Archives For The Handmade Sock Society Season 3


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

The big reveal of the Stillness Shawl after our MKAL!

After five secret clues and weeks of knitting and good company, today’s the day we reveal the full design of the Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong. On this week’s podcast episode, I’m chatting about the MKAL reveal, updating you on our other KALs and how I’m handling prizes. Along with the Stillness reveal, there’s also a bit of a reveal of my long-term personal project of growing out the grey. It’s the first time my almost-fully silver hair has featured in pattern photos! So today I’m talking about that process, what it was like, and how I feel about it now.

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Altitude Socks

Vapour Socks FO Thread

Altitude Socks FO Thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Use the #knit20for2020 hashtag to enter the KAL on Instagram

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Stillness MKAL

Call Your Girlfriend podcast

Ann Friedman Newsletter


Erica Henry Johnston

Nikol Johnson

@SilverHairandBretonStripes on Instagram

@wellness_with_walda on Instagram

Curious Handmade on Etsy


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 304. 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

Hello and welcome. I hope you having a good week. We are having lovely weather here in Queensland the past couple of days. We had a rainy week and now we’re having a lovely week. So that’s definitely lifting the spirits. I have been hunkering down on doing lots of design work the last week or two, and that’s going really well. I’m really excited about what’s coming up, but that means I can’t really talk too much about my knitting because I haven’t had any time to do any personal knitting projects, but I thought I would update you on some Knitaong news and just have a bit of a chat with you today. So we have the Handmade Sock society happening at the moment for all your lovely sock knitters. And the last pattern was published last week, the altitude socks.

And it was a little bit bittersweet to see that last pattern come out and the society finished for the year, but we still have some Knitalong time to go. So the vapor sock Knitalong is finishing on Tuesday, the 11th of August. So a little bit more time for that one. And then we have the altitude socks, which have just come out and the grand prize for the Knitalong for people who have knit all six socks that will be drawn on the 8th of September. So quite a few weeks left to finish up all six socks if you’re working on that and also be in the draw for the altitude sock, Knitalong. I am basically planning on switching to gift vouchers for prizes, and I will be offering $50 gift vouchers to the indie dyer or yarn shop of your choice, just so that we can get around this postage situation that we have here in Australia post is very slow from here.

And so I’d rather send you something close by or support a yarn shop or indie dyer that’s your favorite or close to you, just to make things a little bit easier and maybe even a little bit more fun. So I’ll be doing that for the rest of the prizes and I am a bit behind in organizing prizes for the Handmade Sock society so far. I’ve managed to get up to date on the knit 20 for 2020 prizes. That’s all up to date, I think, but having said that, today is the last day of the month for July. So I will be drawing that probably over the weekend or early next week for Knitalong. So if you’re working on the knit 20 for 2020 challenge, make sure that you get any things that you’ve knit this month into the thread on Ravelry or alternatively, I also draw from Instagram.

So if you’re posting something for knit 20 for 2020 on Instagram, be sure to tag it with a hashtag as well as let me know your favorite yarn shop or indie dyer, tag them in the post and the winner, which is randomly drawn winner will receive a voucher from that shop. So I draw both from Instagram and the Ravelry thread for that Knitalong. So that’s all that, I can’t believe its end of July already, but there you go. And also ending today is the habitation throat Knitalong. So that was extended and I’m drawing that over the weekend as well. So you might have a little bit of a leeway. If I haven’t look the post, then you can still enter. I’m just letting everything be a bit Wabi sabi at the moment and not too perfect. So please post any habitation throws in the finished object thread that is just in the Ravelry group. I’m afraid.

So hopefully people can post their apologies if you can’t. I set up this Knitalong, a long time ago, and I don’t feel like I can change that now, but I appreciate that some people can’t use Ravelry at the moment, so huge apologies, but I think that’s the best I can do for this at this moment. For the habitation thread, the prize is some set of hand wound, mini-skeins that I have taken from my stash from various designs over the years as well as a tote, which is a knit and light knit, taught back from French supply company. It is sadly closing up. So that will be a collector’s item. And of course last but not least, today is the big reveal. All of these Stillness Shawl Mystery Knitalong. Clue five was released last week. And I have seen so many gorgeous shawls that people have finished posted on Instagram and on Raverly.

