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Today I have one more technique for you as we get ready for the launch of The Handmade Sock Society, Season 2, very, very soon! I’m getting so excited to finally start letting these patterns out into the world, after all the hours of quiet, secret work behind the scenes. I really think you are going to love this collection. It’s a particularly special one. But before I share more details about that, I’ll share my best tips for finishing up your socks!

The Kitchener Stitch: Seamless Sock Finishing

Once you’ve knit to the very end of your sock’s toe, you need a way to close up that hole. You could just run your yarn tail through all the stitches and pull it tight (like the top of a hat) but that’s not very true to the shape of most feet. You could bind off and then just whip stitch the edges of the toes together, but that would result in a fairly bulky seam: not the most comfortable, especially when pressed against the toe of your shoe. So how do you take those live stitches and end up with a smooth finish (with no annoying seam)? Our friend the Kitchener Stitch.

I’ll be the first to admit that as a newer knitter I found this technique daunting. I’m afraid it was a major contributor to my Second Sock Syndrome for years! It’s not at all difficult, but I kept having to look it up every time I wanted to finish a sock. In the end, it was just a matter of practice. Now I think it’s very satisfying, and even quite fun. Hopefully, by the end of this email, you’ll think so, too!

The Kitchener Stitch is also known as grafting, or weaving. It’s a very clever method that allows you to marry two sets of live stitches together into an invisible seam. It can look pretty complicated when you see the steps written out, but in reality, it is very simple, and it’s easy to get into a rhythm. All you have to do is start.

The very clever and generous Very Pink has made a few excellent video tutorials for the Kitchener Stitch:

 

 

She also has a brilliant slo-mo version!

 

 

For visual learners, I think videos (and especially those slow-motion videos!) are hard to beat! I know some people do prefer to see the written instructions, too. Sometimes it’s just a bit quicker to glance at the instructions to refresh your memory than it is to re-watch a video.

How to do the Kitchener Stitch:

First, distribute your stitches evenly onto two needles, with the ends of the needles pointing the same way. You can use two double pointed needles, or just the two needles of a circular. Make sure the wrong sides (the inside of the sock) are facing each other. You’ll need a yarn or tapestry needle, threaded onto the tail of your yarn. Start with the yarn tail coming from the BACK needle.

First, you’ll work the Set Up instructions, once:

1. Insert your tapestry needle into the first stitch on the FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull the yarn up and leave the stitch on the needle.

2. Insert your tapestry needle into the first stitch on the BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull the yarn up and leave the stitch ON the needle.

Now it’s time to Kitchener:

1. FRONT NEEDLE: KNIT OFF — insert the yarn needle as if to knit the first stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, drop the stitch off

2. FRONT NEEDLE: PURL ON — insert the yarn needle as if to purl the next stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, leave the stitch on the needle

3. BACK NEEDLE: PURL OFF — insert the yarn needle as if to purl the first stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, drop the stitch off

4. BACK: KNIT ON — insert the yarn needle as if to knit the first stitch on the back needle, pull yarn through, leave the stitch on the needle

Just keep repeating these steps until you reach the end of the seam. (It can help to keep muttering “Knit, Purl, Purl, Knit” as you go!) Then just pull the working yarn tight and weave in the loose end as usual. And there you go! You are the proud owner of a fully finished sock.

For a hybrid approach of words and photos, this classic Knitty tutorial has always been my go-to. 

I hope that helps! By now, even the newest knitters in the Curious Crew should be well-prepared to take on their first socks (there will be plenty of encouragement, help, and community in the Ravelry group, too.) And if you’ve been making socks for years and years, and have a smart or sneaky grafting or finishing tip up your sleeve, please share it. Let’s never stop learning!

You can also explore the rest of our handy Sock Series posts here:

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.

 

 

In celebration of today’s book launch, I thought it would be lovely to take a peek inside at all six beautiful shawls. I know we’ll be welcoming some new members in the days and weeks to come, who might never have had a chance to see the whole collection together. So, without further ado, here are the six shawls of The Shawl Society Season 1:

Talisman

Magical, safe, and full of good fortune, Talisman is a carefree crescent shawl, inscribed with a simple star stitch.

Traditional lore advises that a talisman should always be made by the hands of the one who intends to use it. By my reckoning that makes this shawl perfect for some selfish knitting. These cherished objects were often made to protect pilgrims on their journey, and it just so happens that Talisman makes wonderful travel knitting.

The pattern has been designed to showcase beautiful hand dyed yarn: subtly tonal, boldly variegated or a tranquil gradient, and it includes three versatile sizes. The small is a one skein project, ideal for crafting a special yarn into something charmed. The large size is just right for two skeins of fingering yarn or a beautiful lace weight.

