Archives For Shawl knitting

Snowmelt MKAL tutorials and FAQs!

Helen —  February 1, 2017 — 3 Comments

The first clue for the Snowmelt MKAL arrives tomorrow! Are you ready yet? If not, don’t worry. As I mentioned yesterday, we still have flocks of new knitters signing on, and you have time to get sorted.

Today is the last day of the 20% off early bird special, so snag your copy now!

I’m still getting lots of questions about the MKAL: how it works, what to expect, and how to prepare. To help everyone get ready, I’ve put together a few resources for you.

First, I’ve created a few video tutorials for Snowmelt, including a guide to choosing yarn, and a special video showing you how to do the beautiful icord cast-on for this shawl. I know this is a new technique for some of you, but it’s so simple! I think my little walk through will help you master it easily.

Check out the Snowmelt MKAL videos here!

Next, for anyone who didn’t get onto the email list in time, I’m going to post the FAQs I sent out last week:


Q. This is my first MKAL – what can I expect?

A. Firstly – thank you for your bravery and trust – taking a leap and a chance on a pattern you haven’t seen before. I am honoured!!

A mystery knit along is all about surprises: you buy the pattern without knowing what the finished design will look like and get one clue a week until the whole pattern is released. The community aspect is huge, too: people share their progress each week and speculate on what might be coming next. Knitting a project with a group is lots of fun and supportive  – you will find lots of company in the MKAL chat thread and people to ask questions or if you have any problems.

Q. This is my first Curious Handmade shawl – what can I expect?

A. Enjoyment, on the whole! Relaxing, satisfying knitting. And of course, a beautiful accessory at the end…

On the more technical side of things, you can expect clarity. My patterns are clearly written in the unique Curious Handmade Percentage Checklist™  style with stitch count for every row and percentages of stitches knit to help you pace yourself and estimate yarn needed. Directions are written in full and also charted instructions for any lace sections.

Q. I’ve knit loads of Curious Handmade shawls before – what can I expect?

A. Well, you’ll recognise the checklist format, and if you’re a fan of my patterns (thank you!) I think you’ll find that this project is quite “typical” of my designs: lacy, feminine, easy-to-wear, and just a little romantic. I also think it will keep you guessing until the last clue is finally revealed!

Q. What is the level of difficulty?

A. It is beginner to adventurous beginner throughout.
It is a slight step up from beginner in places due to some easy lace and the amount of knitting involved but it definitely isn’t difficult in any sense. There might be a handful of rows you really have to concentrate on where you are setting up a new pattern – but it is very achievable for an adventurous lace beginner. And lifelines are always helpful if you are worried!

Q. Do I need a special code for the Early Bird price?

A. No, the Early Bird price is already applied in Ravelry, no code required. The 20% Early Bird discount will apply until Wednesday February 1st.

Q. I think the amount of the price is wrong, maybe I didn’t get the discount?

A. The price of the pattern does not include VAT. Ravelry automatically adds VAT to all purchases of patterns in the EU when you check out. The amount varies by country. I’m sorry about any inconvenience, but it is out of my control.

Q. I bought the pattern but I don’t see any knitting instructions!

A. This is a presale period for the MKAL. When you buy the pattern you’ll get an info sheet with yarn specifics and some general hints to help you prepare. The pattern will be released piece by piece, with a new clue to knit each week.

Q. When will the clues be released?

A. The clue reslease schedule is:

Thursday Feb 2nd: First clue is released!
Thursday Feb 9th: Second clue released
Thursday Feb 16th: Third clue released
Thursday Feb 23rd: Fourth clue released
Thursday March 2nd: Fifth clue released

The KAL will run until the end of March.

At the end of the MKAL I’ll compile all the clues into one pattern document so that you have everything in once place if you’d like to knit it again!

Q. I don’t have time for an MKAL right now, can I still participate somehow?

A. Life sometimes gets in the way of knitting, and not everyone can keep up with the weekly clue releases. That is perfectly okay! You can jump in and out at any point, or even wait until all the clues are out before you begin. The KAL will run for about a month after the last clue is released, so you can still join in and post your finished shawls on your own schedule. Pop into the chat thread now and then, and don’t forget to check in on Instagram with the hashtag #SnowmeltMKAL


There you go! I’m so excited for the kickoff tomorrow. I can’t wait to see all your gorgeous creations.

