Archives For Knitting


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

Lovely Skein Yarn for the Droplet Capelet

After an unexpected break to wrestle life into a reasonably manageable shape, the podcast is back! Today I have a giant group of giveaway winners from Today on the Curious Handmade Podcast I have some hints about the upcoming Knitvent collection (did someone say scrappy?) I also have a chat about how I’m coping with anxiety these days, with some resources to share. One of the things that helps ground me a lot is having a few tiny habits to anchor my days, and I’d love to hear about yours.

Show Links:

Resources I’ve found to help with Anxiety:

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

Healthline Anxiety

Black Dog Institute Anxiety

Very Well Mind Anxiety

Other show links:

The Strawberry Thief

Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 309. 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 Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello, and welcome to the show. How are you this week? I’m having a pretty good week feeling okay and being reasonably productive. The kids are well and puppy’s well, and all the mice seem well also, yes. As I talked about last week, the thousand-item purge major decluttering session in the last month or so has really done wonders for reducing anxiety and I’m already planning another session tackling some remaining problem areas and, yeah, just keeping going on the quest to lead a simplified life. It’s already helping me be more motivated and get things done more quickly so that’s fantastic.

Although I have been reading a little bit of the news this morning and I don’t do that too often, I find that it stresses me out too much and this morning was really no exception. I’m sort of reading the news and then I start thinking about all my friends and family all around the world and all of you and wonder how you’re all feeling and doing. My thoughts are with people on the West Coast in the U.S. battling terrible fires and smoke, and my thoughts are also with the refugees on Lesbos in the Moria Camp where a fire broke out and destroyed the refugee camp there. So that’s also another terrible situation.

It’s a lot altogether with COVID and racial injustice and divisive political situations all around the world at the moment. It can be very anxiety-producing and give you a bit of a feeling of helplessness really. And I don’t know, I guess I didn’t want to start this episode with a big downer, but I just wanted to acknowledge all of this today because I know that there are just so many people who are so worried and stressed, especially in the U.S., but all around the world with kids going back to school and just so many things, all the things. I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you and I hear you.

I’m going to pop a few links in the show notes today that I’ve found helpful for some tips to manage anxiety for what it’s worth. I’m following the Tiny Habits which is a great book I read recently by BJ Fogg, and that method of just trying to incorporate one or two tiny habits into my routine to actively try to manage my anxiety. And it does help. So some things I’m doing is I’ll just generally try to focus on my circle of control and influence and not on my circle of concern and the worries.

At the beginning of the year one of my happiness projects was creating a gratitude journal that I do each evening with the goals and we each write down three things we’re grateful for. And we are definitely a little bit ad hoc

about doing it but we’ve kept it up over the year, not every day, but at least in a way consistently. And that is a really nice moment in the day and I think it definitely helps us all.

Yesterday I made sure that I’m on the electoral roll here in Australia, and I found out that the next election in Queensland is the 31st of October this year so I was glad that I finally did that to-do item on my list. Having been out of the country for many, many years I wasn’t sure what my status was, and today I’m going to set up one or two regular donations to charities and maybe some one-off donations as well for really topicals issues at the moment.

I’ve been getting a lot of joy from my small gardening efforts and yeah, one of the most successful efforts for my gardening which is really I feel like a tiny habit is growing sprouts. That’s been my most consistent gardening effort and it’s also been my most productive, growing a batch of sprouts each week. And I’ve mostly been doing alfalfa but also sometimes broccoli sprouts, which I hadn’t even heard or thought of before but it’s apparently incredibly good for you. And I quite, I really like the taste. It’s a bit of a weird paste but I really, really like it. It’s gives a bit of a punch to your sandwich if you put your sprouts on your sandwiches or in a salad. So that’s a little tip of, I think a gardening thing that probably anyone could do is grow sprouts in your kitchen.

I’ve actually been using my standing desk to stand up and I am standing out right now as I record this and wondering why I haven’t been doing this more because I already feel more energetic, and you can probably hear it in my voice that are more energetic talking while I’m standing up. And one thing I have been wanting to start doing all year and have done a tiny bit of but not very much is some kind of breathing, meditation, stretching habit. That one is a to-do, is still on my wishlist, I wish I could start doing this more regularly.

But I think from everything I read about managing anxiety and stress this is always comes up as the best thing you can do for yourself, so I think I’m quite silly not to be doing it, but I don’t know. Like a lot of things that are good for us we don’t do, but I’m going to just try again to tackle this as a tiny habit and see if I can manage to get myself to meditate or do breathing exercises for one minute a day or something like that. I have to design the tiny habit to work in my routine.

Anyway, that’s some things I’m thinking about and doing and might give you some inspiration of small things you might like to try as well. I’ll put the links to a few articles in the show notes. And of course I am not a health professional, I have no background in this kind of thing but I thought I’d share some encouragement because I’m finding these things helpful to keep me going, keep me positive and yeah, I just thought I’d share today. If you want to share with me one tiny thing you can be proactive and take a bit of control or you’re welcome to email me or drop a note on Instagram and let me know your little tiny habit and give yourself a big yes and a big pat on the back for when you do it.

In knitting news, I did promise you some knitting news this week after my decluttering chat last week. I’ve been doing a lot of work and designing and knitting samples for Knitvent 2020, which is coming up quite soon now. I can’t believe we’re halfway through September, it’s all the crazy. I felt like time slowed down massively through March, April, May, June, and now it seems to be speeding back up again going into the end of the year, but that’s the way it goes, isn’t it?

