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Today’s episode is packed, as I share all my stories from Squam, talk about a wonderful collaboration I’m a part of this weekend, and catch you up on the many exciting WIPs I have going on at the moment.

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:

Squam

To help the Yarn in the City Girls celebrate five years of the GLYC, I’m launching an expanded version of my Fireflies Rising Shawl. The revised pattern will feature a new size and is launching tomorrow, Saturday, June 17th.

The two yarns that The Wool Kitchen and The Travel Knitter have created for this collaboration are breathtaking. They will be doing special updates tomorrow, Saturday, June 17th at 9am BST.

This is the delicious Dancing Fireflies in a Merino/Silk Blend

And here is the incredible Midnight Fireflies from The Travel Knitter, in crazy-soft baby camel and silk:

Here are Larissa and Helen in their Fireflies Rising Shawlettes!

And here’s the new larger version using both yarns:

There will be a Fireflies Rising KAL starting on the 1st of July!

Yarn in the City Ep: 61 with details about the upcoming GLYC Fireflies Rising KAL and an interview with me

Refuge

There will be a KAL starting on the 1st of July.

HeyBrownBerry Instagram

Dyenamixx Yarn Instagram

Handmade and Woolen Podcast

Rib Magazine

Woolen Boon Yarn

Linen & Spoon

Elisabeth on Earth Art

LeatherWoolLinen

Making Magazine

Swoon Maine Book

curious.and.coe

Union Square Socks by Mina Phillips

Voolenvine Yarn

Confetti Pullover by by Veera Välimäki

Fringe Supply Co.

Fringe Association Blog

Summer of Basics-Along

#summerofbasics

Pure Joy Shawl by Joji Locatelli

Giveaway Winners:

For Pom Pom Magazine and Pomfest Tickets:

The magazine:

I love the Bon Bon mitts. Unfortunately, I can’t come to London for the festival but would love an issue of this magazine. Thank you.

The tickets:

Hi! Thanks for this podcast episode–it was great and fun listening. So, I’ve thought through the question about my fave design in the newest Pom Pom Quarterly, issue 21. I am very keen to get my hands on this bday issue. I really want to knit nearly all the patterns, so it’s difficult to decide on my favourite. My way of solving this, is that, since we are hopefully into warmer weather, I would knit either Boum or Jambouree first, as they’re the best knits for warmer weather. I would love to attend the Pom Pom 5 year bday party, so please enter me into this competition, as well. Thanks so much for this giveaway!!

For the Fairyhill Shawl Mini KAL

Winner of the Eden Cottage Yarn prize:
Winner for the Wool Barn prize:
That’s all I have for this episode’s notes! I hope you enjoyed the show, and until next week, happy knitting!

Apple Blossom Socks!

Helen —  March 21, 2017 — 3 Comments

March has been a tremendously busy month, especially in regards to new pattern releases! I think this one will make a lot of you quite happy. Ever since my first sock pattern, the Vintage Fairy Light Socks, I’ve been getting requests to do another sock design. Well, today’s the day! If you follow me on instagram you will have seen this teaser photo of some gorgeous yarn dyed by my friend Jane at Hedgerow Yarns.

Apple Blossom yarn

She created this limited-edition colourway, Apple Blossom, for me to create the sweet, springy Apple Blossom socks. The yarn and the pattern had a sneak preview as kits for the last Curious Handmade Country House Retreat.

Today I’m releasing the pattern on Ravelry so everyone can enjoy them!

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The Apple Blossom socks celebrate that moment of year where everything seems to burst into bloom at once. The magic is strongest in the middle of an orchard, surrounded by thousands of tiny flowers and the lively scent of spring. Apple Blossom features an easy ribbed pattern along the leg and foot features rows of little eyelets like blossoms along a branch. The socks are knit from the cuff down and are finished with a traditional heel flap and gusset.

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Spring is booming right now in my part of the world, and the Apple Blossom socks are directly inspired by the fresh joy of the season.

The Apple Blossom Socks pattern is now available to buy on Ravelry!

If you’ve fallen in love with this yarn, I don’t blame you. I just love it. Since people were asking on Instagram, we have put together a limited edition of kits, including the Apple Blossom Socks pattern and a skein of the Apple Blossom yearn. Jane is making up a special update for the release day, so keep a close eye on her Etsy shop today at 7pm GMT. You might be able to snag yourself a kit!

