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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.

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.

Today on the last podcast of the year, I introduce the last secret pattern of 2019, the Dorsal Socks, #6 in The Handmade Sock Society 2. I have news about the closing date for all of our current Curious Handmade KALs, and some plans for the brand new year ahead.

Show Links

The Dorsal Socks

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2

The Shawl Society Season 4

Fragment Socks

The Four Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast, you’re listening to episode 278. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find 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 really is that pointy end of the year where things can start getting a little bit stressful. Everybody wants to meet deadlines before the holidays and before the new year. Things just seem to start getting a bit packed in at this time of year. So, I hope you are able to find a little bit of space, a little bit of peace, a little bit of time with your knitting. Hope things aren’t too crazy. Have a look at your to do list and see what you can take off your plate and put on to next year if it’s not urgent. Just try and reduce the stress levels a little bit. That’s what I just did yesterday. Put about 10 things that I was trying to do before Christmas into January and I’m going to deal with them then. That’s okay. It’s important to keep your sanity and your sense of peace at this time of year.

In today’s episode we have a new pattern that was released yesterday to have a chat about. And a few upcoming things, just some knitalongs and things that we have happening at the moment. Perhaps a couple of upcoming patterns. Just do a little bit of a wrap up for the year and it’s going to be just a fairly short episode. I just wanted to say hello for the last time this year and this decade. This will be the last episode for 2019. And I usually try to wrap up the podcast around the time that the kids finish school, which is a little bit earlier here in Australia than it was in the UK or then it is in the UK. Because this is our big summer holiday for the year starting over Christmas holidays rather than over August, July, August, September, as it is in Europe.

So yeah, we’re about to be off for six to eight weeks, depending on your school, and looking forward to it. Although it hasn’t been very long since we had a really long break. But that was because we had a crazy year moving, so I feel like I’m ready for another holiday. It has been a big year, we’ve had three collections with Curious Handmade, The Shawl Society, The Handmade Sock Society, as well as Knitvent and several other individual designs that were released with various events and things happening throughout the year. So that was very fun, but very busy. And yesterday was the release of the last pattern from the surprise collections, which was The Handmade Sock Society and Dorsal socks. I actually designed these socks quite early in the year. I had the idea for them and they were actually meant to be released earlier in the year, but we did a little bit of a reshuffle because I messed up the schedule a little bit. But I think these socks are really nice to wrap up the season and.

I’ll just read out the description. Gazing out over the surface of the ocean, it’s difficult to fathom just how much life teams beneath. It’s a whole other world down there in the depths, one we usually only ever see when there’s a nature documentary on the television or if we’re one of the few brave and fortunate souls who are able to strap on a scuba tank and descend beneath the waves. Otherwise, catching a glimpse of the incredible creatures who make the sea their home, requires a bit of luck and a whole lot of patience. Perhaps today will be the day, armed with your trusty binoculars and flask of hot tea to keep away the chill of the wind, you scan the waves. Suddenly, almost an hour and a stiff neck later, there it is rising out of the water, a triangular dorsal fin. That first sighting brings the thrill of uncertainty. It’s an exciting vision but also faintly menacing. Is that a dolphin or shark you see? Or maybe something else that you’ve never expected.

Cornwall is home to one of the most diverse populations of marine life in all of Britain, so that tell-tale fin could belong to almost anyone. England’s only pod of bottle nose dolphins lives here and large whale sightings happen all year round. Then there are the sharks who patrol the deeper waters with fearsome reputations. All of these fascinating creatures have a role to play in the ecosystem and their presence is only possible because of strict marine conservation zones in the estuaries around the coast. These carefully protected areas give them the room they need to breathe and live and flourish. There are lessons for us here about our own creative life. Waiting for that creative spark to surface can feel a lot like watching for that tell tale dorsal fin. You have to look keenly and wait faithfully. You have to be open to uncertainty. When it does arise at last, it can be frightening, but most of all your time and space must be carefully protected and guarded so that your creative power can grow.

So I think it’s a particularly apt thought for this time of year to protect a little bit of your creative space. And yeah, the last pattern, each season always seems to sneak up on me. No matter how long plans have been in place. This year has especially flown by and it’s been so nice to see so many first time sock knitters joining in The Handmade Sock Society. And lots of experienced sock knitters enjoying the designs as well. So it always makes me so happy to have you join in and also take a chance on a surprise collection that you don’t know what you’re getting into beforehand. I appreciate you taking a punt and having the trust in my design skills, it’s super humbling. And I’ve just been thinking about the knit-alongs. I wasn’t able to keep up with monthly prizes this year because of moving and just having too much on. But I thought what I’ll do is we’ll do a grand prize draw for all the collections, so Knitvent, The Shawl Society and The Handmade Sock Society. 31st of January or after the 31st of January.

So if you post your finished objects in the respective finished object threads by 31st of January and then in early February I’ll do a drawing and a grand prize giving. And just give everybody a little bit of time to finish any partially completed projects, just may as well ease into the new year. I’ll be on holidays with the kids for most of January. School won’t return until late January here. So let’s just take our time and if you’re joining in on any of those collections or knit alongs, you will have an extra month. And I will endeavor to have some nice prizes. I’ll choose some lovely things from my stash. I have extensive various bags and yarn to choose from. So I will put together some gorgeous packages for you and I will try to take photos and post them as soon as I can. I’m not making any promises about when that will be but before the end of the knit-along.

And then also before the end of the year, even though the podcast is of finishing up this week, we will still have a few things happening so I will release the Knitvent patterns from this year’s Knitvent as single patterns on December the 13th. So they’ll be available to purchase individually if you’ve had your eye on just one of them rather than the whole collection. And we’ll also do probably a two for one sale around that time. I think that’s fairly traditional for Curious Handmade to have a little pre-Christmas thank you for a wonderful year sale. And in case people were holding out to buy individual patterns for Knitvent. And as I mentioned last week, I’m also working on the pattern for fragment socks. Now all the other designs are released, I can finally focus on this one. I did say last week that I was going to release it with three sizes, but since having a closer look at it, it was only written in the one size originally.

And I think what I’ll probably do in the interest of just publishing it as a single, I’m going to publish it with the one size and aim to add two more sizes at a later date if I can. It would depend on the calculations for the stitch pattern. I think it will be possible, but I will need a little bit more time to look at that. So I thought rather than delay and put it off even longer, I’m just going to… What is it? Progress is better than perfection. And publish it with the one size that it has at the moment for people who’ve been waiting for that for a really long time and yeah, so still working on that. I don’t have a exact release date for it yet, but just as soon as I can get that pattern produced, I will publish it hopefully before Christmas. I’d like to make it available for Christmas Eve costs on if I can. So that’s what I’m aiming for. So thanks for bearing with me. It’s been a long time and I’m sure a couple more weeks will be at this point.

At the moment I’m enjoying spending some time dreaming about plans for next year and thinking about what might happen next year. I’m, yeah, just enjoying spending a little bit of time working away on that. Thinking about how I want my daily routines to be like and then what collections I might do next year. And also plans for podcast topics and all sorts of things I’m playing with. And yeah, it’s just nice to have a little bit of time at this time of year to be able to do a bit of daydreaming. As usual, I’ve been reading some productivity books and enjoying that. And I always enjoy getting a bit of motivation for, I don’t know, just achieving goals and thinking about life I suppose. And I have just listened to a really great audio book, I would recommend it if you’re into that kind of thing. Not everybody is, but I really am.

I came across this book because I’m thinking quite a lot about my health at the moment. So this particular book is called The 4 Pillar Plan, How to Eat, Sleep, Relax, and Move Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life. That’s by a British doctor, Dr Rangan Chatterjee. And yeah, apparently he’s been on TV shows in the UK. I haven’t seen his TV shows, but he’s written a couple of books. This is his first one, I think the 4 Pillar Plan. I really like it because I’ve always struggled to balance various things like exercise, sleep, diet, stress. And so I really like his framework that he says in the introduction he’s got these four pillars. And about five top tips in each pillar, or five things to focus on. And what he says is to focus on, even if you just do one or two things in each of the pillars, that’s better too than doing everything right in one pillar and then ignoring the rest. So the idea of having a balanced foundation.

So I thought that was quite nice and his suggestions seem fairly doable. So I’m going to be looking at his suggestions and figuring out which ones… Some of them I already do okay with. And then some of them will be quite a challenge. And so working out a little bit of a plan to try and achieve balance across these various pillars. Anyway, I would really recommend that book. I’ll put the link in the show notes as always. And he has a second one, which it’s about reducing stress. I believe there’s a similar four pillar framework to think about it. So I’m having a listen of that one at the moment, but I’ve finished the first one. And yeah, so just try to incorporate healthy things into my routine and as well as work for next year.

And so I’m just taking the opportunity of having moved to a new country, a new lifestyle, new area. So I’m really trying to take the opportunity to set myself up with routines in a intentional way, which is my word for this year, to be intentional. And so that’s what I’m trying to do is just really grasp this opportunity of having a clean slate to start things off in a good way.

So that was a bit of a segue from knitting, but I guess my point is that I’m thinking about an awful lot of things when I’m thinking about my knitting and designing plans for next year as well. I guess that’s the thread that is running through that thought process there. So I’ll be back in January, probably mid January, I’m not sure which week I’ll start back yet actually. Yet to be planned out in detail, but it will be around mid January I think. And I will share more plans and goals then, as well as my word for 2020. I love having a word for the year. This year was intentional and I remembered it all year, unlike last year. And it’s been really helpful. It’s been a really good word. So I recommend intentional. It’s worked for me really well this year and I’m hoping to find a really good one for next year as well.

In the mean time. I would like to thank my amazing team that’s helped me run Curious Handmade this year. My copywriter, Amanda. My tech editors, Emma and Anna. My graphic designers Jacqueline and Vicky. My incredible group moderator as well as test and sample knitter, Deb Tinkhickman. And my podcast editor, Emma and Alex. And last but not least, I wanted to say a huge special thank you to my main test knitter, Tracy. Tracy has been the biggest support and amazing test knitter, great friend. And yeah, just couldn’t produce the patterns at the level I do without my amazing team of colleagues and really good friends.

And of course all my knitters and podcast listeners. I love you all so much. You’ve made my second or third or fourth or whatever it is career, my favorite career so far. So meaningful and happy. You’re just such wonderful, supportive people and so much fun getting to do a job where I can work with beautiful yarn, beautiful textiles and beautiful people. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who’s been in the Curious Crew this year and always. I don’t really monitor who buys my patterns closely, but every now and then I’ll glance at the page and see names from, I don’t know, seven or eight years ago now, from the very beginning still popping up. And that makes me feel so honored and blessed that I have this community of people that has been around for so long and continues to be so great.


So on a bit of a gushy note, thank you. And I hope you have a wonderful holiday. I hope you just get to spend some lovely, peaceful time. I’ve been seeing amazing photos of snow storms and snow and just gorgeous scenes from the Northern hemisphere. So I hope you’re all cozy and well and safe.So happy holidays, happy new year. And I will look forward to chatting with you all again in 2020. Bye for now.

Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

On this week’s episode we have TWO new patterns to celebrate! It’s the end of the Knitvent mysteries for this year but it’s not the end of the Knitvent fun and community! I also have news about a couple more upcoming patterns before the end of this year.

Show Links

The Sunshine Coast Collective Markets

Brynn & Co

Knitvent 2019

The Homebody Hat

The Homebody Mitts

Wren and Ollie

Happy Hank

Seren Yarns

Fragment Socks

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 277. 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 on my website at curioushandmade.com.

I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story. A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades, and weights from gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and yarns and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimee, and Julie Asselin. There is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.

Can I just say what a gorgeous revamp of her website and rebrand has happened at A Yarn Story in the past week? If you haven’t been following along on Instagram or visited the website recently, Carmen has done a gorgeous job. It’s a gorgeous new logo. It’s so professional and yet so warm and friendly and knitterly at the same time. I just love it. So congratulations, Carmen. I know what a big job that is.

This week on the show we have lots of pattern release news and knit along news for you. I’ll maybe have a little bit of a chat at the end about some future plans, but yeah, mostly it’s about lots of new patterns at the moment. It’s a super busy time of year. Happy Thanksgiving to all US listeners and knitters. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend wherever you are. We’re having a a busy festive weekend here. We’re having a family Christmas party this weekend, a little bit early, so we’ll be joining in the festivities. And yeah, it’s just been one of those days. I’ve been set up my computer all day and I don’t really know what I’ve been doing. Just lots of little bits of admin and you know when you have those days where you get to the end and you’re like, “I don’t really know what I did.” So I thought I’d finish off with having a lovely chat with you and then I will have had something nice in the day that I can remember what I actually did.