Yes, I’ve been doing a lot of work. And the last few years I’ve designed a pattern especially for Advent Yarn Kits, which typically have 24 mini-skeins, and this year I’m continuing this tradition for Knitvent. And I think I can tell you that it’s going to be suitable for a 10 gram mini-skein set. So people who have a 10 gram set can do the pattern and also a lot of the Advent kits are 20 gram sets so they can either do two of the item or perhaps do a different scrappy project with the other half of their kit. So that’s what I’m thinking about.

And I did manage to have Sunday off work, so very happy about that. I’m trying to carve out a little bit of time for personal crafty projects. And I was working quite a bit on my Liberty Hexie project, which is an English paper-piecing quilt or quilts, I should say, because I’m doing two. I have subscribed to kits from a company here in Australia called The Strawberry Thief, they’re based over in Perth and they’re specialize in Liberty fabric. And so I’m working on both a two-inch and one-inch hexie project.

Hopefully I’ll quilt, hopefully I’ll make enough hexies and flowers to do a quilt, that’s the goal for two quilts. And yes, I really enjoy the process, I enjoy the process of making each hexie where I’m using the method of gluing the fabric to a piece of heavy paper-like cardboard, and then they get sewn into hexie flowers. So one hexie in the middle and then six petals, and then eventually those flowers will be made into the quilts but for the moment it’s just a matter of making the flowers. So I enjoy all parts of that process and yeah, giving me a lot of joy.

And on the knitting side I started a new project which I have no business starting because I have too many wips, but I couldn’t resist starting the Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron. And I’ve been wanting to knit one of her patterns for a while. I’ve been wanting to support her because she’s a brilliant designer, I love her aesthetic and she’s so sophisticated. I’ve purchased several of her patterns but I hadn’t got as far as downloading them. And when I downloaded the Droplet Capelet pattern I was so delighted with the pattern. She has a beautiful story about the design and she has super clear instructions, schematics, how to choose your size, video support for casting on and casting off. It’s quite incredible and inspiring, so thank you, Denise, for the incredible work you’ve put into this pattern.

I am knitting this in a skein from the stash. One of my precious skeins, which is by Skein Australia, and so the colorway is a gorgeous light blue, a very dreamy light blue with aquamarine speckles and some lime-green speckles as well. It’s going to be so fun to knit and I’m going to knit this for my daughter Sophie, who really likes that kind of garment. I like her little, I want to say poncho capelet. Ponchos aren’t really considered to be very cool but this is a very cool item so I don’t really want to call it a poncho, let’s stick with capelet like the name says.

Yeah, this is a super fun knit and I think it should be fairly fast. It’s a one-skein project and the size I’m getting for Sophie, which is the smallest size and I will keep you posted on progress. I have started quite a lot of projects this year and I’m not finishing them, but yeah, I’m just going to plug away and hopefully finish this by the end of the year. But to be honest, because I’m knitting it for Sophie it doesn’t really need to be done until next winter which is next June here, that we’re just coming into spring here. So there’s no real rush on this one, it’s just something to knit for fun. That’s all the crafty knitting news I have for you this week. As I said in the introduction, I really hope you’re doing okay. I’m sending you all my love wherever you are in the wild and have a great week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.


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

The lovely yarn La Bien Aimee for my Hermione Jean Granger Shawl

After a week of small disasters and a lot of decluttering, some comfort knitting is called for. Today on the podcast I’m revisiting my queue of personal knitting. There are a few particular WIPs I am enjoying very much, and a few more very long term projects that are finding their way to the front of my queue. And of course there are always a few very special designs tempting me to just cast on one more thing…

Show Links:

The 30 Day Minimalism Game


Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish


Píosa by Renée Callahan

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Georgie Baby Blanket

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino

Sky Map by Emily Foden

Viola Yarns

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti

Blue Sky Alpaca Silk

Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron

Everyday Lined Hat by Denise Bayron

The Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Moving Forward Wrap by Denise Bayron


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 307. 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 Hell’s Bells and on social media, as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curious

Hello, welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. I am having a pretty good week. I have been very, very busy. I feel a little bit like it’s been one step forward, two steps backwards. I announced last week that I was undertaking a challenge, a personal challenge, of decluttering a thousand items from my home. This is based on a minimalist 30-day challenge that I’d seen on YouTube. It’s a challenge where by you declutter items each day over 30 days and end up parting ways with 465 items.

And I watched a video that described how a couple did it, both did it, and then made it for 31 days and then added a few items and it added up to a thousand items. So, I just decided that that a thousand number sounded pretty good and that I would go for it. And I won’t go into it this week, the process that I’ve been going through the last week or so, but I am up to 860 items after a week. So, that’s pretty good and it’s been very interesting. I’ll tell you the story, maybe in the next episode, and share some, I don’t know, lessons learned or tips about what’s happened. I’m sure by then I will be up to my a thousand item goal, maybe even more. So, it’s been an interesting week, having gone through that process. And a few things happened, came up along the way, which weren’t related to the challenge, but were more sort of every day life.

