Archives For travel


Curious Handmade Podcast 81

After an absolutely wonderful whirlwind time during June’s Design and Creativity theme, for July I’m casting my mind forward into the summer holidays. In fact, that’s the theme for this month. I’ll be travelling, so I’m pre-recording some episodes around the theme of holidays for the weeks when I’m in Australia.

Show Sponsors

Today’s show is sponsored by The Fibre Co, and their magnificently soft and beautiful Acadia yarn.


TheFibreCo_Logo CH

Acadia is named after the oldest American national park east of the Mississippi river, a place of natural beauty where the sea and mountains meet, slopes are densely forested and wild blueberries abound. Acadia National Park is in the state of Maine, The Fibre Co.’s birthplace.  The yarn inspired by this beautiful region has a rustic look and a soft hand. A subtle tweed effect is created by the silk noil that is combined with a heathered base made from fine merino wool and brown baby alpaca. The yarn is a classic DK weight and makes a beautiful textured fabric that is perfect for next to the skin accessories as well as garments.

My two-colour Whispering Island Shawl sample was knit in Acadia, and it’s gotten so many compliments. You can buy Acadia at our other sponsor’s shop, Meadow Yarn:

Meadow Yarn 

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

Show Links

The Muse Connection Volume Two was last weekend and it was a really wonderful event. Lots of laughter and learning. A huge thank you to my co-host, Kate from A Playful Day, and to the special guests and sponsors who made it such a success.

Rachel Coopey, from Coop Knits who had us giggling about yarn shenanigans

Lydia Gluck, co-editor of Pom Pom Quarterly who regaled us with tales from the world of magazines

Anzula who provided their covetable yarn for our gift bags


Signature Needle Arts who gave us a “tasting session” with their remarkable knitting needles.

It was really special to watch everyone casting on Afternoon Tea at the end!

My visit to Brighton at YAK was so much fun, too. Thanks a million to Kate for hosting my Pebble Beach trunk show, and to everyone who dropped in!

Later in the show, I talk a bit about what I pack when I go away, including my “mobile workplace.” Stitch dictionaries are coming along for sure! Here are a few favourites:

Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary: More than 150 stitch patterns to knit top down, bottom up, back and forth, and in the round

A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns

Super Stitches Knitting: Knitting Essentials Plus a Dictionary of more than 300 Stitch Patterns

My old-school love for notebooks means I always pop a few into my bag to help me with my design work. Favourites include grid or graph notebooks, like this one from Moleskine and a larger one from Paperchase, something like this.

KAL News

I can’t believe it, but the Pebble Beach KAL is ending in two days, on July 5th. This has been so incredible to be a part of. Maybe the best KAL of all time. Thank you so much to everyone who has been a part of this, most especially to my friend Paula, for hosting it on the Knitting Pipeline Group, and to Jo, who has moderated it so beautifully.

If you’ve ever knit one of my patterns, it’s not too late to upload a photo: it doesn’t matter when you started or finished the piece, as long as the photo is in the FO thread by July 5th! You could win a skein of Lace Merino from The Uncommon Thread!

What’s in the WIP

With all the new and re-released pattern chatter lately, I haven’t talked much about what’s on the way. Summer holidays are a perfect time to catch up with WIPs, and I have quite a few I’d like to bring with me. I mentioned in the podcast that this year I’m going to take a break from the Curious Collective shawl design. It’s part of my word for the year: “Simplify.” I’ll miss it, but it’s the right decision for this year. Previous years are still available, if you’d like to revisit those yourself, and later in the summer I’m going to bring out a new design with a fun KAL or perhaps do a mystery KAL!

The first Curious Collective

Curious Collective 2014

I’m also working on two totally new design projects, so they’ll be going in the suitcase. They are still at very early stages, but I’m excited to see where they go. Then I move onto the “just for fun” WIPs which are clamouring to come along.

A Candlelit Shawl in Skein Australia yarn (in the fig colourway.) I’m about halfway done, so I love the idea of actually getting a chance to finish something while I’m on holidays. It’s a beaded shawl, though, and traveling with beads is a little fiddly, so I’m not sure this is one for the airplane.

