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This is a short but packed episode as I pack my bags for the Knitting Pipeline Retreat in Georgia! I chat about my recent projects (lots of secret design work!) and some fun packages that have come through the mail. I also talk about some podcasts and reading I’ve been thinking about recently about slowing your life down a little so that you can be truly present.

Show Sponsors:

Meadow Yarn

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

Show Links:

A Homespun House Harry Potter and Charm Yarn Club

A Homespun House Podcast

Norah George Yarn

The new Shawl Society Website

Apple Blossom Socks

Turtlepurl Yarn

Knitting Pipeline Podcast

Harry Potter KAL hosted by Inside Number 23

Box O’ Sox KAL, hosted by the Yarngasm Podcast

Sock Bash KAL hosted by the Grocery Girls Podcast

Slow Your Home Podcast Ep 143

Smart Passive Income Podcast Ep 255

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Work in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

That’s everything for today! Have a wonderful week, wherever you are, and happy knitting!

It’s almost time for the Snowmelt MKAL! I’ve been watching the amazing yarn-choosing process of hundreds of excited knitters over in our Curious Handmade Ravelry Group and on Instagram (check out the growing #snowmeltmkal hashtag for some mouthwatering yarn photos!) and the energy is just electric. We’re just two days away from the release of the first clue, but we still have new knitters joining us every day. The MKAL will be running until the end of March, so even if you don’t have yarn yet, you’ll have plenty of time to grab something gorgeous and play along.

For the last Curious Handmade MKAL, Summertide, the wonderful Kristen from Skein Yarn wrote a brilliant guest post on colour combinations that I wanted to share again with you. You can find it here. There’s a lot of inspiration and wisdom in that post! Kristen also put together a few lovely combos just for Snowmelt:

Skein yarn for snowmelt mkal

You can read all about these delicious colourways over on the Skein Blog.

I designed this shawl in part to encourage stashdiving. This is the last official day of Stash Appreciation month here at Curious Handmade, after all, and while I know many of us are enjoying the excuse to buy new yarn for this project, I also know that many more have some wonderful single skeins lying around, waiting for the perfect project. Chances are there are a few hiding in your stash that could surprise you when you put them together. This MKAL is a chance to explore your stash and experiment with combinations you might not have considered. If you’re on the mailing list, you will have gotten an email with all the yarn info and tips you need to start choosing, but I’ve seen people asking for advice since then, so in case you missed it, I thought I’d repost it here.


The yarn I used for the sample is the breathtaking Magellan Speckle Fade Kit from La Bien Aimée. This is a gorgeous hand-dyed single ply superwash merino.
Sample Yarn:
La Bien Aimée; Magellan Speckle Fade Kit [100% superwash merino; 366m/400yds per 100g skein], 3 x 100g skeins,
Colourways:
Le Petit Nuage
Le Grand Nuage
The Magellanic Cloud

OR

Actual yarn used for sample in a fingering weight single ply yarn:
Light – Le Petit Nuage 80g / 293m / 320 yards
Medium – Le Grand Nuage  80g/ 293m / 320 yards
Dark – The Magellanic Cloud 75g/ 275m / 300 yards

To give you a few ideas of other ideal yarns you could use:

Curious Handmade favourite Skein does a luxurious base called “Classy” – 70% Superwash Merino, 30% Silk * 430 yards / 393 metres in 100g

The wonderful Tosh Merino Light from madelinetosh would be another excellent choice – 420 yards / 384 metres in 100g

Over at The Wool Barn, Maya’s Silky Singles base would make a perfect Snowmelt – 70% Superwash Merino 30% Silk * 400m / 436 yards / 400 metres in 100g

Lots of you want to use stash yarn, and you’re in luck! I specifically designed Snowmelt to work with three different skeins of fingering weight yarn, since I know most of us have at least a few gorgeous “orphan” skeins kicking around. Here are the hints you’ll need to choose your own yarn:

  • I used a gradient set – but that is not necessary. Aim for some contrast in colour or tone between the three yarns. The contrast in some sections is quite subtle with the yarns I used.
  • In general the shawl is simple enough that you can be more adventurous with using speckles and variegated colourways – depending on your taste of course.
  • The most significant lace section mainly uses Colour A so if you don’t like your lace in wild yarn this is the colour to have as a tonal or solid or semisolid.
  • I used a single ply but any sock yarn/fingering yarn would work just as well. You can even combine single ply and sock yarn, as long as you like the interplay of slighly different textures. If you have doubt, try knitting a little test swatch.
  •   I used 4mm circular needles.

