Archives For Shawls


Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

Big Little Meg!

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

Show Links:

Tiny Habits book

Habitation Throw KAL Winner


Hedgerow Yarns

Knit20for2020 July Ravelry Winner

Qtar – Nuuk Pullover

Nurja Yarn

Instagram Winner


Snowmelt Shawl

Kitch Kreative


The Little Meg Shawl

Curious Handmade on Etsy


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 305. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

The big reveal of the Stillness Shawl after our MKAL!

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

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Altitude Socks

Vapour Socks FO Thread

Altitude Socks FO Thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Stillness MKAL

Call Your Girlfriend podcast

Ann Friedman Newsletter


Erica Henry Johnston

Nikol Johnson

@SilverHairandBretonStripes on Instagram

@wellness_with_walda on Instagram

Curious Handmade on Etsy


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 304. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

It’s a scary time to watch the news right now. When things are really tough, small comforts mean a lot. Knitting is obviously a big coping strategy for many of us. Today I’m talking about that, about the importance of friendship, and a KAL that I think I’d like to do…once I finish my beloved Clio Pullover!

Show Links:

Bayron Handmade on Instagram

Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Wave of Change KAL

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty


The Shawl Society Season 4

I am running a special Buy One Get One Free sale on all my patterns and collections to celebrate the release of the single patterns from TSS4: just use the code FRESH when you check out on Ravelry!


Helen Stewart:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 287. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you wherever you maybe in the world. And just when you think the world can’t get any crazier, it does. This week has been something else in terms of worldwide news, and I just hope that wherever you are you’re staying safe and well. It’s been very distracting watching the news this week and hearing all about the coronavirus. And I don’t normally watch the news, hardly at all, because I need to keep my spirits up. But I have been very distracted this week, and hearing about friends and whole countries being affected is just quite unbelievable. Of course, here in Australia we have had toilet paper gate, and yeah it is quite unnerving going into the supermarket and just the whole aisle of toilet paper is completely bare. And it was this afternoon when I went in. We’ve had several emails from supermarkets saying to keep calm and carry on.

I’ve just received an email from Coles, which is one of the big supermarket chains here, saying that they were going to put rations on pasta, toilet paper, paper towel and a couple of other things. Rationing people to certain amounts of things. They also suggested, which I thought was good, was that if you had too much toilet paper on hand, maybe you could consider donating some to your local food bank. So, I did appreciate them saying that. They had some change to their, change your mind policy, and they said that they weren’t allowing people to change their mind. So, if you’ve stockpiled large amounts of toilet paper, you’re not going to be able to return it.

In Australia, so far they’ve suggested canceling large events, but I don’t think they’ve actually mandated it yet. And then, we’ve had some isolated schools closing, but not across the board like in a lot of countries that I’ve been hearing about today and yesterday. And yeah, so we’re not as affected here as other countries yet. I’m not sure if that’s just because we haven’t got to that point yet, or because our population is not very dense. I’m not sure. But we possibly will get to that point in the next couple of weeks.

And yeah, it’s a little bit unsettling. I don’t know if I should be stocking up on some things or not. I haven’t been yet, but probably should think about getting a bit of food in, a bit of pasta, and the handful of things one of my daughters will eat. So, from comments I’ve read on Instagram and other places, lots of people are feeling quite nervous and anxious about it. So I did hear one very good piece of advice. I follow the account of a journalist on Instagram called Jessica Yellin. She was making the point that one of the things that would compromise your immunity is stress, and so to try to keep stress levels down. I thought that was a really good piece of advice, just generally.

There are a lot of other colds and viruses going around as well at the moment, a lot of my family members and people that I know here have been sick with other bugs, so I thought, well what better time to concentrate on doing stress-relieving activities like meditation, walking, knitting obviously, crafting. I think this is where our stashes will come into their own. So, we’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, most of us. Ridiculous amounts of stash.

So, yeah, I think hopefully we can take some solace in our knitting, and our projects, and find some lovely, relaxing projects to work on. I actually just saw a lovely post on Instagram by Bayron Handmade, and she was expressing how she was feeling a bit anxious, and thinking about how can she help serve others in the community. She was mentioning that she has a knit-along on Ravelry for a gorgeous cardigan that she’s designed called, the Wave of Change KAL.

