Archives For KAL

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

In my constant quest to nurture my creativity, I’ve added gardening to my list of personal projects! I’m finding lots of help and inspiration through the Master Class website and on YouTube. I’m also working on my daily habits and enjoying a new project, and I have news about our KALs and the final donation to the UN Refugee Council from Habitation!

Show Links:

The Grocery Girls

Mrs Browns Bags

Yarn Ink

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

I’m a Master Class fan and an affiliate: if you join up by clicking on the photo above I’ll get a small commission. Thanks for supporting the podcast!

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Knit City, Vancouver

Ambient Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

The Ambient Sock KAL just finished and our winner was
Toveme with Post 32!

Rainy Window Socks

Rainy Window Socks FO Thread

We raised $3000 AUS for the Australian UNHCR with the Habitation Throw last month!

Habitation Throw KAL FO Thread

The Yarniacs

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 295. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity.

I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

I would like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Hello, and welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me for a chat today. We have had a big week here at Curious HQ with lots of celebrations. Last weekend we had Mother’s Day here in Australia. We also had my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary as well as dad’s birthday, and this week Lexie’s birthday as well.

So there has been a lot going on, a lot of celebrating, a lot of cake, and a lot of fun. So that’s been very nice. I also wanted to give a shout out to the Grocery Girls, Tracie and Jodi for their 100th episode. I very clearly remember watching their very first episode, because I had only just discovered them via Mrs. Brown’s Bags, Jodi’s bag shop.

I think it’s fitting that I have finally finished a pair of socks with the yarn that Jodi sent me with my first bag purchase before they even started recording their podcast, which I gifted to my dad for his birthday. So thank you, Jodi, and thank you for all the amazing entertainment you have given us over the years.

I did finally remember the name of the indie dyer of that yarn from Canada as well, which is Yarn Ink, of course. I’ve also been getting out most days this month, my walking streak is going really well. I’ve been doing combination of hill walks and a little bit of flat walking, which I actually have to drive to do a flat walk around here.

And I’ve been listening to a great audio book, which is called Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. And if you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll know how much I love my productivity and habit books, and this is a really good one. I would rate it very highly in the habit genre. It’s super encouraging, super positive psychology, and the main philosophy is that you can only get yourself to do things that you enjoy and that you feel good about.

And so to start really small and get your confidence up, basically is the kind of in a nutshell, but there’s a lot more to it. And it’s really well-researched and in-depth theory behind all his suggestions, and a really nice framework as well. So if you’re wanting to start some good habits or give up some bad habits, then I would really recommend Tiny Habits.

And the habit that I have decided to work on, I suppose, is I’ve got a lot that I want to be working on, but I’ve decided to aim for eating more vegetables, which is slightly random, but it is one of the things I’ve been reading about a lot lately in terms of the thing that you can do that’s best for your health. And as my word for the year is healing, I’m focusing on health and just getting healthier.

And so I’m going to focus on eating more vegetables. And as I am one to do, when I start thinking about one thing, it leads to another mini obsession. And so I’ve now gone down a bit of a rabbit hole of gardening, and I’ve been thinking about this for a long time as well. I attempted growing things in London, but there was never enough sun in our garden.

And when there was a summer with enough sun, we would head off to Australia just at that time of year. And so tomatoes would rot and it was never very successful. So now we are living in a subtropical climate and it’s very lush and green, I figure things should grow a lot better and that I should try again. So I have been watching some videos. I was a member of MasterClass, which is an online learning platform, probably a couple of years ago.

It was when they were first starting. So they weren’t that many classes, but they have put a lot more classes on the platform now and a lot more variety in the types of classes. And one of them that I saw an advert for was growing vegetables, and I thought the class looked really fun. So after thinking about it and getting emails and seeing adverts for a while now, I finally decided to sign up again.

And I watched the MasterClass, it’s by a guy called Ron Finley and he’s based in LA in the U.S., and is a community activist and he calls himself the gangster gardener. I have to say, it’s a little bit sweary. So quite a bit of swearing peppered throughout it, but I don’t know, I quite enjoyed his style and he’s definitely passionate about gardening.

And it was really, really inspirational and very enjoyable to watch the production value of the classes on MasterClass is super high. It’s amazing, beautiful filming, and just the quality is really good. So I just went through that class on MasterClass, and he ends up with talking about finding your creativity and how gardening is a place for creativity, and it’s something that is within all of us.

And so I really appreciated his whole philosophy towards gardening. So I really recommend that. I am a affiliate for MasterClass. I signed up for the affiliate program a couple of years ago when I first joined and I’ve never really promoted it, but I will put a link or an image in the show notes. So if you do fancy joining up and do so via my link, I would appreciate it. I get a small commission for that.

And now I need to look at what class I’m going to take next. I’m quite interested in a lot of the writing classes. There are a lot of different creative writing classes from different big name authors on there now. So I’ll probably look at some of those next. There’s also some interior design and just a lot of ones that seem to be very much about creativity and expressing your creativity in different areas.

The other really great video I found was on YouTube and it’s called Basil, How To Grow More Than You Can Eat on a channel called Gardening at 58 North, which is a guy in Scotland who has a gardening YouTube channel. And I haven’t watched any of his other videos yet, but this basil propagation video was really, really good. And he starts off with a 50p supermarket basil container and then grows a massive amount of basil plants from it.

So I have started a little basil propagation project in our window sill. I’m hoping to get the kids interested in that, and I’m hoping that it works as well as it did for him. I can’t say I have a green thumb at all. I am definitely a house plant killer, but I’m trying, and I’m trying to learn how to not kill my plants mostly by loving them too much with too much water. So I’m trying to be better about that, and it seems to be going a bit better this time with my latest family of houseplants.

So hopefully I can have some luck with growing some veggies as well. I’m hoping to grow some tomatoes and some greens like kale and lettuce, things like that, some herbs. What else did I think I might be able to grow? Some sweet potatoes. In the Ron Finley MasterClass, he talks about growing sweet potatoes and my dad has actually just growing some sweet potatoes this year, successfully, nearby. So I think I’m going to try that as well.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on that little project. Last week I mentioned that I was going to take the weekend off and try and do some personal crafting projects, and I didn’t get to my quilting at all, but I did make some really great progress on my Píosa cardigan by Renée Callahan. So I think I did a swatch on Friday night and let that dry.

And I always find it so difficult with swatches. It’s a ribbed swatch. It’s a five by one ribbing pattern that you do the swatch on, and I’m just always so tempted to just stretch it to the right gauge. But anyway, I think that it’s the right gauge. I’m not sure how to dye. I mean, it was tricky and it always changes anyway, depending on the fiber of the yarn, it can stretch or felt or do all sorts of things after a wash or two, but I think I’ve got gauge.

And so that was exciting and I’m using gorgeous, gorgeous yarn by Sweet Fiber, another Canadian yarny. And I purchased this yarn at Knit City, I think 2018 it was. I think I often say Knitty City when I’m referring to it, but that’s a yarn shop in New York. So it’s Knit City, the yarn festival in Vancouver.

