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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.

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

Big Little Meg!

Today we have some more lucky giveaway winners to announce, and I’m chatting a little bit about my current approach to goals and habits and how they are working out for me these days. I’ve also got a special pattern update to share: after many requests and much ado, I’ve just released a second, larger size of the Little Meg Shawl: some very cosy, comforting knitting for these difficult days.

Show Links:

Tiny Habits book

Habitation Throw KAL Winner

AnnaRobyn

Hedgerow Yarns

Knit20for2020 July Ravelry Winner

Qtar – Nuuk Pullover

Nurja Yarn

Instagram Winner

The_Knitting_Gurg

Snowmelt Shawl

Kitch Kreative

O’Rielly’s

The Little Meg Shawl

Curious Handmade on Etsy

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 305. 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 the full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. It’s a stressful time, I think in the world at the moment. There’s a lot of things going on and I guess we’re all just trying to do our best to stay calm and healthy as possible. And I feel like that’s all being done in the face of a lot of uncertainty, a lot of conflicting advice, or a moving feast of advice that’s changing constantly. And I think everybody is trying to do their best to stay well with themselves, their loved ones and society as a whole. But I have to say it’s pretty difficult to know what we’re meant to be doing at any point in time. We have had a spike in cases here in Australia, in the state of Victoria. And also to a lesser extent in New South Wales, we have had some new cases here in Queensland, which is not that high by worldwide standards, but by relative standards to what we’ve had, it’s high. So there’s a certain amount of freaking out happening.

I went to the supermarket yesterday and the toilet paper shelves were completely bare again. So I think that’s a bit of a indicator of the state of mind of people. I feel like there should be some kind of toilet paper availability index as to how we’re all feeling about things. I have had the kids home from school this week because they have colds and can’t go to school. I don’t think they’d be well enough to go to school anyway, but if they’ve got any sniffles or coughs they can’t go in. Which is completely fair enough. And I just feel a bit frustrated because they seem to be getting a cold every two weeks. And I think it’s maybe because we’ve moved back to Australia and they don’t have immunity to the local bugs. Maybe it’s like when kids start going to school or daycare and they’re just sick all the time for the first year, I feel like that’s what’s happening here.

Anyway, we’re taking lots of vitamin C lots of vitamin D trying to get lots of sleep. I’ve been working on sleep as a particular habit to improve. I mentioned a few episodes ago that I recently listened to the audio book of Tiny Habits, which is by a guy called BJ Fogg, and really, really love this book. I’ve been implementing some of the strategies and would highly recommend it if you’ve tried to change habits and not succeeded. I really like his method, and it makes a lot of sense to me. At first, I thought it was a bit strange, the whole concept of flossing one tooth, I kind of thought was a little bit pointless. But once he explained that it’s all about making habits doable, that you have the ability to action them and that you make them small enough to be able to do and have success and have that feeling of feeling good about yourself and your ability to do the habit and then really gradually build it up.

And so I’ve been doing that with a couple of things and it’s working pretty well. And so I’m now trying to have one night a week where I have eight hours sleep. And I’m not really succeeding yet, but getting closer. So it’s a long, drawn out, painful process to get these habits in place. But I guess hopefully it will be more sustainable. Anyway, that’s just what’s happening here. You’ve had a bit of a random personal update there. But I hope that you’re all finding ways to cope with the uncertainty and disruption that’s happening everywhere at the moment. I’m certainly not complaining because we have it pretty good here in Australia, especially where I’m living. But it’s still causing a lot of disruption to our life. And things like travel and the ability to get together for knitting retreats and everything like that. It just is making me appreciate a lot of things.

So just a little update on knit alongs and things happening in Curious Handmade world at the moment. We have the handmade sock society. The last sock pattern was released and the knit along is continuing until the 8th of September. And that day is for both the altitude socks and the grand prize for people who’ve knit all six socks. We’ve opened up a thread in Ravelry, and the Curious Handmade group for that now. And we had some knit alongs finished. So I have drawn the winners for the habitation throw knit along. We have the winner, AnnaRobyn, who is from California and she knit her habitation throw in a gorgeous, advent, mini set from Hedgerow Yarns, who’s one of my favorite indie dyers in the UK. I just love her beautiful, pretty colors. So congratulations Anna Robin. I have a physical price to send to you.

So if you can get in touch either via Ravelry, HellsBells or email me Helen@curioushandmade.com and I’ll need your address to send that to you. And for the knit 20 for 2020 challenge, the Revelry winner is Qutar Q-U-T-A-R, who knit a gorgeous nuk N-U-U-K pullover designed by Jonna Hietala. And she’s nominated. Nurja, I think you say it N-U-R-J-A which is a Finnish yarn shop. So congratulations and I’ll get in touch with you, or you can get in touch with me to let me know your email address so that I can organize a gift voucher. I might need some help with this one because the website is in Finnish and I can’t see an English version, so I might not be able to purchase a gift voucher. But I’m sure if I email them they will be able to help me.

Our Instagram when it is the knitting gurg And she knit a snow melt shawl as a gift for her daughter in law for her 30th birthday. In lovely, beautiful green Fru Valborg yarn. So again, if you’d like to get in touch or I’ll try and get in touch with you to organize a prize for you for the July knit 20 for 2020 challenge. We have the thread up on Ravelry for the August challenge, and you can also post on Instagram using the hashtag knit20for2020. I’ve been getting quite behind in my knit 20 for 2020 challenge because I’ve been doing a lot of design knitting lately for the past month or so. I don’t know, it’s gone very quickly. I’ve been working on a design for a retreat I am very hopefully attending in October, which is local. So it’s in my state. So hopefully that will still be okay to go ahead.

And I’ve designed a shawl for that. That retreat is organized by the lovely Kylie from Kitsch Creative, and it’s at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a beautiful camp and resort in the rainforest in a national park here. So I’m really looking forward to that. I think it’s going to be a beautiful location, and retreat. And just fingers crossed that we can go ahead with it, but I’m sure we will be able to. Thinking very positive and optimistically. And the other design work I’ve been working on is knit vent patterns for this year. I’m really excited about this year’s knit vent. And I feel really pleased that I’m working on the designs relatively early in the year for me, probably not for other designers. But for me, this is quite early and quite on top of things and yeah, they’re coming along really well.

I think it’s definitely helping that it’s not last minute pressure and that I can have a little bit more time and ease to get a bit more creative and just think it out and plan it out a bit more. And have a bit more time to let the muse visit. So that’s going really well, but it’s meant that I’ve been really focusing on that pretty much exclusively. And I haven’t had time for any of my personal projects. So my sewing projects and quilting projects and other knitting projects, are all just waiting for me at the moment. And I think what I might try and do, hopefully is to work really during the week this week, and then do some fun projects on the weekend and take at least one day of the weekend off to do a little bit of personal crafting. But we’ll see, I don’t know. I’m just wanting to really focus on the designing at the moment.

I have released a pattern this week, which is an update to the Little Meg shawl that was originally published in 2018 and was quite a popular little shawl. I designed it for a retreat, the country house retreat in Cumbria. And so I designed it as a shawlette so that people could potentially knit it during the retreat, or knit quite a bit of it during the retreat. And I had a lot of requests for a larger size because it is just a really lovely, simple triangular shawl. And so I’ve had the sample and photographs for ages, maybe a year. And so I finally got it together and updated the pattern. I’ll just read you the description so that you can hear the inspiration behind the design.

“The ancient fields of Cumbria are scattered with fragments of time worn buildings and monuments. Many layers of history have been laid down here. And these remnants hint at the stories of the people who lived here long ago. Some of the most mysterious ruins of all are Cumbria’s prehistoric stone circles. Whether they were once used as ritual sites, way markers or for some other purpose, we can never know. Today, they are places of wonder. Little Meg is named after one of Cumbria’s smallest circles, which has endured since the bronze age and her magic is intact. One of her stones is carved with graceful symbols, spirals and circles within circles. This triangular shawl was created for the Curious Handmade country house retreat in March, 2018, using the magical canopy fingering from the Fibre Company designed to be an ideal retreat knitting. The design is simple. Eyelets dotted across a field of stockinette stitch, just like the standing stones of Cumbria moors. Wrap the shawl around your shoulders and the circle is complete. A crisp, garter border provides an elegant finishing touch.”

The small version can be knit in 100 grams of the Fibre Company, canopy fingering. And that’s two 50 gram hanks. It comes in 50 grams and canopy fingering is a gorgeous blend of 30% Merino, 20% Rayon from bamboo and 50% baby alpaca. And then for the large, it uses five times 50 gram hanks. So for the small, it’s about 400 yards and for the large, it’s about a thousand yards. I have the pattern at 20% off for the month of August. So it’s £4 rather than £5. And I’ve just put it at that price of £4 without any coupon code or anything. It’s just a reduced price. So you don’t have to worry about it. But it will go back to its normal price of £5 at the end of August or beginning of September.

So if you would like that pattern at a discount, it’s available now, it’s available on both Ravelry and Etsy. I have a pattern shop on Etsy now, which is curioushandmadeshop, curious handmade was taken. So I now have curious handmade shop and I have some of my patterns available there, not all of them, but some of them. And I’ll post the newer ones there until I figure out a more permanent solution.

So that’s about all the news I have for you this week. I’ll just keep it to a fairly short episode. Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you have a good week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

The big reveal of the Stillness Shawl after our MKAL!

After five secret clues and weeks of knitting and good company, today’s the day we reveal the full design of the Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong. On this week’s podcast episode, I’m chatting about the MKAL reveal, updating you on our other KALs and how I’m handling prizes. Along with the Stillness reveal, there’s also a bit of a reveal of my long-term personal project of growing out the grey. It’s the first time my almost-fully silver hair has featured in pattern photos! So today I’m talking about that process, what it was like, and how I feel about it now.

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Altitude Socks

Vapour Socks FO Thread

Altitude Socks FO Thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Stillness MKAL

Call Your Girlfriend podcast

Ann Friedman Newsletter

Grombre

Erica Henry Johnston

Nikol Johnson

@SilverHairandBretonStripes on Instagram

@wellness_with_walda on Instagram

Curious Handmade on Etsy

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 304. 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 curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. I hope you having a good week. We are having lovely weather here in Queensland the past couple of days. We had a rainy week and now we’re having a lovely week. So that’s definitely lifting the spirits. I have been hunkering down on doing lots of design work the last week or two, and that’s going really well. I’m really excited about what’s coming up, but that means I can’t really talk too much about my knitting because I haven’t had any time to do any personal knitting projects, but I thought I would update you on some Knitaong news and just have a bit of a chat with you today. So we have the Handmade Sock society happening at the moment for all your lovely sock knitters. And the last pattern was published last week, the altitude socks.

And it was a little bit bittersweet to see that last pattern come out and the society finished for the year, but we still have some Knitalong time to go. So the vapor sock Knitalong is finishing on Tuesday, the 11th of August. So a little bit more time for that one. And then we have the altitude socks, which have just come out and the grand prize for the Knitalong for people who have knit all six socks that will be drawn on the 8th of September. So quite a few weeks left to finish up all six socks if you’re working on that and also be in the draw for the altitude sock, Knitalong. I am basically planning on switching to gift vouchers for prizes, and I will be offering $50 gift vouchers to the indie dyer or yarn shop of your choice, just so that we can get around this postage situation that we have here in Australia post is very slow from here.

