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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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Keeping this little fluff busy is a big job.

In this week’s short and sweet episode, I have puppy stories: we’re learning to train our little rascal and keep her entertained (and out of my stash!) I also have some WIP reports and a gift for anyone who might be suffering with Yarn Advent Calendar FOMO right now. Finally, as we enter the last quarter of the year, I’m taking stock of the Knit 20 for 2020 projects and seeing what’s left to check off my list.

Show Links:

Kong dog toys

Sign up to the Curious Handmade Newsletter and Get the Make Your Own Yarn Calendar ebook

(If you’re already on the mailing list, I’ll be sending out a copy in the next newsletter, so you don’t need to sign up again!)

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

Píosa by Renée Callahan

The Knit 20 for 2020 KAL instructions

Knit 20 for 2020 Ravelry FO Thread

Barrett Wool Co.

Show Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 310. 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 curious handmade.com.

Hello, and welcome. How are you this week? I’m having a great week. My tactics that I talked about on the show to reduce anxiety are definitely helping. It’s still there, but I seem to be keeping it at reasonably manageable levels this week, and I hope you are too. If you can hear a little bit of background noise, that’s puppy playing with her new toy, which I’ll tell you about in a minute. This week is the first of two weeks school holidays here, and we’re not doing too many activities, but I’m aiming for some fun gentle moments with the kids throughout the two weeks. It was the spring equinox here for us in the Southern hemisphere this week on Tuesday, and here in Queensland, it felt like we were going straight into summer some days. It was 28 degrees Celsius. I don’t have a conversion for that off the top of my head, but it was quite warm. And also quite humid.

The kids had first swim in the pool for the season this week, Lexi had her cast taken off on Friday before the holidays, much to her delight. And my delight as well. What else have we been up to? Oh yes, yesterday we had a puppy training session for Sindy, which was really fun and I learned a lot, and then as soon as the puppy trainer left, I couldn’t really remember exactly what he did and how he managed to do things. So I think I need to spend some time just focusing on that with her. It’s a little bit difficult to do that sometimes. But I just thought I’d mention a really interesting tip that he gave us. He introduced us to a toy called a Kong, which is K-O-N-G as in King Kong. I’m not sure what the name means, if anything. It’s the name of the company. It’s a cone-shaped thing that you can… It’s hollow, so you can put food into it or just the puppy can just chew on it.

I’ve seen them around, but what he said was quite interesting, was that… He said we could put all her meals in it, and then she eats the meals from that all the time. And he said he has a client who has six of them, and they hide them around the garden for their German shepherd throughout the day. It gives them an activity as well as their food. So he said you could get good value out of meals by making them into drawn out activities for the puppy, and that keeps them quite occupied and happy throughout the day. So I thought that was pretty interesting, and I’d never really heard of that as an idea before. I always thought you just put food in the bowl for them. So, yeah. I just thought I’d share that for you, and I’ll put a link to the company in the show notes. I’m sure there’s other companies that do this kind of thing as well, but this is what I’ve seen around here and what he recommended.

On the Curious Handmade work front, I have been doing a little bit of work this week. Not as much as the last couple of weeks where I was quite productive, but still managed to get a little bit of work on Knitvent done, and I’m so working away on the collection and putting final touches to it. Inevitably I decide to do an extra sample of something just to have a bit more variety in the photographs and things like that. So even after eight years, it still takes me a lot longer than I anticipate to get everything together. I’m doing some photographs on the weekend, so I’m looking forward to that. As I mentioned last week, the past few years, I have included a pattern designed especially for the Advent Yarn Kits and this year I’m continuing that tradition.

I remember that last year we created a little make your own yarn advent calendar ebook, with some tips and ideas for creating your own yarn advent calendar, because I’ve had a lot of comments from knitters asking where they can get hold of yarn advent calendars. Some people are always sad because they do get sold out quite quickly, and a lot of the dyers put them on sale very early in the year because they’re so time-intensive to make, so they sell them and get them ready quite early for four people. So if you’ve missed out or it’s outside your budget, then it’s a great way to use up scraps if you’ve been knitting for a little while. Most of us have a lot of leftovers in the stash already and if we tend to stick to a particular color palette, they probably coordinate quite well. I have quite a few friends now who established an annual tradition to swap with their knitting BFF or in their knitting group where everybody makes up a yarn advent calendar from their stash and then they swap.

If you don’t have lots of leftovers, but still want to make your own, you can use full skeins of yarn and then either divide it up so that some of the colors are repeated or dip into some skeins to top up a set of minis or something like that. So you can be quite creative with it, and I think now is a really good time to think about this. So I have a revived the ebooklet, and I’ll put a link in the show notes where you can get hold of that if you would like to get a copy and make your own yarn advent calendar. I think I’m going to make one or two this year for some friends. I really enjoyed putting together the minis for the prize.

I put together basically a yarn advent calendar for the prize for the habitation throw knit along, and I used a nostepinne, which is a little wooden stick for want of a better word. It’s a bit nicer than a stick, but it’s just a shaped wooden turned knitting tool to hand wind yarn around. So I did that with 24 minis, and it was a very relaxing activity while I watched some YouTube videos and knitting podcasts and things like that. It was very enjoyable. So I think I’ll make another couple of those with some of my many leftovers.

Apart from working away on Knitvent samples this week, I have been knitting on my Hermione Jean Granger by The Cleverest Stitch, who’s Tyne Swedish, and I’m just kind of making that a little bit bigger than the pattern calls for, because I have some of the gorgeous La Bien Aimée yarn to use, and the pattern doesn’t use all of the… It’s a three skein, three color pattern, but it’s not using up much of some colors, so I’m going to extend it and add in a few more stripes. So that’s been a super relaxing knit. It’s garter stitch and just fun stripes, perfect TV relaxing knitting, so I’ve been working on that and highly recommend Cleverest Stitch’s patterns. She has some gorgeous patterns available in her collections and they all look very fun, so I’m going to probably do another one after this.

I’ve been having a little look at my Knit 20 for 2020 list, and this will cover a new to me designer. I haven’t knit any of her designs before. And also a shawl. And it’s just reminded me to let you know that this is the last week for September if you’d like to enter into the Knit 20 for 20 knit along. The prizes are a 50 US dollar gift voucher from your yarn shop or indie dyer of choice. And there is a prize drawn from the Ravelry thread in my curious handmade group on Ravelry. And I also draw a prize from Instagram with projects tagged Knit 20 for 2020. So please do go ahead and post your projects in either place, and I draw two winners, one from each. And if you’d like to know more about it, you can find out more on my website, curioushandmade.com, or in the rivalry thread in the group.

I’m not sure that I’m going to manage to tick off all 20 prompts myself before the end of the year, but I think I’m going to do reasonably well. I have my kit from Barrett Wool Company for the really cute panda and I don’t know if I’ll finish that before the end of the year. I’d like to try. I definitely want to finish my Piosa cardigan to tick off the cardigan category, and I haven’t yet attempted brioche. So I definitely really want to try to do some brioche knitting for the end of the year. Otherwise I probably can make the other categories work with the projects that I am knitting or have finished. But yes, definitely brioche and knitting a toy are ones that I would definitely have to start new projects for to be able to fulfill those.

Anyway, it’s been a fun challenge so far, and while we still have a quarter left, October, November, December. Yeah, just quarter. Yeah, went very, very slowly at the beginning and has now speeded up quite disconcertingly. I’m not sure if you’re with me on that, but for everybody playing along, just know that there’s one week left for September and then three months left for the year. I think it’s going to be a really short and sweet episode this week. There probably a bit of background noise. Hopefully my podcast editor isn’t too frustrated, but my children are kind of rampaging. The dog’s passed out out of tiredness from today, but they seem to be ramping up activities so I better go and sort that out.

So I do hope you’re well and going okay, wherever you are in the world. Have a good week. I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.



Play

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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Lovely Skein Yarn for the Droplet Capelet

After an unexpected break to wrestle life into a reasonably manageable shape, the podcast is back! Today I have a giant group of giveaway winners from Today on the Curious Handmade Podcast I have some hints about the upcoming Knitvent collection (did someone say scrappy?) I also have a chat about how I’m coping with anxiety these days, with some resources to share. One of the things that helps ground me a lot is having a few tiny habits to anchor my days, and I’d love to hear about yours.

Show Links:

Resources I’ve found to help with Anxiety:

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

Healthline Anxiety

Black Dog Institute Anxiety

Very Well Mind Anxiety

Other show links:

The Strawberry Thief

Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 309. 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 curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. How are you this week? I’m having a pretty good week feeling okay and being reasonably productive. The kids are well and puppy’s well, and all the mice seem well also, yes. As I talked about last week, the thousand-item purge major decluttering session in the last month or so has really done wonders for reducing anxiety and I’m already planning another session tackling some remaining problem areas and, yeah, just keeping going on the quest to lead a simplified life. It’s already helping me be more motivated and get things done more quickly so that’s fantastic.

Although I have been reading a little bit of the news this morning and I don’t do that too often, I find that it stresses me out too much and this morning was really no exception. I’m sort of reading the news and then I start thinking about all my friends and family all around the world and all of you and wonder how you’re all feeling and doing. My thoughts are with people on the West Coast in the U.S. battling terrible fires and smoke, and my thoughts are also with the refugees on Lesbos in the Moria Camp where a fire broke out and destroyed the refugee camp there. So that’s also another terrible situation.

It’s a lot altogether with COVID and racial injustice and divisive political situations all around the world at the moment. It can be very anxiety-producing and give you a bit of a feeling of helplessness really. And I don’t know, I guess I didn’t want to start this episode with a big downer, but I just wanted to acknowledge all of this today because I know that there are just so many people who are so worried and stressed, especially in the U.S., but all around the world with kids going back to school and just so many things, all the things. I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you and I hear you.

I’m going to pop a few links in the show notes today that I’ve found helpful for some tips to manage anxiety for what it’s worth. I’m following the Tiny Habits which is a great book I read recently by BJ Fogg, and that method of just trying to incorporate one or two tiny habits into my routine to actively try to manage my anxiety. And it does help. So some things I’m doing is I’ll just generally try to focus on my circle of control and influence and not on my circle of concern and the worries.

At the beginning of the year one of my happiness projects was creating a gratitude journal that I do each evening with the goals and we each write down three things we’re grateful for. And we are definitely a little bit ad hoc

about doing it but we’ve kept it up over the year, not every day, but at least in a way consistently. And that is a really nice moment in the day and I think it definitely helps us all.

Yesterday I made sure that I’m on the electoral roll here in Australia, and I found out that the next election in Queensland is the 31st of October this year so I was glad that I finally did that to-do item on my list. Having been out of the country for many, many years I wasn’t sure what my status was, and today I’m going to set up one or two regular donations to charities and maybe some one-off donations as well for really topicals issues at the moment.

I’ve been getting a lot of joy from my small gardening efforts and yeah, one of the most successful efforts for my gardening which is really I feel like a tiny habit is growing sprouts. That’s been my most consistent gardening effort and it’s also been my most productive, growing a batch of sprouts each week. And I’ve mostly been doing alfalfa but also sometimes broccoli sprouts, which I hadn’t even heard or thought of before but it’s apparently incredibly good for you. And I quite, I really like the taste. It’s a bit of a weird paste but I really, really like it. It’s gives a bit of a punch to your sandwich if you put your sprouts on your sandwiches or in a salad. So that’s a little tip of, I think a gardening thing that probably anyone could do is grow sprouts in your kitchen.

