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.

As the news gets more concerning, I am doubling down on calming and self-care practices, and have a few ideas to share about what’s working for me. I also have some long-awaited news: I can tick the “Finish a long-term WIP” line off my #knit20for2020 list finally!!

Show Links:

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Calm App

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

John Arbon Texiles

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 288. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Ellen and you can find me on Ravelry as Health Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at Curioushandmade.com


Hello and welcome. Welcome to this weird and wonderful world we are currently and I just wanted to say, I hope you’re okay. I know that this is a hugely difficult time for a lot of us and I just wanted to have a chat with you today. Hopefully just keep you company for a little while and yes, just a knit with you for a little while possibly. Down here in Australia, things have progressed a bit since I last spoke to you and we have had, I think last time I spoke to you, the main measures that had been implemented were, I think on Monday they’re now just outside gatherings of more than 500 people were banned.


And as of today they have announced that indoor gatherings of more than a hundred people are band and they’re advising Australians not to travel overseas or abroad at all and anyone arriving has to self isolate for 14 days, but schools are still open and shops are still open. I don’t think there’s been any advice to sort of close shops or restaurants or anything. I don’t know if restaurants having a capacity of more than 100 people counts as a gathering, but it’s a bit hazy at this stage, but we’re not really going out much anyways. So I’m not sure how other people are interpreting it.


My kids have been home sick all week anyway. We’ve had a horrible cold in the family and its main symptom is a really sore throat. So the girls have been off school and I decided I would record this podcast on Wednesday, so it’s March the 18th just in case I get the really sore throat and can’t record later in the week. So by the time this is published on Friday, things might have changed again. I’m not sure, but I thought I’d get this recorded while I had a nice window of quiet and my throat, I keep imagining that I’m getting a tickly throat.


So you know how it is when you’re worried you’re going to get sick, you keep imagining that you are. So far it hasn’t developed into anything yet. Thank goodness. So I guess like most people I know we’re all feeling very anxious at the moment and I’m kind of laughing at myself a bit because I’m finding that compulsion’s to do certain things caused by the anxiety are coming out and they’re sort of things that I’ve experienced in the past when I’ve had high stress like exam periods or really stressful work periods.


And so I’m getting those urges to clean and control my food and maybe shop. Yeah, just sort of my go to anxiety behaviors are coming out at the moment. So I feel like it’s good that I can recognize that now. When I was at university I couldn’t really see those behaviors, but now I can. So that’s good I guess. And what I decided to do is write myself a to do list and a stop doing list. So I am going to concentrate on daily meditation.


Re-implement my walking, my daily walking, which has just completely fallen off the plate or something. I am going to make myself go for a 20 minute walk each day and keep up with pilates as long as it’s open. It’s a very small class. So I think that’s okay. Do my work, practice music and then make time for fun, creative projects, chatting and emailing with friends and family and preparing healthy meals and eating lots of veggies. So that’s on my to do list and stop doing, includes refreshing news feeds constantly. I’m going to set times for catching up with the news and thanks to my copywriter, Amanda for that idea.


I’m going to stop scrolling Instagram and set times for that as well because I get a lot of my news through Instagram and stop worrying about when the schools will close. I’ve sort of been expecting the school’s close and trying to mentally prepare for that and think what I’ll do with the girls and what schoolwork I’ll do with them and how I’ll entertain them, but I’m going to stop worrying about that for now because at the moment the schools open and I think that they are trying to balance out keeping parents free to be able to go to work, especially if they’re in healthcare services versus the risk of kids being at school and the risk of kids having to stay home with grandparents, while their parents work versus being at school.


So I can understand that balancing act and I guess they just must be doing it on a risk assessment basis or some kind of formula. I’m not sure whether I should have that much faith in the powers at be, but I guess I just have to at the moment and in any case that girls aren’t at school anyway so I am going to stop worrying about that as you can probably tell from my little spiel there, I’m not really stopping worrying about it but I’m going to try.


And that’s the main things I’m going to stop trying to do and just worrying, generalized worry is not really helping me. So I’m going to try and catch myself out doing that. Try and minimize the worry because the anxiety won’t help with anything and it will just make me more stressed. So anyway, that’s where I’m at at the moment. After I record this, I’m going to set up a thread in Ravelry for us to chat about things and maybe share ideas for getting through this crisis.


Because I think it’s going to be a reasonably long term issue for everybody now. The advice on travel from the government here was not to travel and the time of frame was indefinitely. So I’ve read some reports saying six months or more so on. So I think we’re going to have to think about this as a being a reasonably long term thing that we will be dealing with. So let’s chat about it together and share ideas for, I don’t know, homeschooling, managing life, helping to support tiny businesses in our community and things like that.


I have to say that one of my sort of new year’s resolutions or goals was to meditate regularly and I have been doing it semi-regularly. I have the Calm app on my phone and so I have been very randomly just putting on any meditation that took my fancy each morning. So I don’t have any particular method to my madness. But yeah, so I’ve just been doing that and I have noticed that it does help calm me down.


And I … probably, if I did it a bit more intentionally, it would work even better. But I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself to meditate in a specific way. So usually when I wake up in the morning and I just lie in bed, I don’t sit up in an upright position. I just lie there and listen to it and try and breathe a bit as they suggest and do some nice deep breaths and just basically relax for 15 minutes or so while the meditation plays.


And so, I would recommend just maybe doing something like that, just not to … I mean if you are in a meditation practice already, that’s fabulous and I’m impressed. But if you aren’t and you’re a bit intimidated by it, just start really small and I don’t know, just find your own thing that works for you, it might help calm the mind even a bit in these stressful times.


So, that’s rather a long introduction. But if you don’t mind me chatting about that stuff because that’s what’s on my mind at the moment. In knitting news, I am super excited and super chuffed because I did manage to finally finish my Clio pullover. Clio is a design by Elizabeth Doherty. It’s been on the needles for at least three years. I should look up when I started it, but I haven’t wanted to do that and after I recorded last week sort of thinking that I might finish it, I became quite determined to finish it before I spoke to you again.


So I put everything else on hold basically, including work and just knit on that and it didn’t really take me too long. Once I got through the short rows at the top of the sleeves, I powered through the sleeves and finished it yesterday. I wove in the ends. It’s yet to be blocked and photographed, but I’m calling it done and I’m so happy. I knitted in yarn which I bought at Edinburgh Yarn Festival three or four years ago and it is Ysolda blend number one, batch number three, which is a gorgeous blend spun by John Arbon in the UK.


And it has some Gotland, which is one of my favorite breeds of fleece, or breeds of sheep. And, it’s just the softest, loveliest, I don’t know, just has a beautiful body to it. So I very much enjoyed the process of knitting that. And I think I’ve got two and a half scans left. So now I’m thinking what else to knit with that yarn because I really did enjoy knitting with that yarn. So that means that I can tick off my WIP category in the knit 20 for 20 challenge which, if super exciting. And it also means that I can now go on to choose some new exciting projects, have a bit of a dream about what I’m going to knit now.


I still have some design work I need to do before I really do that and I have maybe three pairs of socks that have been also quite long, ongoing WIP that are maybe will do while I’m deciding what sort of main project I want to work on next. So I think just for the time being, while I’m still deciding I will work on my Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith who’s, Hey Brown Berry. I’ve also been working on those for quite a long time and you’ve probably heard me mention them many times before as well, so I’d quite like to finish them also.


So I think I’ll spend some time probably later this week planning out another project and I think I will make that a reward for getting something ticked off my work list. I’m not sure exactly what I will have to do to get my reward, but I think I might make that a treat for doing something reasonably substantial on my work side of things. Something else that I will endeavor to do this week is to firm up details for these knit alongs that I’m sort of loosely hosting at the moment. So that is for the handmade sock society. So I will organize and set dates for the monthly knit alongs for each sock as they come out.


The first sock is already published the luminary socks and the second socks will be released next week. So I’ll dip into my stash and really organize some prizes and I’ll also think about some prizes for the knit 20 for 2020 challenge because I think we could all do with some fun and cheering up at the moment and make it a bit more formal. So I’ll have a think about how to structure that, how to structure some prizes and perhaps the yarn that I was planning to do stash, I might contribute to prizes instead because I was all set to do a de-stash, but I really didn’t feel comfortable competing with indie dyers who are relying on the income from their yarn at the moment.

It’s not my main thing and it would just be de-stashing yarn because I want it to go to people who are going to use it because I’ve got way too much to be able to use myself. So I think what I’ll do is allocate some of that yarn to prizes instead and just have a bit of fun with it. I’m not sure when I will be able to do that. I should commit to a time so that I make myself do it, but let’s say next week I’ll get onto that and by next week’s podcast should be able to announce some more details around that. Before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadow Yarn. I just wanted to mention that Ang has some gorgeous colorways in her shop at the moment. Really beautiful. I will probably be tempted to make a purchase there this weekend as well. That could be another treat.

So thanks so much for spending some time with me this week. I hope you’re safe and well and that this crisis is not putting too much stress on you. I know lots of people that it is putting quite a lot of stress on their lives and their families. So my sympathy and thoughts go to you and my love and if you feel like chatting will be the thread in Ravelry, or on Instagram. I also have a promotion at the moment until the end of the month, which is a buy one get one free sale so you can get any of my patterns or collections. Buy one, get one free with the coupon code fresh at the moment. And that was to celebrate the release of the single patterns from last year’s fall society. So please take advantage of that and happy knitting. Stay safe. Stay well, and 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.

It’s a scary time to watch the news right now. When things are really tough, small comforts mean a lot. Knitting is obviously a big coping strategy for many of us. Today I’m talking about that, about the importance of friendship, and a KAL that I think I’d like to do…once I finish my beloved Clio Pullover!

Show Links:

Bayron Handmade on Instagram

Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Wave of Change KAL

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

#knit20for2020

The Shawl Society Season 4

I am running a special Buy One Get One Free sale on all my patterns and collections to celebrate the release of the single patterns from TSS4: just use the code FRESH when you check out on Ravelry!

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen Stewart:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 287. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you wherever you maybe in the world. And just when you think the world can’t get any crazier, it does. This week has been something else in terms of worldwide news, and I just hope that wherever you are you’re staying safe and well. It’s been very distracting watching the news this week and hearing all about the coronavirus. And I don’t normally watch the news, hardly at all, because I need to keep my spirits up. But I have been very distracted this week, and hearing about friends and whole countries being affected is just quite unbelievable. Of course, here in Australia we have had toilet paper gate, and yeah it is quite unnerving going into the supermarket and just the whole aisle of toilet paper is completely bare. And it was this afternoon when I went in. We’ve had several emails from supermarkets saying to keep calm and carry on.

