Archives For shawl

Now that I’m home from all my adventures, I wanted to share a little about the launch of The Waves Collection for The Fibre Co. When I spent some time at The Fibre Co. stand over the course of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, I was struck again by what a wonderful experience it was to be in a collection with two incredible designers, working with a company that makes such an amazing product. It was fascinating to see how we all had such unique interpretations of the theme of water: waves, waterfalls, rivers, bays, and quiet pools. Texture was a really huge part of the collection, which makes sense with a yarn as tactile as Road to China. Watching people react to the shawls in person was so meaningful. No one could resist touching them, and people were so generous with their appreciation of all the designs. Hiroko’s gorgeous lacy yellow Lingholm shawl really stood out as a perfect pop of colour, and everyone wanted to try it on!

I absolutely loved seeing all of the shawls together, so I thought I’d share a little of that experience with all of you who couldn’t make it to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival:

Melanie2 Collage

Hiroko Collage

Helen Collage

Top to bottom, left to right: Melanie Berg’s Armadale and Falls of Foyers; Hiroko Payne’s Lingholm and Portinscale; my Kelso and Tobermory.

It was a really big deal for me to be a part of this project, and I want to give a big thank you to The Fibre Co, to my two fellow designers, and to everyone who has commented, sent me messages, and bought the patterns already. It means so much to me to be a part of such a supportive, creative community.

All photos ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

I’m really thrilled to finally be able to share not one but two brand new shawl patterns with you today. Tobermory and Kelso were designed as part of the Waves Collection for The Fibre Co. Three designers each contributed two shawl designs: myself, Melanie Berg, and Hiroko Payne. The Waves collection was created to showcase the incredible Road to China Light yarn from The Fibre Company. Being part of this collection has been a wonderful experience. I’m delighted to be in the company of such wonderful shawl designers, and working with the Road to China Light yarn was a dream.

 

The Tobermory Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The Tobermory shawl is named after an impossibly beautiful seaside town on the Isle of Mull in Scotland, where brightly painted buildings sparkle against the dark blue bay. Legend has it that a Spanish galleon laden with gold lies at the bottom of that bay, lost in the 16th Century and never recovered.

Back of the Tobermory Shawl designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The stripes of the crescent shaped Tobermory shawl hint at the promise of riches beneath the waves. Its easy lace and eyelets were planned to thoughtfully showcase two colours of the gorgeous Road to China Light yarn: lustrous, subtly tonal, and always treasured.

Buy Tobermory on Ravelry!

Kelso Shawl, designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

The Kelso shawl takes its name from a charming Scottish border town which lies nestled in the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot rivers. Known for the romance of its ruined abbey, graceful bridges, and cobblestone streets, it is a place to lose yourself in time as you wander along the riverbanks.

Kelso Shawl designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Photo ©The Fibre Co. and Tommy Martin Photography.

An elongated triangle shawl, Kelso captures the different textures of river and town, with wonderful three-coloured stripes, flickering eyelets and simple lace. The pattern was designed to feature the distinct beauty of the Road to China Light yarn, bringing its complex saturated tones and gentle lustre centrestage.

Buy Kelso on Ravelry!

 

Like so many knitters, my work is deeply influenced by fibre. So many of my designs can trace their beginnings back to a skein of yarn that captured my heart and set my mind working. I always like to share a little about how the fibres I work with spark my creativity, so here’s a little bit more about the fantastic yarn which inspired the Waves Collection. I spent ages pouring over the Road to China shade cards to choose colours…they are all so jewel like and luscious. I spent ages pouring over the shade cards to choose colours. I decided on something a bit more dramatic for Tobermory, and was really influenced by the water theme for Kelso with the blues…I imagine a misty morning on the water with the lavender.

Here’s the description from The Fibre Co.

