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 www.ayarnstory.co.uk.
Today we have a little break from sock-mania (mostly!) and a little more exploration of our community challenge #knit20for2020 so far. People are being very creative and it’s so much fun to see how different knitters are filling their categories. I also have a bit of a chat about deep stash: how it’s defined, what it means to me, and why even (or especially) the deepest stash deserves to come out and play.
Hello, and welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 284.
This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness in creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find the full show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.
Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi, and Coop Knits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched Hand-dyed by Meadow Yarn, 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 color, producing complex tonal kettle dyed shades across a range of whites and bases. With regular updates, our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us. You can find them at meadowyarn.co.uk, or you can click on the ad on my blog.
Hello and welcome. Has it been a good knitting week for you? I’ve been doing lots of knitting on a secret design project, so I can’t talk much about that. But I’ve also been knitting happily away on my terracotta socks by Wolf Fields Studio in Birch Hollow Fibers yarn. These were my Christmas Eve cast-on socks. I’m embarrassed to say that I have yet to have any photographic evidence of them, but I’ll just post them as, ta-da, a finished object very soon. They’re almost finished, the foot, and so I basically just have the toe go, which won’t take me too long, of the second sock.
That’s pretty exciting, to have a nearly finished object. That will be able to tick off a box in my 20 for 2020 knitting challenge. The hashtag for that is #knit20for2020. If you haven’t seen that yet, I’ve created a list of prompts. It’s meant to be a fun challenge for the year, so you can use the list of prompts to tick off one item at a time, or as many boxes as you can tick.
We have a chat thread in Ravelry, as well as a hashtag you can follow along with on Instagram. I’m not sure if you realize, it took me a while to realize, that you can actually follow hashtags in Instagram like you can follow accounts. I think the easiest way to do that is if you go into search, and you search for the hashtag, then it gives you an option to follow that hashtag. I find that quite handy for following along with challenges that I’m interested in or topics that I’m interested in.
I’ve just started following the #quilted hashtag, and I haven’t had much time to do it, or any time to do it, to be honest, but I am thinking a lot about quilting at the moment. I have one quilt that I need to finish, and I have one project that’s in my personal happiness projects for the year. So, yeah. You can follow along with any hashtags that interest you. Sometimes your feed can get a bit full with a particular hashtag so you can refine that as you go along.
I’m following the general #20for20 hashtag, which is basically a hashtag… I think it’s basically started by Gretchen Rubin from the Happier podcast, and it’s a happiness challenge. So, you write a list of 20 things you want to do for the year, and that’s where I got the idea for the #knit20for2020 from, was the Happier podcast, and yeah.
So, I have created a couple of printables. There’s a square image for Instagram, as well as a PDF printable, and I will include that again in this week’s newsletter for you, because there’s people that have just joined up with the newsletter and didn’t receive it when I sent it out a few weeks ago. I’ll post those images for you, and eventually we’ll create a page on my website where they belong. But I haven’t done that yet.
So, I’ve been following along with the Ravelry chat thread, and I’m really interested to know how people want to do this challenge. I think there’s lots of scope for putting your own spin on it, like knitting everything from stash, or deciding on your own rules. You can always, if you don’t fancy one of the particular prompts, you can also substitute something you like, and a few people have commented in the thread on Ravelry that they’re not keen on brioche; they just don’t particularly like the look of it. So I think they’re going to substitute something else. You could substitute something like mosaic knitting, or already have color work there, but there’s lots of other techniques that you could substitute, or you could substitute a garment type, or just cross it out and not do that one. I guess that wouldn’t be #20for2020 then. It’d be 19 for 2020. So yes, you might want to make something else up to fill the gap in the spirit of things.
Some people on Ravelry have created a post where they’ve recreated the list and then are posting links to the projects they’re doing. You could also do that in Instagram stories using the Instagram square image. You can put links onto a story. Yeah. So there’s lots of fun ways to join in this challenge.
Shout out to Claire who is indilynx On Instagram and Ravelry, and she completed the rose cardigan by Andrea Maori, and she used gorgeous La Bien Aimée Yarn. And so, she said she was ticking off an Epic or bucket list project prompt for that one. And it is so gorgeous. So, Claire’s been participating in the challenge, and all her projects are so beautifully photographed, and she has just such a gorgeous color sense. So, if you haven’t discovered indilynx Instagram, you should definitely go and have a little look. It’s I-N-D-I-L-Y-N-X.
