CH 267: A Birthday Sale and Floating Shawl


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Today on the podcast I’m thinking about what it might mean to design our summer (even with an international move in the middle!) and announcing a little birthday sale on my patterns! The TSS 3 shawls are now available as single patterns. And there’s a brand new TSS 4 shawl to celebrate!

Show Links:

The Shawl Society Season 3

Maytham Shawl

Ivy Over The Door Shawl

Wick Shawl

Planting Seeds Shawl

Learning to Cry Shawl

The Whole World is a Garden Shawl

The Shawl Society Season 4

Sea Gleam Shawl 

Floating Shawl

Sky Map Wrap

The Happier Podcast

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2016

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2017

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode from 2018

Design Your Summer Happier Podcast Episode 2019

Podcast Transcript

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 267. 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 Hells Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Welcome to the show. I hope you have lots of weekend things planned and a little bit of knitting hopefully. We are planning to go to the school fair this weekend, and we have some birthday parties for kids to attend and, hopefully, a bit of knitting for me too, so I’m looking forward to the weekend. And in this episode, we are chatting about the release of the second Shawl Society shawl, a little bit of a happiness project update, and some ideas for some activities.

Before I get into all of that, I wanted to announce a birthday sale. It’s my birthday next week, and so I thought I would have a pattern sale in my Ravelry store. We are also celebrating the release of the Shawl Society season three patterns as single patterns. We are going to have a buy one, get one free offer starting today and running through until Sunday, the 30th of June, and so it will be just over a week, this week and next weekend. All you have to do is put two or more patterns from my Ravelry store into your basket and use the code happybirthday, all one word, and you will get the second least expensive pattern for free. If you’ve been waiting for one of the Shawl Society patterns, a particular pattern from last year’s season, then now is the time to snap that up.

Speaking of the Shawl Society, season four is happening at the moment, and the second shawl has just been released yesterday. I am super excited to introduce you to Floating shawl. We’ve had a really magical start to season four, including the giveaway where people posted about their happy places, and it was so inspiring. I think that people who are knitting away on the Sea Gleam shawl at the moment or have knitted that one are enjoying the season so far and I hope you enjoy Floating just as much. I’ll just read out the pattern description for the Floating shawl for you.

From the moment your feet hit the surf, the first swim of the day feels like freedom. Although swimming may be too strong a word, movement is effortless and this is more about relaxation, about surrendering yourself to the joys of the sea. Finally, you can let go and just float, buoyant and supported by the salt water. Bobbing up and down amongst the waves, you’re almost weightless. Somehow, a dip in the ocean can be both exhilarating and deeply calming. Any stress or fretting that manage to follow you here dissolves and drifts away. When you’ve had enough, there’s a happy striving back to the shore as you are lifted and set back on your feet by the movement of the water, heading for the crisp welcome of a sun-warmed towel. A little sun, a little rest, a cool drink, and then you’ll be ready to venture out into the swing of the sea once more.

Our second shawl of the season is called Floating after the simple pleasure of an ocean swim. It’s a generous half pi or semi-circular shape with beautiful drape around the shoulders. The base of the shawl is mostly garter stitch, the most relaxing stitch I know, perfect for holiday knitting. There’s also a gorgeous panel of simple lace finished with the delicate ripple of a picot bind-off. The Floating shawl is a joyful and rewarding knit and a lovely addition to any outfit.

The sample pictured in the pattern is knit in Sweet Fiber Sweet Merino Lite, which is 100% superwash merino single ply yarn, and the yardage on that is 434 meters per 115 grams. The sample took two 115-gram skeins and I used a significant amount of that. The sample used 215 grams overall. If you are using a regular 100-gram single skein, you will probably need three or, if you’re using the Sweet Fiber, you just need two skeins, or another yarn that has slightly more yardage in the skein. If you’re using a light fingering that has a bit more yardage, you’ll be okay, but just be aware that it uses 112 meters or 888 yards in total, and that was what I actually used, so you want to give yourself a little bit of a buffer so you’re not playing yarn chicken.

