pattern, but it’s not using up much of some colors, so I’m going to extend it and add in a few more stripes. So that’s been a super relaxing knit. It’s garter stitch and just fun stripes, perfect TV relaxing knitting, so I’ve been working on that and highly recommend Cleverest Stitch’s patterns. She has some gorgeous patterns available in her collections and they all look very fun, so I’m going to probably do another one after this.

I’ve been having a little look at my Knit 20 for 2020 list, and this will cover a new to me designer. I haven’t knit any of her designs before. And also a shawl. And it’s just reminded me to let you know that this is the last week for September if you’d like to enter into the Knit 20 for 20 knit along. The prizes are a 50 US dollar gift voucher from your yarn shop or indie dyer of choice. And there is a prize drawn from the Ravelry thread in my curious handmade group on Ravelry. And I also draw a prize from Instagram with projects tagged Knit 20 for 2020. So please do go ahead and post your projects in either place, and I draw two winners, one from each. And if you’d like to know more about it, you can find out more on my website, curioushandmade.com, or in the rivalry thread in the group.

I’m not sure that I’m going to manage to tick off all 20 prompts myself before the end of the year, but I think I’m going to do reasonably well. I have my kit from Barrett Wool Company for the really cute panda and I don’t know if I’ll finish that before the end of the year. I’d like to try. I definitely want to finish my Piosa cardigan to tick off the cardigan category, and I haven’t yet attempted brioche. So I definitely really want to try to do some brioche knitting for the end of the year. Otherwise I probably can make the other categories work with the projects that I am knitting or have finished. But yes, definitely brioche and knitting a toy are ones that I would definitely have to start new projects for to be able to fulfill those.

Anyway, it’s been a fun challenge so far, and while we still have a quarter left, October, November, December. Yeah, just quarter. Yeah, went very, very slowly at the beginning and has now speeded up quite disconcertingly. I’m not sure if you’re with me on that, but for everybody playing along, just know that there’s one week left for September and then three months left for the year. I think it’s going to be a really short and sweet episode this week. There probably a bit of background noise. Hopefully my podcast editor isn’t too frustrated, but my children are kind of rampaging. The dog’s passed out out of tiredness from today, but they seem to be ramping up activities so I better go and sort that out.

So I do hope you’re well and going okay, wherever you are in the world. Have a good week. I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.



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.

Lovely Skein Yarn for the Droplet Capelet

After an unexpected break to wrestle life into a reasonably manageable shape, the podcast is back! Today I have a giant group of giveaway winners from Today on the Curious Handmade Podcast I have some hints about the upcoming Knitvent collection (did someone say scrappy?) I also have a chat about how I’m coping with anxiety these days, with some resources to share. One of the things that helps ground me a lot is having a few tiny habits to anchor my days, and I’d love to hear about yours.

Show Links:

Resources I’ve found to help with Anxiety:

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

Healthline Anxiety

Black Dog Institute Anxiety

Very Well Mind Anxiety

Other show links:

The Strawberry Thief

Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 309. 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 the show. How are you this week? I’m having a pretty good week feeling okay and being reasonably productive. The kids are well and puppy’s well, and all the mice seem well also, yes. As I talked about last week, the thousand-item purge major decluttering session in the last month or so has really done wonders for reducing anxiety and I’m already planning another session tackling some remaining problem areas and, yeah, just keeping going on the quest to lead a simplified life. It’s already helping me be more motivated and get things done more quickly so that’s fantastic.

Although I have been reading a little bit of the news this morning and I don’t do that too often, I find that it stresses me out too much and this morning was really no exception. I’m sort of reading the news and then I start thinking about all my friends and family all around the world and all of you and wonder how you’re all feeling and doing. My thoughts are with people on the West Coast in the U.S. battling terrible fires and smoke, and my thoughts are also with the refugees on Lesbos in the Moria Camp where a fire broke out and destroyed the refugee camp there. So that’s also another terrible situation.