I hope those tips give you some confidence to choose your own yarn for this project. If you haven’t jumped on board yet, let me enable you: if you grab the pattern by the end of Feb, 1st, you’ll get a special early bird price of 20% off! Happy knitting!

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Today I talk about next-level stash appreciation: loving all your precious leftover scraps! I chat about some great ideas and patterns for scrap yarn and share how my Design Your Summer project worked out.

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:

Beekeeper Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits

Cozy Memories Blanket How-To

Brooklyn Knitfolk Podcast

Log Cabin Scrap Yarn Blanket Pattern

Pinwheel Scrap Blanket by Mina Philipp

Magic Cake Shawl by Paula  Emons-Fuessel

Twinkle Twinkle Blanket

Scrapalong Hat by Wooly Wormhead

Penguono by Stephen West

Natalie Miller Weaving

Pom Pom Garlands

I mentioned a few Creativebug classes in this episode:

Crochet Techniques For Knitters by Cal Patch

For many knitters, the thought of setting down your needles and picking up a crochet hook is a daunting one. But once you learn how to wield a crochet hook, it can become an important skill to have in your knitting bag of tricks. Cal Patch teaches some of the most common ways that crochet can be used in combination with knitting — to add a button band to a sweater, join seams, add length to a garment, create a decorative picot or scalloped edging, and make fun applique embellishments, to name a few. Not only is this information practical, but it will provide you with creative inspiration for adding new and exciting finishing touches to your knitting.

Cal also has a very fun crochet granny squares class which is perfect for crochet beginners. The best part is that she includes lots of fun ways to use just a few squares, so you don’t need to commit to a whole blanket if that’s too overwhelming.

Gaga for Granny Squares by Cal Patch

Granny squares are a must for any crochet repertoire. Whether you choose to make your grannies multi-colored for a vintage look or a solid for a more modern take, Cal shows you how to crochet these classics. She also teaches different ways to join the squares for different projects so you’ll be a granny square evangelist in no time.

There are several weaving classes on Creativebug, and this one seems like a great place to start:

Weaving for Beginners by Annabel Wrigley

Learn the basics of making one-of-a-kind woven tapestries with Annabel Wrigley. This course goes beyond simple warp-and-weft weaving, teaching you how to add long, dramatic fringe, color-blocked shapes, fluffy clouds of wool roving, and loads of texture and color. Best of all, Annabel teaches you how to mix and match all of these techniques so that you can design a unique tapestry of your own in any size you like.


The Shawl Society is all wrapped up in our third pattern, Asana. The most breathtaking finished objects are already showing up in the Ravelry thread! The mini KAL for this shawl ends on Sept 4th, so there’s still time to enter for one of those prizes. If you’d prefer to take your time, remember that I’ll be drawing overal KAL prizes from all the FO threads in November. We still have new members joining us all the time, so if you aren’t a member yet, maybe it’s time to take the plunge!

Join The Shawl Society here.

That wraps up the Summer Series! Until next week, happy knitting!

As some of you might know already, Curious Handmade was nominated for the UK Podcast Awards, and we made it to the finals. I am so incredibly honoured and thrilled. It’s a bit of fun, but it’s also such lovely validation for a project that I’ve poured my heart and soul into.

My amazing listeners have gotten me this far, and it would be incredible if we could make it to the very end and win.

Voting is super easy: just click on the image below to be taken to the voting website, then scroll down and click on my picture!

ukpodawards-winners

That’s it! The competition is tough, and every vote counts, so it it would mean the world to me if you’d take the time to vote for Curious Handmade. Thank you so, so much. Fingers crossed!

 

Another lovely guest post as we ramp up in the early days of the Curious Handmade Wardrobe Challenge! Today I’m really lucky to introduce you to the wonderful Libby from Truly Myrtle. Libby is a designer, podcaster and blogger who is already living the handmade wardrobe dream, and she’s graciously agreed to join us here on the Curious Handmade blog to share her expertise. There’s so much gold in this post, and I think it will really inspire anyone taking their first steps into the world of the handmade wardrobe. Libby talks about how to find great patterns and offers her best tips for a successful project. She designs knitwear but is an avid and acocmplished sewist as well, and this post focuses mostly on sewing, which is a growth area for a lot of us knitters who would like to branch out and make garments to wear with our beloved knits. 

