CH 265: Heading off to Squam


Show Sponsors:

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

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at

Today I have a chatty little catch-up episode, which I recorded just before heading off to the Squam Art Workshops. As ever, there’s the question of travel knitting. It’s also the time of year where I like to take stock of my goals and plans so far, as we head into the second half of 2019. With the big move to Australia just around the corner, there’s a lot to plan for!

Show Links:


Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty

Pebbles and Pathways Socks

Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain

Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli

Seren Yarns

The Yarn Tart at Suffolk Socks

House of A La Mode

House of A La Mode at A Yarn Story

Join the Handmade Sock Society Season 2

The Minimal Mom

The Mount Juliet Shawl


Show Transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 265. 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

Hello and welcome to the show and welcome to June. How on earth did that happen? Oh my goodness. Nearly halfway through the year and I guess it’s a really good time for thinking about planning for the second half of the year. I’ve been thinking about planning all year because I have such a big deadline hanging over me, which is moving to Australia in August. So I’ve been very, very conscious of deadlines all year. But I always think that around June, just before halfway through the year, is a really good time to reassess goals and look at what you’ve achieved for the year so far and what you might like to achieve for the second half of the year.

I am even more conscious of time frames because as I sat down to record this, I’ve just been doing a little bit of catching up on my planning, reorganizing myself a little bit. And realized that it’s 10 weeks until we move, until we leave. 10 weeks today in fact. So yeah, there’s a handful of weeks that the kids still have at school or just over a handful, but under two handfuls, and then we’ll have a few weeks in which we will be going to a wedding and having movers come in and pack everything up.

So even though it’s 10 weeks, it’s not really, because I’m off to Squam this week as well. So I am really looking forward to visiting Squam Lake in New Hampshire for the Squam Arts Workshops. And as you will probably gather, if you follow me on Instagram, I am away as this is being released. So I’m prerecording it just a few days in advance this time. But by the time the episode comes out I’ll be over in the US.

So just now I am in the process of packing for that trip and I am not working this trip. Sometimes I have a stall at the art fair that they have at the end of Squam, and it’s always a really beautiful art fair, beautiful vendors. In the past I’ve had a stand there but I’m just pure holiday this time, and I feel like I could do with a break cause I’ve been working really, really hard to try and meet lots of deadlines recently.

So I’m really looking forward to relaxing. And the venue is the most relaxing place I think I’ve ever been to, it’s so beautiful. The lake is gorgeous. Being near water is really nice and being in the woods is beautiful as well. It’s just really low key and relaxed. I just can’t wait for a little break.

I’m thinking about knitting projects I’m taking, so I am taking one design project. But the design work is done, so it’s basically just knitting, which I’m really enjoying. So that’s not too taxing. And I will also be taking Clio, which is a pullover I’ve been working on for some time. At one point I did think maybe, maybe possibly I could finish it for the trip, but no, not even close. I still have part of the neckband, part of the body and the sleeves to go. So although I have done most of the body, which is a substantial part of the knitting, I am still a fair way to go. I would be interested to know what percentage it is, but I haven’t had time to calculate the percentage checklist for it. I sometimes do do that when I’m knitting other people’s patterns, put it into a percentage checklist so I know where I’m at but I haven’t this time.

And I’m looking forward to making some good progress on that as well as I am taking Pebbles and Pathways, which is a pair of socks I’ve been knitting on for awhile. It’s a pattern by Marceline Smith and I met Marc at Squam a few years ago now, probably four years ago because I didn’t attend last year. So yeah, I think it would have been four years ago. Yeah, so I don’t think Marc is going this session, but I will be taking my socks along and thinking of all the good times we’ve had at Squam together and we were cabin mates when I first met her. So I’ll be enjoying working on her design while I’m there as well. Knitting, a few rows on my socks. They are in a really summary yarn. The yarn is dyed by my friend Emma who is Seren Yarns and really loving the yarn that I’m using for that project as well. So that’s always very nice.

I’ll be packing a capsule wardrobe. And over the last few years I’ve really been working on making my wardrobe more and more capsule, which means in a way it’s a little bit boring because it’s fairly black and navy. I have my jeans and T-shirts. It’s fairly simple. I would love to have more hand sewn items in there, but I’m pleased to have two hand-knitted sweaters to take with me for once. I have my Like a Cloud by Joji Locatelli and my Hay Pullover by Clare Mountain. So I am really pleased to have two hand-knit sweaters to wear, which is not always the case for me.

Yeah. So I am enjoying how fast it is to pack with my capsule wardrobe because everything goes even though it’s a bit boring, black T-shirts go quite well with black jeans, et cetera, et cetera. So it means that I can just grab a few trousers, pants, jeans and a few tops and it just all goes fairly easily. I don’t have to worry about making outfits. I will be just taking carry-on luggage and usually when I’m traveling I have a problem with space, more because of all the knitting projects I want to take than with clothes. So I’ll probably just take the one pair of shoes to have as much room for knitting as possible and any little pieces I might pick up at the market. Although with my intensive decluttering efforts lately I am less and less inclined to make purchases, although I probably will be tempted by some of the beautiful handmade things.

Anyway. I say that’s what’s coming up for me this week. I just can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to lots and lots of knitting time. I am doing two classes and I can’t remember what they are off the top of my head. So I’ll look forward to telling you all about my adventures and classes when I get back next week. We also have the third Handmade Sock Society socks coming out very soon, next week in fact. And I’ve already updated members with what yarn I used for these socks.