Last week again, I actually went to a craft market here on the Sunshine Coast, the Sunshine Coast Collective Markets, I think it’s called up at Coolum State School, and it was a really, really lovely market. We just made it in time for the last half hour or so, and I was able to visit the stall of someone I’ve been following on Instagram for a long time, which is Brynn and Co, and she has created the gorgeous embroidery kits, the Love and Grow kit that I’ve worked on in the past and posted photos of. I’ve been working on the Grow kit. She does lovely graphics and provides all the embroidery floss and everything in the kit. So it was lovely to meet her, and I bought a magnetic needle holder that you can put on your work. It has a magnet on one side and just a little sort of almost like an enamel pin on the other side. And so you sort of pin it to your embroidery and then the needle can stay on it rather than kind of having to poke it through your work when you’re not using it I suppose.

And in knitting news, yesterday saw the release of the last two patterns of Knitvent for this season. Can’t believe it’s come around so quickly. This season I released the patterns over just four weeks. It was a little bit compressed due to starting a little bit late. And so yesterday we released the Homebody hat and mitts, which are sort of companions to the Homebody socks. I really enjoyed this stich pattern. It’s so simple and so effective, so I ended up using it in a couple of the designs and with the idea of making them into a little mini collection if you wanted to put a few things together in a gift.

It’s always a little bit of a wistful feeling when Knitvent’s over. It’s like the end of the year and heading into the holidays, but it’s also an exciting time of year. So I hope you like these two patterns. The description for the hat is “There’s a little bit of the homebody in every heart. Even a globe-trotting extrovert knows that the comforts of home are irreplaceable. Still, there are many different ways to be a home bird, and what that looks like in your life is as personal as your fingerprints. Is it a slow and solitary day where you dabble in your favorite pursuits for hours on end? Is it a big, noisy, delicious feast with a boisterous crew of loved ones trading jokes and stories over five different kinds of homemade pie? Maybe it’s just a stolen moment to yourself, between one happening and the next, where you catch your breath, look around, and know that you are exactly where you belong.

And for the Homebody mitts, “This time of year is often intense, with so many conflicting demands on our schedules. It can be especially challenging for us homebodies. The calendar fills up with parties and concerts, events and outings, shopping, chores, and a thousand errands that drag us away from the fireside and out into the wider world. And it’s all happening just when we instinctively feel a pull towards family and home. Beyond the practical demands, the emotions of the season are often complex. For many people, thoughts of home and the holidays can be bittersweet. When we start to feel as if it’s all a little too much, it’s important to have a calm and quiet place to return to, to regroup and recharge. Often, knitting is that place for me. It’s a portable retreat, a safe haven where I can rest my homebody soul even for a few quiet moments and a few thoughtful stitches.”

I decided to use two Australian indie yarn dyers for these projects. For the hat, the gray hat, I used Wren and Ollie Spin DK in the colorway gingerbread, and for the ready burgundy hat I used Happy Hank Co Classy DK in the colorway rhubarb. And both those yarns are 100% Superwash Merino. For the mitts, I used Wren and Ollie Spin DK again and this one was in the color peony, which is the beautiful light pink color. So I’ve since made Sophie a hat in the peony. So I was able to make a pair of adult mitts as well as a child hat out of 115 gram skein, which is what the put up for that particular yarn is the Spin DK. It’s 230 meters and 252 yards. So yeah, I was pretty happy with that.

I did omit about four rounds on the hat just to make sure I wasn’t playing yarn chicken, but I think actually with the amount I had leftover, I could have probably included a few more rounds. So yeah, so basically you can get a child’s hat and adult mitts out of one skein if it’s that slightly bigger skein. And I have some more Wren and Ollie and Happy Hank colorways that I ordered at the time because I couldn’t quite decide what colors to make the samples in. And so yeah, I’m looking forward to making a few more Hats and mitts sets for various friends for Christmas presents. So thank you to those gorgeous Aussie indie dyers for your gorgeous, inspiring colorways.

So upcoming for Knitvent. Now all the patterns have been released, I’m going to release the patterns as single patterns on December the 13th which is a Friday the 13th, which is a very lucky day for me because Lexie was born on Friday the 13th. So I always think that it’s a lucky number for me now and we’ll continue the knit along and extend that out until the 31st of January next year just to give people plenty of time to knit their things without pressure. Some of the things like the throw are a little bit bigger, so just to give you lots and lots of relaxing time of knitting in January. We’ll have the knit along going until then, and all you have to do to enter for the giveaway as to post a picture of your finished object in the thread on Ravelry and we’ll draw that after the 31st. I will contribute a nice prize for that. I’m not sure exactly what it will be yet, but probably some yarn and a project bag or something like that. Yeah, so that’s Knitvent.

And then we have the last of the six socks for the Handmade Sock Society coming out next week, next Thursday, and that is in a gorgeous yarn that is made by my friend Emma, I should say, dyed by my friend Emma whose Etsy shop is Seren Yarns, S-E-R-E-N. She does gorgeous, gorgeous colorways and made a special colorway for the Sock Society, which is Seaside Dreaming and it is a really dreamy color. So she’s doing an update at her Etsy shop on Sunday evening, this coming Sunday evening, the 1st of December. So I’ll put a link to her Etsy shop in the show notes, and then the socks will be coming out on this day if you’re a member of the Handmade Sock society. Of course you can use any sock yarn you have in your stash or that you decide to purchase for this, but I just wanted to give you a heads up about the special colorway from Seren Yarns.

And I am endeavoring, I have not really been committing to this goal, but I am now committed to publishing the fragment socks from issue four of Laine Magazine as a single pattern. And every time I post a picture of someone’s fragment socks on Instagram, I get asked, “When is this single pattern coming out?” And I’ve just been so slow, partly because I’m going to publish it with three sizes rather than… I think in the magazine it was just one size. So I wanted to publish it with three sizes like I normally do. So that’s probably been the main delay to be honest. Just the fact that I had that mental block about the extra work I had to do to do that, but now it’s all coming together. I think it should be possible by the end of the year. So I’m working on that basis and committing to that.

And so I will let you know more details about that probably in next week’s episode or newsletter if you subscribe to my newsletter. So thank you for your patience. I don’t even know when that pattern first came out in the magazine, but yes, it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen this year. So thanks for bearing with me through all those updates. It’s been a wonderful year for designing. I’m so honored that you knit my patterns and post photos. I absolutely love seeing what you make on Instagram and on Ravelry. It just is everything to me. I put all my effort and work into designing patterns. It’s a big part of my life now and it’s so rewarding to be in touch with you and knitters and yeah, I just love it. So I’m really looking forward to next year.

I’m planning what collections I’ll do next year and yeah, have lots more fun and creativity for us all to enjoy. It’s been a pretty intense year for me personally for a lot of reasons, but I think it’s been pretty intense for a lot of people around the world politically and all sorts of things have been happening. I feel like life is getting more intense rather than less intense. Obviously the move from the UK to Australia was a huge upheaval for us. A lot of work has been involved in that and, I don’t know, maybe I was a bit naive, but it’s been a lot more work than I anticipated. But we’re getting there, slowly settling in and I’m super happy. I feel a lot closer to nature here. We can always hear birds singing and it’s a lot quieter. We can go for walks on the beach. And when we’re just driving around the neighborhood or the town, we get gorgeous views up and down the coast and yeah, I’ve been appreciating that so much. Just really enjoying it.

I absolutely loved living in London, loved going for walks and so many things about living in London. But yeah, I’m really enjoying being here as well, so I’m so happy that it’s been a good move and the girls are slowly settling in. They are a little bit up and down. I don’t know if it’s been a bit harder for them probably. I’ve been so busy. I haven’t had time to think about things too much, but they’re missing their friends a little bit still. And I guess it’s going to take them probably about a year to really settle and have formed really good friends and everything. But I’m really pleased with how much they are loving school and enjoying the lifestyle here. They’ve both really got into swimming and it’s really good to see. Just before I sign off, I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & Coop Knits, 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 color, 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. You can find them at meadowyarn.co.uk. You can click on the ad on my blog.

So I will have one more episode for this year next week, and then we will take a little break and come back in 2020 the new decade. Can you believe that? So I hope you all have a wonderful week. Until next week. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye.

Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

Today we have a new Knitvent pattern to celebrate, and I’ve been planning out my collections for next year and a new creative space, which I’m very excited about. I’ve also got lots of other little life bits to share in a chatty podcast episode.

Show Links

The Dwelling Cushion Cover

Knitvent 2019

Habitation Throw

Homebody Socks

Bide Shawl

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

The Knitting Pipeline

Mind over Medicine by Lissa Rankin

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 276. 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 a transcript on my website, at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been pretty busy on here with Knitvent happening. Lots of things happening to make that all run smoothly. And yeah, doing a bit of planning, doing lots of still settling in myself and the kids into life in Australia. It seems to be ongoing still. And yeah, it’s been good.

I feel a little bit scattered because there’s just been so many things going on, on so many different fronts. But if we start with Knitvent, perhaps. Thank you so much for everybody who’s joining in. It’s been really, really lovely seeing people’s projects starting on Instagram and Ravelry. I always get a huge thrill. I try and follow hashtags. So if you’re posting under Knitvent 2019 or hashtag curioushandmade on Instagram, then I’m seeing most of your projects hopefully. And yeah, just loving it.

I’m so pleased that you like the Habitation Throw, which was the scrappy advent calendar project for this year. That seems to be quite popular. I am knitting away on one as well, so I’m just using scraps and not being too specific about what yarn I’m using. I’m just grabbing yarn and knitting it in, and so it’s a lovely, relaxing, mindless project to have to hand on the sofa when I get a few minutes to sit down.

And also the Homebody socks seem to be quite popular. DK weight socks, they always knit up really quickly and it’s such a simple pattern. I wanted something that was unisex and super simple but yet looked cute. So I see that lots of people are knitting them for all ages and genders, and yeah, really, really pleased about that too.

So this week, yesterday the Dwelling cushion cover came out. And I felt like I was going out on a little bit of a limb doing a cushion cover, but I wanted to do a couple of at least, home decor kind of things for this homebody hibernation theme. And I’ve been thinking about doing a cushion cover for a while.

One of the technical things about this was whether to do an opening or not. And I did initially swatch it with a band for doing a button closure at one end. But then in the end, I just thought, I’m just going to make it clean and simple and less knitting, and just have it so that it’s closed up with just a whip stitch or a mattress stitch at the end. And then if you need to wash it, you can just undo that stitching and then do it up again later. It’s a little bit more work and maybe not as easy for non-crafters or non-knitters to be able to do that. But I just thought how often do you actually wash your cushion covers? In my case, it’s not often, even though I have messy children. I just sort of do a spot clean and off we go.

So that was the decision I came to you, but if you really feel strongly that you wanted a closure, you could just do a band of ribbing at one end and pop some eyelets in the band, and have some buttons to close it off. That was sort of my original plan. So you could still do that. And if there’s a huge demand, I could write that as an option into the pattern as well. But I just figured for the sake of a simple Knitvent pattern, I’d just do it this way for now and see what you thought.

So it’s also a scrappy project potentially. So you could use your DK weight scraps. You could also use fingering weight scraps held double, and it’s just meant to be a little bit of a Missone inspired stripey fun design. I hope people have fun selecting colors. You could do it all in one color as well. Or you could do more even stripes. There’s lots and lots of room to play with this one. So I hope you like it.

I’ll just read out the description. Dwelling is a very pretty word for home. With a fairy tale sound, it conjures up thatch and cobblestone, Hobbit holes and toadstools, and all those old fashioned signifiers of someplace where you know you’ll find a crackling fire, an overstuffed armchair, and a pantry full of tasty morsels. But dwelling sometimes has a different meaning. One that’s tinged with worry. To dwell on something is to set up camp and hunker down with a problem, to live amid our anxieties. The challenges in our lives do need attention and care, but we deserve a sanctuary in our home, someplace we can shut out the distractions and just be with our own thoughts. A place where trouble cannot follow us. Social media and messy kitchens, current events and squabbling relatives, overstuffed to-do lists, and overdue correspondence can all wait. Fill your favorite mug with something fragrant and steamy, close the door, sit down and breathe. This corner and this moment is yours and yours alone.