And so I’d rather send you something close by or support a yarn shop or indie dyer that’s your favorite or close to you, just to make things a little bit easier and maybe even a little bit more fun. So I’ll be doing that for the rest of the prizes and I am a bit behind in organizing prizes for the Handmade Sock society so far. I’ve managed to get up to date on the knit 20 for 2020 prizes. That’s all up to date, I think, but having said that, today is the last day of the month for July. So I will be drawing that probably over the weekend or early next week for Knitalong. So if you’re working on the knit 20 for 2020 challenge, make sure that you get any things that you’ve knit this month into the thread on Ravelry or alternatively, I also draw from Instagram.

So if you’re posting something for knit 20 for 2020 on Instagram, be sure to tag it with a hashtag as well as let me know your favorite yarn shop or indie dyer, tag them in the post and the winner, which is randomly drawn winner will receive a voucher from that shop. So I draw both from Instagram and the Ravelry thread for that Knitalong. So that’s all that, I can’t believe its end of July already, but there you go. And also ending today is the habitation throat Knitalong. So that was extended and I’m drawing that over the weekend as well. So you might have a little bit of a leeway. If I haven’t look the post, then you can still enter. I’m just letting everything be a bit Wabi sabi at the moment and not too perfect. So please post any habitation throws in the finished object thread that is just in the Ravelry group. I’m afraid.

So hopefully people can post their apologies if you can’t. I set up this Knitalong, a long time ago, and I don’t feel like I can change that now, but I appreciate that some people can’t use Ravelry at the moment, so huge apologies, but I think that’s the best I can do for this at this moment. For the habitation thread, the prize is some set of hand wound, mini-skeins that I have taken from my stash from various designs over the years as well as a tote, which is a knit and light knit, taught back from French supply company. It is sadly closing up. So that will be a collector’s item. And of course last but not least, today is the big reveal. All of these Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong. Clue five was released last week. And I have seen so many gorgeous shawls that people have finished posted on Instagram and on Raverly.

And I am so thrilled that people are loving this show and have just knit such beautiful shawl. So I’m super excited about that. And from today seeing as we revealing the final pattern and I’m posting the completed pattern. All the clues consolidated together in one file. You don’t need to the post, the spoiler post on your final show anymore. Thank you to everybody who’s done that so diligently, it’s been really, really good. I have seen very few people posting without the spoiler post. So that’s been just amazing. You’ve been awesome. And the final Knitalong will continue until Friday, August the 28th. So you have until then to be in the drawer for the prize, which again, I will do as a voucher and allow plenty of knitting time for that. So if you have been joining in, on the Knitalong and have just received the final file. You might notice a big change in my hair.

I think this is probably, I have posted as of myself over the last year but this is the first pattern that I have really had with my gray transitioned hair and I feel a little bit self-conscious about it, but really happy. It’s not a hundred percent grown out yet though. Its not a hundred percent fully natural. I still have a few bleached tips at the end, which is a little bit frustrating, but I am tantalizingly close to being a hundred percent natural color. And I’m really happy about that. I can’t wait to have those final bleached bits topped off the end. And I just thought because of that, I would give you a little bit of an update today about, about that topic. I know that for some… For lots of people, lots it of women, it’s not an issue. She, they just never dyed their hair and so they never had to deal with a problem and didn’t take it on as something to do.

And I really admire that, but unfortunately I started dying my hair probably in my twenties and probably had some grace coming through then, probably even at university I don’t know. I was quite young when I first started noticing the gray hairs. And at that time I was kind of just dying my head, have fun with different colors, but it then merged into covering up, the grays. I think a lot of us are in that situation, so then it’s quite difficult to change and make the change in the decision to stop dying your hair. And once you’re in that situation and you decide to stop, then yeah, you really need to deal with the transition somehow and you don’t know what it’s going to be like, you don’t know what you’re going to look like, and you can’t really tell exactly what you going to look like until it’s all natural.

I think even, I can’t really tell exactly how it’s going to be, because I think when you have dye in your head, even if it’s just a little bit, it kind of… I don’t know, it skews how it looks somehow like the light reflecting and it… Ordinary, just the way it grows through it just distorts how your natural color looks like, you can’t really tell exactly what it’s like. I had actually been wanting to grow out my hair for a couple of years. I started to become frustrated by having to diet so frequently and it got to the point where there was really no time that the roots weren’t showing through. And I spent a couple of summer holidays, growing it out, thinking I was going to for it and then getting home and chickening out and dying it again.

And because I am a professional model, because I model my designs, I was always conscious of that. And it was a little bit difficult to get photos taken with growing out hair. And I also had a bit of a fear of, that I would look old and feel old, and that I would feel differently. And I also had a fear that I would be treated differently by society, that people would look at me and think I had let myself go or just look old or not really… Yeah, I had a real fear that I would be treated differently as a gray head woman. So I’ll just quickly share how I did progress to the stage and I had to go back and look at photos to get these dates because I couldn’t remember when I started and I had a vague idea, but this just been such a blow lately. I thought, I was like… Which year was it?

So I last dyed my hair on the 19th of December, 2018 for the holiday season or the parties I went to. Not really, but a couple. And then the way it happened, I didn’t refresh it in January, and then in February we went on holidays, for the half halftime school holidays. And I was sitting there on holidays and I was subscribed to an email newsletter by Anne Friedman, which I really enjoy. She sends lots of interesting links and she’s one half of the call your girlfriend podcasts that I really enjoy it with her co-host animator, Sal. And they’re just fabulous. I really love listening to friends chat and I cover really fantastic topics. Anyway, she does a weekly newsletter. And there was a link to an article about women going gray young. And so I read that article and was quite inspired and that linked to an Instagram account called Grombre, G-R-O-M-B-R-E so Gro and Ombre.

And it’s Instagram account, celebrating women transitioning from dying their hair to going gray, or just going gray naturally from the beginning, which is much easier path, I think now, but anyway, celebrating women with gray hair. And I was transfixed by this account because it was so positive and so many women were posting. It posts photos, plus a little statement by the women or a little bit of their story or their thoughts. And I was just so inspired by this. And I also thought that the women who had gone through growing their hair out and had natural hair, I just honestly thought it just made them look so beautiful and so fabulous, and it just really made their skin look great. And so I decided then and there that I was going to just continue on not dying my hair because by that stage, it was like two months since I’d dyed it and that was starting to show.

And then a month later I was at EYF and feeling a little bit self-conscious because I had really bad rates by that stage or really good but bad, because of the very severe lawn with my dark brown hair. And so I went to EYF and I survived that and I felt a little bit self conscious for photos, but I just didn’t really care too much because I was happy with my decision and I was happy that I was doing it. And then I got to a point where I was just fixating on it all the time. Every time I saw myself, I would just be really annoyed with the line and the contrast between the gray and the brown. And I just wanted it done. I’ve been following another account on Instagram. There was a hairdresser that was doing a lot of transitions where people were just bleaching the hell out of their hair and then toning it with a gray toner.

And so I decided that I would do that as a way to fast track the changing over and I’d convince myself that it would work. And so then in May, I did that and I had my hairdresser bleach my hair and it took two goes because the first time, she didn’t take enough color and it was this really bad. Light brown weird color and then we did it again. And the problem was, in that process, it ended up taking the dye back to square one because I thought she would be able to just split shit from where the color was, but really I think what happened was it bleached all my hair. And so I didn’t have the benefit of that five months growing up, but I’d already achieved. But I was happy with it initially and I have to say it was very fun being blonde for a little while. And I just sort of decided that yes, I would just have fun with doing it that way. And I don’t regret doing that.

The only thing I regret is not making that decision from the beginning because I thought I could cheat the system but yeah. So my tip would be to work out your strategy early on in the process because I waited five months, had it bleached and then I was back to square one in terms of growing. Growing out to the natural color and in retrospect, I should have just got some strikes probably just to even add that line a little bit, but I was… I had a bee in my bonnet that I just wanted it done then and there, and I couldn’t bring myself to cut it that short. I went for this interim approach and I’m probably… I don’t know what I like. I think if I’d cut it that short, it would have been a bit hard to deal with. I don’t know but probably. It probably would have been fun, but I just wasn’t ready to have such short hair.

And so I think if you can handle having short hair, or if you already have short hair, that’s probably the fastest and easy way to do it, just get it all cut off quite short. If you’re keen to just be fully natural, that’s the definitely the quickest way to do it. But if you’re just going to grow it out and keep a bit of length, then I would say even just for a bulb length, it’s probably going to take you two years to grow it out and I didn’t really fully appreciate that. How long it would take when I started? Because when I started, I felt like it was growing out so quickly, every month I was having to diet every four weeks but in reality, that was just like a centimeter. That just seemed like a lot. But when you’re trying to grow it, it seems super, super slow.

So anyway, I just thought I had talk about it this week because I know that a lot of people have not been able to get to hairdressers recently and perhaps are at a point where they have grown-up, they graze a little and maybe wondering about which way to go. So I just wanted to share my story and say, I am so happy that I’ve done this and it’s taken a while and it’s still ongoing, but I’m absolutely thrilled to not have to dye my hair anymore, to not have to put the chemicals on my hair and not have the expense and mostly just to be. I just feel like the color suits me well and I don’t know. People don’t really say too much, but I’m happy with it. And I feel like I don’t care what anybody else thinks too much because I like it. I really like it. And people who know me probably find it a bit startling if they haven’t seen me for a while. But anyway, I think it’s pretty cool.

And I’ve been really, really boosted by a couple of YouTubers as well. Erica Henry Johnson has a great YouTube channel. She’s smart, she’s funny and she’s super positive and down to earth. But I have found her… I think she’s really cool. And she has beautiful gray hair. She’s maybe 10 years younger than me, I think. And she’s a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and… She’s just super cool and does really funny outtakes of her videos with her kids and yeah, I really love her. And there is also Nicole Johnson who is more into the beauty side of things. She’s a model, but super positive and also relatively down to earth, but she talks a lot more about beauty products and makeup. And it’s really more of a beauty channel, but with a real focus on positivity towards aging, which I really like as well.

They have great YouTube videos and on Instagram there’s a huge community of people posting about this, which I discovered through Grombre. There’s also an account called silver hair and Breton stripes that are quite alike, and I recently discovered wellness with Walda, W-A-L-D-A on Instagram as well. Walda Lorena Sky and she has a great account to follow. So I just wanted to share that story and a little bit of the backstory as to the change in my pattern and photos. Just a little note in regards to my pattern availability as probably a lot of know especially if you’re on Instagram regularly or on Ravelry regularly, you will have seen the issues with the redesigned Ravelry site and that it’s causing people, headaches, seizures, and health issues. So eyes, things like that. And for that reason, I have decided to try to get my patterns up on an alternative platform.

And to be honest, I’ve been planning to try and create my own shop on my website anyway, and this is giving me more of a push to do that. But because it wasn’t sort of a current project it’s taking me a while to do. So, what I’ve decided to do is put at least some of my patterns on Etsy for the time being, I won’t be posting all of them because I have over a hundred now, but I’ll post some of the more recent ones. And in the main time work on developing my own shop on my website. It’s a little bit complicated because I’m currently redeveloping my own website anyway, and that’s been a project that I’ve been working on for about three years. So that might give you an idea of how long it takes me to do these technical things. So I thought I would be able to get a shop up quite quickly, but actually there’s a lot of considerations, especially when you have a lot of patterns.

And I’m also rebranding my patterns to be all in the same format and branding. And that’s also a very time intensive project as well. So I thought it would be reasonably simple to do, but it’s proving to be a bit more complicated. But I just wanted to let you know that I will have some patterns on Etsy and I’m working on an alternative solution as I go through the set of requirements. For evaluating different platforms, I do just come back to appreciating how amazing Ravelry is as a platform for knitting patterns and just I’m really hoping that they can get the site back to being accessible for everybody. I am trying to think the best and I’m sure that they’re trying to solve the problem, but have not been able to do it yet and I’m trying to provide an alternative for people as well. And that’s fine because as an indie designer, I think it’s good to have a little bit of independence from just one platform anyway, but it is a big job.