And I am so thrilled that people are loving this show and have just knit such beautiful shawl. So I’m super excited about that. And from today seeing as we revealing the final pattern and I’m posting the completed pattern. All the clues consolidated together in one file. You don’t need to the post, the spoiler post on your final show anymore. Thank you to everybody who’s done that so diligently, it’s been really, really good. I have seen very few people posting without the spoiler post. So that’s been just amazing. You’ve been awesome. And the final Knitalong will continue until Friday, August the 28th. So you have until then to be in the drawer for the prize, which again, I will do as a voucher and allow plenty of knitting time for that. So if you have been joining in, on the Knitalong and have just received the final file. You might notice a big change in my hair.

I think this is probably, I have posted as of myself over the last year but this is the first pattern that I have really had with my gray transitioned hair and I feel a little bit self-conscious about it, but really happy. It’s not a hundred percent grown out yet though. Its not a hundred percent fully natural. I still have a few bleached tips at the end, which is a little bit frustrating, but I am tantalizingly close to being a hundred percent natural color. And I’m really happy about that. I can’t wait to have those final bleached bits topped off the end. And I just thought because of that, I would give you a little bit of an update today about, about that topic. I know that for some… For lots of people, lots it of women, it’s not an issue. She, they just never dyed their hair and so they never had to deal with a problem and didn’t take it on as something to do.

And I really admire that, but unfortunately I started dying my hair probably in my twenties and probably had some grace coming through then, probably even at university I don’t know. I was quite young when I first started noticing the gray hairs. And at that time I was kind of just dying my head, have fun with different colors, but it then merged into covering up, the grays. I think a lot of us are in that situation, so then it’s quite difficult to change and make the change in the decision to stop dying your hair. And once you’re in that situation and you decide to stop, then yeah, you really need to deal with the transition somehow and you don’t know what it’s going to be like, you don’t know what you’re going to look like, and you can’t really tell exactly what you going to look like until it’s all natural.

I think even, I can’t really tell exactly how it’s going to be, because I think when you have dye in your head, even if it’s just a little bit, it kind of… I don’t know, it skews how it looks somehow like the light reflecting and it… Ordinary, just the way it grows through it just distorts how your natural color looks like, you can’t really tell exactly what it’s like. I had actually been wanting to grow out my hair for a couple of years. I started to become frustrated by having to diet so frequently and it got to the point where there was really no time that the roots weren’t showing through. And I spent a couple of summer holidays, growing it out, thinking I was going to for it and then getting home and chickening out and dying it again.

And because I am a professional model, because I model my designs, I was always conscious of that. And it was a little bit difficult to get photos taken with growing out hair. And I also had a bit of a fear of, that I would look old and feel old, and that I would feel differently. And I also had a fear that I would be treated differently by society, that people would look at me and think I had let myself go or just look old or not really… Yeah, I had a real fear that I would be treated differently as a gray head woman. So I’ll just quickly share how I did progress to the stage and I had to go back and look at photos to get these dates because I couldn’t remember when I started and I had a vague idea, but this just been such a blow lately. I thought, I was like… Which year was it?

So I last dyed my hair on the 19th of December, 2018 for the holiday season or the parties I went to. Not really, but a couple. And then the way it happened, I didn’t refresh it in January, and then in February we went on holidays, for the half halftime school holidays. And I was sitting there on holidays and I was subscribed to an email newsletter by Anne Friedman, which I really enjoy. She sends lots of interesting links and she’s one half of the call your girlfriend podcasts that I really enjoy it with her co-host animator, Sal. And they’re just fabulous. I really love listening to friends chat and I cover really fantastic topics. Anyway, she does a weekly newsletter. And there was a link to an article about women going gray young. And so I read that article and was quite inspired and that linked to an Instagram account called Grombre, G-R-O-M-B-R-E so Gro and Ombre.