And the yarn is Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted, which is 80% Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. So it’s absolutely gorgeous. And it’s the Rose Gold colorway, which is also stunning. And I am alternating skeins on the advice of Tracie from the Grocery Girls, because I know that she knit a pullover, I think, in the same yarn. And I asked her if she alternated skeins and she said, “You definitely need to.”

So which indie dyed, hand dyed yarn, you should generally alternate skeins, but I’m very lazy. So I try not to wherever I can, but I am being good and trying it. Not 100% sure how you do it for a cardigan with yarn going up the side of an open piece. I think I might have to Google how to do that once I get down into the body, but I’m just going across the back now and where the yarn’s going up the sides, alternating will be in the sleeve side at the moment.

So I’m not worried yet, but I think once I get down a bit, I’ll have to figure out a bit of technique. Maybe I’ll change over the skeins in from the edge. If anyone has any suggestions, they can message me on Ravelry or on Instagram about that. I am absolutely enjoying the pattern. It’s beautifully written as is all Renée’s patterns, but she also has videos to go along with it, which just adds to my confidence.

So the videos just give a fantastic extra confidence that you’re doing the techniques correctly and it saves a lot of time and energy wondering if you’re doing it right. You can confirm by watching Renée’s great instructions. And she’s such a wonderful teacher. I’ve done a couple of classes with Renée in the past and she’s a brilliant teacher. So if you’d like to knit a gorgeous cardigan with extra support, there’s a knit along happening at the moment and it’s really fun, so join us.

I decided to knit the small size though, so I’m a little bit nervous about that, because it’s meant to have generous ease, and Renée is about the same size as me and she knit a medium and it’s really sort of slouchy on her. And I was a bit undecided because I do like the slouchy look, but also I like the fitted look that some of the test knitters have done as well, but it was the amount of yarn that I had that kind of decided me to go for the smaller size, because it was quite touch and go for yarn amount.

So, I’m not sure that I had quite enough to do the medium. So I thought, “Well, I think I’ll just go for the small and worst case scenario Sophie can wear it, if it doesn’t fit me.” She’d absolutely love it as well. So, I decided to go for the small. Hopefully I will be able to wear it, but we’ll see. We’ll see. I’m not sure.

But I did very, very much enjoy having a weekend off and doing my personal crafting. So I am going to aim to do that again this weekend, get all my work done. It’s a really good way of motivating myself to get all my work done and then have the weekend off. I have some Handmade Sock Society news. So the fourth sock will be released next week for the third Handmade Sock Society series.

And we have just finished the knit along for the Ambient socks, which are the second socks. That finished up on Tuesday. And the winner, which was chosen by random number generator is number 32, who is Tove Me. So I think her Ravelry name is short for Tove Metta and she is based in Norway. So, congratulations Tove, and I’ll get in touch with you via Ravelry and find out your address to send your prize.

The knit along for the Rainy Window Socks is still going, and that will be drawn on Tuesday, the 9th of June. So if you’re needing the Rainy Window Socks, you can post that in the finished object thread on Ravelry by the 9th of June to be in the draw for some sock yarn and other little goodies that I will put together.

And I realized after I finished recording last week, that I forgot to mention the results, I guess you’d say, of the habitation event that we had happening last month. So I was giving away the habitation throw pattern and anyone who purchased the pattern, the proceeds were to be donated to the UNHCR, which is the UN Refugee Agency. And so thank you to hundreds of generous knitters, I was able to donate 3,000 Australian dollars to the Australian UNHCR.

And I selected the option wherever it’s needed most. When you do your donation, you can donate to Covid or Syria or other places that they’re supporting at the moment. And I was, I was going to choose the Covid support, but I decided to just say wherever it’s needed most at the moment. So thank you so much to everybody who purchased the pattern. I’d like to say a special thank you to a lovely knitter called Terry who sent a generous donation to be included in the main donation, because she already had the pattern. So that was absolutely lovely.

Thank you, Terry, for your lovely email and support. And a huge thank you to everybody who downloaded the pattern and is using it to knit and bring themselves some peace and joy and fun at the moment. It was completely overwhelming. And we actually had 21,832 downloads using the code “Shelter,” for the pattern, which amounted to over £100,000 of habitations throw pattern that we gave away last month.

So that’s pretty phenomenal, and I feel really good about that. I hope it’s just brought so much joy. It’s brought so much joy to me, and I get a thrill every time I see someone’s posts on Instagram or on Ravelry. So I decided to extend the fun by having a more official knit along on Ravelry. So if you finish your habitation throw this month, in the month of May, I will do a draw and send the winner a set of 24 minis that I will make from my leftover stash, from patterns and samples and projects.

I’ve just been through my stash this morning and found 24 gorgeous colors to send to the winner. So all you have to do to be in the draw for that is to create a project page on Ravelry and then post in the finished object thread in The Curious Handmade group. So we’ll put links to that in the show notes. And we will draw that after the 31st of May, early April, we’ll draw that, but the entries will close on the 31st of May.

So I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everybody who’s shared their habitation throw projects on Instagram or Ravelry or on podcasts. I know that The Yarniacs have mentioned it and I can see on Ravelry that I’m getting a lot of people linking from their website. So thank you so much Yarniacs and anyone else who’s shared it, because it really helps get the word out about my designs and is just a huge help. So I’m very, very appreciative.

Just before I sign off today, I’d like to say a huge thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story. I just wanted to mention that while the A Yarn Story shop in Bath is closed at the moment, Carmen is doing virtual shopping sessions for people. You can make appointment with her to do a video call, to help choose yarn and colors and get her advice.

So have a look on her website for details about that. Thanks so much for joining me today. It’s been lovely having a chat and it’s been so nice to stay connected with you during this crazy time. And I hope you’re doing well, I hope you’re staying well and happy, and I will talk to you again soon. Happy knitting and bye for now.

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Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade sits in an armchair by a window, knitting a sweater.

Three weeks of homeschooling down, maybe two more to go? Somehow, I’m still managing to get some exciting knitting done in between it all. Today on the podcast I’ve got a short and sweet life catch-up, some KAL winners to announce, and more news on the upcoming Curious Handmade Mystery Knit Along, which I’m really excited about.

Show Links:

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

May #knit20for2020 FO Thread

April Ravelry winner: porthardy1 with Post 46

April Instagram winner: BlankSlateYarns

Snippet Socks

52 Weeks of Socks Book

Farm to Cable Yarns LYS

Unnathi Shawl by Lana Jois

The Ambient Socks is ending on Tuesday the 13th of May, so get your photos into the Ambient Socks FO Thread on Ravelry!

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Impressionists Shawl

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 294. This podcast is all about crafting your life with happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Welcome and thank you for joining me for a chat today. I’m just snatching a moment in a busy day to record so it might be quite a short episode, but I just wanted to pop in and have a quick chat with you and not let a week go past without recording. It’s been a really busy week. We are now just finished week three of homeschooling. The girls’ school is providing a really great service with online classes and a lot of support for them, but especially with Lexi, she needs a lot of support here at home as well to encourage her to do some work. So I have her set up in my office on a little folding camping table beside me, and I’ve decided it’s been quite interesting to see how she works.