I’ve actually been using my standing desk to stand up and I am standing out right now as I record this and wondering why I haven’t been doing this more because I already feel more energetic, and you can probably hear it in my voice that are more energetic talking while I’m standing up. And one thing I have been wanting to start doing all year and have done a tiny bit of but not very much is some kind of breathing, meditation, stretching habit. That one is a to-do, is still on my wishlist, I wish I could start doing this more regularly.

But I think from everything I read about managing anxiety and stress this is always comes up as the best thing you can do for yourself, so I think I’m quite silly not to be doing it, but I don’t know. Like a lot of things that are good for us we don’t do, but I’m going to just try again to tackle this as a tiny habit and see if I can manage to get myself to meditate or do breathing exercises for one minute a day or something like that. I have to design the tiny habit to work in my routine.

Anyway, that’s some things I’m thinking about and doing and might give you some inspiration of small things you might like to try as well. I’ll put the links to a few articles in the show notes. And of course I am not a health professional, I have no background in this kind of thing but I thought I’d share some encouragement because I’m finding these things helpful to keep me going, keep me positive and yeah, I just thought I’d share today. If you want to share with me one tiny thing you can be proactive and take a bit of control or you’re welcome to email me or drop a note on Instagram and let me know your little tiny habit and give yourself a big yes and a big pat on the back for when you do it.

In knitting news, I did promise you some knitting news this week after my decluttering chat last week. I’ve been doing a lot of work and designing and knitting samples for Knitvent 2020, which is coming up quite soon now. I can’t believe we’re halfway through September, it’s all the crazy. I felt like time slowed down massively through March, April, May, June, and now it seems to be speeding back up again going into the end of the year, but that’s the way it goes, isn’t it?

Yes, I’ve been doing a lot of work. And the last few years I’ve designed a pattern especially for Advent Yarn Kits, which typically have 24 mini-skeins, and this year I’m continuing this tradition for Knitvent. And I think I can tell you that it’s going to be suitable for a 10 gram mini-skein set. So people who have a 10 gram set can do the pattern and also a lot of the Advent kits are 20 gram sets so they can either do two of the item or perhaps do a different scrappy project with the other half of their kit. So that’s what I’m thinking about.

And I did manage to have Sunday off work, so very happy about that. I’m trying to carve out a little bit of time for personal crafty projects. And I was working quite a bit on my Liberty Hexie project, which is an English paper-piecing quilt or quilts, I should say, because I’m doing two. I have subscribed to kits from a company here in Australia called The Strawberry Thief, they’re based over in Perth and they’re specialize in Liberty fabric. And so I’m working on both a two-inch and one-inch hexie project.

Hopefully I’ll quilt, hopefully I’ll make enough hexies and flowers to do a quilt, that’s the goal for two quilts. And yes, I really enjoy the process, I enjoy the process of making each hexie where I’m using the method of gluing the fabric to a piece of heavy paper-like cardboard, and then they get sewn into hexie flowers. So one hexie in the middle and then six petals, and then eventually those flowers will be made into the quilts but for the moment it’s just a matter of making the flowers. So I enjoy all parts of that process and yeah, giving me a lot of joy.

And on the knitting side I started a new project which I have no business starting because I have too many wips, but I couldn’t resist starting the Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron. And I’ve been wanting to knit one of her patterns for a while. I’ve been wanting to support her because she’s a brilliant designer, I love her aesthetic and she’s so sophisticated. I’ve purchased several of her patterns but I hadn’t got as far as downloading them. And when I downloaded the Droplet Capelet pattern I was so delighted with the pattern. She has a beautiful story about the design and she has super clear instructions, schematics, how to choose your size, video support for casting on and casting off. It’s quite incredible and inspiring, so thank you, Denise, for the incredible work you’ve put into this pattern.

I am knitting this in a skein from the stash. One of my precious skeins, which is by Skein Australia, and so the colorway is a gorgeous light blue, a very dreamy light blue with aquamarine speckles and some lime-green speckles as well. It’s going to be so fun to knit and I’m going to knit this for my daughter Sophie, who really likes that kind of garment. I like her little, I want to say poncho capelet. Ponchos aren’t really considered to be very cool but this is a very cool item so I don’t really want to call it a poncho, let’s stick with capelet like the name says.

Yeah, this is a super fun knit and I think it should be fairly fast. It’s a one-skein project and the size I’m getting for Sophie, which is the smallest size and I will keep you posted on progress. I have started quite a lot of projects this year and I’m not finishing them, but yeah, I’m just going to plug away and hopefully finish this by the end of the year. But to be honest, because I’m knitting it for Sophie it doesn’t really need to be done until next winter which is next June here, that we’re just coming into spring here. So there’s no real rush on this one, it’s just something to knit for fun. That’s all the crafty knitting news I have for you this week. As I said in the introduction, I really hope you’re doing okay. I’m sending you all my love wherever you are in the wild and have a great week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.



CH 308: 1000 Item Purge

Amanda —  September 11, 2020 — Leave a comment
Play

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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

After an unexpected break to wrestle life into a reasonably manageable shape, the podcast is back! Today I have a giant group of giveaway winners from all of our KALs to celebrate. I also have a report from the island of decluttering, where I’ve been living for the last few weeks…

Show Links:

– THSS #5 Vapour Socks KAL: Post 21 – fifilou

THSS #6 Altitude Socks KAL: Post 9 – atrinka

– THSS3 Grand KAL: Post 29 – TheFibersmith

– Stillness MKAL: Post 460 Jastauff

– August knit20for2020

Ravelry winner:

Post 73 Pattyknits36

KNIT Long Island

Instagram winner:

@shellyknitsallthethings

White Gum Wool

The 30 Day Minimalism Game

#minsgame

Clutterbug: 5 Decluttering Methods

Simple Happy Zen: Emotional Decluttering

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 308. 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 curioushomemade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome to the show. How are you this week? Last time I spoke to you three weeks ago, I was having a little bit of a challenging time with things going on at home, and that continued to be the case for longer than I hoped and anticipated. So I had an unplanned week off last week after a planned week off the week before.

And I don’t feel good about missing weeks on the podcast, especially when they’re unplanned, but I really needed to give myself the time last week. When I record the podcast, it’s not just the physical time it takes to write the notes and record, but if I’m not in a positive head space and I’m a bit stressed out, then I don’t like to record a show where I’m sounding really frazzled and not positive and cheerful. And sometimes I can push through and record it anyway, but last week was not one of those weeks. Everything’s fine. It was just too much going on.

So this week I am able to focus on things again. It’s Wednesday, when I’m recording, and so far I haven’t had either child at home from school yet, although it is an inter-school sports day for the kids tomorrow, so Lexi will be sitting that out because she still has her cast on. But the first half of the week has been the most productive I’ve had probably all year, so I’m feeling pretty good. And thanks to missing a couple of weeks publishing a podcast, I have a bumper number of knit along prize draws to announce this week. And later in the show, I’ll give you an update on my personal decluttering challenge I set myself a while ago.

So first to the knit along announcements. Yes, there are quite a few. So firstly for The Handmade Sock Society, which is now at an end, the knit along for the fifth socks in the series, the vapor socks, winner is fifilou. And the winner for the sixth socks in the series, the altitude socks, is atrinka. We also have the grand prize for the person who has knit all six socks in the season, the third season of The Handmade Sock Society, and drum roll. The winner of the grand prize is TheFibersmith.

So, of course I appreciate each and every one of you who have made any of the socks in The Handmade Sock Society this season, and whether you’ve entered them in the knit alongs or not, I know that not everybody does that. I often don’t do that, even when I have made something, I don’t post it on Ravelry or Instagram. But yes, I appreciate all of you, and I am especially grateful and huge kudos to the 50 or so people who knit all six socks. It’s a lovely thread to browse through and it makes me so happy to see people who’ve knit the whole collection. It’s really fun to see. So thank you very much everybody who participated.

And the prize will be a 50 US dollar voucher for the individual socks, and it is 100 US dollar voucher prize for TheFibersmith, who won the grand prize. So congratulations to you all. And if the winners could please email me at support@curioushandmade.com to let me know, one, your email address, and secondly what local yarn shop or indie dyer or online yarn shop you would like a voucher from for your prize.

We also had the Stillness Mystery Knit Along finish at the end of August. I didn’t really think about which month we’re in just then. That finished at the end of August. And again, I was absolutely blown away by the beautiful shawls you had knit. I could see that there was a little bit of a flurry of people finishing their shawls towards the end of the month, and I’m still seeing people posting their shawls on Instagram and Ravelry. They’re so beautiful. I’m so thrilled. And the winner of the Stillness Mystery Knit Along is post 460, who is Jastauff, J-A-S-T-A-U double F. Jane from Peacham in the US. She has knit a very sunny grellow Stillness shawl and she says it makes her very happy. And yes, it is a very beautiful, beautiful color combination and shawl. So thank you very much, Jane. And, again, I will be sending you a voucher via email for your prize.

And last but not least, because we had August come and go since I last recorded, we also have the August Knit 20 for 2020 winners. So on Ravelry we have post 73, Pattieknits36, who also posted a Stillness shawl as her finished object. And she has nominated Knit Long Island for her LYS. And on Instagram we have shellyknitsallthethings, who also posted a Stillness shawl for her finished object and used the hashtag knit20for2020 in the shawl category. A beautiful, summery, fresh color scheme. And in her comment she says, “It gives me sunset over beaches vibes, which makes me happy.” And I agree, it’s a very happy color combination, and the yarn is by White Gum Wool, which is an Australian company.

So thank you very much to all the people who participated in all those knit alongs recently, and congratulations to the winners. Just once more, please do get in touch via email, Helen@curioushandmade.com, to let me know your email address and which company or online shop you would like a gift voucher from, and I will get that arranged soon-ish. Oh dear, apologies for my tardiness on the prizes, but I do get there eventually. So thank you for bearing with me.

So I thought I’d give you a little update on my decluttering project because it has taken up a lot of my time in the last month or so, and some weeks I didn’t really have much else to talk about because I spent all my time working on it. About a month ago, I set myself a challenge of decluttering 1000 items. And it was kind of based on inspiration from the Minimalist 30 day Challenge, whereby you get rid of one item on the first day, two items on the second day and so on, and that adds up to 465 items. And I watched a YouTube video where a couple did it and then increased the items to 1000. And I thought, “That sounds like a good round number, so that’s what I’m going to do.”

And I didn’t do it day-by-day. It was very ad hoc. It wasn’t following the minimalist game. So in the end, I managed to do it, and it wasn’t too difficult, although I did cheat a little bit with one item or category of items, which arguably maybe should be counted as one item rather than 200 items. But anyway, I’ll read you out what I decluttered. So 155 items of clothes, 65 items from the kitchen, 130 items of rubbish, 175 skeins of yarn, 50 miscellaneous things, 20 empty picture frames that had been bought for a craft project that never happened, 35 project bags. I know, it’s shocking. 130 books, which was mostly kids books. 30 knitting needles, 10 items of fabric, which is a bit conservative, but I tended towards being conservative except for the 200 pens that I counted, which I don’t know if it’s cheating or not. But anyway, 200 pens is quite bulky.

So when I looked at the minimalist game, things that people counted as one item, I don’t know. Some people might not. Some people might. So anyway, I did. And I was pretty conservative on other things like rubbish. I threw out a lot of papers and things that I didn’t actually count, and a lot of just trash that I found in kids’ bedrooms and things that I didn’t count. So I think it kind of evens out a little bit. But that all adds up to 1000 items.

