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

Talisman

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

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

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

 

 

 


Amulet

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

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

 


Asana

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

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

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

 


Aurorae

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

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

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

 


Quill

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

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

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


Sonder

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

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


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

Buy The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.co.uk

Buy The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com

I mentioned in last week’s podcast that I was doing a collaboration with the brilliant women behind Big Blue Moma and So Just Shop. Well, the results of that collab are now available, and I wanted to share some photos with you:

Big Blue Moma is a Canadian fair trade and handmade company. They carry a magnificent line of baskets which are handwoven in the village of Nyariga in the Northern region of Ghana. I think they’re just beautiful, and so practical for keeping crafting supplies and big knitting projects together. After seeing them on The Grocery Girls podcast, I fell in love with these amazing baskets and wanted to make it easier for those of us in the UK and Europe to get our hands on them.

So I had a chat with my lovely friend Jennifer, founder of the the amazing fair trade boutique marketplace So Just Shop. She agreed with me that these are something special, so we collaborated and brought some over.

I just adore them.

If you want to try and snatch up one of these lovelies for yourself, here are the links you need:

Large Special Shopper in Blue and in yellow

We have a unique discount code for Curious Handmade listeners: enter CURIOUS10 at checkout to save 10% on your purchase.

My favourite part of this collaboration (aside from the intrinsic beauty of these pieces) is that they are supporting women’s work and dreams across the world. Handmade objects can mean a path forward and a better future. So Just Shop, Big Blue Moma, and I are all committed to empowering women across the world. I love that these baskets are a symbol of that empowerment, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

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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)

 

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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!

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. 

* * * * * 

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

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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