Sophie is a couple of years older and is doing really great. She has a little desk set up upstairs and she doesn’t need as much support but still needs help with some things. I just kind of decided when we were homeschooling that I was going to enjoy the process and I was going to be patient with it and not expect to get any work done or expect too much of them in terms of what they would do. So that’s been working pretty well. They’ve been doing more than I expected that they would to be honest. Their school’s been really sensible and has just basically put on a schedule that goes until about one o’clock rather than the normal three o’clock, and in Lexi’s case it really only goes till about midday. So that’s really good and we can manage a morning quite happily.

Lexi sits there listening to her teacher and passing me notes, so we have a massive pile of little hand scribbled notes from, “I found my pen,” to “I need a hug.” And it’s quite funny. So week three, at the moment it’s scheduled to happen for another two weeks that they’re at home. Here in Queensland, some kids are going back next week. So they are opening schools up again for littlies, little kids like prep, grade one, and our school’s also sending back grade twos and then the oldest kids so the year 11 and 12s and our school is also having the year 10s back. So it’s starting again for some grades, not our grades though. It’s okay, two weeks isn’t that long really. She says slightly hysterically. And I think they’re going to see how things go with the numbers of cases and all of that jazz over the next couple of weeks.

But I think as it stands at the moment, it’s fairly as certain as it can be that they’ll be back at school soon, which will be nice for them to see their friends. I think they’re getting quite, not lonely but missing their friends quite a bit. And because we’re quite new to the school, we didn’t really have sort of the level of friends that they wanted to FaceTime very much or call people or get in touch all that much with their friends. Their friends were quite new. So we have caught up with some people a little bit but not very much.

I’ve been enjoying having some Zoom calls with knitting friends. Although with the kids home from school, that’s been a little bit tricky and the time zones here with Australia are a bit crazy regardless of where else you are in the world. I haven’t felt too lonely. I’ve started feeling a little bit like I’d like to have a bit more contact with people but it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been working from home by myself for a long time, quite a few years now. So I’m quite used to it. It doesn’t feel like such a massive change for me. I think my husband is going pretty loopy with being stuck at home because he’s not used to it at all. But we’re getting there, we’re getting there.

We have acquired another mouse for the mouse house. So we’re now up to six mice. And yesterday I started Googling to see if there are any puppies available locally. So maybe it is affecting me a bit more than I’m trying to let on. But yes, I hope you’re staying fairly sane and safe and I hope your friends and family are safe and well also. I’ve been enjoying some very nice walks and maybe feeling like I’m getting slightly fitter. It’s quite hilly where I live so most of the walking routes involves some sort of hill if not quite a big hill as part of it although there are some flat routes I can take you from feeling lazy. So I’ve been enjoying that. My yoga has slipped this week. I was doing so well on a 30 day yoga challenge but that slipped a bit this week. But hopefully I’ll get back into it again next week.

So first up in knitting chat, I have the winners of the April Knit 20 for 2020 challenge to announce. So to be in the draw for prizes for Knit 20 for 2020, all you need to do is post a finished object in either the thread on Ravelry for their respective month or on Instagram using the hashtag and just any finished object that ticks one or more boxes on the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And you can find the details of that on my website curioushandmade.com. It involves a series of 20 prompts of different items and techniques and types of yarn to try over the course of the year. And when you enter into the prize draw, you can nominate a favorite dyer or yarn shop or online yarn shop to win a $50 US or local currency equivalent gift voucher from that shop. So I wanted to encourage both participation in the challenge as well as encourage our local yarn shops and indie dyers, especially at the moment.

This challenge has got to run every month this year. So the winners for this month on the Ravelry thread is porthardy1 who is Joanne in Canada. And she has knit an absolutely gorgeous pair of snippet socks, which is my design in the Laine 52 Weeks of Socks book. And I have to say it doesn’t have to be one of my designs for an entry into the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge by any means. But I do love these socks and she has nominated Farm to Cables LYS, which is a wonderful online yarn shop in Canada. So congratulations Joanne, and you can either drop me a message on Ravelry at HellsBells or I’ll get in contact with you as well.

And on Instagram the winner is blankslateyarns, and that’s Avery, and she’s entered a picture of a gorgeous lacy shawl or wrap I think it is. It’s a design called Unathi by Lana Joyce. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous design. Really beautiful lace, so thank you for sharing that. And I don’t think she’s nominated a particular yarn shop or dyer. She looks like she’s an indie dyer herself. So I’ll be in touch to organize your prize as well. So thanks so much for joining in. It’s a really fun challenge and I love looking at all your projects, seeing all the different things people have made because it’s such a variety of prompts. There’s so many different projects and I’m getting lots of ideas of things to knit as well, which is fabulous. So if you’re finishing anything this month, don’t forget to post it for the May prize draw.

We also have the Handmade Sock Society knit along happening as well. And the knit along for their second socks which is the Ambient Socks, is finishing on next Tuesday the 12th of May. So if you have knit a pair of Ambient Socks from the Handmade Sock Society, you can post your finished object and the thread on Ravelry and be in the running to win a prize for that which will be a skein of sock yarn and possibly some other little goodies that I pop in there.

So last week I mentioned that I was sort of thinking about a mystery knit along coming up, and in the past week I’ve actually got the bit between my teeth and worked all week on a design and have been knitting like crazy. So that looks like it’s going to be coming up for sure. And I just need to work out a timeline now for testing and writing up the pattern and all that jazz. I haven’t worked it out yet because I’ve literally just basically cast off the sample today, a couple of hours ago, so it will be at least a few weeks away but not too far. So keep an eye out for more details of that if you’re interested in participating in a shawl mystery knit along.

The last mystery knit along I did was The Impressionist Shawl and that was two years ago, so March 2018 that started. I loved that knit along and I am really, really looking forward to this next one as well. So I hope you are able to join in. Perhaps some of us might have a bit more time on our hands than usual at the moment. Some of us possibly busier than ever, especially if you’re an essential worker or trying to work full time and homeschool your kids. But lots of people in lots of different situations at the moment, but hopefully we can have some fun with our knitting in these crazy times.

So as a result of working pretty much full time on that shawl design this week, I haven’t had much time for anything else and I think that what I’ll do is this weekend give myself a proper weekend from work, try not to do any work, and I’m just absolutely desperate to start my Piosa Cardigan, which is a knit along that Renee Callahan of East London Knit is hosting at the moment. I signed up for the knit along and it’s a gorgeous cardigan I wound a couple of skeins of the Sweet Fiber Yarn in Rose Gold, but I didn’t get as far as swatching yet. So that’s going to be my challenge for the weekend is to swatch and hopefully cast on my Piosa Cardigan. And if I can be really ambitious, I like to finish cutting out the fabric for my houses quilt that I started a few weeks ago.

I had a weekend where I cut out almost all the fabric but I didn’t quite get to finish that. So I like to get everything cut this weekend so that I can start sewing up little house blocks for my quilt and it is Mother’s Day here on Sunday so I think I deserve it and hopefully will be given some time to do some things for myself. We’ll see, I don’t know. I’m hopeful. I think we’re in sync with the US, so maybe it’s mother’s day in the US. I think we’re out of sync with the UK. I can never quite remember where we match up with, but yes, Mother’s Day here on Sunday and if it’s Mother’s Day where you are, have a good day. And.

