CH 279: Destashing, Designs and #Knit20for2020

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Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade sits in an armchair by a window, knitting a sweater.

It’s the first podcast of 2020! Today I’m talking about embarking on a big destash to aid Australian bushfire fundraising. I also have news about my design plans for the upcoming year, and a fun little challenge we can all do together to nourish our creativity and stretch our knitting skills in 2020.

Show Links

Go Fund Me for First Nations Communities of Australia Affected by Bushfires

The Happier Podcast

The Literary Life Podcast


Use the hashtag #Knit20for2020 to join the challenge

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 279. 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 on my website at

Hello and happy new year. This is the first Curious Handmade show for 2020 and I’m happy to be back chatting with you. It’s pretty busy here still because school doesn’t go back from our long summer holiday here in Australia until the end of January, so we’re having our summer holiday and it’s pretty busy with the kids trying to keep them entertained, bit of a challenge to get any work done. I’m happy to have a short window to record. They’ve gone out to jump on trampolines at the Big Boing, so I’m snatching a few minutes to record an episode. It was meant to be published on Friday a few days ago, but I’m just doing my best at the moment.

I have a new office and studio so I’ve been spending a bit of time trying to set that up and get organized. I’m unpacking yarn and trying to organize that into some kind of order and yeah, that’s a bit of a challenge. I have way too much. I’ve talked about this quite a bit in the past about how I want to do a destash of my yarn. Last year was crazy busy. It was really hectic with moving countries and still keeping up a design and podcasting schedule as well as quite a few trips. So I didn’t manage to destash at all. Last year I did kind of declutter most of the house before we moved so I was pretty happy about that but the yarn was the one thing that I either couldn’t or didn’t do before we left. But now I’m thinking maybe there’s a nice opportunity here.

If you’ve been listening to the news or seen any social media, you will be aware of the terrible bushfires we’ve been experiencing here in Australia. There’s been a huge amount of fundraising happening and I thought what I could do is to destash some yarn and donate the proceeds to some charities to support bushfire charity work that’s happening at the moment.

I was thinking about donating pattern sales and things like that, but I thought it might be nice to send this yarn to people who can use it and also donate the proceeds as well. I’ll probably donate some to the Red Cross who are doing a lot of work for the people that have been affected by the fires. There’s also a fundraiser for indigenous Australians. I will find the page and link to it. It’s a Gofundme page, I think. I have personally donated to that as well, but I’ll send some of the destash proceeds to that also find one or two animal charities that have not had as much exposure as some of the others. Some charities like WIRES in New South Wales have had a huge amount of publicity from various people and there’s a lot of smaller animal charities that are caring for the native wildlife that haven’t had much exposure so I’ll try and find one or two of them to send proceeds to as well.

I will post more details of that soon. I haven’t got that organized yet so I don’t know when I’m going to be posting that. I think I’ll try and do it soon though, obviously. Probably in about a week or so I’ll try and get organized to take photos and post details. I’m going to try and have the attitude of “Done is better than perfect.” I think my perfectionist tendencies have been partly what’s stopping me from destashing in the past and I’m trying to figure out the best way to do it and the best platform and where and how and all that sort of thing. I get a bit caught up in … so yeah, so I’m just going to get on with it this time. Please look out for that and yeah, I’ll figure out if I’ll do some bundles or how I’m going to do it. I’m not sure.

Also, in terms of New Years and planning, I have been working out what designs I’ll be publishing this year. In terms of collections coming up very soon will be the third handmade Sock Society collection starting in February, so presales for that are going to go up quite soon and then the first pattern will come out towards the end of February. I’m doing things a little bit differently this year than the last two years. The last two years, I think I’ve followed a fairly similar format with the Sock Society and the Shawl Society but this year I have decided to not do the Shawl Society, to have a break from that. It might come back again next year, but I am just having a little break because I think I was up to season four with the shawls and I’m kind of having fun doing the socks. So I decided I would do the socks and possibly, I’m not promising, but possibly do a mystery shawl knit-along later on in the year, if I can manage.

So the socks are going to run monthly this time, so instead of being every two months, I’m going to have one pattern per month starting in February. That will run through to July and then see what happens in the second half of the year. I thought I would take a little bit of a step back this year or try to nurture my creativity a little bit. The past year has been crazy, so I need a little bit of time to catch up with some exciting admin and settle into life in Australia and all sorts of things. There’s just so much new admin that I’m discovering every day and finding a new dentist and registering with them and stuff like that so … It’s not terribly exciting, but it’s all part of adulting, I suppose so I’m trying to be realistic.

But I have got a fun plan for my personal knitting. If you’ve been listening for a while, you will know that I listen to the Happier Podcast from time to time. I particularly like listening to it at the beginning of the year because they do a challenge, the happier … happiness challenge? Basically, they started a couple of years ago with I think 18 for 2018 and then obviously 19 for 2019. It’s meant to be projects that make you happy or work towards your goals. It’s just a kind of a fun meme and a fun hashtag to share what you’re working on. The last few years I’ve had happiness projects and it’s been really good because it just focused me on doing, I don’t know, more fun things, more sociable things, less serious things.

I was working away on my list for 2020, my 20 for 2020 happiness projects and I was looking at the hashtag and I came across the Literary Life Podcast had the hashtag 20 for 20 reading. They have a reading list, like read a Shakespeare play, read a children’s novel, like different genres of books to read. I thought, “Ooh, that could be fun, a knitting project list.” I thought I would write a list of things that I wanted to do and I’m going to create a printable if anyone wants to join in.

