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Knitvent through the years

Helen —  October 21, 2019 — Leave a comment

This time of year naturally invites a bit of nostalgia. Our brains make much stronger memories any time there is a strong emotion involved, which is why we remember how we’ve spent most of the holidays in our lives but not what we were doing on most random Tuesdays in June, for example. Making and giving handmade gifts is another good way of creating a lasting memory. All the love and care and all the hours that go into each project have a way of working them deep into our hearts.

This will be the 7th Knitvent, a number that’s a little boggling when I look at it typed out there. Just like the holidays, each year is a mix of the comfortingly familiar and the unexpectedly new. It is astonishing to think about how many memories and gifts we’ve made together over the years, and I am so looking forward to doing it all again very soon.

I know we have many knitters, readers, and listeners with us who remember all the way back to the very first Knitvent, but we’re also lucky enough to have new friends joining the Curious Crew who have never taken part before. I love taking a moment before the season kicks off to look back. If you’re a long-time Knitventer I hope this retrospective shakes loose some happy memories and maybe inspires you to double back and knit something you always meant to make from a previous season (or to knit another version of an old favourite.) And if you’re a new knitter who is not quite sure what to expect, I think seeing all the past collections lined up together like this will give you some idea of what you’re in for if you join in!

We have a buy-one-get-one free sale happening right now, and all of our Knitvent collections are still available to purchase as full collections or as individual patterns, so if you’d like to revisit Knitvents past, now’s your chance to spoil yourself a little while you wait for this year’s fun to start!

Two-for-one sale on all Curious Handmade Patterns and Collections (Including past Knitvents!)


Knitvent 2018

Last year’s Knitvent explored the theme of Peace, drawing inspiration from some of the most beautiful poetry on the subject. Finding peace in a busy, conflicted world at a particularly hectic time of year isn’t always a simple task. I find that using knitting and stolen quiet moments of reflection as a kind of meditation, as a way to find my centre, helps me show up in the world in a more peaceful way. This was an introspective Knitvent, and I was very moved by the thoughtful response (and of course, gorgeous knitting!) from the community.

A collage of the knitting patterns from Knitvent 2018 by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Large photo: Dust of Snow Wrap

Small photos, clockwise from top: Peace of Wild Things Shawl, Frost at Midnight CowlWinter Sleep SocksHow Quiet Mitts, How Quiet Hat

Buy the whole Knitvent 2018 Collection


Knitvent 2017

This was the year of our Nutcracker Knitvent, and it was one of my favourite collections to date. The community response was spectacular, with floods of happy memories sparked and shared by the Nutcracker theme. Favourite childhood moments, pure holiday magic, the real-life-fairytale of ballerinas and sweeping orchestral music: it was all incredibly inspiring and it was an absolute joy to see how much fun everyone had with these patterns.

A collage of images showing all the knitting patterns from the Knitvent 2017 collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Large photo: Land of Sweets Cowl

Small photos, clockwise from top: Marzipan LegwarmersClara’s CapeTchaikovsky MittsTchaikovsky HatTulle Shawl

Buy the whole Knitvent 2017 Collection


Knitvent 2016

This year’s collection had a fun colour story with lots of pops of teal, one of my favourites. I was inspired by old fashioned travel posters and postcards, and by the idea of a ski holiday in an alpine forest. In 2016 we had a guest designer, which was exciting and brought a new perspective to the collection: Renée Callahan of East London Knit designed the very stylish Boreal Forest hat and cowl, featuring retro-styled graphical colourwork.

A collage showing all the knitting patterns from the Knitvent 2016 collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Large photo: Alpine Sunset Shawl
Small photos, clockwise from top: Fresh Tracks HeadbandBoreal Forest HatBoreal Forest CowlJuniper SocksJuniper Mitts

Buy the Knitvent 2016 Collection


Knitvent 2015

The theme for 2015 was “light and bright” and captured the glitter and sparkle of wintertime and the cosy warmth of comforting, texture-rich yarns. From twinkling fairylights to far-off stars, from crisp unbroken snow and frosty icicles to the crackling glow of the fireplace, we reveled in everything that makes the season bright.

A collage image showing all the knitting patterns from the Knitvent 2015 Collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Large image: Winter Wander Shawl
Small images, clockwise from top: Ice River HatIce River SnoodCabin Path ShawlKindling MittsKindling Hat

Buy the Knitvent 2015 Collection


Knitvent 2014

The second year of Knitvent played with texture and detail. The shine of sequins, beads, and ribbons contrasted with the tactile softness of mohair, cables, and tassels. I love seeing these patterns pop up again and again through the years, bringing more happiness to new people every season. Every time I come across a new project someone has made from the Knitvent archive my heart just glows.

A collge image showing the knitting patterns in the Knitvent 2014 collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Large image: Adorn Gift Bags
Small images, clockwise from top right: Candlelit Beaded ShawlIce Skating Scarf and WrapLind CowlCrisp and Even Cowl

Buy the Knitvent 2014 Collection


Knitvent 2013

Our very first Knitvent together was ambitious and exciting and so, so much fun. I didn’t know how I was going to pull off releasing eight designs so quickly, but we managed it and I think it really gave me a burst of confidence as a newish knitting designer at the time. It’s been a remarkable journey since then, and I still see people knitting these designs all the time: the Red Robin Shawl and the Warm Wishes Hottie Cover in particular have really gone on to lead rich lives of their own since then!