I’m looking forward to seeing my mom and being in the same country as my mom after many, many years, so that will be quite nice. And I hope you can have some lovely, lovely crafting, knitting, relaxing time this weekend as well even if it’s just for a few moments.

So thanks again for joining me. Hope you have a wonderful day, a wonderful weekend. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

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Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

As the schools close here in Australia and we all strive to cope with our anxiety, I’ve been turning to projects that feel like comforting old friends. I also have the Ambient Socks to introduce for you, and details about some KALs I will be hosting to help keep our spirits up.

Show Links:

Meadow Yarn on Instagram

Meadow Yarn

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Ambient Socks

The Walk Collection Yarn

Hedgerow Yarns

Apple Blossom Socks

The Knitting Expat

Tilda Fabric

Elton Cardigan

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 289. This podcast is all about crafting your life with happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and the transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.


I’d like to say a very big thank you to my sponsor Meadow Yarn. Alongside an interesting and eclectic young range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic lopi and CoopKnits. We stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched hand dyed by Meadow Yarn, our very own in-house hand dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio nestled in the Suffolk countryside we are able to indulge our love of color producing complex tonal kettle dyed shades across a range of whites and bases. With regular updates our collections of all of them grow inspired by the landscape and people around us.


You can find them at meadoywarn.co.uk. Or you can click on the ad on my blog. If you follow Meadow Yarn on Instagram, you will have seen that Anj has been dying up some absolutely stunning colorways, especially recently. I’ve just been very drawn to them. And she is still able to post yarn at the moment. So yeah, I’m sure she would appreciate any support and the colorways are just stunning. So very tempting.


Hello and welcome. Well, what another week it’s been. Obviously it’s been a very intense time for everyone and despite me thinking I would sort of reset a little bit this month, March is not the new January after all, that’s for sure. Schools have finally been closed here in Australia and I think most of the schools have been trying to put together online learning, distance learning facilities for the kids when they go back from holidays after Easter.


We have one week before the holidays officially start and so our school is just spending the week having pupil free days preparing and testing some distance learning facilities that they’ve been putting in place. Then we’ll have two weeks Easter holidays and see what happens after that. I’m assuming that we will be homeschooling and yeah. So if you hear any background noise, I’m sorry but I have to record when people are around now. And I’m trying to minimize any background noise but it may be happening despite my best efforts.


So I hope you’re all physically well and also keeping calm and the anxiety isn’t too high. I’m sure that it is quite high, but I think for me I’m trying to be very conscious of that and try to keep it under control. I don’t think that being at home with my family and being super stressed out will do any of us any favors. So I’m trying to just focus on my … Basically my top priority is to just keep calm and keep the kids calm as well.


I think it’s going to help a lot now that they’re not going to school, because that was causing me a lot of anxiety and also them because everyone’s talking about it and they can see a lot of kids in their class starting to drop off and drop out as parents were keeping them at home more and more. And so I think once we can get into a little bit of a routine here that’s going to help in a way. Although it does seem a bit daunting at this point to think that I’ll be trying to do a little bit of work hopefully and as well as looking after them.


But I have had more experience than normal with that over the past year, because due to moving we had a long summer holiday for the Northern hemisphere and then we had another long summer holiday for the Southern hemisphere. So I’m kind of used to having them around more than normal at the moment, which I think might hopefully stand me in a little bit of good stead and will hopefully let us get into a good routine fairly quickly.


My husband did PE class with them this morning and so they practiced their netball. And I think that’s going to be good, because having moved from the UK to Australia, they’re a bit behind in their netball skills from the other kids their age I’d have to say. Netball is such a big sport here and all the kids, pretty much all the kids play it pretty well. Obviously there’s different levels but it’s a much, much bigger sport here than it was in the UK. They did learn how to play netball and there was a netball club in the UK so it’s not like they’re completely unfamiliar with it, but it’s huge here.


So yes, we have a net set up and a netball. So luckily netball doesn’t rely on bouncing the ball too much, so you could do most of the skills without a sort of a too much of a flat concrete area, if that makes sense. So thanks to everybody who’s chatting on all the Ravelry threads and I did set up a thread for people to chat if they wanted to share about how they’re coping at the moment and we’ve had some conversation happening there, which has been nice.


I think it really helps to feel connected to the knitting community during this time. And I certainly very much appreciate it. I already felt very connected to people around the world, knitters around the world. It’s just really nice at the moment to have friends everywhere and be chatting with them.


So this week I released the second pattern for The Handmade Sock Society and they are the Ambient Socks. So I’ll just read the description for those. It’s the sort of sound that’s carried on the wind, the type of music that subtly invokes a specific emotion, the kind of lighting that can make a room feel cozy, intimate, inviting. Ambient is an interesting word. It comes from the Latin for surrounding and circling. Used in turn by great scientists and inspired poets. It has a gentle reputation but holds a secret power. The things it described are so all encompassing and so much a part of our environment that we barely notice them consciously. And yet our environment has immense influence on every part of our lives, our moods and our creativity. When you change your environment, you change your world.


The Ambient Socks offer an absorbing knit with eyelet lace on the front of each sock, continuing down the foot and a textured pattern on the back of the leg. The stitch patterns have been chosen to make the most of even highly variegated yarns, spreading and diffusing the different colors. An eye of partridge heel flap and gusset and a round toe in contrast color finish things off. I love to use up scrap sock yarn or minis this way. There are three sizes to choose from and as always the pattern is easy to adapt if you prefer a different heel or toe so you can find a great fit.


The yarn I used for these socks is by The Walk Collection Tough Sock and the main color is Cosmic Chaos, which seems quite appropriate. And the contrast color is Propolis. So a few weeks ago when I was talking about where I came up for the inspiration for this collection, for the theme, which is atmosphere, I was actually at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. And I didn’t mention it at the time, but it was when I was talking to Katrin at her Walk Collection store that that word popped into my head and became the theme for the collection. So it’s actually this yarn that has kind of sort of inspired the whole theme.


I think their Cosmic Chaos colorway is really gorgeous and I have really fond memories of standing, talking with Katrin about choosing contrast colors for the heel and toe. And she is so generous. She gifted me the yarn and I’m very happy to have been able to use it to the collection and how it’s turned out in the design. I think it’s really lovely. So thank you so much Katrin and for your generosity and gorgeous yarn. Thank you to Amanda for writing the gorgeous description I just read out and huge thank you to Deb who is Tinkhickman on Ravelry and Instagram for knitting the sample for me and her gorgeous photography. Also a big thank you to Tracey, who is TraceyRR on Ravelry and Comfy Red Couch on Instagram for her wonderful test knitting, Emma and Anna for their tech editing.


And just thank you, I appreciate my gorgeous knitting team so much and I hope you enjoy knitting these socks if you’re participating in the Handmade Sock Society. So as I was sitting here this week, just watching the news way too much still and just thinking about what I can do in this situation to try and help people which sort of feel a bit powerless. Being on one hand being called to stay at home and not do anything or go anywhere. And then on the other hand, just seeing so many people in need and needing help.