One of the other prompts on the list is deep stash, deep yarn stash, and there’s also deep pattern stash. And I had a couple of people question what that was. And so, I thought I would just talk about that a little bit on the podcast today as well. And so, deep yarn stash means yarn that you’ve had in your stash for a long time. So, it’s deep buried at the bottom of the stash. And I guess there’s no particular rule for what deep stash is, because we’ve all been knitting for different lengths of time, and so what might be deep stash for a relatively new knitter might be one or two years. Whereas for people that have been knitting for 40+ years, it might be a bit older than that.
And I was trying to think what my oldest yarn in my stash would be, and I’ve had a pretty good cull of my deep stash. I’ve given a lot of yarn away and yeah. I’ve done a little bit of deep de-stashing and a little bit of donating. So, some of the really deep stash that I… I don’t know, just bought yarn on sale, and my tastes have changed. Lots of reasons I didn’t want it anymore. Yeah, some of that has gone, and so I’m not really sure what the oldest is now. I’d have to really have a good look and have a good think back to what’s the oldest.
I have some prized deep stash, which is from Juno Fiber Arts, who was my absolute favorite indie dyer, who stopped dying. I’m not sure when she stopped dying. I think maybe around 2015. Maybe about five years ago. I’m not 100% sure. It’s definitely a while ago, and yeah, I really should use that yarn because it’s so beautiful, and I love it so much, and I don’t want it to deteriorate and not be as nice anymore before I use it. One of the… Not problems but considerations I have is that I have probably about eight skeins, but they’re all different colors. I don’t have two skeins of the same color. And then not necessarily super coordinating, so I’m not sure. I need to find a suitable project for that. Yeah, I just don’t know what I want to do with that.
If I could crochet, if my poor old sore wrists would allow me to crochet, I would probably do a granny stripe blanket. It would just be so, so gorgeous. They’re all beautiful jewel tones and it would really be stunning if I could do that. But there’s no way I can crochet a whole blanket. I’ve always had the idea because I can’t crochet a granny square blanket. I’ve always had the idea of trying to figure out a knitting design that looks a bit like a granny blanket, granny striped blanket. I don’t know if it would be the same, but I’ve always been thinking about doing something a little bit like that to get the feeling of those beautiful textured stripes.
Anyway, so I’ve just gone off on quite a tangent there. But yeah, so that’s what deep stash is, and it’s basically beautiful yarn that you loved and bought, and have kept, and now’s the time to use it. You might want to match it up with a deep patterned stash. So a pattern you’ve had in your library for a really long time. Often they go together. Often we buy yarn for a particular pattern, and sometimes that’s the reason we don’t use the yarn because we decide we’re not so keen on that design anymore. But yeah, I’ve got a few patterns and yarn that I still, many years later, still want to make.
One of them is the Dahlia cardigan by Heather Zoppetti, and it was published in Interweave Knits Fall 2011. So, super deep stash pattern. And to me, this is just the most gorgeous, perfect cardigan. It’s got a gorgeous lace panel on the back, and I think at the front it’s like a waterfall style front, and it is just so beautiful. I bought some blue-sky yarn for it when Loop was having a sale, and that’s also probably around 2014, maybe 2015, that I bought the yarn for that. So, that would be a great achievement if I could knit that cardigan with that deep stash. I’m not sure if I can commit to that this year, but yeah, I’d love to do that.
It’s just dreamy. If you’re romantic lace knitter, you’ll probably love this one. I’m just looking at it on screen now and drooling, still drooling. So, that one is a really good pattern for me, because even six years later, I still absolutely love it. So I know that probably, yeah, no matter how old I am, or how much time passes, I think I’ll still love this cardigan.
So, I’ll stop rambling on about that now. But I am very, very curious about some of these prompts, especially what other people come up with. And so, deep stash yarn and deep pattern stash are definitely ones I’m interested in seeing what other people are doing. I’m also really interested in new to me designers, and hopefully discovering some fab new designers and yeah, and of course I’m interested in what people do for their epic or bucket list projects as well. So, I’m interested in all of them, and seeing what other people want to make for all of them. But those ones especially, I’m quite curious about.
