Archives For Curious Collective Shawl Project

We had five weeks of “designing along” and now we are in the fifth and final week of the Curious Collective Shawl knit along on the Curious Handmade Ravelry board.

The knit along is due to finish this Friday 31 August so I hope as many knitters as possible can get their shawls finished and posted on the Prize thread to win the wonderful prize of two skiens of Juno Alice yarn. Not just that, but Asti has very kindly agreed to dye the yarn to your choice of colourways!

I just wanted to share some of the beautiful work of just a few of the knitters taking part.

This is by Tammie who is capitalK on Ravelry and is from Ohio, USA. Her Curious Collective shawl is interesting because she has used a 75% cotton, 25% wool blend. Beautiful isn’t it?


Jabi (jjabie on Ravelry) lives in Nairobi, Kenya and I think she had the most interesting modification to her Curious Collective shawl – she added beads instead of bobbles for the flower buds. It is so sweet.


Michelle, (michelle166 on Rav) from Ipswich, UK was one of my wonderful test knitters. She knit her shawl in Juno Alice yarn.


Rita (RitaMiller on Rav) from Louisiana, USA knit her shawl in Knit Picks yarn and I love the bright colours she chose. By the way, take a peek at Rita’s projects – her lace shawls are just incredible.


Judiesgirl from USA used two complementary variagated skiens of Malbrigo sock yarn to great effect in her shawl.


Elisa who is stellacometa on Rav and lives in Italy was our fasted knitter I believe. She knit this beauty up in just four days!! Very impressive. I love the calming colours.


Sylvie (silviep63 on Rav) from Toulouse in France, knit her Curious Collective shawl in Juno Alice in one of the (popular) choices of colourways from the poll. I absolutely love this combination.


Claudia (Gringaquilmes on Rav) is a southern hemisphere knitter from Quilmes in Argentina and she was another kind tester for me. One of the few who was knitting in winter for this KAL!  Thanks Claudia and it is a beautiful shawl.


I hope that gives you some inspiration for colour combinations and yarn choices and also gives a peek into what an amazingly international bunch the Curious Handmade knitters are!

knitting pattern shawl

The big reveal is here! The final pattern for the Curious Collective Shawl has been released in full.

This shawl is the result of the decisions of over 2000 knitters from 55 countries around the world. Participants joined in this “create your own adventure” shawl design project through a series of votes on the Curious Handmade blog.

The crescent shape, chosen by voters, is created by several increase rows and designed to sit beautifully on your shoulders. It also shows off the textured stitch patterns which are inspired by a spring meadow. The shawl is knit using two colours of sock weight yarn, the winning purple hues in the original complement the wildflower theme beautifully.

To everyone who took part – honestly I can’t thank you enough!! This design was truly a collective effort as many of the choices that you all made weren’t always what I would have naturally gone to first and so this has really inspired and challenged me to come up with something really different from my usual designs. It has been an amazing creative boost and I’ve loved every minute of it. All the interesting and supportive comments have meant so much to me too!

knitting pattern shawl

The Official Knit Along starts tomorrow, 26 July 2013. Or today if you’re super keen and all prepared.

If not then you have today to have a scan of the pattern, print it out or download to your tablet device, and get your yarn and needles organised.

Like many of my shawl patterns this is written in my totally non-patented Percentage Checklist format and I have provided some charts too for the more detailed sections of the design.
The percentages make it a breeze to organise a KAL! I’m planning a five week KAL starting tomorrow which will bring us to 31 August as an end date.
Breaking it up in to five weeks gives us a goal of completing 20% of the shawl each week.
Anyone can join in the KAL – it isn’t just for people who participated in the voting process – just jump in at any time. Its going to be fun!!
I haven’t quite ironed out all the details of the KAL just yet so stay posted for that! I have set up a KAL board on the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry so feel free to pop over there and post about the yarn you are using and “register” your participation in the KAL. At this stage I will aim to keep a list of all the participants but if there are too many this might be too ambitious!
The Curious Collective Shawl pattern is available to buy on Ravelry for US $6.

knitting pattern shawl

What do you think of the final result? Leave a comment and let me know if its anything like what you expected or imagined!

knitting pattern shawl wrap

knitting pattern shawl wrap

These photos were taken in our garden and around our neighbourhood in South East London.

knitting pattern shawl wrap

Credits: A huge thank you to my tech editor Emma, photographer Kirsty Barton, graphic designer Noa Nesher and wonderful test knitters martiniiis, michelle166, gringaquilmes and arianwenmcb.