So, I thought I might join in that KAL, and join the wave of change, and it looks like a fairly chunky weight of yarn. I haven’t looked at the pattern in detail yet, but I might have a look at my stash to see what I have for that one. I might have to hold two skeins of yarn together, two weights of yarn together to make the weight that’s required for the pattern. Of course, when I finish my Clio pullover, I need to finish that first before I start shopping around for other projects, but that’s definitely going in my queue. So thank you for your lovely, reassuring kind words, Bayron.

And actually I had a pretty good week, despite all the nerve-racking news. I had a very dear friend visiting. My friend Stewart, who I met at Squam, and we worked out that we met in 2013 was the first year that I went to Squam. And so we’re old friends now, so it was really lovely to have her here for a few days. And yeah, I haven’t made a lot of friends here yet, or reconnected with people very much. So it was really nice to have an old friend to hang out with for a couple of days and catch up. And we went off on a little girls trip just for two nights. A little bit of a retreat and it was lovely.

We went to a place called Noosa, which is a gorgeous beach, not very far from where I live. And it was raining pretty much the whole time we were there. So I had thought we might do a bush walk. There’s a gorgeous Bush walk to the Headland at Noosa and you often see koalas in the trees there, but it was really too rainy for us to want to. We probably could have done it if we’d really been keen, But we ended up sitting in a cafe for most of the whole day and just sitting and knitting. And it was open to the street so we could watch people passing by, really great for people watching and it was raining so we could watch the rain falling. And it was nice and cool.

So, it hasn’t really been all that cool here generally. But it was a lovely, cool few days. So I made some really, really good progress on my Clio pullover that I had been talking about forever. And it is my Finish a WIP goal for my 20 for 20 knitting challenge. And yeah, so I had been having a major, minor, I don’t know, some sort of roadblock when it came to casting on for the sleeves. Had to pick up stitches and do some short rows. And my lovely friend Stewart picked up the stitches for me. And so I managed to get over the barrier and got through the short rows with a little bit of grumbling, but not too much. And finish the whole sleeve in those couple of days. So I was so happy with that.

I have to admit I was a little bit motivated by wanting to finish the first sleeve so that I could ask to Stewart to cast on the second one for me, which she very kindly did. And so now I have managed to get through the short row sections of the second sleeve and I know that it didn’t take me all that long to knit the whole sleeve. So I’m feeling pretty confident that this could be finished quite soon and I’m getting very excited about that. So that was a fantastic couple of days with lovely company, lovely knitting weather, and a wonderful location to do it in.

So I’ve been talking a lot about the Handmade Sock Society recently, as well as the release of the new Laine book, 52 Weeks of Socks. And so I thought perhaps for the shawl knitters amongst you, if you’re a bit tired of hearing about socks so much, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t released my Shawl Society patterns from last year as single patterns. So the six Shawl Society patterns are now available as single patterns. Previously they were just available as the collection. And I am having a buy one get one free sale to celebrate. And that will run until the end of the month. So until the 31st of March, I’m having a buy one get one free sale across all my patterns and collections. I was just going to make it shawls, but then I thought I would just keep it simple and it’s everything.

So all you have to do is put two of my patterns, or collections in your shopping cart in Ravelry, and the less expensive one will be free. I should mention, it does need a coupon code and the coupon code is fresh, F-R-E-S-H. So you need to put the coupon code in as well. And then the second pattern will be free. So thank you to people who’ve taken up on that offer and I hope you enjoy the shawls, the shawl designs and that will run to the end of the month.

So I’d love to hear from you about what comfort knitting you might be doing at the moment. I hope you have a chance to relax a little bit, get some knitting done, stay in touch with friends and family and I hope you stay well. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

The Knitting Pipeline Ireland tour was a triumph. What an incredible group of ladies. What a magical place. What beautiful memories. Even though Paula wasn’t there with us in person, her unmistakable touch was everywhere for each of those wonderful days.

I joined the group after they had toured around Ireland a little bit. They had settled into the glorious Mount Juliet country house estate for the knitting retreat portion of the trip, and I was so delighted to be a part of this company of amazing women. There was so much relaxing free time to chat and knit and soak up the surroundings, but we also had a few marvelous field trips, including a visit to a woollen mill and a rare breed sheep farm. I’ve recorded a podcast episode all about our time together, which you can listen to here.

I also have some really beautiful photos to share. Just look at this place!

Our home base, Mount Juliet, was a glorious spot, and it also inspired the shawl I designed for this retreat.

