CH 287: Staying calm with stash and friends

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It’s a scary time to watch the news right now. When things are really tough, small comforts mean a lot. Knitting is obviously a big coping strategy for many of us. Today I’m talking about that, about the importance of friendship, and a KAL that I think I’d like to do…once I finish my beloved Clio Pullover!

Show Links:

Bayron Handmade on Instagram

Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Wave of Change KAL

Clio Pullover by Elizabeth Doherty


The Shawl Society Season 4

I am running a special Buy One Get One Free sale on all my patterns and collections to celebrate the release of the single patterns from TSS4: just use the code FRESH when you check out on Ravelry!


Helen Stewart:
Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 287. 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 curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello and welcome. I hope things are good with you wherever you maybe in the world. And just when you think the world can’t get any crazier, it does. This week has been something else in terms of worldwide news, and I just hope that wherever you are you’re staying safe and well. It’s been very distracting watching the news this week and hearing all about the coronavirus. And I don’t normally watch the news, hardly at all, because I need to keep my spirits up. But I have been very distracted this week, and hearing about friends and whole countries being affected is just quite unbelievable. Of course, here in Australia we have had toilet paper gate, and yeah it is quite unnerving going into the supermarket and just the whole aisle of toilet paper is completely bare. And it was this afternoon when I went in. We’ve had several emails from supermarkets saying to keep calm and carry on.

I’ve just received an email from Coles, which is one of the big supermarket chains here, saying that they were going to put rations on pasta, toilet paper, paper towel and a couple of other things. Rationing people to certain amounts of things. They also suggested, which I thought was good, was that if you had too much toilet paper on hand, maybe you could consider donating some to your local food bank. So, I did appreciate them saying that. They had some change to their, change your mind policy, and they said that they weren’t allowing people to change their mind. So, if you’ve stockpiled large amounts of toilet paper, you’re not going to be able to return it.

In Australia, so far they’ve suggested canceling large events, but I don’t think they’ve actually mandated it yet. And then, we’ve had some isolated schools closing, but not across the board like in a lot of countries that I’ve been hearing about today and yesterday. And yeah, so we’re not as affected here as other countries yet. I’m not sure if that’s just because we haven’t got to that point yet, or because our population is not very dense. I’m not sure. But we possibly will get to that point in the next couple of weeks.

And yeah, it’s a little bit unsettling. I don’t know if I should be stocking up on some things or not. I haven’t been yet, but probably should think about getting a bit of food in, a bit of pasta, and the handful of things one of my daughters will eat. So, from comments I’ve read on Instagram and other places, lots of people are feeling quite nervous and anxious about it. So I did hear one very good piece of advice. I follow the account of a journalist on Instagram called Jessica Yellin. She was making the point that one of the things that would compromise your immunity is stress, and so to try to keep stress levels down. I thought that was a really good piece of advice, just generally.

There are a lot of other colds and viruses going around as well at the moment, a lot of my family members and people that I know here have been sick with other bugs, so I thought, well what better time to concentrate on doing stress-relieving activities like meditation, walking, knitting obviously, crafting. I think this is where our stashes will come into their own. So, we’ve been preparing for this day for a long time, most of us. Ridiculous amounts of stash.

So, yeah, I think hopefully we can take some solace in our knitting, and our projects, and find some lovely, relaxing projects to work on. I actually just saw a lovely post on Instagram by Bayron Handmade, and she was expressing how she was feeling a bit anxious, and thinking about how can she help serve others in the community. She was mentioning that she has a knit-along on Ravelry for a gorgeous cardigan that she’s designed called, the Wave of Change KAL.

So, I thought I might join in that KAL, and join the wave of change, and it looks like a fairly chunky weight of yarn. I haven’t looked at the pattern in detail yet, but I might have a look at my stash to see what I have for that one. I might have to hold two skeins of yarn together, two weights of yarn together to make the weight that’s required for the pattern. Of course, when I finish my Clio pullover, I need to finish that first before I start shopping around for other projects, but that’s definitely going in my queue. So thank you for your lovely, reassuring kind words, Bayron.

And actually I had a pretty good week, despite all the nerve-racking news. I had a very dear friend visiting. My friend Stewart, who I met at Squam, and we worked out that we met in 2013 was the first year that I went to Squam. And so we’re old friends now, so it was really lovely to have her here for a few days. And yeah, I haven’t made a lot of friends here yet, or reconnected with people very much. So it was really nice to have an old friend to hang out with for a couple of days and catch up. And we went off on a little girls trip just for two nights. A little bit of a retreat and it was lovely.

We went to a place called Noosa, which is a gorgeous beach, not very far from where I live. And it was raining pretty much the whole time we were there. So I had thought we might do a bush walk. There’s a gorgeous Bush walk to the Headland at Noosa and you often see koalas in the trees there, but it was really too rainy for us to want to. We probably could have done it if we’d really been keen, But we ended up sitting in a cafe for most of the whole day and just sitting and knitting. And it was open to the street so we could watch people passing by, really great for people watching and it was raining so we could watch the rain falling. And it was nice and cool.

So, it hasn’t really been all that cool here generally. But it was a lovely, cool few days. So I made some really, really good progress on my Clio pullover that I had been talking about forever. And it is my Finish a WIP goal for my 20 for 20 knitting challenge. And yeah, so I had been having a major, minor, I don’t know, some sort of roadblock when it came to casting on for the sleeves. Had to pick up stitches and do some short rows. And my lovely friend Stewart picked up the stitches for me. And so I managed to get over the barrier and got through the short rows with a little bit of grumbling, but not too much. And finish the whole sleeve in those couple of days. So I was so happy with that.

I have to admit I was a little bit motivated by wanting to finish the first sleeve so that I could ask to Stewart to cast on the second one for me, which she very kindly did. And so now I have managed to get through the short row sections of the second sleeve and I know that it didn’t take me all that long to knit the whole sleeve. So I’m feeling pretty confident that this could be finished quite soon and I’m getting very excited about that. So that was a fantastic couple of days with lovely company, lovely knitting weather, and a wonderful location to do it in.

So I’ve been talking a lot about the Handmade Sock Society recently, as well as the release of the new Laine book, 52 Weeks of Socks. And so I thought perhaps for the shawl knitters amongst you, if you’re a bit tired of hearing about socks so much, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t released my Shawl Society patterns from last year as single patterns. So the six Shawl Society patterns are now available as single patterns. Previously they were just available as the collection. And I am having a buy one get one free sale to celebrate. And that will run until the end of the month. So until the 31st of March, I’m having a buy one get one free sale across all my patterns and collections. I was just going to make it shawls, but then I thought I would just keep it simple and it’s everything.

So all you have to do is put two of my patterns, or collections in your shopping cart in Ravelry, and the less expensive one will be free. I should mention, it does need a coupon code and the coupon code is fresh, F-R-E-S-H. So you need to put the coupon code in as well. And then the second pattern will be free. So thank you to people who’ve taken up on that offer and I hope you enjoy the shawls, the shawl designs and that will run to the end of the month.

So I’d love to hear from you about what comfort knitting you might be doing at the moment. I hope you have a chance to relax a little bit, get some knitting done, stay in touch with friends and family and I hope you stay well. Have a fantastic week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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