A collage of the first 4 patterns in the Knitvent 2013 Collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade
A collection of the next 4 patterns in the Knivent 2013 Collection by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Patterns:

Top row, right to left: Red Robin ShawlCheckerboard MittsFresh Powder CowlWarm Wishes Hottie.
Bottom row, right to left: Stardust Infinity ScarfRella MittsQuicksilver CowlNaughty or Nice Hat.

Buy the Knitvent 2013 Collection


I want to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has ever been a part of Knitvent and to everyone who is considering joining us in 2019. Your joy, enthusiasm, and generosity make this event so special, and I’m so grateful that I get to do this again with you this year! If you would like to make sure that you don’t miss any information about Knitvent 2019, make sure that you are signed up for the Curious Handmade Newsletter. That’s where you can hear all the news about our theme this year, the early bird special, upcoming giveaways and pop-up sales, and every bit of the Knivent magic. Happy knitting!

As Knitvent time approaches, I know many of you are already deep in your planning for this year’s gift knits. Handmade gifts are truly precious, and so much preparation and anticipation goes into the process: making a list, matching patterns and yarn, and somehow scheduling all that knitting into our busy days. It is one of the great joys of the season, as long as you have a plan, give yourself plenty of time, and remember that this is supposed to be fun!

There will be exciting new gift-knitting patterns on the way when Knitvent begins, but to help you in your early stages of gift knitting, here is our annual Curious Handmade Gift Guide. We’ve curated some tried-and-tested favourite designs which are sure to delight your dear ones this holiday season.

As a Knitvent warm-up treat and to make sure the season gets off to a glorious start, I’m running a buy-one-get-one free sale across all Curious Handmade patterns and collections from now until Monday, October 21st, 2019. Now’s the time to stock up on any patterns you might have missed. There’s no code necessary to get your free pattern. Just put any two of my patterns or collections into your cart by the end of Monday, October 21st and the least expensive item we be automatically free as a gift from me to you and your loved ones!

Shop The Curious Handmade Gift-Knitting BOGO Sale!

I hope you find some perfect patterns to keep you busy while we wait for the Knitvent launch: maybe you’ll be able to cross a few names off your list a little early this year!


One Skein Wonders

A smallish shawl makes an ideal gift. You don’t need much time or yarn to whip up one of these beauties. Easy to knit and easy to wear, these one-skein shawls are great for showcasing a special yarn. Choose something lacy and delicate for a special-occasion shawl (you can even add beads) or look for something solidly comforting to wrap them up warm for every day.

Large image: The Peace of Wild Things Shawl. Small images, clockwise from top left: Tulle Shawl, Little Meg Shawl, Alpine Sunset Shawl, Rewilding Shawl

Perfectly Matched

Any one of these items would make a fabulous quick-knit gift, but if you have the time to make a matching set you can really make your knitworthy loved one feel cherished. Pair a stylish hat with a coordinating warm cowl or a toasty pair of mitts. Almost all of these patterns come in multiple sizes or are easily adjustable, and with the right yarn choice they should suit just about anyone on your list.

A collection of accessory knitting patterns from Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade
Left to Right: Ice River Hat, Ice River Snood, How Quiet Hat, How Quiet Mitts
Left to Right: Kindling Hat, Kindling Mitts, Tchaikovsky Hat, Tchaikovsky Mitts

Snug Socks

A handmade pair of warm woolly socks is a wonderfully nurturing gift. Choose a squishy DK-weight yarn for the ultimate cosy kicking-around-the-house-pair or look for a sock yarn with a little touch of luxury (a bit of cashmere never went astray) and your lucky recipient will be dancing for joy.

A collection of five pairs of socks designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade
Large image: Vintage Fairy Lights Socks. Small images clockwise from top left: Winter Sleep Socks, Juniper Socks, Red Robin Socks, Winter Rose Socks

Cuddly Cowls

Much quicker to knit than a scarf but just as warm and comforting, a cowl makes an excellent gift. If you have a bit of time before you’re exchanging presents, you can chose a delicate yarn, but for knitters in a hurry, a chunky, cosy cowl is often the answer. With large enough yarn and needles, anything is possible: many a knitter has been known to work a one-evening miracle with a super bulky cowl!

Large photo: Land of Sweets Cowl. Small photos clockwise from top left: Crisp and Even Cowl, Frost at Midnight Cowl, Fresh Powder Cowl, Laveer Kerchief

Grand Gesture Shawls

Reserved for only the most knitworthy of all your loved ones, a grand gesture shawl is a magnificent way to show how much you care. If you’re planning to knit a present on this scale, be extra sure to start early. With their interplay of colours, lace, and fancy stitches, these designs are a joy to knit, but it takes an investment of precious yarn, time, and energy to create a shawl like this. A true labor of love. The final result is sure to be cherished for a lifetime. This is how heirlooms happen!

Large photo: Inkling Shawl. Small photos, clockwise from top left: Sprite’s Fen Shawl, Maytham Shawl, Surprise Party Shawl, Snowmelt Shawl

Hopefully this guide has given you an idea or two to get you started! If you’d like even more inspiration, why not pour yourself a cup of tea and spend a little time exploring the whole library of Curious Handmade designs? Remember, every pattern and collection is buy-one-get-one-free from now until Monday 21 October 2019. Happy knitting!