I was doing a little task that had been on the list since about April. I wanted to get a shelf removed from Sophie’s built in wardrobe because she didn’t have a long hanging space in her cupboard. Anyway, the built in wardrobe isn’t very flexible, so it needed a handyman to come and take out the shelf. And so I walked into her bedroom, and walked around a bit, and then came downstairs again after showing the guy what I needed done. And he came down about 10 minutes later going, “Uh.” And he had knelt in a little deposit that Cindy had left on a rug and I hadn’t seen, so I had walked through it and walked all through the house by this point. Yeah, so that was fun and quite embarrassing. He was really great about it, thank goodness. It was very embarrassing, actually. Anyway, he just said, “Oh, I’m going to have to go and change my clothes now.” And that led to a carpet cleaning episode, which was good, in the sense that it helped with decluttering, because, I don’t know, I tend to get everything up off the floor, as much as possible.

And so that led to just everything getting up off the floor and out into a sorting staging area. So, I guess it maybe speeded up some decluttering, made it more thorough. Anyway, now we have lovely clean carpets and Cindy is no longer allowed in carpeted areas in the house. We’ve been trying to keep her out of them, but had gotten a little bit slack about it because she’s so cute and we like having her with us at all times. That is no longer happening.

And then Saturday afternoon, we were having a lovely barbecue, and the kids were jumping on the trampoline and Lexi twisted her ankle. And we hoped, or thought, it was a sprain, but then a couple of days later I decided that we’d better get it x-rayed just in case. It turned out that she had broken her ankle, bottom of her leg, in two places. So, she spent a day basically getting x-rays and cast on, and was in hospital most of the day yesterday. Yeah, it’s such a shame for her. She is not a kid that will enjoy being immobilized, but I guess it could be worse. So, we’re going to have to deal with the crutches and things for a little while. But as Steve pointed out, at least it’s not swimming season just yet because she loves being in the pool and is in the pool as much as possible when the weather is warm. So, thankfully, small mercies, it’s not quite warm enough for that yet. Although, it won’t be very long before it is. It’s already quite warm weather up here in Queensland.

So, yeah. That’s been my week. Luckily I was already on strike from work, procrastinating with my decluttering and various things. So, I don’t know maybe it didn’t impact my week as much as it would have if I’d actually had some tough deadlines. But I was hoping to get myself motivated to get back into some design work this week, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe later the week. I’m recording this on Wednesday. So, a couple of days ahead of publishing. Anyway, so after that personal introduction about what’s happening around here, I thought I’d talk a little bit about knitting this week, considering that it is a knitting podcast. And I thought as I’ve gone through almost all my yarn, not all my yarn, but almost all my yarn and works in progress and things. I thought I’d just go through some inspiration I’ve had about projects that I’d like to work on, going forward, inspired by yarn and patterns in my stash.

So, of course I would like to finish some WIPs and most of them are fairly… Well, no, that’s not true. I was going to say most of them are fairly recent. Two of them are fairly recent, sort of cast ons. So, I’m working on the Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish, who is the cleverest stitch and really enjoying this knit. Actually, I’m working on it in the evenings when I’m watching TV a little bit, at the moment, and so that’s kind of happening, slowly, bit by bit. It’s super relaxing. It’s garter stitch and stripes and a crescent shaped shawl with gorgeous tassels. I’ve mentioned it before on the show, but yeah, just really enjoying that as a relaxing evening knit. There’s not too much to think about. All you have to do is check which side you’re knitting on to make sure that you’re getting the right number of increases, and that’s about all the thinking that is involved with this one.

And I also have another relatively recent cast on, which is the Piosa Cardigan by Renee Callahan. I’ve knit the body and really just need to knit the sleeves now. I don’t know why I’ve stalled out on that. I think I just went on to design work and put it aside for a little while, and the fact that I need to pick up stitches and do a little bit of a slightly harder, more thinking, task to get onto the next step has made me just put it down for a little while.

But I’m super keen to finish that, it’s going to be a lovely cardi, and I’m slightly nervous that I picked the size too small. I kind of did that knowing that it might be the was too small, which is a bit stupid really, but I was a bit concerned about the amount of yarn I have. I think if it is too small for me, I’ll just give it to Sophie and she’ll probably love it, and it will really suit her because I’m knitting it in Rose Gold by Sweet Fiber. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful color. We’ll see if it stretches out a little bit when it gets blocked, otherwise it will probably be for Sophie. But she’s very knit-worthy, so that’s fine.

I have two older works in progress. One of them is a deep WIP, and it is a Georgie blanket, that was a design of mine from quite a few years ago now. And I think my mom knit the main part of it for me, and it might’ve been for Lexi. So, I’m not sure if it was when she was born even, which would make it a very old WIP. But anyway, it just needs the border knitted onto it. It’s not a huge task, and I would really like to get that finished. So, that’s kind of coming further up to the top of my list of works in progress. I’ve finished a few things this year and that’s one that I really would like to finish. Because it is a really sweet little blanket and I think she would still use it. And it’s knit in Debbie Bliss, Cashmerino, which is a lovely yarn. So, that would be nice to finish up.

And I also have the Star Map Wrap, which is pattern and yarn by Emily Foden in Viola Yarns, based in Canada. I think that one is a more of a longterm project. I’m not really planning on trying to finish that too soon. It’s just a lot of stockinette knitting in the round in mohair and it will be absolutely gorgeous when it’s finished. I did contemplate whether I would just cast it off and make a cowl at some point, but I think I will keep going with it and try and finish it at some point. But I don’t feel a huge sense of urgency to do that. I think it’s going to take me quite a lot of knitting time to do, and so that might just become a project that sits beside the sofa and I pick up when I’m watching TV.

