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

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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.

The Curious Handmade family is growing, with a very fuzzy new friend on the way. And so is my garden, and so is my Piosa Cardigan! There’s a lot of exciting stuff to celebrate this week, and I have a fun virtual event to share which includes some of my very favourite yarn shops and some brilliant opportunities to win giveaway prizes.

Show Links:

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Liberty Fabric

The Handmade Sock Society 1

The Shawl Society 3

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Subpod Compost

iKnit7

A Yarn Story

Emily Foulds

This is Knit

Ginger Twist Studio

Knit with Attitude

Tribe Yarns

Wild and Woolly

A Yarn Story on Instagram

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 296. 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 and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. I do hope you’re having a good week. I hope you’ve been able to get in lots of knitting and probably some other creative crafty pursuits judging by lots of people I’ve been following on Instagram. It seems like a lot of my friends and people I follow are taking the opportunity to delve into some more hobbies. It’s quite funny to see. I am certainly doing that here. We’ve been having a pretty exciting week here. Today, we had an extremely exciting day because I got an email yesterday in answer to an inquiry I had made about a potential puppy for the family. It was a little bit out of the blue. We had been promising the girls a puppy for a couple of years before we moved.

It had always been, when we move to Australia, we’ll be able to get a dog, but we can’t get one now because we have no yard and we’re moving to Australia. Since we’ve moved, I’ve been putting it off a little bit. I guess just being at home and having a little bit more head space to think about things, it clicked that I could manage a puppy now. I just put an inquiry out on Monday and got an email back on Wednesday, which I was really surprised about because puppies are in huge demand at the moment, apparently. We went and saw a little puppy today and agreed that when she’s ready to come home, we would take her. That’s going to be about a month time. Happily we have another month to mentally prepare and physically prepare for a new puppy.

Other exciting things that have happened this week, not quite that exciting, but the Liberty Hexies kit I mentioned a couple of weeks ago finally arrived. I bought it here in Australia from a Perth company called the Strawberry Thief, which is named after one of the Liberty Prints, so that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to doing my personal crafting time on the weekend and starting some hexie flowers. The Strawberry Thief Instagram has some great tutorials about English paper piecing for hexies to go along with these kits that they’re doing. And I’ll have to go and have a quick watch. I did make some hexies a couple of years ago because I sort of got into it a little bit, but haven’t done it for a little while. I think I’ll go and have a look at those. They use a method where they recommend using a glue stick to glue the fabric onto your paper piece.

I guess I’ll try that. That’s what I tried before and I found that slightly irritating, but I’ll give it another go. And if that doesn’t work, I can go back to sewing the fabric into the paper. Anyway, I am very excited to start that project because Liberty fabric is so beautiful. The other very exciting thing happening around here is that the kids are going back to school next week here in Queensland. That’s going to be a bit of an adventure. I need to check their school bags to make sure that there’s not some long forgotten lunchboxes still festering there and things like that. I think I’d got the lunchboxes out, but I don’t think I did anything else. Find school shoes and things like that because it’s been five weeks and then two weeks of Easter holidays and then a week before that, so eight weeks.

Quite a while. I have to say it hasn’t been too bad. It’s been fine. The girls like hanging at home and I like hanging at home so we’ve been getting on pretty well. I’ve kind of liked having my little office buddy sitting next to me in the mornings. I could probably do some of the online courses and Lexi’s poor teacher asking the kids in the class to mute their microphones every two minutes. Apart from that, it’s been quite nice. The story that’s being read is The Secret Garden, which is a gorgeous book and if you’ve been following along for a while, you know I’m a big fan. It was the theme for the first Sock Society and also the Shawl Society that same year. I had a secret garden theme around my two societies that year and very much enjoyed getting into that theme.

That’s been kind of nice. It will certainly be nice to have a little bit more time and a little bit more thinking space and we’ll see how it goes. They both asked me this week if I could keep homeschooling them so I’m taking that as a compliment. I tried not to have too shocked an expression on my face. I replied that they’d better go back to school and see their friends. So I have been doing a little bit of personal knitting this week, not a huge amount, but some. And I have been knitting away on my Piosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits, and I now on part three, which is the main body. It’s a top down cardigan so I’ve joined under the arms for the body. I’m loving this pattern so much. It’s a really fun knit.

It’s very potato chippy and the worsted weight means that it’s knitting up very satisfyingly quickly. I think also because I’m using such a lovely yarn, it’s a very smooth yarn, it’s the Sweet Fiber Cashmerino worsted, which is 80% Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon in the beautiful rose gold color. So that’s an absolute delight to knit so that’s helping it make it go smoothly and quickly. I think this week I’ll just be working away on the body. And the other thing I’ve been doing apart from a little bit of knitting and a little bit of work, and a lot of homeschooling and childcare, is becoming more and more obsessed with my gardening projects. It’s kind of escalating quite quickly from buying a few seedlings in a few pots, to this week I ordered two quite large raised garden beds.

That was because I think earlier in the year, I had had one of those Instagram facilitated adverts purchases, which was a sub pod. So I don’t know why I was suggested that ad, I guess I was already Googling or talking about gardening and wanting to grow things. We have been collecting our compost, our vegetable scraps and taking it to my parents because dad has a garden and a compost bin. We have been doing that for quite some time now, since we moved into the house in October. I guess when I saw this composting system advertised, it was like music to my ears sort of. Sight for sore eyes. It’s basically a bin that has holes for worms to come in and out of and you kind of bury it into a garden, so theoretically it doesn’t smell as badly as an above ground compost bin might smell.

We bought this sub pod thing and it had a long waiting list. I think it was originally a Kickstarter and now they’re sort of doing batches, so you order them and then I think they order the production when they have enough orders. We’ve been waiting for quite a while, but it’s due to arrive sort of at the end of this month, early next month. I thought I better order the garden bed that that’s going to go into. Anyway, a lot of gardening chat, it’s not really that exciting, but it’s kind of exciting to me because it’s new to me. My basil cuttings are starting to grow roots after a week, which is kind of exciting.

And thank you, I have to make a shout out to Lisa who emailed me to say, I just wanted to let you know if you don’t already that basil freezes amazingly well. I learned this after a bumper crop myself. It will never be fresh again because the leaves are softened by freezing, but it retains its fresh taste and is wonderful to cook with. I just rinse and dry the leaves and then freeze them in a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl and break off what I need. So thank you Lisa, for a fab tip. I wouldn’t have thought about freezing it so that’s really good.

I’m yet to grow too much for me to be able to use, but I think it’s going to happen. I’m trying to grow lots of cuttings. I love this community and sharing knowledge on all sorts of topics, not just knitting/ speaking of community, I heard about a really fun knitting community event that is happening next week from the 25th to the 31st of May. And it’s a virtual yarn extravaganza and it’s been put together by a collective called iKnit7, the number seven. It’s seven independent yarn shops that have joined together in these crazy times to do something fun for the yarn community.

What you need to know is that there is a website it’s iKnit7, the number seven, .co.uk. And there is a email newsletter to sign up for and when you sign up for that, you’ll get special access to discount codes, free gifts, exclusive patterns and more. It says shop from three or more of us during the week and you will be in for a chance to win an incredible prize. And the seven independent yarn shops, probably all my favorite yarn shops in the UK. So iKnit7 is a collaboration between Carmen of A Yarn Story in Bath, Layli of Emily Foulds in Coln, Lisa of This is Knit in Dublin, Jess of Ginger Twists Studio in Edinburgh, May Linn Bang from Knit With Attitude in London, Milli Abrams from Tribe Yarn in Richmond, and Anna Feldman from Wild and Woolly in London. As I said, some of my absolute favorite UK yarn shops, I’m so sad not to be able to visit them anymore.

For all the locals who have lost the chance to visit these beautiful shops due to the virus, I think this is a fab way to support these great yarn shops. It’s seven days, seven shops, seven special offers, and one amazing knitting community. So each day next week, one of the shops is going to have a special day dedicated to them and they’re going to have really fabulous activities going on. So make sure you sign up to the newsletter at IKnit7.co.uk to find out about all the discounts and fun activities happening next week.

Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my lovely sponsor, A Yarn Story.

I just wanted to give a special shout out to Carmen. She’s doing such a great job during these difficult times, maintaining a community around A Yarn Story and Bath and keeping us all up to date, doing fun Instagram stories and posts, and lots of photos of beautiful peaches, her gorgeous dog, and just keeping spirits up I think is really important. And Carmen’s doing a lovely job of it, so if you don’t follow her on Instagram, I really recommend giving her a follow because she’s just such a breath of fresh air and so fun and kind. Well, I think that’s all the news I have for you this week. It’s just a short, sweet episode. I have rain on our tin roof here, which I’m not sure if it’s going to be too noisy and kids kind of helping themselves to goodness knows what in the kitchen. I just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello and say that I hope you’re all doing well and that I’ll talk again soon. So see you next week. Happy knitting. Bye for now.


Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

In my constant quest to nurture my creativity, I’ve added gardening to my list of personal projects! I’m finding lots of help and inspiration through the Master Class website and on YouTube. I’m also working on my daily habits and enjoying a new project, and I have news about our KALs and the final donation to the UN Refugee Council from Habitation!

Show Links:

The Grocery Girls

Mrs Browns Bags

Yarn Ink

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

I’m a Master Class fan and an affiliate: if you join up by clicking on the photo above I’ll get a small commission. Thanks for supporting the podcast!

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Knit City, Vancouver

Ambient Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

The Ambient Sock KAL just finished and our winner was
Toveme with Post 32!

Rainy Window Socks

Rainy Window Socks FO Thread

We raised $3000 AUS for the Australian UNHCR with the Habitation Throw last month!

Habitation Throw KAL FO Thread

The Yarniacs

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 295. 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.

I would like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Hello, and welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me for a chat today. We have had a big week here at Curious HQ with lots of celebrations. Last weekend we had Mother’s Day here in Australia. We also had my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary as well as dad’s birthday, and this week Lexie’s birthday as well.

So there has been a lot going on, a lot of celebrating, a lot of cake, and a lot of fun. So that’s been very nice. I also wanted to give a shout out to the Grocery Girls, Tracie and Jodi for their 100th episode. I very clearly remember watching their very first episode, because I had only just discovered them via Mrs. Brown’s Bags, Jodi’s bag shop.

I think it’s fitting that I have finally finished a pair of socks with the yarn that Jodi sent me with my first bag purchase before they even started recording their podcast, which I gifted to my dad for his birthday. So thank you, Jodi, and thank you for all the amazing entertainment you have given us over the years.

I did finally remember the name of the indie dyer of that yarn from Canada as well, which is Yarn Ink, of course. I’ve also been getting out most days this month, my walking streak is going really well. I’ve been doing combination of hill walks and a little bit of flat walking, which I actually have to drive to do a flat walk around here.

And I’ve been listening to a great audio book, which is called Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. And if you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll know how much I love my productivity and habit books, and this is a really good one. I would rate it very highly in the habit genre. It’s super encouraging, super positive psychology, and the main philosophy is that you can only get yourself to do things that you enjoy and that you feel good about.

And so to start really small and get your confidence up, basically is the kind of in a nutshell, but there’s a lot more to it. And it’s really well-researched and in-depth theory behind all his suggestions, and a really nice framework as well. So if you’re wanting to start some good habits or give up some bad habits, then I would really recommend Tiny Habits.

And the habit that I have decided to work on, I suppose, is I’ve got a lot that I want to be working on, but I’ve decided to aim for eating more vegetables, which is slightly random, but it is one of the things I’ve been reading about a lot lately in terms of the thing that you can do that’s best for your health. And as my word for the year is healing, I’m focusing on health and just getting healthier.

