Archives For Shawls


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!


Curious Handmade Podcast With Justyna

Today I have the pleasure of speaking to the lovely, funny, and incredibly talented Justyna Lorkowska of Lete’s Knits. She talks about her signature knitting style, the journey from her hilarious and humbling teenage projects to her current sophisticated designs, and how to choose a shawl shape for every occasion.

She’ll be launching a brand new hap shawl this weekend at the Berlin Knits Yarn Festival with Walkcollection, so we’ll all be looking forward to seeing the new pattern once it hits Ravelry.

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

Pebble Beach KAL, which Paula is hosting on the Knitting Pipeline Ravelry Group, is running until July 5th, and we already have loads of chatter and more than 50 FOs, all competing for that scrumptious skein of Uncommon Thread Merino Lace in the Mermaid colourway. You’ve still got lots of time to join in, and the rules are loose on this one! Remember:

  • You can use any of my patterns

  • It doesn’t matter if you began or finished the object before the start date

  • If you want to purchase a pattern or collection, use Ravelry coupon code KPKAL30 for 30% off until May 31st

  • The hashtag is #pebblebeachKAL so we can find all your WIPs on Twitter and Instagram!

Meet My Yarn KAL has just wrapped up and I absolutely loved everyone’s swatches and stories. I’ll be announcing the winner next week: they’re going to get their hands on a skein of the wonderful Cumbria yarn from The Fibre Company. As I’ve mentioned before, this yarn won’t even be available to the public until late summer.

Muse2 KAL is running from May 1st until June 30th, so that everyone can be a part of the fun. Enter with any FO that meets one or more of the following criteria:

I’ve just decided on my project for the KAL: Rachel Coopey’s gorgeous Oleum socks. It’s the perfect pattern for the great John Arbon Exmoor Sock Yarn I was talking about a few weeks ago.

Show Links

Visit Justyna’s busy, happy Ravelry Group and take a look at the Shawlicious KAL, ending June 30th

You can find all of Justyna’s amazing patterns on website and her Ravelry profile, but here are the ones we discussed specifically:

Fickle Heart hoodie

Shifting sweater

Aisling shawl

Masgot shawl

Hermit shawl

If you’re free over the weekend, pay a visit to the I Knit Fandango, happening the 15th and 16th of May at Royal Horticultural Halls, Lindley Hall, Westminster, London, and say a special hello to three friends of the podcast: Kettle Yarn Co, Pom Pom Quarterly, and Rachel Coopey.

That’s everything for this week! Thanks so much for listening, and happy knitting!


Curious Handmade Podcast Episode 73

Today I introduce the theme for May: shawls. I talk about how I got started knitting the not-so-granny garment that I now love so much, and how exciting and magical shawl design can be.

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.

Contest winner

Last week on the show with Clara, she offered a skein of her lovely Clara Yarn Cormo 1.0 as a giveaway. The winner is Barbara with this comment:

“One of my favorite yarns to work with is Anzula Cloud. It is soft and squooshy and the perfect weight for shawls and lightweight sweaters. I’ve made Eiregal and Red Rock Canyon shawls by Romi, Annis by Susanna Ic, as well as Featherweight by Hannah Fettig. Lately, I’ve been buying more “rustic” yarns, including the new Shetland from Clara and some lambswool from an upstate NY farm. I am so excited to be learning about different breeds of sheep and the differing properties their fleeces/wool possess. Thank you Helen for your marvelous podcasts. I really enjoy listening to you and learning from you as you explore new things.”

Knit Along News

Pebble Beach KAL To celebrate the relaunch of Pebble Beach with two new sizes, Paula is running a knit along of all my designs on the Knitting Pipeline group, which is running until July 5th. You can enter a finished object from any of my designs, even if it was cast on or finished before the KAL began! Join the group, and remember to use #pebblebeachKAL for our WIP pictures on Instagram and Twitter!

There will be prizes including this gorgeous skein of Uncommon Thread Merino Lace in Mermaid (it’s what we used for the medium Pebble Beach Sample!)

Pebble Beach Shawl Medium Detail

Alongside the KAL I’m also offering a 30% discount off any Curious Handmade pattern or collection until May 31st. Just use Ravelry coupon code KPKAL30 when you check out.

Meet My Yarn KAL has been extended another week until May 14th! This KAL is sponsored by Cumbria yarn by The Fibre Company, and they’re offering a skein as a prize.

TheFibreCo_Logo CH

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 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.

Muse2 KAL We wanted to let people all over the world be part of our Muse 2 Event in June, so we’ve put together a knit along honouring our sponsors. You can enter any finished object that meets one or more of the following criteria:

The KAL is running from May 1st until June 30th, so you have plenty of time to get knitting!

KnitBritish Hap-along that I mention later in the episode is going strong, running until July 12th!

Shawls I mention

I talk about some of the earliest shawl patterns I tackled, first knitting others’ patterns, then learning to design my own, and some examples of shawl shapes.

Shetland Triangle Lace by Evelyn A. Clark

Citron by Hilary Smith Calis

Lucky Clover Shawl by Helen Stewart (my first shawl design!)

Pi Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmerman

Girasole by Jared Flood

Pendulum by Amy Miller

I also discuss some influential designers who push the boundaries in shawl shaping

Stephen West

Veera Välimäki

Joji Locatelli

Susanna IC

Are you on Instagram yet? Join in the fun and the amazing yarny knitting community there! Play the instagram game and tag me with a pic of where you’re listening to the podcast. Have a fantastic weekend everyone! Happy knitting and bye for now!