I will post the link to my Etsy shop. At the moment I’ve just set it up and have posted only a couple of patterns so far, but hopefully by the time this podcast is released in the next few days, I will have been able to post a few more patterns up there as well, and that will be an ongoing project. So thank you as always for your support, thank you to the people who buy my patterns and knit them and thank you. To all of you who are listening I appreciate you so much. I hope you’re looking after yourselves and going okay at the moment. I’m thinking of you all and just hoping that everyone all around the world is well and not experiencing too much stress by the situation. I’m sure that most people are experiencing higher levels of stress than normal. So yes, I really hope that this podcast can provide a little bit of light relief, a little bit of company, and yes, I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking about you. Just before I sign off, I like to thank my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

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Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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 curioushandmade.com.

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 support@curioushandmade.com. 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.

Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

24 mini balls for the Habitation Throw KAL prize!

A flying visit! Today’s podcast is short and sweet: a little catch up episode where I update you on some KAL news and chat about my personal creative projects and design work. For anyone that’s been missing The Shawl Society this year, the beginnings of a new shawl design are underway…

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 KALs

The Handmade Society 3 KALs continue!

The Cirrus Socks FO Thread will close on Tuesday the 14th of July, and the Vapour Socks FO Thread will be ongoing for another month!

I’ve decided to extend the deadline for the Habitation Throw KAL again, until the end of July. So many people are still knitting it, and it’s such a big project. It’s meant to be relaxing and I didn’t want to rush you! If you finish your throw by the end of the month, make sure to post it in the Habitation Throw KAL FO thread for your chance to win a 24 mini set of 20oz yarn balls from my own stash and projects.

The 3rd Stillness MKAL clue was just released! So many incredible knitters have been posting their progress, with more starting every day. There is plenty of time to “catch up” if you want to, and knitting at your own pace is highly encouraged…we have two months before the KAL deadline if you want to be in with a chance for a prize so no pressure!

If you want to be a part of this mystery, make sure to grab your copy of the pattern, and then come say hi in the Stillness MKAL chat thread, the Clue 1 Spoiler Thread or the Clue 2 Spoiler thread to see where we’re up to now. If you haven’t joined yet and want to learn more, make sure you check out the blog post with answers to the most frequently asked questions we get about the Stillness MKAL.

Kitch Kreative Project Bags

O’Rielly’s

Lamington National Park

Louie and Lola Yarn

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 302. 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 curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to this week’s show. I hope you’re having a good week. I’m having a good week. It’s been pretty quiet. Puppy and school holidays are keeping me really busy and I haven’t been able to concentrate on much. It’s been one of those weeks where you can’t even think what’s happened. So I have managed to do a little bit of work, but it has been very interrupted and distracted. So not the most productive, but not terrible.

The kids are going back to school next week, so I’ve been trying to plan ahead a little bit about what this term might look like. I think it might be fairly straightforward, but it’s really too early to say. We have just had Victoria, one of the southern states in Australia be locked down again, well the Melbourne area anyway. And so it really is just a moving feast. And I do not envy our politicians dealing with the ups and downs of what’s happening with COVID-19 and all the businesses and people also dealing with it all around the world. It’s pretty insane and different countries are in very different places with it, but we’re all being impacted. So yeah, it’s pretty crazy. And I feel like it is making it very difficult to plan, but just trying to take it in short blocks at a time. So I’m going to try and look at this coming term and maybe just sort of thinking ahead to about September or October, we’ll see, who knows. Who knows.

So we have lots of knit alongs and things happening at the moment. And I just wanted to give you a little reminder that if you are participating in the handmade sock society knit along the sock four knit along will end on Tuesday, the 14th of July. So, that is the Cirrus socks. And if you’ve knit a pair of the Cirrus socks, get them into the thread by the 14th of July. And then the Vapor socks knit along is continuing for another month or so. And then the final socks for this year’s sock society will be released on the 21st of July. So that is one and a half weeks time. So yeah, so it’s all happening. The handmade sock society is nearly over. We will have the knit alongs continuing right through until September. So we’ll give you another two months from the publication of the sixth and last socks to either knit those ones or finish all six because we’ll have a grand prize for all six socks as well.

Then we have a knit along happening for the habitation throw. And this is my bad, a little bit, a lot. So for the habitation throw, we had the knit along happening through May, and then I was really slow to make the prize because the prize is 24 mini skeins that I’ve selected from my stash and previous projects, a 20 gram mini skein. So it’s a really lovely prize and I’m adding a tote for the prize, it’s from the fringe supply company. So I took ages to make that because it took me quite a while to hand wind the 24 mini skeins. Mini skeins, mini balls. And then I thought, okay, I’ll extend it to the end of June, but I didn’t announce that. Because I kept forgetting, because June was so crazy. And so now I’ve decided I will extend the habitation throw knit along to the end of July. And I’m finally announcing it and I will publish pictures of the prize and put it in the threads.

And so I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me and that if anybody has been knitting away on a habitation throw in the meantime and is continuing a one at the moment, you can enter it in the thread on Ravelry up until the 31st of July. And we’ll draw the prize soon after that. So, yes, apologies for the change of end date. Things are just getting away from me a little bit here. My yarn balls are dropping all around me and I’m just trying to make things happen the best I can. So the habitation throw knit along has been extended until the end of July. So I hope that people … I see a lot of people knitting it on Instagram and Ravelry. So all you have to do is post a picture in the thread of your habitation throw to be in the draw for a really lovely prize.

And then for the stillness mystery knit along, we have clue three out yesterday, and I am just absolutely loving seeing your posts on Instagram and Ravelry. It is so delightful to see all the color combinations. It’s so fun and I’m just absolutely loving them. And yeah. So thank you for posting and thank you for posting spoiler cover pictures so that people who don’t get the clues aren’t spoiled just yet. We will have a big reveal after the last clue comes out. But in the meantime, we’re just keeping it a secret for people who are on earlier clues still, and you can still join in any time. You’ll just get whatever clues have been published so far. There’s two clues to come. There’s five clues all together for this mystery knit along. And if you’re someone who doesn’t really like surprises, you can get a sense of what the shawl is like by looking at the spoilers.

I never have the discipline to not look at the spoilers myself, but I admire people who can keep it a surprise for themselves. So apart from trying to get on top of a little bit of admin, and catch up with things over the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a little bit of design work. I’ve been working on a shawl design for a retreat I’m attending here in October. Earlier in the year, I was invited by Kylie, who has a project bag at Sea Shop, which is called Kitch Kreative, which is K-I-T-C-H K-R-E-A-T-I-V-E. And yeah, she’s organizing this wonderful retreat at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a bush getaway. It’s a campground. And it has some cabins and lovely facilities in a place called Lemington National Park, which is a couple of hours south of where I live.

And it’s just an absolutely beautiful location. My parents had their honeymoon at O’Reilly’s and we used to go camping and bush walking there when I was a kid. And I’ve been once camping with my husband when we were dating, maybe, I think, yeah, very early on in our relationship, we went there for a camping trip. And I haven’t been since then. So I’m really, really looking forward to it. It’s such a gorgeous place. So I’m designing a beautiful shawl in yarn, which is Louie and Lola and Karina is a indie dyer based in Tasmania here in Australia. I recently discovered her and yeah, just absolutely delighted to be designing with her yarn. So that’s really fun. And that’s been a really lovely project the last couple of weeks because I haven’t designed a shawl all year. This is the first shawl I’ve designed this year. So that’s kind of funny, but it’s nice to be looking at shawls again.

And it’s got me thinking about what collections and designs I might do next year, because this year I decided I would need a really cut back year in terms of designing. I knew we would be settling into Australia and getting kids sorted, getting my business established here, which has been a lot of admin, sort of closing things down in the UK and setting things up here and sort of personally as well and all sorts of things. And so I made the decision last year to just do the handmade sock society this year and net band. And then I thought if I’m able to I’ll do the mystery knit along. So that happened as well, which was fab. But yes, so now I’m thinking about next year and trying to decide whether I keep it a bit cut down and just do one society or whether I’ll be able to do both next year.

Anyway, so I think I’ll do the shawls next year instead of the socks possibly, but I might be able to do the socks as well. So we’ll see. I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to doing some shawl designs again, because this has really made me realize how much fun it is to design the shawls. I am kind of thinking about doing a little survey to find out what people are looking for at the moment. I feel like I’ve just been kind of going along, making it up and doing collections and sort of managing what I can. And I always like to base it on feedback from my knitters and I do get a lot of feedback, sort of just through comments and emails and responses to things that I do. But I thought maybe it would be a good time to do a little bit more of sort of a formal feedback on what people are looking for next year.

Anyway, that’s another thing that I’m thinking about doing that will probably take me a little bit of time to get organized, but yeah, I’d love to know what people think. With all that going on, I haven’t had a huge amount of time to do much else. I did have an afternoon last weekend where my mom and sister came over for some sewing and I’d managed to set up my sewing machine in preparation for sewing my little houses quilt. And I managed one seam by the time I got everything set up, tidied up the massive mess that the kids had made in the room and figured out my new machine, because I’ve had this machine for about four years and haven’t actually had time to use it. So I had to go back to the manual and figure out how to thread it and some basics like that.

So I didn’t make much progress, but I feel really happy that I’ve made that much progress. Got it set up, ready to go. And I realized that some of the fabric that I had cut out for the blocks wasn’t really the quality that it needed to be. When I was sewing the pieces together, I realized that the white fabric that I bought from Spotlight, which is like, I don’t know whether it’s like a Joanne’s here, but it’s like a kind of more of a budget craft store. I think it’s fair to say. And they have really, really lovely things there, but this fabric, when I looked at it, the weave was really open compared to the other fabric I was using. And so I had to go back to square one with that and purchase different fabric. And now I’ll have to cut that out into a million small squares.

So it was kind of one step forward, two steps backwards with that project, but that’s okay. I’m back on track again. I have the white fabric and yeah, will be able to move forward again. So yeah, so I’ve been working on that. I’ve been working on hand sewing my Liberty hexies, making lots of little hexie flowers and that’s been very enjoyable. And a little bit of knitting on my Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish, but not so much of that because I’ve been doing the other design knitting this week. So I don’t have lots of updates for you. And I think that’s all sort of the news and announcements I need to make. I always remember something after I finished recording, but yes, I think I’ve covered most of it. And I’ll just make it a fairly short and sweet episode this week.

So thank you very much for tuning in. Have a fantastic week, everybody. I hope you’re keeping well. I hope you keeping sane. I hope you’re able to do some lovely crafting and relax a little bit amongst all the ups and downs and basically chaos in our lives at the moment. And yes, all my love. Talk to you soon.

Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

My long lost Barrett Bear kit has arrived!

We’ve passed the halfway point in this crazy year, and it seemed like a good time to catch up with how things are going and how many things I’ve managed to cross off my 20 in 2020 Happiness Project list. There are a few things that recent events have made impossible, but plenty of other things to be happy about, and even some opportunities in the midst of upheaval. I also have a lovely bunch of winners to announce from our #knit20for2020 and Stillness MKAL giveaways!