The Dwelling cushion cover is a soft place to land, the perfect accessory to mark your favorite chair or window seat as your own particular dwelling place. It’s also a lovely gift for anyone who could use a little extra comfort in their life. Designed to use up scraps of DK weight yarn, this is an easy, speedy knit and a lot of fun. The pattern is written for a 40 centimeter cushion insert but is easy to modify. Artful chevron stripes of random widths offer the creative opportunity to play and experiment with color. The resulting cushion cover is a lovely blend of contemporary style and cottage charm.

So I hope you agree and I’m looking forward to seeing your cushion covers pop up on social media as well.

The other thing I’ve been doing this week is some planning. And I am looking forward to next year. I love doing a little bit of planning for the year ahead, and am gradually getting better at planning ahead for business and life. And it’s getting smoother as I get better at planning ahead.

And this year I was really pleased that I managed to schedule all my pattern releases not in holidays, and not when I was going to be traveling or at a retreat or on a family holiday. So that made a huge, huge difference to my feeling of calm and wellbeing, because the previous year I tried to do that but wasn’t really strict enough about it. And I still had a couple of patterns coming out when I was traveling. It was just super stressful, relying on uncertain wi-fi and things like that.

So last year I think pretty much every single pattern release was when I was at least in a sort of fairly stable place. I know with the move that wasn’t entirely perfect, but yeah it worked out really well. So I’m going to do that again next year, make sure that I schedule around trips and holidays as best I can. And sometimes that means a little bit of juggling if I have something like the Sock Society or the Shawl Society. Sometimes it means that the pattern has to come out a little bit earlier or a little bit later. But generally it’s been fairly even and fairly easy to do that. So I’m going to make sure I do that again next year.

I’m thinking about what collections I’m going to do next year, and I will talk a little bit more about that when I firm that up. I’m going to try to reduce the number of collections I’m planning, just to give myself a little bit more time for creativity.

The last few years, I’ve worked pretty hard and feel like I’m, if not burnt out, verging on burnout. And I feel like I need a bit of time and space for my creativity to come back, and yeah, just have a bit more fun with designing and not have so much pressure on how many things I’m taking on. I did try and take on less this year, and I think I did. I didn’t really pick up any extra projects. I said no to a lot of projects. But there were still a few I couldn’t resist. But yeah, I think I was fairly good being fairly strict with myself. But I think next year with just seeing how it went this year, I might even try and reduce things a little bit more even. It’s really hard saying no to fun projects, but I really feel like it’s necessary for me at the moment to just yeah, just need a bit more time to play, and possibly do a little bit of more fun personal knitting, bring back the joy of that.

And I also am itching to do some other crafts like embroidery and dressmaking or clothes making and some quilting. I think being here in the hot climate that the sewing and quilting is really popular here, and I think there’s just more of an urge to pick up some cool cotton fabric than wooly wool. So I think I’ll be wanting to do a little bit more of that kind of thing and see what happens with that as well.

So yes, I’ve been having fun playing around with planning and thinking about what an ideal day would look like, what the year would ideally look like. I’ve got some fun trips planned, have a very exciting wedding to go to in Ireland, in June next year. And so I’m super looking forward to that. And yeah, just lots and lots of things to look forward to.

One of my very, very favorite planning techniques is to sit down and write a letter to myself from the future. So I think like a three year timeframe is quite a good timeframe. So you sit down and think, okay, it’s Christmas 2022, and what am I doing, what’s happening, what am I working on, where am I living? And I really love that activity, and I find that’s a really, really nice way to set goals because you just envisage what you want your life to look like. And then work right from there. So that’s a really nice one.

And I’m also working on my word for the year, so I’ll announce that probably early next year as well, and have a little bit of a chat about plans and collections and word for the year and all that sort of thing, early in the new year.

So after this episode, we’ve got two more weeks of the podcast before I finish for the holiday season. I usually try and wrap up the podcast for the year around the time that the kids finish school for the year. And this year it’s a bit earlier because they finish a bit earlier in Australia than we did in the UK, just a little bit. But that’s come around pretty quickly as always.

So in terms of personal knitting, I have pulled out my Clio pullover by Elizabeth Doherty again, and I did say that I wanted to finish this by the end of the year, so I need to do some focused knitting on this project if I want that to happen. So I’ve pulled it out again. It’s been in hiatus for a while. I did think I would do a bit more on that before now, but I haven’t had time. So looking forward to doing that. I’m still keeping that as a goal to finish up by the end of the year. So we shall see. We shall see.

I feel like I haven’t been able to catch up with people very much lately and I feel a little bit sad about that. I haven’t caught up with many knitting podcasts or audio podcasts either. And even on Instagram, I’ve been on there and seeing what people are up to a bit less than usual. It’s been super busy settling in here. And just getting the kids settled has been pretty time consuming. They’ve needed a lot of support, understandably. And we’re just getting used to doing packed lunches, new routines, new places to shop. The food is pretty similar to the UK but just a little bit different. And it’s a lot hotter here, so we don’t really want to eat exactly the same things. So meal planning is taking me a bit longer. And yeah, just funny things like that are just taking up a little bit of time as we settle in.

We’re also creating some creative spaces for each of us in the house that we’ve moved into. So that is incredibly exciting. I am going to you have a office, slash craft room, slash studio of my own, and I am thrilled about that. We’re actually building that at the moment. And so I’m having daydreams about how I’m going to decorate that and set it up, and hoping to make it quite practical, as well as really inspiring. So there’s been a little bit of Pinterest and magazine browsing for inspiration on that. And I just wish I could be in touch with people a little bit more. But I think that will come in time as we settle in.

I just wanted to send out my love to Paula from the Knitting Pipeline podcast. Paula, as you might know, has been fighting ovarian cancer this year. She had the diagnosis at the beginning of the year, has had rounds of treatment, chemotherapy, and did have the good news a few months ago that the prognosis looked very good. But we had a message from her last week saying that she just had a checkup and the cancer was aggressively coming back again. And so I just wanted to give you a little update because I know that a lot of my listeners are also fans of Paula’s. And I just wanted to send out my love, and if you could send her your healing vibes, prayers, thoughts and love, I’m sure she will appreciate that and feel it.

And yeah, she is incredible. She is so inspiring, so strong, so positive, and it just makes me want to cry, how amazingly she’s handled it. And I really appreciate how much she’s kept everybody up to date. There’s a website called CaringBridge where she can post updates. It’s kind of like a blog but a bit more private. So you can sign up to get updates there, and that’s been really helpful. I just love Paula so much. She’s the reason I podcast and I just can’t wait for her to get better.

I’m reading a very interesting book at the moment actually. It’s called Mind Over Medicine. And it’s by Lissa Rankin, which is L-I-S-S-A, R-A-N-K-I-N. And this book is just all about how the mind can help with healing. She talks about it in quite a scientific way. I think she’s actually a doctor herself, the author, and she’s reviewed a lot of medical studies on the topic. So it’s not a woo woo book, it’s a scientific book. Yeah, it’s really, really interesting. And also, I don’t know, quite reassuring that the power of positive thinking can have such an impact on everybody’s health. So yeah, I would recommend it. It talks a lot about studies and it’s a little bit chatty. But yeah, just some really, really interesting things in there about how more intangible things like loving relationships or reducing stress and positive thinking can impact very strongly on your health.

So I just thought I’d mention that. It’s a really positive read, so I am thinking about that quite a lot in terms of improving my health. I have been going to Pilates three times a week for just over a month now. I was looking for a new fitness routine to get into and to look after myself as I get a little bit older and creakier. I’m really enjoying doing the Pilates. It’s at a studio where they use the reformer machines, which was super intimidating at first. But it’s kind of just like a really nice gym resistance workout. If I could describe it as anything, I’d say it’s kind of like going to the gym but a lot nicer.

And so you work on strength and core muscles, as well as flexibility and stretching. I think there’s about 10 people in the class. And they’re all women in all the classes I’ve been to anyway. I don’t think it’s a women-only gym, but it tends to be all women. And it’s just a really nice environment. It’s a really nice way to spend 50 minutes looking after yourself. So I’ve been really enjoying that.

Trying to do a little bit of swimming but haven’t been too successful there. Although I have been swimming in the ocean a couple of times, which is just gorgeous. And yeah, doing a little bit of walking. But the temperatures here are getting high that you have to plan walks early in the morning or late in the evening. I can’t just pop out in the middle of the day like I used to in London. So that’s taking a little bit more thought to arrange.

So I hope you’re all well and doing your best in this hectic season, running up to the end of the year, and running up to the holiday season.
Have a wonderful week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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Show Sponsors

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

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

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Today on the podcast I’m talking about rituals and routines, how I’m experiencing a summery Christmas again and the memories it’s sparking, and I also have not just one but two new Knitvent 2019 patterns to introduce this week.

Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt

Knitvent 2019

The Habitation Throw

tracyrr’s Habitation project page

The Homebody Socks

Lay Family Yarn

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 275. This podcast is all about crafting your life with happiness and creativity.

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

Hello and welcome to the show. How has your week been? I hope it’s been good. It’s that time of year where things start getting pretty busy for most people. It’s been a bit of a funny week here as in California. The area I live in has been suffering from bush fires. There’ve been some around the Sunshine Coast where I live and also in New South Wales, which is the next state down the coast and although we are not that close to them that we’re affected by actual evacuation warnings or anything, the air has been very smoky and people we know have been affected. My cousin was evacuated from her house and so yeah, so it’s just been quite unsettling and so my thoughts and heart go out to people that have been affected by it because it’s really quite scary. So I hope you’re all safe and well and coping okay with it if you’ve been affected.

Other than that, it’s been warm and sunny here. It’s just such a head spin being on the other side of the world this time of year and so it seems pretty surreal to be in hot weather. I guess the funny thing for me is it’s bringing back all my childhood and memories from younger days. I haven’t really lived in Australia since I was about 25 so for over 20 years. So yeah, so it’s bringing back a lot of memories, but it’s from quite a while ago. So yeah, it’s a little bit strange. I am enjoying it, but I’m also enjoying photos of snow and cold weather and people wearing wooly clothes as well.

Also at this time of year, it’s time to start planning. If you’re a planner, which I now am, I think. I haven’t been much of a planner in the past, but I’m getting better and better. I am starting to enjoy the process.

So I listened to an audio book. I don’t know how I came across it. I think maybe I heard Michael Hyatt being interviewed on a business podcast I listened to. I think that was what happened and he was talking about his most recent book Free to Focus. So I don’t really know what his main thing is, but he’s kind of in the productivity area. I think he has planners in those courses for planning your most productive year ever and that kind of thing. And so I was in the mood for a bit of productivity, so I listened to the audio book actually, and it’s called Free to Focus, and I thought it sounded good because it was not so much about cramming more into your day and how to be the most efficient. The whole premise is about how to take things off your plate and do the things that you want to do the most. So sort of prioritization I suppose, and how to say no to things and how to reduce workload rather than increase it.

So that’s very much along the lines I’m thinking at the moment. So I was really interested to listen to it and it was a really good book. I picked up some really, really practical tips. A couple of the tips that I particularly liked were about having a ritual for the morning and a ritual for the evening. And this isn’t anything particularly new, but just the way he spoke about it made me think about things a little bit differently. So not just that having a morning routine and evening routine, which is not a new concept at all, but he also suggested having a start work and stop work routine. So sort of having your personal morning routine, getting ready to start work, and then another sort of ritual or routine when you start work that you do every day. So that was kind of a little bit of a new way of thinking about it. And I started thinking about other things I could make rituals for or routines for like exercising and practicing music. And I don’t know, like you could make your routine a ritual out of any habit really.

So it just got me thinking down a particular track, which was good. I haven’t really planned my rituals yet, but I’m working on them. And the other thing he had in there, which was really, really helpful or I think will be really, really helpful, is about delegating. And he talks about outsourcing tasks that aren’t your sphere of where you’re most productive. Things that are in, he calls it your drudgery zone, so things you hate doing and things you’re not very good at doing. So for me like bookkeeping and accounting falls in that area, things like that. So once you identify what you could potentially delegate, he has a whole, I guess it’s a chapter, I listened to it so I’m not really sure if it was a chapter or not, but a whole section on levels of delegation, how to delegate effectively.

