CH 278: The Dorsal Socks, and Goodbye 2019!

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 on the last podcast of the year, I introduce the last secret pattern of 2019, the Dorsal Socks, #6 in The Handmade Sock Society 2. I have news about the closing date for all of our current Curious Handmade KALs, and some plans for the brand new year ahead.

Show Links

The Dorsal Socks

The Handmade Sock Society Season 2

The Shawl Society Season 4

Fragment Socks

The Four Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee



Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast, you’re listening to episode 278. 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 and transcript on my website at

Hello and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. It really is that pointy end of the year where things can start getting a little bit stressful. Everybody wants to meet deadlines before the holidays and before the new year. Things just seem to start getting a bit packed in at this time of year. So, I hope you are able to find a little bit of space, a little bit of peace, a little bit of time with your knitting. Hope things aren’t too crazy. Have a look at your to do list and see what you can take off your plate and put on to next year if it’s not urgent. Just try and reduce the stress levels a little bit. That’s what I just did yesterday. Put about 10 things that I was trying to do before Christmas into January and I’m going to deal with them then. That’s okay. It’s important to keep your sanity and your sense of peace at this time of year.

In today’s episode we have a new pattern that was released yesterday to have a chat about. And a few upcoming things, just some knitalongs and things that we have happening at the moment. Perhaps a couple of upcoming patterns. Just do a little bit of a wrap up for the year and it’s going to be just a fairly short episode. I just wanted to say hello for the last time this year and this decade. This will be the last episode for 2019. And I usually try to wrap up the podcast around the time that the kids finish school, which is a little bit earlier here in Australia than it was in the UK or then it is in the UK. Because this is our big summer holiday for the year starting over Christmas holidays rather than over August, July, August, September, as it is in Europe.

So yeah, we’re about to be off for six to eight weeks, depending on your school, and looking forward to it. Although it hasn’t been very long since we had a really long break. But that was because we had a crazy year moving, so I feel like I’m ready for another holiday. It has been a big year, we’ve had three collections with Curious Handmade, The Shawl Society, The Handmade Sock Society, as well as Knitvent and several other individual designs that were released with various events and things happening throughout the year. So that was very fun, but very busy. And yesterday was the release of the last pattern from the surprise collections, which was The Handmade Sock Society and Dorsal socks. I actually designed these socks quite early in the year. I had the idea for them and they were actually meant to be released earlier in the year, but we did a little bit of a reshuffle because I messed up the schedule a little bit. But I think these socks are really nice to wrap up the season and.

I’ll just read out the description. Gazing out over the surface of the ocean, it’s difficult to fathom just how much life teams beneath. It’s a whole other world down there in the depths, one we usually only ever see when there’s a nature documentary on the television or if we’re one of the few brave and fortunate souls who are able to strap on a scuba tank and descend beneath the waves. Otherwise, catching a glimpse of the incredible creatures who make the sea their home, requires a bit of luck and a whole lot of patience. Perhaps today will be the day, armed with your trusty binoculars and flask of hot tea to keep away the chill of the wind, you scan the waves. Suddenly, almost an hour and a stiff neck later, there it is rising out of the water, a triangular dorsal fin. That first sighting brings the thrill of uncertainty. It’s an exciting vision but also faintly menacing. Is that a dolphin or shark you see? Or maybe something else that you’ve never expected.

Cornwall is home to one of the most diverse populations of marine life in all of Britain, so that tell-tale fin could belong to almost anyone. England’s only pod of bottle nose dolphins lives here and large whale sightings happen all year round. Then there are the sharks who patrol the deeper waters with fearsome reputations. All of these fascinating creatures have a role to play in the ecosystem and their presence is only possible because of strict marine conservation zones in the estuaries around the coast. These carefully protected areas give them the room they need to breathe and live and flourish. There are lessons for us here about our own creative life. Waiting for that creative spark to surface can feel a lot like watching for that tell tale dorsal fin. You have to look keenly and wait faithfully. You have to be open to uncertainty. When it does arise at last, it can be frightening, but most of all your time and space must be carefully protected and guarded so that your creative power can grow.

So I think it’s a particularly apt thought for this time of year to protect a little bit of your creative space. And yeah, the last pattern, each season always seems to sneak up on me. No matter how long plans have been in place. This year has especially flown by and it’s been so nice to see so many first time sock knitters joining in The Handmade Sock Society. And lots of experienced sock knitters enjoying the designs as well. So it always makes me so happy to have you join in and also take a chance on a surprise collection that you don’t know what you’re getting into beforehand. I appreciate you taking a punt and having the trust in my design skills, it’s super humbling. And I’ve just been thinking about the knit-alongs. I wasn’t able to keep up with monthly prizes this year because of moving and just having too much on. But I thought what I’ll do is we’ll do a grand prize draw for all the collections, so Knitvent, The Shawl Society and The Handmade Sock Society. 31st of January or after the 31st of January.

So if you post your finished objects in the respective finished object threads by 31st of January and then in early February I’ll do a drawing and a grand prize giving. And just give everybody a little bit of time to finish any partially completed projects, just may as well ease into the new year. I’ll be on holidays with the kids for most of January. School won’t return until late January here. So let’s just take our time and if you’re joining in on any of those collections or knit alongs, you will have an extra month. And I will endeavor to have some nice prizes. I’ll choose some lovely things from my stash. I have extensive various bags and yarn to choose from. So I will put together some gorgeous packages for you and I will try to take photos and post them as soon as I can. I’m not making any promises about when that will be but before the end of the knit-along.