I hope you enjoyed catching up with or reviewing the first three installments of The Sock Series. It’s lovely to hear from newish knitters who are building their confidence around sock knitting. By the time the first pattern of this new season drops, you’ll be unstoppable! I know we have a lot of expert sock knitters in our community, too, so if you have a special tip or trick you’d be willing to share with the rest of us, please let me know: sharing with—and learning from—each other is one of the great joys of the knitting community.

I’ve had a lot of questions about when we’re going to kick off this season, and I’m excited to say…

Membership for The Handmade Sock Society Season 2 opens TOMORROW!

I’ll send out an email with links as soon as it’s live with more details and everything you need to know. I can’t wait!

In the meantime, I want to celebrate this community and the around-the-corner kickoff of The Handmade Sock Society Season 2, so I’ve started a giveaway thread in our Ravelry group! The winner will get a hand-picked special skein of sock yarn from my stash…I’ll choose something I think you’ll like! I’ll also be offering a free pattern of your choice to six more lucky winners (one for each design!) To be in for a chance to win, all you need to do is

  • Make a project page for THSS Season 2 Socks #1
  • Post in the giveaway thread with your favourite seaside memory or place…if you’re landlocked and haven’t spent any time by the sea, where would you love to spend a peaceful week on your own, with your knitting? Share your dream seaside escape with us! Photos are highly encouraged but not required. 🙂

Now…back to the Sock Series!

Today I want to share a technique that I learned from a very dear knitting friend of mine, Paula from The Knitting Pipeline. Paula is an incredibly skilled knitter, and always so generous with her knowledge.  She showed me this very helpful sock-knitting tip on one of her wonderful retreats, and I’ve been using it ever since.

Anatomy of a Sock: The Heel Flap and Gusset

A feature of sock knitting (and one of the bits that scares most newbies the most) is the need to “turn the heel” of the sock. This is how you achieve the “L” shape that makes a sock a comfy, well-fitting sock instead of just being a scrunchy tube. It’s one of those things that sounds so much more complicated than it is. Once you’re actually doing it, it’s not so complicated at all, especially if you have a clearly-written pattern (and maybe a patient knitting friend online or in real life) to walk you through it. There are several different ways to create a heel, but one of the most common (and one of my favourites) is the heel flap and gusset. 

The actual knitting of the heel flap and gusset is actually pretty simple, as you’ll know if you’ve ever knit a sock of this type. But there is one issue that can haunt even experienced knitters: the hole in the gusset. What causes these pesky holes, and how can you avoid them?

When you create the heel flap of a sock, you’re only knitting half the stitches. Once you’re done, and after you’ve shaped the “cup” of the heel (usually with short rows…don’t worry, it’s actually quite easy!) you’ll need a way to resume knitting in the round. So, you pick up the stitches along the side of the heel flap you’ve just created until you reach the waiting stitches at the front of the sock. You could just keep knitting across, but if you do, there will always be a little gap there. This gap is what creates the holes (also known as pig’s eyes!) and it can be very frustrating. Who wants a little hole in a brand new sock?

The solution is usually to pick up an extra stitch or two in the gap, but as I learned, if you’re not careful how you pick up those stitches, you can sometimes inadvertently create an even bigger and more noticeable hole. There are a few different ways to tackle this, but the one I learned from Paula is so easy and foolproof that I’ve used it on every single sock since. 

I could try to explain it, but luckily, I don’t have to. The amazing Paula has already made a fabulous, easy-to-follow video, which makes it crystal clear:

Isn’t that ingenious? It’s so simple and so effective. I hope it’s as helpful to you as it has been to me!

If you are a regular listener of Paula’s wonderful podcast, you’ll know that right now she’s dealing with some scary health stuff, with all the grace and good humour we would expect from her. I know that messages of support and encouragement mean a lot to her right now. You can drop by her Ravelry Group to say hello and keep up with her health updates on her Caring Bridge site. She is very much in our hearts and I know so many knitters are sending her so much gratitude, love, and strength right now. 

Happy knitting,
Helen x

Around this time last year, I sent a series of emails full of tips and techniques for knitting handmade socks. They were such a hit in the lead up to the first season of The Handmade Sock Society that I turned them into a blog series, too. As we’re getting ready to start our second season of THSS, it seems like the perfect moment to revisit The Sock Series (and also add to it)!

It was such a joy to watch so many people stretch their sock-knitting skills in the Society last year. I received wonderful emails from knitters who had never made a single sock before but managed to find the courage to dive right in. I marveled at the seasoned sock knitters who said that they’d discovered a new technique or hack that they’d never tried before.

I absolutely love the way that the members of our community are always learning and growing. It pays to stay curious, especially when you’re passionate about making things. So, for everyone who is thinking about filling a box of socks this year (or even just casting on their first-ever pair) here are some links to the first three posts in The Sock Series to get you started:

Part One of The Sock Series: Choosing Yarn for Handmade Socks

Socks work harder than just about any other type of knitwear out there. They need to withstand constant friction and moisture, two things that can quickly break down delicate fibre. This means that for the most comfortable and long-lasting socks, you need to think carefully about your yarn selection. In this post, we take an in-depth look at what makes a great sock yarn great, and how to pick the right yarn for your handmade sock project.

