CH 271: Packing, packaging, and stash


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Today’s episode is just a bit of a snapshot of what life is like here at the Curious Handmade headquarters. We’re in the middle of the first stage of the move now and it’s all very real. As I pack up our lives (and my stash!) I have some thoughts about the emotions stuff holds, how clutter and minimalism and waste interact, and which skeins I should pack for a few month’s transition.

Show Links:

Jarr Market

Gather (Peckham No-Packaging Shop)

The Low Tox Life

Low Tox Life Episode 149

Clio by Elizabeth Doherty

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 271. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as Hell’s Bells and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at

Hello and welcome to the show, I hope you’re having a great week. We are having a heat wave in London at the moment and it is pretty hot, I have to say. Sometimes when people say, “We’re having a heat wave here,” I’m like no, high twenties is not a heat wave. But yesterday it was well over 30 and tomorrow is predicted to be 38 degrees, which considering that no one in London has any air conditioning, it’s pretty disgusting. So not looking forward to that very much. It’s early in the morning at the moment, so it’s still reasonably cool. So I thought I would pop in and podcast while it’s nice and cool and I have a bit of energy to do it.

I’m not sure how much knitting I will have to talk about today, my mind is a little bit scattered. I’m surrounded by packing boxes at the moment. We are moving out of our house this weekend and we’re not leaving the UK for a couple of weeks, but we’re moving to a temporary place and the people coming to pack what we’re taking to Australia are coming early next week. So, yeah, so my mind is a little bit scattered and it’s partly because I’ve got a lot on, but also partly because this process of packing and going through everything you own is quite emotional. Some of it is a bit disturbing when you discover things that you bought twelve years ago and I’ve just had in the back of a cupboard. Yeah. I’m looking through boxes of cards that people have sent to me.

I actually found a bundle of cards that my best friend had written to me, who’s passed away eight years ago and yeah, just lots and lots of little emotional moments as I go through everything. And as you know, if you’ve been listening to the podcast, I have been decluttering for about five years. I’ve been trying to move to a less stuff life. And so it’s a little bit disheartening to be honest, to still have so much stuff and be confronted with my consumerism. But you know, it is what it is. I’m trying to improve, and this is a great opportunity to really sort of clear the slate a little bit.

Yeah. So it’s been a big week, another big week. But I’m getting there. I’m getting there slowly but surely, I’m running out of energy a little bit. I haven’t been sleeping very well. I’ve been sort of getting really tired and then sleeping and then waking up at anywhere between 3:00 AM to, you know, 5:00 AM and not being able to get back to sleep. So it’s not really helping. But I think I hopefully it’s just a phase and it’s partly because it’s so light so early here in the UK at the moment, that doesn’t really help and all sorts of things going on that’s contributing to that.

But yes, so that’s where I’m at today. Sometimes I record these shows and think it’s amazing that anybody listens to me talking about these I don’t know, personal things or probably quite repetitive and boring things sometimes, I’m not sure. But thank you for listening. I appreciate you. I love all my knitters. I love my listeners on the podcast and yeah, I just really appreciate the community we have. And you know, I guess I’m just feeling that a lot because I’m saying goodbye to people here. I’m thinking about the new friends I’m going to make where I’m moving to in Australia, where we’re moving to is not a place I’ve lived before.

I basically lived in Brisbane for university and working for a couple of years after university and for the last couple of years of high school. Before that we traveled around, lived in three or four different places in Queensland. My Dad was a teacher and worked for the government, so he got transferred to different schools and so yes, so we moved around a reasonable amount until I was about 15 and then I was in Brisbane. So we are moving to the sunshine coast, which is about an hour north of Brisbane. It’s the beach and yeah, so really excited about that. I’m really excited about, instead of walking in the park here in London, I’ll be walking along the beach out there. Maybe some bush walks as well, yeah.

Hoping to find a place where the kids will be able to either walk or cycle to school and yeah, just looking forward to hopefully a really, I don’t know, less intense lifestyle than we have here in London. Living in London, it’s really just hard to avoid, it’s impossible to avoid traffic. It’s impossible to avoid being surrounded by a lot of people all the time. I am certainly going to really, really miss very much my friends here in London, I’ve lived in London three different times in my life. I came here as a working holiday maker when I was about 26 for two years and I came back for almost a year in between that and then lived in Germany for a while and then came back again.

So this is the third time I’ve lived here and I think this time it’s been about 14 years, and in that time I’ve had the girls and we’ve met a lot of really good friends through meeting other parents through school, and I’m really good friends with my mum’s group, girls and women. And I think I can call them the girls because that’s what we say. It’s going to be really, really hard. And I think I’m going to miss the convenience of a lot of things here. Everything is on tap. Amazon has a lot to answer for with that. And you know, nothing’s very particularly far away. Although if someone’s living on the other side of the river in London, you tend not to see them very often. But yeah, it’s really just everything at your fingertips. So many opportunities to go to museums or plays or concerts.

And although I don’t do it very often, I think, oh, I’ll miss the ability to do that as easily. But I’m looking forward to a different lifestyle. I’m really looking forward to quieter, hopefully more, I don’t know, a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. I’m hoping that living at a slower pace, hopefully it will, I don’t know, just mean less consumption, more walking, more time to cook. Yeah, just lots of little changes that I’m looking forward to. I’ve been trying really hard for a long time to minimize plastic and waste and food waste and things like that, but I don’t know. With the fast pace of life, things go by the wayside sometimes, so I find myself slipping in and out of good habits a little bit.