And yeah, I tried to pull some thoughts together about this whole process. So as I was decluttering, I was also watching a lot of decluttering videos on YouTube for inspiration. One of the ones that I watched I thought I would share, which is the ClutterBug 5 Decluttering Methods. So I just thought I’d share this because I was trying to remember how I actually did my decluttering. It was a little bit random. But I’ll just read out her five methods in case it’s helpful.

So number one is the Easter egg method, where you get a basket or a box or something like that and basically go around looking for things that you’re not using, loving or wouldn’t buy again. So it’s called the Easter egg method because you’re basically hunting for things around the house. Number two is the Marie Kondo method. If you’ve listened to my podcast in the past, you will have heard about this method where you sort things by category and only keep what sparks joy.

Number three is the no mess method, where you tackle an area and as you go through it you either put things in a garbage bag or put them back where they belong. Or I think put them in a bag to be taken to charity. But basically the idea is that you don’t have a big staging area. You just deal with everything as you pick it up and tidy it up. The trash bag method is where you go around the house just collecting rubbish, so good for kids’ rooms or messy areas of the house where rubbish accumulates, like the car.

The four sort method, which is kind of a more in-depth method where you have boxes or containers for keep, donate, toss or does not belong, and that’s the ClutterBug’s usual method of sorting things out. There are a couple of other methods she didn’t mention that I’ve come across. So one is the Swedish death cleaning method, where you have to ask yourself, “Would I want my kids or family to have to look at this or deal with it if I suddenly died?” Which is a clarifying question, I guess.

And then the other method that I quite like is the peel the onion method, which The Minimal Mom talks about, where it’s a gradual process over time where you go deeper and deeper into your clutter. So I came up with my own fairly random method based on a combination of some of these, and I call it the thousand item purge, where I basically went around the house manically pulling things out of cupboards and piling them up on the dining room table and then dealing with them.

So it was, I’d say, kind of a combination of the Easter egg hunt plus peeling the onion, because I went through the house several times, and then using the four sort method to dispose of the items. I was quite surprised how easy it was for me to find 1000 items, even given the 200 pens. I had the pens in mind the whole time, knowing that I could have them as a back up if I needed to make up the numbers.

Yeah, I would really recommend this method of choosing a high number, because it really made me let go of things that I’ve just been holding onto for not really any good reason, for way too long. For me, when I’m decluttering, it’s not so much knowing that I don’t need the thing. It’s more feeling bad about disposing of things not responsibly. I want to feel like they’re going to good homes or not being wasted or just contributing to landfill. But I kind of had to just draw a line on thinking that way, because otherwise I’m just holding onto stuff as a big storage unit. My house is a big storage unit with things I don’t want or need.

So some things I did throw out. I mean, they were basically things that were broken or rubbish or clothes that were too worn out. And I know that there are places that will recycle them, but in the current circumstances with COVID, I just didn’t … I don’t know. I didn’t want to burden a charity shop with tatty clothes, for example. So this is what I mean by, I just find it so hard to figure out the best way to dispose of things. I just go round in my head, overthinking it.

Anyway, I tried not to do that this time so much, but it definitely, definitely has a huge impact on reducing the amount of things I buy. Every time I go through the decluttering process, it reminds me not to buy things without being really thoughtful about it. So that’s a really positive outcome of it, even though I still do consume more than I need at times, but I’m an awful lot better than I used to be, so it’s good.

I came across another helpful YouTube video for emotional Cancerians like myself. It’s by Simple Happy Zen and How to Get Rid of the Things You Don’t Need. She talks about the more emotional aspects of things. So she talks about how things are part of your identity, often part of our fantasy selves. Like people who … we want to think of ourselves as people who will exercise or do our crafts or whatever, cook healthy meals, cook exotic, gourmet meals. I don’t know. So yeah, your stuff once you’ve bought it forms part of your identity, and so that can be why it’s difficult to let go of things.

And she talks about giving yourself permission and forgiveness for the mistakes you’ve made in your purchases, breaking the project down. And the switcheroo, which is not focusing on what you’re losing by donating or throwing things out or however you’re disposing of them, but to look at it in terms of what you’re gaining in terms of space, time and energy.

So yeah, I have wrapped up the project now. I had a big mess on my dining room table for about a month, and I finally dealt with it all. It feels fantastic. I’m definitely not a natural minimalist. I do like to have a bit of surplus things to hand and some knickknacks around the house. I like decorations and kitschy things, cute things. But I’m definitely leaning into having less stuff, and having less visual clutter. I think I can really see the benefits of that. It is definitely reducing the mental load of looking around at lots of distractions. I’ve really tried to simplify my office space, which has been semi-successful so far. My desk is still a bit too cluttered.

But making huge, huge progress, and it’s really, really helping. So I still have a list of problem areas that I still need to deal with. So I haven’t dealt with the pantry, the food, which kind of got a bit out of control with some lockdown stockpiling that I did. There’s boxes of old tax records that I should probably scan but might just hang onto for five years and avoid that nasty job. There’s kids craft stuff, and then there’s the digital clutter of photos and emails that I really would love to deal with.

So I came across a quote, which is, “Clutter is postponed decisions,” and that is a quote by Barbara Hemphill, who has actually trademark registered that quote, so I want to give her credit. But that is so true, isn’t it? Clutter is postponed decisions. Everything I’ve gone through and decluttered was all things that I put off deciding on when we moved mostly. There’s some new stuff there as well, but mostly stuff that I brought from the UK because I just couldn’t decide on it at the time. Including, I found a bag of extension cords and power boards with multiple plugs for UK plugs. What was I thinking? I think it was just one of those miscellaneous bags of stuff that the packers just put in before I had managed to deal with.

But I had been keeping it sort of thinking, “Oh, maybe next trip back to the UK, I can take it with me and give it to my friends.” But yes. I don’t know. How crazy is that? It’s sort of crazy but it sort of makes sense to me. But I think with COVID and the fact that we probably won’t make it back for about two years, sadly, I decided to let those go. Anyway, but example of postponed decisions. And so I’m going to think about things along those lines and try not to postpone decisions going forward to keep the overwhelm under control, to keep life under control. And maybe, I don’t know, try and use that as a bit of a new philosophy.

So thanks for bearing with me through my decluttering chat. It’s not a decluttering channel or podcast usually, although it does come up from time to time. But yeah, if you’re interested in the topic, there are hundreds and hundreds of really great videos about the topic on YouTube, and no doubt podcasts as well. But YouTube is particularly satisfying, seeing people show their before and afters and things like that, if you’re into that kind of thing. And yeah. So thanks for bearing with me. I hope that it’s kind of useful. I think sometimes it’s good to know that other people have issues with things.

Anyway, I promise to have some good solid knitting chat for you next week, how about that? So I hope you have a wonderful week. Thank for joining me, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

The lovely yarn La Bien Aimee for my Hermione Jean Granger Shawl

After a week of small disasters and a lot of decluttering, some comfort knitting is called for. Today on the podcast I’m revisiting my queue of personal knitting. There are a few particular WIPs I am enjoying very much, and a few more very long term projects that are finding their way to the front of my queue. And of course there are always a few very special designs tempting me to just cast on one more thing…

Show Links:

The 30 Day Minimalism Game

#minsgame

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Georgie Baby Blanket

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino

Sky Map by Emily Foden

Viola Yarns

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti

Blue Sky Alpaca Silk

Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron

Everyday Lined Hat by Denise Bayron

The Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Moving Forward Wrap by Denise Bayron

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 307. 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 full show notes and transcript on my website at curious handmade.com.

Hello, welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. I am having a pretty good week. I have been very, very busy. I feel a little bit like it’s been one step forward, two steps backwards. I announced last week that I was undertaking a challenge, a personal challenge, of decluttering a thousand items from my home. This is based on a minimalist 30-day challenge that I’d seen on YouTube. It’s a challenge where by you declutter items each day over 30 days and end up parting ways with 465 items.

And I watched a video that described how a couple did it, both did it, and then made it for 31 days and then added a few items and it added up to a thousand items. So, I just decided that that a thousand number sounded pretty good and that I would go for it. And I won’t go into it this week, the process that I’ve been going through the last week or so, but I am up to 860 items after a week. So, that’s pretty good and it’s been very interesting. I’ll tell you the story, maybe in the next episode, and share some, I don’t know, lessons learned or tips about what’s happened. I’m sure by then I will be up to my a thousand item goal, maybe even more. So, it’s been an interesting week, having gone through that process. And a few things happened, came up along the way, which weren’t related to the challenge, but were more sort of every day life.

I was doing a little task that had been on the list since about April. I wanted to get a shelf removed from Sophie’s built in wardrobe because she didn’t have a long hanging space in her cupboard. Anyway, the built in wardrobe isn’t very flexible, so it needed a handyman to come and take out the shelf. And so I walked into her bedroom, and walked around a bit, and then came downstairs again after showing the guy what I needed done. And he came down about 10 minutes later going, “Uh.” And he had knelt in a little deposit that Cindy had left on a rug and I hadn’t seen, so I had walked through it and walked all through the house by this point. Yeah, so that was fun and quite embarrassing. He was really great about it, thank goodness. It was very embarrassing, actually. Anyway, he just said, “Oh, I’m going to have to go and change my clothes now.” And that led to a carpet cleaning episode, which was good, in the sense that it helped with decluttering, because, I don’t know, I tend to get everything up off the floor, as much as possible.

And so that led to just everything getting up off the floor and out into a sorting staging area. So, I guess it maybe speeded up some decluttering, made it more thorough. Anyway, now we have lovely clean carpets and Cindy is no longer allowed in carpeted areas in the house. We’ve been trying to keep her out of them, but had gotten a little bit slack about it because she’s so cute and we like having her with us at all times. That is no longer happening.

And then Saturday afternoon, we were having a lovely barbecue, and the kids were jumping on the trampoline and Lexi twisted her ankle. And we hoped, or thought, it was a sprain, but then a couple of days later I decided that we’d better get it x-rayed just in case. It turned out that she had broken her ankle, bottom of her leg, in two places. So, she spent a day basically getting x-rays and cast on, and was in hospital most of the day yesterday. Yeah, it’s such a shame for her. She is not a kid that will enjoy being immobilized, but I guess it could be worse. So, we’re going to have to deal with the crutches and things for a little while. But as Steve pointed out, at least it’s not swimming season just yet because she loves being in the pool and is in the pool as much as possible when the weather is warm. So, thankfully, small mercies, it’s not quite warm enough for that yet. Although, it won’t be very long before it is. It’s already quite warm weather up here in Queensland.

So, yeah. That’s been my week. Luckily I was already on strike from work, procrastinating with my decluttering and various things. So, I don’t know maybe it didn’t impact my week as much as it would have if I’d actually had some tough deadlines. But I was hoping to get myself motivated to get back into some design work this week, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe later the week. I’m recording this on Wednesday. So, a couple of days ahead of publishing. Anyway, so after that personal introduction about what’s happening around here, I thought I’d talk a little bit about knitting this week, considering that it is a knitting podcast. And I thought as I’ve gone through almost all my yarn, not all my yarn, but almost all my yarn and works in progress and things. I thought I’d just go through some inspiration I’ve had about projects that I’d like to work on, going forward, inspired by yarn and patterns in my stash.

So, of course I would like to finish some WIPs and most of them are fairly… Well, no, that’s not true. I was going to say most of them are fairly recent. Two of them are fairly recent, sort of cast ons. So, I’m working on the Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish, who is the cleverest stitch and really enjoying this knit. Actually, I’m working on it in the evenings when I’m watching TV a little bit, at the moment, and so that’s kind of happening, slowly, bit by bit. It’s super relaxing. It’s garter stitch and stripes and a crescent shaped shawl with gorgeous tassels. I’ve mentioned it before on the show, but yeah, just really enjoying that as a relaxing evening knit. There’s not too much to think about. All you have to do is check which side you’re knitting on to make sure that you’re getting the right number of increases, and that’s about all the thinking that is involved with this one.