Speaking of deep stash and special yarns, we had some, for me, quite sad news in the knitting community recently, and that was a post by Moeke Yarns, who is… It’s a company by a wonderful person called Ioana. She recently announced on Instagram that she and her family have taken the sad decision to close down Moeke Yarns. And yeah. It was really sad to me. I’ve purchased some of her yarn at a knitting festival from Rail work, who stocked their yarn. I also participated in their crowd funding campaign, and had a sweater quantity of gorgeous yarn, and they specialized in traditional Romanian yarn. Yeah, it was really special. But she explained on this Instagram post that she had a baby a couple of years ago, and she actually works as a professor in the Netherlands, and the company was based in Romania where her family lives, and yeah, just all sorts of… She had so much happening, and as a mom who’s been through having young kids, and I just can’t even imagine being able to do that.
Yeah. So, I completely understand but also just really, really feel for her, because obviously it was just obviously such a hard decision, and it was so nice that she made the post on Instagram, and sort of talked about it, and was so open and honest. So, thank you for doing that Ioana, and for us lucky people that have some of your yarn in our stash, we’ll get to use it, and your legacy will live on in the beautiful yarn that you’ve put out into the world, and the garments that people enjoy wearing.
Same with my lovely friend, Hannah, Circus Tonic Yarns, she has recently decided to stop dying her beautiful indie dyed yarn here in Australia, and I’m very sad about that as well because I was looking forward to coming back to Australia, and perhaps collaborating with Hannah a bit more. But you know, again, life happens, and Hannah’s got three young kids and so much going on, and gosh, I can just really relate to it. And there are days where I felt like just not working anymore, and not being able to keep going as a one woman company. And it’s only through my amazing team of people that I have working with me as freelancers that I can keep going. Otherwise, there’s no way I could keep going, doing what I’m doing.
And yeah, it’s also a bit easier because I don’t have to deal with physical products. So, it’s all almost online and on the internet. So, it’s super portable and quite easy to handle. I can do things on my phone, and I can have my designs, carry around with me in my handbag, and I super appreciate that, and I super appreciate you who listen to me rambling on about knitting, and buy my patterns, and join in with knit-alongs, and charity auctions, and all sorts of things and challenges, and everything. It just makes it possible and so much more fun.
So, yeah. Just a little thank you, and just, I guess, a little reminder to just always be kind to people, and you just don’t know what people are going through, and most people are very kind and very generous, and that’s what I love about this community, and doing this work. So, yeah. So, just ending on a slightly emotional note there, but on that note, I think I’d just like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story.
Find all your favorite luxury yarns, and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story. Bath’s premier yarn store, based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. Here you’ll find a gorgeous selection to choose from, including sumptuous skeins from House of A La Mode, La Bien Aimée, and Julie Asselin. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, treat your projects to the luxury they deserve. You can also shop online at ayarnstory.co.uk.
So, I hope you have a wonderful week, and have some lovely knitting to do. I’m actually immensely enjoying watching my younger daughter at the moment, because in their lunchtime art club at school, they’re working on an installation to yarn bomb one of the trees at school, and she’s been coming home and doing French knitting, and it just came out of the blue that she was like, “I’ve got to do French knitting mommy,” and I didn’t realize at first what it was for. And so, she was like, “I need a toilet roll.” She kind of unwound the last of the toilet roll, and there’s toilet paper everywhere, to use paddle pop sticks to make this French knitting tube thing. And yeah, has been just rummaging around my scraps for yarn.
I thought it was just some crazy thing that she was doing, and then I dropped her off at school one day, and they were like about six other kids with their French knitting. And then we had a a call out from the art teacher, email today saying, “if anyone has any acrylic yarn, we need 100% acrylic yarn,” and my heart just sank because I didn’t really have much acrylic yarn to provide. I have a lot of other yarn I could give you, but not acrylic. So, that was a bit sad and I also felt like, “why acrylic?” I guess, because they’re putting it on the tree, I don’t know.
Anyway. So, I can’t wait to see the yarn bombed tree come together, and what they’re going to do with that. But yeah, what a great project. I’m so excited.
And finally, just before I sign off, a plug for the Handmade Sock Society, season three is in pre-sale, early bird stage at the moment. And so, you can get the collection, the whole collection for £9.95, which is a bit more in US dollars, but not too bad. It’s a great deal at the moment. And then, once the first pattern comes out this Tuesday, the 25th of February, the price will go up to £15. So, it’s a great deal at the moment. So, I just thought I’d give you a little reminder in case you were thinking about it. And it will be at that price until Monday, this Monday. So you have the weekend to snap up that bargain.
So, thank you very much for everybody who has already joined, and I look forward to seeing you in the knit alongs that will be kicking off soon. So, that’s all from me. Happy knitting. Have a fantastic week, and I’ll talk to you soon.