I think the main reason that I’m not enjoying that as much as I could, is that I am alternating skeins. And so with it being mohair and alternating skeins, I don’t know, it’s just slowing me down that bit more than it would otherwise. So, I’ll have to think about that. I did the workshop with Emily in London, was that last year or the year before? I don’t know, maybe last year. I can’t remember. In the last couple of years anyway. And she very, very strongly suggested to alternate skeins. So, I did what I was told and tried to be good. But I’m just not sure. It’s just taking the joy out of knitting it for me. So, we’ll see. Anyway, that can just wait for a little while to make these kind of heavy decisions.

And then I have three other projects that I haven’t really started yet. One is the Elton cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I was very generously gifted the yarn for this by Amy, from La Bien Aimee. And so I have the gorgeous, gorgeous yellow yarn, and I think it’s going to suit my gray hair really well. It could be a nice grellow outfit. Yeah. So, I’m keen to do that and that’s another mohair cardigan, so it might be a bit slower. I don’t know if that’s what’s putting me off tackling that one, but I don’t think so. I think it’s just the fact that I haven’t had a lot of time to work on it. But definitely want to prioritize that one. And then as I was sorting through yarn, it reminded me of another very, very deep stash, deep, deep, yarn pattern cardigan that I’ve been wanting to knit for so many years, which is the Dahlia cardigan by Heather Zoppetti. And this was published in Interweave in fall 2011.

I don’t know if I’ve been wanting to make it since then, but I know that I’ve had the yarn, which is Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in the gorgeous amethyst colorway for a really long time. And I actually had in my head that that was the called for yarn for this pattern, but it’s not at all now I look at it. So, I don’t know why I thought that. And I couldn’t even see it in Yarn Ideas on Ravelry. So, I don’t know why I thought that was the yarn, but maybe I just thought it would be a really good yarn for it, which I still do. So, yeah. There’s that one. I went to see if the pattern was still available, before I talked about it on the podcast, and it is still available on the Interweave website. And I went to look at Heather’s blog and it doesn’t seem like she’s designing anymore. So, she’s said that in a blog post, sort of early last year, that she was going back to her a full time corporate job.

Anyway, it doesn’t mean that I want to knit the pattern any less. It’s a beautiful, gorgeous waterfall front cardigan with a beautiful lace panel on the back. It’s just always appeal to my romantic side. So, I still wanted it that one. I’ve mentioned this on the podcast in the past, but I still do want to knit that one. And then a much more recent, slight obsession is the Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron, Bayron Handmade. I am a little bit obsessed with Denise’s designs and I’ve been talking about knitting various different designs of hers. She has a bulky cardigan that I was initially thinking I would knit, but will never wear, definitely never wear here in Queensland. And that’s the Wave Of Change jacket, which has been a really, really popular design. But just probably not for me.

And then the Everyday Lined Hat really appealed. I thought it’s super cute. I love the simplicity. But again, I’ve just gone through winter here and haven’t worn a hat, and I didn’t even wear hats that much in London, in winter. So, yes. Then I thought, “Oh, okay.” I had to look at her other designs because I just love her aesthetic, and so now I think the Droplet Capelet will be the design that I’d like to knit of hers. She’s got a gorgeous wrap as well, which is the Moving Forward Wrap. But again, I think that the capelet will be more wearable, and I think it would look really cute on Sophie or Lexi. It sort of like can either be a cowl or go down over your shoulders. Really, really cute design. So, yeah. I’m looking forward to seeing Denise’s book that’s going to be published with Laine, I imagine next year. But they’ve announced that they’re publishing a book of her patterns. So, I’ll be very excited to see that.

In the meantime, I’m putting the Droplet Capelet onto my queue. The extra small size takes one skein of fingering weight yarn, but probably I’d want a larger size than that. So, I’ll probably have to find some fingering weight yarn in my stash that I have two skeins of, which shouldn’t be a problem because I have a lot of yarn. So, that’s been my ponderings about knitting this week. It is a little bit of a fantasy queue at this point, but I’ve been getting better and better about being able to do some personal knitting, and separate that from my design and work knitting. It’s been so good for my creativity and calmness and enjoyment of knitting. So, I definitely want to keep that up and try to keep up my plan of keeping at least one of the weekend days work free and just for pursuing hobbies, which I don’t tend to do very often. But when I do, I really enjoy it.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed a little bit more knitting content this week. I will probably be talking about the decluttering process on the next episode. And next week I am going to take the week off because of various things happening. I would have had to record two episodes this week to make it happen next week, and I’ve just decided after a day with Lexi, sorting out her leg and all the time I’m spending decluttering, I just can’t manage to record two episodes this week. So, I am going to have a week off and give myself a little bit of ease and I will be back with you in two weeks time.

Have a fantastic week, everyone. I hope you’re well and staying healthy and able to enjoy a little bit of knitting or crafting time. I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye for now.


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

The tote bag for the Habitation KAL prize

We all know that feeling: we’ve got plenty of projects underway but new adventures and cast-ons are singing their siren song. On today’s podcast I’m stalking some new patterns in my fantasy queue, chatting about some ongoing and near-future projects, and sharing some favourite creative things that are inspiring me right now.