It’s a lot altogether with COVID and racial injustice and divisive political situations all around the world at the moment. It can be very anxiety-producing and give you a bit of a feeling of helplessness really. And I don’t know, I guess I didn’t want to start this episode with a big downer, but I just wanted to acknowledge all of this today because I know that there are just so many people who are so worried and stressed, especially in the U.S., but all around the world with kids going back to school and just so many things, all the things. I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you and I hear you.

I’m going to pop a few links in the show notes today that I’ve found helpful for some tips to manage anxiety for what it’s worth. I’m following the Tiny Habits which is a great book I read recently by BJ Fogg, and that method of just trying to incorporate one or two tiny habits into my routine to actively try to manage my anxiety. And it does help. So some things I’m doing is I’ll just generally try to focus on my circle of control and influence and not on my circle of concern and the worries.

At the beginning of the year one of my happiness projects was creating a gratitude journal that I do each evening with the goals and we each write down three things we’re grateful for. And we are definitely a little bit ad hoc

about doing it but we’ve kept it up over the year, not every day, but at least in a way consistently. And that is a really nice moment in the day and I think it definitely helps us all.

Yesterday I made sure that I’m on the electoral roll here in Australia, and I found out that the next election in Queensland is the 31st of October this year so I was glad that I finally did that to-do item on my list. Having been out of the country for many, many years I wasn’t sure what my status was, and today I’m going to set up one or two regular donations to charities and maybe some one-off donations as well for really topicals issues at the moment.

I’ve been getting a lot of joy from my small gardening efforts and yeah, one of the most successful efforts for my gardening which is really I feel like a tiny habit is growing sprouts. That’s been my most consistent gardening effort and it’s also been my most productive, growing a batch of sprouts each week. And I’ve mostly been doing alfalfa but also sometimes broccoli sprouts, which I hadn’t even heard or thought of before but it’s apparently incredibly good for you. And I quite, I really like the taste. It’s a bit of a weird paste but I really, really like it. It’s gives a bit of a punch to your sandwich if you put your sprouts on your sandwiches or in a salad. So that’s a little tip of, I think a gardening thing that probably anyone could do is grow sprouts in your kitchen.

I’ve actually been using my standing desk to stand up and I am standing out right now as I record this and wondering why I haven’t been doing this more because I already feel more energetic, and you can probably hear it in my voice that are more energetic talking while I’m standing up. And one thing I have been wanting to start doing all year and have done a tiny bit of but not very much is some kind of breathing, meditation, stretching habit. That one is a to-do, is still on my wishlist, I wish I could start doing this more regularly.

But I think from everything I read about managing anxiety and stress this is always comes up as the best thing you can do for yourself, so I think I’m quite silly not to be doing it, but I don’t know. Like a lot of things that are good for us we don’t do, but I’m going to just try again to tackle this as a tiny habit and see if I can manage to get myself to meditate or do breathing exercises for one minute a day or something like that. I have to design the tiny habit to work in my routine.

Anyway, that’s some things I’m thinking about and doing and might give you some inspiration of small things you might like to try as well. I’ll put the links to a few articles in the show notes. And of course I am not a health professional, I have no background in this kind of thing but I thought I’d share some encouragement because I’m finding these things helpful to keep me going, keep me positive and yeah, I just thought I’d share today. If you want to share with me one tiny thing you can be proactive and take a bit of control or you’re welcome to email me or drop a note on Instagram and let me know your little tiny habit and give yourself a big yes and a big pat on the back for when you do it.

In knitting news, I did promise you some knitting news this week after my decluttering chat last week. I’ve been doing a lot of work and designing and knitting samples for Knitvent 2020, which is coming up quite soon now. I can’t believe we’re halfway through September, it’s all the crazy. I felt like time slowed down massively through March, April, May, June, and now it seems to be speeding back up again going into the end of the year, but that’s the way it goes, isn’t it?

Yes, I’ve been doing a lot of work. And the last few years I’ve designed a pattern especially for Advent Yarn Kits, which typically have 24 mini-skeins, and this year I’m continuing this tradition for Knitvent. And I think I can tell you that it’s going to be suitable for a 10 gram mini-skein set. So people who have a 10 gram set can do the pattern and also a lot of the Advent kits are 20 gram sets so they can either do two of the item or perhaps do a different scrappy project with the other half of their kit. So that’s what I’m thinking about.