And so I’m going to focus on eating more vegetables. And as I am one to do, when I start thinking about one thing, it leads to another mini obsession. And so I’ve now gone down a bit of a rabbit hole of gardening, and I’ve been thinking about this for a long time as well. I attempted growing things in London, but there was never enough sun in our garden.

And when there was a summer with enough sun, we would head off to Australia just at that time of year. And so tomatoes would rot and it was never very successful. So now we are living in a subtropical climate and it’s very lush and green, I figure things should grow a lot better and that I should try again. So I have been watching some videos. I was a member of MasterClass, which is an online learning platform, probably a couple of years ago.

It was when they were first starting. So they weren’t that many classes, but they have put a lot more classes on the platform now and a lot more variety in the types of classes. And one of them that I saw an advert for was growing vegetables, and I thought the class looked really fun. So after thinking about it and getting emails and seeing adverts for a while now, I finally decided to sign up again.

And I watched the MasterClass, it’s by a guy called Ron Finley and he’s based in LA in the U.S., and is a community activist and he calls himself the gangster gardener. I have to say, it’s a little bit sweary. So quite a bit of swearing peppered throughout it, but I don’t know, I quite enjoyed his style and he’s definitely passionate about gardening.

And it was really, really inspirational and very enjoyable to watch the production value of the classes on MasterClass is super high. It’s amazing, beautiful filming, and just the quality is really good. So I just went through that class on MasterClass, and he ends up with talking about finding your creativity and how gardening is a place for creativity, and it’s something that is within all of us.

And so I really appreciated his whole philosophy towards gardening. So I really recommend that. I am a affiliate for MasterClass. I signed up for the affiliate program a couple of years ago when I first joined and I’ve never really promoted it, but I will put a link or an image in the show notes. So if you do fancy joining up and do so via my link, I would appreciate it. I get a small commission for that.

And now I need to look at what class I’m going to take next. I’m quite interested in a lot of the writing classes. There are a lot of different creative writing classes from different big name authors on there now. So I’ll probably look at some of those next. There’s also some interior design and just a lot of ones that seem to be very much about creativity and expressing your creativity in different areas.

The other really great video I found was on YouTube and it’s called Basil, How To Grow More Than You Can Eat on a channel called Gardening at 58 North, which is a guy in Scotland who has a gardening YouTube channel. And I haven’t watched any of his other videos yet, but this basil propagation video was really, really good. And he starts off with a 50p supermarket basil container and then grows a massive amount of basil plants from it.

So I have started a little basil propagation project in our window sill. I’m hoping to get the kids interested in that, and I’m hoping that it works as well as it did for him. I can’t say I have a green thumb at all. I am definitely a house plant killer, but I’m trying, and I’m trying to learn how to not kill my plants mostly by loving them too much with too much water. So I’m trying to be better about that, and it seems to be going a bit better this time with my latest family of houseplants.

So hopefully I can have some luck with growing some veggies as well. I’m hoping to grow some tomatoes and some greens like kale and lettuce, things like that, some herbs. What else did I think I might be able to grow? Some sweet potatoes. In the Ron Finley MasterClass, he talks about growing sweet potatoes and my dad has actually just growing some sweet potatoes this year, successfully, nearby. So I think I’m going to try that as well.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on that little project. Last week I mentioned that I was going to take the weekend off and try and do some personal crafting projects, and I didn’t get to my quilting at all, but I did make some really great progress on my Píosa cardigan by Renée Callahan. So I think I did a swatch on Friday night and let that dry.

And I always find it so difficult with swatches. It’s a ribbed swatch. It’s a five by one ribbing pattern that you do the swatch on, and I’m just always so tempted to just stretch it to the right gauge. But anyway, I think that it’s the right gauge. I’m not sure how to dye. I mean, it was tricky and it always changes anyway, depending on the fiber of the yarn, it can stretch or felt or do all sorts of things after a wash or two, but I think I’ve got gauge.

And so that was exciting and I’m using gorgeous, gorgeous yarn by Sweet Fiber, another Canadian yarny. And I purchased this yarn at Knit City, I think 2018 it was. I think I often say Knitty City when I’m referring to it, but that’s a yarn shop in New York. So it’s Knit City, the yarn festival in Vancouver.

And the yarn is Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted, which is 80% Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. So it’s absolutely gorgeous. And it’s the Rose Gold colorway, which is also stunning. And I am alternating skeins on the advice of Tracie from the Grocery Girls, because I know that she knit a pullover, I think, in the same yarn. And I asked her if she alternated skeins and she said, “You definitely need to.”

So which indie dyed, hand dyed yarn, you should generally alternate skeins, but I’m very lazy. So I try not to wherever I can, but I am being good and trying it. Not 100% sure how you do it for a cardigan with yarn going up the side of an open piece. I think I might have to Google how to do that once I get down into the body, but I’m just going across the back now and where the yarn’s going up the sides, alternating will be in the sleeve side at the moment.

So I’m not worried yet, but I think once I get down a bit, I’ll have to figure out a bit of technique. Maybe I’ll change over the skeins in from the edge. If anyone has any suggestions, they can message me on Ravelry or on Instagram about that. I am absolutely enjoying the pattern. It’s beautifully written as is all Renée’s patterns, but she also has videos to go along with it, which just adds to my confidence.

So the videos just give a fantastic extra confidence that you’re doing the techniques correctly and it saves a lot of time and energy wondering if you’re doing it right. You can confirm by watching Renée’s great instructions. And she’s such a wonderful teacher. I’ve done a couple of classes with Renée in the past and she’s a brilliant teacher. So if you’d like to knit a gorgeous cardigan with extra support, there’s a knit along happening at the moment and it’s really fun, so join us.

I decided to knit the small size though, so I’m a little bit nervous about that, because it’s meant to have generous ease, and Renée is about the same size as me and she knit a medium and it’s really sort of slouchy on her. And I was a bit undecided because I do like the slouchy look, but also I like the fitted look that some of the test knitters have done as well, but it was the amount of yarn that I had that kind of decided me to go for the smaller size, because it was quite touch and go for yarn amount.

So, I’m not sure that I had quite enough to do the medium. So I thought, “Well, I think I’ll just go for the small and worst case scenario Sophie can wear it, if it doesn’t fit me.” She’d absolutely love it as well. So, I decided to go for the small. Hopefully I will be able to wear it, but we’ll see. We’ll see. I’m not sure.

But I did very, very much enjoy having a weekend off and doing my personal crafting. So I am going to aim to do that again this weekend, get all my work done. It’s a really good way of motivating myself to get all my work done and then have the weekend off. I have some Handmade Sock Society news. So the fourth sock will be released next week for the third Handmade Sock Society series.

And we have just finished the knit along for the Ambient socks, which are the second socks. That finished up on Tuesday. And the winner, which was chosen by random number generator is number 32, who is Tove Me. So I think her Ravelry name is short for Tove Metta and she is based in Norway. So, congratulations Tove, and I’ll get in touch with you via Ravelry and find out your address to send your prize.

The knit along for the Rainy Window Socks is still going, and that will be drawn on Tuesday, the 9th of June. So if you’re needing the Rainy Window Socks, you can post that in the finished object thread on Ravelry by the 9th of June to be in the draw for some sock yarn and other little goodies that I will put together.

And I realized after I finished recording last week, that I forgot to mention the results, I guess you’d say, of the habitation event that we had happening last month. So I was giving away the habitation throw pattern and anyone who purchased the pattern, the proceeds were to be donated to the UNHCR, which is the UN Refugee Agency. And so thank you to hundreds of generous knitters, I was able to donate 3,000 Australian dollars to the Australian UNHCR.

And I selected the option wherever it’s needed most. When you do your donation, you can donate to Covid or Syria or other places that they’re supporting at the moment. And I was, I was going to choose the Covid support, but I decided to just say wherever it’s needed most at the moment. So thank you so much to everybody who purchased the pattern. I’d like to say a special thank you to a lovely knitter called Terry who sent a generous donation to be included in the main donation, because she already had the pattern. So that was absolutely lovely.

Thank you, Terry, for your lovely email and support. And a huge thank you to everybody who downloaded the pattern and is using it to knit and bring themselves some peace and joy and fun at the moment. It was completely overwhelming. And we actually had 21,832 downloads using the code “Shelter,” for the pattern, which amounted to over £100,000 of habitations throw pattern that we gave away last month.

So that’s pretty phenomenal, and I feel really good about that. I hope it’s just brought so much joy. It’s brought so much joy to me, and I get a thrill every time I see someone’s posts on Instagram or on Ravelry. So I decided to extend the fun by having a more official knit along on Ravelry. So if you finish your habitation throw this month, in the month of May, I will do a draw and send the winner a set of 24 minis that I will make from my leftover stash, from patterns and samples and projects.

I’ve just been through my stash this morning and found 24 gorgeous colors to send to the winner. So all you have to do to be in the draw for that is to create a project page on Ravelry and then post in the finished object thread in The Curious Handmade group. So we’ll put links to that in the show notes. And we will draw that after the 31st of May, early April, we’ll draw that, but the entries will close on the 31st of May.

So I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everybody who’s shared their habitation throw projects on Instagram or Ravelry or on podcasts. I know that The Yarniacs have mentioned it and I can see on Ravelry that I’m getting a lot of people linking from their website. So thank you so much Yarniacs and anyone else who’s shared it, because it really helps get the word out about my designs and is just a huge help. So I’m very, very appreciative.

Just before I sign off today, I’d like to say a huge thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story. I just wanted to mention that while the A Yarn Story shop in Bath is closed at the moment, Carmen is doing virtual shopping sessions for people. You can make appointment with her to do a video call, to help choose yarn and colors and get her advice.

So have a look on her website for details about that. Thanks so much for joining me today. It’s been lovely having a chat and it’s been so nice to stay connected with you during this crazy time. And I hope you’re doing well, I hope you’re staying well and happy, and I will talk to you again soon. Happy knitting and bye for now.

Play

Show Sponsors

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

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

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

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

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

Three weeks of homeschooling down, maybe two more to go? Somehow, I’m still managing to get some exciting knitting done in between it all. Today on the podcast I’ve got a short and sweet life catch-up, some KAL winners to announce, and more news on the upcoming Curious Handmade Mystery Knit Along, which I’m really excited about.

Show Links:

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

May #knit20for2020 FO Thread

April Ravelry winner: porthardy1 with Post 46

April Instagram winner: BlankSlateYarns

Snippet Socks

52 Weeks of Socks Book

Farm to Cable Yarns LYS

Unnathi Shawl by Lana Jois

The Ambient Socks is ending on Tuesday the 13th of May, so get your photos into the Ambient Socks FO Thread on Ravelry!

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Impressionists Shawl

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 294. This podcast is all about crafting your life with 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.

Welcome and thank you for joining me for a chat today. I’m just snatching a moment in a busy day to record so it might be quite a short episode, but I just wanted to pop in and have a quick chat with you and not let a week go past without recording. It’s been a really busy week. We are now just finished week three of homeschooling. The girls’ school is providing a really great service with online classes and a lot of support for them, but especially with Lexi, she needs a lot of support here at home as well to encourage her to do some work. So I have her set up in my office on a little folding camping table beside me, and I’ve decided it’s been quite interesting to see how she works.

Sophie is a couple of years older and is doing really great. She has a little desk set up upstairs and she doesn’t need as much support but still needs help with some things. I just kind of decided when we were homeschooling that I was going to enjoy the process and I was going to be patient with it and not expect to get any work done or expect too much of them in terms of what they would do. So that’s been working pretty well. They’ve been doing more than I expected that they would to be honest. Their school’s been really sensible and has just basically put on a schedule that goes until about one o’clock rather than the normal three o’clock, and in Lexi’s case it really only goes till about midday. So that’s really good and we can manage a morning quite happily.