Part Two of The Sock Series: Sock Knitting Needles and How to Use Them

One of the reasons new knitters are sometimes scared of socks is the fact that they are knit “in the round”. The first time you see a set of double-pointed needles or a magic loop, it’s easy to think you’re looking at something really complicated. This post demystifies the most common sock-knitting techniques, from DPNs to two-at-a-time and beyond.

Part Three of The Sock Series: Stretchy Cast-Ons for Hand-Knit Socks

When you’re knitting a cuff-down sock, you need to make sure that you use a flexible, stretchy cast-on method, so that it’s easy to get your foot in and out of the sock. There are so many great cast-ons out there, and I highly recommend experimenting until you find on you love. In this post, I share just a handful of favourites.

New! Part Four of The Sock Series: Avoiding Holes in the Gusset

Those pesky holes in the corners of your sock gusset can be a real pain, but there’s a simple trick to help you get rid of them as you knit!

I hope you’re getting excited for our next season of The Handmade Sock Society, and that you’ll find something here that helps you along the way. I’ll be adding more articles to The Sock Series over the next weeks, so don’t forget to check back. And if you’re not on the mailing list yet, you can sign up right here to get the new posts and all the Curious Handmade news right to your inbox. Happy knitting!

I don’t know about you, but these last few weeks before Christmas are prime shopping time for a lot of us. Giving and receiving handmade gifts is pretty much the pinnacle of presents for me, but gifts related to making or knitting are a pretty close runner up. What knitter or maker doesn’t want more beautiful yarn, useful tools, and inspiring books? Could anything be better than settling in during those lovely lulled days after Christmas to cast on a new project (or three) using something you’ve just received? When you really want to pamper the creative people in your life (and that certainly includes yourself!) I think that any of the items on this list would do the trick nicely.

Literally anything from Beyond Measure

 

I mean it. Literally anything. This little shop is so full of gorgeous little things: I’m warning you, to see them is to want them. I am a huge believer in investing in beautiful tools whenever possible, and the brilliant minds behind Beyond Measure have an eye for the lovely and the useful. As their own tagline says, their inventory is made up of “beautiful things for folk who make” and you could fill the best Christmas stocking ever from Beyond Measure.

 

A Subscription to Pom Pom Quarterly

I think subscriptions make wonderful gifts, as you get to spread the surprise throughout the year. Ever since the very first issue, the day my Pom Pom Quarterly magazine arrives in the post is automatically a great day. This magazine is so aspirational and so inspirational. I love pouring over the photos and daydreaming about future makes. Meghan, Lydia and their absurdly talented team outdo themselves every issue.

 

A Wax & Wool Candle

There’s nothing like getting cosy, lighting a luscious candle, and settling in for a nice long knitting session: to me that’s the essence of relaxation. Kjerste of Wax & Wool makes the most beautiful hand-poured soy candles in apothecary jars. She has done some wonderful collaborations with yarnies, including the delicious-smelling (and sadly now sold out) candle she made for La Bien Aimee. Wax & Wool have a selection of Christmas scents in their Etsy shop right now which would make an ideal little pampering present for any knitter.

 

An “Inside Story” membership from A Yarn Story

One of my favourite yarn stores of all time (and one of my lovely podcast sponsors, although this is not a sponsored post) started a VIP membership club this year for devoted yarn lovers. It’s a great opportunity to spoil an avid knitter this holiday, with goodies, a gift bag, special discounts, free shipping, a birthday gift-card, exclusive early access to the newest and most popular inventory, and much more.

 

Conscious Creativity by Phillipa Stanton 

This thoughtful, beautiful book from Phillipa Stanton is a wonderful way to nurture the inner artist in all of us. Exploring mindfulness, creativity, and emotion, it is an invitation to step back from our screens and engage with the beauty around us. I found it extremely inspiring and helpful, with easy exercises and thought-experiments to keep my creativity engaged in daily life. A brilliant gift for anyone who wants to flex their creative muscles in the new year.

 

Betty Etiquette Stationary

I am such a fan of all the lovely cards and stationary Betty Etiquette puts out. They’re pretty, they’re hand-crafted, they are joyful and light, and they help me be more thoughtful throughout the year. A beautiful card in the mail can transform someone’s whole day. It’s a lot of payback for a little gesture. Everything on the site is wonderful, from the stationary to the prints, home & gifts section, and the make-it-yourself resources of supplies, books, and workshops.

 

The Maker’s Yearbook 

A fresh new year means a fresh new planner around the corner: it’s always a joy to see the days stretch out before you and to start daydreaming about what’s possible. This special 2019 planner is especially designed for makers and artists. If you run a handmade business or are even thinking about it, I highly, highly recommend getting your hands on this one: I’ve gotten one for myself and have given it as a gift. Potentially game-changing and extremely inspiring. Now is the perfect time to pick one up, as it also includes a comprehensive and very helpful year-in-review section for 2018

 

Yarn Fictions Collections by Meadow Yarn

I could have made this gift guide nothing but yarn, but I decided to hold myself back and just include one. I just adore Meadow Yarn, which is why I’m so honoured to have them as a podcast sponsor. (Although again, this isn’t a sponsored post!) They’ve always carried the most beautiful selection of yarn, but when they started dyeing their own —inspired by brilliant short stories Anj wrote herself—they took things to a whole new level. Each of the Yarn Fictions collections revolves around a compelling fictional world, and the deep, saturated, tonal colours are an absolute delight. I love the idea that when you give this yarn as a gift you’re giving a whole experience.