 

 

 


Amulet

Amulet was inspired by the mystical beauty of an ancient Egyptian carving of a powerful scarab beetle with wings outstretched to provide shelter and protection from harm. The elongated triangle shape of this shawl recalls the scarab’s wings, which are also echoed in the graphically striking rib section. The most important characteristic of any amulet is the power ascribed to it by its owner, and I have tried to infuse this design with some of that energy and intention. The sacred significance of handmade objects is something that every knitter knows. Made for yourself, it is an eloquent act of self-care. When knit for a loved one, it is a compelling symbol of comfort and love.

Featuring lace, eyelets, and optional beading (for a little extra magic), the Amulet shawl pattern offers two sizes, medium and large. With plenty of intriguing details to keep you interested, this is an exciting knit that is also well within the reach of courageous new shawl knitters. It can be knit in one, two, or even more colours, making it an excellent project for stash busting.

 


Asana

A gentle crescent shawl with flowing lace and garter sections, Asana is a lovely special occasion shawl, whether you’re preparing for one magical day or making an ordinary day magical through a bit of mindfulness. Optional beads add a flicker of light to its soft textures and quiet curves. Designed for lace or fingering weight yarn, it is delicate and light enough to wear even in the warmer months.

In yoga, Asana means “a position that is firm, but relaxed.” This attitude should be familiar to anyone who has ever learned to knit, or tried a new technique just outside of your comfort zone. Gritting your teeth and clenching your hands around your needles never helps. This shawl is a higher level of difficulty than the previous Shawl Society patterns: the lace is a bit more challenging and there are four rows where you are knitting lace rows on the wrong side. The actual stitches aren’t difficult, but you need to be in meditation mode (not multitasking mode!).

Concentration, relaxation and focus will get you through to the graceful result you want.

 


Aurorae

Aurorae are the spellbinding flames of light that gather in the sky at both ends of the earth. In the far north, in Finland, it’s said that the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, occur when a great arctic fox brushes sparks from the mountain tops with his huge fluffy tail. On the other side of planet, the Aboriginal Australians believed that the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, were fires from the spirit world: the raging bushfires of sky spirits or the glow of their ancestors’ campfires.

I love the idea that people from different places can look at one phenomenon and interpret it so differently and creatively. In a much smaller way we can see this same magic happening in something as simple as a knitting pattern, when the gifted imaginations and hands of knitters from every corner of the world create their own versions of a beautiful object.

The Aurorae Shawl gathers up the strands of that sense of wonder, with rippling shifts of colour and flickering eyelet lace. Aurorae Shawl was designed using a six colour gradient set, with both sport weight and fingering weight versions. If you’re knitting from stash, this is a wonderful way to use up leftovers from other projects: just pick six colours that blend or play well together. This asymmetrical shawl features garter, eyelet and slip stitches: it looks intricate and complicated, but in fact it’s a gentle, easy knit. An i-cord edge gives Aurorae a lovely, polished finish.

 


Quill

The design for Quill draws from older, more patient ways of making and doing. This elongated, triangular shawl features stripes like the lines of a letter on a parchment page and a lace border inspired by feathers. Dream dictionaries say that to dream of writing with a quill pen “symbolizes the way you view your creative process — slow, methodical, beautiful, and not very technological.” For me, that lines up beautifully with the way I approach my knitting, and the way I imagine the Quill shawl in the world.

Quill is a generously sized shawl with an engaging mix of colour and texture. It makes for relaxing knitting, and the yarn selected adds another layer of old-fashioned comfort. Tamar DK yarn from Blacker Yarns is a soft, squishy DK weight with rustic charm and a sophisticated colour palette. It is made from historic Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool, all British heritage breeds chosen for their long, wavy, lustre fleece. A generous helping of local Cornish mule lambs’ fleece gives this yarn extra bounce and give.

Even though the knitting community today is largely bound together with the modern magic of the Internet, the objects we make with our hands are a throwback to a graceful past. Knitting Quill is a beautiful way to slow down at the end of a busy day, giving yourself over to an uncomplicated creative practice and a quieter way of being in the world.


Sonder

The Sonder Shawl is a big, soft, cosy shawl to wrap up the Shawl Society journey. “Sonder” is a new word, originally defined as “the realization that each random passer by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.“ That sudden flash of recognition occurs at random moments. Sometimes it’s brought on by the novelty of a new place: taking a crowded train through a foreign country and watching the evidence of thousands of unknown lives flash by in seconds. Other times, a mundane moment spent standing in a coffee shop queue becomes suddenly mysterious as you wonder about the inner lives of the strangers who surround you.

The moment we meet a new friend, we gain entrance into the rich story of their lives. It is the best way we have of tapping into that abundance of experience, and for the final Shawl Society project I wanted a design that reflected the connection and warmth we share as a community of knitters. The Sonder Shawl is an elongated triangle shape, veering towards a scarf. It has an open, easy to memorise stitch pattern and is finished with playful tassels. In the spirit of sharing, it is wonderful gift knitting: the bulky yarn knits up super fast and the contemporary design will appeal even to shawl sceptics.