I thought I’d just try and inject a little bit of joy into life for my knitters and formalize some of the knit-alongs that we have happening anyway. I wanted to get a bit organized with the knit-alongs for the Handmade Sock Society. And so I have set dates for the knit-alongs and so I thought I’d give people just under two months for each sock. So they’re just ending just a little bit before another sock comes out. So that the knit-along for the first socks, which is the Luminary Socks, which is happening at the moment will end on Tuesday the 14th of April. There is a finished object thread in Ravelry at the moment and there are already 83 stunning projects in that thread, posted in that thread. So I’ve just formalized the end date for that, which is the 14th of April.


So that still gives you a little bit of time. That will be just over two weeks away. And then I’ll announce the winners on that Friday after, that’s a Tuesday, so on the Friday after that. And I have just had a little hunt around in my stash just now for that first knit-along prize and I found a really, really cheerful, beautiful skein of Hedgerow Yarns, sock yarn, which is called Tickety Boo and Jane dies gorgeous, gorgeous sock yarn. And I actually used her yarn for my very early sock pattern, Apple Blossom Socks, if you remember those ones.


So yes. So I’ve had this yarn for a little while. I was sort of collecting her yarn and I have also found a really, really cute little project bag which is perfect for sock size by MinaMakes, the knitting expat Mina. And this is a project bag that has a print of a map of London, kind of quirky print on it. So just a fun little prize for that knit-along just to make cheer things up a little bit and I’ll try to take it a photo of that and post it soon. And then I’ll find another prize for the socks just publish, the Ambient Socks and post that soon as well. So until the end there’ll be two knit-alongs happening at the same time and they’ll sort of leapfrog each other as we go along.


The other thing I came up with just to inject a bit of fun and community into things is to make a bit more of a formal knit-along for the knit20for2020 Challenge. Earlier in the year I published a list of prompts of things that we can work on and knit and that’s available as a PDF and also as images in Instagram. And it’s just sort of being quite casual and people just working on their own challenges. But I thought what I could do is have a knit-along as well with some prizes and I also wanted to try and support some of our small yarn businesses that are struggling at the moment. And so I thought that the plan is that we’ll have a thread each month in Rivalry for knit20for2020, sort of a monthly thread. You can post a project that you’ve ticked off from one of the knit20for2020 challenges in that thread. And also in the same post if you nominate and independent yarn business, an Indie Dyer or a local yarn shop that you’d like to receive a gift certificate for if you’re the winner.


So you can give a shout-out to one of your favorite Indie Dyers or yarn shops. And similarly on Instagram, if you post a photo of something you’ve completed as part of the challenge and include the hashtag of course, which is knit20for2020, and also in your caption nominate and tag an Indie Yarn Dyer or a local yarn shop that you’d like to receive a gift certificate for.


And then at the end of each calendar month I am going to draw one entry from Ravelry, one entry from Instagram, you can enter on both. And the prize is going to be a $50, 50 U.S. dollars, not Australian dollars. That would be a bit sad. So 50 U.S. dollars and or the equivalent currency to that, depending on the country. And I will arrange a gift certificate or way of purchasing a prize for you to that value if you win from a random draw.


So I hope that all makes sense and is clear, I’ll put it in the show notes, all the details in the show notes, as well as in the Ravelry thread and I’ll post about it on Instagram as well. So I just thought it would be a nice way of spreading the love a little bit and a chance for you to share some of your favorite Indie businesses and to support them a little bit at this time.


So that will continue for the rest of the year. Hopefully we won’t be in this lockdown situation for the rest of the year, but the knit-along will happen throughout the year and I think it’s going to be really lovely and really fun. So I’m looking forward to seeing your projects as well as discovering some new yarn dyers and Indie businesses.


With that being such a mixed up week, I haven’t really done a lot of knitting and in fact I have pulled out a non-knitting project which was on my list of happiness projects a couple of years ago, which is a patchwork quilt that I made. It’s such a pretty happy quilt. I used Tilda fabrics, so it’s really just really lovely, pretty colors. And it was almost finished, I had it professionally quilted and the binding was sewn on. So all I need to do now is sew down the binding and so I’ve pulled that project out and it has been really the perfect project for this week.


I’ve just been doing some very gentle stitching on the binding of my quilt and I’m, I don’t know, about three quarters of the way around. I think I’ve done about three sides now, so I will continue with that and look forward to finishing that. And then I need to choose my next fun personal knitting project for my knit20for2020 challenge. I’m thinking about doing the Elton Cardigan. I have the yarn for that Aimée from La Bien Aimée gifted me some gorgeous, gorgeous Yellow Brick Road that inspired the name of the cardi.


Aimée gave that to me at a country house retreat a couple of years ago and so it reminds me of lovely times and it’s such a bright, sunny yellow color. And it makes me think of friends and so I think that might be the one. I just have to decide if I’m up to knitting mohair at the moment or not. That’s the only slight reservation in my mind. But I think it could be okay. I think it’s a fairly straightforward design. And yeah, I think that will be a nice one to do at the moment.


So, I’ll keep you posted if that’s what I end up settling on. I still have several whips that I probably should be finishing off, but I’m kind of itching to start something new as well. And just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor A Yarn Story and just to note that A Yarn Story has to close its doors for people coming into the shop, but they are still doing mail order services, online ordering. And they are offering a sort of personal shopping appointment so that you can call them and Carmen will sort of show you different colors of yarn if you can do a FaceTime call or I think that’s how they’re doing it. They will take photos of different color combinations and things like that.


They’re really trying to help serve their customers at this time and I really appreciate them and their beautiful, beautiful yarns they have there. A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades and weights. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co. and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui knits, La Bien Aimée and Julie Asselin. There is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath, or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.


So thank you so much for being here, being part of the Curious crew and I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate you at this time and I appreciate everybody who’s bought patterns recently. I just wanted to remind you that there is a buy one get one free offer still happening till the end of the month, so the 31st of March. And you do need a coupon code for that and the code at checkout is fresh. And all you need to do is put two patterns in your basket and use the code fresh. I think the way I’ve set it up, you could actually put four in there and get two for free. I think I haven’t put a limitation on how many times you can use the coupon code.


So yes, if you fancy stocking up on some patterns, now’s a good time. And thank you to everybody who has taken advantage of that and bought patterns. I really appreciate it. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re okay. Do reach out. We have a thread in Ravelry if you want to chat and on Instagram as well. Love you, take care. Talk to you again soon.

Snowmelt MKAL tutorials and FAQs!

Helen —  February 1, 2017 — 3 Comments

The first clue for the Snowmelt MKAL arrives tomorrow! Are you ready yet? If not, don’t worry. As I mentioned yesterday, we still have flocks of new knitters signing on, and you have time to get sorted.

Today is the last day of the 20% off early bird special, so snag your copy now!

I’m still getting lots of questions about the MKAL: how it works, what to expect, and how to prepare. To help everyone get ready, I’ve put together a few resources for you.

First, I’ve created a few video tutorials for Snowmelt, including a guide to choosing yarn, and a special video showing you how to do the beautiful icord cast-on for this shawl. I know this is a new technique for some of you, but it’s so simple! I think my little walk through will help you master it easily.

Check out the Snowmelt MKAL videos here!