Lexi sits there listening to her teacher and passing me notes, so we have a massive pile of little hand scribbled notes from, “I found my pen,” to “I need a hug.” And it’s quite funny. So week three, at the moment it’s scheduled to happen for another two weeks that they’re at home. Here in Queensland, some kids are going back next week. So they are opening schools up again for littlies, little kids like prep, grade one, and our school’s also sending back grade twos and then the oldest kids so the year 11 and 12s and our school is also having the year 10s back. So it’s starting again for some grades, not our grades though. It’s okay, two weeks isn’t that long really. She says slightly hysterically. And I think they’re going to see how things go with the numbers of cases and all of that jazz over the next couple of weeks.

But I think as it stands at the moment, it’s fairly as certain as it can be that they’ll be back at school soon, which will be nice for them to see their friends. I think they’re getting quite, not lonely but missing their friends quite a bit. And because we’re quite new to the school, we didn’t really have sort of the level of friends that they wanted to FaceTime very much or call people or get in touch all that much with their friends. Their friends were quite new. So we have caught up with some people a little bit but not very much.

I’ve been enjoying having some Zoom calls with knitting friends. Although with the kids home from school, that’s been a little bit tricky and the time zones here with Australia are a bit crazy regardless of where else you are in the world. I haven’t felt too lonely. I’ve started feeling a little bit like I’d like to have a bit more contact with people but it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been working from home by myself for a long time, quite a few years now. So I’m quite used to it. It doesn’t feel like such a massive change for me. I think my husband is going pretty loopy with being stuck at home because he’s not used to it at all. But we’re getting there, we’re getting there.

We have acquired another mouse for the mouse house. So we’re now up to six mice. And yesterday I started Googling to see if there are any puppies available locally. So maybe it is affecting me a bit more than I’m trying to let on. But yes, I hope you’re staying fairly sane and safe and I hope your friends and family are safe and well also. I’ve been enjoying some very nice walks and maybe feeling like I’m getting slightly fitter. It’s quite hilly where I live so most of the walking routes involves some sort of hill if not quite a big hill as part of it although there are some flat routes I can take you from feeling lazy. So I’ve been enjoying that. My yoga has slipped this week. I was doing so well on a 30 day yoga challenge but that slipped a bit this week. But hopefully I’ll get back into it again next week.

So first up in knitting chat, I have the winners of the April Knit 20 for 2020 challenge to announce. So to be in the draw for prizes for Knit 20 for 2020, all you need to do is post a finished object in either the thread on Ravelry for their respective month or on Instagram using the hashtag and just any finished object that ticks one or more boxes on the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And you can find the details of that on my website curioushandmade.com. It involves a series of 20 prompts of different items and techniques and types of yarn to try over the course of the year. And when you enter into the prize draw, you can nominate a favorite dyer or yarn shop or online yarn shop to win a $50 US or local currency equivalent gift voucher from that shop. So I wanted to encourage both participation in the challenge as well as encourage our local yarn shops and indie dyers, especially at the moment.

This challenge has got to run every month this year. So the winners for this month on the Ravelry thread is porthardy1 who is Joanne in Canada. And she has knit an absolutely gorgeous pair of snippet socks, which is my design in the Laine 52 Weeks of Socks book. And I have to say it doesn’t have to be one of my designs for an entry into the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge by any means. But I do love these socks and she has nominated Farm to Cables LYS, which is a wonderful online yarn shop in Canada. So congratulations Joanne, and you can either drop me a message on Ravelry at HellsBells or I’ll get in contact with you as well.

And on Instagram the winner is blankslateyarns, and that’s Avery, and she’s entered a picture of a gorgeous lacy shawl or wrap I think it is. It’s a design called Unathi by Lana Joyce. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous design. Really beautiful lace, so thank you for sharing that. And I don’t think she’s nominated a particular yarn shop or dyer. She looks like she’s an indie dyer herself. So I’ll be in touch to organize your prize as well. So thanks so much for joining in. It’s a really fun challenge and I love looking at all your projects, seeing all the different things people have made because it’s such a variety of prompts. There’s so many different projects and I’m getting lots of ideas of things to knit as well, which is fabulous. So if you’re finishing anything this month, don’t forget to post it for the May prize draw.

We also have the Handmade Sock Society knit along happening as well. And the knit along for their second socks which is the Ambient Socks, is finishing on next Tuesday the 12th of May. So if you have knit a pair of Ambient Socks from the Handmade Sock Society, you can post your finished object and the thread on Ravelry and be in the running to win a prize for that which will be a skein of sock yarn and possibly some other little goodies that I pop in there.

So last week I mentioned that I was sort of thinking about a mystery knit along coming up, and in the past week I’ve actually got the bit between my teeth and worked all week on a design and have been knitting like crazy. So that looks like it’s going to be coming up for sure. And I just need to work out a timeline now for testing and writing up the pattern and all that jazz. I haven’t worked it out yet because I’ve literally just basically cast off the sample today, a couple of hours ago, so it will be at least a few weeks away but not too far. So keep an eye out for more details of that if you’re interested in participating in a shawl mystery knit along.

The last mystery knit along I did was The Impressionist Shawl and that was two years ago, so March 2018 that started. I loved that knit along and I am really, really looking forward to this next one as well. So I hope you are able to join in. Perhaps some of us might have a bit more time on our hands than usual at the moment. Some of us possibly busier than ever, especially if you’re an essential worker or trying to work full time and homeschool your kids. But lots of people in lots of different situations at the moment, but hopefully we can have some fun with our knitting in these crazy times.

So as a result of working pretty much full time on that shawl design this week, I haven’t had much time for anything else and I think that what I’ll do is this weekend give myself a proper weekend from work, try not to do any work, and I’m just absolutely desperate to start my Piosa Cardigan, which is a knit along that Renee Callahan of East London Knit is hosting at the moment. I signed up for the knit along and it’s a gorgeous cardigan I wound a couple of skeins of the Sweet Fiber Yarn in Rose Gold, but I didn’t get as far as swatching yet. So that’s going to be my challenge for the weekend is to swatch and hopefully cast on my Piosa Cardigan. And if I can be really ambitious, I like to finish cutting out the fabric for my houses quilt that I started a few weeks ago.

I had a weekend where I cut out almost all the fabric but I didn’t quite get to finish that. So I like to get everything cut this weekend so that I can start sewing up little house blocks for my quilt and it is Mother’s Day here on Sunday so I think I deserve it and hopefully will be given some time to do some things for myself. We’ll see, I don’t know. I’m hopeful. I think we’re in sync with the US, so maybe it’s mother’s day in the US. I think we’re out of sync with the UK. I can never quite remember where we match up with, but yes, Mother’s Day here on Sunday and if it’s Mother’s Day where you are, have a good day. And.

I’m looking forward to seeing my mom and being in the same country as my mom after many, many years, so that will be quite nice. And I hope you can have some lovely, lovely crafting, knitting, relaxing time this weekend as well even if it’s just for a few moments.

So thanks again for joining me. Hope you have a wonderful day, a wonderful weekend. 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.

I’m feeling cheerful and full of crafty mojo this week, so in this episode I’m sharing my plans for several new projects: knitting, quilting…and even an upcoming mystery knit along! And of course, new projects provide a good excuse for some lovely new materials, so I have some recent purchases to talk about (along with some special stash.) I even have another Curious Handmade KAL to announce!

Show Links:

So Just Shop

So Just Shop on Instagram

Grocery Girls Podcast

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Susan B Anderson Panda

Barret Wool Co.

The Strawberry Thief Shop

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Skein Australia

The Habitation Throw


SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me today for a chat about knitting and other crafty things. I am having a much better week this week than I was last week. Last week I felt like I was slightly negative compared to what I normally try to be. I’ve been on some lovely walks this week. The weather has been a bit better. It’s been really gorgeous. We’re heading into autumn here now, so it’s starting to cool down a little bit. It’s been blue skies and just really lovely. I’m also feeling quite good about the routine. We’re settling into a bit of a better routine now with the homeschooling and getting used to what me and the kids can manage in any one buy. So that’s becoming a little bit easier as well. I feel like I’ve got a little bit more knitting and crafting mojo back and just lots of projects happening or about to happen. So I’ll chat a little bit about that this week.

I just wanted to give a little shout out to our friends at So Just Shop.’So Just Shop is an online shop. They’re based in the UK, but will send items anywhere in the world, I think subject to COVID mail restrictions at the moment. The ethos of the shop is to support artisans, especially female led artisans in producing craft products and jewelry and all sorts of handmade products all around the world in the communities where the women are providing for their families and don’t have any other means to do so apart from making these things. So one of the groups that So Just Shop supports is the Big Blue Moma Bags for example. I’m a huge fan of these bags. I first saw them on the grocery girls and I said to my friend Jen, who runs So Just Shop, “You must stock these bags because they’re so beautiful. They’re so beautifully made.” So they have some in stock, and they’re also doing a really special campaign at the moment to support all the communities where possible during these uncertain times.

Some of the groups are not able to work at the moment or produce their goods due to lockdowns. I’m just reading from the website now, and they say, “And so we have developed a plan to allow us to offer financial support through the crisis. We have approached groups in the most adversely affected areas and asked them to design a product which they will produce and supply as soon as they are able to return to normal working practices.” These products are available to pre-purchase and the So Just Shop platform or organization is donating all the profits from the sale of the products directly back to the artisan groups to help them sustain through this really difficult period. You’re also able to add a voluntary donation to your purchase which will equate to a specific staple item for a family to buy. For example, the cost of a bag of rice or a basket of vegetables. “We are committed to transferring all of the profits and anything additional back to the groups as soon as we practically can.”

Anyway, you can have a look at the page if you’re interested in helping support these are artisan groups, and I’ve accessed the page via So Just Shop accessories’ Instagram page, but if you Google, sojustshop.com you can find it as well. So some of the products include a Big Blue Moma special bag, which is a small u-shopper, which is just a gorgeous shape, really cool shape. There’s a Krisha bracelet from Tara, which is beautiful bracelet with, it looks like, pearls and maybe a leather band. There’s gorgeous earrings, another bracelet, sari embroidered cushion, giant crunchies, and a beautiful mug are some of the products that are available for pre-purchase to support these artisans. I know that it’s difficult for a lot of people right now, but if you were interested in supporting these groups and interested in having a look at any of these products, that would be great. And also if you could just support the So Just Shop by liking the page or liking posts, following, commenting in support, all these things mean so much to people running businesses or the artisan groups themselves. And yeah, you could support in other ways even if you can’t or don’t want to purchase something from the site.

I have to admit I have been super influenced by Instagram in my purchasing recently. I was chuckling to myself so much recently because I heard Jody and Tracy from the Grocery Girls talking about things that they had bought after seeing them on Instagram, including the pink clay, the Australian pink clay, which I had also bought on the basis of the Instagram ads and other weird things that you buy once you see an Instagram ad. I haven’t been doing that for a while. Not since we moved, probably. I’ve scaled back a lot on my internet purchasing partly because here in Australia it’s a lot slower and more postage, more expensive postage than when I was in London. But anyway, I have made a couple of purchases this week I post on Instagram.