Show Links:

Dreaming of Paris Socks by Joji Locatelli

Adventure Tank by Fatimah Hynes

Meadow by The Fibre Co

Adventure Tank KAL hashtag: #adventureknitalong

SpaceCadet Yarn Thebe

Disturbing the Fleece Ravelry Group

@disturbingthefleece on Instagram

The Winner of the Cirrus Socks KAL is:

Post #42 – TheFibersmith

Mosaic Moon Yarn

SethanyKnits Yarn Shop

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Voolenvine YouTube Podcast

The Patchwork Angel

Scrappy Liberty Hexi Quilt Tutorial

The Friday Pattern Company

The Avenier Jumpsuit

The Cambria Duster

Sage Brush Top

Wilder Gown

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!

Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication


Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 303. 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 Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello and welcome. How are you this week? I hope you’re well. I feel like this is continuing to be a tough year. I am thinking of all of you a lot and thinking about my friends and family all around the world, and I just feel like it’s getting a bit ridiculous now, but actually it feels like it’s been surreal and ridiculous since about February or March. In some ways, it’s almost kind of something we’re getting a bit used to. I don’t know. I saw a story by Joji on Instagram and she posted that it was 119 days of strict lock down in Argentina. I just thought, “Oh, that’s really long and really, really tough.” Really tough.

Speaking of Joji, she’s not letting it keep her back too much in true Joji fashion. She has just released a gorgeous pair of socks called Dreaming in Paris and I really love them. They’re so cute. They’re stripey with a little band of lace around the top of the leg and just really, really cute single round stripes, which is so effective because they have little v’s in them from each of the stitches that really show off each stitch. Super cute, love the colors so gorgeous design, Joji. Thank you. That’s the Dreaming of Paris socks.

When I was looking at the socks, I happened to notice another really cute pattern, which is the Adventure Tank and it is a design by Fatimah Hinds, and she’s a new to me designer. Maybe I will knit this for my new to me designer prompt for the Knit20for2020, because it’s a really cute tank top. And she has knit the sample in Thebe by a SpaceCadet, which I’m not really familiar with that yarn, but it’s a lace weight, 65% silk, 35% linen and 600 meters, 608 meters per 100 grams. And I thought it would be really cute in Meadow by the Fibre Company, which is one of my favorite yarns. And it is heavy lace weight, 40% Merino, 25% llama, 20% silk and 15% linen.

So not exactly the same blend, but some similar kind of features. And I do like a wool blend with other things like linen and silk. And yeah, so Meadow is 500 meters, per 100 grams. So I think similar enough in terms of weight and yeah, it’s just a really, really cute tank. It really popped out when I was having a look at designs on Ravelry and I hadn’t heard of Fatimah before, but she says she has just started at a group on robbery.

She said, “I love to make and design items that are unique and interesting, but not so complicated that you have to work in silence. I want what you make to be practical and beautiful.” So, a woman after my own heart. “I consider my work to be intersex and body inclusive. In keeping with that, I continue to grow my size range so please stay tuned. I believe that beautiful items are for everybody, every gender, every size. You can find me on Instagram and my patterns are also available on Etsy and Loveknitting.” She is Fatimah Hinds designs, AKA Disturbing the Fleece.

I’m not sure what her Instagram name is, but you can find her on Ravelry and yeah this adorable tank top. I’m going to download this pattern now. Well, when I finish recording. Where I live in Queensland, this is super appropriate clothing for me, much more appropriate than heavy sweaters. Even at this time of year, I put a sweater on today when I was inside and it was quite cool. And I went down to the beach and it was blazing sunshine, and I just started sweating instantly. It was so hot. I’m like, “It’s the middle of winter.” It’s been as cold as it has been really. And it’s still not very cold. So yes, a tank top is probably more suitable for me to choose for my knitting these days.

So I’m just creating a little bit of a fantasy queue there. I probably don’t have time to knit those right now. But yes, they are definitely going into the queue and ready for inspiration for the moment I have some spare knitting time. In Curious Handmade knit alongs at the moment, we have the Handmade Sock Society knit along for the Cirrus socks just finished. And so I have drawn via random number generator, number 42 is the winner. And the winner is the Fiber Smith from Oregon. And she has posted a gorgeous pair of Cirrus socks knit in Mosaic Moon Laurel sock yarn, purchased at SethanyKnits in Medford, Oregon.

And she said, “Mosaic Moon Laurel, my new favorite sock yarn.” So, thank you to everybody who has joined in for the Cirrus socks knit along, sock number four in the series. If you can get in touch with me, the Fiber Smith, she hasn’t posted her own name in a profile, so I only know her as the Fiber Smith. If you could get in touch with me on Ravelry and I will organize a prize for you. I think I’m giving up on posting things here from Australia, so I will organize a voucher or a gift to be sent to you from the US.

So currently we have the Vapour sock knit along continuing, and we have the last socks of the series being published next Tuesday, so in just a few days. I can’t believe how quickly that’s come around. Also in knit along news, we have the Habitation throw knit along that was extended and that will be drawn on the 31st of July or the day after. It will be accepting until the 31st of July.

And I have made a prize for that, which is a set of 24 mini skeins or mini balls. I’ve hand wound little balls, which was really fun to do. And a Live and Let Knit tote bag from Fringe Supply Company. So I will be posting that prize, but I’ll try and minimize prizes that I have to post from here until the situation improves a bit. And of course we have the Stillness Mystery knit along also happening at the moment. And we have just released clue four yesterday. And again, I can’t say how much I’m enjoying seeing the progress photos popping up on Instagram and Ravelry. It is so much fun. I feel like people are enjoying the knit along, and a couple of people have started second projects with different colorways because they’re enjoying it so much, so I was very excited to see that.