Now that I’m home from all my adventures, I wanted to share a little about the launch of The Waves Collection for The Fibre Co. When I spent some time at The Fibre Co. stand over the course of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I was struck again by what a wonderful experience it was to be in a collection with two incredible designers, working with a company that makes such an amazing product. It was fascinating to see how we all had such unique interpretations of the theme of water: waves, waterfalls, rivers, bays, and quiet pools. Texture was a really huge part of the collection, which makes sense with a yarn as tactile as Road to China. Watching people react to the shawls in person was so meaningful. No one could resist touching them, and people were so generous with their appreciation of all the designs. Hiroko’s gorgeous lacy yellow Lingholm shawl really stood out as a perfect pop of colour, and everyone wanted to try it on!

I absolutely loved seeing all of the shawls together, so I thought I’d share a little of that experience with all of you who couldn’t make it to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival:

Melanie2 Collage

Hiroko Collage

Helen Collage

Top to bottom, left to right: Melanie Berg’s Armadale and Falls of Foyers; Hiroko Payne’s Lingholm and Portinscale; my Kelso and Tobermory.

It was a really big deal for me to be a part of this project, and I want to give a big thank you to The Fibre Co, to my two fellow designers, and to everyone who has commented, sent me messages, and bought the patterns already. It means so much to me to be a part of such a supportive, creative community.

All photos ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

I’m really thrilled to finally be able to share not one but two brand new shawl patterns with you today. Tobermory and Kelso were designed as part of the Waves Collection for The Fibre Co. Three designers each contributed two shawl designs: myself, Melanie Berg, and Hiroko Payne. The Waves collection was created to showcase the incredible Road to China Light yarn from The Fibre Company. Being part of this collection has been a wonderful experience. I’m delighted to be in the company of such wonderful shawl designers, and working with the Road to China Light yarn was a dream.

 

The Tobermory Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The Tobermory shawl is named after an impossibly beautiful seaside town on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, where brightly painted buildings sparkle against the dark blue bay. Legend has it that a Spanish galleon laden with gold lies at the bottom of that bay, lost in the 16th Century and never recovered.

Back of the Tobermory Shawl designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The stripes of the crescent shaped Tobermory shawl hint at the promise of riches beneath the waves. Its easy lace and eyelets were planned to thoughtfully showcase two colours of the gorgeous Road to China Light yarn: lustrous, subtly tonal, and always treasured.

Buy Tobermory on Ravelry!

Kelso Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The Kelso shawl takes its name from a charming Scottish border town which lies nestled in the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot rivers. Known for the romance of its ruined abbey, graceful bridges, and cobblestone streets, it is a place to lose yourself in time as you wander along the riverbanks.

Kelso Shawl designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

An elongated triangle shawl, Kelso captures the different textures of river and town, with wonderful three-coloured stripes, flickering eyelets and simple lace. The pattern was designed to feature the distinct beauty of the Road to China Light yarn, bringing its complex saturated tones and gentle lustre centrestage.

Buy Kelso on Ravelry!

 

Like so many knitters, my work is deeply influenced by fibre. So many of my designs can trace their beginnings back to a skein of yarn that captured my heart and set my mind working. I always like to share a little about how the fibres I work with spark my creativity, so here’s a little bit more about the fantastic yarn which inspired the Waves Collection. I spent ages pouring over the Road to China shade cards to choose colours…they are all so jewel like and luscious. I spent ages pouring over the shade cards to choose colours. I decided on something a bit more dramatic for Tobermory, and was really influenced by the water theme for Kelso with the blues…I imagine a misty morning on the water with the lavender.

Here’s the description from The Fibre Co.

The Road to China blend was born from our days of owning a small mill back in Maine in the early days of The Fibre Co. Years of fibre exploration at the carding machine hand blending raw fleeces led to the pursuit of the perfect yarn made from truly luxurious fibres. The resulting Road to China blend creates a knit fabric with a soft halo but enough definition to explore subtle textures and shifting patterns. In keeping with the tone of gentle decadence that Road to China brings, we developed a colour palette that is inspired by nature’s jewels and dyed each hank to work in harmony with the raw fibres that go into the blend. Combining the light fawn of the baby alpaca with the soft tones of camel and cashmere as well as the lustrous sheen of silk gives the perfect base for subtle duotones that peek through our saturated colours. Road to China Light is the hank we reach for when we want to create something truly special.

This is one of, if not the, most luxurious yarns I’ve knit with. It’s so soft and silky — incredible to both knit with and wear. Super cosy. I also really came to love the sport weight. It has a bit more body than fingering but still very light. I’m just such a fan.