I’ve just received an email from Coles, which is one of the big supermarket chains here, saying that they were going to put rations on pasta, toilet paper, paper towel and a couple of other things. Rationing people to certain amounts of things. They also suggested, which I thought was good, was that if you had too much toilet paper on hand, maybe you could consider donating some to your local food bank. So, I did appreciate them saying that. They had some change to their, change your mind policy, and they said that they weren’t allowing people to change their mind. So, if you’ve stockpiled large amounts of toilet paper, you’re not going to be able to return it.

In Australia, so far they’ve suggested canceling large events, but I don’t think they’ve actually mandated it yet. And then, we’ve had some isolated schools closing, but not across the board like in a lot of countries that I’ve been hearing about today and yesterday. And yeah, so we’re not as affected here as other countries yet. I’m not sure if that’s just because we haven’t got to that point yet, or because our population is not very dense. I’m not sure. But we possibly will get to that point in the next couple of weeks.

And yeah, it’s a little bit unsettling. I don’t know if I should be stocking up on some things or not. I haven’t been yet, but probably should think about getting a bit of food in, a bit of pasta, and the handful of things one of my daughters will eat. So, from comments I’ve read on Instagram and other places, lots of people are feeling quite nervous and anxious about it. So I did hear one very good piece of advice. I follow the account of a journalist on Instagram called Jessica Yellin. She was making the point that one of the things that would compromise your immunity is stress, and so to try to keep stress levels down. I thought that was a really good piece of advice, just generally.

There are a lot of other colds and viruses going around as well at the moment, a lot of my family members and people that I know here have been sick with other bugs, so I thought, well what better time to concentrate on doing stress-relieving activities like meditation, walking, knitting obviously, crafting. I think this is where our stashes will come into their own. So, we’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, most of us. Ridiculous amounts of stash.

So, yeah, I think hopefully we can take some solace in our knitting, and our projects, and find some lovely, relaxing projects to work on. I actually just saw a lovely post on Instagram by Bayron Handmade, and she was expressing how she was feeling a bit anxious, and thinking about how can she help serve others in the community. She was mentioning that she has a knit-along on Ravelry for a gorgeous cardigan that she’s designed called, the Wave of Change KAL.

So, I thought I might join in that KAL, and join the wave of change, and it looks like a fairly chunky weight of yarn. I haven’t looked at the pattern in detail yet, but I might have a look at my stash to see what I have for that one. I might have to hold two skeins of yarn together, two weights of yarn together to make the weight that’s required for the pattern. Of course, when I finish my Clio pullover, I need to finish that first before I start shopping around for other projects, but that’s definitely going in my queue. So thank you for your lovely, reassuring kind words, Bayron.

And actually I had a pretty good week, despite all the nerve-racking news. I had a very dear friend visiting. My friend Stewart, who I met at Squam, and we worked out that we met in 2013 was the first year that I went to Squam. And so we’re old friends now, so it was really lovely to have her here for a few days. And yeah, I haven’t made a lot of friends here yet, or reconnected with people very much. So it was really nice to have an old friend to hang out with for a couple of days and catch up. And we went off on a little girls trip just for two nights. A little bit of a retreat and it was lovely.

We went to a place called Noosa, which is a gorgeous beach, not very far from where I live. And it was raining pretty much the whole time we were there. So I had thought we might do a bush walk. There’s a gorgeous Bush walk to the Headland at Noosa and you often see koalas in the trees there, but it was really too rainy for us to want to. We probably could have done it if we’d really been keen, But we ended up sitting in a cafe for most of the whole day and just sitting and knitting. And it was open to the street so we could watch people passing by, really great for people watching and it was raining so we could watch the rain falling. And it was nice and cool.

So, it hasn’t really been all that cool here generally. But it was a lovely, cool few days. So I made some really, really good progress on my Clio pullover that I had been talking about forever. And it is my Finish a WIP goal for my 20 for 20 knitting challenge. And yeah, so I had been having a major, minor, I don’t know, some sort of roadblock when it came to casting on for the sleeves. Had to pick up stitches and do some short rows. And my lovely friend Stewart picked up the stitches for me. And so I managed to get over the barrier and got through the short rows with a little bit of grumbling, but not too much. And finish the whole sleeve in those couple of days. So I was so happy with that.

I have to admit I was a little bit motivated by wanting to finish the first sleeve so that I could ask to Stewart to cast on the second one for me, which she very kindly did. And so now I have managed to get through the short row sections of the second sleeve and I know that it didn’t take me all that long to knit the whole sleeve. So I’m feeling pretty confident that this could be finished quite soon and I’m getting very excited about that. So that was a fantastic couple of days with lovely company, lovely knitting weather, and a wonderful location to do it in.

So I’ve been talking a lot about the Handmade Sock Society recently, as well as the release of the new Laine book, 52 Weeks of Socks. And so I thought perhaps for the shawl knitters amongst you, if you’re a bit tired of hearing about socks so much, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t released my Shawl Society patterns from last year as single patterns. So the six Shawl Society patterns are now available as single patterns. Previously they were just available as the collection. And I am having a buy one get one free sale to celebrate. And that will run until the end of the month. So until the 31st of March, I’m having a buy one get one free sale across all my patterns and collections. I was just going to make it shawls, but then I thought I would just keep it simple and it’s everything.

So all you have to do is put two of my patterns, or collections in your shopping cart in Ravelry, and the less expensive one will be free. I should mention, it does need a coupon code and the coupon code is fresh, F-R-E-S-H. So you need to put the coupon code in as well. And then the second pattern will be free. So thank you to people who’ve taken up on that offer and I hope you enjoy the shawls, the shawl designs and that will run to the end of the month.

So I’d love to hear from you about what comfort knitting you might be doing at the moment. I hope you have a chance to relax a little bit, get some knitting done, stay in touch with friends and family and I hope you stay well. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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.

I don’t know about you but I’m ready for a little do-over of the start of the year! Today I’m talking about getting all my healthy streaks back on track, and tackling a few beautiful WIPs that deserve to be finished before I go casting on any of the shiny new patterns that are calling my name!

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Bembe Socks by Dawn Henderson

IndieLynx on Instagram

IndieLynx’s gorgeous Bembe socks in progress

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 286. 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 Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.


Hello, I hope you’re having a good week. Welcome to the show. I am a bit in shock that it’s March already and I’ve decided to declare March as the new January, as far as goals and resolutions go. I’m not quite sure what’s happened this year, but it’s all gone a bit pear shaped and I haven’t managed really any of my plans that are right to achieve with so much enthusiasm at the beginning of the year.


I had a grand plans for regular exercise and healthy food and all sorts of things and I just haven’t been very good with my, my streaks so far, so I’m rather than sort of give up and not worry about it, which is kind of tempting, I am resetting and starting again. So I’ve managed to get to Pilates at least twice this week, which is pretty good and I’m booked in for tomorrow, so that will be my goal of three times this week. I haven’t managed, I’ve managed very little walking and I think I’m really feeling it, in, I don’t know, just not being relaxed and feeling as good as I wish I did at the moment.


But yeah. So yeah, I need to, I need to just work out why I’m not getting to it. Currently the weather, it’s been raining an awful lot the last month or so. I don’t know if that’s really a very good excuse. I’m not sure what happened really. I need to sort of sit down and think back across month to actually think what’s happened. Anyway, I’ve been doing a little bit of knitting. I was switching on a design today and maybe that’s why I’m feeling a bit frustrated because I planned out a design, I drew a chart and the end result didn’t look how I wanted it to. It didn’t have the feeling that I wanted. I had a concept for the design and it just didn’t evoke the feeling. Sorry. So I watched all day on that and worked on the stitch pattern and the chart and, and I’ve decided I, I like it.


So it’s probably adding to my frustrated mood tonight. So I always just tell myself if I keep swatching for long enough, I will get there eventually. It’s just, yeah, I think I’m just frustrated that I took my whole day to realize that I wasn’t where I wanted to be. But I’ll, I’ll just start again. I’ll look for some new ideas and start again. I spoke last week about how I’d finished my terracotta socks by WoolFields Studio and I talked about the Birch Hollow Fibers yarn and that I couldn’t remember the name. And so I just wanted to add in that I looked up the name and it’s Roses for Sophrenia. It’s one of her, I think a regular colorway that Robin does and yeah, it’s just really gorgeous. I have taken photos and we’ll get them up on social media and I was talking about starting a pattern from 52 weeks of socks by Laine.


And the pattern was Bembe by Dawn Henderson. And I had picked out some yarn, which was a really soft pink, and then I saw Claire who is indielynx on Instagram knitting those same socks. And she had tries in this really vibrant sort of golden, golden yellowy, browny color. And it was just so, I don’t know, I just loved it and I just thought, Oh, the pale pink isn’t going to cut it for these socks. And they were a little bit variegated as well. And I think this needs a really strong, solid or semi-solid, at least yarn. So I’m going to go back to the stash. Back to the drawing board. I’d chosen this yarn because I already had it wound into a ball. It was one of the yarns that I rescued for my swatching and I thought, Oh, I’ll just use that because it’s already wound and it’s easily to hand.


But yeah, no, I don’t think so. I think I will just continue using that yarn for swatching as I will be continuing my swatch. So rather than start that, I decided that I should finish my pebbles and pathways socks, which I’m probably three quarters done with. I’m onto the second sock and I’ve done the leg, so I’m up to the heel flap with those and yeah, I think I should just finish them. They’re so cute. The yarn is by my friend Emma Saren Yarns. She’s an English indie Dyer and it’s just such gorgeous yarn and it’s going really, really well with the pattern. So I need to finish those socks first, I think. Yeah, just finish something before I start another thing. Oh otherwise I’ll just sit there forever and not get finished and they’re nearly done. So that’s my plan now. And I’m also going to this weekend, this is my accountability, You’re my accountability partners this week, and I am going to pick up the stitches for a sleeve on my Clio pullover.


This is a WIP that’s been going on for a very, very long time and I need to get that done as well. So I am kind of sick of talking about it, sick of talking about not doing it. So I’m going to pick up the stitches this weekend and then I’ll be able to just putter away on it doing a pickup stitches, and I think there’s a little bit of short rows involved. Just means you know, that bit of extra concentration needed that is being a barrier to me doing it at all. So I’m going to overcome the barrier I’m going to cost on the sleeve and start working on that again. It’s had so many, not really timeouts, just time resting.


Yeah. So that’s my plan. That’s my knitting plan for the next week or two or three. Yeah. Pebbles and pathway socks by HeyBrownBerry, Marceline Smith and Clio by Elizabeth Doherty. Of course I’m so distracted by so many other projects I want to cast on, but I’m just going to, I just need to focus and finish some things.


And other exciting news this week, my sofa arrived from my studio and I’m very excited about this. It’s really nice and very comfy. And when I was dreaming about my studio, before we even moved to Australia, I was planning to have a friend’s chair in my office or studio and my mom has started this concept or trend within our family, and in her office she has a little comfy arm chair and dad goes in and sits with her and has a cup of tea with her. And when we have visiting, we sit with her and if she’s crafting or just at her computer, something like that, we’ll go in and have a chat.