Show Links:

Knit20for2020 June Giveaway Winners:

Ravelry Winner:

Cuppacha with post #35

Edin Cardigan by Bonne Marie Burns

Hazel Knits

Instagram Winner:

Aviatrix1979

Amulet Shawl

John Arbon Textiles

You can find all the details on how to enter the July Knit20for2020 giveaway on Ravelry or Instagram, you can visit this link!

Stitch Mischief

Laine

Skein Australia

Winners of the Stillness MKAL Giveaway:

Grand prize winner:
Post 314: https://www.ravelry.com/people/deesuhr

10 Pattern of their choice winners:

Stillness Shawl MKAL

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

Clue 2 Spoiler thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Barrett Wool Company

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

Píosa by Renée Callahan

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 301. 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 curioushandmade.com.

Hello, welcome to the show. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re having a good week. I’ve been having a pretty good week. It’s been a little bit up and down and I feel like a few weeks ago, or maybe it’s a couple of months ago, now, I said on the show that I was a little bit fed up with my family. And this week, I feel like I’ve just been fed up with myself, maybe for a couple of weeks. I’ve just felt fed up with not maybe doing the habits I wanted to do and not being able to get my act together, having no focus and just feeling a bit frustrated and fed up with everything. A bit lonely, a bit bored. But in the last day or so, I feel like I’ve sort of regrouped a little bit and I might talk a little bit about that in the main part of the episode.

We’ve been very much enjoying new puppy and she’s settling in really, really well. Little Cindy, she’s a cavoodle. I had quite a lot of questions about what breed she was when I posted a photo, which means that she’s a cavalier spaniel and poodle cross. So that means that she’s hopefully low for allergies and she’s going to be quite small. But she’s sleeping really well at night, which has been pretty amazing. We’re putting her in a crate and that’s in my office, which is sort of a little bit apart from our bedrooms. So I’ve been putting her in there at night and then putting ear plugs in, and she has been going pretty well. I think the last few nights she hasn’t been crying when I’ve left her, so that’s amazing. And she’s been managing to get through to the morning without any accidents as well. So, super happy about that. Fingers crossed that continues and it’s not just like first week sort of miracle. And yeah, so she’s going well.

So that’s been really, really lovely, and I think it’s cheered us all up quite a bit in the family. It’s also caused a little bit of lack of sleep because Sophie and I are getting up quite early to get her out of the crate. So we’ve been having some early mornings and we’ve gotten into a bit of a routine where we take it in turns. So, that’s going pretty well.

So it’s a new month and that means that we have some Knitalong winners to announce. So I will do that first. And we have the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge winners. The first one is for the Ravelry thread and the winner is number 35, who is Cuppacha, Carol. And she lives on Whitby Island in Washington State and she entered with a Edin cardie. A beautiful cardigan. And as I was scrolling through the thread, I noticed that she also had two other entries, a pair of socks and a beautiful shawl. So congratulations, Carol, Cuppacha on Ravelry, and she’s nominated hazelknits for her prize of a $50 gift voucher. And so Carol, if you can contact me either on Ravelry to HellsBells or support@curioushandmade.com, and just let me know your email address so I can organize the gift voucher.

And on Instagram we have aviatrix1979, who is Charlotte. She’s based in the UK. She knit a beautiful amulet shawl, which was from the first season of The Shawl Society in John Arbon Textiles. So again, Charlotte, if you could contact me either Instagram or one of the previous methods that I suggested, and just let us know your email address and I can send you your gift voucher.

So thank you to everybody who is participating in Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. I noticed that I had about 80 projects on the Ravelry thread, which was amazing, and I didn’t have so many projects tagged in Instagram. So if you’re working on the 20 in 2020 challenge, you can tag your projects in Instagram and nominate a indie dyer or LYS that you’d like to win a $50 voucher from, and I will draw prizes at the end of each month, beginning of the next month.

I’ve been really slack about organizing the prizes, but I am on it. I will get there eventually. So please be patient with me, but know that I will get there and sorry about that. But yes, I will be better. The second half of the year, I’m turning over a new leaf with my admin and emails.

We also had a really fun giveaway for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl. In the lead up to the first clue coming out, people could post their inspiration for their colors for the shawl or post their favorite still life painting or other still life scene from in real life. And the prize is a beautiful skein of Skein Australia Yarn that I used in this sample, one of the colors that I used in the sample, a Laine knitting diary, as well as a beautiful project bag from Stitch Mischief.

And so the winner of the grand prize is Deesuhr. That’s spelled D-E-E-S-U-H-R. She doesn’t have any details in Ravelry profile about name or location, so I think maybe her name is Dee. Anyway, if you can contact me, send me a Ravelry message at HellsBells or contact support@curioushandmade.com on email, and I’ll organize to get that prize sent to you.

We were also offering 10 winners a pattern of their choice from my pattern library. And so the winners are Lynhart, Fynbo31, Knit4Keeps, Quilt and Yarn, gypsycraft, Andystitch, Konkyliedesign, emmoswmr, ceglaw, and NellyJake. We’ve posted the winners also on Ravelry in the thread. So if all those people who’ve won a pattern of their choice could message on Ravelry to HellsBells, and we will arrange for those patterns to be gifted to you.

So, thanks so much for joining in with the competition and all the Knitalongs and everything that’s happening. I always enjoy seeing your entries and comments. It’s always very inspiring and just nice to feel part of the community. So for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl, clue two was released yesterday and I am loving seeing you’re spoiler pictures on Instagram and Ravelry. Thank you so, so much for everybody posting their photos behind the spoiler image, or as a second image on Instagram and in the spoiler thread. It really is lovely for people who aren’t quite up to your pace to not have the surprise spoiled if they’re really keen for that. And so, yes, I appreciate that.

But I also appreciate seeing all your photos of your progress. And I am loving the color combinations. As I said when people were choosing yarn that I really didn’t think you could go wrong, and I was kind of crossing my fingers that that was the case for everyone. And I really feel like I haven’t seen a single color combination that I thought wouldn’t work. I think they’re all working beautifully, and I’m so excited to see that and just getting so much joy from the beautiful colors that people are using. So excited about that and thanks for everybody joining in. I mean, if you still wanted to join in, I don’t think it’s too late to catch up. The second clue has just been released, so if you felt like joining in, perhaps you’ve had a peak at the sneak peeks and like the look of how it’s coming out, then I think you can jump in at any time.

There’s not really any obligation to keep up. I think a lot of people seem to be though, so that’s good. I try to pace it so that people can keep up if they want to. I want to make it achievable. So I hope everyone joining in is having a really fun time with it.

Speaking of Knitalongs, we have the July thread for Knit 20 for 2020 now open. So you can either post on Ravelry or on Instagram using the hashtag #Knit20for2020. And so if you’re knitting anything on the challenge list of prompts, you can post if you finish it in the month of July.

And I’m so excited because I ordered a kit from Barrett Wool Co. which is Susan B. Anderson’s yarn company, and I always thought if I was ever going to make a toy, it would be one of her patterns. They’re just so, so, so cute. And so I ordered a little bear kit and the bear is a polar bear. It has a gorgeous red cardie with heart-shaped buttons, and it’s just pretty adorable. And I ordered that back in April and then obviously mail went a bit pear-shaped. And I think in Australia, I’m not sure when this happened, but I think it was after I ordered the kit, but they stopped doing air freight. So I think any mail going or coming is going by boat. That might be just true of parcels, rather than letters. I’m not sure what really what’s happening, but anyway.

I had kind of almost given up on this kit. I was thinking, okay, it’s just coming by boat. It’s just taking a long time, but I was a little bit worried that it had got lost. And it arrived yesterday. So I was super happy about that. And so now I can work on my toy prompt for the challenge. I’m not sure when I’m going to start that. I have a few projects on the go already, a few sort of personal, non-work projects, including the Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish and the Píosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits. And I think a few other deep whip things as well, some socks and so on. So I would like to finish at least one or two of those things before I start on the toy, but I’m just so happy that the kit arrived and it’s gorgeous. It’s so cute. The packaging is beautiful and I can’t wait to knit that.

So, as I mentioned in the introduction, I had a little bit of a revisit of goals and reassessment of my mood and what’s going on this week. So I took the opportunity of it being halfway through the year and in Australia, it’s a new financial year here. So the tax year ends at the end of June. So that was a little bit of a time to catch up on a bit of admin and clear the decks. I’ve decluttered and cleaned my desk so that I have a nice fresh space to work.

And actually it was my birthday on the weekend, last weekend. And the girls gave me some lovely gifts. I had suggested that they go to a particular shop that sells… I like face cream, organic face cream and things like that, and was hoping for some moisturizer. And instead I unwrapped some crystals, a water bottle that has crystals at the bottom, and a diffuser that diffuses essential oils. So that was quite funny and quite adorable. And so that really prompted me to clean and refresh and declutter my office a little bit. So now I have some healing crystals and some beautiful essential oils. Oh, they gave me a candle as well with crystals in it. It was like really crystal, crystal-tastic. So that was really sweet and was also a really nice prompt to do a bit of tidying up.

So I’m feeling a lot calmer. I don’t know if it’s the crystals or just having a desk that I can see, but either way it’s good. And I decided to have a look at my happiness project, my 20 in 2020 happiness project. And this kind of gave me the inspiration for the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And it’s an idea from the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Croft that I listen to somewhat regularly, not all the time, but every now and then I’ll dip into it. And they have this happiness project where you make a list of things to do for the year that will make you happy.

So I’ve pulled out my list and as I suspected, at least four of the things have been sort of kiboshed by the lockdown. We were actually meant to be in the UK right now and going to my friend Amanda’s wedding on the weekend in Ireland, which has been postponed for a year. So maybe next summer we’ll be doing that. But in the meantime, I’ll have to find something else for that item. And also when I wrote this list, there was going to be a trip to Shetland, which I was not 100% sure about anyway, but in any case that was canceled as well. And I also had a relaxing holiday. So I want to just lie on a beach somewhere in hot sun, and I had Bali Villa question marked for that. So also not happening.

And then there was also catching up with my friend who’s in New South Wales, which is the adjoining state to where I am in Queensland. And our border has been closed since the lockdown, but very excitingly, the Queensland premier has just announced that the borders will open on the 10th of July for Queensland. So we’ll be able to go interstate again, which is very exciting. And I’ll be able to see my friend, my best friend.

So I had a few things that I’ll need to basically postpone to next year or cancel or rejig. Some things are happening and some things I have achieved. Most of the things on the list are things that are in progress or I haven’t started yet. So I had create and tend a house plant family. So I have some pot plants that I have been managing to keep alive, so I’m on track with that. I don’t know if I have to keep them alive till the end of the year to be able to take that off, but I’m pretty pleased. The maidenhair ferns are going particularly well. Some plants have not survived, but I have about six or seven that are doing pretty well.

I have my 40th birthday quilt that’s in progress. That is the little houses quilt that I’ve been talking on the podcast a little bit about. And I pretty much have that almost cut out now. I have enough pieces to start sewing up the blocks, and I’m gradually inching towards starting sewing that up, piecing the blocks together. So that’s happening. And I feel like I will have at least the top piece together by the end of the year. Knowing my progress, I probably won’t have it finished, but I feel like if I can get the top pieced by the end of the year, that will be fantastic.

I have my gray hair (don’t care) full transition, which is on track. I have been growing out my color for, I don’t really know exact date I started because I kind of started and then went backwards with bleaching it blonde for a while to try and make the transition easier. But that put me back about six months, I think. So I’m not really sure exactly when I started. I guess I should count it from that time. So probably just over a year, I guess. So, that’s not too bad. It feels like it’s been taking forever. I think I’ve really been trying to start it for more like, oh, I don’t know. I’m a bit confused. Maybe two years, I don’t know. A year and a half, let’s say.

