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CH 300: Big Milestones

Amanda —  June 26, 2020 — Leave a comment
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Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

Meet Cindy!

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

Show Links:

Jewel Cowl

Radiance Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

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

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

#Knit20for2020 June FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

La Bien Aimée Yarn

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Subpod Compost

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade sits in an armchair by a window, knitting a sweater.

It’s the first podcast of 2020! Today I’m talking about embarking on a big destash to aid Australian bushfire fundraising. I also have news about my design plans for the upcoming year, and a fun little challenge we can all do together to nourish our creativity and stretch our knitting skills in 2020.

Show Links

Go Fund Me for First Nations Communities of Australia Affected by Bushfires

The Happier Podcast

The Literary Life Podcast

#20for2020reads

Use the hashtag #Knit20for2020 to join the challenge

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 279. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m Your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and happy new year. This is the first Curious Handmade show for 2020 and I’m happy to be back chatting with you. It’s pretty busy here still because school doesn’t go back from our long summer holiday here in Australia until the end of January, so we’re having our summer holiday and it’s pretty busy with the kids trying to keep them entertained, bit of a challenge to get any work done. I’m happy to have a short window to record. They’ve gone out to jump on trampolines at the Big Boing, so I’m snatching a few minutes to record an episode. It was meant to be published on Friday a few days ago, but I’m just doing my best at the moment.

I have a new office and studio so I’ve been spending a bit of time trying to set that up and get organized. I’m unpacking yarn and trying to organize that into some kind of order and yeah, that’s a bit of a challenge. I have way too much. I’ve talked about this quite a bit in the past about how I want to do a destash of my yarn. Last year was crazy busy. It was really hectic with moving countries and still keeping up a design and podcasting schedule as well as quite a few trips. So I didn’t manage to destash at all. Last year I did kind of declutter most of the house before we moved so I was pretty happy about that but the yarn was the one thing that I either couldn’t or didn’t do before we left. But now I’m thinking maybe there’s a nice opportunity here.

If you’ve been listening to the news or seen any social media, you will be aware of the terrible bushfires we’ve been experiencing here in Australia. There’s been a huge amount of fundraising happening and I thought what I could do is to destash some yarn and donate the proceeds to some charities to support bushfire charity work that’s happening at the moment.

I was thinking about donating pattern sales and things like that, but I thought it might be nice to send this yarn to people who can use it and also donate the proceeds as well. I’ll probably donate some to the Red Cross who are doing a lot of work for the people that have been affected by the fires. There’s also a fundraiser for indigenous Australians. I will find the page and link to it. It’s a Gofundme page, I think. I have personally donated to that as well, but I’ll send some of the destash proceeds to that also find one or two animal charities that have not had as much exposure as some of the others. Some charities like WIRES in New South Wales have had a huge amount of publicity from various people and there’s a lot of smaller animal charities that are caring for the native wildlife that haven’t had much exposure so I’ll try and find one or two of them to send proceeds to as well.

I will post more details of that soon. I haven’t got that organized yet so I don’t know when I’m going to be posting that. I think I’ll try and do it soon though, obviously. Probably in about a week or so I’ll try and get organized to take photos and post details. I’m going to try and have the attitude of “Done is better than perfect.” I think my perfectionist tendencies have been partly what’s stopping me from destashing in the past and I’m trying to figure out the best way to do it and the best platform and where and how and all that sort of thing. I get a bit caught up in … so yeah, so I’m just going to get on with it this time. Please look out for that and yeah, I’ll figure out if I’ll do some bundles or how I’m going to do it. I’m not sure.

Also, in terms of New Years and planning, I have been working out what designs I’ll be publishing this year. In terms of collections coming up very soon will be the third handmade Sock Society collection starting in February, so presales for that are going to go up quite soon and then the first pattern will come out towards the end of February. I’m doing things a little bit differently this year than the last two years. The last two years, I think I’ve followed a fairly similar format with the Sock Society and the Shawl Society but this year I have decided to not do the Shawl Society, to have a break from that. It might come back again next year, but I am just having a little break because I think I was up to season four with the shawls and I’m kind of having fun doing the socks. So I decided I would do the socks and possibly, I’m not promising, but possibly do a mystery shawl knit-along later on in the year, if I can manage.

