CH 298: More yarn-choosing hints for the Stillness MKAL

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On today’s show I’m talking about the ongoing need for anti-racist work and my gratitude for the knitters who are making a difference. I’m also celebrating some new personal knitting cast-ons. The Stillness MKAL is approaching swiftly, and I’m hosting a special giveaway. I also have some extra clues and tips for choosing your MKAL yarn colours.

Show Links:





Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish


La Bien Aimée Yarn

Everyday Lined Hat by Denise Bayron

The Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Píosa KAL

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Snowmelt Shawl

The Stillness Shawl MKAL Presale is open on Ravelry! Join here!

To celebrate the launch of our new mystery knitalong, I’m hosting a special giveaway! I’ve put together a beautiful prize for one grand winner, which includes:

  • An absolutely adorable Stitch Mischief Medium Finch Bucket bag
  • A hard-cover knitting journal from Laine. The “My Knitting Notes” Journal is an elegant way to document your knitting journey with space for 31 knitting projects, 6 pages for keeping track of your yarn purchases, 18 gridded pages, e.g. for charts or colourwork sketches, a knitting needle sizes and conversions table, and the most common abbreviations.
  • A stunning skein of Skein Australia Silk Road, in the rich Atomic colourway.

I’ll also be giving away 10 pattern prizes: each winner can choose the pattern of their choice from my designs on Ravelry!

Here’s what you need to do to be in with a chance to win:

  1. Create your project page for The Stillness Shawl MKAL. You can use the placeholder graphic below or upload a photo of your yarn!
  2. Post in the giveaway thread to tell us about your favourite still life artist, painting, or photograph. It would be amazing if you shared an image, but you don’t have to. And if there isn’t a piece that comes to mind, maybe you can share a moment of stillness in your life that you wish you could capture and keep forever, like a painting.

These threads are always so fun and enjoyable, and a great way to get to know each other better. In the past they’ve also offered some amazing colour and yarn inspiration thanks to all the beautiful stories and photos! I can’t wait to see what you contribute.

I’ll be announcing winners on our official start day, Thursday June 25th. Good luck!


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 298. 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 to the show. I hope you’re having a good week and finding some time to do some knitting, or crafting, or something else nice for yourself. I have been having a really good week here. It’s sort of back to normal here. Not completely, not really. It’s been a bit of a funny week because, well, school has been back for, now this is the third week now for my age kids. They were poorly with colds this week so that meant that they couldn’t go in. So I’ve had them back home again.

And yeah, travel is opening up again in our state, but if you want to go further afield, you can’t really at the moment. You could go, but our state hasn’t opened up their borders yet so we’d have to quarantine for two weeks coming back, which would kind of take some of the fun out of a trip. So we will be having school holidays here at the end of next week, and we’ll just be staying pretty local and lying pretty low, I think, having a staycation, which will be nice. I’m a bit of a homebody, so I have projects and crafty things that I want to do that will last me for many years, if I had to staycation for a while. So yeah, it’s okay. And the kids are also homebodies, so it will be a nice, relaxing holiday. I think we’ll try and make up activities to do, like go for bush walks and go to the beach and things like that. Just local little day trips. So that’s what’s going on here on that front at the moment.

And of course, we saw last week, the huge Black Lives Matter protests all over the U.S. and in countries around the world. We had protests here in Australia, which, of course, were controversial in the sense that the authorities, the powers that be, weren’t wanting people to protest because of COVID regulations here at the moment. But in the end, there were protests in most of the major cities.

So I think that was a good thing, personally. I think it’s such an important issue that if it was worth the people who chose to protest risking health, I think we are at a state here in Australia at the moment where cases are very low, and yes, I think it’s an important issue. It’s a very important issue for indigenous, for Aboriginals, and Torres Strait Islanders here in Australia. There’s a lot of racism and issues with deaths in custody with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. So I was personally supporting the protests. I didn’t participate but I was in support.