And I also have another relatively recent cast on, which is the Piosa Cardigan by Renee Callahan. I’ve knit the body and really just need to knit the sleeves now. I don’t know why I’ve stalled out on that. I think I just went on to design work and put it aside for a little while, and the fact that I need to pick up stitches and do a little bit of a slightly harder, more thinking, task to get onto the next step has made me just put it down for a little while.

But I’m super keen to finish that, it’s going to be a lovely cardi, and I’m slightly nervous that I picked the size too small. I kind of did that knowing that it might be the was too small, which is a bit stupid really, but I was a bit concerned about the amount of yarn I have. I think if it is too small for me, I’ll just give it to Sophie and she’ll probably love it, and it will really suit her because I’m knitting it in Rose Gold by Sweet Fiber. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful color. We’ll see if it stretches out a little bit when it gets blocked, otherwise it will probably be for Sophie. But she’s very knit-worthy, so that’s fine.

I have two older works in progress. One of them is a deep WIP, and it is a Georgie blanket, that was a design of mine from quite a few years ago now. And I think my mom knit the main part of it for me, and it might’ve been for Lexi. So, I’m not sure if it was when she was born even, which would make it a very old WIP. But anyway, it just needs the border knitted onto it. It’s not a huge task, and I would really like to get that finished. So, that’s kind of coming further up to the top of my list of works in progress. I’ve finished a few things this year and that’s one that I really would like to finish. Because it is a really sweet little blanket and I think she would still use it. And it’s knit in Debbie Bliss, Cashmerino, which is a lovely yarn. So, that would be nice to finish up.

And I also have the Star Map Wrap, which is pattern and yarn by Emily Foden in Viola Yarns, based in Canada. I think that one is a more of a longterm project. I’m not really planning on trying to finish that too soon. It’s just a lot of stockinette knitting in the round in mohair and it will be absolutely gorgeous when it’s finished. I did contemplate whether I would just cast it off and make a cowl at some point, but I think I will keep going with it and try and finish it at some point. But I don’t feel a huge sense of urgency to do that. I think it’s going to take me quite a lot of knitting time to do, and so that might just become a project that sits beside the sofa and I pick up when I’m watching TV.

I think the main reason that I’m not enjoying that as much as I could, is that I am alternating skeins. And so with it being mohair and alternating skeins, I don’t know, it’s just slowing me down that bit more than it would otherwise. So, I’ll have to think about that. I did the workshop with Emily in London, was that last year or the year before? I don’t know, maybe last year. I can’t remember. In the last couple of years anyway. And she very, very strongly suggested to alternate skeins. So, I did what I was told and tried to be good. But I’m just not sure. It’s just taking the joy out of knitting it for me. So, we’ll see. Anyway, that can just wait for a little while to make these kind of heavy decisions.

And then I have three other projects that I haven’t really started yet. One is the Elton cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I was very generously gifted the yarn for this by Amy, from La Bien Aimee. And so I have the gorgeous, gorgeous yellow yarn, and I think it’s going to suit my gray hair really well. It could be a nice grellow outfit. Yeah. So, I’m keen to do that and that’s another mohair cardigan, so it might be a bit slower. I don’t know if that’s what’s putting me off tackling that one, but I don’t think so. I think it’s just the fact that I haven’t had a lot of time to work on it. But definitely want to prioritize that one. And then as I was sorting through yarn, it reminded me of another very, very deep stash, deep, deep, yarn pattern cardigan that I’ve been wanting to knit for so many years, which is the Dahlia cardigan by Heather Zoppetti. And this was published in Interweave in fall 2011.

I don’t know if I’ve been wanting to make it since then, but I know that I’ve had the yarn, which is Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in the gorgeous amethyst colorway for a really long time. And I actually had in my head that that was the called for yarn for this pattern, but it’s not at all now I look at it. So, I don’t know why I thought that. And I couldn’t even see it in Yarn Ideas on Ravelry. So, I don’t know why I thought that was the yarn, but maybe I just thought it would be a really good yarn for it, which I still do. So, yeah. There’s that one. I went to see if the pattern was still available, before I talked about it on the podcast, and it is still available on the Interweave website. And I went to look at Heather’s blog and it doesn’t seem like she’s designing anymore. So, she’s said that in a blog post, sort of early last year, that she was going back to her a full time corporate job.

Anyway, it doesn’t mean that I want to knit the pattern any less. It’s a beautiful, gorgeous waterfall front cardigan with a beautiful lace panel on the back. It’s just always appeal to my romantic side. So, I still wanted it that one. I’ve mentioned this on the podcast in the past, but I still do want to knit that one. And then a much more recent, slight obsession is the Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron, Bayron Handmade. I am a little bit obsessed with Denise’s designs and I’ve been talking about knitting various different designs of hers. She has a bulky cardigan that I was initially thinking I would knit, but will never wear, definitely never wear here in Queensland. And that’s the Wave Of Change jacket, which has been a really, really popular design. But just probably not for me.

And then the Everyday Lined Hat really appealed. I thought it’s super cute. I love the simplicity. But again, I’ve just gone through winter here and haven’t worn a hat, and I didn’t even wear hats that much in London, in winter. So, yes. Then I thought, “Oh, okay.” I had to look at her other designs because I just love her aesthetic, and so now I think the Droplet Capelet will be the design that I’d like to knit of hers. She’s got a gorgeous wrap as well, which is the Moving Forward Wrap. But again, I think that the capelet will be more wearable, and I think it would look really cute on Sophie or Lexi. It sort of like can either be a cowl or go down over your shoulders. Really, really cute design. So, yeah. I’m looking forward to seeing Denise’s book that’s going to be published with Laine, I imagine next year. But they’ve announced that they’re publishing a book of her patterns. So, I’ll be very excited to see that.

In the meantime, I’m putting the Droplet Capelet onto my queue. The extra small size takes one skein of fingering weight yarn, but probably I’d want a larger size than that. So, I’ll probably have to find some fingering weight yarn in my stash that I have two skeins of, which shouldn’t be a problem because I have a lot of yarn. So, that’s been my ponderings about knitting this week. It is a little bit of a fantasy queue at this point, but I’ve been getting better and better about being able to do some personal knitting, and separate that from my design and work knitting. It’s been so good for my creativity and calmness and enjoyment of knitting. So, I definitely want to keep that up and try to keep up my plan of keeping at least one of the weekend days work free and just for pursuing hobbies, which I don’t tend to do very often. But when I do, I really enjoy it.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed a little bit more knitting content this week. I will probably be talking about the decluttering process on the next episode. And next week I am going to take the week off because of various things happening. I would have had to record two episodes this week to make it happen next week, and I’ve just decided after a day with Lexi, sorting out her leg and all the time I’m spending decluttering, I just can’t manage to record two episodes this week. So, I am going to have a week off and give myself a little bit of ease and I will be back with you in two weeks time.

Have a fantastic week, everyone. I hope you’re well and staying healthy and able to enjoy a little bit of knitting or crafting time. I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye for now.

Play

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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

A haberdashery cupboard filled with yarn

As I get closer and closer to finishing the Knitvent 2020 collection designs, I’ve hit a procrastination snag. I know by now that it’s just part of the creative process, and a sign that I probably need to let things simmer a little longer. But these days I’m trying to choose more productive ways of procrastinating, and my favourite procrastination method is decluttering. So a warning: there’s not a whole lot of crafty content in today’s show, but there is a fun decluttering game that I’m going to do to hopefully clear a little brain space for more design work. Care to join me?

Show Links:

The 30 Day Minimalism Game

#minsgame

The Minimal Mom

The Strawberry Thief

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 306. 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 CuriousHandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. Welcome to another week in this strange new world that we find ourselves in. I’ve been having a pretty good week. Kids are back at school this week, so that’s been good, after a whole week off last week, and we’re still recovering energy levels a little bit but feeling pretty good and much better. I’ve been attempting a sprint on my Knitvent designs for this year, and that is going a bit up and down. It was going really well I think maybe up until about halfway through last week when I finished one design and then started another one, and then by about this Monday I hit a bit of a wall and it wasn’t really going as well as I wanted and it slowed right down.

Then I got really frustrated and I started feeling that feeling of really intense procrastination that I used to feel when I had big university exams coming up where you would clean the whole house, binge watch TV, read. Just find absolutely anything to do except study, and that’s a little bit what I’ve been like this week. I just haven’t been able to make myself get back into it, so that’s resulted in me watching a lot of decluttering videos. I think it’s a weird thing that I tend to do when I’m stressed is watch like KonMari videos, people decluttering 90% of their wardrobe, or clean the whole house and this kind of thing, and then that makes me want to do it myself even more.

So I thought, okay, I am going to run with this feeling of doing an epic declutter, because one of my happiness projects for the year, I had written down KonMari sort of like, and I don’t really know exactly what I meant, but I think I meant like, get to the point where it really clicks and I feel like I have completed the KonMari of everything in my house bringing joy.

So I have been talking about decluttering and KonMari-ing for years on the podcast now. Never managed to attain that mystical state of being fully KonMari-ed, and I think I sort of made pretty good progress before we moved. I had quite a good filter of, do I want to carry this item around the world? We got rid of, donated, sold a lot, a lot of stuff. Big items of furniture and everything down to pens and you know, all the whole range across the whole house.

But I did hold on to quite a bit of just-in-case stuff because I was sort of thinking, well, it’s going to be a different environment and a different lifestyle, and I’m just not quite sure what things I’ll want to hang on to and what things I won’t need, so I brought a little bit of extra stuff and also things that sentimentally I couldn’t quite let go of, but probably should have or could have if I’d been a little bit less sentimental about it.

But so now, I feel like we’ve been here nearly a year, which is quite unbelievable. I think we arrived late August and moved into the house in about October. So I feel like, well, I think that’s a good amount of time to kind of know what I need now here in this new place. We’ve gone through all the seasons, which is really just various levels of hot, so I feel like I know what activities we mostly do, what sports the kids are mostly doing, and while we’re still settling into that I have a pretty good idea of some of the things that I thought we might need that we don’t. So some of the YouTube videos I’ve been watching have been people doing the minimalist’s 30-day challenge, which is decluttering or throwing out the number of items that is the number, the day of the challenge, if that makes any sense. So day one, you throw out one item, day two, two items and so on. Or donate, or sell, or whatever.

Then at the end of the 30 days you end up with 465 items, and I watched one video where a husband and wife were doing it and they both did it and then she said, “I calculated that if we added on 31 days, day 31, and then added on a few more, it would take them up to 1,000 items,” and that number just stuck in my head. I was like, “Ooh, that sounds like a good number of items to declutter,” and I really have no idea what that would look like. I can’t really imagine. I mean, I can imagine to a point because I’ve been watching so many of these videos where they show you what 465 items looks like, and in some ways it’s a lot and in other ways, it’s not that much.

So I think I am going to go for it and I am going to set myself the challenge of decluttering 1,000 items, and I will be in this by myself pretty much because my husband is more of a consumer and purchaser than a declutterer, and Lexi cannot bear to throw away anything, even like rubbish, and Sophie is my shining light and example of a natural minimalist and she is already so minimalist that I don’t think I can ask her to declutter anything else. Although she did bring out a box of stuff, old clothes that she’s grown out of and things she doesn’t want anymore, and I’m going to count those things. I’m going to include those things in that box as part of my thousand items.