It’s quite a nice, generous sized shawl. It’s in one size, and I think it looks good knit in one colour. You could potentially use two different colours. The lace section would probably be a good place to start a new colour and that’s at the 60% mark, so if you’re using three skeins, you could use two colours for the body and change to a different colour for the lace or the lace panel, something like that. It’ll be fun to have a play and think about how you want to do that. Sweet Fiber is a gorgeous yarn. I actually discovered Sweet Fiber through Joji, I think. She was knitting something with Melissa’s yarn and then I met her when I went to Knit City in Vancouver last year, so that was really lovely, and I might’ve purchased a sweater quantity in one of her colorways, so really enjoy knitting with the Sweet Fiber yarn and I hope you do too.

Around this time of the year with my birthday looming, at the almost halfway point of the year, I’ve never really thought about it that much before, but it really is right smack bang in the middle of the year, it’s a good time to do a little bit of a review of what I was thinking about at the beginning of the year in terms of my word for the year and things like that. My word for the year is intentional, and I wanted to be more intentional about how I spend my time this year. And when I decided on that, I hadn’t announced it on the podcast just quite yet, but I knew that we would be moving countries and that I would need to be fairly organised and on top of things this year in particular.

I’ve been focusing on streaks for trying to get into good habits with things like walking, healthy eating, and music practice, and sprints for probably more work-related things like designing patterns and getting other projects up and running. At the moment, behind the scenes, I’m working on creating a new website because my website is pretty old now and needs some love and attention paid to it. I’m working on various streaks and sprints in the background and also intentionally saying no to things and taking things off my plate so that I can de-overwhelm myself a little bit. I’m not sure how realistic that is in a year like this where we’re having a major move, but I’m trying to keep things as calm and minimal schedule as possible in the circumstances.

Because of that, I chose not to have a Make Nine this year because I thought I just don’t have time for that. I would love to have a Make Nine and choose nine projects to work on, but that’s just not on the cards this year, maybe next year. I decided for my personal, fun knitting goals at the beginning of the year to just focus on one project at a time, work away on something, try and finish it, and then do something else and just not have any time pressure around that. I started off working on my Star Map wrap by Emily Foden, and I was working on that for a while, which is lovely, relaxing stockinette in the round, so super good. I’ll probably turn to that again in the summer, but then I picked up my Clio pullover in March and have been just really getting into that and enjoying that, so I’m working on the body of that at the moment and making pretty good progress, so I’m enjoying that as well.

I also decided that I would have a happiness project this year, and I talked about that in January, I think, and I just went through my list. When I set my list, I only had 17 things on it, so the happiness project is something I heard about on the Happier podcast with Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Elizabeth Craft. Last year, they did 18 in 2018 and, this year, they are doing 19 in 2019. I just ended up with 17, intending to add a couple more things, but I think I’m happy with 17. It seems doable. I’ve actually achieved quite a few of the things. I have started learning the flute again. I did my grade four exam back in, I think, March and did really well. I don’t know that I ever came back and told you about that, but I ended up getting a distinction for that exam. That gave me a huge boost and I decided to go for grade five, which is next week. I’ve been practicing quite a bit for that and really, really loving it. That’s been absolutely brilliant.

KonMari to the max was one of my happiness projects, and I am getting there and that was, obviously, put on the list ahead of the move and we’re getting there. I wouldn’t say I’m finished, but we’ve made really good progress on that. I was planning to go to June Squam Arts Workshop and that is ticked off. That was last, not last month, earlier this month. Other things that have happened, our holiday to India, which I talked about on the podcast, as well as Edinburgh in March, which has obviously been and gone. And, yeah, walking streak, a little bit patchy lately, but generally happening. I wanted to walk every day and, yeah, it’s been, to be honest, in the last few weeks, things have been a bit overwhelming on the personal front, so I probably needed to walk even more than usual, but that’s gone by the wayside a little bit. I bet I can pick that up again.