So the socks are going to run monthly this time, so instead of being every two months, I’m going to have one pattern per month starting in February. That will run through to July and then see what happens in the second half of the year. I thought I would take a little bit of a step back this year or try to nurture my creativity a little bit. The past year has been crazy, so I need a little bit of time to catch up with some exciting admin and settle into life in Australia and all sorts of things. There’s just so much new admin that I’m discovering every day and finding a new dentist and registering with them and stuff like that so … It’s not terribly exciting, but it’s all part of adulting, I suppose so I’m trying to be realistic.

But I have got a fun plan for my personal knitting. If you’ve been listening for a while, you will know that I listen to the Happier Podcast from time to time. I particularly like listening to it at the beginning of the year because they do a challenge, the happier … happiness challenge? Basically, they started a couple of years ago with I think 18 for 2018 and then obviously 19 for 2019. It’s meant to be projects that make you happy or work towards your goals. It’s just a kind of a fun meme and a fun hashtag to share what you’re working on. The last few years I’ve had happiness projects and it’s been really good because it just focused me on doing, I don’t know, more fun things, more sociable things, less serious things.

I was working away on my list for 2020, my 20 for 2020 happiness projects and I was looking at the hashtag and I came across the Literary Life Podcast had the hashtag 20 for 20 reading. They have a reading list, like read a Shakespeare play, read a children’s novel, like different genres of books to read. I thought, “Ooh, that could be fun, a knitting project list.” I thought I would write a list of things that I wanted to do and I’m going to create a printable if anyone wants to join in.

The 20 things I have on my list are finish a WIP because I have a WIP to finish and Gretchen from the Happier Podcast or says put something on there that you can achieve a quick win so hopefully, hopefully my WIP that I have in mind will be a quick win. Brioche, lace, color work, short rows, cables, and so I had a kind of a selection of techniques, and then a pullover, cardigan, socks, a pattern from a deep pattern library or pattern that I’ve had for ages that I’ve wanted to knit for ages, a hat, a toy, a cowl, knitting something from deep stash yarn, a gift, a shawl, knitting something from non-superwash yarn, a new to me designer, a scrappy or advent calendar project, and for number 20 an intimidating or epic or bucket list project.

So I’m really chuffed with that list actually. I can see it’s going to be lots of fun choosing patterns to match those categories. I already have lists of things in my queue for some of them, not for all of them. I thought on my printable I’m going to have a space beside the category for where you can write either ideas or you could do a sort of a finished version of writing what unit for that category, what you ended up doing to meet that category. I thought also you could either choose to knit 20 things and just tick one thing, one category off at a time, or you could tick one or more categories off at a time. So you could knit something from deep stash, in non-super wash yarn that’s a pullover or something like that, or a gift, or all four of those things, in fact. So yeah, so you could knit, I don’t know, less than 10 things and still tick off all the categories. It just depends on what rules you want to set for yourself.

I thought possibly people might set other boundaries for themselves, like knitting from stash only or maybe knitting things for charity or, I don’t know, there’s all sorts of fun ways you could do this project. Of course, you could adapt it to what you want to do so you don’t have to use my categories. You could substitute any or all of them if you don’t fancy a particular technique or a particular type of item or whatever. Yeah, you might have some completely different categories that would be interesting to share as well.

I hope that people join in on this. So I’m going to use the hashtag #knit20for2020 and if you want to play along, you can use that hashtag too. I haven’t made the printable yet, but I will do and I’ll publish that as soon as I have and start sharing some of my ideas for the things that I’m going to knit for the different categories. I’m thinking that this is going to be for my personal non-work knitting. So this is going to be a really fun project and non-work. It’s probably unrealistic that I’ll manage 20 items so I think I’ll be double dipping. For example, knitting a brioche shawl and ticking off two categories with one item, that kind of thing. That’s fine, I’m happy with that and everybody can decide how they want to do it.