 

A Big Blue Moma Basket

I have been all about baskets this year, and these baskets in particular ran away with me. First of all, I just find them so beautiful. The weaving, the hand-dying, the richness of the colours and natural textures…they make themselves at home in pretty much any interior. They’re also incredibly useful, whether you’re toting one along to the farmer’s market on the weekend, or stashing one beside the couch to hold your scrappy blanket project. And last (but certainly not least) I am deeply inspired by the story behind them. Big Blue Moma is a Canadian company, but the empowerment of craftspeople in Ghana is at the heart of everything they do. The women who make these stunning and useful pieces of art are paid a fair market price for their work. I love supporting other artisans and makers around the world with my purchases. Any of these baskets would make a thoughtful and generous gift to a beloved knitter (maybe even with a few goodies tucked inside!)

You can also get 10% OFF your basket at So Just Shop with code CURIOUS10

 

Knits about Winter

I’ve already mentioned this book and its gorgeous patterns once or twice on the podcast, but I’m just in love with it, and I think it would be a wonderful gift. Everything Emily does is exquisite and this book is no exception. Along with 12 fabulous knitting patterns, Knits About Winter offers sweet stories about Emily’s life as an indie dyer and some of the most evocative winter photography you’ll ever see. I might have grown up celebrating sunny Australian Christmases, but there is still something quintessentially Christmas about snow.

 

LouLeigh Needle & Notions Cases

While we can never (ever) have enough adorable project bags in our lives, I love the fact that LouLeigh does something a little different by offering beautifully made and extremely useful needle and notions cases. It can be a challenge to keep all our crafty bits together and organised in the flurry of  multiple WIPs and impulsive cast-ons. (I know it’s not just me.) Leigh is such a thoughtful maker, with an incredible eye for an adorable fabric and a commitment to being as sustainable as possible. She also sells brilliant patterns for her bags and cases, so that you can make them for yourself (or as a gift!)

 

The Shawl Society Season 1 Book

Of course, I couldn’t let this gift guide go by without a little shameless plug for my own book. I’m very proud of it, and very touched by all the lovely things people have said about it so far. As you can probably tell by this gift guide, I am a big book lover, and creating a beautiful, tangible book of my own has been a goal of mine for a long time. I have had so many hours of joy curled up with a cup of tea and a lovely book of knitting patterns, considering all the possibilities and being inspired by the lovely photos. That feeling is something I tried to capture in this book. I worked hard to make it worthy of all the amazing knitters I know, and I think it would make a great present for anyone you know who enjoys knitting shawls. The six patterns are all achievable for intrepid beginner knitters, and also contain enough gorgeous details to entertain veteran shawl makers.

The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.co.uk

The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com

 


I hope this guide has given you a few ideas to let you cross a name or two off your Christmas list. I feel honoured to be part of a community that is so full of talent and passion. I know what a challenge and adventure it is to head out into the great unknown of starting a creative business. That’s why it’s so wonderful to have an opportunity  to support some of the fantastic independent businesses who are an integral part of our making and knitting community. I hope that you’ll remember small and local handmade businesses in your own shopping this year, too.

It’s that time of year again! Knitvent is waiting in the wings, ready to sprinkle some holiday excitement and anticipation over your gift-knitting plans. As the buzz builds and planning begins in earnest, I’ve put together our annual gift guide. This curated selection of patterns from the Curious Handmade archives just might inspire you to get started on a precious handmade present or two while we wait for the first new Knitvent patterns to arrive.

To make it even easier to get your gift knitting plan up and running, I’ve organized a little pre-Knitvent treat:

All of my patterns and collections are buy-one-get-one-free until the 15th of October, 2018!

 

You don’t have to use a code or do anything special to get your free pattern. Just put any two of my patterns or collections into your cart and the least expensive item is magically free: a gift from me to you and your loved ones!

I’ve included a little something for everyone! You might recognize some recent favourites and some Curious Handmade classics which have been knit over and over again as treasured gifts.

Warm Hands, Warm Heart

A cosy new pair of hand-made mitts makes a perfect gift for just about anyone on your list. They don’t take much yarn, they’re relatively quick to knit. I love making mitts from squishy, rustic yarn, but they are also a wonderful opportunity to use up those luxurious single skeins in pretty colours that you’ve been saving for a special project.

Hand Knitted Mitt Patterns By Curious Handmade

Patterns, clockwise from top left: Kindling Mitts, Tchaikovsky Mitts, Checkerboard Mitts, Juniper Mitts

 

Special Occasion Shawls

When you want to give a truly unforgettable gift. These stunning shawls are a wonderful way to spoil someone dear. With lovely lace, sparkling beads, and refined details, a special occasion shawl adds a bit of magic to any outfit: perfect for all those glittering holiday parties!