And I did manage to have Sunday off work, so very happy about that. I’m trying to carve out a little bit of time for personal crafty projects. And I was working quite a bit on my Liberty Hexie project, which is an English paper-piecing quilt or quilts, I should say, because I’m doing two. I have subscribed to kits from a company here in Australia called The Strawberry Thief, they’re based over in Perth and they’re specialize in Liberty fabric. And so I’m working on both a two-inch and one-inch hexie project.

Hopefully I’ll quilt, hopefully I’ll make enough hexies and flowers to do a quilt, that’s the goal for two quilts. And yes, I really enjoy the process, I enjoy the process of making each hexie where I’m using the method of gluing the fabric to a piece of heavy paper-like cardboard, and then they get sewn into hexie flowers. So one hexie in the middle and then six petals, and then eventually those flowers will be made into the quilts but for the moment it’s just a matter of making the flowers. So I enjoy all parts of that process and yeah, giving me a lot of joy.

And on the knitting side I started a new project which I have no business starting because I have too many wips, but I couldn’t resist starting the Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron. And I’ve been wanting to knit one of her patterns for a while. I’ve been wanting to support her because she’s a brilliant designer, I love her aesthetic and she’s so sophisticated. I’ve purchased several of her patterns but I hadn’t got as far as downloading them. And when I downloaded the Droplet Capelet pattern I was so delighted with the pattern. She has a beautiful story about the design and she has super clear instructions, schematics, how to choose your size, video support for casting on and casting off. It’s quite incredible and inspiring, so thank you, Denise, for the incredible work you’ve put into this pattern.

I am knitting this in a skein from the stash. One of my precious skeins, which is by Skein Australia, and so the colorway is a gorgeous light blue, a very dreamy light blue with aquamarine speckles and some lime-green speckles as well. It’s going to be so fun to knit and I’m going to knit this for my daughter Sophie, who really likes that kind of garment. I like her little, I want to say poncho capelet. Ponchos aren’t really considered to be very cool but this is a very cool item so I don’t really want to call it a poncho, let’s stick with capelet like the name says.

Yeah, this is a super fun knit and I think it should be fairly fast. It’s a one-skein project and the size I’m getting for Sophie, which is the smallest size and I will keep you posted on progress. I have started quite a lot of projects this year and I’m not finishing them, but yeah, I’m just going to plug away and hopefully finish this by the end of the year. But to be honest, because I’m knitting it for Sophie it doesn’t really need to be done until next winter which is next June here, that we’re just coming into spring here. So there’s no real rush on this one, it’s just something to knit for fun. That’s all the crafty knitting news I have for you this week. As I said in the introduction, I really hope you’re doing okay. I’m sending you all my love wherever you are in the wild and have a great week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.



CH 308: 1000 Item Purge

Amanda —  September 11, 2020 — Leave a comment
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.

After an unexpected break to wrestle life into a reasonably manageable shape, the podcast is back! Today I have a giant group of giveaway winners from all of our KALs to celebrate. I also have a report from the island of decluttering, where I’ve been living for the last few weeks…

Show Links:

– THSS #5 Vapour Socks KAL: Post 21 – fifilou

THSS #6 Altitude Socks KAL: Post 9 – atrinka

– THSS3 Grand KAL: Post 29 – TheFibersmith

– Stillness MKAL: Post 460 Jastauff

– August knit20for2020

Ravelry winner:

Post 73 Pattyknits36

KNIT Long Island

Instagram winner:

@shellyknitsallthethings

White Gum Wool

The 30 Day Minimalism Game

#minsgame

Clutterbug: 5 Decluttering Methods

Simple Happy Zen: Emotional Decluttering

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 308. 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 curioushomemade. 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? Last time I spoke to you three weeks ago, I was having a little bit of a challenging time with things going on at home, and that continued to be the case for longer than I hoped and anticipated. So I had an unplanned week off last week after a planned week off the week before.