The Road to China blend was born from our days of owning a small mill back in Maine in the early days of The Fibre Co. Years of fibre exploration at the carding machine hand blending raw fleeces led to the pursuit of the perfect yarn made from truly luxurious fibres. The resulting Road to China blend creates a knit fabric with a soft halo but enough definition to explore subtle textures and shifting patterns. In keeping with the tone of gentle decadence that Road to China brings, we developed a colour palette that is inspired by nature’s jewels and dyed each hank to work in harmony with the raw fibres that go into the blend. Combining the light fawn of the baby alpaca with the soft tones of camel and cashmere as well as the lustrous sheen of silk gives the perfect base for subtle duotones that peek through our saturated colours. Road to China Light is the hank we reach for when we want to create something truly special.

This is one of, if not the, most luxurious yarns I’ve knit with. It’s so soft and silky — incredible to both knit with and wear. Super cosy. I also really came to love the sport weight. It has a bit more body than fingering but still very light. I’m just such a fan.

It’s so exciting to send these two patterns out into the world after working on the designs in secret for so long. I absolutely love this shawls, and I hope you will too! The samples will be on display at The Fibre Company’s stand at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, so you can visit them in person. (I also recommend taking a moment to pet a few skeins of the Road To China yarn!)

It has become a Curious Handmade tradition that I design a special pattern for each retreat. We’ve been so lucky to have The Fibre Company as a retreat sponsor since we began running these events: each time I’ve had the privilege to create a pattern inspired by one of their luxury yarns.  The very first retreat pattern was the Hilltop Shawl, which used the perfectly-named Cumbria yarn. Next came the Bracile Hat and Cowl for the last autumn retreat. They used the amazing woolen-spun Arranmore yarn.

Today I’m excited to release the third CHCH pattern, the Laveer Kerchief, made from The Fibre Company’s luxurious new yarn, Luma.

IMG_3245

Laveer is an evocative old nautical term for sailing against the wind. I love the sense of striving, adventure, and exhilaration in that word, and I think this snug little accessory captures that same sense of exploration. Perfect for windy days on land or sea, Laveer is a jaunty sailor-striped kerchief which exists somewhere in the space between a cowl and a shawl. Knit in the round and featuring easy lace and eyelets, it’s versatile and cosy, but light enough to wear even on warmer days.

You can buy the Laveer pattern here now!

A little bit about the yarn: Luma has a tagline which really sums up this wonderful yarn: “threads of sunlight.” 50% Merino wool, 25% Organic cotton, 15% Linen, 10% Silk.

Here’s the Fibre Company’s description…

A classic DK weight yarn, Luma is inspired by the mood and light found in mid-latitude savannas—those grassland ecosystems with open canopies allowing plenty of sunlight. Daily life in mid-latitude climates, whether in the drier Mediterranean or temperate Great Plains of the USA, is best handled with a layered approach to clothing. Plant-based fibres mixed with silk and wool provide a built-in layer of warmth in winter yet lightness when required in warmer temperatures. The Luma palette includes soft neutrals and bright shades of pink, blue and green.

The colour palette is super fresh and pretty: very spring like and light. I absolutely love it. All of the colours go together very well, so I am very excited to see what combinations the retreat attendees choose for their stripey Laveer kerchiefs! (I also love that you can get two kerchiefs out of two skeins just by reversing the colours!)
The combination of plant and animal fibres is really interesting. The wool gives it some elasticity, the plant fibres give it that light summer feeling and the silk makes it lovely and smooth to knit. The feel of the fabric is soft and light with a nice body to it. This would be really very nice for summer cardis and tops. As always with The Fibre Company yarns the blend is very intriguing and different and very enjoyable to work with…it seems to knit up surprisingly fast, as well. I’m not sure if it’s the touch of silk in there which makes my needles fly or some mysterious sort of magic, but I love it.
If you have a bit of retreat FOMO, hopefully this pattern will cheer you up. I decided to release it as the retreat gets underway. I’m hoping it will inspire you to take a little special knitting time for yourself this week, even if carving out space for a whole retreat wasn’t possible this time. I’m wishing you a special cup full of fragrant tea, your favourite chair, and a few hours of uninterrupted creativity, wherever you may be.