And yeah, if you have any problems with getting the clues from Ravelry at the moment, or have any other questions, you can email We’ll be happy to help you as much as possible. And yeah, thank you for joining in. It’s made this mystery knit along super fun. I feel like this has been the most fun I’ve had doing a mystery knit along. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a little bit more relaxed this time or what it is. But yes, I’m really enjoying it and I hope you are as well.

I just thought I would spend the rest of the episode chatting about some things that I’ve been enjoying recently. I’m actually purloining this idea from Kristin from the Voolenvine YouTube podcast. And she just published her July favorites episode and talked about various different things. Not necessarily knitting related, but just some fun things that she’d been looking at and into lately. And I thought I might do that because I don’t have a huge amount of knitting to tell you about at the moment. And I’ve been really enjoying a few other things. So I thought I’d share some July favorites with you.

Something that I have mentioned a few times is my hexie quilts that I’m making, and I had some questions from some friends about what that actually meant, what I’m actually talking about. And so I thought I’d just talk about that a little bit. I won’t get into a huge amount of detail. I got into this… I actually started getting into this a couple of years ago when I visited… It’s now my local quilt shop. Well, one of them, there are a few. People in this part of the world seem to be a little bit more into quilting and sewing than they are into knitting for obvious climate reasons.

But I visited this shop with my mom when we were here on some holiday, it’s called the Patchwork Angel. So she had some hexie supplies on display and… Yeah, I just thought it would be a good holiday project. So I bought some bits of little cut up squares and a template and the needles and threads you need. And what English paper piecing is, is basically you start with a cardboard template, hence the paper. I think you could probably use paper, but you really want a very light card. Something that has enough body so that you wrap the fabric around the shape. In this case, a hexagon. And traditionally, you would cut out the fabric with quarter inch or slightly more allowance around your template and then sew the fabric around onto the template basically.

So you’d fold over the edges and then tack or baste the fabric down. And I don’t know when people started doing this, but recently people have started using glue pens so that rather than sewing or basting the fabric to the template, you glue it to the template and that makes it a lot faster. And then you sew your shapes together just by a whip stitch or some people use other stitches, but most people use a whip stitch. So you hold two shapes together, right sides together, and then whip stitch along the edge to sew the hexagons together. The method that I saw recommended is to make flowers out of your hexagons and then that kind of forms a block. So, I will link to a tutorial that explains it a lot better than I have just fumblingly explained it.

And I’m linking to The Strawberry Thief blog, and that is a quilting shop in Perth. I think they’re in Perth, in Western Australia, where I have been getting my Liberty Hexie fabrics and shapes from. So you can buy precut cardboard shapes, which I don’t know, I would recommend. It takes a lot of time to cut out both the cardboard and the fabric. So you can buy them acrylic templates for both the fabric and the cardboard, and you can choose to cut out your paper pieces if you want to, your cardboard. And these kits that I’m subscribed to really appealed because not only are the cardboard shapes cut out, but also the fabric is laser cut into the hexagon shapes, so you don’t have to do any preparation. You can just get straight into the sewing. Well, you have to get the fabric onto the templates, but apart from that, you can basically start sewing.

And so I’ve been having to get up quite early quite a bit lately when I’m on puppy duty. I’ve been sharing puppy duty, early morning puppy wake up calls with my daughter. And so when I get up a little bit earlier than normal, I will sit there and make a flower or part of a flower. So that’s a very enjoyable way to start the day. Speaking of sewing projects, I’ve been thinking a lot about making clothes for a while, and I haven’t managed to actually do any dressmaking, but I saw on Instagram, posted by a lovely shop in the UK, Guthrie and Ghani. I’ve never visited the shop, but I follow on Instagram and the shop is in Birmingham, so I never quite made it to visit. But she posted some patterns by a company called the Friday Pattern Company. And so I visited to their Instagram and was just so taken by my all their designs.

They’re so cute. They have tops, blouses, jumpsuits, coats, and trousers, I think. And they have an inclusive size range and a range of models, an inclusive range of models for their patterns. So I really appreciated that, but mostly I was drawn to their cute designs. And I ordered four patterns directly from them. They’re based in Sacramento, in California. And on their about page they say, “Sewing patterns for the modern woman. Minimalist and easy to sew, we believe in making good things and doing good things. For that reason, Friday Pattern Company donates 5% of all proceeds to a rotating collection of top ranked charities in the world. Each pattern benefits a different charity. For more info on where we are donating for each pattern, click here. Friday Pattern Company is an independent sewing pattern company slash blog based out of Sacramento, California.”

So, I ordered four patterns. I would have ordered more, but I thought I should be realistic about what I’m actually going to sew. And you can do PDF downloads or print it, and I have never used a PDF pattern. I’m so lazy. I much prefer a printed pattern. And so I thought I would order those and wait because it’s not like I have time anytime soon to actually sew them. So I think I ordered the Avenir Jumpsuit, which is like a jersey jumpsuit. It’s super cute. It’s got wide legs and a gathered top and arms.

So it’s kind of a bit dressy if you made it in a dressy fabric or it could be just really casual, super cute. I ordered the Cambria Duster, which is a non lined coat. So I thought that could potentially be wearable here. And it’s got a royal neck collar, a really big collar, and a really nice shape, super chic. And then I think their two most recent patterns that they seem to be promoting, on Instagram at least, is the Sage Brush Top, which is a sort of more like a blouse. It’s got a ruffle across the top of your chest and gathered slaves. Super, super cute. And then I ordered the Wilder Gown, which is a dress. I don’t know why they call it a gown.