Next, for anyone who didn’t get onto the email list in time, I’m going to post the FAQs I sent out last week:


Q. This is my first MKAL – what can I expect?

A. Firstly – thank you for your bravery and trust – taking a leap and a chance on a pattern you haven’t seen before. I am honoured!!

A mystery knit along is all about surprises: you buy the pattern without knowing what the finished design will look like and get one clue a week until the whole pattern is released. The community aspect is huge, too: people share their progress each week and speculate on what might be coming next. Knitting a project with a group is lots of fun and supportive  – you will find lots of company in the MKAL chat thread and people to ask questions or if you have any problems.

Q. This is my first Curious Handmade shawl – what can I expect?

A. Enjoyment, on the whole! Relaxing, satisfying knitting. And of course, a beautiful accessory at the end…

On the more technical side of things, you can expect clarity. My patterns are clearly written in the unique Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist™  style with stitch count for every row and percentages of stitches knit to help you pace yourself and estimate yarn needed. Directions are written in full and also charted instructions for any lace sections.

Q. I’ve knit loads of Curious Handmade shawls before – what can I expect?

A. Well, you’ll recognise the checklist format, and if you’re a fan of my patterns (thank you!) I think you’ll find that this project is quite “typical” of my designs: lacy, feminine, easy-to-wear, and just a little romantic. I also think it will keep you guessing until the last clue is finally revealed!

Q. What is the level of difficulty?

A. It is beginner to adventurous beginner throughout.
It is a slight step up from beginner in places due to some easy lace and the amount of knitting involved but it definitely isn’t difficult in any sense. There might be a handful of rows you really have to concentrate on where you are setting up a new pattern – but it is very achievable for an adventurous lace beginner. And lifelines are always helpful if you are worried!

Q. Do I need a special code for the Early Bird price?

A. No, the Early Bird price is already applied in Ravelry, no code required. The 20% Early Bird discount will apply until Wednesday February 1st.

Q. I think the amount of the price is wrong, maybe I didn’t get the discount?

A. The price of the pattern does not include VAT. Ravelry automatically adds VAT to all purchases of patterns in the EU when you check out. The amount varies by country. I’m sorry about any inconvenience, but it is out of my control.

Q. I bought the pattern but I don’t see any knitting instructions!

A. This is a presale period for the MKAL. When you buy the pattern you’ll get an info sheet with yarn specifics and some general hints to help you prepare. The pattern will be released piece by piece, with a new clue to knit each week.

Q. When will the clues be released?

A. The clue reslease schedule is:

Thursday Feb 2nd: First clue is released!
Thursday Feb 9th: Second clue released
Thursday Feb 16th: Third clue released
Thursday Feb 23rd: Fourth clue released
Thursday March 2nd: Fifth clue released

The KAL will run until the end of March.

At the end of the MKAL I’ll compile all the clues into one pattern document so that you have everything in once place if you’d like to knit it again!

Q. I don’t have time for an MKAL right now, can I still participate somehow?

A. Life sometimes gets in the way of knitting, and not everyone can keep up with the weekly clue releases. That is perfectly okay! You can jump in and out at any point, or even wait until all the clues are out before you begin. The KAL will run for about a month after the last clue is released, so you can still join in and post your finished shawls on your own schedule. Pop into the chat thread now and then, and don’t forget to check in on Instagram with the hashtag #SnowmeltMKAL


There you go! I’m so excited for the kickoff tomorrow. I can’t wait to see all your gorgeous creations.

It’s almost time for the Snowmelt MKAL! I’ve been watching the amazing yarn-choosing process of hundreds of excited knitters over in our Curious Handmade Ravelry Group and on Instagram (check out the growing #snowmeltmkal hashtag for some mouthwatering yarn photos!) and the energy is just electric. We’re just two days away from the release of the first clue, but we still have new knitters joining us every day. The MKAL will be running until the end of March, so even if you don’t have yarn yet, you’ll have plenty of time to grab something gorgeous and play along.

For the last Curious Handmade MKAL, Summertide, the wonderful Kristen from Skein Yarn wrote a brilliant guest post on colour combinations that I wanted to share again with you. You can find it here. There’s a lot of inspiration and wisdom in that post! Kristen also put together a few lovely combos just for Snowmelt:

Skein yarn for snowmelt mkal

You can read all about these delicious colourways over on the Skein Blog.

I designed this shawl in part to encourage stashdiving. This is the last official day of Stash Appreciation month here at Curious Handmade, after all, and while I know many of us are enjoying the excuse to buy new yarn for this project, I also know that many more have some wonderful single skeins lying around, waiting for the perfect project. Chances are there are a few hiding in your stash that could surprise you when you put them together. This MKAL is a chance to explore your stash and experiment with combinations you might not have considered. If you’re on the mailing list, you will have gotten an email with all the yarn info and tips you need to start choosing, but I’ve seen people asking for advice since then, so in case you missed it, I thought I’d repost it here.


The yarn I used for the sample is the breathtaking Magellan Speckle Fade Kit from La Bien Aimée. This is a gorgeous hand-dyed single ply superwash merino.
Sample Yarn:
La Bien Aimée; Magellan Speckle Fade Kit [100% superwash merino; 366m/400yds per 100g skein], 3 x 100g skeins,
Colourways:
Le Petit Nuage
Le Grand Nuage
The Magellanic Cloud

OR

Actual yarn used for sample in a fingering weight single ply yarn:
Light – Le Petit Nuage 80g / 293m / 320 yards
Medium – Le Grand Nuage  80g/ 293m / 320 yards
Dark – The Magellanic Cloud 75g/ 275m / 300 yards

To give you a few ideas of other ideal yarns you could use:

Curious Handmade favourite Skein does a luxurious base called “Classy” – 70% Superwash Merino, 30% Silk * 430 yards / 393 metres in 100g

The wonderful Tosh Merino Light from madelinetosh would be another excellent choice – 420 yards / 384 metres in 100g

Over at The Wool Barn, Maya’s Silky Singles base would make a perfect Snowmelt – 70% Superwash Merino 30% Silk * 400m / 436 yards / 400 metres in 100g

Lots of you want to use stash yarn, and you’re in luck! I specifically designed Snowmelt to work with three different skeins of fingering weight yarn, since I know most of us have at least a few gorgeous “orphan” skeins kicking around. Here are the hints you’ll need to choose your own yarn:

  • I used a gradient set – but that is not necessary. Aim for some contrast in colour or tone between the three yarns. The contrast in some sections is quite subtle with the yarns I used.
  • In general the shawl is simple enough that you can be more adventurous with using speckles and variegated colourways – depending on your taste of course.
  • The most significant lace section mainly uses Colour A so if you don’t like your lace in wild yarn this is the colour to have as a tonal or solid or semisolid.
  • I used a single ply but any sock yarn/fingering yarn would work just as well. You can even combine single ply and sock yarn, as long as you like the interplay of slighly different textures. If you have doubt, try knitting a little test swatch.
  •   I used 4mm circular needles.

I hope those tips give you some confidence to choose your own yarn for this project. If you haven’t jumped on board yet, let me enable you: if you grab the pattern by the end of Feb, 1st, you’ll get a special early bird price of 20% off! Happy knitting!