The first one is the piosa cardigan pattern by Renee Callahan. I did a little story about it. I hardly ever do video stories, but I plucked up the courage to do a story about the cardigan because I wanted everybody to know about this new pattern that Renee has just released, because she’s releasing the pattern in parts. I’ll just read out the description that encouraged me to get involved when I saw it on Instagram. So she said, “Are you looking for a new cardigan to cast on?” Yes I was. She says, “I have just the thing, piosa is a top down seamless cardigan knit in a gorgeous Worsted weight yarn which is Nua by Carol Feller. The pattern will be released in four parts. Part one will be tomorrow,” which was actually lost Thursday. “And then you’ll have a week to get your yarn, your needles, and gauge already to cast on for next week,” which was yesterday, when you’re listening to this, if you’re listening to this on Friday when I release the podcast. Sounds a bit confusing.

But anyway, so the first clue or part is already just released. Each part of the pattern will be accompanied by a video with tips, demonstrations and tutorials to guide you through the process. I was very drawn to the photograph. It’s gorgeous, grandpa’s style cardy with a reverse ribbed design and gorgeous pockets. Lovely details, and I love these big cozy pockets. So I can’t wait to cast this on. And I had the yard for it and my stash, which was super bonus. I’m using some sweet fiber yarn that I bought in Vancouver at Knitty City a couple of years ago on a wonderful trip. So I’ll have wonderful memories of buying the yarn and it’s rose gold, which is such a gorgeous color way. So yeah I can’t wait to cross this on and get into it and I’m excited about having the tutorials and videos to go along with it in case of any getting stuck, which I sometimes do with cardigans. So yeah, very exciting. And thanks Renee, for doing this. It’s super fun to do a knit along and I’m going to endeavor to keep up with it, this knit along.

I don’t normally keep up with knit alongs very well at all, but this is Worsted weight, so I’m thinking that bodes well doesn’t it, that you can knit fairly quickly in Worsted weight yarn. So that was one thing that I was tempted into and it was true. I was looking for a cardy pattern for knit 20 for 2020 challenge and I’ve been tossing around different ideas. But then when I saw this it was just like, “Yes, that’s perfect.” So much more fun to do it as a knit along. And then also I’ve been keeping an eye out for a toy option for my knit 20 for 2020, and when I wrote that prompt to make a toy, I had in mind to make a toy by Susan B. Anderson. I’d been wanting to make one of her toy patterns for years, and I’d seen people on retreats with them, specifically the Knitting Pipeline retreat where people had done classes with Susan and were knitting her gorgeous dolls and toys. I just always found them so cute.

So I’d been thinking, “Oh, which one of her patterns will I knit because there’s so many.” And then she showed on Instagram the panda kits with custom heart buttons were in the shop, and it says the kits include our Wisconsin woolen spun yarn. It’s an amazingly fun, seamless knit with a lot of charm and character to boot. So when she said it was relatively easy, I was sold, and this panda is so adorable. It’s got a lovely red cardy. It’s just the cutest thing ever. It’s so cute. So I ordered one of the kits from Barrett Wool co because I’d also been wanting to try Barrett Wool co yarn for ages. So yeah, Barrett Wool Co kit combined with pattern from Susan B. Anderson will be my toy. So hopefully it will arrive soonish. Post is taking a fair bit longer than normal at the moment, but I think our postal service is working okay, so it’ll just be a matter of whether there’s flights taking freight between the US and Australia or maybe it will go on a slow boat. I’m not sure. Anyway, it’ll probably take a little while to get here, but hopefully not too long. Anyway, so I’ll have that to look forward to.

And then another thing that I bought just yesterday. As you will have gathered from previous recent episodes, I’ve been getting into quilting. I have never been a huge quilter but I’ve made a few quilts over the years and I’ve just finished one that I’ve been making over the past three years. Very simple squares, nothing fancy at all, just squares. As a result of that, I’ve started following some quilting and fabric and sewing accounts on Instagram and I came across this one which is called the Strawberry Thief, and the Strawberry Thief is a online shop based in Perth. I don’t know if they have a physical shop in Perth, but anyway, they have a great online shop. It’s thestrawberrythief.com.au is the website, and the Instagram account is The_Strawberry_Thief. The owner was doing some tutorials about making hexie quilts, which I thought were fabulous. I did start a hexie project a couple of years ago, and the girls also started making hexies and we never really got very far with it, but she was having some great tips on making a hexie quilt in this video.

And then a few days later they were advertising a club and they specialize in Liberty of London prints. I don’t know that they sell any other type of fabric. It’s all Liberty of London, I think. So I saw a post saying, “This is the last day for our hexie clubs. To sign up for our hexie clubs for the month.” So I was just in that mood where I was like, “Oh, that sounds so cool.” So I ordered, I went in on this hexie club. I don’t know where I think I’m going to get the time to do this, especially once life gets back to normal, which hopefully won’t be too long away. But anyway, I just signed up for that on a bit of a whim and thought maybe that’s something I could do when I feel like doing something other than knitting. So I have a little Hexie project making these types of quilts by hand, which I think might be quite meditative and the fabric is so beautiful and inspiring. So yes.

So I have been on an absolute Instagram shopping roll this week and I’m not feeling too guilty because I haven’t been buying much online at all, if anything, until this little spree. And I certainly haven’t been shopping outside of the house, so I don’t feel too bad about having a little splurge. And it’s been quite satisfying to do it all at once, in a funny kind of way. So yes, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’ve also been doing some design work and have had a little bit more mojo for that as well. I had on my schedule for the year to maybe do a mystery knit along later on in the year, but with being at home and not having as much to do and not being able to get out and about, I thought, “Well, I might just work on that now.”

So I’ve been working on some ideas for a mystery knit along shawl, and I just thought I’d drop that in there. I’ll let you know that that might be coming out at some point. I’m not going to decide on a timeframe until I get a bit further into the design and knitting up the sample. But yes, I’ve been really enjoying that and working with some gorgeous yarn. Actually some gorgeous yarn from Skein Australia that arrived recently, so I’ve been having a lot of fun getting out my stitch dictionaries and playing with color and thinking about themes and all of that fun stuff that comes into designing.

Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadow Yarn. Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knit, Icelandic lopi, and CoopKnits, 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 weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and growth 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.

I just wanted to say a huge, huge thank you to everybody who downloaded the habitation throw in the month of April, and for the people that purchased the pattern I will be sending off a really generous donation to UNHCR Australia and a huge, huge thank you enabling me to do that. And I had one lovely knitter who actually contacted me and said she already had the pattern but she sent me money to include in the donation, so thank you for all those generous people out there. I thought what I might do during May is to open up a knit along thread on Ravelry for people to post their habitation throws, and I am going to make a prize of 24 minis from my stash, which will come from patterns that I’ve designed and special yarns and put together a mini set as a prize.

So we’ll have that knit along going through the month of May, and anybody who started a habitation throw, or finished a habitation throw can post in the thread and be in the draw to win a special prize of minis. So just when you thought you were getting rid of your scraps, you can win some more. So thank you again. It has been so wonderful to feel the community joining in on that and seeing people’s habitation throws on Instagram and Ravelry. It’s brought a lot of joy to me during this quite difficult month and yes, thank you, thank you, thank you so much. So on that note, I will say goodbye. I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting 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.

Aside from getting lost in an absorbing new knitting project, one of the best things I know is escaping into a good book. Today on the podcast I’m talking about some of my recent favourite reads and what’s on my list next. And of course there’s some knitting news, with a new pattern from The Handmade Sock Society 3 to introduce and yet more WIPs on their way off my needles.

Show Links:

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Yarn Ink: the Canadian dyer of the skein I’m using for my vanilla socks WIP

Rainy Window Socks

@tinkhickman on Instagram

Tracyrr aka The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

Ambient Socks FO Thread

Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden

Viola Yarn

Squam Art Workshops

Stories for my Sister by Elizabeth Duvivier

Ruth Galloway Series by Elly Griffiths

@HillyFilly on Instagram

Inspector Gamache Series by Louise Penny

@susanhartmann on Instagram

@DigsKnitting on Instagram

The Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French

@pawsandknit on Instagram

Bob Skinner Series by Quintin Jardin

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

April #knit20for2020 FO Thread

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 292. 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 and a transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadowyarn.

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’re okay, having a good week. I know things are really difficult at the moment for everyone, and I hear you, and I sympathize and empathize. I have been very up and down, and I’m not even sure why. It’s all just a bit overwhelming and crazy at the moment. I’m a little bit fed up with my family and also feeling guilty for feeling fed up with my family because I know how lucky I am. And I’m just super, super grateful for crafting and my online community, to take my mind off being cooped up at home, and just feeling super grateful for all the people that are working, essential workers at the moment. Everyone from healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, amazing healthcare professionals who are overwhelmed at work, to everybody supporting society at the moment, grocery store workers, and just everybody who’s supporting us to stay at home, and stay safe, and try and keep other people safe as well.

We are in our first of five weeks of homeschooling. The government announced that that would be the case for our state last week. And so we’re doing that this week. And yeah, my kids are doing pretty well. It’s fairly intense, I have to say. And I’ve just decided to have really low expectations. I had a really nice chat with one of the girls’ teachers, and she said, basically, just do your best. And if they can do half an hour of reading every day, they’d be happy with that. So that was good to have a reality check on what the teachers’ expectations are. And it was nice to know that they weren’t expecting us to suddenly become fully qualified teachers, and that they didn’t expect the kids to be, I don’t know, concentrating, or doing as much at home. So that was quite a relief. It took a lot of pressure off. Obviously, I’m still trying to get them to follow the routine that the school’s setting out, and trying to maintain for them, but it’s a little bit up and down, and a little bit loosey-goosey, so we’ll just see how it goes.

I’m hoping that it’s only for five weeks. I feel fairly hopeful that it will only be five weeks, because the numbers here in Queensland are looking quite hopeful, so I’m feeling hopeful as well. I hope you’re coping okay as well, whatever your situation is, whether you’re having to go out, having to work at home, or are not working at the moment. I think it’s just really difficult for everybody, but you’re not alone, and I’m happy to be chatting with you today, and I just wanted to say thank you to everybody who’s just posting cheerful things on Instagram and Ravelry, and it’s just nice to be in touch with people and friends.

I’ve had a few Zoom conversations with some friends, some knitting friends, and some non-knitting friends. And that’s been super nice just to have chats with people and feel connected with people. And I’m feeling quite like a bit of a blob at the moment, even though I’ve probably been doing more regular exercise than normal. So I’m not quite sure why. I guess it’s just because I’m normally out and about and moving around a lot more than I realized I was. But being at home a lot more.

So back to knitting news, which is really what we’re all about here. This week, I released the third design in The Handmade Sock Society Season 3, the Rainy Window Socks. And it seems a bit ironic here, because it rains a lot here where I live in Australia, but at the moment, this week has just been gorgeous and sunny and blue skies. So it’s not really quite appropriate for this week. But we do get a lot of rainy windows here. I’ll just read you the description for the socks.

The sky is grey and heavy outside, and the first raindrops begin to trace their paths down the window. They have come a long way, from sea, to sky, to clouds, to end up here on this particular pane of glass. This is rain in its most contemplative mood, but there are others. Brisk, joyful spring rains to turn the fields and gardens green. Strong, quenching rains, long-awaited, to restore the earth after a drought. Fearsome storms that sweep into swell quiet streams, fill the flood plains, and carve new rivers into the landscape. Gentle or fierce, welcome or dreaded, the rain cannot be commanded and will not be controlled. It is on its own journey, from sea to sky to earth and back again.

The Rainy Window Socks are a tribute to the free-spirited nature of the rain and the lessons it can teach about following our own path. The front and top of the foot feature a river of eyelet raindrops, framed with simple cables, balanced on the back with plain stockinette stitch. Knit from the top down, they are finished with a heel flap and gusset and a round toe. With three sizes to choose from, it’s easy to create a beautifully fitted sock.