This is the Mount Juliet Shawl

Hidden amid peaceful woodlands and velvety green fields in Kilkenny Ireland sits a glorious old manor house called Mount Juliet. It was completed in 1760 and named for the bride of the Viscount of Ikerrin. Juliet Boyle, daughter of the Earl of Shannon, brought with her a generous fortune and an exquisite eye for beauty. The estate was built with her money and named in her honour. It was a tribute to young love and remains a masterclass in elegance and harmony.

At this time of year, the woodland walks are carpeted with bluebells, the hedgerows are dappled with hawthorne blossom, and the walled garden is bursting into colour. 

It is a stunning setting for the Knitting Pipeline Ireland Retreat, and I was honoured to be asked to design a pattern for the attendees.

The Mount Juliet Shawl is inspired by the compelling history and lovely Georgian architecture of its namesake, and dedicated to the vision and courage of women who make things happen, particularly our dear Paula Emons-Fuessle, who planned this wonderful gathering for all of us.

This asymmetrical triangle shawl features bands of simple but lovely lace in two colours, to recall the graceful lines and beautiful windows of the great house. Fittingly, the sample was knit with yarn from Olann, a brilliant Irish indie yarn company. 

This is a relaxing but engaging knit with enough gentle repetition that it is easy to memorise for long chatty evening with friends, but the final result is striking.

S I Z E 
One size

Approximately 150cm/ 59” on the curved edge, 135cm/53” straight edge and 97cm/38” cast off edge.

Olann Sock Lite 80% superwash merino; 20% nylon; 425m / 465yds per 100g skein, 2 x 100g skeins, 
Colour A: Muir (Grey) 
Colour B: Annex (Pink)

Sample knit in a light fingering weight yarn used approximately: 
Colour A: 90g 382m / 420yds 
Colour B: 75g, 320m / 350 yds

4mm (US 6), 100cm (40”) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)

Tapestry needle 
Safety pin or detachable stitch marker

24 sts/30 rows = 10cm (4”) in stockinette stitch after blocking 
Exact gauge is not critical but may affect the amount of yarn needed if different.

I love designing shawls for retreats. They seem to capture a little of the energy and magic that happens in these little pockets of sacred creative and social time. They mean a lot to those of us who were there, but they also provide a welcoming doorway for those who couldn’t be there…it’s a kind of sharing that I value highly. The Mount Juliet Shawl Pattern is now available to purchase on Ravelry. I hope that whoever casts this on feels a measure of the excitement and togetherness we felt in Mount Juliet, and enjoys every single stitch.

Buy the Mount Juliet Shawl Pattern on Ravelry!



In celebration of today’s book launch, I thought it would be lovely to take a peek inside at all six beautiful shawls. I know we’ll be welcoming some new members in the days and weeks to come, who might never have had a chance to see the whole collection together. So, without further ado, here are the six shawls of The Shawl Society Season 1:


Magical, safe, and full of good fortune, Talisman is a carefree crescent shawl, inscribed with a simple star stitch.

Traditional lore advises that a talisman should always be made by the hands of the one who intends to use it. By my reckoning that makes this shawl perfect for some selfish knitting. These cherished objects were often made to protect pilgrims on their journey, and it just so happens that Talisman makes wonderful travel knitting.

The pattern has been designed to showcase beautiful hand dyed yarn: subtly tonal, boldly variegated or a tranquil gradient, and it includes three versatile sizes. The small is a one skein project, ideal for crafting a special yarn into something charmed. The large size is just right for two skeins of fingering yarn or a beautiful lace weight.





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

Featuring lace, eyelets, and optional beading (for a little extra magic), the Amulet shawl pattern offers two sizes, medium and large. With plenty of intriguing details to keep you interested, this is an exciting knit that is also well within the reach of courageous new shawl knitters. It can be knit in one, two, or even more colours, making it an excellent project for stash busting.



A gentle crescent shawl with flowing lace and garter sections, Asana is a lovely special occasion shawl, whether you’re preparing for one magical day or making an ordinary day magical through a bit of mindfulness. Optional beads add a flicker of light to its soft textures and quiet curves. Designed for lace or fingering weight yarn, it is delicate and light enough to wear even in the warmer months.

In yoga, Asana means “a position that is firm, but relaxed.” This attitude should be familiar to anyone who has ever learned to knit, or tried a new technique just outside of your comfort zone. Gritting your teeth and clenching your hands around your needles never helps. This shawl is a higher level of difficulty than the previous Shawl Society patterns: the lace is a bit more challenging and there are four rows where you are knitting lace rows on the wrong side. The actual stitches aren’t difficult, but you need to be in meditation mode (not multitasking mode!).