And in our own knitting community, I am just so grateful again for the black knitters in our community who are so generously sharing their perspectives, their experiences, and taking the time to educate on the topic of racism and anti-racism. Yeah, just people I have met in real life and love and respect. And yeah, just so grateful. I mean, they were talking about this last year when we started discussing the issue in the knitting and fiber community, and they’re still sharing educational perspectives with grace and eloquence and generosity. People I follow are Creative Ceci, GGmadeit, heyBrownBerry, and Jeanette Sloan, just a few. And just thank you to everybody who is just taking the time to post about it and share their perspective, especially when it’s a personal perspective.

As a white person, I feel pretty insignificant sometimes in what change I can help make in the world, but I really believe that everyone’s actions, however tiny, can have a ripple effect and can add up. And at a time, especially when there are big global protests and lots of media attention on the issue, then I think everybody’s support really counts, especially when it comes to voting and engaging with politics and big issues in society. So I think the biggest lesson for me, or one of the biggest lessons, is to appreciate my democratic rights, appreciate how lucky we are living in democratic societies. I say we, because I know that most of my listeners are living in democracies, and we’re just so lucky, and I don’t think I appreciated that enough in the past. So yes, I’m appreciating it more now.

I have been, of course, reading and thinking and also thinking about what tangible actions I can take towards anti-racism. And one of the things that I’ve done, which is relevant to the topic of this podcast, is cast on two projects by two fantastic black designers, and both were patterns that I had in my queue that I’d had my eye on for some time. So I decided to take the week to cast them on. The first design is the Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish. And Tyne is theclevereststitch on Instagram. And she is another person I’ve been following her stories about racism and anti-racism since last year, early last year, and also been admiring her lovely shawl designs. She designs shawls that are fun, quite classic, elegant, simple, but have lovely details like tassels, which I particularly like.

And so, yeah, I had recently bought the Hermione Jean Granger shawl pattern. So I wound some yarn from my stash, which is La Bien Aimée Merino Singles I’ve had for quite a while. I think I bought these skeins at some yarn festivals in London. And the colors are Aimée’s Lipstick, Pinku Graffiti, and Pom Pom. So they’re all pink. Aimée’s Lipstick is a hot pink. Pinku Graffiti is a sort of a mid-pink with speckles. And then Pom Pom has a light sort of creamy white base with pinks and purple speckles. And that color was, I think, a special color for the Pompom magazine fifth anniversary party. So is all the pink, it’s going to be a super bright, happy shawl. And yeah, it’s a lovely stripy, melty pattern.

And then the other design I’ve cast on is by Denise Bayron, Bayron Handmade. And it’s the Everyday Lined Hat. I think this has come out fairly recently. I was looking at Denise’s design, which was the Wave of Change Jacket. And I think I mentioned that in a previous podcast that I was thinking about casting that on. But then I realized it’s knit in bulky yarn, which is not going to ever be used while I’m living here in Queensland. So I kind of went off that idea. And when I saw the hat pattern, I thought it was much more likely that I would use a hat, a lovely DK weight hat, or worsted weight hat.

So I am using some more yarn from my stash, which is the Magpie Fibers’ Swanky DK. It’s in the HellsBells colorway, of course. And the pattern really calls for a worsted weight yarn, but she says you can use a DK. And I think this particular DK is on the plumper side. It’s sort of going towards a worsted weight. So I think that will be fine. So yeah. And it’s just a really, really lovely, simple, as it says in the title, everyday hat. And she’s very cleverly incorporated a lining, which is the sewing part of the pattern. So it’s a sewing pattern and a knitting pattern. And yeah, I just think it’s a lovely, lovely, simple design. So I’m knitting that as well.

And so once I have made Ravelry pages for these projects, because I know, as a designer, the project pages that knitters create just really help for a designer’s visibility on Ravelry and platforms. So I went ahead and made some project pages for these patterns just before I recorded today. And I’ll have to remember to update them with finished object photos. I am quite slack with creating project pages. I should go back and update a few things because it’s so nice to be able to go back and look at a record of what you’ve made. And it’s so handy to be able to look up details.