And this was the best piece I’d ever heard about delegating. So I am really excited to try that out because I do have a lot of help in my business. I do outsource particular tasks, but I don’t think I do it very effectively. So I’m really keen to try out some of this stuff. And he talks about automating things as well in a slightly different way than what I’d heard before. So I would recommend it. I listened to it twice and took notes and I’m sort of hoping to implement some of it. So, so I’d really recommend it if you’re into your productivity and trying to, I don’t know, get organized then yeah, it’s called Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt.

So you might guess by my rather lengthy chat about something completely non-related to knitting that I possibly don’t have a lot of knitting to talk about this week. I haven’t managed to really do much knitting, although I am quite happy that a couple of the pieces that I’ve designed for Knitvent, which haven’t come out yet, but various family members have requested that I make them some, which doesn’t really happen very often. So I’m pretty excited about that. So I’ve been making a couple of extra samples of upcoming Knitvent designs. So that’s been kind of nice.

And this week, yesterday, two patterns were released for Knitvent. I’ve had to compress this schedule slightly this time because I didn’t start as early as I wanted to with Knitvent. Things got away from me a bit with the move and everything. So I have just started it a week later, which meant that this week I had two patterns released. So the patterns are the habitation throw and this is a super simple, but I think quite effective little throw, you can make it any size you want. I’m quite pleased with the design for this because it’s really flexible. So I have designed it for people with advent calendars.

The sample we knit, we used 10 gram mini skeins, 24 10 gram mini skeins, but you could also use your 20 gram mini skeins if that’s the size of the advent calendar you have. Or you could use leftover scraps from projects. If you’re like me, you have boxes and boxes of fingering weight leftovers. And I actually used… I selected 24 different skeins of leftovers from previous projects for the set this year. I didn’t use a purchased set I used, I made a set and my lovely sample knitter Deb knit it up for me and also took the photographs. And so they’re absolutely gorgeous.

Yeah. So it’s lots of fun. So basically you sort of increase until you’ve used about 50% of your yarn, maybe a little bit less if you don’t want to play yarn chicken, and then decrease for the other 50%. So at the square and it goes out and then back in. And so you can see from that it’s super, super flexible. You could use any weight of yarn. You could use more or less and yeah, you could just do it in one color or lots of stripes. I was quite tempted to do it more stripey, so stripe two of the advent colors together, but I wanted to keep it as a sort of an advent project for Knitvent so that if people are sort of opening one skein a day, they can add a color per day. So I stuck with that concept. But you could do stripes, you can use two colors and stripe it or, yeah, just so flexible. So I’m really pleased with how flexible it is and I hope you have lots of fun with it.

My lovely test knitter Tracy used [Hey set and 00:12:04] and I think she had, I want to say 20 or 30 gram mini skeins. She’ll have the details on her project page on Ravelry and she is Tracy, T-R-A-C-E-Y-R-R on Ravelry. If your interested in sort of seeing a different version from the sample that I knit or that Deb knit, I should say. I am knitting my own sample as well because it’s quite potato chippy. So I started quite a big swatch and I’ll continue. I’ll continue with my swatch.

And then the second pattern that was released this week is the homebody socks. These socks are in DK weight yarn and super squishy. I kind of designed them with sort of house socks, bed socks in mind, but of course you could wear them with boots or shoes and have nice cozy socks. I used Lay Family Yarn, DK yarn. This is a great option. It’s has some nylon in it so it’s good for socks and Kelly from Lay Family Yarns dyes, gorgeous colors and I use the very two-four pink color.

The socks have been written in four sizes. So I’m basically thinking a toddler, toddler size, a child. The medium is approximately a woman’s size and then a large, yeah, so lots and lots of options. They’re pretty flexible as well in terms of sort of length or you could adjust the length of cuff if you wanted to make them a bit shorter or a bit longer depending on how much yarn you have. So yeah, so two patterns this week, the habitation throw and home body socks. I hope you really love them. I’m pretty excited about them. I think they’re really fun and thank you so much for everybody joining in and posting your patterns on Ravelry. I see that there’s lots of bide shawls popping up and they’re being made up pretty quickly as was the intention. Lots of cozy, cozy shawls happening. So that’s fun to see. And if you’re posting on Instagram or social media, you can use Knitvent 2019 hashtag. I’m following the hashtag so I can see everything that you’re making.

As always, it’s not too late to join in. You can still join in with purchasing the Knitvent 2019 ebook. It is only available on Ravelry and there are still two weeks and three patterns to go.

So thanks for tuning in. I hope you have a wonderful week. I am going to make it another short episode this week. I’m still getting back into the swing of it and my best friend from university days is arriving in the morning for the weekend and we’re going to have a nice girly day tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to that and I need to do a little bit of preparation.

CH 274: The Podcast Returns!

Helen —  November 6, 2019 — Leave a comment
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Show Sponsors

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

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

I’m so thrilled to be chatting with you again after such a long break. Thank you for bearing with me while I found my bearings in my new home. I have a bit of a life update for you. Knitvent 2019 just started yesterday with the reveal of the Bide Shawl, our first pattern. Welcome home!

Show Links

The Knitvent 2019 collection was inspired by the theme of “Home for the Holidays”.

As the year draws to its end, we’ll celebrate all the quiet joys of hibernation and gather close in gratitude for our own cosy nests.

The word “home” can have a hundred different meanings. It might be where you grew up: a place rich with treasured memories, priceless heirlooms, and familiar customs handed down through generations. It can be somewhere brand new, a space you carve out for yourself and fill with chosen family and your own fresh traditions. It may simply be a feeling of safety, hard-won and precious, which you carry with you wherever you go. Whatever home means to you, and wherever your home might be, the six mystery patterns we’ll share this season will spark your love for the life of a homebody. Let the outside world bustle and rush. We’ll be right here in our favourite corner, peacefully knitting to our hearts’ content.

For the past six years, Knitvent has held a special place in the Curious Handmade community. It’s now a favourite holiday that brings us all together by mixing the old-fashioned anticipation of an Advent calendar with all the excitement and fun of a mystery knit along. Over a span of four festive weeks, six secret knitting patterns will make their way to your Ravelry library. It’s an irresistible mix of presents for the most knitworthy people you know, special touches for your home, and treats for yourself to help make this holiday season warm and wonderful. 

The Curious Handmade Ravelry group is a welcoming home for like-minded knitters at this time of year, glowing with Knitvent spirit. The friendship, support, encouragement and enthusiasm you’ll find there are truly heartwarming. Over on Instagram, you’ll also find so many inspiring images and posts from the talented members of the Curious Crew: just use #Knitvent2019 to join in! Throughout the Knitvent season there will be contests, KALs and prizes, holiday stories and surprises, and a delicious sense of togetherness. Every year seems more magical than the last, and I hope you’ll come be a part of it all. 

Become a part of the Knitvent family and treat yourself to a season of joyful holiday surprises!

Purchase the the Knitvent ebook on Ravelry!

Our first pattern, the Bide Shawl, was revealed yesterday!

Bide is such a quiet word. It speaks of stillness, steadiness, and learning to stay. Sometimes it means being able to endure: to bide a winter storm is to withstand its mighty winds. Sometimes it’s just a gentle visit: bide awhile, put your feet up, get comfortable, catch up on all the chat. One definition for bide is “to wait calmly for a good opportunity to do something” which is delightfully specific. There’s so much in that one line. Patience, wisdom and also a kind of peaceful optimism. If you know how to bide your time, you must trust that something wonderful is on the way. 

The pressure to rush around in an exciting holiday whirl seems to come just at the time when the urge to remain close to home and loved ones and quiet pursuits is strongest. It requires a calm and steady intention to stay put instead of saying yes to every invitation and opportunity that comes along. It takes a willingness to bide. 

The Bide Shawl is our first surprise pattern of Knitvent 2019. Knit from bulky yarn with simple texture and eyelet rows, a smart garter border and playful tassels, this triangular shawl is a deeply satisfying, quick knit. It makes an exceptional present as it’s achievable even at the last minute but is substantial enough to make quite the impression. It would also be a lovely thing to knit for yourself, for those cosy moments biding by the fire.

The Bide samples were knit using my favourite cuddly, squishy bulky weight yarn, Tundra, from The Fibre Company. The red shawl (medium sample) used the Red Arctic colourway, and the cream/grey shawl (large sample used the Baby Beluga colourway.

Knitvent 2019 Giveaway winners

The Knitvent 2019 Giveaway has closed, but I’ve left the beautiful Giveaway thread open for anyone else who would like to share their memories and thoughts about their beloved homes. It’s such an uplifting and emotional read: thank you all so much for sharing. Here are our giveaway winners:

Grand Prize
Post 68 by aliad555 
“Home is spending time with my husband and dogs, the feeling of safety, warmth and comfort and being very grateful for all that we have.”

Congratulations! Please message HellsBells on Ravelry with your address and we’ll get your prize into the post for you!

Ten Winners of Mount Juliet Shawl Pattern:

Post 82: kristinknitting

Post 134: 2mayboys

Post 73: thierria

Post 109: CarolIsASong

Post 11; sabinaknits

Post 75: craftyMil

Post 146: catvet

Post 149: AlohaGirlBC

Post 108: porthia

Post 30: Bgeldmaker

If you’re one of our lucky winners, please get in touch if you already own the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern and let me know which pattern you’d like instead.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 274. 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.

Hello knitters. I’m back and I’m so happy to be chatting to you today. I wasn’t sure when I would be able to podcast again and I was chatting to a friend who listens to the show, and it just made me realize how much I miss you all. So I decided that I would make a special effort today and get over that slight fear of recording again after a long break.


So as you probably know, if you’ve been listening for a while, the long break was due to moving to the other side of the world, from London in the UK to the Sunshine Coast in Australia. We are living in a town called Buderim, which is right in the middle of the beach area north of Brisbane. So we are, I don’t know what that’s really, it feels tropical, I think it’s called the subtropics and so it’s pretty, pretty warm. We’re heading into summer. See, I can’t even stop giving you a weather report even though I’m on the other side of the world.


But yeah, just to give you a bit of an orientation and a flavour of where I am now. Yeah, it’s a beach community and it’s pretty amazing. We’ve swapped sirens, ambulance and police sirens for bird song. It’s very spacious. I think we’re almost over our slight feeling of agoraphobia. But yeah, wide roads, wide car parks, lots of space in the garden and much bigger houses. Yeah, it’s all quite different, but in quite a nice way, I have to say. People are very friendly. Because we’re not living in a city, it’s just so much more relaxed than city life. I don’t know how you’d describe it. The Sunshine Coast is a very sprawling, sprawling area and it’s made up of lots of little beach towns spread along the coast. And they’ve kind of over the years all joined up to make one sprawling big kind of city, really. But yeah, it’s all very spread out compared to London.


And so, there’s everything we need, like all the shops and grocery stores and everything we need, but just enough, not too much of anything. And yeah, the pace of life is a lot slower. It’s wonderful. So, so far we’re really enjoying it. I don’t think we’ll get bored. We could always entertain ourselves with going to the beach and doing lots of crafts and we always have iPads and TVs for when it gets too boring. It’s been a really interesting time and the kids have started their new school and well, the kids have been so welcoming and friendly and the teachers that they have are wonderful. They have just joined in for the last term of this year and then they’ll start their new school year in January over here. So it’s a bit of a different rhythm to the year.


But yeah, it’s one that’s kind of familiar to me from my school days. So it’s kind of nice to be going back to what I grew up with, in a funny kind of way. So I don’t know if you all notice my accent change. I’m not sure if it has already or not. You probably will notice a bit of a change and I might slow down a bit. We’ll see. I don’t know. I’m a bit embarrassed about that or a bit conscious of it, let’s say. But anyway, I’m just going to not worry about it too much and hope that you can still understand me if I start talking in a broad Australian accent.


So we have moved into our house here and all our boxes arrived from the UK. Lots and lots and lots of boxes, which we’ve almost unpacked. So reunited with the stash, which was nice, and I ended up having lots and lots of boxes of yarn and lots of boxes of books and not a lot else, in terms of personal stuff. There was quite a bit for the kitchen. But yeah, it was quite funny how it ended up being mostly crafting stuff and books. And most of the books are either craft or cooking books. So it’s been funny unpacking everything and seeing it in a new environment. It’s making me look at things with slightly fresh eyes. I’m not sure if it’s going to help me destash or declutter things a bit more, having it in a different environment, but most of it I feel like, oh, I still love it and I’m glad I brought it all this way. So, that’s been really nice.