And it’s Instagram account, celebrating women transitioning from dying their hair to going gray, or just going gray naturally from the beginning, which is much easier path, I think now, but anyway, celebrating women with gray hair. And I was transfixed by this account because it was so positive and so many women were posting. It posts photos, plus a little statement by the women or a little bit of their story or their thoughts. And I was just so inspired by this. And I also thought that the women who had gone through growing their hair out and had natural hair, I just honestly thought it just made them look so beautiful and so fabulous, and it just really made their skin look great. And so I decided then and there that I was going to just continue on not dying my hair because by that stage, it was like two months since I’d dyed it and that was starting to show.

And then a month later I was at EYF and feeling a little bit self-conscious because I had really bad rates by that stage or really good but bad, because of the very severe lawn with my dark brown hair. And so I went to EYF and I survived that and I felt a little bit self conscious for photos, but I just didn’t really care too much because I was happy with my decision and I was happy that I was doing it. And then I got to a point where I was just fixating on it all the time. Every time I saw myself, I would just be really annoyed with the line and the contrast between the gray and the brown. And I just wanted it done. I’ve been following another account on Instagram. There was a hairdresser that was doing a lot of transitions where people were just bleaching the hell out of their hair and then toning it with a gray toner.

And so I decided that I would do that as a way to fast track the changing over and I’d convince myself that it would work. And so then in May, I did that and I had my hairdresser bleach my hair and it took two goes because the first time, she didn’t take enough color and it was this really bad. Light brown weird color and then we did it again. And the problem was, in that process, it ended up taking the dye back to square one because I thought she would be able to just split shit from where the color was, but really I think what happened was it bleached all my hair. And so I didn’t have the benefit of that five months growing up, but I’d already achieved. But I was happy with it initially and I have to say it was very fun being blonde for a little while. And I just sort of decided that yes, I would just have fun with doing it that way. And I don’t regret doing that.

The only thing I regret is not making that decision from the beginning because I thought I could cheat the system but yeah. So my tip would be to work out your strategy early on in the process because I waited five months, had it bleached and then I was back to square one in terms of growing. Growing out to the natural color and in retrospect, I should have just got some strikes probably just to even add that line a little bit, but I was… I had a bee in my bonnet that I just wanted it done then and there, and I couldn’t bring myself to cut it that short. I went for this interim approach and I’m probably… I don’t know what I like. I think if I’d cut it that short, it would have been a bit hard to deal with. I don’t know but probably. It probably would have been fun, but I just wasn’t ready to have such short hair.

And so I think if you can handle having short hair, or if you already have short hair, that’s probably the fastest and easy way to do it, just get it all cut off quite short. If you’re keen to just be fully natural, that’s the definitely the quickest way to do it. But if you’re just going to grow it out and keep a bit of length, then I would say even just for a bulb length, it’s probably going to take you two years to grow it out and I didn’t really fully appreciate that. How long it would take when I started? Because when I started, I felt like it was growing out so quickly, every month I was having to diet every four weeks but in reality, that was just like a centimeter. That just seemed like a lot. But when you’re trying to grow it, it seems super, super slow.

So anyway, I just thought I had talk about it this week because I know that a lot of people have not been able to get to hairdressers recently and perhaps are at a point where they have grown-up, they graze a little and maybe wondering about which way to go. So I just wanted to share my story and say, I am so happy that I’ve done this and it’s taken a while and it’s still ongoing, but I’m absolutely thrilled to not have to dye my hair anymore, to not have to put the chemicals on my hair and not have the expense and mostly just to be. I just feel like the color suits me well and I don’t know. People don’t really say too much, but I’m happy with it. And I feel like I don’t care what anybody else thinks too much because I like it. I really like it. And people who know me probably find it a bit startling if they haven’t seen me for a while. But anyway, I think it’s pretty cool.