And so I really liked that idea and I planned, to get a friend’s chair, but my studio is quite big and I thought what would be even better as friend’s sofa because I thought, Oh, it’d be nice to be able to be working in my studio. Maybe if I fancied it, have a little lie down and read something. And I also was hoping that the girls would come down and maybe do a little bit of homework or a little bit of cross with me and yeah, and already they’re doing that. So that’s working really well. And so if he comes down and does her math homework and Lexi’s craze of knitting Nancy, knitting tubes with a toilet paper and pedal pop sticks is still going strong, it’s seems to be back back happening again. So she’s been making some, some French knitting, knitting Nancy and keeping me company while I do tedious admin.


So now I have all the furniture and now I really need to just a little bit of sorting out a little bit of decluttering. I’ve got some piles of things that I can’t quite deal with. So I need to make myself deal with some filing and some things like that. Just get this into a lovely, relaxing, serene space. It’s a little bit too cluttered and too many piles of doom at the moment to be relaxing, but maybe I’ll tackle a few of the piles this weekend as well. I think what I need today is find a inspirational picture on Pinterest or in a magazine that I know what I’m aiming for as something very Zen and relaxing to motivate me. At the moment I just have a mouse cage and they’re very messy. They keep throwing things out of their cage. I need to need to sort that out and find a home or at least some sort of tray to put the cage in so that I don’t end up with food and bedding all over my studio.


I hope it isn’t TMI when I talk about the mice because I know that they’re not everybody’s favorite pets and give people the heebie-jeebies but including me, we had a couple of infestations in our house in London because just happens in houses in London pretty regularly and I was not at all happy about that. But having them as pets, it really is different and I am finding them surprisingly cute, so I’m quite surprised that I liked them as much as I do. Lexi absolutely adores hers and is in the process of training one to do tricks now. So yeah, it’s all quite fun. It’s nice having a pet.


Well, I hope you have a really good week in the midst of all the madness that seems to be happening in the world, again, at the moment. There’s so many crazy things happening that it’s quite hard to focus and I am definitely relying on my knitting to keep calm and relaxed and I should probably get back into my walking with a bit more regularity to be able to keep stress levels down. So, yes, I hope you’re all well, happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

CH 285: The Luminary Socks

Helen —  February 28, 2020 — Leave a comment
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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 I have a brand new sock pattern to introduce and some personal sock-knitting and studio set-up updates! The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is off to an amazing start, with a crowd of brilliant knitters who have already cast on the new Luminary Socks in a gorgeous array of yarn.

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Bembe Socks by Dawn Henderson

Luminary Socks from The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

IndieLynx on Instagram

Tinkhickman on Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to Episode 285. 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 on my website at curioushandmade.com.


Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you this week. We are having a good week here at Curious HQ and we have an addition of five members to the family. My daughter, Lexi was very, very keen to have pet mice. And finally the pet shop had some in but they were available on Monday. So we went down first thing and chose two little mice. And I had them sitting next to me all day by my desk, keeping an eye on them, seeing how they were settling in. And by the end of the day I did fall in love with them and decided they were cute, that we should go back to the pet shop and I wanted one for myself. So I ended up with three more.


And so now we have five little mice pets in our house. And yeah, I’m still slightly shocked at that situation, but they’re so cute and I’m really enjoying them. I haven’t had to clean out the cage yet, so still having to have that ahead of me to figure out how to do and mainly how to teach, like see how to do. But no doubt I’ll have to be involved. And yeah, so that was quite funny and a little bit silly, but also really fun. And it’s making Sophie and I very clucky for a puppy now. But I’m definitely going to hold off on that for a while and hopefully won’t have like a reason to report next week that I’ve caved and we now have a puppy as well. But I don’t think so. I think that’s going to be put off for a while longer to see how we cope with the mice. Anyway, it’s very nice to have a pet.


We haven’t had one for a long time. We used to have cats when the girls were babies, but we haven’t had pets for about… I guess about eight years now. So it is nice I to have a little creature in the house or five. Anyway, so I’ve been quite distracted by that and it’s distracted me from work and knitting. But I did manage to finish my Terracotta socks by Woolfield Studio and I knit them in virtual hollow fibers, yarn, gorgeous yarn. And I can never remember the color, I’m really sorry Robin. It’s a really beautiful golden yellowy base with beautiful pink flecks. It’s something… Roses is in the name. And it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous colourway. And I’m really pleased with them. I knit a kind of… Not a shorty version but just a couple of inches, pattern on the leg plus the cuffs.


So they’re quite short and yeah, I’m really pleased with them. I still have to Kitchener stitch the toe on the second sock. So not 100% finished but very close. And I will in fact do that just in a bit and try and get a photo in the daylight. Although it’s super dark here at the moment because it’s a massive storm clouds overhead and there’s thunder. It was raining a minute ago and I thought I might not be able to record but the rain stopped but it’s very dark so we’ll see if photos are possible or otherwise it might be tomorrow. But yeah, so super happy to have a finished object basically. And yeah, it’s encouraging me to pass on my next socks, which will be the Bambi socks by Don Henderson, which are number 22 in 52 weeks of socks by Liner.


So I am looking forward to getting started on those. I’m looking forward to looking through my stash for some suitable yarn and wondering whether I’ll knit them for myself or for a gift. So yes, I have that to look forward to. I might do that this evening actually as a little treat. I do have at least two other of socks that I’ve had on the needles for ages that I need to finish as well, so maybe I should choose one of those and put them in my handbag for those moments when I’m watching swimming or music lesson and have a bit of time waiting around for children. So yes, I do find socks just the perfect project for that. You can just do around and it’s just a little something, few little stitches and it makes me feel like I haven’t wasted my time even if I don’t achieve very much.


Of course I am still yet to pick up the sleeves stitches, which is the next step on my Clio pull over that’s been in a work in progress for such a long time. And yes, I also need to do that. I just haven’t had the brain power really or spare brain power to do that. But yeah, it’s getting close. It’s coming up my list of many, many things to do, but I am looking forward to getting that done. And I’ll have quite a few things to cross off my knit 20 for 2020 if I manage that one and some socks. Earlier this week, I published the first sock for The Handmade Sock Society number three, season three, and they are the luminary socks, so I was really chuffed to be able to share those finally. They’ve been a work in progress for quite a while. And a huge thank you to Deb Hickman who took the photos and made the sample for me.


And a huge thank you to Claire who is Indielynx who gave Deb some gorgeous origami stars to photograph with the socks. And the socks have a star stitch panel running down the front with a little bit of a lace border on either side of the front panel. And they’re playing on the back and I used Viola sock yarn for those. I do love Viola yarn, I just find the colors really beautiful and have so much depth. And just the color palette really appeals to me. It’s sort of quite dark and moody, really fun and really pretty. So it’s lots of beautiful elements have come together to make up the pattern and a huge thank you to Tracey who is Tracyrr on Ravelry and The Comfy Red Couch for test knitting for me.


So I hope members of The Handmade Sock Society are already pleased with this design. And I am already enjoying seeing people’s socks progressing. Thank you for all the lovely comments on Instagram and Ravelry. And yeah, I’m just so excited to see the different colors and beautiful yarns that people are knitting up their socks in. Apart from a very small amount of knitting and a lot of faffing around with mice and watching them and trying to figure out what they may or may not eat or like to do, I’ve been doing some more organizing in my studio/office and hopefully they should be a little sofa arriving for the office tomorrow.


So I’m really excited about that because I have my desk in here and shelves and office stuff, but I really want this to be a creative area where I can sit and knit and hide from children and husband. So yes. So I’m really excited about my sofa arriving tomorrow. And then basically my studio will be fairly set up. I still have some tidying and organizing to do. But yeah, all the essential furniture will be in by then. And then it will just be a matter of beautifying the space and maybe putting some pictures up and things like that. So when I have it a bit more organized and tidy, I’ll take some photos and then maybe be a little video, maybe do a little studio tour for you.


It’s been taking me a long time to get it all together, it feels like, but I’ll be very pleased once it all comes together. One thing I did do this week, which was kind of a procrastination thing, but it was also quite useful was I had a whole box of swatches and half finished never to be finished projects that I unwound and called time on and managed to release about eight pairs of needles from those projects. And yeah, so that was really good. And I thought I could maybe donate some of the swatches to the yarnbombing project that Lexxie’s working on at school. I haven’t heard much about that this week, so I’m not sure if she’s gone off the idea already.


But yeah, I thought I could use some of my swatches for good and also secretly do a little bit of decluttering in the name of art, public art. So yes. So that was a good thing. And I had about three pairs of socks that I had were kind of swatches, kind of testing out different sizes of patterns and things like that. And so I managed to retrieve three really nice skeins of Sock yarn as well from those projects and from the box of doom. So that was really good. And it’s made me have yet another look at my stash. And I will organize another de-stash. It won’t be for charity this time. It will be for just de-stash purposes. And just wanting to get some of the yarn that I have in my stash into the hands of people that can use it because I am just realizing more and more, I mean it’s taken me a month, two months actually to knit one pair of socks. And that’s just one little skein of yarn.


So the rate at which I can use my stash is very, very low. And as much as I love my yarn and really, really struggle to let go of any of it, I really need to… I’ll feel much better if I know that people can use it. Because in the climate here it’s really, really hot and humid and I just don’t want it to deteriorate or get moldy or anything like that. So I think I should de-stash sooner rather than later and share some of these beautiful skeins of yarn. So look out for that on Instagram. I might get to it this week. Probably not to be honest seeing as I have things like clean out the mice cages on my list of things to do now. But I’m definitely going to be doing that sometime in the near future. So yeah, I’ll put the word out anyway.


If you’re on my mailing list or follow me on Instagram you’ll hear about it in advance of when I do it. So thanks so much for listening in. Sorry, it’s been a bit of a scattered episode today. I just wanted to have a quick chat with you and have a bit of a catch-up, but I don’t have a huge amount of knitting or knitting news to report I’m afraid.


So thanks again for joining me today and I hope you have a really fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.

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 we have a little break from sock-mania (mostly!) and a little more exploration of our community challenge #knit20for2020 so far. People are being very creative and it’s so much fun to see how different knitters are filling their categories. I also have a bit of a chat about deep stash: how it’s defined, what it means to me, and why even (or especially) the deepest stash deserves to come out and play.

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Follow #quilted on Instagram

Follow #20for2020

The Happier Podcast

The #knit20for2020 Chat Thread on Ravelry

IndieLynx on Instagram

Rose Cardigan by Andrea Mowry

La Bien Aimée

Dahlia Cardigan

Blue Sky Fibers

Moeke Yarns

Moeke Yarns on Instagram

Circus Tonic Yarns

Circus Tonic Yarns Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Hello, and welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 284.