Yeah. So we’re just gradually settling in. It’s taking a bit longer than I kind of anticipated. I mean, I’m very impatient and also overambitious, so I kind of just always anticipate that I’ll do things quicker than I actually can in real life, but we’re getting that and feeling really quite settled for considering we’ve only been back a month or two.


So mostly what I’ve been doing on the work side of things is working on Knitvent. And while I have had the theme for this year’s Knitvent in mind since the very beginning of the year, back maybe even since the end of last year actually, it just seems so appropriate to me, personally at the moment, because we are settling in and nesting into a new home. And so the theme, come home for the holidays with Knitvent, just seems really even more right.

So as the year draws to its end, we’re celebrating all the quiet joys, hibernation, and gathering close in gratitude for our own coziness. The word home can have a hundred different meanings. It might be where you grew up, a place rich with treasured memories, priceless heirlooms and familiar customs handed down through generations. It can be somewhere brand, a new space you carve out for yourself and fill with chosen family and your own fresh traditions.


It may simply be a feeling of safety, hard won and precious, which you carry with you wherever you go. Whatever home means to you and wherever your home might be, the six mystery patterns we share this season will spark your love for the life of a home body. Let the outside world bustle and rush. We’ll be right here in our favorite corner, peacefully knitting to our heart’s content.


So I hope you enjoy the theme of this year as Knitvent. Knitvent is following its usual format. It’s a little bit more sort of squashed together time wise this year, over four weeks. So we have six patterns and they’re coming out basically as a subscription, a mystery package, over four weeks. So the first week, which just came out yesterday, is the first pattern. And then next week there’ll be two patterns in the one week. The week after one, and the last week, there’ll be two patterns again.


So yes, so very excited about this season. I hope you like the pattern that came out yesterday, the bide shawl and it is knit in one of my very favorite snuggly yarns, which is Tundra by the Fibre Co. They brought out I think six new colors of Tundra this year and so I’ve chosen two of the new colors for two different sizes of the shawl. It’s a really, really snugly quick knit and if you don’t have bulky yarn in your stash, you’re wanting to knit from stash and you don’t have the bulky yarn, I think it might even be super bulky, you can easily substitute another yarn weight with this shawl.


Just use an appropriate size needle. I like to use 4 mm for fingering weight, about four and a half to five for DK, and then maybe about 6 mm for a worsted weight. It’s just whatever fabric you like. With a shawl, it’s not too critical with gauge and this shawl, you can just knit more or less repeats of the very simple pattern or you can add a big garter border if you wanted to, make it a bit bigger or you know, it’s really, really flexible, this one. I deliberately designed it to be flexible as to [mom 00:11:31] size, knowing that people often like to knit their Knitvent patterns from stash.


So even if you are not a bulky wool fan for whatever reason or you know, sometimes the bigger needles can hurt your hands. I can relate to that. Just use something that’s in your stash. My test knitter, Tracy, who’s TracyRR on Ravelry, used a wonderful set of worsted weight yarn. She had enough stash in, I think three or four different colors, so she used some lovely stash in that way and it just looks stunning. A sort of a gradient effect. So thank you so much Tracy for testing for me. As always, thank you to Deb for knitting one of the samples for me. I knit one and Deb knit one this time. And yes, Tracy did a wonderful job test knitting for me, so I just really hope you enjoy this one.


We also had a giveaway for their launch of Knitvent and the prompt in the thread was to talk about the meaning of home for you. And it was super beautiful and moving. I always have so much joy reading these giveaway threads and people were talking about what makes home for them and people mentioned their family, friends, pets, beautiful places, treasured belongings, traditions, some recipes that make people think of home, especially around the holidays, and very much the feeling of being secure and loved and grounded. And just reading through the posts made me so emotional. I was already feeling a bit emotional today and then I started reading these posts and feeling even more emotional, but just so much love and gratitude just beaming out from these pages. So you are all so gorgeous and warm and generous to share your stories and lots of beautiful photos. Such an uplifting thread in Ravelry, if you have a moment to have a look. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, to everybody who joined in.


So I’ll just announce the winners of the giveaway and the grand prize winner, which is a skein of yarn, a project bag and a Laine knit journal. The winner is post number 68, who is aliad555 , Alison, and she said, “Home is spending time with my husband and dogs, the feeling of safety, warmth and comfort, and being very grateful for all that we have.” So, thanks very much and congratulations Alison.


And I’m also giving away 10 copies of the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern, which is my latest single shawl pattern. So the winners of that are;

Post 82: kristinknitting

Post 134: 2mayboys

Post 73: thierria

Post 109: CarolIsASong

Post 11; sabinaknits

Post 75: craftyMil

Post 146: catvet

Post 149: AlohaGirlBC

Post 108: porthia

Post 30: Bgeldmaker

So thank you so much for entering and congratulations. If you would like to message me on Ravelry at HellsBells. For Alison, who won the grand prize, please message your postal address and we’ll get that in the mail to you. And for everybody who won the Mount Juliet Shawl pattern, we’ll pop that over to you in Ravelry. If you already have that one in your library already, you can just message and let me know an alternative that you would like and we can also send you that one.


So I’m just going to keep it pretty short and sweet for this return podcast episode. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t had time to do any personal knitting, so I can’t really talk about that. I have done a few rows here and there on things, but mostly been working on designs and just making sure that Knitvent’s all or ready to go. So, I think I’ll just leave it there today. I just wanted to pop in and say a big hello to you all, get back into the groove of things, and I hope you are all well and enjoying your knitting and I’m just really happy to be back. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Play

Show Sponsors:

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

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

Knitting Designer Helen Stewart models a green lace shawl named the In The Dunes Wrap

We’re just starting to settle in Australia, and as I get my bearings I have a little bit of an update for you, and the newest shawl/wrap from The Shawl Society Season 4 to talk about. I’ve also started a new and lovely novel by a good friend and member of the maker community. It’s just launched and has become part of my summer reading, and I think it might appeal to some of you as well.

Show Links:

Emu Runner movie

In the Dunes Wrap

The Shawl Society Season 4

Meadow from The Fibre Co.

Pure Joy Shawl by Joji Locatelli

Stories for my Sister by Elizabeth Duvivier

Join Elizabeth for a launch party hosted by BROOKLYN TWEED
The Hoxton (Portland, OR)
Thursday, September 5th
doors open at 6pm

space is limited
RSVP at Brooklyn Tweed Events Page

Play

Show Sponsors:

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

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

After a couple of weeks of packing, moving into and out of a temporary flat, and generally uprooting life, it’s finally time to fly away to to Australia! I also have some really sweet new socks to share with you from The Handmade Sock Society.

Show Links:

The Cornish Cream Tea Socks

Circus Tonic Handmade

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Play

Show Sponsors:

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

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

Today’s episode is just a bit of a snapshot of what life is like here at the Curious Handmade headquarters. We’re in the middle of the first stage of the move now and it’s all very real. As I pack up our lives (and my stash!) I have some thoughts about the emotions stuff holds, how clutter and minimalism and waste interact, and which skeins I should pack for a few month’s transition.

Show Links:

Jarr Market

Gather (Peckham No-Packaging Shop)

The Low Tox Life

Low Tox Life Episode 149

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Episode Transcript

———————————-
Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 271. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com

Hello and welcome to the show, I hope you’re having a great week. We are having a heat wave in London at the moment and it is pretty hot, I have to say. Sometimes when people say, “We’re having a heat wave here,” I’m like no, high twenties is not a heat wave. But yesterday it was well over 30 and tomorrow is predicted to be 38 degrees, which considering that no one in London has any air conditioning, it’s pretty disgusting. So not looking forward to that very much. It’s early in the morning at the moment, so it’s still reasonably cool. So I thought I would pop in and podcast while it’s nice and cool and I have a bit of energy to do it.

I’m not sure how much knitting I will have to talk about today, my mind is a little bit scattered. I’m surrounded by packing boxes at the moment. We are moving out of our house this weekend and we’re not leaving the UK for a couple of weeks, but we’re moving to a temporary place and the people coming to pack what we’re taking to Australia are coming early next week. So, yeah, so my mind is a little bit scattered and it’s partly because I’ve got a lot on, but also partly because this process of packing and going through everything you own is quite emotional. Some of it is a bit disturbing when you discover things that you bought twelve years ago and I’ve just had in the back of a cupboard. Yeah. I’m looking through boxes of cards that people have sent to me.

I actually found a bundle of cards that my best friend had written to me, who’s passed away eight years ago and yeah, just lots and lots of little emotional moments as I go through everything. And as you know, if you’ve been listening to the podcast, I have been decluttering for about five years. I’ve been trying to move to a less stuff life. And so it’s a little bit disheartening to be honest, to still have so much stuff and be confronted with my consumerism. But you know, it is what it is. I’m trying to improve, and this is a great opportunity to really sort of clear the slate a little bit.

Yeah. So it’s been a big week, another big week. But I’m getting there. I’m getting there slowly but surely, I’m running out of energy a little bit. I haven’t been sleeping very well. I’ve been sort of getting really tired and then sleeping and then waking up at anywhere between 3:00 AM to, you know, 5:00 AM and not being able to get back to sleep. So it’s not really helping. But I think I hopefully it’s just a phase and it’s partly because it’s so light so early here in the UK at the moment, that doesn’t really help and all sorts of things going on that’s contributing to that.

But yes, so that’s where I’m at today. Sometimes I record these shows and think it’s amazing that anybody listens to me talking about these I don’t know, personal things or probably quite repetitive and boring things sometimes, I’m not sure. But thank you for listening. I appreciate you. I love all my knitters. I love my listeners on the podcast and yeah, I just really appreciate the community we have. And you know, I guess I’m just feeling that a lot because I’m saying goodbye to people here. I’m thinking about the new friends I’m going to make where I’m moving to in Australia, where we’re moving to is not a place I’ve lived before.

I basically lived in Brisbane for university and working for a couple of years after university and for the last couple of years of high school. Before that we traveled around, lived in three or four different places in Queensland. My Dad was a teacher and worked for the government, so he got transferred to different schools and so yes, so we moved around a reasonable amount until I was about 15 and then I was in Brisbane. So we are moving to the sunshine coast, which is about an hour north of Brisbane. It’s the beach and yeah, so really excited about that. I’m really excited about, instead of walking in the park here in London, I’ll be walking along the beach out there. Maybe some bush walks as well, yeah.

Hoping to find a place where the kids will be able to either walk or cycle to school and yeah, just looking forward to hopefully a really, I don’t know, less intense lifestyle than we have here in London. Living in London, it’s really just hard to avoid, it’s impossible to avoid traffic. It’s impossible to avoid being surrounded by a lot of people all the time. I am certainly going to really, really miss very much my friends here in London, I’ve lived in London three different times in my life. I came here as a working holiday maker when I was about 26 for two years and I came back for almost a year in between that and then lived in Germany for a while and then came back again.

So this is the third time I’ve lived here and I think this time it’s been about 14 years, and in that time I’ve had the girls and we’ve met a lot of really good friends through meeting other parents through school, and I’m really good friends with my mum’s group, girls and women. And I think I can call them the girls because that’s what we say. It’s going to be really, really hard. And I think I’m going to miss the convenience of a lot of things here. Everything is on tap. Amazon has a lot to answer for with that. And you know, nothing’s very particularly far away. Although if someone’s living on the other side of the river in London, you tend not to see them very often. But yeah, it’s really just everything at your fingertips. So many opportunities to go to museums or plays or concerts.

And although I don’t do it very often, I think, oh, I’ll miss the ability to do that as easily. But I’m looking forward to a different lifestyle. I’m really looking forward to quieter, hopefully more, I don’t know, a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. I’m hoping that living at a slower pace, hopefully it will, I don’t know, just mean less consumption, more walking, more time to cook. Yeah, just lots of little changes that I’m looking forward to. I’ve been trying really hard for a long time to minimize plastic and waste and food waste and things like that, but I don’t know. With the fast pace of life, things go by the wayside sometimes, so I find myself slipping in and out of good habits a little bit.