The 20 things I have on my list are finish a WIP because I have a WIP to finish and Gretchen from the Happier Podcast or says put something on there that you can achieve a quick win so hopefully, hopefully my WIP that I have in mind will be a quick win. Brioche, lace, color work, short rows, cables, and so I had a kind of a selection of techniques, and then a pullover, cardigan, socks, a pattern from a deep pattern library or pattern that I’ve had for ages that I’ve wanted to knit for ages, a hat, a toy, a cowl, knitting something from deep stash yarn, a gift, a shawl, knitting something from non-superwash yarn, a new to me designer, a scrappy or advent calendar project, and for number 20 an intimidating or epic or bucket list project.

So I’m really chuffed with that list actually. I can see it’s going to be lots of fun choosing patterns to match those categories. I already have lists of things in my queue for some of them, not for all of them. I thought on my printable I’m going to have a space beside the category for where you can write either ideas or you could do a sort of a finished version of writing what unit for that category, what you ended up doing to meet that category. I thought also you could either choose to knit 20 things and just tick one thing, one category off at a time, or you could tick one or more categories off at a time. So you could knit something from deep stash, in non-super wash yarn that’s a pullover or something like that, or a gift, or all four of those things, in fact. So yeah, so you could knit, I don’t know, less than 10 things and still tick off all the categories. It just depends on what rules you want to set for yourself.

I thought possibly people might set other boundaries for themselves, like knitting from stash only or maybe knitting things for charity or, I don’t know, there’s all sorts of fun ways you could do this project. Of course, you could adapt it to what you want to do so you don’t have to use my categories. You could substitute any or all of them if you don’t fancy a particular technique or a particular type of item or whatever. Yeah, you might have some completely different categories that would be interesting to share as well.

I hope that people join in on this. So I’m going to use the hashtag #knit20for2020 and if you want to play along, you can use that hashtag too. I haven’t made the printable yet, but I will do and I’ll publish that as soon as I have and start sharing some of my ideas for the things that I’m going to knit for the different categories. I’m thinking that this is going to be for my personal non-work knitting. So this is going to be a really fun project and non-work. It’s probably unrealistic that I’ll manage 20 items so I think I’ll be double dipping. For example, knitting a brioche shawl and ticking off two categories with one item, that kind of thing. That’s fine, I’m happy with that and everybody can decide how they want to do it.

For the first category, finish a work in progress. If you’ve been listening to this show last year, you’ll probably be able to guess what that is and that is the Clio pullover by Elizabeth Doherty. I’ve been working on that for probably three years now, I want to say. I hope it’s not four. It’s at least three. I had set the end of last year as my hard, hard deadline that I could definitely achieve. I didn’t achieve that, but I did finish the body so I’m pretty happy. I made a huge amount of progress with it. I think when I started at the beginning of the year, I really had not done much more than the shoulders and they’re like the very beginning. Yeah, so I knit most of the body throughout the year and I’m pretty happy with that. I had thought I’d finish the body well before Christmas and had cast it off. But then I tried it on and I was just not happy with the length and I wasn’t happy with the bind off so I unpicked the bind off and added probably another inch and a half to two inches of the ribbing.

Then I experimented with different bind offs trying to find one that wasn’t too tight or wasn’t too flarey. I think I eventually settled on Judy’s magic bind off, which is I’ve used before and I don’t know why I didn’t try that one to start with, but I was just Googling random things and trying random things. But Judy’s magic bind off was quite good. I think I took someone’s advice and went down a needle size. I can’t remember. I was in the pre-Christmas haze at this point.

But I’ve finished the body and now I’m just kind of a bit stalled again because I have to pick up for the sleeves and do some more short rows and me and short rows just take quite a bit of concentration and of bit of psyching up to do them just to, because I have to read the instructions so carefully. I think it just slows me down and so I don’t want to do it. But yeah, so I’m going to pick up the stitches for the sleeves and get going on the sleeves and that’s going to definitely be one of my #knit20for2020. I am not going to finish this year without finishing that pullover. There’s no way. If I knit nothing else, if I have to just make myself knit that. But you know, that’s all I’m going to knit until it’s done, apart from work.

That’ll make good motivator because there’s so many other things I want to knit. This list is just really inspiring me to try lots of things that I’ve wanted to do for ages or, you know, there’s so many lovely patterns in my queue that I wanted to do. So yes, so finishing Clio is going to be quite motivating.

It’s a pretty short and sweet episode this week. Thanks for listening and joining me today. I wanted to say one more thing before I say goodbye. Thinking about the bushfires and doing the destash project, I have been so overwhelmed and grateful for knitters all over the world donating their time and money and proceeds, from knitting patterns and supporting the charities that are doing amazing work here. Yeah, just, I can’t believe how many people from the UK, from the US, from Germany, all over, all over the world have posted that they’ve supported various charities. I just always think what a wonderful community we have and how generous knitters are and how wonderful. We just so grateful that we weren’t affected here where we live in Queensland, but we’re so heartbroken by the devastation to people’s lives and to the wildlife and to the environment and, you know. It’s so scary what happened and what is happening. I think every donation and every thought and every person sending love is, makes a big impact so I’m just overwhelmed by that generosity.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful start to your new year’s, and I hope to see some people joining in for #knit20for2020. Have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, I’ll talk to you soon.

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