And the first yarn we used is by The Yarn Tart and The Yarn Tart is the hand-dyed yarn range by Julie at Suffolk Socks. Julie’s a great friend of mine and so she very generously has dyed up a gorgeous colorway, called You and me by the Deep Blue Sea, for these socks. A gorgeous, gorgeous tonal blue. Just really my perfect blue, one of my perfect blues. I love all blues. This is a really, really nice one. She still has some available on her website. I’m not sure if they’re pre-orders now or she has some ready to send, but when I checked just now, she still has some of the special colorway for the third socks.

And I also knit a second sample in House of a la Mode in their Fingering Sock weight yarn. And that is available for UK listeners at A Yarn Story, my lovely show sponsor. She has a wonderful range of House of a la Mode and she is one of my new favorite indie dyers. Just really love the jewel tones and beautiful tonals. She’s doing just gorgeous, gorgeous color. She has a a range called something like Simply Smokey or Nearly Smoky, sorry, I can’t quite remember. But a little bit smoky, and smoky colors, and I love this range. In fact, when Carmen posted a picture of a collection of colors, I just went online and bought the exact collection that she had put together. That was some time ago. I’m still wondering what I want to design with that because it was just really, really inspiring.

Anyway, so that is one of the yarns that I’ve used for the socks coming out soon. Of course you can use pretty much any sock yarn for these ones. You might want something not too multicolored or not too variegated for these ones. Let’s just say you’ll want something that will show up a bit of pattern. But that’s all the clue I’m giving you at this stage and they will be out very soon. It’s not too late to join in the Handmade Sock Society, season two. There’s still four socks in the season to come including these next ones, number three. And they will be released every other month through till December. So we still have half a year of the Sock Society still to come.

So when I get back I think I’m going to be in full-on move preparation mode. I’ve been working on getting organized for at least six months now, probably since last, I don’t know, September or October. I started thinking it would be good to start getting organized and I did have a renewed burst of decluttering at that point, which you will have heard about if you been listening to the podcast for a while. And I found myself getting a bit frustrated with the whole thing because I’ve been trying for many years now to follow the Marie Kondo method of decluttering, which is all in one hit, category by category, going through the house and really just doing a great job once. And I’ve been actually trying to do that for years and it hasn’t ever worked. I haven’t ever been able to go through and get it all decluttered in one hit.

So I was feeling a bit frustrated by this because I love the idea of being able to do it. And then I recently discovered a podcast called the Minimal Mom. I’ve mentioned her before and she’s really been very, very helpful because she’s very practical. She’s got four kids. So I know that it’s real, if you know what I mean, for a situation like mine where I have kids. So I can know that if she can do it with four kids then I should be able to do it with two. Whereas sometimes I look at people who have beautifully minimalist times and they don’t have kids and I’m making excuses because I think, “Well, I can’t do that because I have children.”

So on a recent episode she did a, my decluttering journey. And she said that she used the onion method. So obviously it’s like peeling the onion layer by layer and she talked about how she would just go into the kids room, clear a little bit out, get rid of that, then go in again the next week, do a bit more and go around the house like that. Just little bit by little bit. And so I had a little bit of a revelation because I was like, “I’m doing the onion method. Yay. I have a method.” It’s not just slightly hopeless hoarding, unable to let go of things method. It’s just the onion method. It’s bit by bit, layer by layer and that’s okay. So yeah. So I really enjoyed that episode and I’m still working on my layers.

But I think once I get back from Squam, I don’t have a huge amount of time to be too precious about too thin layers. I think I’m going to have to just be now, “Okay, you need to get down to what it is that you’re going to take with you because you don’t really have that much time to faff around anymore.” So I think that’s going to give me a really good boost for a final round. It’s going to help me be really clear about what I am going to pack and what I am not going to pack.

So that’s coming up for me when I get back from Squam and also working on the Knitvent designs. So it’s my goal to try and get those all ready for you for later on in the year so that I can have that all ready and lined up and I don’t have to worry about it or think about it too much while we’re going through the actual move, and settling in and getting kids started at new schools and things like that. So I will be trying to make sure that I have a really good rest while I’m away and hopefully coming back with lots of energy and looking forward to catching up with you again then.

So have a wonderful week everyone. Thank you so, so much for your kind words about the Mount Juliet shawl that I published last week. Lots of people have signed up to start knitting that, purchase the pattern and said lots of lovely things, so I really appreciate that. This design was very dear to my heart and was for a special group of people that we went away together on the retreat, and I’m so pleased that so many of you like it as well and are joining in with us knitting on that.

I am looking forward to seeing … I’m hoping that somebody knits it in one color. I designed it for two colors. And so it’s basically stripes of lace with some ribbing and garter texture in between. And I would quite like to see it in one color. So if you do end up knitting it in one color, do Pin me and tag me in so that I can see what it looks like. Because I think it would look quite, I don’t know, just quite sophisticated in one color as well.

So anyway, I hope you have a fantastic week and thanks for joining me for this rather chatty, somewhat not very knitting related episode. And hopefully when I catch up I’ll have lots of knitting updates to share with you. So have a fantastic week and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.


More To Explore


Learn all the essential skills you need to start knitting stunning handmade shawls with the FREE Spindrift Shawl Pattern and Online Workshop

Magazine Covers with Helen Stewart on it and a knitted shawl wrapped around her neck and shoulders