And I don’t feel good about missing weeks on the podcast, especially when they’re unplanned, but I really needed to give myself the time last week. When I record the podcast, it’s not just the physical time it takes to write the notes and record, but if I’m not in a positive head space and I’m a bit stressed out, then I don’t like to record a show where I’m sounding really frazzled and not positive and cheerful. And sometimes I can push through and record it anyway, but last week was not one of those weeks. Everything’s fine. It was just too much going on.

So this week I am able to focus on things again. It’s Wednesday, when I’m recording, and so far I haven’t had either child at home from school yet, although it is an inter-school sports day for the kids tomorrow, so Lexi will be sitting that out because she still has her cast on. But the first half of the week has been the most productive I’ve had probably all year, so I’m feeling pretty good. And thanks to missing a couple of weeks publishing a podcast, I have a bumper number of knit along prize draws to announce this week. And later in the show, I’ll give you an update on my personal decluttering challenge I set myself a while ago.

So first to the knit along announcements. Yes, there are quite a few. So firstly for The Handmade Sock Society, which is now at an end, the knit along for the fifth socks in the series, the vapor socks, winner is fifilou. And the winner for the sixth socks in the series, the altitude socks, is atrinka. We also have the grand prize for the person who has knit all six socks in the season, the third season of The Handmade Sock Society, and drum roll. The winner of the grand prize is TheFibersmith.

So, of course I appreciate each and every one of you who have made any of the socks in The Handmade Sock Society this season, and whether you’ve entered them in the knit alongs or not, I know that not everybody does that. I often don’t do that, even when I have made something, I don’t post it on Ravelry or Instagram. But yes, I appreciate all of you, and I am especially grateful and huge kudos to the 50 or so people who knit all six socks. It’s a lovely thread to browse through and it makes me so happy to see people who’ve knit the whole collection. It’s really fun to see. So thank you very much everybody who participated.

And the prize will be a 50 US dollar voucher for the individual socks, and it is 100 US dollar voucher prize for TheFibersmith, who won the grand prize. So congratulations to you all. And if the winners could please email me at support@curioushandmade.com to let me know, one, your email address, and secondly what local yarn shop or indie dyer or online yarn shop you would like a voucher from for your prize.

We also had the Stillness Mystery Knit Along finish at the end of August. I didn’t really think about which month we’re in just then. That finished at the end of August. And again, I was absolutely blown away by the beautiful shawls you had knit. I could see that there was a little bit of a flurry of people finishing their shawls towards the end of the month, and I’m still seeing people posting their shawls on Instagram and Ravelry. They’re so beautiful. I’m so thrilled. And the winner of the Stillness Mystery Knit Along is post 460, who is Jastauff, J-A-S-T-A-U double F. Jane from Peacham in the US. She has knit a very sunny grellow Stillness shawl and she says it makes her very happy. And yes, it is a very beautiful, beautiful color combination and shawl. So thank you very much, Jane. And, again, I will be sending you a voucher via email for your prize.

And last but not least, because we had August come and go since I last recorded, we also have the August Knit 20 for 2020 winners. So on Ravelry we have post 73, Pattieknits36, who also posted a Stillness shawl as her finished object. And she has nominated Knit Long Island for her LYS. And on Instagram we have shellyknitsallthethings, who also posted a Stillness shawl for her finished object and used the hashtag knit20for2020 in the shawl category. A beautiful, summery, fresh color scheme. And in her comment she says, “It gives me sunset over beaches vibes, which makes me happy.” And I agree, it’s a very happy color combination, and the yarn is by White Gum Wool, which is an Australian company.

So thank you very much to all the people who participated in all those knit alongs recently, and congratulations to the winners. Just once more, please do get in touch via email, Helen@curioushandmade.com, to let me know your email address and which company or online shop you would like a gift voucher from, and I will get that arranged soon-ish. Oh dear, apologies for my tardiness on the prizes, but I do get there eventually. So thank you for bearing with me.