It’s a loose, flowy tiered dress that can be sewn up in a bunch of different ways. It has Ragland sleeves and ties up at the neck. It’s easy to sew and perfect for drapey woven fabrics. It can be made as a top or dress, long or short sleeved, one skirt tier or two, so you can customize it. And this looks a little bit like a dress I have in my wardrobe that I wear all the time. And the dress I have is in a jersey fabric by A Light Cotton would be really nice as well. So yeah, that’s my little new to me, sewing pattern company, the Friday Pattern Company, loving their work.

And last but not least, I have been doing a lot of work knitting, which means sort of power knitting. And that’s when I tend to catch up on YouTube as well as any courses that I’ve purchased. I try and watch videos from those, and I tend to be a bit of a serial online course purchaser. And I mentioned a little while ago that I had subscribed to MasterClass and full disclosure, I am an affiliate for MasterClass, so if you purchase a subscription through my link, I will receive a small affiliate fee. And I am recommending it because I really am enjoying the classes. I think I talked about the Ron Finley gardening class, which was the Gangster Gardener, and I love that class so much. And it really inspired me to start growing my own food, which has been moderately successful. I might give a little bit of an update on that in another episode.

And the one that I just finished watching is by Robin Roberts, who is one of the hosts of Good Morning America. And I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of her before. I just don’t watch a lot of TV and I’ve never watched a lot of news or morning shows. And I just thought some of the lesson titles looked really interesting. And she talked about optimism and resiliency for example, and I really enjoyed getting to know her story. And a lot of her lessons were very inspiring and uplifting, I think. And one of the quotes that I wrote down when she was talking about optimism, she said, “You have to change the way you think to change the way you feel.”

And she sort of gave the example of thinking, “You get to get up in the morning and do whatever it is you want to do,” rather than thinking, “You have to get up in the morning and do whatever it is you have to do.” So I really enjoyed that message. Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer and a subsequent illness after that, a blood disorder. And yeah, just her story and her life and what she’d done to get to the point of being host on Good Morning America and her attitude. And she was originally an athlete, or wanted to be a professional athlete, but wasn’t able to. So I very, very much enjoyed that course.

So the way the classes are instructed is that they break them into lessons basically. So you could have 15 to 20 short lessons and I really like that. The lessons are between 10 and 20 minutes each, so you can just dip into a small segment that interests you. And there are so many courses on here that I want to listen to. I thought I would just listen to the introduction or watch the introduction of a few of them. And I started watching Violin by Itzhak Perlman, which I think I will definitely watch the rest of, even though I’m a fairly rubbish violin player, but it’s kind of inspiring to listen to him talking about it.

There are quite a few writing classes, and I think I’d like to start with the one by Neil Gaiman. And I’m also really interested to watch the class by Helen Mirren because I am a big fan of her. So yeah, there’s just so many that looks so interesting. Anyway, that’s a big advertisement for MasterClass, of which I am an affiliate. So yes, take it with a pinch of salt, but if you’re wanting some really high quality, well-produced inspiration, I would really recommend it. So these are just a few of the things I’m into at the moment.

Thank you for joining me today for a little chat. I do you hope you’re well and going okay. I’m thinking of you and I hope you have a great week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.

The Joys of Knitvents Past

Helen —  October 30, 2017 — 1 Comment

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

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

Knitvent 2013

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

Knitvent 2014

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

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

Buy the Knitvent 2014 Collection

Knitvent 2015

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

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

Buy the Knitvent 2015 Collection

 Knitvent 2016

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

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

Buy the Knitvent 2016 Collection

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


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,
Le Petit Nuage
Le Grand Nuage
The Magellanic Cloud


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


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.


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,
Le Petit Nuage
Le Grand Nuage
The Magellanic Cloud

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

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.

CH 149: All about the socks

Helen —  November 24, 2016 — Leave a comment



Its the week for socks – this week I published my first ever sock design the Vintage Fairy Lights socks and soon followed up with a second design for Knitvent 2016, the Juniper Socks.

Happy Thanksgiving to my US listeners!

Show Sponsors:

Meadow Yarn

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links:

My most recent video podcast where you can get a glimpse of some of my recent projects

Vintage Fairy Lights Socks

Knitvent 2016

Juniper Socks

Knitvent Update:

This week’s pattern is the Juniper Socks. Here’s the description:

The Juniper Socks were designed for wearing while traipsing over a carpet of pine needles in the snowy forest or just toasting your toes in front of a crackling open fire.

Made for yourself or for a lucky loved one, the cosy, unisex Juniper Socks knit up quickly, with a lovely textured rib stitch inspired by the beautifully rugged needles of a juniper bough, and a fun contrast colour toe and heel for a little traditional charm. If you’d like to add a little more colour, the ribbed cuff looks wonderful in a contrast, too! Knit from cushy DK yarn, these socks are a perfect way to stay warm when the cold winds blow. Imagine them tucked into your boots or just slipped on to cushion your feet from the chilly floor when you first wake up on a frosty morning.

This pattern is written in the Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist style™.

A chart for the textured pattern is included in this pattern.

The sample was knit with Blacker Yarns Tamar DK


We’ll be gathering for another Curious Handmade Krimbo Party here in London on Sunday the 11th of December at the Paternoster pub on the corner of Paternoster Square near St. Paul’s Cathedral.