So she’s actually to be fair got me off to quite a good start, but yeah, she’s amazing. She’s so inspirational. She’s always been like that since she was born. She’s never wanted stuff. Whenever I’ve asked her what she’d like for her birthday, she’s just been like, “Nothing. I don’t want anything particularly,” and she wrote a letter to Santa saying, “I don’t really want anything, but thanks very much for visiting.” She just liked the idea of the surprise, but she couldn’t think of anything she actually wanted. And yeah, every now and then she’ll just go through her room and come up with just old things that she doesn’t want anymore.

It’s quite incredible, and yeah, I wish I was like that, but I’m not. I’m very much a sentimental and I really, really don’t like throwing things out for the waste, but I’ve been watching a lot of videos about decluttering and my favorite is The Minimal Mom, and she’s a busy mom and she just has the best sort of tips and tricks to do this kind of decluttering work, simplification work, really quickly and quite easily and she just has lots of different tricks of helping yourself mentally deal with it.

For example, when she was looking at a kitchen, she said, “Okay, pretend your kitchen is a holiday house, and just have enough stuff for a holiday house kind of situation.” And I just thought, I love that. Because it then makes you simplify what you cook, and simplify what you buy, and so it has this trickle down effect to your lifestyle that if you don’t have a lot of sporting equipment, then you just do simple things like walking or jogging. And I know that doesn’t work across all areas or for everybody because some people might have a passion for golf or cycling, or things like that. I’m looking at my husband there, whereas I have a passion for craft and so I have a lot, a lot of craft stuff, and that is really going to be my challenging area to work on I think.

So, I think I am going to come up with some rules for me to deal with my craft stuff because while I have collected, have a beautiful yarn collection and fabric collection, it’s not necessarily bringing me joy because it’s too overwhelming, so I’m going to get that all out and do a proper KonMari process of having a cold, hard look at that, and I don’t know how I’m quite going to handle it in terms of tricks or rules because I’ve been through my stash many, many times, and I still have just an overwhelming amount too much. For me with my yarn, and also with things generally, I just want it to not be wasted, and yeah, and just not throw things out. Like I want it to be able to be used, but what I’m coming to realize very, very slowly is that it’s a sunk cost. It’s already wasted as such if I’m not using it, or yeah, especially if it’s stressing me out. It’s a negative. It’s becoming a negative, so I have to try to get myself to look at things differently than what I have done in the past.

One thing that’s been really good is that it has really, really, really slowed down my consumption since I started seriously trying to KonMari or declutter and become a minimalist, and I guess it’s been, I don’t know, maybe, I really don’t know. Four or five years I’d say. It was after Lexi was born, which was nine years ago, and a few years of not really being able to deal with things, and I think I got to a point at some stage maybe when she was going to school around age four that I started thinking I needed to get my life back and under control again.

So yeah, so I’ve been doing it for a long time and since I started taking things to charity shops and selling them, it has made me really slow down on buying things because then I’ve realized how difficult it is for me to get rid of it again if I don’t need it. So I think for the past year, I haven’t really, is this true or not? I haven’t really bought any yarn just for the sake of it. I’ve bought some yarn for very specific design projects, and sometimes I end up with a bit extra in that situation where I don’t quite know what color it’s going to be or if I’m definitely going to use it. I’ve bought maybe a few extras to have options, but that’s only been for work purposes I think that I’ve bought yarn.

And if I’m in a situation like a yarn festival or a beautiful yarn shop, I will definitely be triggered to just buy things because they’re beautiful. But that situation hasn’t really arisen much in the last year or so. I’ve been too busy, either moving or being locked down. I think there’s one yarn shop in Brisbane and there’s one a bit north of me here, but I haven’t visited either of them yet. Yeah, so I haven’t really been in a situation where I’ve been super tempted.

I have however been tempted by the hexie-along from The Strawberry Thief online shop, so that’s my craft indulgence, but it’s kind of under control because I’ve been not keeping up with it, but just dipping into that project, and so that’s being used as it comes in, which is really nice. Other than that I don’t think I’ve been too bad, but it’s taken me to getting to a point of overwhelm with the amount of stuff I have to get to that point, which is not really a good thing.

I think I will feel fantastic if I really get to that clicking point of the full KonMari, and I am going to maybe give myself til the end of August. I’m not going to do it as a 30-day challenge. I’m too impatient. I’m just going to do it as a real procrastination activity burst mostly this week. Maybe it might take me a bit longer to tackle some things or if I’m selling some things. I’ll try and document it. I don’t know how I’m going to go with documenting it. I don’t really want anything to slow me down. I mean, while it would be sort of fun to document it and be able to look back on where I was at a particular point in time and share it, because I find other people’s stories and efforts so inspiring, I’m not sure. I’ll have to see how I go with that.

But yes, so my plan is to basically pile everything up on the dining table and places around the house and then count it and get rid of it all at once, but I might have to do phases of doing that depending on how bulky things are and so on. So I already got some things collected on the table. I’ve made a bit of a start, and I counted them and it’s about a hundred things and so I have no idea if I’ll be able to get to a thousand. Because a hundred things is actually quite a lot of stuff. Anyway, it’s going to be interesting and I will give you an update in about two weeks’ time on that project.

So, thanks for bearing with me as I chat about that, if you have. If this is topic doesn’t interest you, I probably should have put a warning at the beginning that I was just going to be rambling about that, but I don’t know. If you’re interested, I’m going to link how to do the 30-day minimalist’s challenge and I’ll put a link to The Minimal Mom podcast because I just think she’s so excellent, and if anyone wants to join in with me, that would be fab. There’s a hashtag for the minimalist challenge, which is Mins, M-I-N-S, Game. MinsGame is the hashtag for the minimalist challenge, and I will try and have more knitting and crafting chat for you next week.

So, I hope you have a fantastic week. I hope you’re all well. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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Show Sponsors

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Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

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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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

Big Little Meg!

Today we have some more lucky giveaway winners to announce, and I’m chatting a little bit about my current approach to goals and habits and how they are working out for me these days. I’ve also got a special pattern update to share: after many requests and much ado, I’ve just released a second, larger size of the Little Meg Shawl: some very cosy, comforting knitting for these difficult days.

Show Links:

Tiny Habits book

Habitation Throw KAL Winner

AnnaRobyn

Hedgerow Yarns

Knit20for2020 July Ravelry Winner

Qtar – Nuuk Pullover

Nurja Yarn

Instagram Winner

The_Knitting_Gurg

Snowmelt Shawl

Kitch Kreative

O’Rielly’s

The Little Meg Shawl

Curious Handmade on Etsy

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 305. 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 the full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.

Hello, and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. It’s a stressful time, I think in the world at the moment. There’s a lot of things going on and I guess we’re all just trying to do our best to stay calm and healthy as possible. And I feel like that’s all being done in the face of a lot of uncertainty, a lot of conflicting advice, or a moving feast of advice that’s changing constantly. And I think everybody is trying to do their best to stay well with themselves, their loved ones and society as a whole. But I have to say it’s pretty difficult to know what we’re meant to be doing at any point in time. We have had a spike in cases here in Australia, in the state of Victoria. And also to a lesser extent in New South Wales, we have had some new cases here in Queensland, which is not that high by worldwide standards, but by relative standards to what we’ve had, it’s high. So there’s a certain amount of freaking out happening.

I went to the supermarket yesterday and the toilet paper shelves were completely bare again. So I think that’s a bit of a indicator of the state of mind of people. I feel like there should be some kind of toilet paper availability index as to how we’re all feeling about things. I have had the kids home from school this week because they have colds and can’t go to school. I don’t think they’d be well enough to go to school anyway, but if they’ve got any sniffles or coughs they can’t go in. Which is completely fair enough. And I just feel a bit frustrated because they seem to be getting a cold every two weeks. And I think it’s maybe because we’ve moved back to Australia and they don’t have immunity to the local bugs. Maybe it’s like when kids start going to school or daycare and they’re just sick all the time for the first year, I feel like that’s what’s happening here.

Anyway, we’re taking lots of vitamin C lots of vitamin D trying to get lots of sleep. I’ve been working on sleep as a particular habit to improve. I mentioned a few episodes ago that I recently listened to the audio book of Tiny Habits, which is by a guy called BJ Fogg, and really, really love this book. I’ve been implementing some of the strategies and would highly recommend it if you’ve tried to change habits and not succeeded. I really like his method, and it makes a lot of sense to me. At first, I thought it was a bit strange, the whole concept of flossing one tooth, I kind of thought was a little bit pointless. But once he explained that it’s all about making habits doable, that you have the ability to action them and that you make them small enough to be able to do and have success and have that feeling of feeling good about yourself and your ability to do the habit and then really gradually build it up.

And so I’ve been doing that with a couple of things and it’s working pretty well. And so I’m now trying to have one night a week where I have eight hours sleep. And I’m not really succeeding yet, but getting closer. So it’s a long, drawn out, painful process to get these habits in place. But I guess hopefully it will be more sustainable. Anyway, that’s just what’s happening here. You’ve had a bit of a random personal update there. But I hope that you’re all finding ways to cope with the uncertainty and disruption that’s happening everywhere at the moment. I’m certainly not complaining because we have it pretty good here in Australia, especially where I’m living. But it’s still causing a lot of disruption to our life. And things like travel and the ability to get together for knitting retreats and everything like that. It just is making me appreciate a lot of things.

So just a little update on knit alongs and things happening in Curious Handmade world at the moment. We have the handmade sock society. The last sock pattern was released and the knit along is continuing until the 8th of September. And that day is for both the altitude socks and the grand prize for people who’ve knit all six socks. We’ve opened up a thread in Ravelry, and the Curious Handmade group for that now. And we had some knit alongs finished. So I have drawn the winners for the habitation throw knit along. We have the winner, AnnaRobyn, who is from California and she knit her habitation throw in a gorgeous, advent, mini set from Hedgerow Yarns, who’s one of my favorite indie dyers in the UK. I just love her beautiful, pretty colors. So congratulations Anna Robin. I have a physical price to send to you.

So if you can get in touch either via Ravelry, HellsBells or email me Helen@curioushandmade.com and I’ll need your address to send that to you. And for the knit 20 for 2020 challenge, the Revelry winner is Qutar Q-U-T-A-R, who knit a gorgeous nuk N-U-U-K pullover designed by Jonna Hietala. And she’s nominated. Nurja, I think you say it N-U-R-J-A which is a Finnish yarn shop. So congratulations and I’ll get in touch with you, or you can get in touch with me to let me know your email address so that I can organize a gift voucher. I might need some help with this one because the website is in Finnish and I can’t see an English version, so I might not be able to purchase a gift voucher. But I’m sure if I email them they will be able to help me.

Our Instagram when it is the knitting gurg And she knit a snow melt shawl as a gift for her daughter in law for her 30th birthday. In lovely, beautiful green Fru Valborg yarn. So again, if you’d like to get in touch or I’ll try and get in touch with you to organize a prize for you for the July knit 20 for 2020 challenge. We have the thread up on Ravelry for the August challenge, and you can also post on Instagram using the hashtag knit20for2020. I’ve been getting quite behind in my knit 20 for 2020 challenge because I’ve been doing a lot of design knitting lately for the past month or so. I don’t know, it’s gone very quickly. I’ve been working on a design for a retreat I am very hopefully attending in October, which is local. So it’s in my state. So hopefully that will still be okay to go ahead.