And I’ve been really, really boosted by a couple of YouTubers as well. Erica Henry Johnson has a great YouTube channel. She’s smart, she’s funny and she’s super positive and down to earth. But I have found her… I think she’s really cool. And she has beautiful gray hair. She’s maybe 10 years younger than me, I think. And she’s a fitness instructor, personal trainer, and… She’s just super cool and does really funny outtakes of her videos with her kids and yeah, I really love her. And there is also Nicole Johnson who is more into the beauty side of things. She’s a model, but super positive and also relatively down to earth, but she talks a lot more about beauty products and makeup. And it’s really more of a beauty channel, but with a real focus on positivity towards aging, which I really like as well.

They have great YouTube videos and on Instagram there’s a huge community of people posting about this, which I discovered through Grombre. There’s also an account called silver hair and Breton stripes that are quite alike, and I recently discovered wellness with Walda, W-A-L-D-A on Instagram as well. Walda Lorena Sky and she has a great account to follow. So I just wanted to share that story and a little bit of the backstory as to the change in my pattern and photos. Just a little note in regards to my pattern availability as probably a lot of know especially if you’re on Instagram regularly or on Ravelry regularly, you will have seen the issues with the redesigned Ravelry site and that it’s causing people, headaches, seizures, and health issues. So eyes, things like that. And for that reason, I have decided to try to get my patterns up on an alternative platform.

And to be honest, I’ve been planning to try and create my own shop on my website anyway, and this is giving me more of a push to do that. But because it wasn’t sort of a current project it’s taking me a while to do. So, what I’ve decided to do is put at least some of my patterns on Etsy for the time being, I won’t be posting all of them because I have over a hundred now, but I’ll post some of the more recent ones. And in the main time work on developing my own shop on my website. It’s a little bit complicated because I’m currently redeveloping my own website anyway, and that’s been a project that I’ve been working on for about three years. So that might give you an idea of how long it takes me to do these technical things. So I thought I would be able to get a shop up quite quickly, but actually there’s a lot of considerations, especially when you have a lot of patterns.

And I’m also rebranding my patterns to be all in the same format and branding. And that’s also a very time intensive project as well. So I thought it would be reasonably simple to do, but it’s proving to be a bit more complicated. But I just wanted to let you know that I will have some patterns on Etsy and I’m working on an alternative solution as I go through the set of requirements. For evaluating different platforms, I do just come back to appreciating how amazing Ravelry is as a platform for knitting patterns and just I’m really hoping that they can get the site back to being accessible for everybody. I am trying to think the best and I’m sure that they’re trying to solve the problem, but have not been able to do it yet and I’m trying to provide an alternative for people as well. And that’s fine because as an indie designer, I think it’s good to have a little bit of independence from just one platform anyway, but it is a big job.

I will post the link to my Etsy shop. At the moment I’ve just set it up and have posted only a couple of patterns so far, but hopefully by the time this podcast is released in the next few days, I will have been able to post a few more patterns up there as well, and that will be an ongoing project. So thank you as always for your support, thank you to the people who buy my patterns and knit them and thank you. To all of you who are listening I appreciate you so much. I hope you’re looking after yourselves and going okay at the moment. I’m thinking of you all and just hoping that everyone all around the world is well and not experiencing too much stress by the situation. I’m sure that most people are experiencing higher levels of stress than normal. So yes, I really hope that this podcast can provide a little bit of light relief, a little bit of company, and yes, I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking about you. Just before I sign off, I like to thank my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.


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

24 mini balls for the Habitation Throw KAL prize!

A flying visit! Today’s podcast is short and sweet: a little catch up episode where I update you on some KAL news and chat about my personal creative projects and design work. For anyone that’s been missing The Shawl Society this year, the beginnings of a new shawl design are underway…

Show Links:

The Handmade Sock Society Season 3 KALs

The Handmade Society 3 KALs continue!

The Cirrus Socks FO Thread will close on Tuesday the 14th of July, and the Vapour Socks FO Thread will be ongoing for another month!