Whispering Island Shawl

I’ve been hinting all week about my newest pattern, and I’m so excited to share it with you all that I’ve decided to release it a day earlier than planned.

The pattern is available on Ravelry to buy now.

“My readers will want to know if Whispering Island is real, set in the great blue harbour in the story – and if the little cottage on the hills is there still…Yes, the island is real, and lies in the great harbour, still full of whispering trees. The little cottage on the hills is still there, with its magnificent view and its old well… I have taken them all and put them into this book for you.”

Enid Blyton “Five Have a Mystery to Solve”

Cliffs and caves, coastlines and caravans: Whispering Island is inspired by the landscapes of beautiful Dorset and the fun to be had there by the young at heart. This generously-sized shawl wants to be slung across your shoulders as you wander through fields, explore forgotten ruins, scramble up hillsides, and toast marshmallows over a campfire.

An elongated triangle shawl with a rounded border, Whispering Island is all about texture. Knit in a rustic, rugged DK weight yarn, it features rippling ridges and just a hint of feminine lace in the eyelets along the edge. Although packed with lovely details, this pattern is amazingly easy and fast to knit: the perfect project for a knitter setting off on their first shawl adventure, or for the experienced knitter who wants something simple to finish by the fireside in the long summer evenings of a camping holiday.

This particular project has been such a joy. It was one of those patterns that seems to know exactly what it wants to be from the beginning, and I had a wonderful time bringing it to life. I also had the immense pleasure of working with three marvellous yarns, which each brought their own magic to the design. As any knitter knows, it all begins with the feeling of fibre in your hands.

Whispering Island in Hole & Sons Yarn

The first inspiration for Whispering Island came from my precious stash of Hole & Sons wool. I was lucky to get my hands on some (the last release sold out online in a matter of minutes.) I knew I needed a very special project to make the most of its wonderful qualities, and I felt it was worthy of its own new pattern. I enthuse at length about what makes this yarn so miraculous in tomorrow’s podcast, where I interview Benjamin Hole about his farm, process, and philosophy.

For the original Whispering Island, I used Hole & Sons Pure Wool in the “Fog” colour. [100% Dorset Poll Pure Wool, 110m/119yds per ball], 6 x 50g balls.

Because there will be a bit of a wait before more Hole & Sons yarn is available for purchase, I also wanted to knit this shawl in some other lovely yarns which allow for more instant gratification.

Whispering Island in Blacker Shetland Yarn

Blacker Yarns Shetland DK shares a lot of qualities with the Hole & Sons wool. Soft, springy, and heathered, it is actually spun in the same mill in Cornwall. It manages to be both rugged and incredibly cuddly, all at the same time, and it’s very smooth on the needles. The colour of the wool, Fawn, is completely natural. It’s an undyed light brown in a creamy caramel shade: it reminds me of Werther’s Originals! [100% Wool, 110m/119yds per ball], 6 x 50g balls]

Whispering Island in Acadia

You’ve probably heard me mention the Fibre Company’s gorgeous Acadia yarn. I was planning to knit a two-colour version of Whispering Island, and I wanted a yarn that would still capture the outdoorsy feeling of my original vision. When I looked at some other shawls knit in Acadia I suddenly knew that this was the perfect yarn for the job. I can’t say enough about what a pleasure this yarn is to work with. The blend of merino, alpaca and silk is wonderfully soft and luxurious with loads of rustic character. [60% Merino wool, 20% Baby alpaca, 20% Silk, 133m/145yds per skein], 4 x 50g skeins, Colour: 2 x Driftwood, 2 x Summersweet]

The result, in all three yarns, is a big, welcoming shawl with lots of heart, an all-season shawl that will be equally at home sheltering you from the soft breezes of a summer evening as it will be cuddling around your neck once the winter winds begin to blow. It’s a surprisingly quick knit, and lots of fun: I’ve made it three times now, and it has never lost its charm.