I’m really proud of some of the habits and changes we’ve made. We get all our laundry detergent and washing up detergent refilled. We have a Milkman, so he brings milk in glass bottles. And just a few a few things like that that we’ve been able to change. But when I first started trying to really really reduce plastic and things, it was about, I don’t know, I want to say six years ago that I read an article by BA Johnson in a magazine on the way to a holiday. I was reading this magazine on the plane and I got off, I read the article, it was all about zero waste. And I got off the plane and then downloaded her books on my phone and read them on holidays. And then I came back from holidays and went to find the one shop in London that I could find that had like, package free groceries. It was miles away from where we lived. Really, I went there twice, but it really wasn’t feasible as a grocery shopping option.

And especially when at the time I was working in the city and doing some designing and I think maybe podcasting on the side. So it really wasn’t feasible to schlep across London to go and buy our groceries from this place. But ironically in the last couple of weeks, two package free shops have opened in, you know, my neighboring suburbs to where I live. So just sort of a mile away. So I mean that’s good. I’m really, really excited to see them opening and hope to have a chance to visit them. One is called, I was just looking at it on the Instagram. I found it on Instagram, Jarr Market, J-A-R-R market, and they’re in Herne Hill and there’s another one opening in Peckham, or opened in Peckham as well. I can’t remember the name of that one. So if you’re in southeast London and are wanting to do a bit of bit more packaged, free shopping, there are two shops that are available to you, which is super exciting, really, really exciting. And they look lovely online. I’m sure that they’re lovely in person as well. So I’m looking forward to seeing those.

Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble. I know that where we’re moving to has a package free market near where we’re going to be living. So yes, so hoping to use that a bit. One thing I’ve been doing for the past year or so, is twice a week just sort of doing meal planning and cooking meals and just shopping for those meals that I’m cooking rather than going to the grocery store and buying heaps of like seeing nice fruit and veg or really you know, nice things and just buying things randomly. And that’s really cut down on food waste. And I was just listening to a podcast that I haven’t finished listening to yet called The Low Tox Life, which I dip in and out of occasionally.

And it’s an Australian host called Alex someone and I just saw the title, the climate crisis, the power’s in your hands and she has a guest Ann Foster on the show. So I started listening to that and it’s quite a hopeful discussion. I have most of the episodes still to listen to, so I can’t talk about it too much. But one of the first things they were talking about was how food waste can make a huge difference and also how individuals actions can make a huge difference. And so sometimes you wonder whether if what you’re doing is making any difference whatsoever. But this podcast was really, it was really hopeful and I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of it as I’m doing some more packing today. So that was episode 149 of Low Tox Life.

One of the things that I need to do today before my stash gets packed up is to figure out what yarn I am keeping with me for the next, I don’t know, three months or so? I’m not sure how long I will be without my stash. And they say it takes six to eight weeks for things to ship to Australia in a container. And I think we will probably be house hunting for a bit longer than that. So probably be a bit longer before I get to unpack things. So, yeah, so I’m trying to plan, and my mind is not really in a good place to be thinking about this because I’m so scattered. I wish I had sort of set aside some time to do this a little bit earlier, but I think it’s one of those things, you know you, I tend to do things very last minute. I’m still, even though I talked about this, getting better at it in the last couple of episodes, I’m still not fabulous at planning ahead.

So as a result I will be trying to plan out my knitting for the next three months today I’m thinking I’ll definitely have my Cleo project and I will wind a couple more skeins of yarn for that. Not that there’s anything wrong with winding yarn by hand, but I might just try and wind a few skeins just to make that easier because I know that I’m going to be working on that. So I’m thinking Elton, my Elton Cardi by Joji Locatelli in yellow brick road. I think that might be a nice project for travel. It’s super simple and it’s a beautiful bright yellow color. It’s quite cheerful and yeah, and thinking about Joji patterns, I might, I’ve got pure joy is in my, collection of whips, which is a gorgeous shawl by Joji, I’m knitting that in some really deep stash and it’s lovely, lovely yarn. So I think that might be quite a comforting project to bring with me.
I’m also looking forward to doing some designing, so I’m going to try, if I have time to plan out a couple of designs and pack the yarn for those. I have an idea for a pull over and I have some gorgeous La Bien Aimee dk white yarn. I posted a picture of it in my Instagram feed this week and yeah, it’s just gorgeous yarn, super inspiring. I have a little idea for it. So I think I’ll try to include that in my traveling stash and hopefully just work on that a little bit. And yeah, I think, I don’t know, I’m going to need to be reasonably sensible about what I bring with me, but always so many ideas, so many projects. And I think I will need my knitting more than ever in the next few weeks and months. Yeah, it’s going to be my comfort, I think through a big transition.

So I don’t want to apologize too much, but I am sorry if this has been a bit of a ramble-y episode and I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope you’ll bear with me and understand it’s, yeah, just a lot of upheaval at the moment. A lot of things going on and yeah, but I just wanted to pop in and say hello, have a chat with you. I love you all so much. Hope you’re well. I hope for all the people in the northern hemisphere who are moms and dads, you’re coping okay with school holidays. It’s a challenge at the best of times. I hope you’re enjoying some nice warm weather if you’re in the northern hemisphere.

For all my southern hemisphere listeners, enjoy your knitting weather, enjoy the cold weather. Hope you’re cozy and yeah, I’ll talk to you again soon. Most likely next week and I’ll try and be a bit more together for you. Have a slightly more structured conversation.

That’s all from me. Have a fantastic way and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Play


Show Sponsors:

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

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

Today on the podcast I’m answering a question I’ve gotten a lot recently…how am I getting so much done this summer, with such a big move on the horizon? I’m always curious about how other busy people manage their time and to-do lists, so maybe this will be helpful. I’m also thrilled to introduce the latest addition to The Shawl Society 4!

Show Links:

The 3rd pattern of The Shawl Society Season 4 was released yesterday!

The Rockpooling Shawl

When the tide is out, there are wonders to be found in the shallow rock pools along the shore. To see what there is to see you have to crouch down, get very still, and peer very keenly into each puddle. You have to take your time, and you may have to visit a few pools before you strike gold. The reflection of sunlight on the water glitters, you squint, and then it’s there, and you’re rewarded with a moment of pure delight.

A flicker of movement turns out to be a shy little hermit crab, a bouncing company of prawns, or a troupe of busy little fish. Look deeper, and you may even spy a waving anemone among the seaweed or one perfect starfish hidden in the sand. Moving from pool to pool, exploring and discovering and wondering: it is a wonderful way to spend a few hours at the seaside. Compared to the wildness of the open ocean, rockpooling seems a very small sort of adventure. Sometimes that’s the very best kind.

The Rockpooling Shawl is our third pattern of the season. A traditional triangle shape with contemporary detailing, it features an easy but evocative slip-stitch pattern. This three colour shawl offers plenty of scope: go for a sharp contrast or a more gentle dappled effect. A smart garter border finishes it all off beautifully.

The Wool Kitchen BFL Silk DK

My amazing test knitter traceyrr has a gorgeous pink version up on Ravelry

Tracey’s Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch Podcast

The One Thing by Gary Keller

Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Hand Made Podcast, you’re listening to episode 270. This podcast is all about crafting a life with happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at Curioushandmade.com

Welcome to the show and I hope you’ve had a good couple of weeks. I didn’t publish an episode last week. I took a little bit of a break and I thought I would talk a little bit about that later in the show today. I’ve been asked a lot recently by friends and listeners how I’m getting so much done at the moment, and so I thought I’d share a few thoughts and perhaps some tips about that this week. And firstly I wanted to share with you some Shawl Society news. The third pattern in the Shawl Society was released this week, yesterday. And it is called the Rockpooling shawl. So I’ll just read you the description to set the scene:

“When the tide is out, there are wonders to be found in the shallow rock pools along the shore, to see what there is to see you have to crouch down, get very still and peer very keenly into each puddle. You have to take your time and you may have to visit a few pools before you strike gold. The reflection of sunlight on the water glitters. You squint and then it’s there, and you’re rewarded with a moment of pure delight. A flicker of movement turns out to be a shy little hermit crab, bouncing company of prawns or a troop of busy little fish look deeper and you may even inspire a waving anemone amongst the seaweed, or one perfect starfish hidden in the sand. Moving from pool to pool, exploring and discovering and wondering. It is a wonderful way to spend a few hours at the seaside. Compared to the wilderness of the open ocean, rock pooling seems a very small sort of adventure. Sometimes sets the very best kind.

The Rockpooling shawl is the third pattern of the season, a traditional triangle shape with contemporary detailing, it features an easy but evocative slip stitch pattern. This three color shawl offers plenty of scope. You can go for a sharp contrast or a more gentle dappled effect and a garter border finishes it all off beautifully.”

This design was completely inspired by the yarn this time I saw a post on Instagram that Helen of the Wool Kitchen had published quite a long time ago now. And she published these colorways together in a picture, and I immediately wanted to do something with them and they immediately just said like rocks and rock pools, to me. So it was just one of those times where the inspiration really strikes hard, and I just knew immediately what it was going to be. And I love it when that happens, it’s absolutely brilliant. So Helen is just an absolute dream to work with. And so we worked together on the details about the yarn, came up with the right base and yeah, I’m just absolutely thrilled with this shawl and the yarn.

So the yarn is the Wool Kitchen BFL Silk Dk. So it’s 55% Blue Face Leicester and 25% silk. So that gives it an incredible sheen and drape. And I think a silk content for shawls is really, really good. And it also just makes it, yeah, just lovely and drapey. And although DK weight is a bit of a heavier weight for shawls for this time of year, I think that it still has a sort of a lightness to it because of the silk. So the colorways are called Skyfall, Wild Swimming and Cobalt. And in the shawl there’s a plain section, and then the rest is kind of a way of doing color work, which is using slip stitches rather than carrying yarn behind stitches. It gives us a fairly similar effect, but it also gives a little bit of texture to it as well, which I really like. And so yeah, it’s really, really simple knit and you may not be able to see it at first glance in the photos, but there’s a section of the Skyfall and Wild Swimming together. And then the section of the Wild Swimming and the Cobalt together.

And that’s quite a big contrast between two of the colors. But the middle section is a very subtle contrast, I really like it. Yeah, so it was a really fun knit. I knit this sample while I was doing some traveling and I knitted a lot of it on a plane and so yeah, I can confirm that it’s really good, easy travel knitting. So I thought that was nice for this time of year when we don’t necessarily want to be thinking too much in the heat. The sample did use almost all of the three scans of yarn, so I used 90 grams, 80 grams and 95 grams. And you can pretty easily adapt it to do less repeats if you feel like you’re running out of yarn at any point, you can simply switch to another color or you can play with the yarn amounts that you have fairly easily. So I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

If you’re not wanting to play yarn chicken at the end, you could switch to a different color for the border, or all sorts of options with this one, it’s not going to be the end of the world if you combine more colors or want to make it bigger or smaller or it’s a really flexible design. So thank you so much to my test knitter, Tracy. Tracy RR on Ravelry. She’s the Comfy Red Couch podcast on YouTube, and she’s done an absolutely gorgeous pink version with three different pinks and it’s so pretty and so summary. So if you want to see it in a different color way, our checkout Tracy’s project on Ravelry, it’s really gorgeous. So as I said in the introduction, I have been having a lot of questions lately about how I’m getting everything done. And I think it’s partly because I’ve been quite active on social media and had quite a few patterns coming out, I suppose.

But it kind of doesn’t feel like I’m doing a massive amount, well it does, I am doing a massive amount at the moment. But in terms of what I’m posting, a lot of it has been prepared for some time in advance, if that makes sense? So for example, my designs have been pre-prepared so they’re just kind of publishing them and that’s kind of almost the easiest part in the whole process. So I started thinking about how I’ve been managing, and to be honest in the last couple of weeks or the last month or so, it has been pretty intense, I’ve been quite stressed and just had a huge amount to do with winding things up, helping the girls finish at school and get through to the end of the school year, and just lots of things happening at this time of year for everybody. It’s not just me that has a really, really busy time at this time of year, especially in the northern hemisphere when it’s the end of the school year, if you have kids or I don’t know, it’s particularly busy.