I just wanted to pop in with a little update for all those eagerly awaiting the Curious Collective Shawl Pattern.

The good news is that it is now written up and just being checked and double checked for mistakes. I’m still hoping I’ll be able to release it this week.

The bad news is that it will probably be later in the week. It was really quite easy to knit, but has taken a lot of time to write up! It is also my first time charting cabled patterns so that had me a bit stumped. It might be the very warm weather in London and now here in Croatia where we’re having a summer holiday that is making my brain a bit slower than usual.

My lovely friend Emma is helping check it and if anyone would like to get in super early and help test it let me know. I am looking for two to three testers who are fairly speedy knitters who could start testing in the next day or two. (From a not quite finalised pattern!)

I’ll keep you updated on progress!

In the meantime, here are some postcards from Croatia.

We’re staying near Dubrovnik at an “agritoursim” villa. Its run by a husband and wife team who have five kids. We were invited to their church yesterday to watch the traditional local dancing after the ceremony.

I was worried that it would be too hot and our little English Roses would melt but its warm without being over the top. We have only been here a few days but it is one of the most relaxing places I’ve been. Everyone we’ve met is really friendly and the whole vibe is chilled out. Just perfect.




roof detail

Croatian Dancers

Croatian Dancers


Croatian Dancers

I has been a bit quiet around here hasn’t it?!

But not at Curious Handmade HQ, not at all.

I have been knitting like an absolute ninja here. I’ve knitted on the sofa, at swimming practice, at the pub, on my birthday, in the garden and I even knitted a long and cable-y row at Wimbledon (go Andy!) such was my dedication to getting it finished for you!

After five days solid of knitting, lots of scribbling, frequent punching numbers into a calculator and a substantial amount of ripping and re-knitting at one point I can present a sneak preview of the Curious Collective Shawl!

I know that many of you are really excited to get started. I am also itching to start another one too!

So I’ll be finalising my notes, writing everything up and getting the pattern tested over the next week. I can’t give an exact date just yet but I am aiming to release the pattern and kick off the knit along in the week starting 15 July.

knitting shawl pattern

I am really happy with the shawl design – until its finally blocked I am never sure if it is going to work.

My lovely photographer Kirsty came over on Thursday and took some photos. I think the pictures are gorgeous.

I so hope you like it, as I know that many of you have invested a lot of ideas and voting into it and I really appreciate all the participation along the way. I can say without a doubt this shawl has been the most fun to design of all my shawls so far.

Now I have a little confession to make. I was so nervous to show you the final result that I procrastinated writing this post all day yesterday and most of today!

shawl knitting pattern

I am thrilled with the colour choice (Juno Alice Raisin and Heather Shadow). I realised while I was knitting it that this exact colour combination was the first Juno Alice yarn I bought from Loop well over a year ago and I had planned to make a striped shawl with it from the beginning! It was obviously meant to be!

If you would like this exact colour combination or one of the other combinations (or make up your own) you can contact Asti at the Juno Etsy shop and she will custom dye the yarn for you.

Shawl knitting pattern

The Curious Collective Shawl pattern will be available for $3 on Ravelry until I publish the pattern and then it will go up to the full price of $6.

Of course everyone who has signed up for the pattern already will get an update with the full pattern just as soon as I have it ready for you. Thank you so much for your patience!

I’m starting to plan the KAL and would love to hear your thoughts about how best to structure it and how long people would ideally like to knit the shawl. Please leave any ideas and requests in the comments!

ETA:  A few people have asked about yardage – I just weighed what I have left from the two 100g skeins.

I used 82g of the Raisin (darker purple) and 60g of Heather Shadow. So as the Juno Alice is 437 yards/100g that makes yarn requirements about 360 yards of Raisin and 260 yards of Heather Shadow.

I used 3.5mm (US 4) circular needles (100cm length) and recommend using 4mm (US 6) for the cast on. You’ll also need a cable needle.

If you haven’t tried cables before – don’t be scared – its a really easy pattern (and only for a section of the shawl) and would be a great introduction for a bit of cable knitting 🙂


Well wasn’t that an absolute nail biter?!!