This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness in 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 the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi, and Coop Knits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched Hand-dyed by Meadow Yarn, 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 color, producing complex tonal kettle dyed shades across a range of whites and bases. With regular updates, our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us. You can find them at meadowyarn.co.uk, or you can click on the ad on my blog.

Hello and welcome. Has it been a good knitting week for you? I’ve been doing lots of knitting on a secret design project, so I can’t talk much about that. But I’ve also been knitting happily away on my terracotta socks by Wolf Fields Studio in Birch Hollow Fibers yarn. These were my Christmas Eve cast-on socks. I’m embarrassed to say that I have yet to have any photographic evidence of them, but I’ll just post them as, ta-da, a finished object very soon. They’re almost finished, the foot, and so I basically just have the toe go, which won’t take me too long, of the second sock.

That’s pretty exciting, to have a nearly finished object. That will be able to tick off a box in my 20 for 2020 knitting challenge. The hashtag for that is #knit20for2020. If you haven’t seen that yet, I’ve created a list of prompts. It’s meant to be a fun challenge for the year, so you can use the list of prompts to tick off one item at a time, or as many boxes as you can tick.

We have a chat thread in Ravelry, as well as a hashtag you can follow along with on Instagram. I’m not sure if you realize, it took me a while to realize, that you can actually follow hashtags in Instagram like you can follow accounts. I think the easiest way to do that is if you go into search, and you search for the hashtag, then it gives you an option to follow that hashtag. I find that quite handy for following along with challenges that I’m interested in or topics that I’m interested in.

I’ve just started following the #quilted hashtag, and I haven’t had much time to do it, or any time to do it, to be honest, but I am thinking a lot about quilting at the moment. I have one quilt that I need to finish, and I have one project that’s in my personal happiness projects for the year. So, yeah. You can follow along with any hashtags that interest you. Sometimes your feed can get a bit full with a particular hashtag so you can refine that as you go along.

I’m following the general #20for20 hashtag, which is basically a hashtag… I think it’s basically started by Gretchen Rubin from the Happier podcast, and it’s a happiness challenge. So, you write a list of 20 things you want to do for the year, and that’s where I got the idea for the #knit20for2020 from, was the Happier podcast, and yeah.

So, I have created a couple of printables. There’s a square image for Instagram, as well as a PDF printable, and I will include that again in this week’s newsletter for you, because there’s people that have just joined up with the newsletter and didn’t receive it when I sent it out a few weeks ago. I’ll post those images for you, and eventually we’ll create a page on my website where they belong. But I haven’t done that yet.

So, I’ve been following along with the Ravelry chat thread, and I’m really interested to know how people want to do this challenge. I think there’s lots of scope for putting your own spin on it, like knitting everything from stash, or deciding on your own rules. You can always, if you don’t fancy one of the particular prompts, you can also substitute something you like, and a few people have commented in the thread on Ravelry that they’re not keen on brioche; they just don’t particularly like the look of it. So I think they’re going to substitute something else. You could substitute something like mosaic knitting, or already have color work there, but there’s lots of other techniques that you could substitute, or you could substitute a garment type, or just cross it out and not do that one. I guess that wouldn’t be #20for2020 then. It’d be 19 for 2020. So yes, you might want to make something else up to fill the gap in the spirit of things.

Some people on Ravelry have created a post where they’ve recreated the list and then are posting links to the projects they’re doing. You could also do that in Instagram stories using the Instagram square image. You can put links onto a story. Yeah. So there’s lots of fun ways to join in this challenge.

Shout out to Claire who is indilynx On Instagram and Ravelry, and she completed the rose cardigan by Andrea Maori, and she used gorgeous La Bien Aimée Yarn. And so, she said she was ticking off an Epic or bucket list project prompt for that one. And it is so gorgeous. So, Claire’s been participating in the challenge, and all her projects are so beautifully photographed, and she has just such a gorgeous color sense. So, if you haven’t discovered indilynx Instagram, you should definitely go and have a little look. It’s I-N-D-I-L-Y-N-X.

One of the other prompts on the list is deep stash, deep yarn stash, and there’s also deep pattern stash. And I had a couple of people question what that was. And so, I thought I would just talk about that a little bit on the podcast today as well. And so, deep yarn stash means yarn that you’ve had in your stash for a long time. So, it’s deep buried at the bottom of the stash. And I guess there’s no particular rule for what deep stash is, because we’ve all been knitting for different lengths of time, and so what might be deep stash for a relatively new knitter might be one or two years. Whereas for people that have been knitting for 40+ years, it might be a bit older than that.

And I was trying to think what my oldest yarn in my stash would be, and I’ve had a pretty good cull of my deep stash. I’ve given a lot of yarn away and yeah. I’ve done a little bit of deep de-stashing and a little bit of donating. So, some of the really deep stash that I… I don’t know, just bought yarn on sale, and my tastes have changed. Lots of reasons I didn’t want it anymore. Yeah, some of that has gone, and so I’m not really sure what the oldest is now. I’d have to really have a good look and have a good think back to what’s the oldest.

I have some prized deep stash, which is from Juno Fiber Arts, who was my absolute favorite indie dyer, who stopped dying. I’m not sure when she stopped dying. I think maybe around 2015. Maybe about five years ago. I’m not 100% sure. It’s definitely a while ago, and yeah, I really should use that yarn because it’s so beautiful, and I love it so much, and I don’t want it to deteriorate and not be as nice anymore before I use it. One of the… Not problems but considerations I have is that I have probably about eight skeins, but they’re all different colors. I don’t have two skeins of the same color. And then not necessarily super coordinating, so I’m not sure. I need to find a suitable project for that. Yeah, I just don’t know what I want to do with that.

If I could crochet, if my poor old sore wrists would allow me to crochet, I would probably do a granny stripe blanket. It would just be so, so gorgeous. They’re all beautiful jewel tones and it would really be stunning if I could do that. But there’s no way I can crochet a whole blanket. I’ve always had the idea because I can’t crochet a granny square blanket. I’ve always had the idea of trying to figure out a knitting design that looks a bit like a granny blanket, granny striped blanket. I don’t know if it would be the same, but I’ve always been thinking about doing something a little bit like that to get the feeling of those beautiful textured stripes.

Anyway, so I’ve just gone off on quite a tangent there. But yeah, so that’s what deep stash is, and it’s basically beautiful yarn that you loved and bought, and have kept, and now’s the time to use it. You might want to match it up with a deep patterned stash. So a pattern you’ve had in your library for a really long time. Often they go together. Often we buy yarn for a particular pattern, and sometimes that’s the reason we don’t use the yarn because we decide we’re not so keen on that design anymore. But yeah, I’ve got a few patterns and yarn that I still, many years later, still want to make.

One of them is the Dahlia cardigan by Heather Zoppetti, and it was published in Interweave Knits Fall 2011. So, super deep stash pattern. And to me, this is just the most gorgeous, perfect cardigan. It’s got a gorgeous lace panel on the back, and I think at the front it’s like a waterfall style front, and it is just so beautiful. I bought some blue-sky yarn for it when Loop was having a sale, and that’s also probably around 2014, maybe 2015, that I bought the yarn for that. So, that would be a great achievement if I could knit that cardigan with that deep stash. I’m not sure if I can commit to that this year, but yeah, I’d love to do that.

It’s just dreamy. If you’re romantic lace knitter, you’ll probably love this one. I’m just looking at it on screen now and drooling, still drooling. So, that one is a really good pattern for me, because even six years later, I still absolutely love it. So I know that probably, yeah, no matter how old I am, or how much time passes, I think I’ll still love this cardigan.

So, I’ll stop rambling on about that now. But I am very, very curious about some of these prompts, especially what other people come up with. And so, deep stash yarn and deep pattern stash are definitely ones I’m interested in seeing what other people are doing. I’m also really interested in new to me designers, and hopefully discovering some fab new designers and yeah, and of course I’m interested in what people do for their epic or bucket list projects as well. So, I’m interested in all of them, and seeing what other people want to make for all of them. But those ones especially, I’m quite curious about.

Speaking of deep stash and special yarns, we had some, for me, quite sad news in the knitting community recently, and that was a post by Moeke Yarns, who is… It’s a company by a wonderful person called Ioana. She recently announced on Instagram that she and her family have taken the sad decision to close down Moeke Yarns. And yeah. It was really sad to me. I’ve purchased some of her yarn at a knitting festival from Rail work, who stocked their yarn. I also participated in their crowd funding campaign, and had a sweater quantity of gorgeous yarn, and they specialized in traditional Romanian yarn. Yeah, it was really special. But she explained on this Instagram post that she had a baby a couple of years ago, and she actually works as a professor in the Netherlands, and the company was based in Romania where her family lives, and yeah, just all sorts of… She had so much happening, and as a mom who’s been through having young kids, and I just can’t even imagine being able to do that.

Yeah. So, I completely understand but also just really, really feel for her, because obviously it was just obviously such a hard decision, and it was so nice that she made the post on Instagram, and sort of talked about it, and was so open and honest. So, thank you for doing that Ioana, and for us lucky people that have some of your yarn in our stash, we’ll get to use it, and your legacy will live on in the beautiful yarn that you’ve put out into the world, and the garments that people enjoy wearing.

Same with my lovely friend, Hannah, Circus Tonic Yarns, she has recently decided to stop dying her beautiful indie dyed yarn here in Australia, and I’m very sad about that as well because I was looking forward to coming back to Australia, and perhaps collaborating with Hannah a bit more. But you know, again, life happens, and Hannah’s got three young kids and so much going on, and gosh, I can just really relate to it. And there are days where I felt like just not working anymore, and not being able to keep going as a one woman company. And it’s only through my amazing team of people that I have working with me as freelancers that I can keep going. Otherwise, there’s no way I could keep going, doing what I’m doing.

And yeah, it’s also a bit easier because I don’t have to deal with physical products. So, it’s all almost online and on the internet. So, it’s super portable and quite easy to handle. I can do things on my phone, and I can have my designs, carry around with me in my handbag, and I super appreciate that, and I super appreciate you who listen to me rambling on about knitting, and buy my patterns, and join in with knit-alongs, and charity auctions, and all sorts of things and challenges, and everything. It just makes it possible and so much more fun.

So, yeah. Just a little thank you, and just, I guess, a little reminder to just always be kind to people, and you just don’t know what people are going through, and most people are very kind and very generous, and that’s what I love about this community, and doing this work. So, yeah. So, just ending on a slightly emotional note there, but on that note, I think I’d just like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story.

Find all your favorite luxury yarns, and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story. Bath’s premier yarn store, based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. Here you’ll find a gorgeous selection to choose from, including sumptuous skeins from House of A La Mode, La Bien Aimée, and Julie Asselin. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, treat your projects to the luxury they deserve. You can also shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.