I think a lot of people try to get a lot done before they go on holidays and you know, just all sorts of reasons. It’s a busy time of year, but I’m really pleased with where I’ve ended up at. I feel fairly on top of things and to be honest, that is quite a new feeling for me. I usually feel like I’m way behind and just getting things done in the nick of time, and I don’t know, about a year ago now, I decided that needed to stop, I had to stop feeling like that all the time. It wasn’t making me happy, it was making me too stressed out and too overwhelmed. I wanted to really reduce my feeling of overwhelm that was my constant companion. And so I’ve been working on it bit by bit for about a year and while I haven’t got everything done that I wanted to do, I’m feeling pretty good about where I’ve got to, it feels manageable.

So I just thought I’d just talk about a few tips and things I’ve done to get to this point. So a lot of it has been changing my habits, and one of my really bad habits was just leaving everything until the last minute and just scheduling so much in that that is the only way I could do things. So I would, as soon as I had a spare minute in the schedule, I’d agree to do something else or decide to do something else. So I was always wanting to do all these ideas that I had. And I kind of realized that in order to get ahead, I had to do less for awhile to sort of catch up a bit, get a bit ahead. And to get ahead you really almost have to do twice as much for a while. So it’s really hard work to get to that point. But I guess then once you get to that point, you can continue and keep going.

So I had to change that mindset of planning further ahead, which has been quite difficult and I’m still getting used to it, but I really like it. I really like sitting down now and thinking, “Okay, in six months or a year, this is what I want do? Rather than next week, what I wanna do, or next month, what do I want to do?” So just really extending the timeframe that I’m looking at and that I’m planning for has been the first step, I think, that I really started to change things. And so yeah, starting this whole process basically a year ago and realizing that I needed to start preparing for moving a year ago, basically probably at least six months, but probably to some extent a year ago, you know, I started decluttering with the thought in mind that we would be moving.

So that’s been really, really good. And it’s also helped me do things a lot more thoughtfully, a lot more economically and being more environmentally friendly. I’ve been able to declutter really thoughtfully, taking things to their correct places where they can be reused or recycled, stop buying so much of certain things that I know I won’t need in the future. Yeah, it’s really helped, for lots of different reasons. And the other thing that’s really helped me is to be more focused. So I think before, I was always really distracted by ideas that I would hear on podcasts or YouTube or you know, just so many things, I don’t know, as a crafty person, there’s so many projects you want to do. And so I’ve just gradually also got into a habit of trying to be a bit more focused. And just trying to be happy with having less things on the go, having less things in my queue and just calming all that down quite a bit.

I always loved the idea of the 80, 20 rule where 80% of the effect is from 20% of what you do, I think that’s right. So basically focusing on what’s going to be most effective, I think is my understanding of the rule, my paraphrasing of the rule. I really enjoyed reading and absorbing a book called The One Thing, the Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller, and a similar themed book, which is Essentialism by Greg McKeown. And these books are in line with my minimalist strategies and yeah, just to try and really, it’s part of the focusing idea of just trying to really focus on what’s important and yeah. Just try and work on that rather than getting completely distracted by a million other things.

And along with that, I would say the other big thing that I’ve done that’s really helped me is setting lower goals for myself this year and saying no to lots of stuff. So I have had to really reign myself in. And the last, you know, five or so years I’ve been trying to grow the business, grow Curious Handmade, do more, add more collections and yeah, just basically trying to grow it into a thriving business. But this year I’ve had to consciously say that it wouldn’t be a growth year for the business. I’ve had to pare down to the sort of, what I consider the bare minimum. I’m still doing quite a bit, but for example, I decided not to do a mystery knit along this year even though I really wanted to, I’ve been going to fewer events and saying no to a lot of collaborations that I really, really wanted to do.

So I’ve just been saying no to a lot of things. And no to a lot of social events, which you know, all of which I’ve been getting some quite bad FOMO, but I’m also getting quite a bit of JOMO, the joy of missing out because it is making things more manageable. And so just trying to really consciously and intentionally, which is my word for the year, take things off my plate as much as possible.

So I would highly recommend all of this. And you know, it just depends on what season you’re in or what phase you’re in, whether this kind of strategy would suit you. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed by things, maybe you can, I don’t know, take some inspiration from some of this because it’s had such a good effect. I’m so pleased and I will be sort of trying when, after we move and get settled to see, you know how and what I continue to do along these lines. Because I’m just feeling so much freer with having done all the decluttering. It really does lighten, I don’t know, just a feeling of much more lightness in the house. It’s faster to manage things and manage stuff and really, really enjoyed just having that sense of more space and more freedom.

I’ve had more time to spend with the girls. I’ve been able to focus on them more and help them through some tough times. And yeah, just be there for them more than I have been in the past, I think. I’ve definitely been taking better care of my health, been getting a bit more sleep, not enough still, but improving that a bit. And just really enjoying getting some regular gentle exercise with my walking streaks. That has been huge, that’s been the biggest game changer for me, I think is regular walking. It’s not, probably could do as being a bit more vigorous on the exercise front, but just at this point it’s just doing me so much good to get moving more and do something. Like I feel like I could do more, I’d like to do some weights and you know, just all the things you’re supposed to do. But for the time being, just having those daily hour walks has just been awesome.

And in the last month it hasn’t been a regular streak. But you know, I think having been doing it, I still am getting a few walks in. It could be better in the last month, but it’s really helped in the past year or so. So that’s been great. So, yeah, just I guess in summary, I’m a big convert to getting organized and planning a bit more in advance. It’s taken me a really long time, I mean I’ve been sort of actively changing my habits for the past year. But I’d say it’s probably three years before that that I was wanting to be more like this. Yeah, it’s been surprisingly difficult to change in that way, but I feel like it’s a really good change and well worth it. So I just thought I’d share that story with you, that experience.

I’d love to hear if you’re a planner or if you’re a fly by the seat of your pants-er, I’m always intrigued by how people do things and manage workloads and I find it endlessly fascinating to hear stories about that. So if you have any comments on, you can post them on Instagram or on the show notes. Apart from the new shawl for the Shawl Society, I don’t really have much of a knitting update for you, as you can probably tell. I have been working a lot on my sort of secret collections and getting them all up to date. So yeah, I can’t really talk much about what I’ve been knitting recently, I’m afraid.

So thanks for joining me. Thanks for all your support and your lovely messages, posting all your projects on Instagram. I follow several hashtags with Curious Handmade, and just love seeing your projects popping up there and on Ravelry. Thanks again for being so awesome. Have a good week. I’ll talk to you soon.

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Show Sponsors:

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This week I have some thoughts to share about recent events in our knitting community, why I am committed to anti-racism and to how we can make our spaces safer and more inclusive. I’m also thinking about some sewing projects I would really like to get started on this summer, although my plans might need to wait until after the big move.

Show Links:

Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad

Creative Ceci on Instagram

Adaku Ezeudo

Creating a Culture of Inclusion by Adaku Ezeudo

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Gathered Dress by The Avid Seamstress

Ray Stitch

Merchant & Mills

Chardon Skirt by Deer&Doe

Simplicity 1108

Little Koto’s Closet on Instagram

Pom Pom Quarterly

New Look 6145

The Fold Line Podcast

Brooklyn Knitfolk Podcast

Voolenvine Podcast

Joji’s Journal Podcast

Circus Tonic Handmade

The Wool Kitchen

Show Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmaid podcast, you’re listening to episode 269. 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 Handmaid. You can also find full show notes and the transcript on my website at curioushandmaid.com

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve had a busy week just for something different. I’m sure you have too. Thank you to everybody for your wonderful reading suggestions on Instagram and emails. I have a list of fabulous recommendations, mostly detective series which is what I asked for and, yeah, one thing leads to another one. You start looking at things on Amazon. You get lots of suggestions for similar things, so that’s really fun as well. Yeah, so I’ll have lots of summer reading and thank you again for suggestions.

We are winding up towards the end of the school year here in the UK. I know that in the US things probably wrapped up a few weeks ago and I think Canada is about now as well. So we’re just in the midst of end-of-year concerts, end-of-year sports days, assessments, all that winding up stuff that happens, so it gets really busy. I’ve decided to take next week off the podcast. Yeah, just give myself a little bit of space, because it’s been a bit hectic lately and I’m just coping with things, so I won’t have a show coming out next week, but I thought I’d decide now rather than just not have something come out, let you know.

I am going to be aiming to publish an episode every week or almost every week over the summer and do a summer series like I have in the past, I don’t know, three years now that I think I’ve prerecorded episodes, so when we go on holidays to Australia this year it’s going to be a little bit different because we are moving to Australia, but I’m aiming to prerecord some shows just to get through that period where we’re moving and things are a bit up in the air. I’m not sure how successful that’s going to be, because I’m already behind my schedule of where I wanted to be. Anyway, who knows? I might catch up a little bit or get a burst of energy from somewhere.

I’m hoping to make that one of my priorities, because I love recording the show and keeping in contact with you all. This week I am talking a little bit about sewing and sewing patterns, because when it starts getting warm, that’s what I start thinking about a little bit more, and I know lots of you do, so I’ll be talking a little bit about that, this show as well as what I’m knitting. 

First, I wanted to make an important announcement. I don’t often talk about politics or political things or, I don’t know, stuff like that on the show, but sometimes I do, and today is one of those days that I feel compelled to.

There’s been a lot of discussion on Instagram in the past couple of weeks about the policy Ravelry posted on their homepage this last week. They posted the policy that, “We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy. For more details, read the document.” 
 
This is a statement that has been made by Ravelry and I feel that it’s part of the big discussion and awareness raising campaign, if you like, led primarily by black indigenous people of colour from many countries around the world.

It’s been happening for a long time, but has intensified dramatically in January this year, I would say. Personally, I’m endlessly grateful for those people speaking up. I’ve mostly seen it on Instagram, because that’s my social media of choice. I don’t go onto Twitter at all, and very rarely on Facebook but … so, I’ve seen it mostly on Instagram, and lots of posts of leadership and education. Yeah, just awareness raising that have been posted by the BIPOC and LGBQT people who’ve started these conversations, continued the conversations and, yeah, just opened themselves up to a lot of criticism, actually, from people, but also a lot of support from people as well.

They’ve been the ones that have stood in the firing line and spoken up about issues of racism and inclusivity and diversity. I have learned a lot and am very grateful for them speaking up. I think this raising of awareness has, I don’t know, it’s just led to a lot of conversations. I mean, I’ve been a member of Ravelry since 2007 and I think that would make me a reasonably early member, and I’ve always loved it. I’ve always loved being part of it. We have a really thriving discussion group for Curious Handmade on there. I think that the reason Ravelry has been a really good community over the years, have been as a result of the policies that Jess and Casey, who are the founders of Ravelry, have put in place.

Recently, there was a incident where someone was basically abused, a person of colour was abused, so they have put this policy in place. I support this policy, I don’t support any hate speech or any harassment of anybody. Although the wording is quite confronting, especially if you’re white, and especially if you voted for Trump, Ravelry have made it clear in the policy that Trump supporters are not banned, it’s the talking about supporting Trump that is banned. If you are someone who doesn’t want to talk about politics on Ravelry, then on my reading of the policy, nothing has changed for you.

A lot of people have said that they wish that it wasn’t political, that Ravelry wasn’t political, and that a lot of people like myself and designers and dyers, people who work in the industry aren’t political. People have said that they don’t like that we’re making political statements, but I don’t agree with that. I think it’s important to talk about these things. If you don’t want to talk about them, you don’t have to. There’s plenty of groups where politics aren’t discussed and generally I would say that politics aren’t discussed very much in the Curious Handmade threads. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any discussion along those lines in the threads.

I just think that, this is a policy, it’s been made, I think we should abide by it if we want to participate in this free platform that Ravelry provide, it’s free to use. As a designer, I pay very minimal fees, I think, to sell my patterns on Ravelry. I think that Jess and Casey are incredibly inclusive. This platform is amazing and I think that we should all support that. I know that some people have decided not to, but I think that there’s a big difference between feeling confronted and defensive about the policy, because of your political camp compared to genuinely being harassed and made to feel unsafe because of who you are.

I don’t think there’s any room for hate speech in our community or anywhere, that’s why I support them. Obviously, the issue of equality and discrimination is much broader than the fiber community and Ravelry, but for those of us who spend time on Ravelry or Instagram and follow fiber people, we’re getting every wake-up call at the moment. Personally, I’m grateful for that and I’m grateful to the activists that have been doing that work. I mean, I think that the what and the why, are very clear. Discrimination, intolerance and hate speech, it’s just not acceptable.