Raisin and Heather Shadow squeaked in by .5% and just 8 votes! The Potpourri and Boudoir combo was so close in second place!

Juno Alice in Raisin and Heather Shadow

Juno Alice in Raisin and Heather Shadow

Regarding the Juno Alice yarn, as I mentioned last week, it is hand dyed by Asti and is therefore only available from a few places.

I bought mine at Loop, London and also from Fabstract online.

There are some limited colours available on the Juno Etsy store and Asti has kindly offered to custom dye orders for the KAL but said it will take a few weeks to fulfil custom orders.

The Velvet and Bittersweet colour ways are exclusive to Loop.

Thank you SO MUCH everyone for voting, this week and all along – it has been so much fun coming up with a question and seeing what everyone thinks each week! I am feeling quite sad the voting bit is over.

But no time to dwell on it, as I have some designing to do! I started playing around with some stitch patterns and seriously trying out some different ideas this week.

I have a concept, and it seems to be going in a little bit of a whimsical direction. I am also trying out a slightly different construction from anything I’ve done or seen so it will either be great or I will be doing some ripping back in the next few days.

Some, all, or maybe even none of these ideas might make it into the final shawl. Here is just a little sneak preview of where I’m at today.


curious collective shawl swatch

Whatever direction it goes, I will make sure you will be able to make the shawl from two average 100g skeins of sock yarn (approx. 400 yards). So while I’m busy on this part, you can start to organise your yarn for the project. A few people commented that they prefer a single colour shawl and that is fine too.

As always I would be delighted to hear your thoughts in the comments, and to hear what yarn and colours you are choosing for the project.

I have a little treat for you this week. I am very excited to announce that the Curious Collective Shawl Project is being sponsored by Juno Fibre Arts. I will be knitting the knitting the shawl in the exquisite Juno Alice sock (70% Baby Alpaca 20% Silk 10% Cashmere) and this week you get to decide on the colour combination for the sample.

Juno yarns are hand dyed by Asti Grafham in her studio in Devon and the colours are absolutely luminous. I used Juno Alice for Glitz at the Ritz and it is divine to knit with.

Here are the colour combinations to choose from for this week’s poll. I’ve included larger pictures here and then smaller images in the poll itself.

Juno Alice in Pewter and Goldmine

Juno Alice in Pewter and Goldmine

Juno Alice in Canopy and Sage

Juno Alice in Canopy and Sage

Juno Alice in Bittersweet and Velvet

Juno Alice in Bittersweet and Velvet

Juno Alice in Raisin and Heather Shadow

Juno Alice in Raisin and Heather Shadow

Juno Alice in Corn Dolly and Oyster

Juno Alice in Corn Dolly and Oyster

Juno Alice in Potpourri and Boudoir

Juno Alice in Potpourri and Boudoir

There is no way I could choose the colourway combination out of these beauties myself and I think you have a very tough job ahead of you this week!

[polldaddy poll=”7181798″]

If you haven’t yet purchased the Curious Collective Shawl pattern it isn’t too late, and it is still a bargain at half price – $3 (USD).

I’d love to hear any comments you have about the poll this week. Have your vote and have fun!

The poll will close Friday 21 June at Midday (GMT).

That was my favourite week so far! It was a pretty close result between narrow stripes and colour block and there were so many fantastic comments! Thank you everyone who took the time to vote and especially comment. I read all the comments with great interest. Colour block was the winner with 51% of the votes.

A few people considered that for textured stitches to really shine the colour block option would be better, and I think this is true. I do love narrow stripes but it would be a lot going on at the same time.

Now that there have been quite a few decisions made about the shawl I can really start to focus on the design. My shawl designs usually start with a spark of inspiration which can be from a variety of things. Sometimes it is a particular skien of beautiful yarn (Radiance was like that) or a stitch pattern (e.g. for Câlin I really wanted to incorporate chevrons).

In the case of Elemental Things which is a new pattern I’ll be releasing very soon, it was my desire to capture a mood that led to the design. I was at a cafe in London on a really gloomy February day so it ended up being quite dark and gritty. It was also photographed on a freezing day in November last year which adds to this mood (this one has been in the pipeline for a loooong time!).  It ended up being my go to neck warmer throughout last winter and I wore it to work nearly every day.