I’ve decided to extend the deadline for the Habitation Throw KAL again, until the end of July. So many people are still knitting it, and it’s such a big project. It’s meant to be relaxing and I didn’t want to rush you! If you finish your throw by the end of the month, make sure to post it in the Habitation Throw KAL FO thread for your chance to win a 24 mini set of 20oz yarn balls from my own stash and projects.

The 3rd Stillness MKAL clue was just released! So many incredible knitters have been posting their progress, with more starting every day. There is plenty of time to “catch up” if you want to, and knitting at your own pace is highly encouraged…we have two months before the KAL deadline if you want to be in with a chance for a prize so no pressure!

If you want to be a part of this mystery, make sure to grab your copy of the pattern, and then come say hi in the Stillness MKAL chat thread, the Clue 1 Spoiler Thread or the Clue 2 Spoiler thread to see where we’re up to now. If you haven’t joined yet and want to learn more, make sure you check out the blog post with answers to the most frequently asked questions we get about the Stillness MKAL.

Kitch Kreative Project Bags


Lamington National Park

Louie and Lola Yarn

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish


House Quilt Block Tutorial


Welcome to The Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 302. 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

Hello, and welcome to this week’s show. I hope you’re having a good week. I’m having a good week. It’s been pretty quiet. Puppy and school holidays are keeping me really busy and I haven’t been able to concentrate on much. It’s been one of those weeks where you can’t even think what’s happened. So I have managed to do a little bit of work, but it has been very interrupted and distracted. So not the most productive, but not terrible.

The kids are going back to school next week, so I’ve been trying to plan ahead a little bit about what this term might look like. I think it might be fairly straightforward, but it’s really too early to say. We have just had Victoria, one of the southern states in Australia be locked down again, well the Melbourne area anyway. And so it really is just a moving feast. And I do not envy our politicians dealing with the ups and downs of what’s happening with COVID-19 and all the businesses and people also dealing with it all around the world. It’s pretty insane and different countries are in very different places with it, but we’re all being impacted. So yeah, it’s pretty crazy. And I feel like it is making it very difficult to plan, but just trying to take it in short blocks at a time. So I’m going to try and look at this coming term and maybe just sort of thinking ahead to about September or October, we’ll see, who knows. Who knows.

So we have lots of knit alongs and things happening at the moment. And I just wanted to give you a little reminder that if you are participating in the handmade sock society knit along the sock four knit along will end on Tuesday, the 14th of July. So, that is the Cirrus socks. And if you’ve knit a pair of the Cirrus socks, get them into the thread by the 14th of July. And then the Vapor socks knit along is continuing for another month or so. And then the final socks for this year’s sock society will be released on the 21st of July. So that is one and a half weeks time. So yeah, so it’s all happening. The handmade sock society is nearly over. We will have the knit alongs continuing right through until September. So we’ll give you another two months from the publication of the sixth and last socks to either knit those ones or finish all six because we’ll have a grand prize for all six socks as well.

Then we have a knit along happening for the habitation throw. And this is my bad, a little bit, a lot. So for the habitation throw, we had the knit along happening through May, and then I was really slow to make the prize because the prize is 24 mini skeins that I’ve selected from my stash and previous projects, a 20 gram mini skein. So it’s a really lovely prize and I’m adding a tote for the prize, it’s from the fringe supply company. So I took ages to make that because it took me quite a while to hand wind the 24 mini skeins. Mini skeins, mini balls. And then I thought, okay, I’ll extend it to the end of June, but I didn’t announce that. Because I kept forgetting, because June was so crazy. And so now I’ve decided I will extend the habitation throw knit along to the end of July. And I’m finally announcing it and I will publish pictures of the prize and put it in the threads.

And so I’m hoping that you’ll forgive me and that if anybody has been knitting away on a habitation throw in the meantime and is continuing a one at the moment, you can enter it in the thread on Ravelry up until the 31st of July. And we’ll draw the prize soon after that. So, yes, apologies for the change of end date. Things are just getting away from me a little bit here. My yarn balls are dropping all around me and I’m just trying to make things happen the best I can. So the habitation throw knit along has been extended until the end of July. So I hope that people … I see a lot of people knitting it on Instagram and Ravelry. So all you have to do is post a picture in the thread of your habitation throw to be in the draw for a really lovely prize.