In most of the countries that most of my listeners live in, definitely the US, UK, Australia, will have anti discrimination laws in legislation and case law as part of our legal system. I think it’s one thing to have the laws and policies, but the how of real change made in our day-to-day lives and as individuals, is really the challenge we’re facing. Just because we have laws protecting people against discrimination on the basis of race or sex or colour, age, physical and mental disabilities, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist in society. It does exist. Discrimination does still exist. I think it’s all of our responsibility to face that.

I am on a steep learning curve, when the conversation sparked up in January, I started doing a lot of reading and I would recommend the ebook, Me and White Supremacy, I thought it was a bit of a confronting title at the time. It’s a book by Layla F Saad, at the time it was a downloadable ebook and now it’s a physical book and ebook on bookstores, including Amazon. My awareness has raised significantly since then. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I was in a bit of a bubble before. I think a lot of us were, to be honest. I think my vocabulary to talk and think about issues around racism and inclusion and diversity have improved a lot, which is helping me analyze all the arguments and understand what people are saying.

I’m still a long way from fully understanding all the issues that people face and knowing what I can do to act better as a person or as Creative Ceci says, to level up, but I really want to and I’m working on it. My hope is, if we all become more tolerant and inclusive and supportive, our community is just going to be more wonderful than before. I’m just don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t want to do that. 
 
I recently listened to a talk by Adaku Ezeudo and she spoke at Woollinn, which was a recent yarn festival in Dublin, and they’ve published a video of the talk on their website and I’ll link to it in the show notes.

I would recommend, everybody listen to this. It was just a wonderful talk that she gave. She spoke about how small every day actions can make an impact and that leadership is a privilege and responsibility. I was really debating whether I would or could talk about this on the podcast, because I don’t want to be tokenistic, I don’t want to be performative or center myself in this, so I was really wondering if I could talk about it meaningfully. She had line in her speech that said, leadership as a privilege and responsibility.

I am very privileged in society as a white person, a white able-bodied a straight person, and I’m just realizing more and more how privileged I am. I have a lot of listeners, I have a lot of followers on Instagram, so I thought I would, it just felt like my responsibility to say something here, but the point about the talk, by Adaku Ezeudo at Woollinn, is that she had a long list of practical steps we can take. I would encourage you to listen to it. She explains it really, really well and really clearly, it’s really fantastic.

Some of the things she talked about is having a zero tolerance policy towards racism and also evolving your business as you go along and as you learn more and as society evolves and to create inclusive products, to think about advertising and marketing, being inclusive, to create strategic partnerships with minority-owned businesses, have an inclusive mindset to acknowledge our bias, to be aware of our biases when we’re making important decisions. Some of it is only from the perspective of the business owner, but most of these things are just from the perspective of anybody.

She talks about some more business oriented things like hosting trainings and events. She talks about recognizing your privilege, that it’s not just about being wealthy or having money, it’s about things that come to you naturally that don’t come to other people, and use your privilege to advantage people less privileged. 
 
A big one is, when you hear people talking about privilege, to not get defensive, to think about what you can do to promote change. I think from what I’ve seen in comments on Instagram, a lot of people do get defensive, myself included, I feel a little bit under scrutiny as a white person.
That’s to be expected and that’s for me to deal with, I think, but I need to stop being defensive and think about it from a different perspective and to overcome that initial reaction. That’s about all I want to say about the topic today. I mean, it’s a huge topic and there’s so much reading and materials out there to educate yourself if you wish to. I’ve found it both confronting and very rewarding to educate myself on all of these things this year. Yeah, and I hope other people can can do the same. I know that many of you are already thinking about these things and doing and acting on them. I am very hopeful for our knitting community and society in general and I hope things improve for everybody. 
 
I have a fairly brief knitting update for you today. Most of my knitting recently has been working on designs and most of my designs are secrets, so I can’t really talk about those too much. I’m working really hard at the moment to try and get a bit ahead of schedule. Never been particularly good at being ahead in my design schedule, but I’m trying very hard this year to do that, because I need to be ahead at the moment and, yeah, just been working like crazy to get on my collections for the year wrapped up before we actually pack up and move. It’s going okay. As I said before, I am behind schedule, but I don’t know, I might have to work a few evenings or just pick up my pace a bit and try and get there. 
 
I have been doing a bit of relaxation, personal knitting, and I’ve been working on Clio by Elizabeth Doherty and I have finished the body now, so I’m excited about that. I have been working on the, what do you call it, the band at the bottom, I’m sure there’s a more technical name for it, but I can’t think of it right now, of the body for the last couple of weeks really and have finally got that cast off and I’m now bobbing away on sleeve island, but I’m quite happy hanging out on sleeve island. I don’t mind knitting sleeves, they’re just part of it and they just have to be done, so I just consider that part of knitting a garment. Yeah, I’m enjoying that. I am looking forward to finishing it. 
 
I don’t know if I will just cast on something else as well for a bit of variety while I’m working on the slaves. I was very generous. They gifted the Yellow Brick Road yarn, how he used in the sample in La Bien Aimee and Amie gave me the yarn, which I’m very grateful for and I am so looking forward to knitting that. Especially now it’s become really summery here in the UK.
I think that bright yellow is just calling my name, so I think I might start that as well and have two garments going at once, which I don’t know, I probably should just finish Clio and then move on to something else, but I just feel like doing that as well, so we’ll see. I haven’t given into that temptation yet, but I’m itching to. Probably by next week it will be on the needles. 
 
As I mentioned in the intro, I’m itching to do some sewing as well. I think realistically this is going to have to wait till later in the year, but again, when summer and warm weather come around, it really sparks my craving to do some sewing.

I just thought I’d talk about a couple of patterns that I have in my queue. I’ve been packing up my knitting and sewing stashes and I’ve been going through these things. I have lots of lovely fabric and patterns that I want to make. The first one I have in the queue is the gathered dress and it’s by The Avid Seamstress. Oh, this dress is so cute. I bought the pattern at Ray Stitch in London. It’s a fabric shop, is LinkedIn. Ray Stitch has an amazing area where they have all their patterns displayed and they also have a fantastic sample rack. There’s often items there that inspire you to want to make a particular pattern.

You can actually try them on if the sample is sort of around your size, just to get an idea of what size you might want to make or how it looks on, so that’s quite cool as well. I got the gathered dress there and I’m not very familiar with The Avid Seamstress. It’s a fairly new to me pattern label. I think they’re UK-based, their website address, which is on the back of the pattern, is theavidseamstress.co.uk. That would indicate that they are UK-based. I also bought Merchant & Mills linen in a dusky pink to make this, it’s a really cute dress. You can make it long or short sleeved, which is quite cute.

This is very, very simple. At the front, it’s, I don’t know what line it is, but it just goes straight down at the front, maybe slightly fitted, then at the back there’s a really cute line of gathers around the waist. It’s gathered at the back, which is quite good for my shape, because I’ve got a bit of a bum and I’m fairly straight at the front. Yeah. I thought this would would be good, it’s also got pockets, which is really cute. I’m looking forward to doing that one at some point. 
 
I also have the pattern for the Chardon skirt by Deer&Doe. I actually have this twice. I bought it and thought I couldn’t find it and then bought it again, so now I have two copies of this pattern. It’s a pleated skirt, a high waisted skirt with inverted box plates, knee length, and you can do it with or without a hem band. I love this pattern on my friend, Stuart, made it years ago and that’s when I bought the pattern the first time. It’s just super classic, I think, and cute as well. I’ve got several lots of fabric to make this. I just need to get on with it. Yeah, so that’s one. I’ve got this really cute print that I bought in Paris and it’s got little Eiffel towers on it. It’s super cute. I think it’s got poodles or something as well. Something sort of French, maybe a bit cliched, but quite fun. I’ve always intended to make this Chardon skirt with that fabric, but it’d be cute in any fabric I think. 
 
The last pattern I have, which I talked about last summer, is Simplicity 1108, which isn’t a very romantic name, but it is a robe sort of cover-up type garment. It’s a really cute pattern. Actually, on the back, they actually call it a kimono, but we know better than to call it a kimono. Having been educated about cultural appropriation, especially about the kimono by, in particular, little_kotos_closet, an Instagram account. An Instagram account that is written by Emi Ito. Emi talks about cultural appropriation specifically around the kimono. She’s written an article that was in Hong Kong Quarterly number 29 and on some other websites, but you can find out more about that at little_kotos, K-O-T-O-S_closet. I think when I was talking about it this time last year I was using that term, Kimono, about this garment, but I’ve now learnt not to do that.
 
Finally, I have another dress and it’s just a simple fitted dress. Again, I saw the sample for this at Ray Stitch. The pattern is New Look 6145. I think what I liked about this, on the sample, is that it’s got a really cute boat neck option, and I think it’s also a really simple pattern. I think it would be a good pattern for a work dress, probably a more formal dress, but I think it could be also a nice dress for, I don’t know, I think a going-out dress. It’s not a flowy dress, it’s quite a classic fitted dress. I don’t know if I still love it as much as I did. I think, when I bought the pattern, I thought that the pattern really didn’t do the dress in the shop justice, so I’m trying to remember, because I loved the dress when I saw it made up, but I’m looking at the pictures on the pattern cover and it’s not super inspiring.

I’m thinking, why did I love it so much? But I remember the dress, maybe it was the print that they’d used in the shop, but I thought it was super cute at the time. That’s an option as well, but that will probably be the last on my list. 
 
Along with my wish for more sewing time at the moment, I’ve been watching some sewing podcasts and in particular The Foldline by Kate. This because it has been around for a few years and I dip in and out of it from time to time, but I’ve been watching a few episodes recently. It’s a fantastic sewing podcast. I haven’t found any other sewing-dedicated podcasts that I like as much as this one.

I haven’t tried to find that many and I would appreciate any recommendations of fun sewing podcasts that you like listening to. I really like Kate. She does reviews of patterns she finds, new patterns that have come out and talks about why she likes them and features that she thinks are cool. She has episodes where they’re just talking about sewing related but not just sewing patterns. She talks about fabrics, she talks about events. Yeah, just stuff happening in the sewing world. Yeah. She has a nice descriptive way about talking about patterns that, yeah, just makes you look at them in a different way. So I enjoy that one.

Of course, I enjoy some of the knitters who sew, who talk about sewing on their podcast from time to time. I enjoy hearing about Brooklyn Knitfolk’s sewing projects, Kristin on Voolenvine podcasts. Really enjoy listening to her sewing projects. She does a lot of really cute dresses, adorable dresses and skirts. She has a very feminine style, probably more so than what I would go for, but I really enjoy seeing what she’s made, as well as Joji. Joji from time to time will talk about sewing projects as well and she’s really inspiring, because she talks about it from, well, she’s not really a beginner anymore, but when she started talking about sewing, she said she was a complete beginner.

Yeah, it was quite inspiring to see as a beginner what she was accomplishing and she has lots of fun ideas about her makes. Yeah, just really enjoy listening to them talk about knitting, but also I really enjoy hearing about the sewing projects. I’m sure there’s more that I’m not mentioning, but those are the ones that have just come to mind as I’m having a bit of chat about this. This podcast has gone on for a bit longer than usual, mostly because of my serious chat at the beginning. 
 
The colorway name is Homemade Jam and you can find the listing on her website at circustonic.com.au and it’s listed as Helen Stewart The Sock Society Homemade Jam. The pattern itself won’t be out until the 15th of August, if you’re a member of the Handmade Sock Society, but because the yarn is coming from Australia, we are trying to get the listing up nice and early, so it can reach everybody.

Also, we have the yarn for the third pattern for The Shawl Society and we just announced that this week and that is by The Wool Kitchen and the update for that is just starting today. You can find the details for that at thewoolkitchen.com and that’s for the third shawl which is coming out quite soon. 
 
As usual, if you are members of either society and you have signed up for this specific email for the society that you are a member of, you should have gotten an email about that. The details of where to sign up for emails are in your information sheet that’s part of the collection that’s available in your Ravelry library if you are participating.

Thank you to everybody who is participating in the societies this year. I, of course, appreciate all of you and love seeing your shawls and socks popping up on Ravelry and on Instagram and for the messages you send me and, yeah, just really appreciate it. We appreciate your support and love seeing what you’re making with my patterns. I will be with you again in two weeks time. I, as I mentioned, taking next week off and look forward to talking to you again soon. 
 
Happy knitting, bye for now.