It’s so exciting to send these two patterns out into the world after working on the designs in secret for so long. I absolutely love this shawls, and I hope you will too! The samples will be on display at The Fibre Company’s stand at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, so you can visit them in person. (I also recommend taking a moment to pet a few skeins of the Road To China yarn!)

It has become a Curious Handmade tradition that I design a special pattern for each retreat. We’ve been so lucky to have The Fibre Company as a retreat sponsor since we began running these events: each time I’ve had the privilege to create a pattern inspired by one of their luxury yarns.  The very first retreat pattern was the Hilltop Shawl, which used the perfectly-named Cumbria yarn. Next came the Bracile Hat and Cowl for the last autumn retreat. They used the amazing woolen-spun Arranmore yarn.

Today I’m excited to release the third CHCH pattern, the Laveer Kerchief, made from The Fibre Company’s luxurious new yarn, Luma.

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Laveer is an evocative old nautical term for sailing against the wind. I love the sense of striving, adventure, and exhilaration in that word, and I think this snug little accessory captures that same sense of exploration. Perfect for windy days on land or sea, Laveer is a jaunty sailor-striped kerchief which exists somewhere in the space between a cowl and a shawl. Knit in the round and featuring easy lace and eyelets, it’s versatile and cosy, but light enough to wear even on warmer days.

You can buy the Laveer pattern here now!

A little bit about the yarn: Luma has a tagline which really sums up this wonderful yarn: “threads of sunlight.” 50% Merino wool, 25% Organic cotton, 15% Linen, 10% Silk.

Here’s the Fibre Company’s description…

A classic DK weight yarn, Luma is inspired by the mood and light found in mid-latitude savannas—those grassland ecosystems with open canopies allowing plenty of sunlight. Daily life in mid-latitude climates, whether in the drier Mediterranean or temperate Great Plains of the USA, is best handled with a layered approach to clothing. Plant-based fibres mixed with silk and wool provide a built-in layer of warmth in winter yet lightness when required in warmer temperatures. The Luma palette includes soft neutrals and bright shades of pink, blue and green.

The colour palette is super fresh and pretty: very spring like and light. I absolutely love it. All of the colours go together very well, so I am very excited to see what combinations the retreat attendees choose for their stripey Laveer kerchiefs! (I also love that you can get two kerchiefs out of two skeins just by reversing the colours!)
The combination of plant and animal fibres is really interesting. The wool gives it some elasticity, the plant fibres give it that light summer feeling and the silk makes it lovely and smooth to knit. The feel of the fabric is soft and light with a nice body to it. This would be really very nice for summer cardis and tops. As always with The Fibre Company yarns the blend is very intriguing and different and very enjoyable to work with…it seems to knit up surprisingly fast, as well. I’m not sure if it’s the touch of silk in there which makes my needles fly or some mysterious sort of magic, but I love it.
If you have a bit of retreat FOMO, hopefully this pattern will cheer you up. I decided to release it as the retreat gets underway. I’m hoping it will inspire you to take a little special knitting time for yourself this week, even if carving out space for a whole retreat wasn’t possible this time. I’m wishing you a special cup full of fragrant tea, your favourite chair, and a few hours of uninterrupted creativity, wherever you may be.

Introducing Botan!

Helen —  April 15, 2016 — 1 Comment

This is so exciting! Amirisu issue 10 has just been launched, and it includes a new shawl pattern by yours truly! This is Botan.

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“Botan = Peony in Japanese

A shawl adorned with bobbles and picots. It is mostly knit in garter stitch, which makes it great project for beginner knitters. It makes a lovely spring shawl when knit in cheerful colors as the sample, or can be used throughout the year when you choose more chic color combinations.”

You can see the pattern here on Ravelry with more adorable photos, and you can buy the whole issue (with 8 glorious Spring/Summer patterns) here. Single patterns from the issue will be available from June 1st.

I just love this sweet little shawl and I hope you will too!

 

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

 

Afternoon Tea in Anzula Squishy: Candy Apple

Back in 2012, I released a little shawlette on Knitty. Afternoon Tea, which was inspired by vintage frocks and pastel-frosted cupcakes, played on the concept of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s beloved Pi shawl. Since then the pattern has had quite a life. It has racked up almost 1000 projects on Ravelry, has been made in every colour under the rainbow, and made an appearance at countless special events (including starring roles in at least a dozen weddings!)