For the Curious Collective shawl, now that I have some constraints to work with (positive ones) I will be flipping through stitch dictionaries and magazines, letting ideas float in and out, turning them over and upside down and see what takes shape.

I’m not sure what the final poll is going to be yet! I know that is cutting it fine but as it’s the last one I want it to be a goodie. Stay tuned and I will have it up by Monday at the latest.

Elemental Things Shawl

Elemental Things is a semicircular, lace weight shawl. This sample is knit in MadeleineTosh Prairie.

This week is all about colour (or color to many)! This is the most exciting aspect of creating a design or planning a new project for me so I hope you have fun this week too.

I’m planning this to be a two colour shawl. You have two specific choices and an open ended option in the poll this week.

The two options I have been thinking about are narrow stripes – fairly even across the shawl or big blocks of colour (perhaps one colour for body and a different colour on the border).

To illustrate what I mean here are some non-shawl examples here so we’re not too influenced by other shawl designs – although there are many many beautiful shawls that use both these colour choices.

You can see what I mean by narrow even stripes in this super cute cardigan Outback by Amy Miller

When I say colour block I mean big blocks of colour like this pullover Tea with Jam and Bread by Heidi Kirrmaier and Asa Tricosa’s Simple Ziggurat.

I have added an option for “other” as you might want to get a little crazy and suggest intarsia or colour work, or other things I haven’t thought of. So rather than have to have an extra vote on something I hadn’t considered like last week, I thought I would experiment with an open option this week (yikes)!

[polldaddy poll=”7167368″]


ETA: I see the poll results don’t seem to show the “other” suggestions. If people would like to post in the comments what they suggest that would be fun for others to see – otherwise I will do a summary and try to do little updates as we go along too.

As in past weeks the poll will close at Midday, Friday 7 June (GMT).

Please enjoy, vote and leave comments and I can’t wait to see what you decide!

I’m writing this to you from Logan Airport in Boston, on the way home to London from Squam. It is wee hours in the morning in the UK and getting well into the evening here. My flight has been delayed by a couple of hours, it has been a long day and I’m a little bit emotional!

I find travelling through a lot of time zones quite disorienting at the best of times, but it will be even worse going back to London bustle after a peaceful few days beside a lake doing not very much apart at all, apart from a lot of gasbagging with fabulous women and a lot of knitting. Oh yes, and eating, there was a lot of that too.

I really wanted to send you lots of pretty postcards from Squam via the blog but unfortunately the wifi wan’t up to posting pics. You might be subjected to a few pics later this week.

I am not too surprised that sock weight is the favourite weight for the CCS. I’m just not too sure if that is because we have all those many single skeins of pretty sock yarn in our stashes or for other reasons. And after all the comments last week about the crescent shape it wasn’t a big surprise that people really like that shape, although I am still vey partial to the half-pi shape and find it really great to wear.

I have been doing a little bit of swatching this week and had a massive injection of shawl and colour inspiration in Stephen West’s Color Play class. That, combined with Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Speed Knitting class, will hopefully contribute to a really great design and a super fast sample knitted up.

Look out for the Week 4 polll coming soon.

Here we are at Week 3 of the Curious Collective Shawl Project.

This week I’d like to know what weight of yarn you would like the shawl to be. Keep in mind we have already decided on textured stitches and a semicircular or perhaps crescent shaped shawl. It maybe isn’t the most exciting question but it will have a big impact on the drape and overall effect of the shawl so choose wisely 😉

As with all the polls I’m very happy to work with whatever the collective chooses and intrigued to find out the results.

[polldaddy poll=”7146800″]


And taking all the feedback in the comments into account from last week, I’ve decided to add an extra question in this week to clarify details about the shape as my question last week was a little vague.

[polldaddy poll=”7146834″]

Both the polls will close at Midday, Friday 7 June (GMT).

I loved reading all the comments last week and am totally inspired by your feedback. I’d love to know how you feel about the choices this week.

I’m going to be travelling this week to the Squam Arts Retreat. It looks amazing and I’m looking forward to knitting by a lake! I’m still hoping to have an update for you next weekend but in case I’m not able to it will be next Monday.


I think I’ve caught up with most people who were missing out on updates. But if you sighed up or bought the pattern on Ravelry and you don’t receive an update this evening then do message me on Ravelry or email and I’ll sort it out.