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Libby from Truly MyrtleHi everyone! I’m Libby from Truly Myrtle and I’m really excited to be posting on the Curious Handmade blog today! Thank you for inviting me Helen! I am an enthusiastic champion of handmade wardrobes and I knit and sew many of

my own clothes. Much of what I know has been learnt through trial and error and I’m still learning every time I make something. These days I’m particularly keen to master the art of getting a perfect fit and a great finish as well as gaining skills in drafting my own knitting and sewing patterns. It’s proving to be another adventure!

As knitters, we are incredibly lucky to have Ravelry. It’s such a great resource for finding patterns, hearing what other have to say about them and seeing how they look on a variety of body shapes. But what about sewing? As yet there isn’t a similar resource and it’s daunting trying to figure out which sewing patterns to start with, how to find a pattern that you can master and what will suit you. I thought I’d share a few ideas about finding great sewing patterns and my favourite wardrobe staples.

GREAT PLACES TO FIND SEWING PATTERNS

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– your local fabric store is probably a good place to start. They’re likely to stock fat catalogues of sewing patterns from all the major brands and the salespeople should be able to provide some good advice about what patterns will suit your level of experience. They might even offer classes!

– I’m always keen to support small creative businesses and there are many independent sewing  designers online these days. Indiesew stocks a number of patterns from indie designers and their blog is full of tips and tricks to support you.

– google it! Searching “independent sewing patterns” will bring up a heap of designer pages.

Some of my favourites are:

Colette patterns

Grainline Studios

Megan Nielsen

Tilly and the Buttons

Sewaholic

I particularly like these ones because they all have great blogs full of helpful information. Some even do sew alongs and walk you through their patterns step by step. You’ll find there are many many more independent designers and it can be a bit of a rabbit hole once you get started! I like to click on “images” when I search to view pictures of sewing patterns to get a feel of what might be available.

– look in your local library. There are lots of fabulous learn to sew or beginner sewing books around and many include patterns. Maybe your library stocks some?

– are you on Instagram? Me Made May is a huge event each May and this year thousands of knitters and (especially) sewers posted pictures of their handmade clothes including names of the patterns they’d used, under the tags #mmmay15 and #memademay. I found it so helpful to see pictures of sewing patterns on real people. It’s also a great place to find my next idea …

– sewing bloggers. There are hundreds and hundreds of sewing bloggers online sewing and reviewing sewing patterns. Search “sewing bloggers” and prepare to be wowed.

SOME OF MY FAVOURITE BEGINNER PATTERNS

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Beginner sewing patterns are great for new sewers, experienced sewers and sewers coming back to their machines after a break. Many beginner patterns are great wardrobe staples and can be adapted and adjusted as your skills and confidence increase. Here are some of my favourites:

Tiny pocket tank from Grainline Studios. I’ve made several of these tops and they’re simple, require only a small amount of fabric and are a great summer wardrobe basic.

Washi Dress from Made By Rae. I love this pattern and I live in my Liberty print cotton Washi dress through the summer. The instructions are easy to understand and the pattern is endlessly adaptable. I’ve made a Washi tank top from the basic pattern too.

Clover Trouser Pattern. from Colette Patterns. Trousers can be scary to sew but this pattern is fairly simple and well supported on the Colette Patterns blog. You’ll learn how to put in a zip and how to get a good fit.

Sewing with Knits Class by Meg McElwee. This a series of classes showing you how to make five sewing patterns (also included) rather than a sewing pattern per se but I thoroughly recommend it if you’d like to try sewing knits on your regular sewing machine. The patterns are great (the t-shirt pattern is my staple t-shirt) and you’ll have lifetime access to the classes showing you how to make each of the patterns.

Alabama Studio Sewing & Design. This is a book rather than individual pattern but it is absolutely fabulous. The patterns in the book are very stylish basic shapes and are intended to be sewn by hand (the book is stuffed with wonderful information showing you how) but could also be sewn by machine. Personally, I love the hand-sewn look and I really encourage you to have a go with patterns like these if you’d like to try sewing but don’t have access to a sewing machine or want to sew out and about.

TIPS AND TRICKS

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– Like it has for knitting, the internet has revolutionised sewing. Many of the sewing patterns from independent sewing designers are only available in pdf form so you’ll need to download them, print them out and then assemble them before you can use them. I’ve written a guide to help you work out how to quickly and easily get a pdf pattern ready for sewing.