I designed Afternoon Tea as a fun little fancy. It had only one job, to be ornamental. That’s a role it has played perfectly, but recently I wanted to revisit the pattern to see what more it had to offer. When I re-released Pebble Beach in larger sizes, the response was wonderful, and I knew that Afternoon Tea also deserved its own “growing up” moment. Over the last few months I have carefully redesigned and rewritten the pattern as a full-sized shawl. The new, larger Afternoon Tea retains all the delicacy, refinement, and playfulness of the original shawlette, but now it’s ready to do double duty as both a decorative and a more functional piece.

The yarn I chose for the new samples has quickly become one of my favourites. If there was such a thing as a yarn soulmate, Anzula Yarn’s Squishy might just be mine. It’s a fingering weight MCN blend: 80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon. It’s so, so soft and the colours are completely lush. I knit the small sample in Teal (possibly my perfect colour) and used up one skein, pretty much exactly.

Afternoon Tea Shawlette in Teal

Small Afternoon Tea in Anzula Luxury Fibers Squishy [80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon, 352m /385yd per skein], 1 x 100g skein, Colour: Teal

My wonderful mother knit the medium sample for me in Candied Apple: I was so grateful to her but it was hard to hand those two skeins over. I wanted to keep knitting with that yarn! The lovely drape is especially evident in this larger size.

Afternoon Tea Shawl in Anzula Candied Apple

The new, larger size of Afternoon Tea in Anzula Luxury Fibers Squishy [80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 352m/385yd per skein], 2 x 100g skeins, Colour: Candied Apple

The original samples were knit in three other yarns which are still very close to my heart. The sheen and stich definition in Quince & Co’s Tern wool and silk blend is to die for.

Afternoon Tea in Columbine

The original small Afternoon Tea in Quince & Co Tern [75% wool, 25% silk, 202m /221yd per skein], 2 x 50g skeins, Colour: Columbine

Madelinetosh’s Tosh Sock really needs no introduction. This yarn is a perennial favourite, and the Baltic colourway is deep, moody, and elegant. Best of all, the small version of the shawl uses up exactly one skein.

Afternoon Tea in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock Baltic

Original small Afternoon Tea in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock [100% superwash merino wool, 361m /395yd per skein], 1 x 100g skein, Colour: Baltic

I’m still such a fan of Viola’s Merino fingering, in this rich violet colour.

Original small Afternoon Tea in Viola Merino Fingering [100% superwash merino wool; 365m/400yd per skein], 1 x 100g skein, Colour: Violet

Original small Afternoon Tea in Viola Merino Fingering [100% superwash merino wool; 365m/400yd per skein], 1 x 100g skein, Colour: Violet

As of today, the revamped pattern is available to buy now on Ravelry: as part of this rebirth, along with the new size, I have also converted both sizes into my easy-to-follow percentage checklist format that is so popular with Curious Handmade knitters! And of course, the original pattern will still be available for free on Knitty. I hope you enjoy it.

Whispering Island Shawl

I’ve been hinting all week about my newest pattern, and I’m so excited to share it with you all that I’ve decided to release it a day earlier than planned.

The pattern is available on Ravelry to buy now.

“My readers will want to know if Whispering Island is real, set in the great blue harbour in the story – and if the little cottage on the hills is there still…Yes, the island is real, and lies in the great harbour, still full of whispering trees. The little cottage on the hills is still there, with its magnificent view and its old well… I have taken them all and put them into this book for you.”

Enid Blyton “Five Have a Mystery to Solve”

Cliffs and caves, coastlines and caravans: Whispering Island is inspired by the landscapes of beautiful Dorset and the fun to be had there by the young at heart. This generously-sized shawl wants to be slung across your shoulders as you wander through fields, explore forgotten ruins, scramble up hillsides, and toast marshmallows over a campfire.

An elongated triangle shawl with a rounded border, Whispering Island is all about texture. Knit in a rustic, rugged DK weight yarn, it features rippling ridges and just a hint of feminine lace in the eyelets along the edge. Although packed with lovely details, this pattern is amazingly easy and fast to knit: the perfect project for a knitter setting off on their first shawl adventure, or for the experienced knitter who wants something simple to finish by the fireside in the long summer evenings of a camping holiday.

This particular project has been such a joy. It was one of those patterns that seems to know exactly what it wants to be from the beginning, and I had a wonderful time bringing it to life. I also had the immense pleasure of working with three marvellous yarns, which each brought their own magic to the design. As any knitter knows, it all begins with the feeling of fibre in your hands.