Special Occasion Knitted Shawl Patterns by Curious Handmade

Patterns, clockwise from top left: Snowmelt Shawl, Fairyhill Shawl, Candlelit Shawl, Amulet Shawl

 

Toasty Toes

Is there anything as nurturing and wholesome hand-knit socks? Let them know how much you care and keep their feet warm and snug by knitting up a pair from soft but sturdy yarn. If you’re mailing your packages far away, a compact single-skein gift like this is ideal.

Handknit sock patterns by Curious Handmade

Patterns, clockwise from top: Juniper Socks, Vintage Fairy Lights Socks, Apple Blossom Socks

 

Secretly Speedy Knits

So much time and love goes into creating handknitted gifts. We have unlimited supplies of the love, but sometimes the time gets a little tight. These lovely patterns all use heavier weight yarn, a gift-knitter’s secret weapon. Squish aran and bulky weight yarns not only make the finished objects extra cuddly: they also knit up super-fast, which means you can have an impressive handmade present ready at the last minute.

Speedy Knitting Patterns from Curious Handmade

Patterns, clockwise from left: Familiar Shawl, Sonder Shawl, Bracile Hat and Cowl.

 

Hopefully this guide has got your fingers twitching and your creativity bubbling. Very soon I’ll be releasing more details about Knitvent 2018…until then, happy knitting!

The second shawl of TSS III is coming up in a few weeks, so I thought I’d share some hints and yarn details for anyone who wants to shop or stash dive.

Secret shawl hints:

  • This pattern has one size, and is knit in a fingering weight yarn.
  • I chose a plied yarn this time around, but singles are also appropriate and lovely.
  • There is some lace in this design but it’s simple enough to stand up to some variagation.
  • This is a colourblocked two colour shawl, with one main and one accent colour.
  • I don’t always reveal the shape ahead of time but…this will be a rather epic rectangular wrap!

Yarn

For the sample I used:

Meadowyarn Hain [100% Superwash Polwarth Wool; 400m/438yds per 100g skein], 4 x 100g skeins,

Colour A: Honeycombed x 1 skein

Colour B: Beekeeper x 3 skeins

Actual yarn amounts used for sample in a fingering weight 4 ply yarn:

Colour A: 70g, 280m/307yds

Colour B: 230g, 920m/1007yd


Needles

4mm (US 6), 80cm (32″) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)

Notions

Tapestry needle

Gauge

20 sts/32 rows = 10cm (4″) in stockinette stitch after blocking

Exact gauge is not critical but may affect the amount of yarn needed if different.

Ever since Meadow Yarn launched their own magnificent line of small batch hand-dyed yarns I have been enchanted by the skeins appearing from their kettles week after week. Every one has such depth and complexity of tone, some with magical speckling and variegation to add interest and surprise with every stitch. They are just so fun to knit! Meadow Yarn’s commitment to ethical and environmentally kind production is just another reason to love them, and something that seems especially appropriate with our Secret Garden theme.  

Hain is a particularly special yarn made from the wool of a New Zealand breed of sheep called the Polewarth: the genetics are 75% Merino and 25% Lincoln, which gives you the best of both worlds. All the mellow softness of a Merino yarn but with a sturdy longer staple length in the fibre which means it wears beautifully without pilling or bobbling. Hain is a superwash, which also makes it easy to care for.

For this shawl, I’ve used two brand new colourways inspired by the natural world. A soft warm golden brown and a rich variegated green. If you’re one of our brilliant and intrepid stash-divers, looking for yarns with a similar contrast in tone is one possible direction to explore with your colours.

Meadow Yarn has preorders of TSS Kits on her website now for everyone who would like to use this wonderful yarn for our second shawl of the season.

Buy Meadow Yarn kits for the second shawl of TSS III here!

They will post out all the ordered yarn by the 22nd of June. There are also a number of gorgeous colours in Hain on the website right now, if something catches your eye!

The pattern will be published Thursday, 28 June.

If you’re shopping your stash or popping down to your local yarn shop for your yarn, I hope all these hints have given you a bit of inspiration or a clue or two to help you explore the possibilities. As always, I cannot wait to see what you choose and how you will make this next shawl your own.

I hope you’re having a wonderful time this season: I’m loving your posts on Instagram and in the Ravelry Group. Thank you for making The Shawl Society such a wonderful community and for helping us bring The Secret Garden to life!

Happy knitting!

 

#theshawlsociety #theshawlsocietyIII

Membership for The Shawl Society Season III is now open on Ravelry, and we’re welcoming so many new and returning members. The anticipation has kicked into high gear and the yarn-choosing frenzy is truly underway!

I promised you some more yarn options, and here they are…it looks like some of our previous indie dyers have already sold out, so I’m happy to bring you this new batch! I’m so grateful to the marvelous indie dyers who have jumped in to offer some fabulous skeins that will be perfect for our first shawl. Because I know that shipping/customs and limited quantities can make it a challenge to track down your perfect yarn, it’s wonderful to have lots of dyers to choose from.


Once again, here are the yarn requirements for our first shawl:

Secret shawl hints:

  • This pattern has one size, and is knit in a fingering weight yarn.
  • I used singles because I love the drapey feel of the fabric, but any 4 ply/sock yarn would work perfectly.
  • This is a two-colour design, but would also look lovely in a single colour.