– It’s a good idea to make a muslin. It’s a bit like a swatch; a test run of your pattern to make sure it fits you properly. I often make a “wearable muslin” from a fabric that’s a bit cheaper than my real fabric. Just make sure the two fabrics are similar in weight and feel.

– Ask for help. Don’t get discouraged by mistakes. We all make plenty of them! If you’re confused reach out. Maybe your neighbour sews? Maybe your mum or your friend? Look for classes in your area if you’re wanting to learn with others or join a sew along online. Sewing days with friends are a good way to learn new techniques and share tools and machines.

Good luck with your handmade challenge! What are you planning to make? Will you try your hand at sewing?

Most of all, have fun xxx

A big big thanks to Libby for her wonderful contribution. You can learn more about Libby here:

Truly Myrtle Website

Ravelry

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Facebook

the Muse Connection

 

Sometimes you just need to find time for your creativity.

Sometimes, you need an afternoon where you can talk about your latest yarn obsession, day dream aloud about the colour you’d use for your latest project and be in the company of those that just understand.

The Muse Connection is a series of gatherings where we celebrate creativity, share our inspiration and come together as crafters. A Playful Day and Curious Handmade have collaborated in order to create sessions of creative fun, pulling together our two loves- maintaining a playfulness in the everyday and exploring our curiosity about new and creative things to make. For a few indulgent hours, enjoy inspirational company, at specially chosen venues for some knitting, a little chatter and share some musings on your favourite creative topics.

 

 

Coming soon……. The Muse Connection: Volume 1!

#TheMuseConnection #Musevolume1

I received an email in the week that made me smile, 12 Warm Wishes Hottie Covers laid out, getting their embellishments added by Mlleigh on Ravelry. This is one very organised gift knitter!

She has been working on a collaboration with her mother-in-law with her MIL in charge of the applique motifs and she did the knitting. The theme was “under the weather”.

Warm Wishes Hotties examples

What I enjoyed the most about this picture is all the individual ways in which the hotties have been embellished with different motifs and materials to make them really personal- the planet is particularly cute! When I designed the pattern I included three templates for motifs to cut out and sew on to the cover. Looking through Ravelry, I found some other personalised hotties that were really thoughtfully embellished. Knowing how best to finish your gifts can be a stumbling block for a few people so sharing some inspiration while we’re all crafting away for the holidays seemed like a good idea.

Hottie with a heart motif

KnittinCari’s stylish version is simple and effective. Plain, bold colours worked from the template included in the pattern. For maximum impact, remember to check your colour options are contrasting enough. Colour theory was my topic of choice for a recent podcast that you might find useful when selecting those little details that can make a big impact.

Hottie with crochet motif

For some crafty crossover, there’s plenty of crochet inspiration to embellish too. Redjeep‘s snowflake is so seasonal and festive! What’s particularly charming about this version is the contrasting thread and simple stitching used to add the crochet snowflake; it really adds to the overall charm.

Fluffy hottie

The other way to make this project a little more interesting and snuggly is to think about the yarn you use instead. Knit in aran weight, this is a fast project so something textured would be easy to add as a variation and keep things fun. This version by Maukelien is perfectly seasonal and simple- a little extra fluff is very fitting this time of year!

Hottie with sausage dog motif

Now these hottie covers by Hark are really stylishly embellished. The little sausage dog motif is included in the Warm Wishes Hottie pattern (along with the heart and star shapes) and was designed to go the whole way around the bottle and has been stitched to add little details.

All these unique projects got me thinking about how to recreate templates and here’s a few good tutorials and links to help you make those finishing touches extra special.

Tutorials:

Felted Heart tutorial via HonestlyWTF

Iron on Patch tutorial via WhimsyLove (don’t forget to test before you had heat to your knitting!)

Beautiful patches from sketches of Moths via Ninimakes

Inspiring Pinterest Boards:

Sewing, Stitching and Embroidery by Mollie Makes. Don’t forget to look at Christmas boards like this one too as there’s often felt ornament templates that would work really well for this kind of project.

Embroidery by Curious Handmade

Embroidery and Applique by Craft Candy

Home by Folksy– sometimes a little eye candy inspiration for what to aspire to can be very useful!

Quilts and Patches by Curious Handmade

Cute and Crafty by Curious Handmade

I’m curious to know what your favourite way of embellishing your projects? Leave a comment!

Eden Fells Hat and Scarf

Helen —  November 4, 2014 — 1 Comment

Eden Fells Hat and Scarf

 

I’m really happy to be rounding out the Dream Big Collection with these two patterns. The Eden Fells Hat and Scarf are textured and unisex accessories.