The yarn I used for this is a gorgeous Woolbarn Cashmere Sock in a dreamy blue color, and I always love knitting that yarn so much. It’s one of my favorites for sure. I’d like to thank Deb Tinkhickman who knit the sample for me and took the absolutely stunning photographs of the sample. And I’d like to thank my test knitter, Tracy, who is TracyRR on Ravelry, and host of The Comfy Red Couch podcast on YouTube, as well as my tech editors, Anna and Emma. Now, more than ever, I’m so grateful for my team who are helping me put these patterns together, and it would be very difficult to be getting any work done at the moment without them. And special thanks to Amanda, who wrote the lovely description.

So that means we currently have a Knit Along happening for two socks from The Handmade Sock Society at the moment. The Ambient Sock Knit Along continues for another few weeks, and the Knit Along for these Rainy Window Socks is just starting. So be sure to post your finished objects in the appropriate threads in Ravelry, and I will be sending out some lovely prizes for the random prize draw from the threads at the end of each Knit Along.

Apart from a little bit of design work, I have been on a bit of a roll with finishing some long-term works in progress that I had a draw of in my cabinet. And I think I said last week that I finished the Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith. And then I went on to pull out another pair of socks that I just had the foot and toe on the second sock to go, and they were a plain vanilla pair of socks that I was knitting in some gorgeous yarn that had been gifted to me by Jodi from the Grocery Girls, when I made my very first Mrs. Brown’s Bags purchase, and that was even before the Grocery Girls podcast.

So I had the yarn in my stash for quite a while, and I’d also had the socks on the needles for quite a while, not quite as long. So yeah, so that was really fun to finish. And I was knitting on them at my parents’ place, and my dad said, “Ooh, I like the look of those.” So his birthday’s coming up soon so I will gift them to him because we actually have the same size feet. So they are beautiful pink and blue yarn, and embarrassingly, I just am having a mental blank on the name of the dyer. I’ll try and dig that out. Of course, the ball band has long since gone missing. It’s a Canadian dyer. I’ll try and dig that out and put it in the show notes. But yeah, so that was good to finish another work in progress, another pair of socks.

And then I pulled out another project from the draw, which is the Sky Map Wrap by Emily Foden, that I’m knitting in the suggested yarn, which is Viola Emily yarn. It’s a gorgeous project and it’s knit in mohair silk yarn, held singly, but you knit a tube and then it becomes doubled over. And I’m currently deciding whether to finish the project, or whether to knit a little bit more on the tube and call it a cowl. It’s a lot of knitting of stockinette mohair silk, and while, in a way, it’s a kind of perfect project for mindless knitting and Netflix binges, I am not sure I want to finish it. I do want to finish it because it’s such a beautiful project. I’m just not sure if I want to knit that much stockinette in mohair.

Anyway, I’m not deciding that just yet, but I will have to make a decision at some point, or I might just put it away again for a while and think about it. Yeah, so that’s what I’m working on with my knitting at the moment. I haven’t made any more progress on my quilt, but after I record this, I might give myself a little bit of a crafting break from work and go and cut out some more squares for my quilt project, my houses quilt project that I’m working on at the moment.

Other than that, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading. Around this time last year, I was asking for suggestions of series to read, and I put a post on Instagram and got a lot of great suggestions. And one of the responses to that post, I think it was around June last year, so it’s coming up to a year quite quickly that I made that post, and Elizabeth Duvivier from Squam Art Workshops got in touch, and she had recently released her first novel, which is called Stories For My Sister. She sent me a copy all the way to Australia, and it took me a little while to get to it on my reading pile because I just didn’t read while we were moving and settling in here. But then I had a real reading binge for a while.

So I read her lovely book. It’s Stories For My Sister, and it’s just a gorgeous book. It’s about two sisters. It says, “It’s May 1993. Two sisters, Bea and Mona, are about to spend 10 days together under the worst possible circumstances. With seven years between them, as well as a lifetime of hurts and misunderstandings, is it too late for them to become friends?” So it’s a beautiful, gentle book about two sisters, and I always love things about sisters. I have two sisters myself, and so I love the theme, and Elizabeth’s writing is absolutely gorgeous. I was really gripped by the book and yeah, really recommend it if you would like a gentle book about sisters and relationships and friendship. I’d really, really recommend this.

It’s called Stories for My Sister, by Elizabeth Duvivier. It’s available from her website, which is Elizabethduvivier.com. I’ll put a link in the show notes. And it’s available from her website as a paperback, an ebook, and an audio book. So you have various options for this book. So thank you so much for sending me a copy, Elizabeth. I really, really enjoyed it. And congratulations on your first novel, belated congratulations.

Some other suggestions that were given to me at the time, I’ve also really, really enjoyed, so I just thought I’d share those with you as well in case you’re looking for some reading material. I was saying that I do like kind of detective stories or, I don’t know, I guess you call them action novels. So I had a recommendation for the Ruth Galloway series, by Elly Griffiths. That was from Theresa, who is hillyphilly on Instagram. I absolutely loved this series. It’s about an archeologist, Ruth Galloway, who’s the main character. She’s a fabulous main character. The books are set in Norfolk, in the UK, and really atmospheric, really great stories, great plots, great characters, absolutely loved them.

Then the other series that I also devoured is by Louise Penny, the Inspector Gamache books, and that was recommended to me by a couple of people. So thank you very much for your recommendation, Susan Hartman, as well as Digs Knitting. And both those series were ones where I was sad when I had read them all. I just read one after the other, and basically couldn’t put the whole series down. I read them all on my phone, basically, in Kindle. And so now I’ve just gone back to the post on Instagram to find more suggestions.

Linda, who’s PawsandKnit, recommended Tana French, the Dublin Murder Squad. So I might check that one out next. And Sarah Cauldron of Color recommended Quintin Jardine’s Bob Skinner series. So both of those sound like they’re up my alley, and I will check them out. I’d love any other suggestions along these lines, if you have them as well, because I tend to be quite a quick reader. I tend to skim a little bit, to be honest, when it’s a series that I really like. So yeah, so I get through them quite quickly. But yeah, looking forward to checking out those two series. I feel like, for the past few weeks I haven’t really been able to concentrate on anything, and I’ve just been scrolling through Instagram and news on my phone a lot, and I think if I had a good series on the go that I went to first, instead of doing that, it would be a lot more enjoyable and fun. So that’s what I’m going to try and get into, get into something else.

Before I sign off, I’d 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. And while A Yarn Story physical shop in Bath isn’t open at the moment, she is still doing online orders and also doing virtual shopping sessions for customers, either by phone or video call. So do get in touch with A Yarn Story if you need any knitting supplies, especially if you’re in the UK.

And don’t forget to put any entries into the Knit Alongs that are happening at the moment. The Knit 20 for 2020 Knit Along is happening each month. And if you nominate your favorite yarn shop, or indie dyer, or other yarny business, you can go into the draw to win a $50 gift voucher. And I’m doing a draw from both Instagram on the hashtag Knit20for2020, as well as in the Ravelry thread that’s been set up for each month. And we also have the coupon code for the Habitation Throw happening still through to the end of the month. And you can get the Habitation Throw, which is a great, relaxing, meditative knit, and also uses scrap yarn, so I think it’s especially good for us at the moment. And that is free with the code shelter. And if you purchase the pattern, I’ll be donating the proceeds to the UNHCR charity for refugees.

So a huge thank you to everybody who’s downloaded the pattern. I’ve had 19,000 downloads of the pattern, so thank you very much. I can’t believe it’s that many. We’ve also had about £1,900 in purchases that I’ll be able to donate as well, which is incredible. So thank you, thank you, thank you so much, and thank you for posting pictures of your Habitation Throws on Instagram and Ravelry. I love seeing them. Makes me feel really connected to you all, and it’s really joyful. So I hope you have a wonderful week and hope you can find some peaceful moments in the chaos at the moment. 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.

Productivity has been up and down over the last two weeks as we all try to adjust to a new normal. Today on the podcast I’m talking about some of the self-care strategies that are helping to keep me sane, some resources that I’m finding useful, and the gentle, soothing craft projects that are bringing joy and calm into the day-to-day just now. I’m also working through some old WIPs and savouring the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finally casting off.

Show Links:

Yoga With Kassandra

The tree-growing focus app Forest

Hello from my daily walk!

Luminary Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Our winner for the Luminary Socks KAL is Post 131 by DorothyMayNZ

Hedgerow Yarns

Mina Makes, aka The Knitting Expat

Ambient Socks

The Ambient Socks FO Thread in Ravelry

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

JeniB320 on Instagram

In Color Order Blog

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Get the Habitation Throw for free with the code SHELTER

#habitationthrow on Instagram

April FO Thread for #Knit20for2020 KAL

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 291. 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 and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story.


A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique, with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades and weights. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Company and Walcot Yarns, to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath, or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk. A Yarn Story is actually doing online orders at the moment, and Carmel is also offering consultations either by video or phone to help you choose colors and yarn for projects. So be sure to sign up to the Yarn Story email list for all the latest news about what’s happening. Carmel’s doing some really fun projects and knit and craft alongs. So I’d recommend signing up for her cheerful email that comes out about once a week.


Welcome to the show, and I hope you’re well and coping okay with the current pandemic crisis. I am going pretty well here and thinking of all of you, all the time. I have to say, it’s been very up and down on a daily basis. My mental state is all over the place. I haven’t had much concentration and distraction has been very, very high. But I’m slowly, slowly getting myself into a bit of a better state and I’ve been doing some particular things to help me do that. I created a spreadsheet for April to track my streaks. So I have things on there like walking every day, and yoga, meditation, eating healthily, and getting enough sleep. So all the things that I’m just trying to do. And so I have a spreadsheet that I fill in each day with either red or green, depending on whether I’ve achieved that thing that day.


So I’m not aiming to be perfect. It’s far from perfect, but it’s keeping me a little bit on track, and I think I’ve got more green than red over all my streaks. I’ve got a fairly ambitious list of things I’m trying to do all day. So what I just mentioned, plus music practice, and a few other sort of personal things that I’m trying to do, as well as encourage my children to do some of those things as well. It’s definitely not all going to happen every day, but just having a few things that I’m doing most days is really helping keep me a bit more grounded and a bit calmer.


I started a really nice practice with one of my best friends who lives down Sydney way, not in Sydney but near Sydney, and she’s one of my oldest friends. I went to university with Jo. And not right at the beginning of the month but a couple of days in, we decided that we would have a morning yoga practice, and we chose Yoga with Kassandra. I saw that she was doing a month long free stream of classes, and they’re only 10 minutes. So that’s really good for me because I have done yoga in the past but not for years. And so 10 minutes is super doable. It’s easy to fit in, and it’s morning, sort of, it’s meant to be done in the morning. So it’s basically the first thing I try and do. Sometimes I’ll need a coffee before I tackle it, but I can generally just get up and do that straightaway. And at least, then I feel like I’ve done something for the day, something positive.


And Jo lives by herself and is basically self-isolating because she has asthma and immune kind of issues. And so yeah, so it’s really nice for both of us to have that little connection. And we don’t talk every day, but we talk some days before or after the session, and we text and just update each other if we’ve done it. And we’re trying to do it at 7:00 am, but that fell by the wayside a little bit over Easter weekend because we sort of gave ourselves Easter weekend to have some sleep ins, but getting back into it now. So that’s been wonderful. And I’m also trying to do daily walks with my sister, or by myself if she’s not available. I’ve managed to get the girls out on a couple of walks as well, which kind of feels a bit like I’m dragging them out and around, but they kind of enjoy it once they’re out.