For the first category, finish a work in progress. If you’ve been listening to this show last year, you’ll probably be able to guess what that is and that is the Clio pullover by Elizabeth Doherty. I’ve been working on that for probably three years now, I want to say. I hope it’s not four. It’s at least three. I had set the end of last year as my hard, hard deadline that I could definitely achieve. I didn’t achieve that, but I did finish the body so I’m pretty happy. I made a huge amount of progress with it. I think when I started at the beginning of the year, I really had not done much more than the shoulders and they’re like the very beginning. Yeah, so I knit most of the body throughout the year and I’m pretty happy with that. I had thought I’d finish the body well before Christmas and had cast it off. But then I tried it on and I was just not happy with the length and I wasn’t happy with the bind off so I unpicked the bind off and added probably another inch and a half to two inches of the ribbing.

Then I experimented with different bind offs trying to find one that wasn’t too tight or wasn’t too flarey. I think I eventually settled on Judy’s magic bind off, which is I’ve used before and I don’t know why I didn’t try that one to start with, but I was just Googling random things and trying random things. But Judy’s magic bind off was quite good. I think I took someone’s advice and went down a needle size. I can’t remember. I was in the pre-Christmas haze at this point.

But I’ve finished the body and now I’m just kind of a bit stalled again because I have to pick up for the sleeves and do some more short rows and me and short rows just take quite a bit of concentration and of bit of psyching up to do them just to, because I have to read the instructions so carefully. I think it just slows me down and so I don’t want to do it. But yeah, so I’m going to pick up the stitches for the sleeves and get going on the sleeves and that’s going to definitely be one of my #knit20for2020. I am not going to finish this year without finishing that pullover. There’s no way. If I knit nothing else, if I have to just make myself knit that. But you know, that’s all I’m going to knit until it’s done, apart from work.

That’ll make good motivator because there’s so many other things I want to knit. This list is just really inspiring me to try lots of things that I’ve wanted to do for ages or, you know, there’s so many lovely patterns in my queue that I wanted to do. So yes, so finishing Clio is going to be quite motivating.

It’s a pretty short and sweet episode this week. Thanks for listening and joining me today. I wanted to say one more thing before I say goodbye. Thinking about the bushfires and doing the destash project, I have been so overwhelmed and grateful for knitters all over the world donating their time and money and proceeds, from knitting patterns and supporting the charities that are doing amazing work here. Yeah, just, I can’t believe how many people from the UK, from the US, from Germany, all over, all over the world have posted that they’ve supported various charities. I just always think what a wonderful community we have and how generous knitters are and how wonderful. We just so grateful that we weren’t affected here where we live in Queensland, but we’re so heartbroken by the devastation to people’s lives and to the wildlife and to the environment and, you know. It’s so scary what happened and what is happening. I think every donation and every thought and every person sending love is, makes a big impact so I’m just overwhelmed by that generosity.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to your new year’s, and I hope to see some people joining in for #knit20for2020. Have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, I’ll talk to you soon.

Play


Show Sponsors:

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

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

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

Show Links:

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

The Rockpooling Shawl

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

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

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

The Wool Kitchen BFL Silk DK

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

Tracey’s Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch Podcast

The One Thing by Gary Keller

Essentialism by Greg Mckeown

Episode Transcript:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Knitvent is underway! I’m thrilled to finally have the first pattern out, but that’s not all I have to share with your on today’s episode of the podcast. I also have another pattern which has just launched in the fabulous new Mini Yarn Guide London, an exciting collab with some wonderful ladies, and our Knitvent Giveaway winners to announce!

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.

AYS is a wool boutique specializing in hand dyed yarns and luxury fibres from around the world. You’ll always find a well curated collection of yarns and colors on the shelves and a friendly knowledgeable staff on hand. Some of our favorite brands include Hedgehog Fibres, SweetGeorgia Yarn, Julie Asselin, Shibui Knits and The Fibre Co. You can find A Yarn Story on Walcot Street in Bath or online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk

Show Links:

Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain

Big Blue Moma

A few photos of the lovely baskets which will be available from So Just Shop on Monday

 

Spirit of Christmas London

A Yarn Story

London Lines Shawl

Quing Fibre

Yarnporium is in London November 2nd – 3rd

Knitvent 2018

A Dust of Snow Wrap

The Fat Squirrel

Circus Tonic Handmade

Eva Faith Shop

The Crafty Jackalope

Knitvent Giveaway Winners!