Yarn:

Yarn needed is fingering weight yarn, 3 skeins of 366m/400yds per 100g skein: for exact yardage used in sample see below.

I used:

La Bien Aimee; Merino Singles [100% superwash merino; 366m/400yds per 100g skein], 3 x 100g skeins,
Colour A: Curious Handmade x 2 skeins
Colour B: Shaela x 1 skein

Actual yarn amounts used for sample in a fingering weight single ply yarn:
Colour A: 155g, 568m/620yds
Colour B: 65g, 238m/260yds

Needles
4mm (US 6), 100cm (40″) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)


Seven Sisters Arts 

Another one for our US knitters! If you’ve been knitting with Curious Handmade for a while you’ll know that Karen from Seven Sisters Arts has contributed stunning yarn for several Shawl Society favourites, including the Aurorae and Amulet shawls.

For this shawl, she has created some earthy, misty colors on the theme of a secret garden on two different bases: Astrid, a lovely silk wool single, and Matrika, a two-ply wool/silk yarn. That silk content gives these yarns a fabulous sheen and drape. Karen told me that she had drawn inspiration from the natural colors of the stones, ivy and mosses on and around the walls themselves. The results are a dream:

Fields of Gold and Meadow on Astrid and Marsh on Matrika.
Meadow with Fields of Gold on Astrid
Fogbound with Mussel on Matrika.
Quartzite with Meadow on Astrid. 
Vireo with Quartzite on Matrika
Marsh with Fogbound on Matrika.

Seven Sisters Arts has a limited quantity of this yarn available in the “What’s New” section of their website now, and will be taking preorders, too!

Buy Seven Sisters Arts Yarn Here


Hedgerow Yarns

Back in the UK, Jane from Hedgerow Yarns has dyed a truly lovely skeins for this shawl in her Silky Twist base – 80% SW Merino – 20% Silk high twist – 100g 4ply – 365 metres. That gorgeous speckled pink colourway is called Enchanted Garden (swoon!) the beautiful creamy contrast colour is Pampas.

You can get your hands on this beautiful yarn by visiting the Hedgerow yarns Etsy shop. Jane will have an update on Thursday May 24th at 7pm London time.

Buy Hedgerow Yarns here (Thursday)


Olann 

I got to meet the lovely Jess from Olann at our Bath retreat and see her delicious yarn first-hand (and I’m excited to hang out with her again in Dublin at Woollinn this weekend!) I became an immediate fan. Her pairings three pairings for this shawl are full of joy and life, from the blossoming brights to the moody greens! All have been dyed on her lovely single ply base. Olann is based in Ireland, which makes for easy shipping in the UK and EU, and she has a flat worldwide shipping rate if you’re farther afield but fall in love.


Murmur and Lovers Lane
Ponderosa and Samhain

Quarry and Gunpowder

 

Olann is having a shop update with these pairings on Friday, May 25th, so you can snap up your skeins then!

Buy Olann Yarn here


Skein 

One of my favourite Australian dyers of all time, Kristen from Skein, has really outdone herself with all of these spectacular colour combinations! She has dyed up a storm on her Uptown Sock and MCN bases, and the results are so swoon-worthy:

The Skein Secret Garden Update will happen on the Skien Website Friday May 25 at 9am AEST (check out this fancy time zone converter to see when that is in your town!) She will be selling all the skeins separately so that you can put together your own combinations if you like!

Buy Skein Yarn here! (Friday)

 


We are so spoiled for choice thanks to all these amazing dyers. I’m so grateful that they took time out of their busy schedules to curate and create all of these wonderful skeins for us! Of course, we also have many intrepid stash-divers as members of The Shawl Society: I always adore seeing the creative combinations you come up with! I hope all of these lovely photos have provided some inspiration for you, no matter where you’re planning to find your yarn for this project.

Happy knitting!

Helen x

PS: Did all this yarn spark a deep desire to knit more shawls? Join The Shawl Society Season III here at the special early bird price (until May 31st)


Membership to The Shawl Society Season III is open today, and the yarn-choosing frenzy has begun! Anticipation and energy are running high, and I wanted to make sure that everyone has access to the information they need to pick the perfect skeins for our first shawl of the season. I’ve sent out several yarn hint emails over the past few weeks and now I’ll be posting all the details here on the blog for quick reference and for anyone who isn’t on the mailing list. (Not on the list and want to be among the first to get these kinds of emails? Join the Curious Handmade mailing list here!)


Secret shawl hints:

  • This pattern has one size, and is knit in a fingering weight yarn.
  • I used singles because I love the drapey feel of the fabric, but any 4 ply/sock yarn would work perfectly.
  • This is a two-colour design, but would also look lovely in a single colour.

Yarn:

Yarn needed is fingering weight yarn, 3 skeins of 366m/400yds per 100g skein: for exact yardage used in sample see below.