Oh dear. Yeah, so I have a couple of inches left. I’ve cut it quite short. I haven’t really been posting photos of myself for a while because I’m a bit fed up with the transitional step, but that’s happening and it’s on track. Every time I go for haircut, I’m so tempted to say, “Just cut off any color,” but that would make it really quite short. So I haven’t had the guts to do that yet, but I’m kind of thinking maybe next time I might say that. I might just say, “Get rid of any color and just do what you need to do to, to do that.”

Oh yeah. Another thing that I got sidetracked from with the lockdown was joining a music group, an orchestra or a band for the flute. But that is starting up again here now, so I might be able to get into that before the end of the year. So I think a step before that will be for me to find a flute teacher. I’ve been trying to find a teacher since we got back here, but I haven’t really managed to find someone. I did go to a couple of lessons with a couple of different teachers and they were okay, but they were high school teachers. And I just felt like they weren’t really in the groove of teaching adults.

So I’m going to persevere with that and try one more teacher. And I think if that doesn’t work, I might contact my teacher in London and see if she’d be willing to teach me via Zoom, because we were getting on very well. And perhaps with the lockdown, she might have gone more into teaching online. I don’t know, but that’s maybe a possibility, although the time zone between Australia and London is terrible and it seems a little bit ridiculous to me, but I guess I just have to accept my circumstances. And also that online learning to me is actually pretty convenient now because I have more options with time slots if I do that, although the problem with trying to coordinate with London means that those time slots are actually quite limited.

So anyway, we’ll see. Something I’m working on and something that if I can sort out, it will make me very, very happy, because I was going great with learning, taking up the flute again, after 20 years of not playing. It was something I really, really loved. And then I found a wonderful teacher in London and made really, really great progress. And I was so happy because I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pick it up again. And so I was so thrilled that I could. And now, since I’ve been back in Australia, it’s just all being dropped again. So I think I’ll make that a priority as something that gives me a lot of joy to try and work out for the last half of this year.

Sorry. That was a bit of a ramble, but I’m kind of thinking out loud as I’m chatting with you. So thank you for listening. What am I like? Anyway, I’ve got a whole list of things that would make me happy, but I think that would make me really, really happy. So I’m going to focus on that.

So I would love to know if you have a 20 in 20 happiness project happening and let me know how many things you’ve been having to re jiggle this year. It’s been such a crazy year. Oh my goodness. I still can’t get my head around it. And I just hope that people are going okay. I listened to a lovely podcast when I was out on my walk yesterday and it was kind of a productivity podcast. And the guy was talking about just trying to see the opportunity in the situation we’re in.

He gave a really lovely example that I will try and take on board, which is he was home, he has a little kid, and the kids are home from school and he’s trying to work. And his kid came up to him and said, “Can I help you with something?” And he was about to say, “Oh no, no, I’ve nearly finished now. It’s fine.” And then he thought to himself, no, actually this is an opportunity to connect with my son and teach him. So he decided from that moment to take his son on as an apprentice and just take the opportunity to teach him stuff that he knows. He didn’t really go into details, but I thought how wonderful is that idea of just reframing kids home from school? Not an easy situation and reframing it to taking his little son under his wing and teaching him stuff. And I’ve been thinking about that with the girls, trying to teach some cooking skills and cleaning skills and craft skills and trying to do that. So I thought I really like that idea of an apprenticeship. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway, that’s my little chatty ramble for the week and I’m going to wrap it up there.

I hope you have a fantastic week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

CH 300: Big Milestones

Amanda —  June 26, 2020 — Leave a comment
Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

Meet Cindy!

I have a cosy trip down memory lane for us this week. It’s my 300th episode, and also my 10 year anniversary of publishing my first indie design on Ravelry. My heart is very full! Also in heart-bursting territory, our new puppy has joined the family, and she’s keeping us very busy. This week also saw the first clue release of The Stillness MKAL, and the excitement is off the charts.

Show Links:

Jewel Cowl

Radiance Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

You can save this image to use as the first picture in your Ravelry project page or on social media to keep from spoiling knitters who haven’t knit the first clue yet:

If you have any questions or need help that you can’t find in the Ravelry group

#Knit20for2020 June FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Subpod Compost

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 300. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. Thank you for joining me for a chat today. This is a bit of a special episode milestone for 300 shows and I’m extra grateful to you because when I started this little podcast back in October 2013, I genuinely did not imagine I would still be going seven years later. I think at the time my big hope was to manage to record about 10 episodes and see how things went. So, those 300 episodes are all down to you, keeping me company and your lovely messages, conversations, Curious Handmade knits and photos you’ve shared and really created a community around the podcast and my designs. So from the bottom of my heart, a huge, huge, thank you.

And this month is also another really big milestone because it is 10 years ago in June 2010, that I published my first indie design on Ravelry, the Jewel Cowl. Of course, in some ways it seems no time at all ago, but mostly it feels like a lifetime ago. At that time, when I published that first pattern, I was still working in the city in London, in a law firm. Lexi hadn’t been born yet, and I was seriously into knitting after picking it up again around 2005, I think. I was meeting up with my dear friends at Wednesday night knitting and we still meet up now when we can, which means a lot to me. I had recently moved to London and I was stalking a blog called ACE chick. And then I crashed one of Pauline who is Ace Chick’s knitting groups she shared on her website because I was really lonely.

I just moved back to London and I wanted to meet people and I didn’t know how to meet people outside of work. So I ended up making such great friends through that first uncomfortable knit night when I was so shy. I had to drag my sister with me. And I just shake my head now when I think about how much that changed my whole life and career from that point, really. I was looking early photos of my knitting and thinking how much I’ve changed as a person since then, but I actually don’t think my knitting has changed very much. I mean, my skills have improved quite a bit, but my taste in colors and style hasn’t really changed all that much in 10 years or 15 years since I started knitting. If I look at my early designs, like the Jewel Cowl and the Radiance Shawl, and I actually use some of those stitch patterns even now in designs. I can’t imagine ever not loving a picot bind off.

At that time in my life, 10 years ago, I was dating my now husband. I was living in a share house, working in a corporate job and wondering what I was doing with my life quite a lot of the time. I was finding huge comfort in crafting because I had discovered blogs. I remember the day I was sitting at work and discovered what blogs were. And honestly it changed my working life because all those hours of boredom was suddenly filled by creativity and people from all over the world, sharing their makes. And I discovered the Back Tack Swaps run by Nicole, who was Craftapalooza and Alison at six and a half stitches, who were two Ozzie crafty bloggers whose creativity I absolutely loved. Before I got back into the knitting, I actually got back into sewing and I started sewing things by hand to participate in those swaps.

And then I got back into quilting and bought a little sewing machine and would be making quilts in my share house, and people thought it was really weird, anyway. But yeah, it was just such a lovely time, rediscovering craft and creativity after university days and traveling days where I really didn’t do anything. And yeah, it was a lovely time. Now where I have two tweens, a puppy sitting under my chair sleeping, nine mice. Yes, that escalated quite quickly. And I’m living back in Australia during a pandemic. I’m still knitting, still crafting, quilting, sewing, and am even more grateful for the crafty community all around the world. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without you during this year, this time where we’ve had such a big transition in my personal life, as well as this crazy lockdown period. So thank you.

Thank you so much. I still love this community. I love the changes and the awareness that is happening about racism and politics, at the moment. I personally think it’s unavoidable and I am glad to embrace it. And I feel like it’s making me grow as a person. Everything that’s happening, including the pandemic and moving and personal things happening in my life. But as well as the politics and anti-racism work and things like that. Yeah, I think it’s fantastic and I hope to continue to do better in all those areas of my life.

So I better stop gushing and this trip down memory lane, or I will be here pouring over old photos and trying to track down long lost blogging friends for days. And we do have a mystery knit-along to be getting on with. I polished the first clue for the Stillness Mystery Knit-Along yesterday. And we already have people posting their super fast progress. I always find it amazing how quickly people can get through the clues when they’re waiting for it to be published and then just start knitting straightaway. I love it. And I love seeing the instant peaks into people’s shawls and how their colors are coming together. We have the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry, of course, where there is support and sneak peaks to be found if you want them. And we will have a no sneak peek thread or just a general chat thread if you’re not wanting to see any spoilers. But there will be a spoiler thread as well, if you’re like me and can’t resist seeing what’s happening.

Just a reminder for the speedy people to please make sure to use the spoiler images or pictures of your yarn on the first post in Instagram and Ravelry on your projects. And to make sure that any spoilers are posted in the specific spoiler thread on Ravelry, if you’re doing that. Just so that people who are can’t start immediately or are a bit slower or savoring the process. Don’t get the clues spoiled for them before they can get to it. Just in case you missed in the notes, in the pattern. If you’re struggling with the cast on, I have a video linked in the pattern, in the note section to help with the cast on if anyone’s struggling with that. I think it’s not too tricky, but I have a video there to help if you need it.

I won’t say any more than that because it might be a bit of a spoiler. And yeah, as always, there is the email support at curioushandmade.com, or you can ask questions in the threads on Ravelry, as well. And I just hope that everyone has a really fun time. I designed the shawl to be fairly relaxing and I don’t think it’s too complicated. So hopefully it’s a nice relaxing net for people and people can have fun playing with colors and pretty yarn. And I’m really excited to be getting started with it now. In other knitalong news, just a little reminder, we’re actually getting towards the end of June now. So the June Knit 20 for 2020 challenge will be wrapping up in a few days. So if you’ve been knitting anything for that challenge, make sure you post it in the June thread.

Then of course we will be on to July. And as usual, there will be a draw from the Ravelry thread and a draw from Instagram posts. So if you use the #knit20for2020 on Instagram, and I will be able to find your posts. And the idea is to post one of the items from the challenge and nominate a favorite indie dyer or yarn store, and to be in the running for a $50 or equivalent voucher from that dyer or yarnster. I have to admit I’ve been quite slow in organizing the prizes, and apologies for that. I’m sorry, I’m busy and I’m terrible at admin. So I am aiming to get to them as soon as I can, but don’t worry if you’re a winner, I will get to it being a bit slow and I’m going to try and get better at that. But apologies if people are waiting.

So thank you for your patience and thank you for participating in that challenge. I’m having a lot of fun with it myself. And I am currently working on new to me designer with my Hermione Jean Granger Shawl, by Clever Knits, Tyne Swedish. Who’s designed this delightful, relaxing, fun, stripey shawl with tassels. I always love a tassel. And I am really enjoying knitting that with La Bien Aimee yarn in glorious, bright, fun pinks. So that project’s giving me a lot of joy at the moment. So don’t forget to post anything before the end of the month. The other project I’ve been working on quite a lot actually is, not knitting, but my hexie quilt projects, plural. I have succumbed to an Instagram purchase. An Instagram enabled purchase. I saw a post by, I think she’s just an online store or maybe it’s a physical store as well, The Strawberry Thief. They’re based in Perth and specialize in Liberty fabric.

And they were advertising these monthly hexie quilt subscription packs, where they send you certain number of precut hexagon shapes to make an English paper piecing quilt. And I’d kind of started an English paper piecing project a couple of years ago when I was over here in Australia on a summer holiday. But to what really attracted me to this was the fact that the shapes, the fabric was already precut, which saves a massive amount of time. And you can just get to the fun bit for me, which is the sewing. And yeah, and so I didn’t know whether I wanted a one inch size or the two inch size. We ordered both and thought I could see which one I ended up wanting to do. So far I haven’t decided. So far I’m continuing with both, which is a bit crazy and there’s no way I will be able to keep up with it.