And I’ve designed a shawl for that. That retreat is organized by the lovely Kylie from Kitsch Creative, and it’s at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a beautiful camp and resort in the rainforest in a national park here. So I’m really looking forward to that. I think it’s going to be a beautiful location, and retreat. And just fingers crossed that we can go ahead with it, but I’m sure we will be able to. Thinking very positive and optimistically. And the other design work I’ve been working on is knit vent patterns for this year. I’m really excited about this year’s knit vent. And I feel really pleased that I’m working on the designs relatively early in the year for me, probably not for other designers. But for me, this is quite early and quite on top of things and yeah, they’re coming along really well.

I think it’s definitely helping that it’s not last minute pressure and that I can have a little bit more time and ease to get a bit more creative and just think it out and plan it out a bit more. And have a bit more time to let the muse visit. So that’s going really well, but it’s meant that I’ve been really focusing on that pretty much exclusively. And I haven’t had time for any of my personal projects. So my sewing projects and quilting projects and other knitting projects, are all just waiting for me at the moment. And I think what I might try and do, hopefully is to work really during the week this week, and then do some fun projects on the weekend and take at least one day of the weekend off to do a little bit of personal crafting. But we’ll see, I don’t know. I’m just wanting to really focus on the designing at the moment.

I have released a pattern this week, which is an update to the Little Meg shawl that was originally published in 2018 and was quite a popular little shawl. I designed it for a retreat, the country house retreat in Cumbria. And so I designed it as a shawlette so that people could potentially knit it during the retreat, or knit quite a bit of it during the retreat. And I had a lot of requests for a larger size because it is just a really lovely, simple triangular shawl. And so I’ve had the sample and photographs for ages, maybe a year. And so I finally got it together and updated the pattern. I’ll just read you the description so that you can hear the inspiration behind the design.

“The ancient fields of Cumbria are scattered with fragments of time worn buildings and monuments. Many layers of history have been laid down here. And these remnants hint at the stories of the people who lived here long ago. Some of the most mysterious ruins of all are Cumbria’s prehistoric stone circles. Whether they were once used as ritual sites, way markers or for some other purpose, we can never know. Today, they are places of wonder. Little Meg is named after one of Cumbria’s smallest circles, which has endured since the bronze age and her magic is intact. One of her stones is carved with graceful symbols, spirals and circles within circles. This triangular shawl was created for the Curious Handmade country house retreat in March, 2018, using the magical canopy fingering from the Fibre Company designed to be an ideal retreat knitting. The design is simple. Eyelets dotted across a field of stockinette stitch, just like the standing stones of Cumbria moors. Wrap the shawl around your shoulders and the circle is complete. A crisp, garter border provides an elegant finishing touch.”

The small version can be knit in 100 grams of the Fibre Company, canopy fingering. And that’s two 50 gram hanks. It comes in 50 grams and canopy fingering is a gorgeous blend of 30% Merino, 20% Rayon from bamboo and 50% baby alpaca. And then for the large, it uses five times 50 gram hanks. So for the small, it’s about 400 yards and for the large, it’s about a thousand yards. I have the pattern at 20% off for the month of August. So it’s £4 rather than £5. And I’ve just put it at that price of £4 without any coupon code or anything. It’s just a reduced price. So you don’t have to worry about it. But it will go back to its normal price of £5 at the end of August or beginning of September.

So if you would like that pattern at a discount, it’s available now, it’s available on both Ravelry and Etsy. I have a pattern shop on Etsy now, which is curioushandmadeshop, curious handmade was taken. So I now have curious handmade shop and I have some of my patterns available there, not all of them, but some of them. And I’ll post the newer ones there until I figure out a more permanent solution.

So that’s about all the news I have for you this week. I’ll just keep it to a fairly short episode. Thanks so much for joining me today. I hope you have a good week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Play

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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

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

Grombre

Erica Henry Johnston

Nikol Johnson

@SilverHairandBretonStripes on Instagram

@wellness_with_walda on Instagram

Curious Handmade on Etsy

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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 curioushandmade.com.

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.

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Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

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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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

The tote bag for the Habitation KAL prize

We all know that feeling: we’ve got plenty of projects underway but new adventures and cast-ons are singing their siren song. On today’s podcast I’m stalking some new patterns in my fantasy queue, chatting about some ongoing and near-future projects, and sharing some favourite creative things that are inspiring me right now.

Show Links:

Dreaming of Paris Socks by Joji Locatelli

Adventure Tank by Fatimah Hynes

Meadow by The Fibre Co

Adventure Tank KAL hashtag: #adventureknitalong

SpaceCadet Yarn Thebe

Disturbing the Fleece Ravelry Group

@disturbingthefleece on Instagram

The Winner of the Cirrus Socks KAL is:

Post #42 – TheFibersmith

Mosaic Moon Yarn

SethanyKnits Yarn Shop

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Habitation Throw KAL FO thread

Voolenvine YouTube Podcast

The Patchwork Angel

Scrappy Liberty Hexi Quilt Tutorial

The Friday Pattern Company

The Avenier Jumpsuit

The Cambria Duster

Sage Brush Top

Wilder Gown

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!

Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 303. 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 curioushandmade.com.

Hello and welcome. How are you this week? I hope you’re well. I feel like this is continuing to be a tough year. I am thinking of all of you a lot and thinking about my friends and family all around the world, and I just feel like it’s getting a bit ridiculous now, but actually it feels like it’s been surreal and ridiculous since about February or March. In some ways, it’s almost kind of something we’re getting a bit used to. I don’t know. I saw a story by Joji on Instagram and she posted that it was 119 days of strict lock down in Argentina. I just thought, “Oh, that’s really long and really, really tough.” Really tough.

Speaking of Joji, she’s not letting it keep her back too much in true Joji fashion. She has just released a gorgeous pair of socks called Dreaming in Paris and I really love them. They’re so cute. They’re stripey with a little band of lace around the top of the leg and just really, really cute single round stripes, which is so effective because they have little v’s in them from each of the stitches that really show off each stitch. Super cute, love the colors so gorgeous design, Joji. Thank you. That’s the Dreaming of Paris socks.

When I was looking at the socks, I happened to notice another really cute pattern, which is the Adventure Tank and it is a design by Fatimah Hinds, and she’s a new to me designer. Maybe I will knit this for my new to me designer prompt for the Knit20for2020, because it’s a really cute tank top. And she has knit the sample in Thebe by a SpaceCadet, which I’m not really familiar with that yarn, but it’s a lace weight, 65% silk, 35% linen and 600 meters, 608 meters per 100 grams. And I thought it would be really cute in Meadow by the Fibre Company, which is one of my favorite yarns. And it is heavy lace weight, 40% Merino, 25% llama, 20% silk and 15% linen.

So not exactly the same blend, but some similar kind of features. And I do like a wool blend with other things like linen and silk. And yeah, so Meadow is 500 meters, per 100 grams. So I think similar enough in terms of weight and yeah, it’s just a really, really cute tank. It really popped out when I was having a look at designs on Ravelry and I hadn’t heard of Fatimah before, but she says she has just started at a group on robbery.

She said, “I love to make and design items that are unique and interesting, but not so complicated that you have to work in silence. I want what you make to be practical and beautiful.” So, a woman after my own heart. “I consider my work to be intersex and body inclusive. In keeping with that, I continue to grow my size range so please stay tuned. I believe that beautiful items are for everybody, every gender, every size. You can find me on Instagram and my patterns are also available on Etsy and Loveknitting.” She is Fatimah Hinds designs, AKA Disturbing the Fleece.

I’m not sure what her Instagram name is, but you can find her on Ravelry and yeah this adorable tank top. I’m going to download this pattern now. Well, when I finish recording. Where I live in Queensland, this is super appropriate clothing for me, much more appropriate than heavy sweaters. Even at this time of year, I put a sweater on today when I was inside and it was quite cool. And I went down to the beach and it was blazing sunshine, and I just started sweating instantly. It was so hot. I’m like, “It’s the middle of winter.” It’s been as cold as it has been really. And it’s still not very cold. So yes, a tank top is probably more suitable for me to choose for my knitting these days.

So I’m just creating a little bit of a fantasy queue there. I probably don’t have time to knit those right now. But yes, they are definitely going into the queue and ready for inspiration for the moment I have some spare knitting time. In Curious Handmade knit alongs at the moment, we have the Handmade Sock Society knit along for the Cirrus socks just finished. And so I have drawn via random number generator, number 42 is the winner. And the winner is the Fiber Smith from Oregon. And she has posted a gorgeous pair of Cirrus socks knit in Mosaic Moon Laurel sock yarn, purchased at SethanyKnits in Medford, Oregon.

And she said, “Mosaic Moon Laurel, my new favorite sock yarn.” So, thank you to everybody who has joined in for the Cirrus socks knit along, sock number four in the series. If you can get in touch with me, the Fiber Smith, she hasn’t posted her own name in a profile, so I only know her as the Fiber Smith. If you could get in touch with me on Ravelry and I will organize a prize for you. I think I’m giving up on posting things here from Australia, so I will organize a voucher or a gift to be sent to you from the US.

So currently we have the Vapour sock knit along continuing, and we have the last socks of the series being published next Tuesday, so in just a few days. I can’t believe how quickly that’s come around. Also in knit along news, we have the Habitation throw knit along that was extended and that will be drawn on the 31st of July or the day after. It will be accepting until the 31st of July.

And I have made a prize for that, which is a set of 24 mini skeins or mini balls. I’ve hand wound little balls, which was really fun to do. And a Live and Let Knit tote bag from Fringe Supply Company. So I will be posting that prize, but I’ll try and minimize prizes that I have to post from here until the situation improves a bit. And of course we have the Stillness Mystery knit along also happening at the moment. And we have just released clue four yesterday. And again, I can’t say how much I’m enjoying seeing the progress photos popping up on Instagram and Ravelry. It is so much fun. I feel like people are enjoying the knit along, and a couple of people have started second projects with different colorways because they’re enjoying it so much, so I was very excited to see that.

And yeah, if you have any problems with getting the clues from Ravelry at the moment, or have any other questions, you can email support@curioushandmade.com. We’ll be happy to help you as much as possible. And yeah, thank you for joining in. It’s made this mystery knit along super fun. I feel like this has been the most fun I’ve had doing a mystery knit along. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a little bit more relaxed this time or what it is. But yes, I’m really enjoying it and I hope you are as well.

I just thought I would spend the rest of the episode chatting about some things that I’ve been enjoying recently. I’m actually purloining this idea from Kristin from the Voolenvine YouTube podcast. And she just published her July favorites episode and talked about various different things. Not necessarily knitting related, but just some fun things that she’d been looking at and into lately. And I thought I might do that because I don’t have a huge amount of knitting to tell you about at the moment. And I’ve been really enjoying a few other things. So I thought I’d share some July favorites with you.

Something that I have mentioned a few times is my hexie quilts that I’m making, and I had some questions from some friends about what that actually meant, what I’m actually talking about. And so I thought I’d just talk about that a little bit. I won’t get into a huge amount of detail. I got into this… I actually started getting into this a couple of years ago when I visited… It’s now my local quilt shop. Well, one of them, there are a few. People in this part of the world seem to be a little bit more into quilting and sewing than they are into knitting for obvious climate reasons.

But I visited this shop with my mom when we were here on some holiday, it’s called the Patchwork Angel. So she had some hexie supplies on display and… Yeah, I just thought it would be a good holiday project. So I bought some bits of little cut up squares and a template and the needles and threads you need. And what English paper piecing is, is basically you start with a cardboard template, hence the paper. I think you could probably use paper, but you really want a very light card. Something that has enough body so that you wrap the fabric around the shape. In this case, a hexagon. And traditionally, you would cut out the fabric with quarter inch or slightly more allowance around your template and then sew the fabric around onto the template basically.