So yeah. So just a few things like that to keep me, I don’t know, healthy, I suppose. It is really, really helping. And my work productivity has been pretty low, partly because kids home, and partly because distracted by endless news rabbit holes. But I’m trying to get myself back to doing a little bit of work as well. And I’ve been finding using an app to help me with concentrating has been really good. I’m not sure what the name of the app is. I’ll try and find it and put a link. But basically, it’s you grow a tree, and try and grow a forest. So you set the timer for however long you want to set it for. So I’ve been doing half hour stints. And yeah, so setting the timer, and if you go onto your phone and interrupt the session, then your tree dies. So it’s just a little mindfulness thing to stop you just picking up your phone and getting distracted by Instagram, for example. So I really like that app.


So I have to say, the month of April does seem to be going a little bit faster than March, for me, anyway. And that means we are up to drawing the prize for The Handmade Sock Society. Sock Number One, the Luminary Socks Knit Along. And the random number generator is number 131, and the winner is DorothyMayNZ, who’s posted a gorgeous pair of Luminary Socks with a lovely Easter decoration. And so congratulations, Catherine. Catherine is in Wellington, New Zealand. So waving across the pond. And I’ll get in touch with you about sending your prize, which is some gorgeous Hedgerow Yarns, sock yarn, as well as a little Mina Makes project bag. We currently have the Knit Along happening for the Ambient Socks, and that Knit Along runs through till Tuesday the 12th of May. And we have The Handmade Sock Society Socks Number Three being released next Tuesday. So coming up very soon. So I’m excited to share those with you, and loving seeing everybody’s socks, for people participating in The Handmade Sock Society this year.


I’ve been plugging along on some personal projects, which has been really lovely. I apologize that I didn’t have an episode for you last week, as Easter just came up quite quickly and I didn’t really take into account the fact that it was the Good Friday holiday on Friday, so I didn’t plan for that in advance. Sorry. But anyway, so two weeks ago, I was working on the Pebbles & Pathways socks by Marceline Smith, Hey BrownBerry. I did finish those by that Friday. I was hoping to finish them sort of before I released the podcast, and I did. I blocked them and have taken some photos. They’re not the best photos in the world, but I might try and get some better photos of them and share them with you. So that was lovely. I used Seren Yarn, by my friend, Emma, and it’s just beautiful. So enjoyed having them off the needles. I’ve been working on those for about two years, I think.


And then I pulled out another WIP from the cupboard, which is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli. And if you’re not familiar with that shawl, it’s a crescent-shaped shawl that’s created with short rows, and it’s a series of wedges, broken up by contrast, color, line of eyelets. And I was up to, I think it’s six wedges in total, and I was up to the fifth, and now am on the last wedge, which is the contrast border. And I’m nearly finished, I think. I’m quite a way into the last wedge, and yeah, excited to be nearly finished another long-term WIP. I started knitting on that when I was going to the first Laine Retreat in Portugal that Joji was attending. So I wanted to be working on something that was one of her designs. And so I chose that shawl. And I think that might be three years ago now. Yeah, I think it was around this time of year as well. So yes, another long-term WIP.


So for my Knit 20 for 2020 Knitting Challenge, I have a lot of items that can be in the Finish a WIP category. So I have Clio, Pebbles & Pathways, and very soon to be finished Pure Joy. I’m recording this on Wednesday the 15th, so a couple of days before it will be released. So maybe by the time I release the episode, that one will be finished as well. Probably not blocked, but maybe cast off. I haven’t decided what the next project will be, whether I will tackle another WIP or start something new. But, yeah, I’ll decide that in the next few days.


I did start my quilt project over the Easter weekend. The pattern I’m using for the quilt is the House Quilt Block by Jeni Baker. Her blog/website is incolororder.com, and this tutorial is free on her blog. She has a lot of patterns for sale as well, and a lovely blog and website. I saw this on Instagram and was so taken by it. It’s just such bright, pretty colors. And she has, one of the samples that she’s made using this block, is kind of like a gradient, I suppose. Kind of a bit of a rainbow gradient. She has blue, then green, then yellow, then pink in the houses, sort of going up the quilt. And so I am basically copying that.


I decided to make a queen-size quilt. So a lot of blocks required. I have cut out the squares for the houses, and now I need to cut all the white squares for the sky part of the block. Yeah, so you cut out two white squares for each block. So I have to cut out a lot of little white squares for that. So I will probably try and do that in the next couple of days so that I’ve got everything cut out and then can start sewing up the blocks. But it’s such a nice gentle, easy project, and pretty colors and working with fabric always makes me happy. So I’ve been enjoying working away on that and I can’t wait to get sewing. That’s another WIP that’s coming along.


And I’m using fabric that I was given by a group of girlfriends for my 40th birthday, as well as some other fabric. I’m using a bunch of different fabrics so I needed to supplement what they’d given me with some more variety of colors and prints because it’s kind of a scrappy project. But I’m using quite a bit of the birthday fabric, so it’s really nice to be finally using that.


I did start a, I don’t know what you call it, it’s like where you just have all different shapes and sizes of fabric blocks, like a really scrappy kind of thing. So I had started working on that with the birthday fabric years and years ago, and I’ve decided that I’ll use that piece. I didn’t get very far with it. Like I don’t know what the dimensions of it would be, but I’ve sort of got a strip of patches put together so I’m going to use that on the back, for the backing, as a stripe across the quilt. So yeah, quite a bit of gentle, relaxing crafting happening. You might have seen that we have the Habitation Throw giveaway happening as well, because I wanted to gift that to people if they needed or wanted some very, very gentle, relaxing knitting during this crazy time we’re in.


So yes, so I’m giving away the Habitation Throw knitting pattern on Ravelry with the code Shelter. And also, if people want to purchase it, I will be donating the proceeds to the UNHCR charity, the United Nations charity for refugees, to help support work with refugees at this time, on the basis that it’s very hard to shelter in place if you don’t have a home. And a lot of generous people have bought the pattern, which I appreciate. I think we have about £1,500 to donate already and we’re only halfway through the month. This is happening for the month of April.


And I’ve also had about, some thousands of people have downloaded the pattern as a gift, which I’m also super happy about. And I’ve seen lots of people posting their Habitation throws on Instagram, and it’s making me so happy. That is really one of the things that cheers me up during this time, seeing people using the pattern and downloading it. I’ve had so many lovely messages from people, thanking me, and it’s just been delightful and just cheered me right up. So thank you for everybody who has done that. And it’s just such a nice reminder of our lovely community, and just makes me feel connected to you. So that’s been really lovely. And yeah, the code is continuing through till the end of April, if you’d like to have a copy of the Habitation Throw.


And don’t forget to post any projects that you finish for the Knit 20 for 2020 Challenge, because we are drawing $50 prizes on both Ravelry and Instagram at the end of each month on that hashtag, and The Handmade Sock Society Knit Along is also happening. So lots of little things happening over here. And yeah, I’m just really enjoying staying in touch with you all through these hashtags and knit alongs, and it’s been a really nice part of my day to go on to Instagram and Ravelry and just see those things popping up.


So thanks for joining me today. It’s been lovely having a chat, and I hope you’re well, I hope you’re staying safe, and staying sane, and having some knitting time. Take care, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Join the Curious Crew as we spread our knitting wings and explore the far reaches of our stash and skills with #Knit20for2020! 

Discovering new things is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of being a maker. The small improvements we make with each project add up to a lifetime of knowledge and skill, so gradually that we don’t even notice until we take a step back and see how far we’ve come.

This year, I wanted to branch out with my knitting and nurture my creativity. Although I knit every day for work, my personal knitting projects often take a back seat. The Knit 20 for 2020 project began as a way to encourage myself to try new things, reach beyond my comfort zone, and cross a few things off my wish list. And once I’d made the plan for myself, it was only natural to invite the Curious Crew to play along with me. 

To take part, you can download our Knitting Checklist, and start to tick off boxes as you complete projects. If you want to really push yourself, you can knit a separate item for each item on the list, or you can tick off several boxes with one project. For example you could knit a pair of colourwork socks from a new-to-you designer using deep stash yarn and give them away as a gift, and you’d already have 5 boxes ticked! You can also get creative and substitute your own ideas for any of the items in the list, if something doesn’t suit you or you have a personal knitting goal that’s not included. 

As you work through your list, don’t forget to share your progress with the community!

There’s the #knit20for2020 hashtag on Instagram which you can visit, follow, and use to tag your projects. 

We also have a thread in the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group where people are sharing their plans, their lovely makes, and a lot of praise and encouragement!

The chance to win a lovely prize and support your favourite yarn business with the #Knit20for2020 KAL and monthly giveaway!

As something positive for us all to focus on and look forward to, and to help support small businesses who may be struggling as a result of the pandemic, I decided to add an ongoing KAL for the whole community. The Knit 20 for 2020 KAL will take place in our Curious Handmade Ravelry Group and Instagram. Here’s how it will work:

Every month I’ll post a #Knit20for2020 Finished Object thread in the Ravelry group. This will be a no-chat thread. At the end of each month I’ll draw a winner from this thread, and another from the #Knit20for2020 hashtag on Instagram.

To enter on Ravelry:

  • Post a photo you’ve completed as a part of the challenge.
  • Nominate an independent yarnie business, indie dyer, or local yarn shop you’d like to receive a gift certificate for, if you are a winner. 

To enter on Instagram:

  • Post a photo you’ve completed as a part of the challenge.
  • Nominate and tag an independent yarnie business, indie dyer, or local yarn shop you’d like to receive a gift certificate for, if you are a winner. 
  • Use the #Knit20for2020 hashtag and tag @curioushandmade so I can find your post!

Each monthly winner will receive a $50 USD (or approximate equivalent currency) gift certificate to the business of their choice!

I hope you all have a lot of fun with the project: I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things you make and hear about all the new things you learn. 

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.

After a week of homeschooling, I’m grabbing an opportunity to chat with you in the hopes of keeping spirits as high as possible. I have some cheerful news, with a free pattern, some giveaway winners, and some fun projects on the horizon.

Show Links:

JeniB320 on Instagram

In Color Order Blog

House Quilt Block Tutorial

Photo credit: In Color Order

melissaH3

Farmer’s Daughter Fibers Yarn

asteride on Instagram

@retrosariarosapomar on Instagram

April FO Thread for #Knit20for2020 KAL

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Get the Habitation Throw for free with the code SHELTER

Pebbles and Pathway Socks by Marceline Smith

HeyBrownBerry on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Instagram

Seren Yarns on Etsy

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

P.E. With Joe

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast, you’re listening to episode 290. 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 at Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and a transcript on my website, at CuriousHandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Hello, and welcome to the show, I hope you’re well. I am thinking of you at this time, and we’re all facing a lot more challenges in our daily life than we’re used to. So, I am going to try to keep the show light and cheerful, and I’m looking forward to having a nice chat with you today.

We have had a week, with the kids at home from school. I’m conscious that a lot of people listening to the show have had a lot longer than that, so I’m early into the journey. We have had a couple of days of trialing out a distance learning system that the school has put together, before we head into the Easter holidays, so I’m very grateful for that. It’s been reasonably intense trialing, and hopefully it will get easier if we’re using the system for a little while. I appreciate teachers even more than ever. I have never been a person to even think about homeschooling, I’m not that patient with the kids, and have found it fairly frustrating a couple of days, to be honest. I’m just so appreciative of everything the teachers are doing to keep things going for the kids, and the kids have been pretty good in trying to do what they’ve been asked, so I can’t ask for more than that, really.