I explained in Episode 48 of the podcast how I knit most of these while we were on a trip “up North” in the Eden Valley. We were staying in a grand house nestled into the fells at the end of the Pennine range and that trip provided inspiration for the name and the back drop for the beautiful fall photographs.

You can buy the patterns on Ravelry:

Eden Fells Hat

Eden Fells Scarf

To send the Dream Big Collection out with a bang, there is a 3 for 2 offer across all singles patterns from the Collection for those of you who couldn’t quite decide which you loved best.

Use the code DBPARTY at checkout (until Sunday 9 November) to get one pattern free when you add 3 patterns to your cart.

If you pop any two patterns from the Dream Big collection into the cart, you can add ANY of my other patterns to your cart for FREE!

The yarn is Jill Draper Makes Stuff Hudson and is available from my show sponsor Meadow Yarn (and its currently as steal at 30% off!)

Eden Fells Hat and Scarf Curious Handmade

Last week’s podcast featured an interview with Vicki Hillman, a fashion stylist friend of mine who gave some great tips into this season’s major knitting trends. The big stories for Autumn/ Winter 2014 knitwear trends were knitted trousers, chunky knits, the sweater dress and blanket scarves. To celebrate Wool Week 2014, I’m sharing my top tips for British sourced yarn that’s perfect to make your own fashion forward knitwear.

The Sweater Dress:

Things can get hot and bulky with that much knit fabric and something breathable and a little airy is key here. The great dilemma then comes if the yarn has too much drape- a sagging, shapeless dress is not a good look! I think John Arbon’s Alpaca Supreme 4ply. This is the perfect mix of British sourced 40% Alpaca, 40% Organically Farmed Falklands Merino and 20% A1 Mulberry Silk. This yarn will give all the breathability from Alpaca with the strength of Silk and Merino. A fabric with great drape without the risk of losing shape in your garment! Go with Grey for the best Normcore colour palette.

supreme-steelgrey-2013

(c) JAT

 

Knit Trousers:

There’s a few basic requirements that would have to be in place for this particular trend- the yarn mustn’t be itchy and needs to keep it’s shape! I’m thinking something like the Corriedale Sportweight, sourced & spun in the UK exclusively for Old Maiden Aunt Yarns. Corriedale combines the best of the wool world: the kind of fine fibre we’d associate with Merino alongside the kind of elasticity we’ve come to associate with Blue Face Leicester. This is a much overlooked fibre but one I think would be perfect here, especially in jewel tones- another trend that featured highly on the catwalks during London Fashion Week.

(c) OMA

(c) OMA

Chunky Knits

I think this trend needs something really soft as most of the knits have simple ribs, oversize cables and so the stitch definition doesn’t have to be as high as you might need for more intricately worked knits. This is where softness, plump twists of yarn and great colour are key. My vote is for Eden Cottage Yarn’s Whitfell Chunky, a Worsted spun 100% Baby Alpaca. Get it in the Echinecea colour if you want to be right on trend- soft pink was everywhere this season!

(c) ECY

(c) ECY

Blanket Scarves:

This trend is about serious layering and cocooning with your winter style and it means you can work up any scarf or stole pattern you like in double the size to get the desired look. I love the look of the ‘Braes’ palette from Shilasdair, natural dyed yarns produced on the Isle of Skye. There’s a wonderful selection of fibres whether its Cashmere/Angora/Lambswool blend or a local Hebridean. Great choices for whatever trend influence you want but those braes look good for the growth of a military palette on the catwalks- a trend that can only grow. Will we see the rise of the combat trousers once more??

 

(c) Shilasdair

(c) Shilasdair

The Unwind Brighton fibre festival, 12-13 July is hosting a design competition.

I entered the beachy-inspired Pebble Beach Shawlette design and I’m so excited to have been selected as one of the finalists!

You can vote until 31 May on the Unwind Brighton site here.

Pebble Beach Shawlette Curious Handmade

I was greatly inspired by the divine Kettle Yarn Co yarn I chose for this project. It is Westminster which is a very luxurious and unusual 50% baby camel and 50% silk in the “Gold Rush” colour way. You can get hold of some here for the knit along we’ll be having when the pattern is released. (tip: if you sign up to the KYC newsletter you can get 10% off your first order!)

Pebble Beach Shawlette Curious Handmade