So, I hope you have a wonderful week, and have some lovely knitting to do. I’m actually immensely enjoying watching my younger daughter at the moment, because in their lunchtime art club at school, they’re working on an installation to yarn bomb one of the trees at school, and she’s been coming home and doing French knitting, and it just came out of the blue that she was like, “I’ve got to do French knitting mommy,” and I didn’t realize at first what it was for. And so, she was like, “I need a toilet roll.” She kind of unwound the last of the toilet roll, and there’s toilet paper everywhere, to use paddle pop sticks to make this French knitting tube thing. And yeah, has been just rummaging around my scraps for yarn.

I thought it was just some crazy thing that she was doing, and then I dropped her off at school one day, and they were like about six other kids with their French knitting. And then we had a a call out from the art teacher, email today saying, “if anyone has any acrylic yarn, we need 100% acrylic yarn,” and my heart just sank because I didn’t really have much acrylic yarn to provide. I have a lot of other yarn I could give you, but not acrylic. So, that was a bit sad and I also felt like, “why acrylic?” I guess, because they’re putting it on the tree, I don’t know.

Anyway. So, I can’t wait to see the yarn bombed tree come together, and what they’re going to do with that. But yeah, what a great project. I’m so excited.

And finally, just before I sign off, a plug for the Handmade Sock Society, season three is in pre-sale, early bird stage at the moment. And so, you can get the collection, the whole collection for £9.95, which is a bit more in US dollars, but not too bad. It’s a great deal at the moment. And then, once the first pattern comes out this Tuesday, the 25th of February, the price will go up to £15. So, it’s a great deal at the moment. So, I just thought I’d give you a little reminder in case you were thinking about it. And it will be at that price until Monday, this Monday. So you have the weekend to snap up that bargain.

So, thank you very much for everybody who has already joined, and I look forward to seeing you in the knit alongs that will be kicking off soon. So, that’s all from me. Happy knitting. Have a fantastic week, and 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.

Photo Credit: Laine Magazine

Today’s podcast is pretty much exclusively about socks! It’s an exciting time to be a sock knitter just now. The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is now open, with pre-sales over at Ravelry and a very big Early Bird discount on the collection. We also have the release of an incredible new book of patterns produced by Laine Magazine. On today’s podcast I talk a little about the pattern I created for the book, the Snippet Socks, as well as an overall review of the book itself and some of the other incredible designs you’ll find there. I know which one I’m casting on first, but it was not easy to choose!

Show Links

Join The Handmade Sock Society 3 here!

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 is a pattern subscription club inspired by the many meanings of atmosphere and the creative quest. The six secret sock knitting patterns in the collection are ideal for any knitter who is obsessed with (or wants to fall in love with) hand-knitted socks, appreciates a bit of suspense, and enjoys creating along with other enthusiastic makers. The first pattern of the series will be released in February 2020, and then there will be another pattern release every month until July. There’s never any pressure to “keep up” with the crowd, and our relaxed knit-along schedule is designed to give knitters of all skill levels and knitting speeds a relaxed experience.

Whether you’re a newish sock knitter or a seasoned pro, these patterns will have something to offer. The difficulty hovers between “intrepid beginner” and intermediate. There will be interesting stitch patterns, a touch of lace, and maybe a little cable or two, but nothing confounding. And of course, if you’re ever at a loss, our warm and welcoming knitalong community is always available to help, encourage, and cheer you along the way. So take a deep breath and a good look around. Stare up at the stars. Soak up the atmosphere. There’s so much to discover.

Sock Pattern Release Schedule:

  • Tuesday, February 25th
  • Tuesday, March 24th
  • Tuesday, April 21st
  • Tuesday, May 19th
  • Tuesday, June 16th
  • Tuesday, July 21st

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Membership in The Handmade Sock Society 3 grants you access to six stunning knitted sock patterns which will be released one every month until July.

  • The patterns will remain completely exclusive to Society members until the session ends.

  • The Handmade Sock Society 3 collection is available at a special early bird price for just a short time. 

  • The early bird price for the collection is £9.95 (+ applicable VAT for EU countries – Ravelry automatically adds this in). This includes all SIX sock designs and works out to less than half price of the patterns individually.

  • The early bird ends when the first pattern is released and the regular price will be £15 (+VAT for EU countries)

  • All the designs are written for fingering weight/4 ply/sock yarn, so this will be an excellent stashbuster for many!

  • If you do want to treat yourself to new yarn or just want some inspiration, I will post yarn spoilers on Ravelry before each pattern is released so you can shop or stash dive to find the perfect yarn for your socks. 

  • The patterns are all for knitted socks. Most will be confident beginner level but one or two will require more intermediate skills.

  • The patterns will be written in the Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist Pattern™ format and I will include charts for lace.

Laine Magazine’s 52 Weeks of Socks book

Snippet Socks

The Wool Barn

Pebbles and Pathways Socks by Marceline Smith

Intersections Socks by Marceline Smith

Branches by Amanda Jones

House of A La Mode

Porch Light by Lindsey Fowler

Little Lionhead Knits

Lucerna by Fabienne Gassmann

John Arbon

ONION

Riverbed by Joji Locatelli

Bembe by Dawn Henderson

Quince & Co. 

Tinkhickman on Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

The Wool Barn on Instagram

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 283. 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 Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, hello. Are you having a good week? I hope you are. I am having a hectic week again, I say that every week, don’t I? It’s hectic all the time at the moment. I started off the week sending off the parcels for the Bushfire Relief Auction, the destash I did recently. I still have a couple of those parcels that I need to send out, that I’m still sorting out addresses and things for. Also, this week my goal is to send off all the knit-along prizes. Everybody was super fast getting their addresses back to me, so that was awesome, and so I’m going to work on that later today. Parceling everything up, filling out all the customs forms, and hopefully, getting them to the post office probably tomorrow, if I spend today packaging. There was 15 prizes for the knit-along winners, we did a big Prize-a Palooza all at once, last week. In previous years, I’ve been a bit more sort of spaced out with them throughout the year as each passion or each knit-along comes to an end.

But last year it was so crazy with me being, that I just did them all at once. So yeah. So as I announced recently, we are rolling straight into The Handmade Sock Society number 3, and just as a bit of a heads up, this episode is going to be basically all about socks. So if you’re not a sock knitter and have no interest in sock-knitting, this might not be the episode for you. So we’re starting Season 3 of the Sock Society. So the theme for the season is “Atmosphere” and pre-sales for the collection opened yesterday on Ravelry, it is only going to be available on Ravelry at this stage because it provides such a great delivery mechanism for the patterns. So once you sign up, I can just add the patterns to the collection and you’ll receive them each month. The collection is currently available at a really big discount, early Bird price, and it will be at an early Bird price until the 24th of February, because the first pattern will be released on Tuesday, the 25th of February. So that’s in just over a week’s time.

As always, I’m really excited about this collection. If you’ve enjoyed previous seasons of The Handmade Sock Society, I think you’ll like this one too. I haven’t tried to do anything dramatically different this season. It’s a relatively similar I would say, the socks are top-down and are written in my percentage checklist style. So they’re all written out in full, as well as charts wherever necessary, and I’m looking forward to those of you who love knitting socks to join us.

So the other exciting thing that happened this week is that I received in the post, my designer copy of 52 Weeks of Socks by Laine. Also, my sample of my snippet socks that are in the book, and we have been seeing sneak peaks of the book on Instagram, and it’s just so thrilling to have this book in my hands now. It is absolutely beautiful. It’s as you can imagine with 52 sock patterns, it’s a solid book. I would describe it almost as a coffee table book, they have a beautiful linen cover, which is very tactile and a gorgeous belly band around it. I learnt that term when I was looking into printing patterns at one stage. So it’s where you have the paper wrapped around a thin strip of the cover. So they have a gorgeous photo on that, and then when I opened it up, there’s a little detail shot of my snippet socks on the inside of the front of the belly band. So that was kind of nice to see.

On the back, the inside is a beautiful shot of foliage grasses and it’s just gorgeous. I love little beautiful details like that, that says “52 Weeks of Socks is a unique look into modern international sock- knitting. The designers behind the 52 pairs come from all corners of the world. They’ve used different yarns and techniques in their designs that are either intuitive and relaxing to knit or more challenging. This beautiful book is a future classic that you will return to again and again.” I think that’s absolutely right.

So I have a design in this book obviously, and it’s called Snippet Socks. When Yana and Cindy contacted me to do a design for the book, of course, I was very happy to. My pattern is towards the end of the book, number 45, and I called the socks Snippet. When I started thinking about them, I thought I would do a little bit of a spin-off or connection with my Fragment Socks that were in issue four, of Laine Magazine. And Fragment Socks have been really popular, and when I designed Fragment, I was thinking about patchwork. I was making a patchwork quilt, and I, yeah, I was just thinking about the shapes that are often found in patchwork quilt.

So that’s where Fragment came from. Then, so snippet, I really liked those diagonal shapes and Fragment, and so I, yeah, I just kind of worked from that point when I was thinking about the design. I was quite influenced by the Japanese stitch dictionary, and I was smiling as I was looking through the patterns, because I think a lot of the designers in the book were also influenced by that stitch dictionary. It’s been really popular at the moment, and it’s, I think really influencing a lot of designs that we’re seeing coming out. The aesthetic for that is a lot of twisted stitches and a lot of combining different lace patterns in columns, and I can see that through a lot of the designs in the book. So I do think or wonder if other designers have been enjoying that inspiration as much as I have. I’ve actually been really inspired by that particular book.

So for the yarn, for this design, I used Cashmere Sock, by The Wool Barn, and that is 80% super wash extra-fine merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. The colorway is Walnut. I absolutely love that base, and I really love this color. I think Maya from the Wool Barn is just so talented, and whenever I use her yarn for a design, it just photographs so beautifully. I don’t know what it is about her dyes, but the light really reflects off them, and then also the colors show up beautifully as well. So I am absolutely thrilled with the photos for the socks that are included in the book, they’re just gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous, love everything about the styling. They’ve included these socks in some of the detailed shots throughout the book, and I just couldn’t be happier.

Of course, the photography of the book is one of the highlights. The designs are all beautiful and the photography just shows them off so beautifully. I love the Laine of style of photography, it’s moody and textured, and I love the way they combine textures in their styling. So my socks are photographed on a sort of a jute-textured rug with some native flowers in the background. They look like Australian natives actually, might be South African. And a beautiful silky skirt on the model, and it’s just absolutely gorgeous. So I thought that I would choose one of the designs from another designer to cast on, and I will make that my socks category for my #knit20for2020. But then, I was absolutely struggling to decide which pair to choose. I absolutely love … The first pattern in the book is by Marceline Smith, HeyBrownBerry, who is a friend and I am currently knitting her Pebbles and Pathways Socks already. She has a gorgeous design in the book called Intersections, which is a gorgeous cabled textured design.