Snowmelt Mystery Knit Along

Helen —  January 30, 2017 — 1 Comment

snowmelt-short-banner

Melt into spring with 8 weeks of knitting, camaraderie and mystery!

It’s that moment between the last slow weeks of winter and the first sweet days of spring. There’s a gentle tension in the air as the thaw begins: the cosy joys of hibernation give way to a pleasant restlessness. Your heart stirs and the sap starts to run. This is a season of growth and change, but it begins quietly, deep in the frozen ground, before the last of the ice has even disappeared.

This time of year feels nearly miraculous. It offers a chance to renew the dreams that have slept for so long beneath a blanket of snow. The earth is preparing to surprise itself again with a wild swell of springtime creativity. It’s a call to adventure and an invitation to stretch our own creative powers. It’s time to uncover what this fresh new season has in store.

The Snowmelt Shawl Mystery Knit-Along is all about setting aside some time to nourish our creativity together. The design unfolds at a gentle pace, week by week, as each clue is released, ending with a stunning new accessory to treasure through many seasons. This shawl is a tribute to the slow process and deep satisfaction of creating something beautiful.

Snowmelt captures the romantic style with a contemporary edge that knitters have come to expect from Curious Handmade designs. Stretches of satisfying texture and simple, effective lace make this a deeply engaging pattern that will surprise you and keep you guessing as you move through the clues. It’s approachable for adventurous beginners but interesting enough to delight veteran shawl knitters. No matter where you’re starting from, this MKAL is the perfect way to celebrate the unfolding of a new season and the fresh energy of growth and discovery.

The pattern
When you purchase this pattern you will receive a download that is an introduction to the pattern until the first clue is released.

PURCHASE THE SNOWMELT SHAWL MKAL HERE

The Snowmelt Shawl is written in the Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist Pattern™ style so you can keep track of stitch counts, yardage requirements and pace yourself throughout the KAL. The lace sections are charted.

MKAL Schedule
Mark 2 February in your diary for the first clue.
Until then, sign up to my Curious Handmade newsletter for lots of tips for getting prepared and selecting the perfect yarn.

Clue #1: Thursday 2 February
Clue #2: Thursday 9 February
Clue #3: Thursday 16 February
Clue #4: Thursday 23 February
Clue #5: Thursday 2 March

and the KAL will run until the end of March so that you’ll have plenty of time to finish!

Yarn choice and needles
Choose 3 skeins of 100g skeins of fingering/ sock yarn, approximately 366m/400yds each.

Sample used:
La Bien Aimee; Magellan Speckle Fade Kit 100% superwash merino; 366m/400yds per 100g skein, 3 x 100g skeins,
Colourways:
Le Petit Nuage
Le Grand Nuage
The Magellanic Cloud

OR
Actual yarn amounts used for sample in a fingering weight single ply yarn:
Colour A: Light – Le Petit Nuage 80g / 293m/320 yards
Colour B: Medium – Le Grand Nuage 80g/ 293m/320 yards
Colour C: Dark – The Magellanic Cloud Dark 75g/ 275m/300 yards

4mm (US 6), 100 cm long circular needles or needles to get gauge

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

While exact gauge is not critical, be aware you may use more yarn if you knit at a looser gauge than the pattern and allow for extra yarn.

Join the Adventure
Join in here if you want to join in the chatter in Curious Handmade community to share progress, chat and ask questions.

The joy of a mystery KAL is the surprise!
Please post only the Snowmelt MKAL picture as the first one on your project page, or if you prefer – a picture of your yarn. This helps keep the pattern a mystery until others have knit it.
There will be spoiler threads set up in the group and clearly marked for each clue. Please only post progress pictures there and keep the chatter thread image free for those who love a good surprise.

Today we welcome the very talented Anj from Meadow Yarn. She spends her days surrounded by some of the most amazing yarns on the planet, and all that beauty has given her a wonderful eye for colour. As you know, Tosh Merino Light is one of the recommended yarns for the Summertide Shawl MKAL. Meadow Yarns stocks this wonderful stuff, and Anj agreed to give us her favourite ideas of colour combinations for your lovely mystery shawl. Thank you so much Anj!
* * * * *
I love seeing new colour combinations and choosing for the pure love of the colours rather than choosing to knit something for myself and having to consider boring issues like whether they actually suit me (or match my coat) is incredibly liberating! I’ve tried to find a range of combinations from subtle neutrals through sophisticated tonal variations to downright zingy contrasts…
Vermillion & Courbet’s Green Vermillion is an outrageously saturated cherry/raspberry red that just sings alongside the subtly tonal Courbet’s Green… I think this might be my favourite and it might even match my coat!
curious_vermillion_courbet
Aura & Thyme – Gentle, perfectly complimentary pastel shades of blue & green… what could be more lovely…
curious_thyme_aura
Robin Red Breast & Astrid Grey – Astrid Grey is a soft warm grey that works beautifully with Autumnal shades and Robin Redbreast is a great tonal russet red.
curious_redbreast_astrid
Oceana & Chamomile – This is a fabulous combination and one day I might be brave enough to wear it! Oceana is a vivid azure, an idyllic Meditteranean sky and Chamomile is the sunflowers growing beneath it…
curious_oceana_chamomile
Manor & Button Jar Blue – Both tonally complimentary, yet with fabulous contrast. Manor is a complex melange of forest greens and teal tones and Button Jar is the ever-popular bright turquoise that is much loved by Madtosh fans, it’s a winning combination…
curious_manor_buttonjar
Kitten and Paper are a perfectly subtle pairing. Kitten is a complex neutral ranging from steel through greige to the pale parchment highlights that are picked out perfectly by the flat off-white alabaster of Paper.
curious_kitten_paper
There, something for every knitter… now I just have to decide which colour combination to use for my own Summertide!
* * * * *
Another big thanks to Meadow Yarn! Has one of these stolen your heart? We’ll be discussing colour choices and more on the Ravelry thread, so come join us. I’m going to be giving away 10 free copies of the Summertide Shawl Pattern, and everyone who posts in the thread will be automatically entered in the draw!

I’m so happy to be able to share this post with you. Kristen (the yarn genius behind Skein’s hand-dyed loveliness) is visiting the blog today to give us some inspiration in the days leading up to the start of the Summertide MKAL. This lady knows a lot about colour! Her beautiful yarn will be available for pre-order on Friday at Skein, perfectly timed for the beginning of the MKAL! Thanks so much, Kristen

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Hello everyone!  It’s Kristen from Skein here to help give you a few tips on selecting colour combinations for the Summertide Shawl MKAL.  As you know, the mystery shawl is going to be knit from two colours.  Here are a couple of points to help you choose a winning colour combination

1. Choose What You Love

Go to your stash, your LYS or online and find ONE skein of yarn in a colour that makes your heart sing.  Don’t think about anything else; just let your eyes wander over the colours until you find ‘the one’.

2. Time to Decide

colourwheels

Now it’s time to choose a second colour, and here’s where you need to stop and ask yourself a few questions:

1. Do you want there to be a lot of contrast, which will turn the shawl into a bold statement?   or

2. Do you want a more subtle effect?

If you want to knit a shawl with high contrast, then you might want to look for a complementary colour (the colour that sits opposite on the colour wheel).  For example, if you have chosen purple, you might want to look for a complementary yellow.  However, if you’re after something more subtle, then choose colours that have a similar hue, known as analogous colours (colours that sit next to each other on the colour wheel).