I used:

La Bien Aimee; Merino Singles [100% superwash merino; 366m/400yds per 100g skein], 3 x 100g skeins,
Colour A: Curious Handmade x 2 skeins
Colour B: Shaela x 1 skein

Actual yarn amounts used for sample in a fingering weight single ply yarn:
Colour A: 155g, 568m/620yds
Colour B: 65g, 238m/260yds

Needles
4mm (US 6), 100cm (40″) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)


 The sample for this shawl was knit in La Bien Aimée singles, including the very special new Curious Handmade colourway.
There will be a pre-order available on the La Bien Aimée website at 11pm Paris time on May 31st, the day the first shawl pattern comes out, and most of the kits will ship by June 15th. If you don’t want to wait, A Yarn Story still has a limited number of skeins of the Curious Handmade colourway, as well as a stunning stock of La Bien Aimée singles available in the shop and on their website now. They have also put together a few lovely alternative suggestions that would make gorgeous shawls for this first pattern.
This is Curious Handmade with two skeins of Damask…very romantic!
I love this grellow option! Two skeins of Parchment with Yellow Brick Road
Two delicious pink speckly skeins of Romance paired with the delicate Cassiopia

Circus Tonic Handmade

Hannah from Circus Tonic Handmade in Australia has been inspired by the Secret Garden theme to create kits in Circus Single Ply, a Merino silk cashmere luxury edition…and a sparkly one in the Fireworks base!

Buy Circus Tonic Handmade Kits Here

SOLD OUT

Circus Tonic Handmade will have an update in their Etsy shop today Monday May 21st. She’s going to ship all orders by May 25th before her shop closes for holidays, so don’t hesitate to jump in there and grab your skeins before she goes!


Suburban Stitcher

Across the pond in the US, Suburban Stitcher is offering some truly gorgeous sets for this shawl. Dianne has created two spectacular nature-inspired colour combos in her Single Sock base (100% superwash merino single ply yarn; 400 yds/100 grams.)

Woodland Set
Color A – Jon Snow x 2 skeins
Color B – Walnut x1 skein
Color A – Bath x 2 skeins
Color B – Bluebird x 1 skein
The next Suburban Stitcher update, which will include these kits, is happening on the Suburban Stitcher Website on Weds May 23rd at 12pm CST (6pm London time).

Buy Suburban Stitcher Kits here (Wednesday)


I want to say a huge thank you to all these marvelous dyers…I can’t wait to see the shawls you’ll make with yarns this gorgeous. I have even more beautiful suggestions on the way from some more secret dyers scattered around the globe later this week, so the yarn enabling will continue, in the grand tradition of The Shawl Society! Sign up to the newsletter or check back here on Weds. 

I am so excited to be kicking off another season of The Shawl Society today! Pre-sales for the collection are happening now on Ravelry Monday 21 May 2018.

Happy knitting!

Helen x

The Joys of Knitvents Past

Helen —  October 30, 2017 — 1 Comment

Since we’ve been doing so much talking about gift knitting lately and the holidays are a time for getting nostalgic, I’ve just had a wander through Knitvents past. It’s kind of amazing to see how much we’ve made together through the years. If you’re new to Curious Handmade, you might have missed these. They are all still available as full collections, but you can “Pick Your Own Knitvent” too by selecting individual patterns that sing out to you. Remember, until Oct 31st when you buy two of my patterns or collections you’ll get the least expensive one for free–automatically!

For all my Knitvent Veterans, maybe this journey down memory lane will remind you of a pattern you missed or one that would be perfect to knit again this year. Let’s start at the very beginning…

Knitvent 2013

This was the one that started it all! With eight patterns (!!!) in this first season it was a little frantic, but so much fun! Some of these patterns are still among my favourites.


Knitvent 2014

2014 was another lovely year, where I experimented with some new textures and some twinkly beaded details mixed in with some cushy, cosy quick knits.

Large image: Adorn Gift Bags
Small images, clockwise from top right: Candlelit Beaded Shawl, Ice Skating Scarf and Wrap, Lind Cowl, Crisp and Even Cowl

Buy the Knitvent 2014 Collection


Knitvent 2015

The theme for Knitvent 2015 was “Light and Bright.” I had a strong colour story for the designs, and there’s a lovely symmetry to the whole collection that makes me smile: two perfectly matched sets and two warm, pretty shawls.

Large image: Winter Wander Shawl
Small images, clockwise from top: Ice River Hat, Ice River Snood, Cabin Path Shawl, Kindling Mitts, Kindling Hat

Buy the Knitvent 2015 Collection


 Knitvent 2016

Finally we come to last year’s Knitvent, which honestly feels like yesterday! 2016 was a special collection inspired by the Alpine forest and vintage holiday postcards. I was so honoured to have Renée Callahan of East London Knit as Knitvent’s first guest designer, creating the gorgeous Boreal Forest set.

Large photo: Alpine Sunset Shawl
Small photos, clockwise from top: Fresh Tracks Headband, Boreal Forest Hat, Boreal Forest Cowl, Juniper Socks, Juniper Mitts

Buy the Knitvent 2016 Collection


I am absolutely tingling with excitement to show you what I have in store for you this year. It’s been such an honour to grow and evolve as a designer alongside the Curious Handmade community. Traditions like Knitvent are really special. They really bond us all together, even though in real life we’re scattered around the globe. To anyone who has ever taken part in a Knitvent, thank you so much for coming along this holiday journey with me. If you’re thinking about signing up to Knitvent 2017 and want to learn more, make sure you’re signed up to the Curious Handmade Newsletter. I’ll be sending out lots of info in the next little while, including a heads up on our early bird special and maybe even a fun contest or two…