Whispering Island in Hole & Sons Yarn

The first inspiration for Whispering Island came from my precious stash of Hole & Sons wool. I was lucky to get my hands on some (the last release sold out online in a matter of minutes.) I knew I needed a very special project to make the most of its wonderful qualities, and I felt it was worthy of its own new pattern. I enthuse at length about what makes this yarn so miraculous in tomorrow’s podcast, where I interview Benjamin Hole about his farm, process, and philosophy.

For the original Whispering Island, I used Hole & Sons Pure Wool in the “Fog” colour. [100% Dorset Poll Pure Wool, 110m/119yds per ball], 6 x 50g balls.

Because there will be a bit of a wait before more Hole & Sons yarn is available for purchase, I also wanted to knit this shawl in some other lovely yarns which allow for more instant gratification.

Whispering Island in Blacker Shetland Yarn

Blacker Yarns Shetland DK shares a lot of qualities with the Hole & Sons wool. Soft, springy, and heathered, it is actually spun in the same mill in Cornwall. It manages to be both rugged and incredibly cuddly, all at the same time, and it’s very smooth on the needles. The colour of the wool, Fawn, is completely natural. It’s an undyed light brown in a creamy caramel shade: it reminds me of Werther’s Originals! [100% Wool, 110m/119yds per ball], 6 x 50g balls]

Whispering Island in Acadia

You’ve probably heard me mention the Fibre Company’s gorgeous Acadia yarn. I was planning to knit a two-colour version of Whispering Island, and I wanted a yarn that would still capture the outdoorsy feeling of my original vision. When I looked at some other shawls knit in Acadia I suddenly knew that this was the perfect yarn for the job. I can’t say enough about what a pleasure this yarn is to work with. The blend of merino, alpaca and silk is wonderfully soft and luxurious with loads of rustic character. [60% Merino wool, 20% Baby alpaca, 20% Silk, 133m/145yds per skein], 4 x 50g skeins, Colour: 2 x Driftwood, 2 x Summersweet]

The result, in all three yarns, is a big, welcoming shawl with lots of heart, an all-season shawl that will be equally at home sheltering you from the soft breezes of a summer evening as it will be cuddling around your neck once the winter winds begin to blow. It’s a surprisingly quick knit, and lots of fun: I’ve made it three times now, and it has never lost its charm.

I really love Whispering Island, and I hope you will too.

Pebble Beach Shawls

It’s here! The Pebble Beach Shawlette has grown up into a Shawl!

Remember this?

Pebble Beach Shawlette at Unwind Brighton

After winning the Unwind Brighton design competition last year, I released my Pebble Beach Shawlette Pattern on Ravelry. From there, it took on a life of its own. When a group of us cast on in the beautiful Pavilion Gardens under the shady trees, I had no idea that this little shawl would be such a hit.

I’ve really been looking forward to this re-release. It’s been wonderful to watch so many people enjoying this pattern, and with the one year anniversary of the original release approaching, I wanted to do something special. Many people wanted to knit larger sizes using lace weight yarn, or with two skeins of fingering weight, so the path was clear: I decided to design some more sizes for you.

The Pebble Beach pattern now has three sizes to choose from: the original Shawlette, a medium, and a large. The medium is designed for 600m/660yds of heavy lace weight yarn and the large is designed for 800m/880yds of lace weight yarn.

All three sizes have been set out in my much loved percentage checklist style so that you can keep on track from the first stitch right to the cast off.

Three sizes of the Curious Handmade Pebble Beach Shawl

Small – gold – Kettle Yarn Co – Westminster yarn – colour Gold Rush
Medium – green – The Uncommon Thread – Merino lace – colour Mermaid
Large – grey – The Uncommon Thread – Heavenly lace – colour Attic Room

If you already have the pattern in your Ravelry library, go look! You’ll automatically receive the updated version. It should be there now. If this will be your first time knitting Pebble Beach, your timing couldn’t be better!

You can join in the Pebble Beach Knit Along on the Knitting Pipeline Ravelry group, hosted by Paula Emons-Fuessle, which will run until July 5th. You can enter to win prizes with any of my designs even if you started or finished them before the start of the KAL!

As part of this KAL I am offering a Ravelry coupon code for a discount of 30% off one of my patterns or collections, valid until May 31. Just the code KPKAL30 at checkout on Ravelry.

You can purchase the pattern on Ravelry here:

I hope you’ll join us for the KAL. Don’t forget to use #pebblebeachKAL for your social media posts. I love to see photos of your WIPs on Instagram!