Grand Prize Winner:

“My most peace filled memories are when we would drive to church for Christmas service. It was a bit of a drive, and my father would lead us in Christmas carols the whole way there in his beautiful bass voice with my mother’s clear soprano accompanying. By the time we arrived, we were always filled with the holiday spirit!! I can still remember their lovely voices singing both the silly and the solemn carols even thought they are both many years gone.”

10 pattern prize winners:

mrsrobinsonknits with post 456

catskye5 with post 272 (this is quite a poignant one)
SpinningtheMoon with post 319 (another poignant one)

 

Play

This week on the podcast I introduce you to the latest Shawl Society design, the Rune Shawl, and then dive into a discussion of the many amazing types of stitch patterns that can enrich a shawl design. Lace, colourwork, cables…stitch patterns are an endless source of interest for me. I share some of my favourite stitch dictionaries and resources and chat about the challenges and joys of working a stitch pattern into a new design.

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.

AYS is a wool boutique specializing in hand dyed yarns and luxury fibres from around the world. You’ll always find a well curated collection of yarns and colors on the shelves and a friendly knowledgeable staff on hand. Some of our favorite brands include Hedgehog Fibres, SweetGeorgia Yarn, Julie Asselin, Shibui Knits and The Fibre Co. You can find A Yarn Story on Walcot Street in Bath or online at www.ayarnstory.co.uk

Show Links:

Twisted Finch Yarn

Super Stitches Knitting stitch dictionary

Vogue Knitting Stitchionary series

Harmony Guides to stitches (knit and crochet)

Lace and Eyelet: 250 Stitches to Knit by Erica Knight

Up, Down, All Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard

Knitted Cable Source Book by Noarah Gaughan

Mary Jane Mucklestone’s colourwork books

My interview with Mary Jane Mucklestone Curious Handmade Ch 127

 

I’ve just released the 4th pattern in this season of The Shawl Society, The Rune Shawl.

Found carved into ancient artefacts, monuments and standing stones scattered across the north, runes carry stories across thousands of years. Every rune was much more than a simple letter in an alphabet. Each one was also a symbol of power, revered as magical, used in divination and charms. To inscribe or invoke a rune was to invoke the force for which it stood. In several old languages, the origin of the name “rune” hints at their true purpose. Whether the word is traced back to a Germanic root, Old English, Welsh, or Old Irish Gaelic, the old meanings are evocative. Secret. Whisper. Mystery. Miracle. Intention.

Inspired by such beautiful words and the depths of their hidden meanings, it seemed only fitting that the second season of The Shawl Society should feature a Rune Shawl. Our fourth shawl has been imbued with a little of that ancient mystery. This is a shawl full of subtle detail and secret features. Knit in two colours with a deceptively simple garter and eyelet pattern, there is more to Rune than meets the eye at first glance. The angular elegance of runic alphabets are reflected in the elongated triangle shape, and the shawl’s increases are hidden in the centre lace motif: there if you know how, and where, to look. The Rune Shawl is a gorgeous accessory to wear on the days you’d like a little reminder of your own inherent power.

Millennia after the first runes were used, we can still understand the magical charge of creating something with a powerful intention and a deeper meaning. Just like a rune, a handmade object is always more than the sum of its parts, and always carries a message. To ourselves, to others around us, and maybe to the generations who will treasure it long after we are gone.

The yarn I used for the sample was the Fiesta Fingering base by Circus Tonic Handmade, in the Cape Barren Goose and Laughing Turtle Dove colourways.

Since I’m in Australia for this release, I’ve taken the opportunity to pair up with Circus Tonic Handmade for a special event in Sydney on Saturday the 5th of August at the lovely Skein Sisters yarn shop. I’ll be there from 11 am. We’ll be having a trunk show where you can meet the Rune Shawl sample in person and get your hands on some of Circus Tonic’s magnificent yarn. We’ll also be having a group cast-on for the shawl, so I’d love to see as many Society Members there as possible. It’s a rare chance to meet other members in real life, and I think it will be a very special afternoon.

Camp Curious Scavenger Hunt Project

This week I’d love to see a stitch pattern that catches your eye: either something you’ve knit or just a pattern you admire. Post your photo in The Big Camp Curious Participation Thread post on Ravelry so that you’re in with a chance to win prizes at the end of camp!

That’s everything for this episode! Have a lovely week and happy knitting.

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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!

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

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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!