RSVP to especially if you’re interested in being part of a possible Secret Santa swap!

That’s our show for this week! Thanks so much for listening, and until the next episode, happy knitting!


Ch 130

This week I’m introducing the newest Shawl Society pattern and chatting about my stash and my “fantasy knitting queue.”

Show Sponsor:

Meadow Yarn

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Show Links:

Happier Podcast Designing Your Summer Episode 67

Little Bobbins Podcast

Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti

Blue Sky Alpaca Yarn

Copper Corgi

Juno Fibre Arts Yarn

50 Shades of Gradient

The Shawl Society News:

This week I released the 2nd secret pattern from The Shawl Society: the Amulet Shawl.

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

The pattern has two sizes and can be knit with one colour or two. Optional beads add a bit of sparkle for special occasions!
There is a mini KAL running for Amulet until and the prizes are amazing:
1. Seven Sisters Arts is giving one of her beautiful Gradient Sets to one of the winners! I’m obsessed with the Ravens Wing gradient.

2. Marce of the wonderful Brown Berry Chronicles podcast has generously donated a $30 gift certificate to the luxury eco skin-care company Lola Blue Living.

The Shawl Society patterns are exclusive to members until the end of this session in November, but it’s not too late to join! There’s an overall KAL running until then too, with lots more prizes on the way.

Joining The Shawl Society feels like stepping through a hidden doorway. You know you’re about to escape into something fresh, unexpected, and full of possibility.The Shawl Society is a pattern subscription club for anyone who adores the element of surprise. Membership entitles you to six amazing months of secret shawl patterns (one pattern will be released each month – June to November) to knit along with your fellow initiates. Participation in the Shawl Society also opens up a world of secret codes, exclusive discounts from boutique yarn producers, and members-only pop-up sales.The six designs in this mystery collection cover the entire shawl spectrum. You’ll encounter different shapes, sizes, and techniques, and the difficulty level will range from relaxing patterns you can knit as you lounge at the lakeside all the way to challenging projects to ignite your sense of adventure. The shawls will be released one by one, and each will take you on a journey. All you have to do is follow the path as it unfolds, one step at a time. The Shawl Society – JOIN HERE

A few weeks back I put together a Knitted Gift Guide for all the knit-worthy people in your life. Today I’m turning that around and offering up a list of delicious gifts that knitters themselves would love to receive! You deserve a little spoiling, especially with all that gift-knitting you’re surely in the middle of right now, so this is a handy link to forward on to anyone wondering what you’d like to find wrapped up with your name on it this holiday season! (And if you don’t want to wait and hope, you can treat yourself to one or more little presents as a reward for knitting well done!)

Something you want…

Technically we know that all that’s necessary for knitting are two sticks and some string, but why stop there when the word is full of beautiful knitting tools, notions, and accessories? From the practical to the beautiful to the just-because, any of these items can help to make precious knitting time extra special. Even for the knitter who has everything, there’s always one more gadget or little luxury that can make life just that bit better.

 Gift Guide Accessory Collage

Top, left to right: Gin Stitch Markers from The Little Grey Girl, Christmas Spice Candle from Wild Planet.

 Bottom, left to right: Grellow and Grey Sirka Counter, Bento Box Case for Sirka

Something you need…

It seems as though devoted knitters always have a heap of projects on the go, and keeping them all sorted and ready to pick up at a moment’s notice is key to switching effortlessly between each piece. Beautiful project bags are wonderful presents for a knitter, because you can really never have too many of them, and there are so many gorgeous designs to choose from.

 Project bag collage

Top, left to right: Macaroon notions bag and zippered XL project bag by Maria Elena Bliss

Bottom, Small zippered project bag from The Little Grey Girl

Something to stash…

No knitter’s holiday can be complete without something new and wonderful to play with. There is strictly no such thing as too much yarn, and no matter the size of the stash, a luxurious skein or two of a special yarn is always welcome. I fell in love with so many magical yarns this year that it was almost impossible to narrow it down, but here are a few I’d love to find in my stocking.

yarn gift guide collage 2

Top, left to right: The Fibre Company’s Canopy Fingering in Red Ginger, Anzula Squishy in Grace, Skein Yarn‘s Top Draw Sock in Ice on the Windowpane

Bottom, left to right: CoopKnits Socks Yeah! in Malachite, Blacker Yarns Doulton Flock Border Leicester 4-ply in white, baa ram ewe’s Titus in limited edition Wesley Bob

And something to read…

Books and magazines full of photos, patterns, information are indispensable to a devoted knitter. We go to them for instruction and inspiration, for hints about technique, and a hit of pure beauty. They make amazing gifts. It’s wonderful to look up at a row of knitting books and issues of magazines on your shelf, knowing that you can dive in and explore at any time.

reading gift guide collage

Top, left to right: London Stitch and Knit: A Craft Lover’s Guide to London’s Fabric, Knitting and Haberdashery Shops; Top Down: Reimagining Set-In Sleeve Design; Field Guide to Fleece, The

Bottom, left to right: PomPom Quarterly ; Amirisu Magazine ; Maker Spaces – Creative interiors from the homes and studios of inspiring makers and designers

Don’t make them guess this year! Email this guide to the chief present-givers in your life and let them know what will make you smile. If you’d like to be a little more subtle, I recommend strategically leaving your browser window open now and then…no matter what, I hope you receive all the lovely gifts your crafty heart desires this holiday season.