I really love Whispering Island, and I hope you will too.

Knitvent 2014 has been so much fun this year. I’ve heard from so many people enjoying the patterns, telling me about their festive making efforts and the KAL has been full of gorgeous handknits for weeks. It’s almost time to get all of your entries in to win prizes (more on that in a moment) but first I wanted to extend a festive thank you to everyone.

Curious Handmade Holiday Sale

As well as celebrating the release of single patterns for Knitvent 2014, you can also enjoy any single pattern free with purchase of two others (put all three in cart and you will automatically get one FREE) with the code HAPPYHOLS342 entered at checkout on Ravelry. The offer will run through till Sunday 28 December 2014.

So whether you’ve been craving some beading in the Candlelit Shawl, a simple and soothing lace shawl like Pebble Beach Shawlette or something quick and comforting like the Red Robin Shawl, now is the time to treat yourself after all that gift knitting. 

There’s still time to enter to win fab prizes for the knitalong too. The prizes are lining up and looking really tempting for this one. So if you’ve been knitting from Knitvent 2013 or 2014 over the last few weeks, come tell me about it and you could win one of these fab prizes:

Knit and Let Knit Tote

Fringe Supply Co ‘Knit and Let Knit’ Tote Bag

ECY BFL sock

Eden Cottage Yarns BFL Sock in the Robin Egg colourway (as used in the Candlelit Shawl)

For all the rules of play please take a look at the KAL chatty thread and be sure to post your FO pic in the finished objects thread before 28th December 2014 (for those of you knitting really close to the wire with those gift knits!).

Happy knitting!

Knitvent Week 1- The Candlelit Shawl

Helen —  November 11, 2014 — 2 Comments
Helen2copy (1)

Candlelit Shawl

The Festive Mystery Knit Along is finally here and the first pattern is LIVE!

The Candlelit Shawl is a lightweight shawl that brings a little festive light into your knitting. Work up the fully beaded version for seasonal sparkle or let the simple lace stitches allow your yarn to shine for a quicker but just as satisfying knit. A fingering weight shawl to make use of that lovely one or two skeins in your stash for a special someone who is very deserving – whether that’s you or a loved one!

Candlelit shawl

Candlelit shawl in BFL Sock

Working these shawls up was a joy as the simple lace stitches catch the subtle shifts and tonal changes in handdyed yarns beautifully. The small shawl sample is knit up in Eden Cottage Yarns BFL Sock [100% Wool,399m/436yds per 100g skein], in the ‘Robin Egg’ colourway. You will need just one skein of either this yarn or a 100g skein of fingering or sock weight yarn totalling approximately 399m/436yds to make the small version.

Candlelit Shawl in Tosh Sock

Candlelit Shawl in Tosh Sock

For the medium, I used Madelinetosh Tosh Sock [100% Superwash Merino, 361m/395yds per 100g skein], in the ‘Sand Dune’ colourway. For this larger version you will need 1 and a 1⁄2 100g skeins or 1 and a 1⁄2 100g skeins of fingering or sock weight yarn totaling approximately 542m/592yds.

The Candlelit Shawl is now available as part of the Knitvent 2014 ebook and will be available to purchase individually from 19 December 2014. Join in each week as we take the stress out of holiday knitting and cheer each other on with Knitvent 2014. Each week another pattern is revealed which is perfect for either a gift or your own selfish desires. The Collection will feature 5 accessory patterns with each pattern offering a choice of at least two sizes or tips on how to modify them, all for an introductory price of £9.50 (just under US$15).

 

To celebrate the launch of Knitvent 2014 put both Knitvent 2014 AND Curious Knitvent 2013 ebooks in your basket and the 2013 collection will be FREE! This offer will end Sunday 16th November. 

That’s a total of 13 gorgeous patterns including my incredibly popular Red Robin Shawl for £9.50. After this week, the price of the Collection will go up making this a particularly good bargain!