And then also before the end of the year, even though the podcast is of finishing up this week, we will still have a few things happening so I will release the Knitvent patterns from this year’s Knitvent as single patterns on December the 13th. So they’ll be available to purchase individually if you’ve had your eye on just one of them rather than the whole collection. And we’ll also do probably a two for one sale around that time. I think that’s fairly traditional for Curious Handmade to have a little pre-Christmas thank you for a wonderful year sale. And in case people were holding out to buy individual patterns for Knitvent. And as I mentioned last week, I’m also working on the pattern for fragment socks. Now all the other designs are released, I can finally focus on this one. I did say last week that I was going to release it with three sizes, but since having a closer look at it, it was only written in the one size originally.

And I think what I’ll probably do in the interest of just publishing it as a single, I’m going to publish it with the one size and aim to add two more sizes at a later date if I can. It would depend on the calculations for the stitch pattern. I think it will be possible, but I will need a little bit more time to look at that. So I thought rather than delay and put it off even longer, I’m just going to… What is it? Progress is better than perfection. And publish it with the one size that it has at the moment for people who’ve been waiting for that for a really long time and yeah, so still working on that. I don’t have a exact release date for it yet, but just as soon as I can get that pattern produced, I will publish it hopefully before Christmas. I’d like to make it available for Christmas Eve costs on if I can. So that’s what I’m aiming for. So thanks for bearing with me. It’s been a long time and I’m sure a couple more weeks will be at this point.

At the moment I’m enjoying spending some time dreaming about plans for next year and thinking about what might happen next year. I’m, yeah, just enjoying spending a little bit of time working away on that. Thinking about how I want my daily routines to be like and then what collections I might do next year. And also plans for podcast topics and all sorts of things I’m playing with. And yeah, it’s just nice to have a little bit of time at this time of year to be able to do a bit of daydreaming. As usual, I’ve been reading some productivity books and enjoying that. And I always enjoy getting a bit of motivation for, I don’t know, just achieving goals and thinking about life I suppose. And I have just listened to a really great audio book, I would recommend it if you’re into that kind of thing. Not everybody is, but I really am.

I came across this book because I’m thinking quite a lot about my health at the moment. So this particular book is called The 4 Pillar Plan, How to Eat, Sleep, Relax, and Move Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life. That’s by a British doctor, Dr Rangan Chatterjee. And yeah, apparently he’s been on TV shows in the UK. I haven’t seen his TV shows, but he’s written a couple of books. This is his first one, I think the 4 Pillar Plan. I really like it because I’ve always struggled to balance various things like exercise, sleep, diet, stress. And so I really like his framework that he says in the introduction he’s got these four pillars. And about five top tips in each pillar, or five things to focus on. And what he says is to focus on, even if you just do one or two things in each of the pillars, that’s better too than doing everything right in one pillar and then ignoring the rest. So the idea of having a balanced foundation.

So I thought that was quite nice and his suggestions seem fairly doable. So I’m going to be looking at his suggestions and figuring out which ones… Some of them I already do okay with. And then some of them will be quite a challenge. And so working out a little bit of a plan to try and achieve balance across these various pillars. Anyway, I would really recommend that book. I’ll put the link in the show notes as always. And he has a second one, which it’s about reducing stress. I believe there’s a similar four pillar framework to think about it. So I’m having a listen of that one at the moment, but I’ve finished the first one. And yeah, so just try to incorporate healthy things into my routine and as well as work for next year.

And so I’m just taking the opportunity of having moved to a new country, a new lifestyle, new area. So I’m really trying to take the opportunity to set myself up with routines in a intentional way, which is my word for this year, to be intentional. And so that’s what I’m trying to do is just really grasp this opportunity of having a clean slate to start things off in a good way.

So that was a bit of a segue from knitting, but I guess my point is that I’m thinking about an awful lot of things when I’m thinking about my knitting and designing plans for next year as well. I guess that’s the thread that is running through that thought process there. So I’ll be back in January, probably mid January, I’m not sure which week I’ll start back yet actually. Yet to be planned out in detail, but it will be around mid January I think. And I will share more plans and goals then, as well as my word for 2020. I love having a word for the year. This year was intentional and I remembered it all year, unlike last year. And it’s been really helpful. It’s been a really good word. So I recommend intentional. It’s worked for me really well this year and I’m hoping to find a really good one for next year as well.

In the mean time. I would like to thank my amazing team that’s helped me run Curious Handmade this year. My copywriter, Amanda. My tech editors, Emma and Anna. My graphic designers Jacqueline and Vicky. My incredible group moderator as well as test and sample knitter, Deb Tinkhickman. And my podcast editor, Emma and Alex. And last but not least, I wanted to say a huge special thank you to my main test knitter, Tracy. Tracy has been the biggest support and amazing test knitter, great friend. And yeah, just couldn’t produce the patterns at the level I do without my amazing team of colleagues and really good friends.

And of course all my knitters and podcast listeners. I love you all so much. You’ve made my second or third or fourth or whatever it is career, my favorite career so far. So meaningful and happy. You’re just such wonderful, supportive people and so much fun getting to do a job where I can work with beautiful yarn, beautiful textiles and beautiful people. So thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who’s been in the Curious Crew this year and always. I don’t really monitor who buys my patterns closely, but every now and then I’ll glance at the page and see names from, I don’t know, seven or eight years ago now, from the very beginning still popping up. And that makes me feel so honored and blessed that I have this community of people that has been around for so long and continues to be so great.

So on a bit of a gushy note, thank you. And I hope you have a wonderful holiday. I hope you just get to spend some lovely, peaceful time. I’ve been seeing amazing photos of snow storms and snow and just gorgeous scenes from the Northern hemisphere. So I hope you’re all cozy and well and safe.So happy holidays, happy new year. And I will look forward to chatting with you all again in 2020. Bye for now.

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