Another way of brightening or toning down a colour combination is by playing around with tone.  Basically, tone is the lightness or darkness of a colour.  For example, a very pale lilac will have less contrast than a vivid violet.  If you have chosen a pale colour and you want to give your combination a lift, choose a bright second colour. Or, if you want to keep your colour combination subtle, select a colour that has a similar tone.  If in doubt, choose a grey or neutral.  Greys and neutrals paired with any colour is a fail safe choice.

3. Test Your Colour Combo

So, now you have chosen your yarns, let’s see if you will like them together.  There’s a very simple way to do this: take both of your yarns and twist them together – are you happy with how they look?  Twisting the yarns together will give you a good indication as to how these two colours will knit up.

We have pre-orders available for this KAL, so I thought it would be fun to share with you a few selected colour combinations.

1. Boho – This combo will add a little zing to your shawl, a bright pop of variegated colour mixed with a subtle semi-solid.

TDS6

 

2. Bright and Bold – These are all very strong colours that will contrast nicely together

TDS8

3. Chic – The fail safe grey paired with a pop of colour, which is great for those wanting a little contrast but not too much!

TDS10

4. Chilled Out – Pale shades together are always very soothing; they are perfect for those who are after something subtle.

 

misty sea

 

5.  Minimal – Again we see grey mixed with light colours, or you can opt for a monochromatic colour combination using a dark and pale grey.

graphite

6. Natural – A nice mix of neutrals, or add a hint of green for a natural look.

fallow

7. Romantic – Use shades of pink to create an ultra-feminine combination.

cherish

8. Touch of Whimsy – Use a strong semi-solid and pair it with a variegated to get a whimsical feel, OR, pair light and dark colours together for contrast.  And, if you’re undecided, don’t forget neutrals!  They will work well with all colours.

tiptoes

Have a wonderful time selecting your colours. If you need help with a colour combination, I’m always happy to give advice!  Finally, I just want to say a big thank you to Helen for asking me to be a part of the Summertide Shawl MKAL.

Happy knitting!

Thanks again to Kristen and Skein for being such a big part of the Summertide MKAL. If you haven’t joined us on the Ravelry thread yet, come on over! I’ll be giving away 10 free copies of the pattern before it officially goes on sale, so set up your project page and jump in with a post if you’d like to be entered in the draw. It’s a great way to get to know the other knitters and really share the excitement and surprise. 

Summertide MKAL

I’ve been hinting about this for a few weeks now, and I’m so excited to finally give you all the first taste of this Mystery Knit Along!

Hold on to summer with 8 weeks of knitting, camaraderie and mystery!

We will kick off on Tuesday 1 September when the pattern will be available to pre-purchase on Ravelry. The first clue will be released on Thursday 10 September, with weekly clues released until 1 October.

The Pattern

There’s always a certain wistfulness as the summer drifts towards its end. Our thoughts turn to things like school and schedule, and the freedom and joy of long summer days begins to fade. But there’s another side to the end of summertime: as we return from summer vacations and kids head back to school, pockets of time may begin to open up, where you can indulge yourself with projects of your own. It’s a time to set off on some adventures just for you.

That’s where the Summertide Shawl Mystery Knit-Along will work its magic.

The design is inspired by those precious holiday feelings: festive freedom from workaday responsibilities, the wanderlust of global nomads exploring a brand new city, and the glittery joy of dancing the year’s shortest night away at a solstice festival. Summertide reinterprets familiar favourites with a carefree bohemian vibe: you can look forward to beautiful lace and a modern, feminine and romantic sensibility with a twist. It will keep you guessing with every clue, filling your free moments with a delicious sense of discovery at every turn.

I’ve written Summertide in my beloved percentage checklist format so you can keep track of stitch counts, yardage requirements and pace yourself throughout the KAL. I’ve charted the lace sections, too. With all that reassurance it will be easier to surrender yourself to the mystery of making.

The Yarn

As always, the fibre is a huge part of the experience. The pattern requires two 100g skeins of sock yarn, approximately 400m/440yds each.  It’s designed for two different colours, although the shawl will look great in one colour too. Two of my very favourite yarn people are coming on board to help us choose the colours (and to contribute some beautiful skeins for giveaways!). If you’re anything like me, you might already have some sock yarn in your stash patiently waiting for it’s turn, but if you’re even more like me, you may want to indulge in some brand new skeins just for this very special project. Happily, at Curious Handmade we’re always ready to enable your yarn love!

The recommended yarns for Summertide are:

Skein Top Draw Sock

Skein is about to have a shop update on Friday (always a hotly awaited event!) and we  have a guest post from Kristen coming up recommending some absolutely wonderful colour combinations (I’ve had a sneak preview and they are breathtaking!)

Tosh Merino Light

This perennial favourite can be found at one of our long-time sponsors, Meadow Yarn, and we’ll also have a guest post from Anj about her favourite colour combos! I think you’ll be very inspired.

The Camaraderie!

I’ve started a thread on Ravelry for the MKAL, so it’s never too early to join me there! It’s a great way to meet each other and share the surprise with the community!

In fact, I’ll be having a little draw to give away 10 copies of the pattern, and all you have to do to enter is create a project page on Ravelry and post in the thread to let me know you’re joining us!

So hang onto some of that summer time feeling for yourself as we head into autumn, and join us in the Summertide Shawl Mystery Knitalong!

If you haven’t signed up for the Curious Handmade Newsletter yet, this would be a great time to join us: there will be special early bird discounts for all subscribers.

Happy knitting!

The Pebble Beach Shawl KAL just finished over on the Knitting Pipeline group on Ravelry with over 240 entries it was quite an event!

I don’t think a winner has been drawn just yet but luckily for Paula it is a random draw for prizes as it would be absolutely impossible to choose a winner from the incredible entries. I have just been reading through the thread in awe at all that amazing knitting – you are an amazing skilled and artistic bunch! I’ve pulled out some of the projects to admire here – just a few – I would have liked to have shared them all here but there were too many!

You can see all the gorgeous entries in the thread on the Knitting Pipeline Group here.

Pebble Beach Shawls

Pebble Beach Shawl

Davetony || fairycake || suemwitkin

sticksnspokes || envieduatrechose || moonlit

careree || mgladue || malhadeira

More Pebble Beach Shawls!

Pebble Beach Shawl by Curious Handmade

porcupineknitter || gypsythedog || Rohanknitter

MLES || simplyme5252 || Carmenatalie

sismademeknit || nimpin || jackie06

Other Curious Handmade Shawls

Curious Handmade Shawls

knitcrit || sandyknits || bluebirdnest

quiltercaroline || debr57 || lightning

moonlit || Betty4Fiber || patb

Curious Handmade Cowls, Wraps and Blankets

Curious Handmade Cowls and Blankets

suddgummi || JanaNav || cydh

DynamiteTrujillo || skibum || JudyAnn

judso || LauraKnitsPA || hsuv