Archives For #knit20for2020


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

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

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

Follow #quilted on Instagram

Follow #20for2020

The Happier Podcast

The #knit20for2020 Chat Thread on Ravelry

IndieLynx on Instagram

Rose Cardigan by Andrea Mowry

La Bien Aimée

Dahlia Cardigan

Blue Sky Fibers

Moeke Yarns

Moeke Yarns on Instagram

Circus Tonic Yarns

Circus Tonic Yarns Instagram


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

This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness in creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi, and Coop Knits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched Hand-dyed by Meadow Yarn, our very own in-house hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of color, producing complex tonal kettle dyed shades across a range of whites and bases. With regular updates, our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us. You can find them at, or you can click on the ad on my blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Show Links

KAL News

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

A couple of housekeeping notes to keep things tidy:

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

The Shawl Society Season 4:

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2:

Knitvent 2019:

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

Destash Auction to Benefit Bushfire Relief

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

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

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

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

The Australian Red Cross

The Nature Foundation in South Australia

Other things I talked about:

Sama Wrap by Renée Callahan

Exploration Station by Stephen West

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Terracotta Socks

Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 281. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Show Links

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

The Happier Podcast

The Literary Life Podcast


Use the hashtag #Knit20for2020 to join the challenge

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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