Archives For Abroad

One of my sessions at Squam Arts Workshops this year was Narrative Truth, a photography workshop with Amy Gretchen.

Some key tips from Amy in this session:

– A good photograph will have a clearly defined subject and background. This sounds very obvious but it made me think a LOT!

– Deliberately include or exclude things in an image to tell a story more powerfully

– A narrative quality to a picture makes people think about it more and creates interest.

– Practice, practice, practice and practice some more.

– Think about if you only had ONE picture to tell the story of an event or moment, what would it be?

Warming up…..

Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen

Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen



Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen

Light is the subject…

Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen


Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen

Point of view…

Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen

Any my favourite…..

A pic of Teri

Narrative Truth, Amy Gretchen

Knitting retreat and yarn shop tour in Paris, France

Two Days, Three Nights in Paris

Thursday evening, May 16 to Sunday morning, May 18, 2014

Paris for Yarn Lovers Knitting Tour Paris

Paris is known as the city for lovers and on this unique tour you will experience Paris tailored especially for YARN lovers!

We will delve into pockets of Paris of special interest to knitters and crafters for two full days. Expect to visit many yarn stores as well as a typical Parisian flea market.

The itinerary also includes a two hour ‘Introduction to Lace and Shawl Design’ workshop with your host, Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade (moi!).

We will enjoy lunches together at cafes and a special celebratory dinner together on Saturday night.

All levels of knitters are welcome and I will tailor the workshop session to the participants’ interests and knitting levels.

The Paris for Yarn Lovers tour includes:

Tour as a Day Guest option:


– Two days of touring Paris with myself and Paris-insider Barbara from ‘Stitching up Paris’ on Friday.
– A two hour knitting workshop with Helen Stewart
– Two lunches at cafes and a celebratory dinner on Saturday evening
– Transportation on the Paris Metro
– Exclusive Curious Handmade goodie bag

Cost: £295

Tour plus Accommodation option:

In addition to the above Day Guest option you will get:

– Three nights accommodation at a beautiful private apartment in Le Marais district of Paris
– Three continental breakfasts at the apartment (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
– Welcome evening on Thursday at the apartment
– Time to knit together in the evenings

Cost for accommodation (including all day guest activities):

Double room (single occupancy):  £780 per person (this total includes £295 day activities and £485 for accommodation options)

Twin room sharing (double occupancy):  £625 per person (this total includes £295 day activities and £430 for accommodation options)

Each room has its own bathroom.

If you would like to share a double room with a friend email me and I’ll advise the cost.

Please note: Transport to Paris is not included.

Paris Yarn tour apartement

Paris Yarn Tour apartment

Space is limited to 8 students.

Itinerary is subject to change due to outside factors.

Please note: There will be a significant amount of walking and travelling on the metro both dates.




drop me an email if you have any questions:

Paris Knitting tour

The legal stuff (sorry, I have to…)

Cancellation policy:

The cost is now payable in full and non-refundable so please double check your availability. 

(You may have someone else take your spot before May 12th 2014, but we must be notified of all changes. If you can’t attend I will do my best to replace you and refund the full cost but I can’t promise that will be possible.).

Release Form: by signing up to Paris for Yarn Lovers you acknowledge that you have read all the above policy information, and you agree to assume all risk of personal harm, injury or other loss relating to or resulting from your participating in all workshops and activities associated with Paris for Yarn Lovers, and to hold Curious Handmade and its representatives, harmless as to liability for any such harm, injury or loss.

Camouflage knitting

Helen —  August 13, 2013 — 4 Comments

Summer knitting provokes a completely different mood from colder days. Some more sensible souls might turn to other pursuits in warmer months. Sewing, cooking, spending time outdoors are all nice things to do on a hot day.

But obsessions are hard to beat, and as a result I found myself squeezing this little package into my suitcase to Croatia alongside another kilo or so of my stash. That was a little embarrassing to admit, but it’s out there now.


It turned out that this little last minute gem was what jumped out at me and inspired a new design, in between some more sensible summer holiday activities such as swimming and eating a lot of delicious food.

pink flowers

This yarn was among a couple of skeins I picked up at the Squam fair from Malia of Penelope Craft , a yarn store in Amsterdam. I actually bought three packages of these super cute yarn combos “for gifts”. Ahem (I never said for who).


The yarn is Danish and it’s a bit “scratchy and sticky”. After awhile I realised it is very like Shetland yarn and is probably intended for colourwork.


My ziggy-zaggy design owes a big nod with gratitude to Stephen West’s Colorplay class at Squam where we were treated to his enthusiasm and love of colour.


I am now working on a longer, and rather more subdued version of the cowl in Madelinetosh Sock.


It is not often a knitting project blends so perfectly into it’s background. Especially such a vibrantly coloured one! Maybe no-one even noticed me knitting on the beach.



pink flowers blue sky

The original version will always remind me of our idylic summer holiday of 2013!

The current version blends in very well with the urban landscape.

Is anyone else knitting through the summer? What are your favourite holiday projects?

A Lighter Summer Holiday

Helen —  July 18, 2013 — 1 Comment

Growing up in Australia, our long summer holiday was in December and January and included Christmas celebrations. We lived near the coast and the beach wasn’t far away. Although you would think from the amount of stuff we packed into the family wagon we were crossing the Nullarbor and travelling for six months, rather than driving an hour away. The daily routine focussed around going to the beach very early in the morning before the heat of the day and then a lot lazing around with the cricket (the sport not the animal) a constant background soundtrack. Once the day had cooled a little there would be a BBQ and backyard cricket.

Living in the UK, I have gradually got used to the different July-August summer rhythm. Holidays to “the sun” loom large in the planning schedule. For the months from about April to the end of August, the question “Where are you going for your summer holiday?” is a key staple of small talk. The planning usually occurs around February when SAD is at its worst.

Several years ago, my workmate, a very glamorous and gorgeous woman, was talking about her summer holiday wardrobe and the importance of having nice new things for “the summer holiday”. This was a lightbulb moment for me. Before that conversation I had just figured that my summer clothes were all pretty new anyway given that we only get to wear them about four weeks a year. That was the beginning of a new habit of buying new things especially for holidays.

However, since reading Zen Habits and especially these two radical posts by Leo and his wife Eva on travelling light I have endeavoured to pack much lighter. I don’t feel like I pack all that much lighter than I used to (I still bring more clothes than I wear, and let’s not even talk about the yarn and knitting stuff). But I must be a bit better, as I now have a lot of the girls clothes in my suitcase, and it doesn’t bulge nearly as much around the edges!

So holiday shopping is now limited to one or two special new things as a holiday treat. For this trip it was this Boden Stripy Maxi which has proven to be an invaluable capsule wardrobe item. Easy to dress up or down with a bit of bling. I’m thinking about a design for a knitted wrap to keep off the evening chill – perhaps in linen?

Boden striped dress

And it was perfect atire for a day trip to the beach town of Cavtat near Dubrovnik in Croatia, where a strong nautical theme prevails.

Cavtat Croatia

Cavtat Croatia Boat Dingy

There were some small, simple boats.

Cavtat Croatia Boat

And some big, fancy-schmancy boats.

Cavtat Croatia

These beautiful coloured fishing nets caught my eye.

Cavtat Croatia

My little daydreamer looking out to sea.

Cavtat Croatia

We had a swim in the harbour but it was a very stony shore.

Cavtat Croatia

Putting my feet up after a hard day hanging out by the water eating ice-cream with my lovely family. Contemplating buying the dress in the other colours! Ah, I see its on sale (yay!) but sadly out of stock in my size (boo). Just as well for my new (slightly more) minimalist lifestyle.