But yeah, anyway, I’ve been enjoying that. I’ve made several flowers with the Hexie so far, and it’s just such a nice activity to do. I watch videos, YouTube videos on all sorts of different topics, currently gardening and puppy training. And it’s very relaxing. So thank you to The Strawberry Thief for those lovely subscriptions. It’s giving me a lot of joy at the moment because the fabrics are obviously so gorgeous, and yes. Apart from that, I’ve been doing some gardening as well. Recently, we bought another Instagram enabled purchase, which is a sub pod, and it’s basically a fancy compost bin. And I think it’s a Byron Bay company. It’s an Australian company and they’ve created this. I mean, it’s not too fancy, but it’s fairly well designed. I mean, I haven’t used it yet in earnest, but it’s a compost bin that has holes in the sides.

So you bury it in a garden and then the worms can come in and out of the compost and spread the earthy goodness in your garden. So I bought a raised bed and buried my compost bin yesterday and today I need to move the worms into the bin. We got a parcel in the post and my husband had forgotten we had ordered the worms and he came in and said, “I’ve just received a bag of dirt.” He was so confused. So that was quite amusing. Now I need to settle them into their new home. Anyway, so that’s the domestic life that I am living at the moment. It’s school holidays, and the kids are home and we’re just puttering around and can’t go too far with the new puppy. So it’s really nice actually. And in a way it feels like we’ve been at home forever, but it’s lovely weather at the moment here in Queensland.

We’re just making the best of things and enjoying being homebodies. So just before I sign off, I would also love to give Carmen a huge shout out. Carmen is the owner of A Yarn Story in Bath, and it is her 40th birthday today. So happy birthday, my dear friend, Carmen. I hope you have a fantastic day and a fabulous 40th year. Thank you for joining me for this very special mile stone podcast today. I hope you’re well, I hope you’re having some lovely knitting time. Have a great week, and I’ll talk to you again soon.



Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

A Stillness MKAL kit from La Bien Aimée

This week, I have some lucky winners to congratulate from some of our recent knitalongs. I’ve also got updates on my most recent WIP (spoiler alert, I am enjoying it so much!) and more yarn reassurance for any knitters who are stressing themselves out a bit trying to pick the perfect yarn for the Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong

Show Links:

Winners of the May #knit20for2020 KAL

Ravelry : craftytextilelady (hillary On)

Cypress Cardigan by Amy Herzog

The Knitting Loft in Toronto

Instagram: mctrem7

Little Love Cardigan by Ankestrik

Colorista Canada

Winner of The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 Rainy Window Socks

seraines

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

Rainy Window Socks

Vapour Socks

The Wool Barn

Tinkhickman on Instagram

Tracyrr on Instagram

The Stillness Shaw MKAL starts on the 25th of June

Enter Stillness Shawl MKAL Giveaway before the 25th of June

  • An absolutely adorable Stitch Mischief Medium Finch Bucket bag
  • A hard-cover knitting journal from Laine. The “My Knitting Notes” Journal is an elegant way to document your knitting journey with space for 31 knitting projects, 6 pages for keeping track of your yarn purchases, 18 gridded pages, e.g. for charts or colourwork sketches, a knitting needle sizes and conversions table, and the most common abbreviations.
  • A stunning skein of Skein Australia Silk Road, in the rich Atomic colourway.

I’ll also be giving away 10 pattern prizes: each winner can choose the pattern of their choice from my designs on Ravelry!

Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance to win:

  1. Create your project page for The Stillness Shawl MKAL. You can use the placeholder graphic below or upload a photo of your yarn!
  2. Post in the giveaway thread to tell us about your favourite still life artist, painting, or photograph. It would be amazing if you shared an image, but you don’t have to. And if there isn’t a piece that comes to mind, maybe you can share a moment of stillness in your life that you wish you could capture and keep forever, like a painting.

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 299. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. How are you this week? I hope you’re having a good week. We’re having a pretty good week here. I’ve got kids still home sick, which is a bit of a worry, but it’s okay, I guess. It is what it is. They have just mild colds, but we’re not allowed to send them to school with any kind of cold. So, they’re at home. They may have gone to school if it wasn’t for that rule.

And we’re rolling into three weeks of holidays here in Queensland, so that’s coming up. So they’ll have a chance to rest, and recuperate, and hopefully I will, as well. And I am going to try to plan, in the last couple of days of term time, theoretically, even though they’re at home already, try and plan some activities for the holidays so that we don’t just mindlessly go through the three weeks without actually doing anything fun. Which way have a bit of a tendency to do if there’s not much structure.

So, yeah, so that’s where I’m at today. I’m recording this on Thursday, just the day before I release the episode. The other hugely exciting thing that is happening in the house is that we are picking up our puppy tomorrow. She is called Cindy, and the puppy breeder had called her Cindy and the girls liked the name, so we’re keeping the name, which is fine. It saves us try to think up a new name. And, yeah, it just seems to suit her.

She is a little toy cavoodle, so she is a bit of a toy, and it reminds me of my Cindy doll that I had when I was a kid. So, we are all very excited about that for tomorrow. I have to say that life has felt a little bit same-same lately, with not really being able to plan any exciting activities, or really know what’s going to happen in the future.

We’ve been fairly happy and content just hunkering down at home, but I’m sure you can relate to that it’s starting to feel a little bit monotonous now. And I know we are, of course, extremely lucky to be in that position where the worst thing is that life is slightly boring. But, yes, anyway, that’s where we are, and I do appreciate our boring, contented life. And, yeah, so hopefully today I can bring you some news about knit-alongs. I have some prize draws to share with you, a little bit of knitting news, and a little bit about the upcoming mystery knit-along.

First I’ll announce some knit-along prize winners. First of all, I have the Knit 20 for 2020 prize winners from May to announce. And I know we’re well into June now. I think the first week, I didn’t record an episode, and then last week I completely forgot because we were so far into the month that I’d forgotten that I still hadn’t done that.

And, anyway. So, without further ado, the winners of the Knit 20 for 2020 knit-along are on the Ravelry thread, craftytextilelady, who is Hillary from Mississauga in Ontario, Canada. She knit the Cyprus Cardigan by Amy Herzog, which looks beautiful, by the way. And her chosen yarn store is the Knitting Loft in Toronto. So, congratulations, craftytextilelady, Hillary.

And on Instagram, we have the winner, mctrem7, who is Sepia Pixie. And she also knit a cardigan for her entry for Knit 20 for 2020. And her nominated indie dyer is Colorista, also based in Canada. We have a very Canadian theme this week. And so, if you would both contact me either via Ravelry direct messages at HellsBells, or you can email me at Helen at Curious Handmade. And I just need your email address to get in contact with you to organize a gift voucher from Colorista and The Knitting Loft.

And finally, for the prize draws, we have the Handmade Sock Society prize. And the winner is [Serines 00:06:35], which was entry number 76 with her Rainy Window socks from the Handmade Sock Society, season three. And, Serines, I will need your postal address to email your prize. And hopefully the post from here will not take three or four months like it seems to be at the moment for international parcels. I might have to look into that and arrange something else for you, rather than posting something from here at the moment. It seems to be a bit of a disaster.

But anyway, if you contact me and get in touch, and let me know where you are in the world, and we can have a chat about that. So, congratulations to all the winners. Thank you so, so much for participating in the knit-alongs. It’s a lot of fun. I love seeing your projects. And I’m having a lot of fun discovering new designers, and indie dyers, and yarn stores around the world with the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge.

So, speaking of the Handmade Sock Society, this week we had the release of the fifth pattern in the series. And it’s hard to believe that it’s up to pattern number five already. We are releasing them every month this year, instead of every two months like last year. But the knit-alongs are going for two months, so that you have plenty of time to complete your socks.

That means that at the moment we have two knit-alongs happening for socks four and socks five, which is the vapor socks that have just been released. And then at the end of the series, the knit-alongs will continue for two months after the release of the sixth pattern to give you… Well, seven weeks I’ve made it. Not quite two months. Just shy of two months for each knit-along.

So you have plenty of time to complete your socks, and hopefully we’ll see some people who’ve completed the whole collection. Anyway, the vapor socks are a really pretty pair of socks. And I’ll just read you out the description. Clouds wreathing a mountain peak and fog rolling in over the water. The early morning haze in the distance before the dew dries up. A gentle mist settling on a meadow as the evening draws in. Your own breath, suspended in midair on a frosty walk, and the friendly steam piping from your tea kettle when you come back home.

Vapor is transitory and insubstantial by nature. It can play tricks on us, obscure our vision, transform a landscape, appear and disappear in a matter of moments, as fleeting as a fanciful idea and as wonderful. It reminds us that even ordinary things are worth a second look, and that nothing really lasts forever.

The vapor socks are a gentle and relaxing project with a delicate, but deceptively simple pattern. They begin with a cuff of 1×1 twisted rib, and feature an easy-to-memorize panel of eyelets and airy lace on the front with plain stockinette in back. A snug ribbed heel and wedge toe give you a steady foundation, but it’s always easy to swap in your own favorite heel and toe. As with all the Handmade Sock Society patterns, you have the three sizes to choose from to customize your fit.

These socks were knit in the beautiful The Wool Barn Cashmere Sock, which is a lovely 80% Merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon base. And as always, I just love Maya’s delicate colors. I use the colorway Smitten, and a huge thank you to Deb [Tink-Hickman 00:00:10:31], who knit the sample for me, and also photographed them. And she did this brilliantly, because in these strange times, she had to both photograph and model them herself. So, just huge thanks to Deb for doing that for me.

And also, a huge, huge, thanks to Tracey RR. [He 00:10:55] is the host of the [Cozy 00:10:58] Red Couch podcast for test knitting, and knitting a beautiful test-knit version for me, and finding any mistakes. It’s always a huge help. So, thank you very much. And thank you to Maya for the gorgeous sample yarn. I always want her yarn, it’s so inspiring, so it’s a delight to design with. And I hope you all enjoy these socks if you’re joining in on the Handmade Sock Society.

It’s not too late to join. You can join at any time. Of course, there is just one pair to be released now, so not a huge surprise in the collection like there is if you sign up at the beginning. But this way you get to see what you’re in for. The other big event that we have happening at Curious Homemade at the moment is the upcoming Stillness Mystery Knit-Along. That is a shawl mystery knit-along. The first clue comes out next week, next Thursday, the 25th of June. So that’s coming up very quickly now.

And I am just loving seeing everybody’s entries into the launch competition we have at the moment, where if you create a project page and enter it into a thread on Ravelry, then you can be in the running to win a lovely little bundle that I’ve put together. Which is one skein of the yarn that I used in the sample, which is Skein Australia Silk Road, a really luxurious blend. And a gorgeous project bag from Stich Mischief in Canada that I purchased at Knit City a couple of years ago now. And also a [liner 00:12:54] knitting diary. So, there’s a lovely prize, and all you have to do is make a post in the thread over on Ravelry.

I’ve had a lot of questions about the yarn, and I talked about this last week, so I won’t go into it again. But really I think that anything goes, and so if you have some yarn in your stash, you can probably put together a combination. It’s fingering weight yarn. I think lace weight could work as well, easily well. So, that’s something to consider if you enjoy knitting with lace weight yarn.

So the yarn I used is Skein Australia. And because we have postage delays here to and from Australia, all our parcels are coming via ship, and going via ship at the moment. So it’s very, very slow. It’s taking three months or more. So, I am trying to suggest other yarn dyers in various countries to give you some ideas of other options. Of course, you can purchase from your local yarn shop, or any local dyer.