I was also looking at number four, Branches by Amanda Jones. This is an example of where I think maybe she’s been influenced by a similar stitch dictionary that I was. It’s much more intricate pattern though, with a lot of lace and some stripes of, I think it’s the not stitch coming down the side, and the lace pattern goes into the cuff, which is really cool. Amanda works at A Yarn Story, and yeah, I’ve met her, she’s absolutely lovely person and these socks are just divine. She’s knit them, and House Fingering by House of A La Mode. And a gorgeous blue, well, actually the colorway is called Sage. It looks quite blue in the picture, but maybe it’s more of a bluey-green.

So I’m very tempted by that, and even though it looks super intricate, when you look at the charts, they’re not that complicated. It’s like an 11 stitch repeat going around. So that’s possibly memorizable, I think that would be okay to keep in your head. Then I was really drawn to a very different pair, they’re a lot plainer, number eight, Porch Light by Lindsey Fowler. These ones just have a small amount of detail around, just underneath the cuff, using sort of a different colorway. She’s used a Tweed Fingering by Little Lionhead Knits. I have a couple of this tweedy-style yarn in my stash, and so I was thinking about these ones, really like them. I think they’re my second choice.

Number 18, Lucerna, is by Fabienne Gassman. These are, again, a more simple design, more textured. So they’re reverse stockinette with some detailing, just sort of lines coming down from the top and up from the toe, and a cute, is it cast on or they knit top-down? Yes. Nobby Estonian cast on, which is quite cool. There’s an Exmoor Sock by John Arbon. That’s a really interesting blend. It’s 60% Exmoor Blueface, 20% Corriedale, and 10% Zwartbles and 10% nylon, and teases colorway Bibble Bug, which is a cute name. Oh, and also held double with silk and kid mohair by Onion, 40% silk, 60% kid mohair. So they’re held double and she’s knit them on, okay, so 2.5 and 2.75 needles. So still quite small needles and they look very cozy and just beautiful texture. Really, really drawn to those.

That’s Lucerna, number 18. There’s a gorgeous design by Joji Locatelli, number 31, Riverbed. She’s used a DK weight yarn for these ones, so she’s used Silky BFL DK by Walk Collection, who’s one of my favorite indie dyers. These are 55% wool, 45% silk, and the colorway Apollo. So they make for a beautiful sheen on the socks, and how he’s used the reverse stockinette with a lace design going down the top of the foot and down the back of the leg. So they’re really cute and would be a great option if you wanted a faster knit, probably with being in the DK. They’re on three millimeter needles.

But I think the pattern that I’m going to cast on is number 22, Bembe, B-E-M-B-E by Dawn Henderson. These are textured, it’s a textured pattern on the leg using just knits and pearls, in a really cool graphical design. The foot’s plane, which is quite nice, because once you’ve done the work on the leg you can just knit round and round on the foot. The yarn she’s used is a gorgeous rust color brownie tones. It’s Finch by Quince & Company, which is 100% American wool, and the colorway is Fox. So that probably gives you an immediate visual of the ready brown color that this yarn is.

So, yes. So I am going to pass them on soon. They’re going to be my first ones I’m going to cast on from the book, and that’s Bembe by Dawn Henderson. I think that would be a really nice unisex pair, actually. I’m looking at them and when you look at them side on, it’s sort of almost like an argyle-diamond pattern along each side of the leg, and yeah, so it makes me think that this would be a nice design for my dad. I like to knit socks for my dad, although I’m very slow.

So yeah, so super honored to be part of this book. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s going to be a treasure for years to come and I know how much work has gone into it. Collating and curating 52 patterns is no mean feat, as well as producing magazines last year. We’ve been working on it for a long time and it’s just absolutely amazing to have it in my hands now. The print quality is absolutely gorgeous, and as a book lover, my heart just sings when I have this book in my hands, because the pages just feel so beautiful to the touch. Just every single detail is just gorgeous, when you feel the paper it just feels so beautiful in your hands. The cover feels beautiful. It’s quite a tactile experience just reading the book, and then there’s all the patterns to knit inside.

So, congratulations Laine and all the designers in this book. It’s going to bring a lot of people a lot of joy. I would also like to thank my sample knitter, Deb, who is Tink Hickman on Instagram and Ravelry for knitting up the gorgeous sample that is pictured in the book. As well as my test knitter, Tracey, who hosts the Comfy Red Couch Podcast and is a huge support. I’d like to thank Maya of the Wool Barn for creating such gorgeous inspiring yarn to work with, and make my designs really shine. So thank you to my little team, I couldn’t do it without you. That’s not all I have to talk about this week.

Thanks for tuning in today. I hope you are enjoying your #knit20for2020 Challenge, if you are joining in with that. I’m looking forward to getting a few things ticked off or starting to work on a few things. I am looking forward to casting on my Bembe socks by Dawn. I will have some very pleasant moments choosing the perfect yarn from my stash, possibly from my deep stash, so I might be able to tick off both of those prompts. Anyway, I hope you have an absolutely fantastic week. Don’t forget, if you want to join The Handmade Sock Society number 3, to get in while the early bird price is still on offer, and apart from that, happy knitting, have a fantastic 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.

Today I have news about the results of our Australian Bushfire Instagram Auction, our winners from all of last year’s KALs, and an introduction to the theme of the next season of The Handmade Sock Society….I can’t wait to hear what you think about the plans and patterns for this year!

Show Links

We raised almost $3000 AUD for Bushfire Relief. I’ll be splitting the funds between three amazing charities:

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

The Australian Red Cross

The Nature Foundation in South Australia

Thank you so much for all your love and support!

Ravelry names of our KAL winners:

Knitvent2019 KAL winner: tweedy2shoes

The Shawl Society 4 Grand KAL winner: wikinger

The Handmade Sock Society Grand KAL winner: madamepurl

Winners for the individual shawls:

Sea Gleam Shawl: muddancer
Floating Shawl: nanavolo
Rockpooling Shawl: nextdoorknitter

In The Dunes Wrap: Nadeknits
Sunset Skies: bdelargy
Gathering Driftwood: KrabbaKravle

Winners for the individual socks:

Shell Cottage Socks: malu89
Samphire Socks: Unfading Spring
Cliff Walk Socks: YarnsieBarnsie

Cornish Cream Tea Socks: Certainstyle
Sailing School Socks: skistricken
Dorsal Socks: Joline

Show Transcript: 

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 282. 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 Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been another busy week here of course, and I’m slowly getting back into the rhythm of work again. Kids are finally back at school. They had two months off and I always forget that the first week or two of the school year is very much spending a lot of time getting routines sorted out and figuring out what uniform to wear on which day and so on. So I always think I can leap back into it on that first day they’re back, but then it takes about another week or two before I can actually get back into it.

But I think we’re nearly there now and so I’m pretty happy about that, I have to say. And we had an amazing week with the Destash I did for Bushfire Relief on Instagram. I think I had about 17 lots in the end. I think I put 13 up initially and then added another four for the last 24 hours just because I hadn’t had time to do the full lots at the beginning. But that worked out just fine and people were super, super generous. I’m so grateful to you guys. And I added up the figures and it came to almost 3000 Australian dollars by the time I did the conversion. So I decided I would top it up to 3000 myself, because I’m donating to three charities, so that seemed quite a nice round number. I think the actual amount came to about 2,830 or something. So I’m just topping up that last 150 or so. So I will be donating $1,000 each to the Australian Red Cross, the Nature Foundation in South Australia and the GoFundMe campaign for the First Nations communities of Australia affected by bush fires.

So the Wildlife Recovery Fund, I guess I chose it because it’s going towards helping to restore the habitat in South Australia, and in particular they are working on directing funds to Kangaroo Island, which is an island off the coast of South Australia and was a really special… Well, is but kind of was a really special habitat for some particularly endangered species. And it was a special area where the koala population wasn’t effected by disease, like it is in lots of other parts of Australia. And so it was a really, really, really special habitat. And so it was quite particularly devastating that this habitat was almost completely destroyed. So I feel good about donating some money to go towards restoring that habitat. Hopefully they can restore it. I don’t know. I mean all these things are going to take so much time and effort, but… Sorry, I feel like crying talking about it. But yes, the Fire Relief Fund for the First Nations communities.

So this has been organized by Neil Morris, and he says the aim of this fundraiser is to offer a culturally sensitive, specific direct support to some of those communities with critical cost to cover expenses, including temporary relocation costs, other basic amenity and emergency relief costs, refurbishment of damaged property, resettling expenses and replacement of vital items. And he said very sadly, many First Nations peoples have been affected by the tragic fires and many of the community have been forced to evacuate the region of their homes and forced to seek temporary ongoing living arrangements. And this specific campaign is, there will be relief funds set up through means such as government relief programs. These will hopefully make a marked difference. However, experience shows us that as First Nations people, we have experienced major gaps in what the government gives and what is actually needed for community to heal and prosper thoroughly.

So I felt like this was another wonderful cause and if we can help this campaign as well. I just checked the page and they say they have raised 1,700,000 and something, raised over 1.5 million goals. So they’ve achieved their goal and that’s really great. So I hope that can help some people in need.

And then the Australian Red Cross are doing amazing work and I’ve been following their Instagram page and they’ve been publishing what they’re doing and how they’re distributing their funds and how they’re on the ground helping people, both emotionally and physically. So that’s really great too. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for everybody who supported that and supported it by sharing as well as bidding on lots.

I have been a little bit slow this week. I had some health issues. I’m fine, but I was a bit slow this week so I am hoping to start packaging up the parcels today. I’m not sure if I’ll get to the post office today. I’m recording this on Friday as I’m releasing it, but if not today, then very early next week, Monday I will be able to get everything. Hopefully, all the parcels packaged up over the weekend as well as the knit-along winners from the three major knit-alongs we had last year. So I’m just going to announce the winners of those quickly as well.

So again, thank you to everybody who participated in the knit-alongs. We had The Shawl Society, The Handmade Sock Society and Knitvent. And when I look back on the year, I think how wonderful and amazing it is that we had so many people participating and enjoying my designs. It means the world to me of course. And I just love it. So it just really encourages me to keep going and keep finding the inspiration to design things that I know you will like because I get so much feedback from when people post their makes on Ravelry or Instagram. And just the little comments, it gives me lots of clues about what guys like and maybe don’t like sometimes. But that’s fine. And yeah, so it’s so helpful for me when I see your posts and so lovely as well.