The other project that I’ve been working on is Píosa by Renée Callahan. And I did sort of finish part three. That was my goal for the week, was to finish part three. But I decided I wouldn’t do the pockets yet because I thought I’m not quite sure about my yarn yardage that I have in this color. So I thought I would do part four, knit the sleeves and the neck band, and then add the pocket slider if I have enough yarn, just in case I run out.

So in design news, I released the Stillness Mystery Knitalong pattern on Ravelry as a presale. And so you can now purchase the pattern at an early bird price of £4, plus any VAT or GST that’s applicable in your country. And that price will be going up to £5 when the first clue comes out. And that will be on the 25th of June. So yeah, coming up fairly soon.

And I have been sharing some lovely yarn dyers, trying to cover some different countries with dyers who are offering kits. And I should have probably said that if you’re a yarn dyer and want to offer kits, that is totally fine with me. I’ve had a couple of people contact me to ask if it was okay. And of course, yes, that’s absolutely fine. I would appreciate that. Yes, please. Just tag me, and I’ll try and share it.

The theme of the Knitalong is still life. And we have a competition happening at the moment to keep us occupied while we’re waiting for the first clue. So if you create a project page on Ravelry and then share it in the thread, then you can also share your favorite still life painting, or photograph, or another scene that inspires you. And you can be in the running to win a prize, which includes a skein of the yarn I used in the sample, which is Skein Australia Silk Road. It’s a really lovely blend. And a Laine knitting diary, as well as a gorgeous project bag from Stitch Mischief, a lovely crafter in Canada. I’m hoping that by the time I am sending out the prize that the post might not be so slow, but anyway, we’ll have to see how that’s going in another month or so.

Of course, people are wondering how to choose their yarn. And I just thought I’d chat very briefly about that. So it’s three colors, and I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with a yarn choice. If you love the yarn, you’ll love your project. Sometimes it can pay to do a little bit of swatching with the colors together just to make sure that they relate to each other the way you anticipate they will. And just to give you a few clues about the different colors. So color A, I would say choose maybe a yarn that will be more of a feature of the shawl. It might pop out a bit more than the other two colors. And it is also the color that any lace in the shawl is done in. So if you don’t really like heavily variegated yarn for lace, then this is not the color to use your variegated yarn.

And then B and C will need to be contrasting a little bit. They are striped together a little bit in the shawl, so you want something that will contrast. When I chose my colors, I thought I had contrasting colors, and in the end they weren’t highly contrasting, but I still like the effect. So it’s just up to you how contrasty you want the shawl to be. But that’s just a little tip for colors B and C. And I’d say, if you have a variegated or speckled yarn that you want to use, I would use that for C because the stitches will be more plain. And B could be possibly more semi-solid because there’ll be a bit of texture with B. So I hope I have given you enough guidance for colors without giving away too much about the shawl. I don’t think I have. I think it will still be a big surprise even with those clues. But I hope that helps you choose your colors with a little bit more confidence.

I know that that’s the thing that stresses people out the most with a mystery knitalong. And yes, and me included in that. So, but really, I don’t think you can go wrong. I think if you choose three colors that contrast a lot with each other, you’ll end up with a shawl that is quite contrasty, maybe a little bit color blocky looking. And then if you have a lower contrast, it will be more subtle. Too low contrast, maybe some of the design will be a little bit lost, but I don’t think it matters too much. I think it would still be fine. And I think any color combination will create a beautiful shawl. So don’t stress about it too much, just choose yarn you love and that you think goes together nicely, and it’ll be fine.

In terms of difficulty, I think it’s probably about the same level of difficulty as the Snowmelt shawl. So if you want to see, it’s very, very similar in level of difficulty, I would say. So yeah, so that’s my clues for the Stillness Mystery Knitalong. That’s going to be starting soon and is available on Ravelry to join in with now.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this show and I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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