So I thought I’d give you a little update on my decluttering project because it has taken up a lot of my time in the last month or so, and some weeks I didn’t really have much else to talk about because I spent all my time working on it. About a month ago, I set myself a challenge of decluttering 1000 items. And it was kind of based on inspiration from the Minimalist 30 day Challenge, whereby you get rid of one item on the first day, two items on the second day and so on, and that adds up to 465 items. And I watched a YouTube video where a couple did it and then increased the items to 1000. And I thought, “That sounds like a good round number, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

And I didn’t do it day-by-day. It was very ad hoc. It wasn’t following the minimalist game. So in the end, I managed to do it, and it wasn’t too difficult, although I did cheat a little bit with one item or category of items, which arguably maybe should be counted as one item rather than 200 items. But anyway, I’ll read you out what I decluttered. So 155 items of clothes, 65 items from the kitchen, 130 items of rubbish, 175 skeins of yarn, 50 miscellaneous things, 20 empty picture frames that had been bought for a craft project that never happened, 35 project bags. I know, it’s shocking. 130 books, which was mostly kids books. 30 knitting needles, 10 items of fabric, which is a bit conservative, but I tended towards being conservative except for the 200 pens that I counted, which I don’t know if it’s cheating or not. But anyway, 200 pens is quite bulky.

So when I looked at the minimalist game, things that people counted as one item, I don’t know. Some people might not. Some people might. So anyway, I did. And I was pretty conservative on other things like rubbish. I threw out a lot of papers and things that I didn’t actually count, and a lot of just trash that I found in kids’ bedrooms and things that I didn’t count. So I think it kind of evens out a little bit. But that all adds up to 1000 items.

And yeah, I tried to pull some thoughts together about this whole process. So as I was decluttering, I was also watching a lot of decluttering videos on YouTube for inspiration. One of the ones that I watched I thought I would share, which is the ClutterBug 5 Decluttering Methods. So I just thought I’d share this because I was trying to remember how I actually did my decluttering. It was a little bit random. But I’ll just read out her five methods in case it’s helpful.

So number one is the Easter egg method, where you get a basket or a box or something like that and basically go around looking for things that you’re not using, loving or wouldn’t buy again. So it’s called the Easter egg method because you’re basically hunting for things around the house. Number two is the Marie Kondo method. If you’ve listened to my podcast in the past, you will have heard about this method where you sort things by category and only keep what sparks joy.

Number three is the no mess method, where you tackle an area and as you go through it you either put things in a garbage bag or put them back where they belong. Or I think put them in a bag to be taken to charity. But basically the idea is that you don’t have a big staging area. You just deal with everything as you pick it up and tidy it up. The trash bag method is where you go around the house just collecting rubbish, so good for kids’ rooms or messy areas of the house where rubbish accumulates, like the car.

The four sort method, which is kind of a more in-depth method where you have boxes or containers for keep, donate, toss or does not belong, and that’s the ClutterBug’s usual method of sorting things out. There are a couple of other methods she didn’t mention that I’ve come across. So one is the Swedish death cleaning method, where you have to ask yourself, “Would I want my kids or family to have to look at this or deal with it if I suddenly died?” Which is a clarifying question, I guess.

And then the other method that I quite like is the peel the onion method, which The Minimal Mom talks about, where it’s a gradual process over time where you go deeper and deeper into your clutter. So I came up with my own fairly random method based on a combination of some of these, and I call it the thousand item purge, where I basically went around the house manically pulling things out of cupboards and piling them up on the dining room table and then dealing with them.

So it was, I’d say, kind of a combination of the Easter egg hunt plus peeling the onion, because I went through the house several times, and then using the four sort method to dispose of the items. I was quite surprised how easy it was for me to find 1000 items, even given the 200 pens. I had the pens in mind the whole time, knowing that I could have them as a back up if I needed to make up the numbers.

Yeah, I would really recommend this method of choosing a high number, because it really made me let go of things that I’ve just been holding onto for not really any good reason, for way too long. For me, when I’m decluttering, it’s not so much knowing that I don’t need the thing. It’s more feeling bad about disposing of things not responsibly. I want to feel like they’re going to good homes or not being wasted or just contributing to landfill. But I kind of had to just draw a line on thinking that way, because otherwise I’m just holding onto stuff as a big storage unit. My house is a big storage unit with things I don’t want or need.