It’s almost time for the Snowmelt MKAL! I’ve been watching the amazing yarn-choosing process of hundreds of excited knitters over in our Curious Handmade Ravelry Group and on Instagram (check out the growing #snowmeltmkal hashtag for some mouthwatering yarn photos!) and the energy is just electric. We’re just two days away from the release of the first clue, but we still have new knitters joining us every day. The MKAL will be running until the end of March, so even if you don’t have yarn yet, you’ll have plenty of time to grab something gorgeous and play along.

For the last Curious Handmade MKAL, Summertide, the wonderful Kristen from Skein Yarn wrote a brilliant guest post on colour combinations that I wanted to share again with you. You can find it here. There’s a lot of inspiration and wisdom in that post! Kristen also put together a few lovely combos just for Snowmelt:

Skein yarn for snowmelt mkal

You can read all about these delicious colourways over on the Skein Blog.

I designed this shawl in part to encourage stashdiving. This is the last official day of Stash Appreciation month here at Curious Handmade, after all, and while I know many of us are enjoying the excuse to buy new yarn for this project, I also know that many more have some wonderful single skeins lying around, waiting for the perfect project. Chances are there are a few hiding in your stash that could surprise you when you put them together. This MKAL is a chance to explore your stash and experiment with combinations you might not have considered. If you’re on the mailing list, you will have gotten an email with all the yarn info and tips you need to start choosing, but I’ve seen people asking for advice since then, so in case you missed it, I thought I’d repost it here.


The yarn I used for the sample is the breathtaking Magellan Speckle Fade Kit from La Bien Aimée. This is a gorgeous hand-dyed single ply superwash merino.
Sample Yarn:
La Bien Aimée; Magellan Speckle Fade Kit [100% superwash merino; 366m/400yds per 100g skein], 3 x 100g skeins,
Colourways:
Le Petit Nuage
Le Grand Nuage
The Magellanic Cloud

OR

Actual yarn used for sample in a fingering weight single ply yarn:
Light – Le Petit Nuage 80g / 293m / 320 yards
Medium – Le Grand Nuage  80g/ 293m / 320 yards
Dark – The Magellanic Cloud 75g/ 275m / 300 yards

To give you a few ideas of other ideal yarns you could use:

Curious Handmade favourite Skein does a luxurious base called “Classy” – 70% Superwash Merino, 30% Silk * 430 yards / 393 metres in 100g

The wonderful Tosh Merino Light from madelinetosh would be another excellent choice – 420 yards / 384 metres in 100g

Over at The Wool Barn, Maya’s Silky Singles base would make a perfect Snowmelt – 70% Superwash Merino 30% Silk * 400m / 436 yards / 400 metres in 100g

Lots of you want to use stash yarn, and you’re in luck! I specifically designed Snowmelt to work with three different skeins of fingering weight yarn, since I know most of us have at least a few gorgeous “orphan” skeins kicking around. Here are the hints you’ll need to choose your own yarn:

  • I used a gradient set – but that is not necessary. Aim for some contrast in colour or tone between the three yarns. The contrast in some sections is quite subtle with the yarns I used.
  • In general the shawl is simple enough that you can be more adventurous with using speckles and variegated colourways – depending on your taste of course.
  • The most significant lace section mainly uses Colour A so if you don’t like your lace in wild yarn this is the colour to have as a tonal or solid or semisolid.
  • I used a single ply but any sock yarn/fingering yarn would work just as well. You can even combine single ply and sock yarn, as long as you like the interplay of slighly different textures. If you have doubt, try knitting a little test swatch.
  •   I used 4mm circular needles.

I hope those tips give you some confidence to choose your own yarn for this project. If you haven’t jumped on board yet, let me enable you: if you grab the pattern by the end of Feb, 1st, you’ll get a special early bird price of 20% off! Happy knitting!

Play

Curious Handmade Knitting Podcast Episode 157

Today I’m looking back on the way my stash has grown and changed as my skills and tastes as a knitter have evolved, as well as keeping you up to date on all my KAL news.