So without further ado, the grand winner for the Knitvent 2019 knit-along is Tweedy Two-Shoes  from the UK and she knitted the Habitation Throw. And yeah, so for Knitvent we just had the one thread and all the finished objects in the one thread. So congratulations to Tweedy Two-Shoes. I will be sending you a parcel. All the prizes are going to be sort of mystery prizes and I have a big box of yarn that I’ve chosen for my stash, beautiful designer, hand-dyed yarn and I’ll also be adding a project bag to their grand prize winners. So Tweedy Two-Shoes, I’ll be sending you a nice package and I’ve actually gone through all the winners to look at what they say their favorite colors are and projects. And so I will try to match up the yarns to things I think the person will like as well.

So for The Handmade Sock Society we have Madam Pearl from the US and for The Shawl Society we have Wikinger, W-I-K-I-N-G-E-R, from Germany who has joined The Shawl Society for the first time. So welcome and thank you for participating. And the grand prize for The Sock Society was for people who have knit all six socks. So, that was quite amazing. And for The Shawl Society, I let people have a slightly easier entry with five or six shawls. Some people had knit all six which was amazing and just made my heart want to burst and some people had knit five. So I thought that was a pretty good effort and worthy of entry into the grand prize. So congratulations.

And I’ll just quickly announce the winners of the individual socks and shawls. So for Sea Gleam the first of the shawl society last year we have Mud Dancer from the US. For the Floating Shawl, the winner is Nana Volvo also from the US. And for the Rockpooling Shawl is Nextdoor Knitter, again, from the US. In The Dunes Shawl is Naid Knits, who’s in the UK and for the Sunset Skies Shawl, B. Delargy. B, D-E-L-A-R-G-Y. And finally for The Shawl Society we have Krabba Kravle. I’m probably messing up that pronunciation, but K-R-A-B-B-A, K-R-A-V-L-E- from Norway. So congratulations to all The Shawl Society winners.

And now for The Handmade Sock Society Shell Cottage Socks, the winner is Malu 89 from Chile. For the Samphire Socks, the winner is Unfading Spring from the UK. Cliff Walk Socks is Yarnsy Barnsy, I love that name, from the UK. And Cornish Cream Tea is Certain Style, also from the UK. Then we have the Sailing School Socks who is… This is a bit of a tongue-twister. SkiStricken in the US. And Dorsal Socks is Joline from Canada.

So people from all over the world, although none from Australia. Sorry Aussies and Kiwis. But yes, lots of prizes going to the Northern hemisphere. I guess it’s knitting season over there at the moment. So you could  probably do with yarn more than us right now because it’s very, very hot here. So congratulations to all the winners. I will put that in a newsletter as well as post it on Ravelry. And so if you can please DM me or email me your postal addresses, please, and I will get those packages off to you hopefully early next week or as soon as I find out your address.

I’ve had quite a few questions just in the last week or so from people asking when the single patterns for The Shawl Society and The Handmade Sock Society will be released. And I will do that pretty soon. I don’t have an exact date for you yet, but I will work on figuring out when a good time for that is.

And so finally my last announcement for the episode, this is a bit of an announcy episode rather than a chatty episode, but a lot of you’ve been asking and it’s coming up very soon, is the 2020 Handmade Sock Society. So the presales for that are going to open next week. And today I just wanted to tell you a little bit about the theme and one major change that’s happening this year compared to the last two years.

So the theme for The Handmade Sock Society for 2020 is atmosphere. And I’ll just read you the beautiful description that my copywriter Amanda has written for it. “Ever since we human beings began trying to explain the world to ourselves, we have looked for and found meaning everywhere. We hear messages on the wind and see shapes in the clouds, we read stories written in the stars. We can walk into a room and somehow instantly understand what’s going on without saying or hearing a single word, a hum of anticipation and excitement that travels like a ripple through our awareness. It’s something in the air. It’s the atmosphere. Call it a scientific name like pattern recognition, call it something spiritual like intuition, call it a kind of magic.

“This ability of ours to pluck meaning from the world is the root of all creativity. Creativity might seem like something drawn out of thin air, but it’s much more ordinary and wonderful than that. Part observation, part imagination, it’s about being present and open to our senses, our experiences and the atmosphere around us. The third season of The Handmade Sock Society explores that atmosphere and the stories of those who have found enlightenment and meaning there. The first astronomers fathoming the skies, intrepid explorers forging new parts up unconquered mountains. Long ago, alchemists extracting elixirs from obscure ingredients and modern-day knitters summoning beauty from nothing more than sticks and string and symbols on a page. All of us here are engaged in the same work of meaning-making. All of us are capable of more than we know.”

So if you’re new to the show, The Handmade Sock Society is a pattern subscription club and there will be six knitting patterns in the subscription. And the change this year is that I will be publishing them each month. So starting in a couple of weeks, the first pattern is due out on Tuesday the 25th of February and then each pattern will come out February, March, April, et cetera through July. The difficulty level of the socks is medium, I would say. They’re not particularly difficult and I lay out the instructions very clearly. I’d say maybe intermediate with some of the sort of lace patterns. There’s some cables, some lace. I tend to stick to fairly traditional or simple construction for my socks. I just like my socks that way and I just like working with the canvas.

And so yeah, I’m really excited to be sharing this collection with you. I got the inspiration for the collection, it just was one of those ones where it just popped into my head. The word just popped into my head. Sometimes when that happens, I’m so happy and grateful because it’s like a gift and it’s, I don’t know whether it’s the muse or something in my subconscious working away on it, but sometimes I’ll just be thinking, “Oh, what will I do for the socks next year?” And then the word just pops in my head, so that was what happened with atmosphere.

I was actually at Edinburgh Yarn Festival and I was looking at yarn and I was thinking, “Oh, I should kind of start forming some ideas for this collection so that I can choose the yarn more thoughtfully while I’m here. And yeah, and the word just popped into my head. So super happy about that. And when that happens I usually try and run with it because it was a bit of a weird word. I was like, “What am I going to do with that?” Thanks very much muse. So yeah, so I decided to run with it and it’s been really inspiring.

So look out for news about that in my newsletter and on the blog and if you’re a newsletter subscriber you’ll get heads-up when the early bird pricing is starting and that will be from sometime next week up to when the first pattern comes out. I have a really generous discount for early bird people because I always feel like if you’re willing to jump in to an unknown collection of patterns that you have no idea what they’re going to look like, then I like to reward that adventurousness with a good discount.

So thank you very much and that’s really all I have for this week. I’ve started Pilates again, so I have to get off to my class. I hope you have a wonderful week. Thanks again for participating in the knit-alongs, the Bushfire Relief Auction, and hopefully Season Three of The Handmade Sock Society coming up very soon. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Photo Credit: Deb Hickman

We’re getting ready to begin The Handmade Sock Society Season 3! We’re just days away from the start of presales! I’ve really been looking forward to this launch: sock knitters are such a fun and adventurous bunch, and these secret pattern collections always have such an exciting build up. Since the buzz began, I’ve heard from a lot of new sock knitters, or knitters who really want to join in with the fun but have been too intimidated to tackle the mystery of the sock. First of all, you’re not alone! A lot of people find the prospect of socks daunting. But the secret is that they’re not all that tricky. Honest.

Over the last two years, I’ve put together something we’ve taken to calling “The Sock Series”. They stated as emails and ended up here on the blog by popular demand. It a collection of tips, tricks, and resources on sock-knitting techniques that should make your first foray into the wonderful world of socks a little less scary. I’ve collected links to all those posts here:

Part 1 of The Sock Series: Choosing Yarn

Part 2 of The Sock Series: Needles and Techniques

Part 3 of The Sock Series: Casting On

Part 4 of The Sock Series: Avoiding Holes in the Gusset

I’ve also just posted another episode: it was sent to Curious Handmade Newsletter Subscribers last year and it’s a subject I still get a lot of questions on:

Part 5 of The Sock Series: Closing the Toes

I hope you find them helpful! And if there’s anything else about sock knitting that worries you, or if there’s another sock-knitting topic you think we should add to the series, let me know!

In the run up to the launch of The Handmade Sock Society Season 3, I’m bringing back our handy “Sock Series”. These are simple go-to-guides for the parts of sock-knitting that tend to scare off beginners.

This is our fifth guide to sock-knitting techniques! Today I’m going to discuss the Kitchener Stitch, a brilliant way to get a seamless finish on your socks.

Once you’ve knit to the very end of your sock’s toe, you need a way to close up that hole. You could just run your yarn tail through all the stitches and pull it tight (like the top of a hat) but that’s not very true to the shape of most feet. You could bind off and then just whipstitch the edges of the toes together, but that would result in a fairly bulky seam: not the most comfortable, especially when pressed against the toe of your shoe. So how do you take those live stitches and end up with a smooth finish (with no annoying seam)? Our friend the Kitchener Stitch.

I’ll be the first to admit that as a newer knitter I found this technique daunting. I’m afraid it was a major contributor to my Second Sock Syndrome for years! It’s not at all difficult, but I kept having to look it up every time I wanted to finish a sock. In the end, it was just a matter of practice. Now I think it’s very satisfying, and even quite fun. Hopefully, by the end of this email, you’ll think so, too!

The Kitchener Stitch is also known as grafting or weaving. It’s a very clever method that allows you to marry two sets of live stitches together into an invisible seam. It can look pretty complicated when you see the steps written out, but in reality, it is very simple, and it’s easy to get into a rhythm. All you have to do is start.

The very clever and generous Very Pink has made a few excellent video tutorials for the Kitchener Stitch

She also has a brilliant slow-mo version!

For visual learners, I think videos (and especially those slow-motion videos!) are hard to beat! I know some people do prefer to see the written instructions, too. Sometimes it’s just a bit quicker to glance at the instructions to refresh your memory than it is to rewatch a video.

How to do the Kitchener Stitch:

First, distribute your stitches evenly onto two needles, with the ends of the needles pointing the same way. You can use two double pointed needles, or just the two needles of a circular. Make sure the wrong sides (the inside of the sock) are facing each other. You’ll need a yarn or tapestry needle, threaded onto the tail of your yarn. Start with the yarn tail coming from the BACK needle.

First, you’ll work the Set Up instructions, once:

  1. Insert your tapestry needle into the first stitch on the FRONT needle as if to PURL, pull the yarn up and leave the stitch on the needle.
  2. Insert your tapestry needle into the first stitch on the BACK needle as if to KNIT, pull the yarn up and leave the stitch ON the needle.

Now it’s time to Kitchener:

  1. FRONT NEEDLE: KNIT OFF — insert the yarn needle as if to knit the first stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, drop the stitch off
  2. FRONT NEEDLE: PURL ON — insert the yarn needle as if to purl the next stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, leave the stitch on the needle
  3. BACK NEEDLE: PURL OFF — insert the yarn needle as if to purl the first stitch on the front needle, pull yarn through, drop the stitch off
  4. BACK: KNIT ON — insert the yarn needle as if to knit the first stitch on the back needle, pull yarn through, leave the stitch on the needle

Just keep repeating these steps until you reach the end of the seam. (It can help to keep muttering “Knit, Purl, Purl, Knit” as you go!) Then just pull the working yarn tight and weave in the loose end as usual. And there you go! You are the proud owner of a fully finished sock.