I have to say, I’m looking forward to the holidays when we can just do our own projects, and that will involve some sewing, and cooking. Both the girls want to do those things, they’re much more interested in doing things like that, crafty things and cooking, than they are in schoolwork. Although, they’re both quite good readers.

I currently have my office floor covered in bits of fabric, because Lexi has decided to make some Easter bunting. So she’s cutting out egg-shaped pieces of fabric and hand sewing them onto a piece of ribbon, which is really cool. Sophie and I have decided to make a quilt, and I am super keen to make a pattern by JeniB320, that’s her Instagram name. Her name is Jenny Baker, and her blog is InColorOrder.com. That’s color spelt the American way, C-O-L-O-R. I can’t remember where I saw the post in Instagram, I’m not sure if someone had it in their stories. I think that might have been what happened.

Jenny had made a post with 10 of her favorite free tutorial projects that she’s provided over the last 10 years or so. One of them is called House Quilt Block tutorial. I was very taken by this, and thought it was appropriate while we’re all stuck in our houses. It’s a very, very simple block, but there’s a little bit more to it than just plain squares. I’ll post a picture of it in the show notes, super cute. I think Sophie was quite keen to do it, but then she said, “Ah, I might just do plain squares.” So I’m not sure if she’s going to join me, with this particular one, but she’s pulled out Grandma’s old suitcase full of the scrap fabric that they’re allowed to use, and she’s pulled out some colors. I am going to use my fabric that I was gifted from a group of girlfriends, for my 40th birthday, which was a few years ago now.

I was intending to use that fabric as one of my happiness projects for this year, and I was planning to just do really simple squares. But, I think I’m going to do this cute house pattern, because I’ve got some white fabric. It has little roofs, little triangles at the top, with white fabric in between. Anyway, that’s a very long, ramble-y introduction, and I went a bit off on a tangent, there.

Yeah, we’re looking forward to having a creative couple of weeks over Easter, and I’m just really relieved tomorrow is a student free day, so I’m taking that to mean a holiday. Yes, well tomorrow as in Friday, so when you’ll be listening to this one day early for the holidays, and I’m looking forward to it.

I am feeling a little bit sad because, amongst other things, amongst the whole trauma of what’s happening, I’m also seeing from lots of Instagramers in London that it’s spring, and it’s magnolia season. So that’s making me a bit homesick for London because we used to have a beautiful magnolia tree in our garden there, and every year around this time it would just be full of blossom, and our street would be full of blossom. Yeah, I have to say I’m also quite grateful that we’re not in London at the moment, poor London is copping it really badly. I’m just thinking a lot about my friends there, and just sending them all my best wishes.

I actually had a friend, and her son who’s Lexi’s age, who have just had the Coronavirus. She just texted me last night to say that they had it for a week, and are on the mend. But, I just felt that like a kick in my guts, it was just so scary. But, she said that they didn’t have it too badly, so I just hope that’s the case and it doesn’t develop into anything worse. That was very close to home, when I got that message.

I hope that people can appreciate spring in the Northern Hemisphere. I’ve been seeing pictures of bulbs bursting up, crocuses, daffodils, and I’m hoping that is providing people with a little bit of cheerfulness right now, if spring has reached your part of the world yet. Maybe not, if you’re in Canada, or further up in Scandinavia, so I hope that you can look forward to that.

Something that has been helping me hugely this week is going out for my walking streak. I decided I was definitely going to do a good streak in April, and so far I have been achieving it. It’s only been a few days, but I started a few days early to get into the swing of it. It has been just the best tonic, getting outside, going for a walk in the morning or the evening. Yeah, it’s just really beautiful around here, we’re so lucky. So, I have been doing that, and it has been making a huge difference to my mental state.

Apologies for any background noise in this episode, I’m being interrupted fairly regularly, and I also lose my line of thinking, such as it is.

So, I announced last week that we were going to have the Knit 20 For 20 knit along, with monthly prizes. Even though it was towards the end of the month, I set up a thread for March, and we had lots of entries in the thread in Ravelry, and also in Instagram. The winner from the Ravelry thread is MelissaH3, who knit a gorgeous pair of luminary socks, in Farmers Daughter Fibers yarn, in a lovely blue. She also nominated Farmers Daughter Fibers as her favorite Indie dyer. On Instagram, we have asteride, who entered a lovely … I think it’s a hat, in gorgeous green yarn. She is tagging her LYS Retrosario Rosa Pomar. So, you’re very lucky to have that us your LYS in Portugal, in Lisbon. So, thank you for entering, I will arrange for gift vouchers, or some way of getting the prizes to you. The prize is a US $50 gift voucher or local equivalent, so I will arrange with those two shops, to get them to you.

If you’re listening to the podcast, if you could email me at Helen@CuriousHandmade.com, or message me on Ravelry at HellsBells, with your email address or Ravelry address for Estheride on Instagram, then I will arrange that with you.

I’ve set up the April thread, and for anybody who didn’t hear about the Knit Along last week, all you have to do is post your project that you have ticked off in the month of April for the Knit 20 For 20 challenge. You can find details about that on the blog at Curious Handmade. We have a series of 20 prompts that people are ticking off, ranging from things like knitting lace or brioche, through to knitting a sweater, or using deep stash which is yarn you’ve had in your stash for a long time, and what is deep stash is up to you. The rules are all up to you. If you feel like you’ve ticked something off in the month for many of those categories, or several of those categories, pop a post in either in the Ravelry thread, which I have set up as a sticky thread, or using the hashtag on Instagram.

The idea is to spread the love around to our favorite small or big yarn businesses. But, I really did have Indie businesses in mind when I set it up, but it can be any yarn business, or Indie dyer, or LYS. You can tag them, show them some love, and I can support them in a tiny little way, by purchasing a gift voucher as a prize each month. So, huge thank you to everybody who entered, and I hope you’ve been having fun with the challenge.

We also have another fun giveaway happening at the moment, and I decided to gift my Habitation throw pattern. This was a design that was part of Knitvent last year. I know that lots of people are already working on it. I just thought this is really the perfect pattern for a project while we’re at home, if we’re having to stay at home at the moment. It’s a scrappy project, so you can delve into your scraps, or mini sets that you may have. It’s a very relaxing project, so it’s not too taxing to knit, and it’s quite a big project, so can keep you occupied for quite an amount of time.

It’s actually a project that you can decide how big you want to make it. Basically, you start in a corner of the throw, and just keep increasing until you’ve used about half your yarn, or you want to decrease, where it’s big enough. Then, you start decreasing again, and go back up to the other corner. It’s really flexible, and you can just use any yarn you want, have fun with it. So, I have made that free on Ravelry, with the code Shelter. If people don’t use the code, it’s still for sale and any proceeds that I receive from that pattern through the month of April, I’ll be donating it to the UN Refugee charity, for people that don’t have any shelter or a home at this time.

Yeah, that’s what we’re doing in April. I am trying to think of fun things to keep our spirits up, keep us going, and that’s what I came up with this month. I’m working on something that will hopefully be ready for next month, so stick around for that. I don’t want to commit to it at this stage, because I’m finding that I have less concentration than normal, and less time than normal with the kids at home. I’m having fun working on some ideas for next month.

I have been knitting on my Pebbles and Pathways socks by Marceline Smith this week. That was a WIP that I’ve had going for quite a long time, I’ve been picking it up and putting it down for over a year now I think, or maybe about a year. I’m knitting this in a yarn by my lovely friend Emma, Serena yarn, it’s absolutely gorgeous yarn. She gifted this to me, and it was one of her early skeins that she dyed. Emma is such a talented dyer, she’s such a beautiful person. She’s going through a tough time now, at the moment personally, and I just want to send her all my love. I’m enjoying knitting with her yarn, and thinking about her at the moment. So, really enjoying this project, and I think I’ll be finished this in the next few days. Again, I don’t want to commit, but it’s on the foot, I’m halfway done the foot of the second sock, so I’m zooming along now. Yeah, probably another couple of days knitting on this.

Then, I decided that my next WIP that I’m going to tackle before I start something new is Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli. That is, again, a very old WIP, so I want to say that’s been going for three years, now. About three years, maybe a bit less. It’s such a lovely project. If you’re not familiar with Pure Joy, it’s a crescent shawl, I think it’s the first short row shawl I’ve knit, and really enjoying it. I’m using some beautiful yarn by Juno Fiber Arts, that has merino, and a touch of cashmere, so it’s gorgeous, and soft, and drape-y. I think maybe silk, as well. Merino, silk, cashmere I think is the blend? I can’t remember, it’s been so long. A gorgeous, soft blue and a cream, beautiful. Joyful colors for me.

I was just pondering on what I should tackle next, and that popped into my head. What better project to work on, than something called Pure Joy? Before I sign off, I’d like to think my sponsor, A Yarn Story.

Well, I hope you have a good week, I hope you stay safe, stay well, stay sane. Keep up your meditation, keep up your walking if you can, maybe do some PE with Joe. If you haven’t heard of that, it’s a UK fitness guru, who is doing physical education lessons for kids online. I haven’t made my kids do it yet, but I’m planning to. He’s really cheerful, and upbeat, and positive, and a lovely guy. Do some PE with Joe, or whatever other exercise rocks your boat. Yeah, keep knitting, keep crafting, I think it’s going to keep us all sane at the moment.

Don’t forget, you can grab a copy of my Habitation throw pattern for free at the moment, it’s my little gift to you, use the code Shelter when you check out. Also, if you’re doing the Knit 20 For 2020 challenge, post your pictures of your challenges being met on either Instagram or in the Ravelry thread, and we’ll do another prize draw at the end of April. We also have the Knit Along for the Luminary socks, finishing soon. So, if you’re participating in the handmade socks society for this year, season three, the Knit Along for the first sock, the Luminary socks, is finishing on the 14th of April, so you’ve still got a little bit of time to finish your Luminary socks, get them posted in the Finished Object thread. The prize is a beautiful skein of Hedgerow yarn, as well as a lovely, cute project bag, sock sized project bag, from MinaMakes, with a fun London map print on it.

I’ll be drawing that soon after the 14th of April, and announcing that later in the month, as well. Lots of Knit Alongs to participate in. Yes, wishing you all the best, take care, 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.

As the schools close here in Australia and we all strive to cope with our anxiety, I’ve been turning to projects that feel like comforting old friends. I also have the Ambient Socks to introduce for you, and details about some KALs I will be hosting to help keep our spirits up.

Show Links:

Meadow Yarn on Instagram

Meadow Yarn

Curious Handmade Ravelry Group Community Thread

Ambient Socks

The Walk Collection Yarn

Hedgerow Yarns

Apple Blossom Socks

The Knitting Expat

Tilda Fabric

Elton Cardigan

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Helen:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 289. This podcast is all about crafting your life with happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and the transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.


I’d like to say a very big thank you to my sponsor Meadow Yarn. Alongside an interesting and eclectic young range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic lopi and CoopKnits. 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 of all of them grow inspired by the landscape and people around us.


You can find them at meadoywarn.co.uk. Or you can click on the ad on my blog. If you follow Meadow Yarn on Instagram, you will have seen that Anj has been dying up some absolutely stunning colorways, especially recently. I’ve just been very drawn to them. And she is still able to post yarn at the moment. So yeah, I’m sure she would appreciate any support and the colorways are just stunning. So very tempting.


Hello and welcome. Well, what another week it’s been. Obviously it’s been a very intense time for everyone and despite me thinking I would sort of reset a little bit this month, March is not the new January after all, that’s for sure. Schools have finally been closed here in Australia and I think most of the schools have been trying to put together online learning, distance learning facilities for the kids when they go back from holidays after Easter.