I’m really proud of some of the habits and changes we’ve made. We get all our laundry detergent and washing up detergent refilled. We have a Milkman, so he brings milk in glass bottles. And just a few a few things like that that we’ve been able to change. But when I first started trying to really really reduce plastic and things, it was about, I don’t know, I want to say six years ago that I read an article by BA Johnson in a magazine on the way to a holiday. I was reading this magazine on the plane and I got off, I read the article, it was all about zero waste. And I got off the plane and then downloaded her books on my phone and read them on holidays. And then I came back from holidays and went to find the one shop in London that I could find that had like, package free groceries. It was miles away from where we lived. Really, I went there twice, but it really wasn’t feasible as a grocery shopping option.

And especially when at the time I was working in the city and doing some designing and I think maybe podcasting on the side. So it really wasn’t feasible to schlep across London to go and buy our groceries from this place. But ironically in the last couple of weeks, two package free shops have opened in, you know, my neighboring suburbs to where I live. So just sort of a mile away. So I mean that’s good. I’m really, really excited to see them opening and hope to have a chance to visit them. One is called, I was just looking at it on the Instagram. I found it on Instagram, Jarr Market, J-A-R-R market, and they’re in Herne Hill and there’s another one opening in Peckham, or opened in Peckham as well. I can’t remember the name of that one. So if you’re in southeast London and are wanting to do a bit of bit more packaged, free shopping, there are two shops that are available to you, which is super exciting, really, really exciting. And they look lovely online. I’m sure that they’re lovely in person as well. So I’m looking forward to seeing those.

Anyway, that was a bit of a ramble. I know that where we’re moving to has a package free market near where we’re going to be living. So yes, so hoping to use that a bit. One thing I’ve been doing for the past year or so, is twice a week just sort of doing meal planning and cooking meals and just shopping for those meals that I’m cooking rather than going to the grocery store and buying heaps of like seeing nice fruit and veg or really you know, nice things and just buying things randomly. And that’s really cut down on food waste. And I was just listening to a podcast that I haven’t finished listening to yet called The Low Tox Life, which I dip in and out of occasionally.

And it’s an Australian host called Alex someone and I just saw the title, the climate crisis, the power’s in your hands and she has a guest Ann Foster on the show. So I started listening to that and it’s quite a hopeful discussion. I have most of the episodes still to listen to, so I can’t talk about it too much. But one of the first things they were talking about was how food waste can make a huge difference and also how individuals actions can make a huge difference. And so sometimes you wonder whether if what you’re doing is making any difference whatsoever. But this podcast was really, it was really hopeful and I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of it as I’m doing some more packing today. So that was episode 149 of Low Tox Life.

One of the things that I need to do today before my stash gets packed up is to figure out what yarn I am keeping with me for the next, I don’t know, three months or so? I’m not sure how long I will be without my stash. And they say it takes six to eight weeks for things to ship to Australia in a container. And I think we will probably be house hunting for a bit longer than that. So probably be a bit longer before I get to unpack things. So, yeah, so I’m trying to plan, and my mind is not really in a good place to be thinking about this because I’m so scattered. I wish I had sort of set aside some time to do this a little bit earlier, but I think it’s one of those things, you know you, I tend to do things very last minute. I’m still, even though I talked about this, getting better at it in the last couple of episodes, I’m still not fabulous at planning ahead.

So as a result I will be trying to plan out my knitting for the next three months today I’m thinking I’ll definitely have my Cleo project and I will wind a couple more skeins of yarn for that. Not that there’s anything wrong with winding yarn by hand, but I might just try and wind a few skeins just to make that easier because I know that I’m going to be working on that. So I’m thinking Elton, my Elton Cardi by Joji Locatelli in yellow brick road. I think that might be a nice project for travel. It’s super simple and it’s a beautiful bright yellow color. It’s quite cheerful and yeah, and thinking about Joji patterns, I might, I’ve got pure joy is in my, collection of whips, which is a gorgeous shawl by Joji, I’m knitting that in some really deep stash and it’s lovely, lovely yarn. So I think that might be quite a comforting project to bring with me.
I’m also looking forward to doing some designing, so I’m going to try, if I have time to plan out a couple of designs and pack the yarn for those. I have an idea for a pull over and I have some gorgeous La Bien Aimee dk white yarn. I posted a picture of it in my Instagram feed this week and yeah, it’s just gorgeous yarn, super inspiring. I have a little idea for it. So I think I’ll try to include that in my traveling stash and hopefully just work on that a little bit. And yeah, I think, I don’t know, I’m going to need to be reasonably sensible about what I bring with me, but always so many ideas, so many projects. And I think I will need my knitting more than ever in the next few weeks and months. Yeah, it’s going to be my comfort, I think through a big transition.

So I don’t want to apologize too much, but I am sorry if this has been a bit of a ramble-y episode and I hope you’ll forgive me. I hope you’ll bear with me and understand it’s, yeah, just a lot of upheaval at the moment. A lot of things going on and yeah, but I just wanted to pop in and say hello, have a chat with you. I love you all so much. Hope you’re well. I hope for all the people in the northern hemisphere who are moms and dads, you’re coping okay with school holidays. It’s a challenge at the best of times. I hope you’re enjoying some nice warm weather if you’re in the northern hemisphere.

For all my southern hemisphere listeners, enjoy your knitting weather, enjoy the cold weather. Hope you’re cozy and yeah, I’ll talk to you again soon. Most likely next week and I’ll try and be a bit more together for you. Have a slightly more structured conversation.

That’s all from me. Have a fantastic way and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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