 

Knitvent 2014

Knitvent 2014

Still undecided? Join in the KnitVent 2014 chatter and fun with our Ravelry group, inspirational blog posts and a newsletter packed full of discounts and goodies, thanks to the Curious Handmade seasonal challenge. You can sign up here for the free Holiday Knitting Planner and Knitvent updates

Let the Curious Handmade community help you get your knitting #giftingzen on this holiday season.

Pebble Beach Shawlette Curious Handmade

Pebble Beach is NOW AVAILABLE and is 25% OFF for TODAY ONLY 14 July 2014 as a launch special!

 

This design was the winner of the Unwind Brighton design competition and was published in the event programme on the weekend.

It is now available to everyone on Ravelry.

Pebble Beach at Kettle Yarn Co

Pebble Beach Shawlette is a light crescent shaped accessory, perfect for keeping off chilly sea breezes while at the beach. This accessory is knit with one skein of luxury sock yarn and is the perfect travel and holiday knitting project.

A simple yet effective lace pattern means this project can be packed alongside your craft magazines and chick-lit beach reading. It drapes beautifully across the shoulders and the picot bind off gives a polished finish like the stones on Brighton Beach.

Pebble Beach cast on

We had a lovely time casting on the shawl at Brighton in the gardens.

Lotta in Pebble Beach

Thank you so much to my lovely test knitters Tinkhickman, Lotusen and GingerLucy!!

You can join in the knit along on the Curious Handmade Ravelry board and there are some LOVELY prizes. More on that soon!

knitting pattern shawl

The big reveal is here! The final pattern for the Curious Collective Shawl has been released in full.

This shawl is the result of the decisions of over 2000 knitters from 55 countries around the world. Participants joined in this “create your own adventure” shawl design project through a series of votes on the Curious Handmade blog.

The crescent shape, chosen by voters, is created by several increase rows and designed to sit beautifully on your shoulders. It also shows off the textured stitch patterns which are inspired by a spring meadow. The shawl is knit using two colours of sock weight yarn, the winning purple hues in the original complement the wildflower theme beautifully.

To everyone who took part – honestly I can’t thank you enough!! This design was truly a collective effort as many of the choices that you all made weren’t always what I would have naturally gone to first and so this has really inspired and challenged me to come up with something really different from my usual designs. It has been an amazing creative boost and I’ve loved every minute of it. All the interesting and supportive comments have meant so much to me too!

knitting pattern shawl

The Official Knit Along starts tomorrow, 26 July 2013. Or today if you’re super keen and all prepared.

If not then you have today to have a scan of the pattern, print it out or download to your tablet device, and get your yarn and needles organised.

Like many of my shawl patterns this is written in my totally non-patented Percentage Checklist format and I have provided some charts too for the more detailed sections of the design.
The percentages make it a breeze to organise a KAL! I’m planning a five week KAL starting tomorrow which will bring us to 31 August as an end date.
Breaking it up in to five weeks gives us a goal of completing 20% of the shawl each week.
Anyone can join in the KAL – it isn’t just for people who participated in the voting process – just jump in at any time. Its going to be fun!!
I haven’t quite ironed out all the details of the KAL just yet so stay posted for that! I have set up a KAL board on the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry so feel free to pop over there and post about the yarn you are using and “register” your participation in the KAL. At this stage I will aim to keep a list of all the participants but if there are too many this might be too ambitious!
The Curious Collective Shawl pattern is available to buy on Ravelry for US $6.

knitting pattern shawl

What do you think of the final result? Leave a comment and let me know if its anything like what you expected or imagined!

knitting pattern shawl wrap

knitting pattern shawl wrap

These photos were taken in our garden and around our neighbourhood in South East London.

knitting pattern shawl wrap

Credits: A huge thank you to my tech editor Emma, photographer Kirsty Barton, graphic designer Noa Nesher and wonderful test knitters martiniiis, michelle166, gringaquilmes and arianwenmcb.