And then for the stillness mystery knit along, we have clue three out yesterday, and I am just absolutely loving seeing your posts on Instagram and Ravelry. It is so delightful to see all the color combinations. It’s so fun and I’m just absolutely loving them. And yeah. So thank you for posting and thank you for posting spoiler cover pictures so that people who don’t get the clues aren’t spoiled just yet. We will have a big reveal after the last clue comes out. But in the meantime, we’re just keeping it a secret for people who are on earlier clues still, and you can still join in any time. You’ll just get whatever clues have been published so far. There’s two clues to come. There’s five clues all together for this mystery knit along. And if you’re someone who doesn’t really like surprises, you can get a sense of what the shawl is like by looking at the spoilers.

I never have the discipline to not look at the spoilers myself, but I admire people who can keep it a surprise for themselves. So apart from trying to get on top of a little bit of admin, and catch up with things over the last couple of weeks, I have been doing a little bit of design work. I’ve been working on a shawl design for a retreat I’m attending here in October. Earlier in the year, I was invited by Kylie, who has a project bag at Sea Shop, which is called Kitch Kreative, which is K-I-T-C-H K-R-E-A-T-I-V-E. And yeah, she’s organizing this wonderful retreat at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a bush getaway. It’s a campground. And it has some cabins and lovely facilities in a place called Lemington National Park, which is a couple of hours south of where I live.

And it’s just an absolutely beautiful location. My parents had their honeymoon at O’Reilly’s and we used to go camping and bush walking there when I was a kid. And I’ve been once camping with my husband when we were dating, maybe, I think, yeah, very early on in our relationship, we went there for a camping trip. And I haven’t been since then. So I’m really, really looking forward to it. It’s such a gorgeous place. So I’m designing a beautiful shawl in yarn, which is Louie and Lola and Karina is a indie dyer based in Tasmania here in Australia. I recently discovered her and yeah, just absolutely delighted to be designing with her yarn. So that’s really fun. And that’s been a really lovely project the last couple of weeks because I haven’t designed a shawl all year. This is the first shawl I’ve designed this year. So that’s kind of funny, but it’s nice to be looking at shawls again.

And it’s got me thinking about what collections and designs I might do next year, because this year I decided I would need a really cut back year in terms of designing. I knew we would be settling into Australia and getting kids sorted, getting my business established here, which has been a lot of admin, sort of closing things down in the UK and setting things up here and sort of personally as well and all sorts of things. And so I made the decision last year to just do the handmade sock society this year and net band. And then I thought if I’m able to I’ll do the mystery knit along. So that happened as well, which was fab. But yes, so now I’m thinking about next year and trying to decide whether I keep it a bit cut down and just do one society or whether I’ll be able to do both next year.

Anyway, so I think I’ll do the shawls next year instead of the socks possibly, but I might be able to do the socks as well. So we’ll see. I’m not sure, but I’m looking forward to doing some shawl designs again, because this has really made me realize how much fun it is to design the shawls. I am kind of thinking about doing a little survey to find out what people are looking for at the moment. I feel like I’ve just been kind of going along, making it up and doing collections and sort of managing what I can. And I always like to base it on feedback from my knitters and I do get a lot of feedback, sort of just through comments and emails and responses to things that I do. But I thought maybe it would be a good time to do a little bit more of sort of a formal feedback on what people are looking for next year.

Anyway, that’s another thing that I’m thinking about doing that will probably take me a little bit of time to get organized, but yeah, I’d love to know what people think. With all that going on, I haven’t had a huge amount of time to do much else. I did have an afternoon last weekend where my mom and sister came over for some sewing and I’d managed to set up my sewing machine in preparation for sewing my little houses quilt. And I managed one seam by the time I got everything set up, tidied up the massive mess that the kids had made in the room and figured out my new machine, because I’ve had this machine for about four years and haven’t actually had time to use it. So I had to go back to the manual and figure out how to thread it and some basics like that.

