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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.



Yesterday, I sent out an email to my mailing list that gave a peek into part of my design process. The response was so lovely that I decided to share it with the whole community as a blog post here. I hope you enjoy it!

The launch of TSS 4 is just a few days away and I am bursting to begin. I’m just tying up the last loose ends before this mystery collection is available to buy on Ravelry on May 4th. In the meantime, I wanted to share a bit about how I approached the design for this season.

One of the most beautiful things about knitting is that the design process from pattern to finished object is actually a collaboration. As a designer, I bring together concepts, shapes, stitches, and textures, and I am almost always deeply inspired by colour and the character of a specific yarn. After all the scheming and experimenting in solitude, the real magic happens when the pattern leaves my hands and goes out into the world. New hands, new minds, and new imaginations interpret what I have begun, and it is always a thrill to see the flow and swell of new ideas from the knitters who create from my designs. 

We talk a lot about choosing colours for our projects, because it’s such an exciting process, and I think because it can be a bit daunting as well. I often see knitters fretting that they might not choose the “right” yarn or that the colours they are drawn to might not go together well. To begin with, I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a right or a wrong yarn, only yarns that you love or don’t love. If you choose colours that spark inspiration and happiness for you, you’re already halfway there. With that said, I get so many questions about how I choose my colours and where I get my inspiration that I wanted to offer a bit of help to anyone who is having trouble getting started. 

Because The Shawl Society is all about building that collaborative community and deepening our creative confidence, I thought I would let you in behind the scenes to see how I gathered inspiration for this collection. I hope it gives you some inspiration as well, while you begin to gather your yarn choices for the upcoming patterns. 

The Theme

Choosing a theme or story for a pattern or a collection is an amazing jumping-off point for colour and design inspiration. Sometimes that’s a very literal interpretation: a design based on spring flowers might immediately bring to mind the fresh pastels of hyacinths or the sunny yellow of daffodils. Other times it can be more emotional and abstract: for example, last Knitvent had a theme of peace. Peace might not have a specific or defined colour, but we all know which colours and shades feel peaceful for us, personally. Thinking about colour in this way can lead to a very personal and beautiful palette.

For the upcoming season of The Shawl Society, my approach was a little of both. The sea has a million shades of blue, soft sandy neutrals, warm and glowing sunrises and sunsets, and all of those references spoke to me. But there’s also that feeling that I wanted to capture, that sense of being exactly where you want to be, of time slowing down, of pure quiet happiness. I had to search for colours that reminded me of what it feels like to spend a day by the shore. 

One of the most powerful tools I know for exploring these kinds of ideas is a Pinterest board. Here is the board I put together for this collection. I think the best way to build a board like this is to go in with a very loose idea of what you’re looking for. Just create a board and start pinning. Don’t hold back or try to curate anything at first, just add everything that speaks to you. Over time, you will probably start to identify themes and similarities developing: certain colours and textures that appear over and over again. This is an excellent way to start to understand your own tastes in a deeper way. 

True Collaboration: What Inspires You?

I chose an ocean theme for the six secret patterns of The Shawl Society Season 4, but you don’t have to. Maybe you also feel the draw of the waves, but maybe your “happy place” is somewhere completely different, and you’d like to explore that creatively. I’m imagining Shawl Society Members choosing far off cities, fictional locations, or even their own back yards, and building a palette from the inspiration they find there.

Maybe you don’t have a place or a theme in mind and your response to certain colours is instinctive: you just love it because you love it and it is as simple as that. That pure attraction to a yarn is pure and thrilling and I know it well…there doesn’t always need to be a concept! There’s a chance you might visit your local yarn store and a certain skein will sing out from the shelf, even though it’s completely different from what you thought you were looking for. Listen to those promptings and see where they take you! The first and only rule is to knit with what you love.

What About Colour Theory?

Colour theory can be a helpful tool in design. It shouldn’t be an intimidating subject or a set of hard-and-fast rules that dictate what’s “wrong” or “right” and it shouldn’t cramp your creative freedom. If you haven’t explored it before, there’s a wealth of inspiration online. We’ve visited it a few times on the podcast and blog, if you need something to get you started. 

I did an early podcast on the subject: Episode 46 has some handy definitions and links. 

A few years ago during a Curious Handmade MKAL, we were fortunate enough to have two guest bloggers share their wealth of knowledge about colour, colour theory, and shawls. These posts both have some really lovely inspiration photos with a wide range of colour combinations that might spark some ideas:

Kristen from Skein

Anj from Meadow Yarn
Watching what creative and talented knitters add to my design with their own colour and yarn choices is one of the most rewarding and heartwarming parts of this job. I absolutely cannot wait to watch that miracle unfold again for the 4th season of The Shawl Society. As you start to experiment and play, I’d love to see the choices you are considering: please share them on Instagram with the hashtag #TheShawlSociety so we can all begin to get inspired together!!

Happy Knitting!

Helen x


 

 

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!

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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!