The Rachel Coopey Oleum Socks that I’m knitting in John Arbon yarn, on the other hand, will make perfect travel knitting, compact, interesting, and simple enough

The Magic Cake Shawl by Paula Emons-Fussle, host of the Knitting Pipeline which I began on the Georgia retreat, is also ideal knitting to travel with: it’s mindless and meditative.

Reyka Pullover by Cirilia Rose in Lopi yarn. I’d actually prefer to be packing the finished object to wear in the Australian winter, but I’d love to finish it while I’m out there.

I am certainly bringing Paula’s marvelous Cave Point shawl which she has just released with Quince and Co’s Shawls 2015 collection of patterns. It’s knit in their Chickadee yarn. I have four lovely skeins in the Audouin colourway, which I got in my giftbag at the Georgia retreat, and I think this would be a wonderful holiday project. really relaxing knitting, at least up to the lace selection!

I’ve also got some sewing WIPs. I might take the chance to use my Mum’s lovely new machine while I can! Here are the patterns I mention:

The Dress Shirt by Merchant and Mills

Geranium by Rae

Washi dress by Rae

Contest winner!

We have a winner for last week’s contest! The lucky Lex has won her choice of pattern from the Norah Gaughan for The Fibre Co. Collection! Here’s her comment:

“I’d like to let you know how much I enjoy your podcasts. When I first listened, I was pretty excited because you sound so local – and I read you are a Queenslander. It made so much sense!

I can’t decide, but it’s a tie between Parkview and Metropolis for me. I like Parkview because it looks so wearable. The think I love about Metropolis is it’s structure. It looks like it could easily replace a blazer in the office.”

So, Lex, which one will you go with? They’re both gorgeous!

Busy show this week! I hope you enjoy it, and that you’re looking forward to the Summer Series as much as I am. Thank you for listening, and happy knitting!

Did you see the announcement about the postcard bloggers last week? Here is the first postcard thanks to Kate of the A Playful Day blog and podcast. I love how she thought about finding colour even in the most urban of environments.

Next week is Clare Devine of Yarn and Pointy Sticks.

Hi Helen,

I know you’ve been thinking about colour this month and I wanted to share one of my favourite games when exploring my home town- ‘find the colour.’

You see, I’ve been a city girl most of my life and London’s hustle and bustle, grey cityscape and urban vibe has always been my colour palette. I ALWAYS choose grey when I buy new yarn. It can get a little dreary though if I’m honest Helen.


So I find myself actively seeking those surprising peeks of colour that you get in modern cities. That unexpected gorgeousness from the produce of the greengrocers on the corner….

produce at greengrocers

The Banksy you gaze at every time you walk by….


Even the rug in your favourite grungy pub can feel like a welcome reminder that colour is everywhere on a grey day.


There’s always something surprising waiting to be found and I like to think of my stash in the same way- a jumble of colours tucked in amongst all that grey!

grey & colourful yarn

Can’t wait to hear you colour and travel stories too!

Kate x

As someone who loves to travel and considers themselves a global nomad, I was really intrigued when I was invited to be part of a blog hop organised by Kate at A Playful Day.

As part of her year of inspiration, called ‘An Inspired 2015‘, she’s been choosing different themes each month to help focus her creativity. This month her theme is ‘Location & Journey’ and she’s asked me to swap a postcard with other fellow global nomads to help share the inspiration around.

So for the next 3 Mondays you will hear from Clare of Yarn and Pointy Sticks, Maria of Subway Knits or Kate. In return, I’ll be sharing my latest inspiration for the theme on their blogs. If you want to share your inspirations or reactions, follow along and contribute with the hashtag #aninspired2015. We’ll be keeping you up to date with the tag #postcardbloggers2015.

Blogger postcards

When I left Australia for a “gap year”, I never would have imagined it would become closer to a  gap quarter-century! Having worked and lived in many different places I have called London home for many years now. Somehow, living in a different place from where I grew up always feels a little bit like being on holiday.

Since having kids, we still travel a lot and while its very different, we still love travelling and now get to see the world through a different (much shorter and slower) perspective.

Sunshine Coast Australia


Next week, expect to hear from Kate who I’ve told needs to think about her colour inspiration as that’s our topic of the month here at Curious Handmade. I wonder what she’ll come up with?