So some things I did throw out. I mean, they were basically things that were broken or rubbish or clothes that were too worn out. And I know that there are places that will recycle them, but in the current circumstances with COVID, I just didn’t … I don’t know. I didn’t want to burden a charity shop with tatty clothes, for example. So this is what I mean by, I just find it so hard to figure out the best way to dispose of things. I just go round in my head, overthinking it.

Anyway, I tried not to do that this time so much, but it definitely, definitely has a huge impact on reducing the amount of things I buy. Every time I go through the decluttering process, it reminds me not to buy things without being really thoughtful about it. So that’s a really positive outcome of it, even though I still do consume more than I need at times, but I’m an awful lot better than I used to be, so it’s good.

I came across another helpful YouTube video for emotional Cancerians like myself. It’s by Simple Happy Zen and How to Get Rid of the Things You Don’t Need. She talks about the more emotional aspects of things. So she talks about how things are part of your identity, often part of our fantasy selves. Like people who … we want to think of ourselves as people who will exercise or do our crafts or whatever, cook healthy meals, cook exotic, gourmet meals. I don’t know. So yeah, your stuff once you’ve bought it forms part of your identity, and so that can be why it’s difficult to let go of things.

And she talks about giving yourself permission and forgiveness for the mistakes you’ve made in your purchases, breaking the project down. And the switcheroo, which is not focusing on what you’re losing by donating or throwing things out or however you’re disposing of them, but to look at it in terms of what you’re gaining in terms of space, time and energy.

So yeah, I have wrapped up the project now. I had a big mess on my dining room table for about a month, and I finally dealt with it all. It feels fantastic. I’m definitely not a natural minimalist. I do like to have a bit of surplus things to hand and some knickknacks around the house. I like decorations and kitschy things, cute things. But I’m definitely leaning into having less stuff, and having less visual clutter. I think I can really see the benefits of that. It is definitely reducing the mental load of looking around at lots of distractions. I’ve really tried to simplify my office space, which has been semi-successful so far. My desk is still a bit too cluttered.

But making huge, huge progress, and it’s really, really helping. So I still have a list of problem areas that I still need to deal with. So I haven’t dealt with the pantry, the food, which kind of got a bit out of control with some lockdown stockpiling that I did. There’s boxes of old tax records that I should probably scan but might just hang onto for five years and avoid that nasty job. There’s kids craft stuff, and then there’s the digital clutter of photos and emails that I really would love to deal with.

So I came across a quote, which is, “Clutter is postponed decisions,” and that is a quote by Barbara Hemphill, who has actually trademark registered that quote, so I want to give her credit. But that is so true, isn’t it? Clutter is postponed decisions. Everything I’ve gone through and decluttered was all things that I put off deciding on when we moved mostly. There’s some new stuff there as well, but mostly stuff that I brought from the UK because I just couldn’t decide on it at the time. Including, I found a bag of extension cords and power boards with multiple plugs for UK plugs. What was I thinking? I think it was just one of those miscellaneous bags of stuff that the packers just put in before I had managed to deal with.

But I had been keeping it sort of thinking, “Oh, maybe next trip back to the UK, I can take it with me and give it to my friends.” But yes. I don’t know. How crazy is that? It’s sort of crazy but it sort of makes sense to me. But I think with COVID and the fact that we probably won’t make it back for about two years, sadly, I decided to let those go. Anyway, but example of postponed decisions. And so I’m going to think about things along those lines and try not to postpone decisions going forward to keep the overwhelm under control, to keep life under control. And maybe, I don’t know, try and use that as a bit of a new philosophy.

So thanks for bearing with me through my decluttering chat. It’s not a decluttering channel or podcast usually, although it does come up from time to time. But yeah, if you’re interested in the topic, there are hundreds and hundreds of really great videos about the topic on YouTube, and no doubt podcasts as well. But YouTube is particularly satisfying, seeing people show their before and afters and things like that, if you’re into that kind of thing. And yeah. So thanks for bearing with me. I hope that it’s kind of useful. I think sometimes it’s good to know that other people have issues with things.

Anyway, I promise to have some good solid knitting chat for you next week, how about that? So I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank for joining me, and I’ll talk to you again soon.