We have one week before the holidays officially start and so our school is just spending the week having pupil free days preparing and testing some distance learning facilities that they’ve been putting in place. Then we’ll have two weeks Easter holidays and see what happens after that. I’m assuming that we will be homeschooling and yeah. So if you hear any background noise, I’m sorry but I have to record when people are around now. And I’m trying to minimize any background noise but it may be happening despite my best efforts.


So I hope you’re all physically well and also keeping calm and the anxiety isn’t too high. I’m sure that it is quite high, but I think for me I’m trying to be very conscious of that and try to keep it under control. I don’t think that being at home with my family and being super stressed out will do any of us any favors. So I’m trying to just focus on my … Basically my top priority is to just keep calm and keep the kids calm as well.


I think it’s going to help a lot now that they’re not going to school, because that was causing me a lot of anxiety and also them because everyone’s talking about it and they can see a lot of kids in their class starting to drop off and drop out as parents were keeping them at home more and more. And so I think once we can get into a little bit of a routine here that’s going to help in a way. Although it does seem a bit daunting at this point to think that I’ll be trying to do a little bit of work hopefully and as well as looking after them.


But I have had more experience than normal with that over the past year, because due to moving we had a long summer holiday for the Northern hemisphere and then we had another long summer holiday for the Southern hemisphere. So I’m kind of used to having them around more than normal at the moment, which I think might hopefully stand me in a little bit of good stead and will hopefully let us get into a good routine fairly quickly.


My husband did PE class with them this morning and so they practiced their netball. And I think that’s going to be good, because having moved from the UK to Australia, they’re a bit behind in their netball skills from the other kids their age I’d have to say. Netball is such a big sport here and all the kids, pretty much all the kids play it pretty well. Obviously there’s different levels but it’s a much, much bigger sport here than it was in the UK. They did learn how to play netball and there was a netball club in the UK so it’s not like they’re completely unfamiliar with it, but it’s huge here.


So yes, we have a net set up and a netball. So luckily netball doesn’t rely on bouncing the ball too much, so you could do most of the skills without a sort of a too much of a flat concrete area, if that makes sense. So thanks to everybody who’s chatting on all the Ravelry threads and I did set up a thread for people to chat if they wanted to share about how they’re coping at the moment and we’ve had some conversation happening there, which has been nice.


I think it really helps to feel connected to the knitting community during this time. And I certainly very much appreciate it. I already felt very connected to people around the world, knitters around the world. It’s just really nice at the moment to have friends everywhere and be chatting with them.


So this week I released the second pattern for The Handmade Sock Society and they are the Ambient Socks. So I’ll just read the description for those. It’s the sort of sound that’s carried on the wind, the type of music that subtly invokes a specific emotion, the kind of lighting that can make a room feel cozy, intimate, inviting. Ambient is an interesting word. It comes from the Latin for surrounding and circling. Used in turn by great scientists and inspired poets. It has a gentle reputation but holds a secret power. The things it described are so all encompassing and so much a part of our environment that we barely notice them consciously. And yet our environment has immense influence on every part of our lives, our moods and our creativity. When you change your environment, you change your world.


The Ambient Socks offer an absorbing knit with eyelet lace on the front of each sock, continuing down the foot and a textured pattern on the back of the leg. The stitch patterns have been chosen to make the most of even highly variegated yarns, spreading and diffusing the different colors. An eye of partridge heel flap and gusset and a round toe in contrast color finish things off. I love to use up scrap sock yarn or minis this way. There are three sizes to choose from and as always the pattern is easy to adapt if you prefer a different heel or toe so you can find a great fit.


The yarn I used for these socks is by The Walk Collection Tough Sock and the main color is Cosmic Chaos, which seems quite appropriate. And the contrast color is Propolis. So a few weeks ago when I was talking about where I came up for the inspiration for this collection, for the theme, which is atmosphere, I was actually at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. And I didn’t mention it at the time, but it was when I was talking to Katrin at her Walk Collection store that that word popped into my head and became the theme for the collection. So it’s actually this yarn that has kind of sort of inspired the whole theme.


I think their Cosmic Chaos colorway is really gorgeous and I have really fond memories of standing, talking with Katrin about choosing contrast colors for the heel and toe. And she is so generous. She gifted me the yarn and I’m very happy to have been able to use it to the collection and how it’s turned out in the design. I think it’s really lovely. So thank you so much Katrin and for your generosity and gorgeous yarn. Thank you to Amanda for writing the gorgeous description I just read out and huge thank you to Deb who is Tinkhickman on Ravelry and Instagram for knitting the sample for me and her gorgeous photography. Also a big thank you to Tracey, who is TraceyRR on Ravelry and Comfy Red Couch on Instagram for her wonderful test knitting, Emma and Anna for their tech editing.


And just thank you, I appreciate my gorgeous knitting team so much and I hope you enjoy knitting these socks if you’re participating in the Handmade Sock Society. So as I was sitting here this week, just watching the news way too much still and just thinking about what I can do in this situation to try and help people which sort of feel a bit powerless. Being on one hand being called to stay at home and not do anything or go anywhere. And then on the other hand, just seeing so many people in need and needing help.


I thought I’d just try and inject a little bit of joy into life for my knitters and formalize some of the knit-alongs that we have happening anyway. I wanted to get a bit organized with the knit-alongs for the Handmade Sock Society. And so I have set dates for the knit-alongs and so I thought I’d give people just under two months for each sock. So they’re just ending just a little bit before another sock comes out. So that the knit-along for the first socks, which is the Luminary Socks, which is happening at the moment will end on Tuesday the 14th of April. There is a finished object thread in Ravelry at the moment and there are already 83 stunning projects in that thread, posted in that thread. So I’ve just formalized the end date for that, which is the 14th of April.


So that still gives you a little bit of time. That will be just over two weeks away. And then I’ll announce the winners on that Friday after, that’s a Tuesday, so on the Friday after that. And I have just had a little hunt around in my stash just now for that first knit-along prize and I found a really, really cheerful, beautiful skein of Hedgerow Yarns, sock yarn, which is called Tickety Boo and Jane dies gorgeous, gorgeous sock yarn. And I actually used her yarn for my very early sock pattern, Apple Blossom Socks, if you remember those ones.


So yes. So I’ve had this yarn for a little while. I was sort of collecting her yarn and I have also found a really, really cute little project bag which is perfect for sock size by MinaMakes, the knitting expat Mina. And this is a project bag that has a print of a map of London, kind of quirky print on it. So just a fun little prize for that knit-along just to make cheer things up a little bit and I’ll try to take it a photo of that and post it soon. And then I’ll find another prize for the socks just publish, the Ambient Socks and post that soon as well. So until the end there’ll be two knit-alongs happening at the same time and they’ll sort of leapfrog each other as we go along.


The other thing I came up with just to inject a bit of fun and community into things is to make a bit more of a formal knit-along for the knit20for2020 Challenge. Earlier in the year I published a list of prompts of things that we can work on and knit and that’s available as a PDF and also as images in Instagram. And it’s just sort of being quite casual and people just working on their own challenges. But I thought what I could do is have a knit-along as well with some prizes and I also wanted to try and support some of our small yarn businesses that are struggling at the moment. And so I thought that the plan is that we’ll have a thread each month in Rivalry for knit20for2020, sort of a monthly thread. You can post a project that you’ve ticked off from one of the knit20for2020 challenges in that thread. And also in the same post if you nominate and independent yarn business, an Indie Dyer or a local yarn shop that you’d like to receive a gift certificate for if you’re the winner.


So you can give a shout-out to one of your favorite Indie Dyers or yarn shops. And similarly on Instagram, if you post a photo of something you’ve completed as part of the challenge and include the hashtag of course, which is knit20for2020, and also in your caption nominate and tag an Indie Yarn Dyer or a local yarn shop that you’d like to receive a gift certificate for.


And then at the end of each calendar month I am going to draw one entry from Ravelry, one entry from Instagram, you can enter on both. And the prize is going to be a $50, 50 U.S. dollars, not Australian dollars. That would be a bit sad. So 50 U.S. dollars and or the equivalent currency to that, depending on the country. And I will arrange a gift certificate or way of purchasing a prize for you to that value if you win from a random draw.


So I hope that all makes sense and is clear, I’ll put it in the show notes, all the details in the show notes, as well as in the Ravelry thread and I’ll post about it on Instagram as well. So I just thought it would be a nice way of spreading the love a little bit and a chance for you to share some of your favorite Indie businesses and to support them a little bit at this time.


So that will continue for the rest of the year. Hopefully we won’t be in this lockdown situation for the rest of the year, but the knit-along will happen throughout the year and I think it’s going to be really lovely and really fun. So I’m looking forward to seeing your projects as well as discovering some new yarn dyers and Indie businesses.


With that being such a mixed up week, I haven’t really done a lot of knitting and in fact I have pulled out a non-knitting project which was on my list of happiness projects a couple of years ago, which is a patchwork quilt that I made. It’s such a pretty happy quilt. I used Tilda fabrics, so it’s really just really lovely, pretty colors. And it was almost finished, I had it professionally quilted and the binding was sewn on. So all I need to do now is sew down the binding and so I’ve pulled that project out and it has been really the perfect project for this week.


I’ve just been doing some very gentle stitching on the binding of my quilt and I’m, I don’t know, about three quarters of the way around. I think I’ve done about three sides now, so I will continue with that and look forward to finishing that. And then I need to choose my next fun personal knitting project for my knit20for2020 challenge. I’m thinking about doing the Elton Cardigan. I have the yarn for that Aimée from La Bien Aimée gifted me some gorgeous, gorgeous Yellow Brick Road that inspired the name of the cardi.


Aimée gave that to me at a country house retreat a couple of years ago and so it reminds me of lovely times and it’s such a bright, sunny yellow color. And it makes me think of friends and so I think that might be the one. I just have to decide if I’m up to knitting mohair at the moment or not. That’s the only slight reservation in my mind. But I think it could be okay. I think it’s a fairly straightforward design. And yeah, I think that will be a nice one to do at the moment.


So, I’ll keep you posted if that’s what I end up settling on. I still have several whips that I probably should be finishing off, but I’m kind of itching to start something new as well. And just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor A Yarn Story and just to note that A Yarn Story has to close its doors for people coming into the shop, but they are still doing mail order services, online ordering. And they are offering a sort of personal shopping appointment so that you can call them and Carmen will sort of show you different colors of yarn if you can do a FaceTime call or I think that’s how they’re doing it. They will take photos of different color combinations and things like that.


They’re really trying to help serve their customers at this time and I really appreciate them and their beautiful, beautiful yarns they have there. A Yarn Story is the city of Bath’s premier knitting boutique with a beautifully curated selection of luxury yarns in a wide range of fibers, shades and weights. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co. and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui knits, La Bien Aimée and Julie Asselin. There is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath, or shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.


So thank you so much for being here, being part of the Curious crew and I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate you at this time and I appreciate everybody who’s bought patterns recently. I just wanted to remind you that there is a buy one get one free offer still happening till the end of the month, so the 31st of March. And you do need a coupon code for that and the code at checkout is fresh. And all you need to do is put two patterns in your basket and use the code fresh. I think the way I’ve set it up, you could actually put four in there and get two for free. I think I haven’t put a limitation on how many times you can use the coupon code.


So yes, if you fancy stocking up on some patterns, now’s a good time. And thank you to everybody who has taken advantage of that and bought patterns. I really appreciate it. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re okay. Do reach out. We have a thread in Ravelry if you want to chat and on Instagram as well. Love you, take care. Talk to you again soon.

Play

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

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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.