And really, you don’t have to be in the know to put a combination together. I will actually try and do a blog post to show lots of different combinations, and highlight some of the dyers that I’ve been sharing in my newsletter and on Instagram. But I know this is the most stressful part of a mystery knit-along is choosing the yarn. And I really just want to say don’t stress about it. It’s going to be fine.

It’s, I think, a reasonably uncomplicated pattern. It’s no more difficult than the Snowmelt shawl. And I will email some frequently asked questions, or answers to frequently asked questions in the next few days. But it’s meant to be fun. I designed it when I was on lockdown. So I wanted something very relaxing, and just enjoyable. Nothing stressful. And so, that’s the kind of vibe that you’ll get with this shawl.

So, if you’re interested in joining up, you can do that over on Ravelry, just Google Stillness Mystery Knit-Along. And you just purchase the pattern on Ravelry, and then all the clues will be delivered one per week from the 25th of June. There will be five clues. And there is an early-bird price at the moment, which is four pounds. And that will go up to five pounds the day the first clue comes out. So I hope that gives you a bit more information, and I look forward to hopefully seeing you in the mystery knit-along.

I have been doing a little bit of personal knitting. I think I mentioned last week that I had started the Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish, who is clevereststitch on Instagram. I am really, really enjoying that. I chose three skeins from my stash, which is La Bien Aimée Merino Singles in really vibrant pinks. And I do love pink. I love blue, and I love pink. I love all the colors, but probably those two are the ones I’m drawn to the most. And so, yeah, so heaps of fun. It’s a stripey garter stitch shawl.

It’s just really, really relaxing knitting. And I can just take it with me in the car, or, I’m not getting out much at the moment, but occasionally I’ll take it with me for the car, or for a doctor’s appointment, something like that. Or mostly watching TV at night in the evenings. It’s super, super relaxing knitting. So, thank you very much for that lovely pattern, Tyne, and highly recommend it if you’re looking for something very chill to knit at the moment.

That’s about all I have for you this week. Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor, Meadow Yarn. And just to say that if you’re in the UK, both my sponsors, A Yarn Story and Meadow Yarn, do you have some lovely kits available for the mystery knit-along. So, if you’re in the UK, or nearby, you might find a good option for your yarn there if you haven’t already.

So, hope you have a wonderful week. Congratulations to the knit-along winners, and please get in touch with me. And, yeah, I’ll talk to you again next week for the 300th episode. Have a great week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

On today’s show I’m talking about the ongoing need for anti-racist work and my gratitude for the knitters who are making a difference. I’m also celebrating some new personal knitting cast-ons. The Stillness MKAL is approaching swiftly, and I’m hosting a special giveaway. I also have some extra clues and tips for choosing your MKAL yarn colours.

Show Links:

@creativececi

@ggmadeit

@heybrownberry

@jeanettesloane

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

Everyday Lined Hat by Denise Bayron

The Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Píosa KAL

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Snowmelt Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL Presale is open on Ravelry! Join here!

To celebrate the launch of our new mystery knitalong, I’m hosting a special giveaway! I’ve put together a beautiful prize for one grand winner, which includes:

  • An absolutely adorable Stitch Mischief Medium Finch Bucket bag
  • A hard-cover knitting journal from Laine. The “My Knitting Notes” Journal is an elegant way to document your knitting journey with space for 31 knitting projects, 6 pages for keeping track of your yarn purchases, 18 gridded pages, e.g. for charts or colourwork sketches, a knitting needle sizes and conversions table, and the most common abbreviations.
  • A stunning skein of Skein Australia Silk Road, in the rich Atomic colourway.

I’ll also be giving away 10 pattern prizes: each winner can choose the pattern of their choice from my designs on Ravelry!

Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance to win:

  1. Create your project page for The Stillness Shawl MKAL. You can use the placeholder graphic below or upload a photo of your yarn!
  2. Post in the giveaway thread to tell us about your favourite still life artist, painting, or photograph. It would be amazing if you shared an image, but you don’t have to. And if there isn’t a piece that comes to mind, maybe you can share a moment of stillness in your life that you wish you could capture and keep forever, like a painting.

These threads are always so fun and enjoyable, and a great way to get to know each other better. In the past they’ve also offered some amazing colour and yarn inspiration thanks to all the beautiful stories and photos! I can’t wait to see what you contribute.

I’ll be announcing winners on our official start day, Thursday June 25th. Good luck!

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 298. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week and finding some time to do some knitting, or crafting, or something else nice for yourself. I have been having a really good week here. It’s sort of back to normal here. Not completely, not really. It’s been a bit of a funny week because, well, school has been back for, now this is the third week now for my age kids. They were poorly with colds this week so that meant that they couldn’t go in. So I’ve had them back home again.

And yeah, travel is opening up again in our state, but if you want to go further afield, you can’t really at the moment. You could go, but our state hasn’t opened up their borders yet so we’d have to quarantine for two weeks coming back, which would kind of take some of the fun out of a trip. So we will be having school holidays here at the end of next week, and we’ll just be staying pretty local and lying pretty low, I think, having a staycation, which will be nice. I’m a bit of a homebody, so I have projects and crafty things that I want to do that will last me for many years, if I had to staycation for a while. So yeah, it’s okay. And the kids are also homebodies, so it will be a nice, relaxing holiday. I think we’ll try and make up activities to do, like go for bush walks and go to the beach and things like that. Just local little day trips. So that’s what’s going on here on that front at the moment.

And of course, we saw last week, the huge Black Lives Matter protests all over the U.S. and in countries around the world. We had protests here in Australia, which, of course, were controversial in the sense that the authorities, the powers that be, weren’t wanting people to protest because of COVID regulations here at the moment. But in the end, there were protests in most of the major cities.

So I think that was a good thing, personally. I think it’s such an important issue that if it was worth the people who chose to protest risking health, I think we are at a state here in Australia at the moment where cases are very low, and yes, I think it’s an important issue. It’s a very important issue for indigenous, for Aboriginals, and Torres Strait Islanders here in Australia. There’s a lot of racism and issues with deaths in custody with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. So I was personally supporting the protests. I didn’t participate but I was in support.

And in our own knitting community, I am just so grateful again for the black knitters in our community who are so generously sharing their perspectives, their experiences, and taking the time to educate on the topic of racism and anti-racism. Yeah, just people I have met in real life and love and respect. And yeah, just so grateful. I mean, they were talking about this last year when we started discussing the issue in the knitting and fiber community, and they’re still sharing educational perspectives with grace and eloquence and generosity. People I follow are Creative Ceci, GGmadeit, heyBrownBerry, and Jeanette Sloan, just a few. And just thank you to everybody who is just taking the time to post about it and share their perspective, especially when it’s a personal perspective.

As a white person, I feel pretty insignificant sometimes in what change I can help make in the world, but I really believe that everyone’s actions, however tiny, can have a ripple effect and can add up. And at a time, especially when there are big global protests and lots of media attention on the issue, then I think everybody’s support really counts, especially when it comes to voting and engaging with politics and big issues in society. So I think the biggest lesson for me, or one of the biggest lessons, is to appreciate my democratic rights, appreciate how lucky we are living in democratic societies. I say we, because I know that most of my listeners are living in democracies, and we’re just so lucky, and I don’t think I appreciated that enough in the past. So yes, I’m appreciating it more now.

I have been, of course, reading and thinking and also thinking about what tangible actions I can take towards anti-racism. And one of the things that I’ve done, which is relevant to the topic of this podcast, is cast on two projects by two fantastic black designers, and both were patterns that I had in my queue that I’d had my eye on for some time. So I decided to take the week to cast them on. The first design is the Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish. And Tyne is theclevereststitch on Instagram. And she is another person I’ve been following her stories about racism and anti-racism since last year, early last year, and also been admiring her lovely shawl designs. She designs shawls that are fun, quite classic, elegant, simple, but have lovely details like tassels, which I particularly like.

And so, yeah, I had recently bought the Hermione Jean Granger shawl pattern. So I wound some yarn from my stash, which is La Bien Aimée Merino Singles I’ve had for quite a while. I think I bought these skeins at some yarn festivals in London. And the colors are Aimée’s Lipstick, Pinku Graffiti, and Pom Pom. So they’re all pink. Aimée’s Lipstick is a hot pink. Pinku Graffiti is a sort of a mid-pink with speckles. And then Pom Pom has a light sort of creamy white base with pinks and purple speckles. And that color was, I think, a special color for the Pompom magazine fifth anniversary party. So is all the pink, it’s going to be a super bright, happy shawl. And yeah, it’s a lovely stripy, melty pattern.

And then the other design I’ve cast on is by Denise Bayron, Bayron Handmade. And it’s the Everyday Lined Hat. I think this has come out fairly recently. I was looking at Denise’s design, which was the Wave of Change Jacket. And I think I mentioned that in a previous podcast that I was thinking about casting that on. But then I realized it’s knit in bulky yarn, which is not going to ever be used while I’m living here in Queensland. So I kind of went off that idea. And when I saw the hat pattern, I thought it was much more likely that I would use a hat, a lovely DK weight hat, or worsted weight hat.

So I am using some more yarn from my stash, which is the Magpie Fibers’ Swanky DK. It’s in the HellsBells colorway, of course. And the pattern really calls for a worsted weight yarn, but she says you can use a DK. And I think this particular DK is on the plumper side. It’s sort of going towards a worsted weight. So I think that will be fine. So yeah. And it’s just a really, really lovely, simple, as it says in the title, everyday hat. And she’s very cleverly incorporated a lining, which is the sewing part of the pattern. So it’s a sewing pattern and a knitting pattern. And yeah, I just think it’s a lovely, lovely, simple design. So I’m knitting that as well.

And so once I have made Ravelry pages for these projects, because I know, as a designer, the project pages that knitters create just really help for a designer’s visibility on Ravelry and platforms. So I went ahead and made some project pages for these patterns just before I recorded today. And I’ll have to remember to update them with finished object photos. I am quite slack with creating project pages. I should go back and update a few things because it’s so nice to be able to go back and look at a record of what you’ve made. And it’s so handy to be able to look up details.

The other project that I’ve been working on is Píosa by Renée Callahan. And I did sort of finish part three. That was my goal for the week, was to finish part three. But I decided I wouldn’t do the pockets yet because I thought I’m not quite sure about my yarn yardage that I have in this color. So I thought I would do part four, knit the sleeves and the neck band, and then add the pocket slider if I have enough yarn, just in case I run out.

So in design news, I released the Stillness Mystery Knitalong pattern on Ravelry as a presale. And so you can now purchase the pattern at an early bird price of £4, plus any VAT or GST that’s applicable in your country. And that price will be going up to £5 when the first clue comes out. And that will be on the 25th of June. So yeah, coming up fairly soon.

And I have been sharing some lovely yarn dyers, trying to cover some different countries with dyers who are offering kits. And I should have probably said that if you’re a yarn dyer and want to offer kits, that is totally fine with me. I’ve had a couple of people contact me to ask if it was okay. And of course, yes, that’s absolutely fine. I would appreciate that. Yes, please. Just tag me, and I’ll try and share it.

The theme of the Knitalong is still life. And we have a competition happening at the moment to keep us occupied while we’re waiting for the first clue. So if you create a project page on Ravelry and then share it in the thread, then you can also share your favorite still life painting, or photograph, or another scene that inspires you. And you can be in the running to win a prize, which includes a skein of the yarn I used in the sample, which is Skein Australia Silk Road. It’s a really lovely blend. And a Laine knitting diary, as well as a gorgeous project bag from Stitch Mischief, a lovely crafter in Canada. I’m hoping that by the time I am sending out the prize that the post might not be so slow, but anyway, we’ll have to see how that’s going in another month or so.