So I didn’t make much progress, but I feel really happy that I’ve made that much progress. Got it set up, ready to go. And I realized that some of the fabric that I had cut out for the blocks wasn’t really the quality that it needed to be. When I was sewing the pieces together, I realized that the white fabric that I bought from Spotlight, which is like, I don’t know whether it’s like a Joanne’s here, but it’s like a kind of more of a budget craft store. I think it’s fair to say. And they have really, really lovely things there, but this fabric, when I looked at it, the weave was really open compared to the other fabric I was using. And so I had to go back to square one with that and purchase different fabric. And now I’ll have to cut that out into a million small squares.

So it was kind of one step forward, two steps backwards with that project, but that’s okay. I’m back on track again. I have the white fabric and yeah, will be able to move forward again. So yeah, so I’ve been working on that. I’ve been working on hand sewing my Liberty hexies, making lots of little hexie flowers and that’s been very enjoyable. And a little bit of knitting on my Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish, but not so much of that because I’ve been doing the other design knitting this week. So I don’t have lots of updates for you. And I think that’s all sort of the news and announcements I need to make. I always remember something after I finished recording, but yes, I think I’ve covered most of it. And I’ll just make it a fairly short and sweet episode this week.

So thank you very much for tuning in. Have a fantastic week, everybody. I hope you’re keeping well. I hope you keeping sane. I hope you’re able to do some lovely crafting and relax a little bit amongst all the ups and downs and basically chaos in our lives at the moment. And yes, all my love. Talk to you soon.


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

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


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

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.


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

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


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 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 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 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.


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

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


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 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 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, 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.

CH 285: The Luminary Socks

Helen —  February 28, 2020 — Leave a comment

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

Show Links

Terracotta Socks by Woolfield Studio

Birch Hollow Fibers

Bembe Socks by Dawn Henderson

Luminary Socks from The Handmade Sock Society Season 3

IndieLynx on Instagram

Tinkhickman on Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to Episode 285. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes on my website at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Photo Credit: Laine Magazine

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

Show Links

Join The Handmade Sock Society 3 here!

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

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

Sock Pattern Release Schedule:

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

Here’s what you need to know:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laine Magazine’s 52 Weeks of Socks book

Snippet Socks

The Wool Barn

Pebbles and Pathways Socks by Marceline Smith

Intersections Socks by Marceline Smith

Branches by Amanda Jones

House of A La Mode

Porch Light by Lindsey Fowler

Little Lionhead Knits

Lucerna by Fabienne Gassmann

John Arbon


Riverbed by Joji Locatelli

Bembe by Dawn Henderson

Quince & Co. 

Tinkhickman on Instagram

The Comfy Red Couch on Instagram

The Wool Barn on Instagram


Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 283. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Show Links

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

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

The Australian Red Cross

The Nature Foundation in South Australia

Thank you so much for all your love and support!

Ravelry names of our KAL winners:

Knitvent2019 KAL winner: tweedy2shoes

The Shawl Society 4 Grand KAL winner: wikinger

The Handmade Sock Society Grand KAL winner: madamepurl

Winners for the individual shawls:

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

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

Winners for the individual socks:

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

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

Show Transcript: 

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 282. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Deb Hickman

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

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

Part 1 of The Sock Series: Choosing Yarn

Part 2 of The Sock Series: Needles and Techniques

Part 3 of The Sock Series: Casting On

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

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

Part 5 of The Sock Series: Closing the Toes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She also has a brilliant slow-mo version!

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

How to do the Kitchener Stitch:

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

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

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

Now it’s time to Kitchener:

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

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

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

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

Happy knitting,
Helen x

Part 1 of The Sock Series: Choosing Yarn

Part 2 of The Sock Series: Needles and Techniques

Part 3 of The Sock Series: Casting On

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