For a hybrid approach of words and photos, this classic Knitty tutorial has always been my go-to.

I hope that helps! By now, even the newest knitters in the Curious Crew should be well-prepared to take on their first socks (there is always plenty of encouragement, help, and community in the Ravelry group, too.) And if you’ve been making socks for years and years, and have a smart or sneaky grafting or finishing tip up your sleeve, please share it. Let’s never stop learning!

Happy knitting,
Helen x

Part 1 of The Sock Series: Choosing Yarn

Part 2 of The Sock Series: Needles and Techniques

Part 3 of The Sock Series: Casting On

Part 4 of The Sock Series: Avoiding Holes in the Gusset

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The kids have made it back to school, our charity auction for those affected by the Australian bush fires is underway, and I’m starting to pick out my dream projects for our #knit20for2020 challenge. It’s pretty exciting to consider all the possibilities, and I’m feeling very inspired. I can’t wait to see all the amazing things we’ll knit together this year!

Show Links

KAL News

All the 2019 Curious Handmade KALs are ending this Friday the 31st, so add your FO photos to the Ravelry thread for a chance to win a lovely yarny prize.

A couple of housekeeping notes to keep things tidy:

  • Make sure you create a Ravelry project page for any design you’ll be entering!
  • For the individual shawl and sock threads, you can post one photo per completed project. So for example, if you knit two Sea Gleam Shawls or two pairs of Sailing School Socks, you can post each one separately for a chance to win.
  • For the Grand KAL Threads, please make one post per collection. You can use a collage type photo or photos of each finished object, but put them all into one post.
  • For the Knitvent 2019 FO Thread, you can make one post per finished item, however many you knitted from the collection. So one post for the Homebody Socks, another for the Habitation Throw, etc. 
  • Remember that these are no-chat threads (to make drawing winners easier) so you should also post the same photo over in the chat threads so we can admire it out loud!

The Shawl Society Season 4:

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2:

Knitvent 2019:

I will use a random number generator to draw a winner from each of the following threads on January 31st, 2020

Destash Auction to Benefit Bushfire Relief

I am currently holding my destash auction on Instagram. There is a separate post for each lot, and people can enter their bids in the comments. We’re working across a lot of time zones, so I’ve done my best to choose a time that will work for most people.

LA: 2pm Saturday 1st Feb
New York: 5pm Saturday 1st Feb
London: 10pm Saturday 1st Feb
Brisbane: 8am Sunday 2nd Feb
Sydney: 9am Sunday 2nd Feb
NZ: 11am Sunday 2nd Feb

I will cover shipping internationally as part of my contribution and will divide all sums raised between these three charity efforts:

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

The Australian Red Cross

The Nature Foundation in South Australia

Other things I talked about:

Sama Wrap by Renée Callahan

Exploration Station by Stephen West

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Terracotta Socks

Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 281. 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 welcome to the show. I hope you’ve been having a good week. I’ve been having a pretty crazy week, just for something different. Managed to get the kids back to school. It’s a shorter week than normal with the bank holiday or public holiday we had on Monday here, in Australia. So, it’s been a short and sharp week. I am still setting up my office/studio and I’ve made quite a bit of progress on that this week. Although it’s still puzzle stuff everywhere that I need to sort through, I did manage to get my Ikea shelves together, so some things could be put away.

So, that was good. Slightly less stuff on the floor, but still quite a lot of things to sort through. The pile is not really going down, because now my mom has realized I have the space. She keeps bringing boxes over, that are just appearing and she’s hiding them amongst the other boxes that are there. No, she’s not really, but I’m not really getting to the bottom of things just yet.

So, I will have lots of yarn going out of the stash in the next week, because I have chosen 15 skeins for prizes, for all the knit-alongs. Basically, all the knit-alongs we had for all of last year, we will be drawing prizes for on Monday. So, you still have this weekend to post. I won’t close off the Finished Object threads in Ravelry until the end of the weekend or Monday. Yeah, so we have individual threads for each sock for the Handmade Sock Society as well as threads for each shawl for the Shawl Society from last year.

We also have a grand prize for Knitvent and a grand prize if you’ve knit all six socks from the Handmade Sock Society as well as a thread if you knit at least five or six shawls from the Shawl Society. It’s going to be a Prize-a-Palooza and I will find a cute project bag for the grand prizes as well to send the winners. They are going to be drawn at random from the Finished Object threads. So, post your projects in there before the end of this weekend.

We also have the destash auction happening right now for three charities I’ve chosen, for the bushfire relief effort happening here in Australia. And, of course the rehabilitation of people’s lives, people houses and the native Bush where lots of animals have lost their homes, will be continuing for many years to come. But, I have chosen three charities that I will split the proceeds between. One is the Australian Red Cross, one is the GoFundMe for First Nations Communities of Australia, and the third one is the Nature Foundation in South Australia.

I chose the Red Cross, because they’re doing amazing work for people across Australia and I just feel like they’re well-organized, and they are posting lots of updates on how they’re distributing the funds and what they’re doing with the money. So, I really like that. The First Nations Communities GoFundMe, I think is a wonderful initiative for Indigenous Australians, just to make sure that their needs are met through this particular fund. I chose the Nature Foundation in South Australia, because I think some of the New South Wales and Victorian charities are probably getting more publicity and more donations.

So, I just basically went online and found a charity that was in a different area and I really liked the sound of what they’re aiming to do. They said the objective is to help the wildlife recover from the devastating Bush fires in South Australia. While many community groups have mobilized to provide an immediate response to caring for injured wildlife, the Wildlife Recovery Fund will be used to re-establish habitat, particularly for threatened and vulnerable species.

The donations will go to local landowners, farmers and community groups in fire affected regions to urgently assist natural regeneration through activities, and just to give the threatened animal and plant life the best chance of recovery. Also, some funds towards fire-devastated national parks, particularly on Kangaroo Island, which is a really special area for nature.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve chosen and we have the auction happening at the moment. I posted, I think 13 lots on Instagram last night and already people have bid very generously. I’m so happy that people are getting into the spirit of it. If I have time today, I might try and add a couple of lots. I still have more yarn that I can add into it. I just ran out of time last night to do it. Yeah, so I’ll see if I can add a little bit more, and because I’m just really enjoying the fact that we can raise some money for these amazing charities, and I can contribute in a small way with your help and support. So, that’s really wonderful.

I am going to pay for postage internationally. And then, at the end of the auction which ends 10:00 p.m. UK time on Saturday, i.e., tomorrow, then I will contact the highest bidders for each lot and request payment, and then post out the parcels next week. So, hopefully that can all go smoothly. In the meantime, thank you so much for your support with that.

I’m also excited that I now have my printable and posts ready for Instagram, for the Curious Handmade Knit 20 for 2020. This is a fun knitting challenge that I’m going to be participating in this year, and hopefully other people will join in with me. I have a list of 20 prompts. Some of them are particular techniques, some of them are particular items such as cardigan or socks. And then, other prompts to do with the type of yarn like using deep stash or non-superwash yarn, and just some other fun random things that occurred to me like doing a scrappy project or an epic or bucket list project.

Yeah, so I’ll post that on my website as well as on Instagram. So, if anybody wants to use the template and use the same prompts that I’ve suggested or perhaps substitute in ones of your own that you’d like to do this year, that’s fine too. I’ve left space on the printable for people to write in either what they’re thinking about doing for that prompt, or what they end up doing for the prompt. I’m hoping that at the end of the year we can post these lists with quite full lines. It’s designed so that you can either knit 20 items using one item per prompt or you could knit less items and cover different prompts with one item.

So for example, I’m thinking about knitting a shawl with brioche and possibly color work. I was looking at, Renée Callahan has a gorgeous new shawl she’s just published called Sama and that is actually available right now for a discounted price if you’re a subscriber to her newsletter. So, if you go to the Sama pattern page on Ravelry, it does have the details of that and a link to her newsletter. That’s good from 16th of January to the 3rd of February. So, there’s still a couple of days for that discount if you like this pattern and it’s a gorgeous Brioche rectangular wrap. She said it’s named for a lost but never forgotten friend. Sama is a brioche and garter stitch, rectangular wrap that is big enough to keep you warm all winter and elegant enough to be draped over your shoulders on a glamorous evening out. She’s knit her sample in La Bien Aimée Merino Singles, in Winterfell, which is one of my favorite La Bien Aimée colors, and Dusk.

It’s a really striking wrap and I was thinking I might attempt this for my brioche prompt in my knitting challenge. But, I contacted Renée and said, “Would it be a good brioche beginner project? She said, “Maybe you don’t want to do this for your first brioche project.” Although she said, “If you really want to, you can.” Obviously, if we are determined enough we can do anything, but I am thinking I might look for an easier first brioche pattern just so that I don’t get discouraged and give up on it.

I have been eyeing off Exploration Station by Stephen West for the longest time and this would cover short rows, brioche, and a shawl. It could probably even be a scrappy project as well. Yeah, so I’m thinking about that one. It is a lot of knitting in that though, so I’m wondering if I might do a smaller project like a cowl for my brioche project. So, if anyone has any suggestions for something simple brioche, a cowl or slightly smaller project, perhaps a hat, I don’t know. I haven’t done brioche before, so I just want to get into the rhythm of doing fairly straightforward to color brioche, without too much in the way of increasing and decreasing and patterns. Basically, don’t want to have to think too much about it. I just want to practice the stitch.

So yes, that’s what I’m thinking about. Although, I am not allowed to start that until I’ve finished my WIP, i.e., my Clio pullover by Elizabeth Doherty. I have not found time this week to even pick up the sleeve stitches, which is I think my next step for that project. I have been way too crazy this week with getting kids back to school to do that, but it hasn’t stopped me from fantasizing about future projects.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at with my knitting. I’ve been doing a few stitches on my terracotta socks by Woolfield Studio. So, that’s at least been something I can work on without having to think and just easy to pick up and put down, which is good because swimming’s started again. So, I am having to go and sit by the pool for periods of time and things like that. So yes, a nice little sock project is perfect for those situations.

That’s about all I have for you this week. Thank you to everybody supporting my destash auction on Instagram. If you have participated in the Handmade Sock Society, the Shawl Society, or Knitvent last year, please don’t forget to post your finished objects in the threads this weekend, to be in draw for some lovely yarn prizes.

I have had quite a few questions asking me if the Handmade Sock Society is happening again this year. Yes, it is. It’ll be starting soon. I have been pushing the date back a little bit the last couple of weeks as I have been a bit overwhelmed by life and things, but it is coming and it is coming very soon. I am working towards getting it up and running in February, so very soon. Well that’s all from me. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.