Concentration, relaxation and focus will get you through to the graceful result you want.



Aurorae are the spellbinding flames of light that gather in the sky at both ends of the earth. In the far north, in Finland, it’s said that the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, occur when a great arctic fox brushes sparks from the mountain tops with his huge fluffy tail. On the other side of planet, the Aboriginal Australians believed that the Aurora Australis, or Southern Lights, were fires from the spirit world: the raging bushfires of sky spirits or the glow of their ancestors’ campfires.

I love the idea that people from different places can look at one phenomenon and interpret it so differently and creatively. In a much smaller way we can see this same magic happening in something as simple as a knitting pattern, when the gifted imaginations and hands of knitters from every corner of the world create their own versions of a beautiful object.

The Aurorae Shawl gathers up the strands of that sense of wonder, with rippling shifts of colour and flickering eyelet lace. Aurorae Shawl was designed using a six colour gradient set, with both sport weight and fingering weight versions. If you’re knitting from stash, this is a wonderful way to use up leftovers from other projects: just pick six colours that blend or play well together. This asymmetrical shawl features garter, eyelet and slip stitches: it looks intricate and complicated, but in fact it’s a gentle, easy knit. An i-cord edge gives Aurorae a lovely, polished finish.



The design for Quill draws from older, more patient ways of making and doing. This elongated, triangular shawl features stripes like the lines of a letter on a parchment page and a lace border inspired by feathers. Dream dictionaries say that to dream of writing with a quill pen “symbolizes the way you view your creative process — slow, methodical, beautiful, and not very technological.” For me, that lines up beautifully with the way I approach my knitting, and the way I imagine the Quill shawl in the world.

Quill is a generously sized shawl with an engaging mix of colour and texture. It makes for relaxing knitting, and the yarn selected adds another layer of old-fashioned comfort. Tamar DK yarn from Blacker Yarns is a soft, squishy DK weight with rustic charm and a sophisticated colour palette. It is made from historic Wensleydale, Teeswater, Cotswold and Black Leicester Longwool, all British heritage breeds chosen for their long, wavy, lustre fleece. A generous helping of local Cornish mule lambs’ fleece gives this yarn extra bounce and give.

Even though the knitting community today is largely bound together with the modern magic of the Internet, the objects we make with our hands are a throwback to a graceful past. Knitting Quill is a beautiful way to slow down at the end of a busy day, giving yourself over to an uncomplicated creative practice and a quieter way of being in the world.


The Sonder Shawl is a big, soft, cosy shawl to wrap up the Shawl Society journey. “Sonder” is a new word, originally defined as “the realization that each random passer by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.“ That sudden flash of recognition occurs at random moments. Sometimes it’s brought on by the novelty of a new place: taking a crowded train through a foreign country and watching the evidence of thousands of unknown lives flash by in seconds. Other times, a mundane moment spent standing in a coffee shop queue becomes suddenly mysterious as you wonder about the inner lives of the strangers who surround you.

The moment we meet a new friend, we gain entrance into the rich story of their lives. It is the best way we have of tapping into that abundance of experience, and for the final Shawl Society project I wanted a design that reflected the connection and warmth we share as a community of knitters. The Sonder Shawl is an elongated triangle shape, veering towards a scarf. It has an open, easy to memorise stitch pattern and is finished with playful tassels. In the spirit of sharing, it is wonderful gift knitting: the bulky yarn knits up super fast and the contemporary design will appeal even to shawl sceptics.

Publishing this collection as a real-life book is a realisation of a life-long dream. I’m so excited to finally share it with the world. If you’d like to grab your own copy, it is available right now on Amazon.

Buy The Shawl Society Season 1 book on

Buy The Shawl Society Season 1 book on


ch 133

In today’s episode I’m back to my fantasy knitting queue, with a subject that’s very close to my heart. Shawls! They are such great travel projects, which makes them a great fit for the Summer Series. Any excuse to talk about shawls! We’re right in the middle of The Shawl Society, so at the moment my mind is even more full of shawls than usual. When I’m so busy designing shawls I don’t often get a chance to knit someone else’s patterns, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to let my inner shawl fangirl out to play. I’m chatting about some of my favourite shawl designers and some of the patterns I love most.