Publishing this collection as a real-life book is a realisation of a life-long dream. I’m so excited to finally share it with the world. If you’d like to grab your own copy, it is available right now on Amazon.

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

Buy The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com

I mentioned in last week’s podcast that I was doing a collaboration with the brilliant women behind Big Blue Moma and So Just Shop. Well, the results of that collab are now available, and I wanted to share some photos with you:

Big Blue Moma is a Canadian fair trade and handmade company. They carry a magnificent line of baskets which are handwoven in the village of Nyariga in the Northern region of Ghana. I think they’re just beautiful, and so practical for keeping crafting supplies and big knitting projects together. After seeing them on The Grocery Girls podcast, I fell in love with these amazing baskets and wanted to make it easier for those of us in the UK and Europe to get our hands on them.

So I had a chat with my lovely friend Jennifer, founder of the the amazing fair trade boutique marketplace So Just Shop. She agreed with me that these are something special, so we collaborated and brought some over.

I just adore them.

If you want to try and snatch up one of these lovelies for yourself, here are the links you need:

Large Special Shopper in Blue and in yellow

We have a unique discount code for Curious Handmade listeners: enter CURIOUS10 at checkout to save 10% on your purchase.

My favourite part of this collaboration (aside from the intrinsic beauty of these pieces) is that they are supporting women’s work and dreams across the world. Handmade objects can mean a path forward and a better future. So Just Shop, Big Blue Moma, and I are all committed to empowering women across the world. I love that these baskets are a symbol of that empowerment, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Every Knitvent til now…

Helen —  October 15, 2018 — 2 Comments

Cue holiday nostalgia in 3…2…1! As I’m tidying away the last details for our Knitvent 2018 theme reveal these year, I’ve taken a few moments to wander down memory lane. This will be our 6th Knitvent together, and it’s absolutely incredible to think of all the gifts we’ve knit together in that time. So many memories, so many surprises, and what must be approaching millions of yards of yarn by now. It’s also really fun to see how Knitvent has changed and grown with the community over time, and to revisit the themes that we explored together year after year.

If you happen to be new to Curious Handmade, you might not have been around for these Knitvents, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out. All of our Knitvent collections are still available to purchase as full collections or as individual patterns. And until midnight tonight, Monday October 15th, 2018, my buy-one-get-one free sale is still running, so you can stock up if you like!

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

To everyone who has ever been a part of Knitvent before: thank you! You are an indispensable part of the magic. I hope that peeking back at everything we’ve enjoyed together might remind you of an older pattern you’ve been meaning to make, or maybe nudge you to knit a favourite again this year. So without further ado, here’s every Knitvent so far…

 

Knitvent 2017

Our Nutcracker Knitvent last year was so joyous and lively! I heard from so many of you about your own Nutcracker memories and was swept away by the excitement and enthusiasm of the community for these patterns. The dreamy ballet theme, the fairytale atmosphere, the re-captured childhood magic…it was all very, very special.

Patterns:

Large photo: Land of Sweets Cowl

Small photos, clockwise from top: Marzipan Legwarmers, Clara’s Cape, Tchaikovsky Mitts, Tchaikovsky Hat, Tulle Shawl

Buy the whole Knitvent 2017 Collection


Knitvent 2016

This was also a special year. I love the colour story for this collection, and the theme of a cosy winter holiday in an picture-postcard-perfect alpine forest is still a magical place to visit in my imagination. In 2016 we also had Renée Callahan of East London Knit join us as a guest designer. She created the gorgeous Boreal Forest set with its graphical colourwork.

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

In 2015 we explored the theme of “light and bright” with a collection that was all about beautiful textures, comforting, cosy yarns, and all the heartwarming glitter of the season: fairylights, crisp unspoiled snowdrifts, icicles and stars.

Patterns:

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

Knitvent 2014

Looking back at the patterns of 2014, what stands out are the little details: beads and ribbons,sequins and tassels, a strand of mohair, a pretty cable. I’ve seen knitters use some of these patterns again and again over the years for gifts, which is incredibly heartwarming.

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

Knitvent 2014 will always be close to my heart. It was the first time we gathered together for this holiday tradition, and some of the patterns are still among my favourites. Eight designs was quite a lot to manage, but we had so much fun!

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


Now I’m more excited than ever to introduce you to this year’s Knitvent and begin this wonderful tradition all over again. If you want to be sure not to miss any tidbits in the lead up to our new Knitvent season, be sure to sign up for the Curious Handmade Newsletter. That way you’ll be among the first to hear about the theme for this year, our early bird special, our upcoming contests, and all the other wonderful things that are part of our Knitvent celebrations!

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