So you’d fold over the edges and then tack or baste the fabric down. And I don’t know when people started doing this, but recently people have started using glue pens so that rather than sewing or basting the fabric to the template, you glue it to the template and that makes it a lot faster. And then you sew your shapes together just by a whip stitch or some people use other stitches, but most people use a whip stitch. So you hold two shapes together, right sides together, and then whip stitch along the edge to sew the hexagons together. The method that I saw recommended is to make flowers out of your hexagons and then that kind of forms a block. So, I will link to a tutorial that explains it a lot better than I have just fumblingly explained it.

And I’m linking to The Strawberry Thief blog, and that is a quilting shop in Perth. I think they’re in Perth, in Western Australia, where I have been getting my Liberty Hexie fabrics and shapes from. So you can buy precut cardboard shapes, which I don’t know, I would recommend. It takes a lot of time to cut out both the cardboard and the fabric. So you can buy them acrylic templates for both the fabric and the cardboard, and you can choose to cut out your paper pieces if you want to, your cardboard. And these kits that I’m subscribed to really appealed because not only are the cardboard shapes cut out, but also the fabric is laser cut into the hexagon shapes, so you don’t have to do any preparation. You can just get straight into the sewing. Well, you have to get the fabric onto the templates, but apart from that, you can basically start sewing.

And so I’ve been having to get up quite early quite a bit lately when I’m on puppy duty. I’ve been sharing puppy duty, early morning puppy wake up calls with my daughter. And so when I get up a little bit earlier than normal, I will sit there and make a flower or part of a flower. So that’s a very enjoyable way to start the day. Speaking of sewing projects, I’ve been thinking a lot about making clothes for a while, and I haven’t managed to actually do any dressmaking, but I saw on Instagram, posted by a lovely shop in the UK, Guthrie and Ghani. I’ve never visited the shop, but I follow on Instagram and the shop is in Birmingham, so I never quite made it to visit. But she posted some patterns by a company called the Friday Pattern Company. And so I visited to their Instagram and was just so taken by my all their designs.

They’re so cute. They have tops, blouses, jumpsuits, coats, and trousers, I think. And they have an inclusive size range and a range of models, an inclusive range of models for their patterns. So I really appreciated that, but mostly I was drawn to their cute designs. And I ordered four patterns directly from them. They’re based in Sacramento, in California. And on their about page they say, “Sewing patterns for the modern woman. Minimalist and easy to sew, we believe in making good things and doing good things. For that reason, Friday Pattern Company donates 5% of all proceeds to a rotating collection of top ranked charities in the world. Each pattern benefits a different charity. For more info on where we are donating for each pattern, click here. Friday Pattern Company is an independent sewing pattern company slash blog based out of Sacramento, California.”

So, I ordered four patterns. I would have ordered more, but I thought I should be realistic about what I’m actually going to sew. And you can do PDF downloads or print it, and I have never used a PDF pattern. I’m so lazy. I much prefer a printed pattern. And so I thought I would order those and wait because it’s not like I have time anytime soon to actually sew them. So I think I ordered the Avenir Jumpsuit, which is like a jersey jumpsuit. It’s super cute. It’s got wide legs and a gathered top and arms.

So it’s kind of a bit dressy if you made it in a dressy fabric or it could be just really casual, super cute. I ordered the Cambria Duster, which is a non lined coat. So I thought that could potentially be wearable here. And it’s got a royal neck collar, a really big collar, and a really nice shape, super chic. And then I think their two most recent patterns that they seem to be promoting, on Instagram at least, is the Sage Brush Top, which is a sort of more like a blouse. It’s got a ruffle across the top of your chest and gathered slaves. Super, super cute. And then I ordered the Wilder Gown, which is a dress. I don’t know why they call it a gown.

It’s a loose, flowy tiered dress that can be sewn up in a bunch of different ways. It has Ragland sleeves and ties up at the neck. It’s easy to sew and perfect for drapey woven fabrics. It can be made as a top or dress, long or short sleeved, one skirt tier or two, so you can customize it. And this looks a little bit like a dress I have in my wardrobe that I wear all the time. And the dress I have is in a jersey fabric by A Light Cotton would be really nice as well. So yeah, that’s my little new to me, sewing pattern company, the Friday Pattern Company, loving their work.

And last but not least, I have been doing a lot of work knitting, which means sort of power knitting. And that’s when I tend to catch up on YouTube as well as any courses that I’ve purchased. I try and watch videos from those, and I tend to be a bit of a serial online course purchaser. And I mentioned a little while ago that I had subscribed to MasterClass and full disclosure, I am an affiliate for MasterClass, so if you purchase a subscription through my link, I will receive a small affiliate fee. And I am recommending it because I really am enjoying the classes. I think I talked about the Ron Finley gardening class, which was the Gangster Gardener, and I love that class so much. And it really inspired me to start growing my own food, which has been moderately successful. I might give a little bit of an update on that in another episode.

And the one that I just finished watching is by Robin Roberts, who is one of the hosts of Good Morning America. And I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of her before. I just don’t watch a lot of TV and I’ve never watched a lot of news or morning shows. And I just thought some of the lesson titles looked really interesting. And she talked about optimism and resiliency for example, and I really enjoyed getting to know her story. And a lot of her lessons were very inspiring and uplifting, I think. And one of the quotes that I wrote down when she was talking about optimism, she said, “You have to change the way you think to change the way you feel.”

And she sort of gave the example of thinking, “You get to get up in the morning and do whatever it is you want to do,” rather than thinking, “You have to get up in the morning and do whatever it is you have to do.” So I really enjoyed that message. Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer and a subsequent illness after that, a blood disorder. And yeah, just her story and her life and what she’d done to get to the point of being host on Good Morning America and her attitude. And she was originally an athlete, or wanted to be a professional athlete, but wasn’t able to. So I very, very much enjoyed that course.

So the way the classes are instructed is that they break them into lessons basically. So you could have 15 to 20 short lessons and I really like that. The lessons are between 10 and 20 minutes each, so you can just dip into a small segment that interests you. And there are so many courses on here that I want to listen to. I thought I would just listen to the introduction or watch the introduction of a few of them. And I started watching Violin by Itzhak Perlman, which I think I will definitely watch the rest of, even though I’m a fairly rubbish violin player, but it’s kind of inspiring to listen to him talking about it.

There are quite a few writing classes, and I think I’d like to start with the one by Neil Gaiman. And I’m also really interested to watch the class by Helen Mirren because I am a big fan of her. So yeah, there’s just so many that looks so interesting. Anyway, that’s a big advertisement for MasterClass, of which I am an affiliate. So yes, take it with a pinch of salt, but if you’re wanting some really high quality, well-produced inspiration, I would really recommend it. So these are just a few of the things I’m into at the moment.

Thank you for joining me today for a little chat. I do you hope you’re well and going okay. I’m thinking of you and I hope you have a great week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.

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Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

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

O’Rielly’s

Lamington National Park

Louie and Lola Yarn

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

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 curioushandmade.com.

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.

Play

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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.

My long lost Barrett Bear kit has arrived!

We’ve passed the halfway point in this crazy year, and it seemed like a good time to catch up with how things are going and how many things I’ve managed to cross off my 20 in 2020 Happiness Project list. There are a few things that recent events have made impossible, but plenty of other things to be happy about, and even some opportunities in the midst of upheaval. I also have a lovely bunch of winners to announce from our #knit20for2020 and Stillness MKAL giveaways!

Show Links:

Knit20for2020 June Giveaway Winners:

Ravelry Winner:

Cuppacha with post #35

Edin Cardigan by Bonne Marie Burns

Hazel Knits

Instagram Winner:

Aviatrix1979

Amulet Shawl

John Arbon Textiles

You can find all the details on how to enter the July Knit20for2020 giveaway on Ravelry or Instagram, you can visit this link!

Stitch Mischief

Laine

Skein Australia

Winners of the Stillness MKAL Giveaway:

Grand prize winner:
Post 314: https://www.ravelry.com/people/deesuhr

10 Pattern of their choice winners:

Stillness Shawl MKAL

Stillness MKAL chat thread

Clue 1 Spoiler Thread

Clue 2 Spoiler thread

July Knit20for2020 FO Thread

Barrett Wool Company

Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish

@clevereststitch

Píosa by Renée Callahan

House Quilt Block Tutorial

SHOW TRANSCRIPT:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 301. 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 curioushandmade.com.

Hello, welcome to the show. I hope you’re well. I hope you’re having a good week. I’ve been having a pretty good week. It’s been a little bit up and down and I feel like a few weeks ago, or maybe it’s a couple of months ago, now, I said on the show that I was a little bit fed up with my family. And this week, I feel like I’ve just been fed up with myself, maybe for a couple of weeks. I’ve just felt fed up with not maybe doing the habits I wanted to do and not being able to get my act together, having no focus and just feeling a bit frustrated and fed up with everything. A bit lonely, a bit bored. But in the last day or so, I feel like I’ve sort of regrouped a little bit and I might talk a little bit about that in the main part of the episode.

We’ve been very much enjoying new puppy and she’s settling in really, really well. Little Cindy, she’s a cavoodle. I had quite a lot of questions about what breed she was when I posted a photo, which means that she’s a cavalier spaniel and poodle cross. So that means that she’s hopefully low for allergies and she’s going to be quite small. But she’s sleeping really well at night, which has been pretty amazing. We’re putting her in a crate and that’s in my office, which is sort of a little bit apart from our bedrooms. So I’ve been putting her in there at night and then putting ear plugs in, and she has been going pretty well. I think the last few nights she hasn’t been crying when I’ve left her, so that’s amazing. And she’s been managing to get through to the morning without any accidents as well. So, super happy about that. Fingers crossed that continues and it’s not just like first week sort of miracle. And yeah, so she’s going well.

So that’s been really, really lovely, and I think it’s cheered us all up quite a bit in the family. It’s also caused a little bit of lack of sleep because Sophie and I are getting up quite early to get her out of the crate. So we’ve been having some early mornings and we’ve gotten into a bit of a routine where we take it in turns. So, that’s going pretty well.

So it’s a new month and that means that we have some Knitalong winners to announce. So I will do that first. And we have the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge winners. The first one is for the Ravelry thread and the winner is number 35, who is Cuppacha, Carol. And she lives on Whitby Island in Washington State and she entered with a Edin cardie. A beautiful cardigan. And as I was scrolling through the thread, I noticed that she also had two other entries, a pair of socks and a beautiful shawl. So congratulations, Carol, Cuppacha on Ravelry, and she’s nominated hazelknits for her prize of a $50 gift voucher. And so Carol, if you can contact me either on Ravelry to HellsBells or support@curioushandmade.com, and just let me know your email address so I can organize the gift voucher.

And on Instagram we have aviatrix1979, who is Charlotte. She’s based in the UK. She knit a beautiful amulet shawl, which was from the first season of The Shawl Society in John Arbon Textiles. So again, Charlotte, if you could contact me either Instagram or one of the previous methods that I suggested, and just let us know your email address and I can send you your gift voucher.

So thank you to everybody who is participating in Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. I noticed that I had about 80 projects on the Ravelry thread, which was amazing, and I didn’t have so many projects tagged in Instagram. So if you’re working on the 20 in 2020 challenge, you can tag your projects in Instagram and nominate a indie dyer or LYS that you’d like to win a $50 voucher from, and I will draw prizes at the end of each month, beginning of the next month.