Of course, people are wondering how to choose their yarn. And I just thought I’d chat very briefly about that. So it’s three colors, and I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with a yarn choice. If you love the yarn, you’ll love your project. Sometimes it can pay to do a little bit of swatching with the colors together just to make sure that they relate to each other the way you anticipate they will. And just to give you a few clues about the different colors. So color A, I would say choose maybe a yarn that will be more of a feature of the shawl. It might pop out a bit more than the other two colors. And it is also the color that any lace in the shawl is done in. So if you don’t really like heavily variegated yarn for lace, then this is not the color to use your variegated yarn.

And then B and C will need to be contrasting a little bit. They are striped together a little bit in the shawl, so you want something that will contrast. When I chose my colors, I thought I had contrasting colors, and in the end they weren’t highly contrasting, but I still like the effect. So it’s just up to you how contrasty you want the shawl to be. But that’s just a little tip for colors B and C. And I’d say, if you have a variegated or speckled yarn that you want to use, I would use that for C because the stitches will be more plain. And B could be possibly more semi-solid because there’ll be a bit of texture with B. So I hope I have given you enough guidance for colors without giving away too much about the shawl. I don’t think I have. I think it will still be a big surprise even with those clues. But I hope that helps you choose your colors with a little bit more confidence.

I know that that’s the thing that stresses people out the most with a mystery knitalong. And yes, and me included in that. So, but really, I don’t think you can go wrong. I think if you choose three colors that contrast a lot with each other, you’ll end up with a shawl that is quite contrasty, maybe a little bit color blocky looking. And then if you have a lower contrast, it will be more subtle. Too low contrast, maybe some of the design will be a little bit lost, but I don’t think it matters too much. I think it would still be fine. And I think any color combination will create a beautiful shawl. So don’t stress about it too much, just choose yarn you love and that you think goes together nicely, and it’ll be fine.

In terms of difficulty, I think it’s probably about the same level of difficulty as the Snowmelt shawl. So if you want to see, it’s very, very similar in level of difficulty, I would say. So yeah, so that’s my clues for the Stillness Mystery Knitalong. That’s going to be starting soon and is available on Ravelry to join in with now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this show and I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.




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Show Sponsors

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

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

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

Gorgeous colours and photo from Skein Yarn

Our first Curious Handmade MKAL in quite a while is coming up quickly! I’ve finally got some details to share with you, including our theme (which I hope you’re going to love) and the yarn requirements. I’ve also got a little chat about life with the kids heading back to school, my own personal crafting projects, and the garden.

Show Links:

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Liberty Fabric

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Skein Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Coming soon!

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Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

The Curious Handmade family is growing, with a very fuzzy new friend on the way. And so is my garden, and so is my Piosa Cardigan! There’s a lot of exciting stuff to celebrate this week, and I have a fun virtual event to share which includes some of my very favourite yarn shops and some brilliant opportunities to win giveaway prizes.

Show Links:

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Liberty Fabric

The Handmade Sock Society 1

The Shawl Society 3

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Subpod Compost

iKnit7

A Yarn Story

Emily Foulds

This is Knit

Ginger Twist Studio

Knit with Attitude

Tribe Yarns

Wild and Woolly

A Yarn Story on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 296. 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 curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. I do hope you’re having a good week. I hope you’ve been able to get in lots of knitting and probably some other creative crafty pursuits judging by lots of people I’ve been following on Instagram. It seems like a lot of my friends and people I follow are taking the opportunity to delve into some more hobbies. It’s quite funny to see. I am certainly doing that here. We’ve been having a pretty exciting week here. Today, we had an extremely exciting day because I got an email yesterday in answer to an inquiry I had made about a potential puppy for the family. It was a little bit out of the blue. We had been promising the girls a puppy for a couple of years before we moved.

It had always been, when we move to Australia, we’ll be able to get a dog, but we can’t get one now because we have no yard and we’re moving to Australia. Since we’ve moved, I’ve been putting it off a little bit. I guess just being at home and having a little bit more head space to think about things, it clicked that I could manage a puppy now. I just put an inquiry out on Monday and got an email back on Wednesday, which I was really surprised about because puppies are in huge demand at the moment, apparently. We went and saw a little puppy today and agreed that when she’s ready to come home, we would take her. That’s going to be about a month time. Happily we have another month to mentally prepare and physically prepare for a new puppy.

Other exciting things that have happened this week, not quite that exciting, but the Liberty Hexies kit I mentioned a couple of weeks ago finally arrived. I bought it here in Australia from a Perth company called the Strawberry Thief, which is named after one of the Liberty Prints, so that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to doing my personal crafting time on the weekend and starting some hexie flowers. The Strawberry Thief Instagram has some great tutorials about English paper piecing for hexies to go along with these kits that they’re doing. And I’ll have to go and have a quick watch. I did make some hexies a couple of years ago because I sort of got into it a little bit, but haven’t done it for a little while. I think I’ll go and have a look at those. They use a method where they recommend using a glue stick to glue the fabric onto your paper piece.

I guess I’ll try that. That’s what I tried before and I found that slightly irritating, but I’ll give it another go. And if that doesn’t work, I can go back to sewing the fabric into the paper. Anyway, I am very excited to start that project because Liberty fabric is so beautiful. The other very exciting thing happening around here is that the kids are going back to school next week here in Queensland. That’s going to be a bit of an adventure. I need to check their school bags to make sure that there’s not some long forgotten lunchboxes still festering there and things like that. I think I’d got the lunchboxes out, but I don’t think I did anything else. Find school shoes and things like that because it’s been five weeks and then two weeks of Easter holidays and then a week before that, so eight weeks.

Quite a while. I have to say it hasn’t been too bad. It’s been fine. The girls like hanging at home and I like hanging at home so we’ve been getting on pretty well. I’ve kind of liked having my little office buddy sitting next to me in the mornings. I could probably do some of the online courses and Lexi’s poor teacher asking the kids in the class to mute their microphones every two minutes. Apart from that, it’s been quite nice. The story that’s being read is The Secret Garden, which is a gorgeous book and if you’ve been following along for a while, you know I’m a big fan. It was the theme for the first Sock Society and also the Shawl Society that same year. I had a secret garden theme around my two societies that year and very much enjoyed getting into that theme.

That’s been kind of nice. It will certainly be nice to have a little bit more time and a little bit more thinking space and we’ll see how it goes. They both asked me this week if I could keep homeschooling them so I’m taking that as a compliment. I tried not to have too shocked an expression on my face. I replied that they’d better go back to school and see their friends. So I have been doing a little bit of personal knitting this week, not a huge amount, but some. And I have been knitting away on my Piosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits, and I now on part three, which is the main body. It’s a top down cardigan so I’ve joined under the arms for the body. I’m loving this pattern so much. It’s a really fun knit.

It’s very potato chippy and the worsted weight means that it’s knitting up very satisfyingly quickly. I think also because I’m using such a lovely yarn, it’s a very smooth yarn, it’s the Sweet Fiber Cashmerino worsted, which is 80% Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon in the beautiful rose gold color. So that’s an absolute delight to knit so that’s helping it make it go smoothly and quickly. I think this week I’ll just be working away on the body. And the other thing I’ve been doing apart from a little bit of knitting and a little bit of work, and a lot of homeschooling and childcare, is becoming more and more obsessed with my gardening projects. It’s kind of escalating quite quickly from buying a few seedlings in a few pots, to this week I ordered two quite large raised garden beds.

That was because I think earlier in the year, I had had one of those Instagram facilitated adverts purchases, which was a sub pod. So I don’t know why I was suggested that ad, I guess I was already Googling or talking about gardening and wanting to grow things. We have been collecting our compost, our vegetable scraps and taking it to my parents because dad has a garden and a compost bin. We have been doing that for quite some time now, since we moved into the house in October. I guess when I saw this composting system advertised, it was like music to my ears sort of. Sight for sore eyes. It’s basically a bin that has holes for worms to come in and out of and you kind of bury it into a garden, so theoretically it doesn’t smell as badly as an above ground compost bin might smell.

We bought this sub pod thing and it had a long waiting list. I think it was originally a Kickstarter and now they’re sort of doing batches, so you order them and then I think they order the production when they have enough orders. We’ve been waiting for quite a while, but it’s due to arrive sort of at the end of this month, early next month. I thought I better order the garden bed that that’s going to go into. Anyway, a lot of gardening chat, it’s not really that exciting, but it’s kind of exciting to me because it’s new to me. My basil cuttings are starting to grow roots after a week, which is kind of exciting.

And thank you, I have to make a shout out to Lisa who emailed me to say, I just wanted to let you know if you don’t already that basil freezes amazingly well. I learned this after a bumper crop myself. It will never be fresh again because the leaves are softened by freezing, but it retains its fresh taste and is wonderful to cook with. I just rinse and dry the leaves and then freeze them in a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl and break off what I need. So thank you Lisa, for a fab tip. I wouldn’t have thought about freezing it so that’s really good.

I’m yet to grow too much for me to be able to use, but I think it’s going to happen. I’m trying to grow lots of cuttings. I love this community and sharing knowledge on all sorts of topics, not just knitting/ speaking of community, I heard about a really fun knitting community event that is happening next week from the 25th to the 31st of May. And it’s a virtual yarn extravaganza and it’s been put together by a collective called iKnit7, the number seven. It’s seven independent yarn shops that have joined together in these crazy times to do something fun for the yarn community.

What you need to know is that there is a website it’s iKnit7, the number seven, .co.uk. And there is a email newsletter to sign up for and when you sign up for that, you’ll get special access to discount codes, free gifts, exclusive patterns and more. It says shop from three or more of us during the week and you will be in for a chance to win an incredible prize. And the seven independent yarn shops, probably all my favorite yarn shops in the UK. So iKnit7 is a collaboration between Carmen of A Yarn Story in Bath, Layli of Emily Foulds in Coln, Lisa of This is Knit in Dublin, Jess of Ginger Twists Studio in Edinburgh, May Linn Bang from Knit With Attitude in London, Milli Abrams from Tribe Yarn in Richmond, and Anna Feldman from Wild and Woolly in London. As I said, some of my absolute favorite UK yarn shops, I’m so sad not to be able to visit them anymore.

For all the locals who have lost the chance to visit these beautiful shops due to the virus, I think this is a fab way to support these great yarn shops. It’s seven days, seven shops, seven special offers, and one amazing knitting community. So each day next week, one of the shops is going to have a special day dedicated to them and they’re going to have really fabulous activities going on. So make sure you sign up to the newsletter at IKnit7.co.uk to find out about all the discounts and fun activities happening next week.

Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my lovely sponsor, A Yarn Story.

I just wanted to give a special shout out to Carmen. She’s doing such a great job during these difficult times, maintaining a community around A Yarn Story and Bath and keeping us all up to date, doing fun Instagram stories and posts, and lots of photos of beautiful peaches, her gorgeous dog, and just keeping spirits up I think is really important. And Carmen’s doing a lovely job of it, so if you don’t follow her on Instagram, I really recommend giving her a follow because she’s just such a breath of fresh air and so fun and kind. Well, I think that’s all the news I have for you this week. It’s just a short, sweet episode. I have rain on our tin roof here, which I’m not sure if it’s going to be too noisy and kids kind of helping themselves to goodness knows what in the kitchen. I just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello and say that I hope you’re all doing well and that I’ll talk again soon. So see you next week. Happy knitting. Bye for now.