Show Sponsors:

Meadow Yarn

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

A Yarn Story

Located on charming Walcot Street in the heart of Bath’s Artisan Quarter is A Yarn Story. Specialising in hand-dyed yarns and luxury fibres from around the world, A Yarn Story is a destination shop, both in-person and online! Major yarn and accessories brands include Hedgehog Fibres, Madelinetosh, Shibui Knits, ChiaoGoo and Cocoknits – and of course many more! Start creating your own yarn story…

Show Links:

Making Magazine

Magic Cake Ruffle Shawl by Paula Emons-Feussel

Cave Point Shawl by Paula Emons-Feussel

Quince and Co yarn

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Interpretations 3 Pom Pom Magazine

Expressive by Jojo Locatelli

Be Kind by Veera Välimäki

Lakelet by Renée Callahan

Rockhopper by Anna Maltz

The Book of Haps


Curious Handmade Country House Retreat

Oct 20 – 23 // Cumbria, UK

There are still a couple of twin share places available for the Autumn Country House retreat. If you are interested in finding out more you can email me –

That’s all for this week! Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon!

I’m a Creative Bug affiliate!

Introducing Botan!

Helen —  April 15, 2016 — 1 Comment

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


“Botan = Peony in Japanese

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

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

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


Afternoon Tea in Anzula Squishy: Candy Apple

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

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

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

Afternoon Tea Shawlette in Teal

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

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

Afternoon Tea Shawl in Anzula Candied Apple

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

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

Afternoon Tea in Columbine

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

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

Afternoon Tea in Madelinetosh Tosh Sock Baltic

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

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

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

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

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

Whispering Island Shawl

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

The pattern is available on Ravelry to buy now.

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

Enid Blyton “Five Have a Mystery to Solve”

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

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

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

Whispering Island in Hole & Sons Yarn

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

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

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

Whispering Island in Blacker Shetland Yarn

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

Whispering Island in Acadia

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

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

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


Curious Handmade Podcast Episode 75In this episode I talk about some of the factors that make for an enjoyable shawl project. As always, choosing yarn, pattern, and needles that all play nicely together are really important. I also chat a bit about all the shawls I’m daydreaming about knitting these days.

Show Sponsors

Meadow Yarn 

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

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

This episode is sponsored by The Fibre Company and their newest yarn, Cumbria.

Inspired by England’s stunning northwest region with its deep blue lakes and sheep-grazed fells and valleys, Cumbria is a lustrous blend of brown wool from the rare breed masham sheep, fine South American wool and mohair from South Africa. The resulting light brown-grey shade is then over-dyed creating lovely deep saturated colours. Cumbria is a staple yarn, perfect for garments and accessories alike.

KAL News

Meet My Yarn KAL We have a winner!! Number 25, skibum, aka Anita in real life, has won that special skein of yet-to-be-released Cumbria yarn. Her yarn was Rustic Fingering by The Neighborhood Fiber Co. and she was swatching for Monomania by Ann Weaver. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in this KAL. It was fascinating and a lot of fun!

Pebble Beach KAL, hosted by my friend Paula from Knitting Pipeline Ravelry Group, is still going strong. The deadline isn’t until July 5th, so there’s still loads of time if you’d like to get involved. The rules are simple and chilled out:

  • You can use any Curious Handmade pattern

  • It’s okay if you began or finished the object before the start date

  • Don’t forget that there’s a Ravelry coupon code: use KPKAL30 for 30% off until May 31st

  • The hashtag for WIPs and FOs is #pebblebeachKAL. There are already some great projects showing up on Instagram and twitter!

Muse2 KAL We’ve put this together so everyone can join in the fun, no matter where you are on the world. It’s going until June 30th. Nice loose rules on this one, too. Just submit a FO that meets one or more of the following criteria:

Hashtag #muse2KAL for WIPs and FOs!

What’s in the WIP?

I mentioned last week that I’m planning to knit Rachel Coopey’s Oleum socks for the Muse 2 KAL. So far I’ve printed out the pattern and wound the yarn: it’s progress, and I’ll take it!

Show Links

I talked about the two Craftsy classes I’m enjoying right now

Shawlscapes by Stephen West

Laura Nalkin’s Mastering Lace Shawls

I mentioned that specialist lace needles, like Addi Lace, can be handy for the delicate lace yarns.

Three shawl patterns mentioned in this episode:

Aisling by last week’s guest Justina Lorkowska

Swallowtail by Evelyn A. Clark

Echo Flower by Jenny Johnson Johnen

That should just about wrap it up for this episode! I hope you enjoyed the show. Happy knitting in the week ahead!