Show Sponsors:

Meadow Yarn

Meadow Yarn is an inviting online retailer selling yarn, needles and notions. It’s a small, family business based in rural Suffolk in the UK. Meadow Yarn was born out of a passion for beautiful yarn and knitting accessories and aims to bring you a range of great products. Yarns stocked include Northbound Knitting, Eden Cottage Yarn, the Fibre Co and many more.

Curious Handmade KAL News:

We have two active Curious Handmade KALs going at the moment. The deadline for both is the 31st of January, so get those posts in!

Vintage Fairy Light KAL

WIPs, FOs and even chat will qualify you for this draw! Modifications to the pattern are welcome. The prize is very special: a skein of the limited edition Hedgerow Yarns colourway created for the Christmas Eve Cast-On Kits!

Knitvent KAL

A photo of an FO from any pattern from any year’s Knitvent collection will qualify you for the draw, as long as you began knitting it in November or later. There are two prizes, TBD!

The Snowmelt MKAL is now on sale at an Early Bird Price!

Melt into spring with 8 weeks of knitting, camaraderie and mystery!

It’s that moment between the last slow weeks of winter and the first sweet days of spring. There’s a gentle tension in the air as the thaw begins: the cosy joys of hibernation give way to a pleasant restlessness. Your heart stirs and the sap starts to run. This is a season of growth and change, but it begins quietly, deep in the frozen ground, before the last of the ice has even disappeared.

This time of year feels nearly miraculous. It offers a chance to renew the dreams that have slept for so long beneath a blanket of snow. The earth is preparing to surprise itself again with a wild swell of springtime creativity. It’s a call to adventure and an invitation to stretch our own creative powers. It’s time to uncover what this fresh new season has in store.

You can get all my Snowmelt MKAL news and tips in the lead up when you sign up for my newsletter through the Spindrift Shawl workshop (link in sidebar) or at the bottom of this post, if you don’t want the workshop.

The first clue will be released Thursday Feb. 2nd!

The Not Seen Before MKAL is now on sale.

This MKAL is to benefit the Sight is Life project, which raises money for sight-saving operations in Congo. I spoke to Kristina Vilimaite about the project on the podcast not long ago. The MKAL will feature clues from 7 designers, including me!

The pattern has been released for presale, and the first clue will come out on January 31s. You can also get it by purchasing the Sight is Life eBook. Learn more in the Sight is Life Ravelry Group

Show Links:

Loop

Misti Alpaca

Radiance Shawl

Brooklyn Tweed

Knit British

FiberTrek video podcast

Zero Waste book

Handmade and Woolen video podcast

Clara Parkes The Yarn Whisperer book

My interview with Clara Parkes

Hole and Sons Instagram

My interview with Ben Hole from Hole and Sons

Angelus Novus Cardigan

Blacker Yarn St. Kilda Mini Skein Set

Pebble Beach Shawl

Magic Knot (double knot) how-to video

Blacker Yarn is hosting the BlackerPod KAL!

Here are the details direct from Blacker Yarn:

To celebrate the Blacker Yarns Podcast Lounge at Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017 we are delighted to announce a C/KAL. If you are making the trip to Edinburgh in March – or even if you can’t, but wish you could – let’s knit together and ramp up that festival excitement.
Details

  • The BlackerPod KAL casts on on the 19th January and casts off on 4th March.
  • You can knit or crochet any design you like, but you must use yarn from Blacker *
  • This C/KAL is open to everyone (whether you can make Edinburgh Yarn Festival or not)
  • Use this thread to chatter about your pattern choices and yarn choices and post pictures of your WIPs
  • There will be a meet up at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. (date and time tba) If you are going to EYF and you wear your FO in 100% Blacker Yarns you will get a discount on the stall as a prize.
  • For those who cannot make it to EYF we will have a FOMO FO thread (fear of missing out finished objects) and there will be a random prize draw after EYF

Also use hashtag #blackerpodkal when you chat online and use blackerpodkal to tag your rav projects

Here are some designs I’ve created in Blacker yarns that you might like to use for the KAL:

Quill Shawl (knit in Blacker Tamar DK weight)

Whispering Island Shawl (knit in Blacker Shetland DK)

Juniper Socks (knit in Blacker Tamar DK weight)

Kindling Hat (knit in Blacker Blue Faced Leister or Blacker West Country Tweed)

Kindling Mitts (knit in Blacker Blue Faced Leister or Blacker West Country Tweed)

You can also get your hands on some Blacker yarn from these stockists:

Meadow Yarn stocks Blacker Tamar in the fingering weight

Suffolk Socks stocks Blacker Tamar in the fingering weight

And in the US The Woolly Thistle stocks Blacker.
The Yarn in The City Podcast is fielding a team for the KAL. I have too much on at the moment to head up a team myself, but I’ll be playing along with my rainbow Pebble Beach!

That’s all for this week! Thanks so much for listening. Happy knitting until next time.

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If you don’t wish to sign up for the Spindrift Shawl pattern and workshop (link in the sidebar) and just want my regular updates sign up here:



Summertide MKAL

I’ve been hinting about this for a few weeks now, and I’m so excited to finally give you all the first taste of this Mystery Knit Along!

Hold on to summer with 8 weeks of knitting, camaraderie and mystery!

We will kick off on Tuesday 1 September when the pattern will be available to pre-purchase on Ravelry. The first clue will be released on Thursday 10 September, with weekly clues released until 1 October.

The Pattern

There’s always a certain wistfulness as the summer drifts towards its end. Our thoughts turn to things like school and schedule, and the freedom and joy of long summer days begins to fade. But there’s another side to the end of summertime: as we return from summer vacations and kids head back to school, pockets of time may begin to open up, where you can indulge yourself with projects of your own. It’s a time to set off on some adventures just for you.

That’s where the Summertide Shawl Mystery Knit-Along will work its magic.

The design is inspired by those precious holiday feelings: festive freedom from workaday responsibilities, the wanderlust of global nomads exploring a brand new city, and the glittery joy of dancing the year’s shortest night away at a solstice festival. Summertide reinterprets familiar favourites with a carefree bohemian vibe: you can look forward to beautiful lace and a modern, feminine and romantic sensibility with a twist. It will keep you guessing with every clue, filling your free moments with a delicious sense of discovery at every turn.

I’ve written Summertide in my beloved percentage checklist format so you can keep track of stitch counts, yardage requirements and pace yourself throughout the KAL. I’ve charted the lace sections, too. With all that reassurance it will be easier to surrender yourself to the mystery of making.

The Yarn

As always, the fibre is a huge part of the experience. The pattern requires two 100g skeins of sock yarn, approximately 400m/440yds each.  It’s designed for two different colours, although the shawl will look great in one colour too. Two of my very favourite yarn people are coming on board to help us choose the colours (and to contribute some beautiful skeins for giveaways!). If you’re anything like me, you might already have some sock yarn in your stash patiently waiting for it’s turn, but if you’re even more like me, you may want to indulge in some brand new skeins just for this very special project. Happily, at Curious Handmade we’re always ready to enable your yarn love!

The recommended yarns for Summertide are:

Skein Top Draw Sock

Skein is about to have a shop update on Friday (always a hotly awaited event!) and we  have a guest post from Kristen coming up recommending some absolutely wonderful colour combinations (I’ve had a sneak preview and they are breathtaking!)

Tosh Merino Light

This perennial favourite can be found at one of our long-time sponsors, Meadow Yarn, and we’ll also have a guest post from Anj about her favourite colour combos! I think you’ll be very inspired.

The Camaraderie!

I’ve started a thread on Ravelry for the MKAL, so it’s never too early to join me there! It’s a great way to meet each other and share the surprise with the community!

In fact, I’ll be having a little draw to give away 10 copies of the pattern, and all you have to do to enter is create a project page on Ravelry and post in the thread to let me know you’re joining us!

So hang onto some of that summer time feeling for yourself as we head into autumn, and join us in the Summertide Shawl Mystery Knitalong!

If you haven’t signed up for the Curious Handmade Newsletter yet, this would be a great time to join us: there will be special early bird discounts for all subscribers.

Happy knitting!