And so some things that are still coming up, making a quilt, I might hopefully be able to do that when we settle in Australia. Reviewing the list has reminded me that I need to book in a date because I have dinner with an old friend of mine, Catherine, on the list, and we haven’t done that yet and I need to do that before we leave in August. And I have to get a really nice pair of black jeans, which is a very frivolous one, and I haven’t done that yet. I’m putting that off a little bit. I’d like to lose a pound or two before I do that, so it’s even more frivolous than it initially sounds, but anyway, we all have our little things. And then there’s also a skive off day with my husband that we do in December, so that will happen later in the year as well.

Yeah, lots of things achieved and quite a few things still to look forward to. I feel pretty good about that. Yeah, I feel good about what I’ve achieved so far in the year. I can’t quite remember if I deliberately spaced things out so that things would automatically get ticked off. I think I was a little bit strategic about it like that. Anyway, that’s all worked out really well.

Speaking of the Happier podcast, I do enjoy listening to that podcast. I tend to listen to it in fits and spurts, probably more when I’m on my walking streak than when I’m not. I listen to podcasts quite a lot when I’m walking, which is really nice to get out and walk around the park and listen to my friends, in inverted commas. Some of them are friends. Some of them have no idea who I am, but I feel like they’re friends. I was listening to Happier podcast recently and Gretchen was talking about her Design Your Summer project. I think this is at least the second year, if not the third year. She got the idea from a quote she read to really intentionally make a nice project for your summer.

Obviously, for Southern Hemisphere people, it’s not quite the same, but you can just consider this as getting ahead and think about it for the end of the year, but summer holidays are either underway for a lot of people in the U.S. or coming up very quickly, I think, for Canadians and, over here, we’re not on summer holidays for kids yet for a couple of weeks, but we’re getting there. The weather definitely isn’t summery here yet. It’s been raining and cold and I’m still wearing sweaters, so it doesn’t feel very summery just yet, but I’m hoping that, when the summer solstice rolls around, we’ll be feeling a bit more summery.

I have been thinking about a summer project and I was talking to my sister, because we both listen to the Happier podcast and sometimes chat about it, and she laughed at me and said, “Your summer project is moving countries,” so there is that, but I would like to hope that I can make it about a little bit more than that, not just about logistics and admin and packing and things like that. I’m going to have a little bit of a think about how I can make the summer holidays more fun, especially for the kids. They have been really patient with all the organizing and KonMari-ing and keeping the house super tidy while we have it on the market to sell and things like that, and so I think that what I’d like to do is have them write a little bucket list. I was looking on Pinterest, and probably because of my searches that I’ve been doing all right the summer project, images for summer bucket lists started popping up, so I think it’s a bit of a thing.

Yeah, there were lots of lists of fun things to do over the summer, with kids or for grownups. There’s lots of different lists on there, things like make s’mores and have picnics and just lovely things like that. I think maybe this weekend or maybe when they are on holidays, we’ll write some lists of just really fun things that they want to do and that I’d like to do as well. I just thought I’d put that out there. If you haven’t been thinking about that, and maybe if you don’t have kids, you might have been thinking about it a bit less because, when you’re just in a work environment, sometimes you think about booking a summer holiday perhaps, but not necessarily about the whole summer as something to particularly enjoy.

I would be interested to know if any of you are planning summer projects and what they are. You can leave a comment on Instagram. I’ll post about it on Instagram or on the show notes thread, post, on the website. I’d love to know what you’re planning. And, of course, if you’re planning any winter projects Down Under, you can talk about them as well. I don’t want to exclude Southern Hemisphere people.

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you have a fantastic week. Don’t forget about the two for one, buy one, get one free sale with the coupon code happybirthday. That will be on my Ravelry pattern store and, yeah, I hope you’re enjoying the Shawl Society, and I hope you have some nice daydreaming about the summer holidays. Happy knitting. Talk to you soon.

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