I’ve been really slack about organizing the prizes, but I am on it. I will get there eventually. So please be patient with me, but know that I will get there and sorry about that. But yes, I will be better. The second half of the year, I’m turning over a new leaf with my admin and emails.

We also had a really fun giveaway for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl. In the lead up to the first clue coming out, people could post their inspiration for their colors for the shawl or post their favorite still life painting or other still life scene from in real life. And the prize is a beautiful skein of Skein Australia Yarn that I used in this sample, one of the colors that I used in the sample, a Laine knitting diary, as well as a beautiful project bag from Stitch Mischief.

And so the winner of the grand prize is Deesuhr. That’s spelled D-E-E-S-U-H-R. She doesn’t have any details in Ravelry profile about name or location, so I think maybe her name is Dee. Anyway, if you can contact me, send me a Ravelry message at HellsBells or contact support@curioushandmade.com on email, and I’ll organize to get that prize sent to you.

We were also offering 10 winners a pattern of their choice from my pattern library. And so the winners are Lynhart, Fynbo31, Knit4Keeps, Quilt and Yarn, gypsycraft, Andystitch, Konkyliedesign, emmoswmr, ceglaw, and NellyJake. We’ve posted the winners also on Ravelry in the thread. So if all those people who’ve won a pattern of their choice could message on Ravelry to HellsBells, and we will arrange for those patterns to be gifted to you.

So, thanks so much for joining in with the competition and all the Knitalongs and everything that’s happening. I always enjoy seeing your entries and comments. It’s always very inspiring and just nice to feel part of the community. So for the Mystery Knitalong, the Stillness Shawl, clue two was released yesterday and I am loving seeing you’re spoiler pictures on Instagram and Ravelry. Thank you so, so much for everybody posting their photos behind the spoiler image, or as a second image on Instagram and in the spoiler thread. It really is lovely for people who aren’t quite up to your pace to not have the surprise spoiled if they’re really keen for that. And so, yes, I appreciate that.

But I also appreciate seeing all your photos of your progress. And I am loving the color combinations. As I said when people were choosing yarn that I really didn’t think you could go wrong, and I was kind of crossing my fingers that that was the case for everyone. And I really feel like I haven’t seen a single color combination that I thought wouldn’t work. I think they’re all working beautifully, and I’m so excited to see that and just getting so much joy from the beautiful colors that people are using. So excited about that and thanks for everybody joining in. I mean, if you still wanted to join in, I don’t think it’s too late to catch up. The second clue has just been released, so if you felt like joining in, perhaps you’ve had a peak at the sneak peeks and like the look of how it’s coming out, then I think you can jump in at any time.

There’s not really any obligation to keep up. I think a lot of people seem to be though, so that’s good. I try to pace it so that people can keep up if they want to. I want to make it achievable. So I hope everyone joining in is having a really fun time with it.

Speaking of Knitalongs, we have the July thread for Knit 20 for 2020 now open. So you can either post on Ravelry or on Instagram using the hashtag #Knit20for2020. And so if you’re knitting anything on the challenge list of prompts, you can post if you finish it in the month of July.

And I’m so excited because I ordered a kit from Barrett Wool Co. which is Susan B. Anderson’s yarn company, and I always thought if I was ever going to make a toy, it would be one of her patterns. They’re just so, so, so cute. And so I ordered a little bear kit and the bear is a polar bear. It has a gorgeous red cardie with heart-shaped buttons, and it’s just pretty adorable. And I ordered that back in April and then obviously mail went a bit pear-shaped. And I think in Australia, I’m not sure when this happened, but I think it was after I ordered the kit, but they stopped doing air freight. So I think any mail going or coming is going by boat. That might be just true of parcels, rather than letters. I’m not sure what really what’s happening, but anyway.

I had kind of almost given up on this kit. I was thinking, okay, it’s just coming by boat. It’s just taking a long time, but I was a little bit worried that it had got lost. And it arrived yesterday. So I was super happy about that. And so now I can work on my toy prompt for the challenge. I’m not sure when I’m going to start that. I have a few projects on the go already, a few sort of personal, non-work projects, including the Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish and the Píosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits. And I think a few other deep whip things as well, some socks and so on. So I would like to finish at least one or two of those things before I start on the toy, but I’m just so happy that the kit arrived and it’s gorgeous. It’s so cute. The packaging is beautiful and I can’t wait to knit that.

So, as I mentioned in the introduction, I had a little bit of a revisit of goals and reassessment of my mood and what’s going on this week. So I took the opportunity of it being halfway through the year and in Australia, it’s a new financial year here. So the tax year ends at the end of June. So that was a little bit of a time to catch up on a bit of admin and clear the decks. I’ve decluttered and cleaned my desk so that I have a nice fresh space to work.

And actually it was my birthday on the weekend, last weekend. And the girls gave me some lovely gifts. I had suggested that they go to a particular shop that sells… I like face cream, organic face cream and things like that, and was hoping for some moisturizer. And instead I unwrapped some crystals, a water bottle that has crystals at the bottom, and a diffuser that diffuses essential oils. So that was quite funny and quite adorable. And so that really prompted me to clean and refresh and declutter my office a little bit. So now I have some healing crystals and some beautiful essential oils. Oh, they gave me a candle as well with crystals in it. It was like really crystal, crystal-tastic. So that was really sweet and was also a really nice prompt to do a bit of tidying up.

So I’m feeling a lot calmer. I don’t know if it’s the crystals or just having a desk that I can see, but either way it’s good. And I decided to have a look at my happiness project, my 20 in 2020 happiness project. And this kind of gave me the inspiration for the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And it’s an idea from the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Croft that I listen to somewhat regularly, not all the time, but every now and then I’ll dip into it. And they have this happiness project where you make a list of things to do for the year that will make you happy.

So I’ve pulled out my list and as I suspected, at least four of the things have been sort of kiboshed by the lockdown. We were actually meant to be in the UK right now and going to my friend Amanda’s wedding on the weekend in Ireland, which has been postponed for a year. So maybe next summer we’ll be doing that. But in the meantime, I’ll have to find something else for that item. And also when I wrote this list, there was going to be a trip to Shetland, which I was not 100% sure about anyway, but in any case that was canceled as well. And I also had a relaxing holiday. So I want to just lie on a beach somewhere in hot sun, and I had Bali Villa question marked for that. So also not happening.

And then there was also catching up with my friend who’s in New South Wales, which is the adjoining state to where I am in Queensland. And our border has been closed since the lockdown, but very excitingly, the Queensland premier has just announced that the borders will open on the 10th of July for Queensland. So we’ll be able to go interstate again, which is very exciting. And I’ll be able to see my friend, my best friend.

So I had a few things that I’ll need to basically postpone to next year or cancel or rejig. Some things are happening and some things I have achieved. Most of the things on the list are things that are in progress or I haven’t started yet. So I had create and tend a house plant family. So I have some pot plants that I have been managing to keep alive, so I’m on track with that. I don’t know if I have to keep them alive till the end of the year to be able to take that off, but I’m pretty pleased. The maidenhair ferns are going particularly well. Some plants have not survived, but I have about six or seven that are doing pretty well.

I have my 40th birthday quilt that’s in progress. That is the little houses quilt that I’ve been talking on the podcast a little bit about. And I pretty much have that almost cut out now. I have enough pieces to start sewing up the blocks, and I’m gradually inching towards starting sewing that up, piecing the blocks together. So that’s happening. And I feel like I will have at least the top piece together by the end of the year. Knowing my progress, I probably won’t have it finished, but I feel like if I can get the top pieced by the end of the year, that will be fantastic.

I have my gray hair (don’t care) full transition, which is on track. I have been growing out my color for, I don’t really know exact date I started because I kind of started and then went backwards with bleaching it blonde for a while to try and make the transition easier. But that put me back about six months, I think. So I’m not really sure exactly when I started. I guess I should count it from that time. So probably just over a year, I guess. So, that’s not too bad. It feels like it’s been taking forever. I think I’ve really been trying to start it for more like, oh, I don’t know. I’m a bit confused. Maybe two years, I don’t know. A year and a half, let’s say.

Oh dear. Yeah, so I have a couple of inches left. I’ve cut it quite short. I haven’t really been posting photos of myself for a while because I’m a bit fed up with the transitional step, but that’s happening and it’s on track. Every time I go for haircut, I’m so tempted to say, “Just cut off any color,” but that would make it really quite short. So I haven’t had the guts to do that yet, but I’m kind of thinking maybe next time I might say that. I might just say, “Get rid of any color and just do what you need to do to, to do that.”

Oh yeah. Another thing that I got sidetracked from with the lockdown was joining a music group, an orchestra or a band for the flute. But that is starting up again here now, so I might be able to get into that before the end of the year. So I think a step before that will be for me to find a flute teacher. I’ve been trying to find a teacher since we got back here, but I haven’t really managed to find someone. I did go to a couple of lessons with a couple of different teachers and they were okay, but they were high school teachers. And I just felt like they weren’t really in the groove of teaching adults.

So I’m going to persevere with that and try one more teacher. And I think if that doesn’t work, I might contact my teacher in London and see if she’d be willing to teach me via Zoom, because we were getting on very well. And perhaps with the lockdown, she might have gone more into teaching online. I don’t know, but that’s maybe a possibility, although the time zone between Australia and London is terrible and it seems a little bit ridiculous to me, but I guess I just have to accept my circumstances. And also that online learning to me is actually pretty convenient now because I have more options with time slots if I do that, although the problem with trying to coordinate with London means that those time slots are actually quite limited.

So anyway, we’ll see. Something I’m working on and something that if I can sort out, it will make me very, very happy, because I was going great with learning, taking up the flute again, after 20 years of not playing. It was something I really, really loved. And then I found a wonderful teacher in London and made really, really great progress. And I was so happy because I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to pick it up again. And so I was so thrilled that I could. And now, since I’ve been back in Australia, it’s just all being dropped again. So I think I’ll make that a priority as something that gives me a lot of joy to try and work out for the last half of this year.

Sorry. That was a bit of a ramble, but I’m kind of thinking out loud as I’m chatting with you. So thank you for listening. What am I like? Anyway, I’ve got a whole list of things that would make me happy, but I think that would make me really, really happy. So I’m going to focus on that.

So I would love to know if you have a 20 in 20 happiness project happening and let me know how many things you’ve been having to re jiggle this year. It’s been such a crazy year. Oh my goodness. I still can’t get my head around it. And I just hope that people are going okay. I listened to a lovely podcast when I was out on my walk yesterday and it was kind of a productivity podcast. And the guy was talking about just trying to see the opportunity in the situation we’re in.

He gave a really lovely example that I will try and take on board, which is he was home, he has a little kid, and the kids are home from school and he’s trying to work. And his kid came up to him and said, “Can I help you with something?” And he was about to say, “Oh no, no, I’ve nearly finished now. It’s fine.” And then he thought to himself, no, actually this is an opportunity to connect with my son and teach him. So he decided from that moment to take his son on as an apprentice and just take the opportunity to teach him stuff that he knows. He didn’t really go into details, but I thought how wonderful is that idea of just reframing kids home from school? Not an easy situation and reframing it to taking his little son under his wing and teaching him stuff. And I’ve been thinking about that with the girls, trying to teach some cooking skills and cleaning skills and craft skills and trying to do that. So I thought I really like that idea of an apprenticeship. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Anyway, that’s my little chatty ramble for the week and I’m going to wrap it up there.

I hope you have a fantastic week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.