CH 316: The Tidings Shawl and Cheering Set

After an intense week, I’m back to talk about the second pattern of Knitvent 2020: the Tidings Shawl, including some tips and ideas for yarn substitutions, if you’d like to knit this pattern in a different wool weight. I have a lot of giveaway winners to announce, as well as some personal thoughts about some of the big happenings in the world right now.

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Show links:


 The beautiful and inspiring Knitvent 2020 Giveaway Thread

Rainforest Canopy Shawl

Birch Hollow Fibers

Ocean by The Sea

Wren and Ollie

Tidings Shawl

The Fibre Company – Cumbria Yarn

Knitvent 2020 on Ravelry

Knitvent 2020 on Gumroad

Ravelry – Candlelit Shawl

Rockpooling Shawl

The Wool Kitchen – BFL Silk DK

Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 316. 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 Bell’s and on social media as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcripts on my website at

Hello, knitters. Hello crafters. Come and join me for a little natter about knitting, yarn, other things. It’s been a big few weeks in the world, just for something different this year. And just before I get into the show this week, I just wanted to say that I’ve been podcasting now for seven years, and if you’ve been listening for a while you’ll have got to know me quite well. And you will also know that I don’t just talk about knitting and craft, but also other things that are happening in my life or that I’m thinking about. And a lot of the time I just assume that you know me quite well and things about me, but while the main purpose of the show is to talk about knitting and craft and creativity and happy things, I also think it’s good to be clear and upfront about my beliefs and values sometimes.

I’m just saying that upfront today because I am planning to touch on some political topics in the introduction. And I just wanted to say that upfront, and I hope you enjoy the show. Firstly, my thoughts are with friends and family, listeners, some members of the Curious Handmade team and everyone in the UK currently who are in lockdown 2.0, I think for a month in England. I think Wales decided to do two weeks of lockdown, and it’s varying across the country a little bit. But in England it’s a month, and happily kids can still go to school which is, from my friends, they are very happy about that. And so, the messages that I’ve had from friends, they’re not feeling quite as bad as they did first time around.

It feels a little bit easier, but such a big thing for people over there, so I’m thinking about you. And I know that in this community and a lot of the businesses I follow on Instagram in the UK, small creative businesses, I hope that with our support they can survive and maybe even thrive through this. That’s being really optimistic. I think probably a lot of them are just hoping to survive. Business owners and artists are working so hard to keep afloat, and in some cases like musicians, they’re not able to work at the moment. And then in the yarn community, people can work but their business has been so affected by retail shops not being able to open or post office, difficulties getting to the post office safely and things like that. So, it’s been so difficult and not just in the UK, but around the world, of course.

And so, I mean, I generally do this every year, tend to buy from small, independent shops than big online stores. But this year I’m pledging to be very mindful about where I purchase gifts and supplies and other essentials from, and would encourage you to do that as well. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here, that a lot of you will already be doing this. But just to just give it some thought and maybe share with family and friends who aren’t so aware of Etsy shops and small businesses. It’s also been a big week of news in the US, so congratulations on your new President Elect Joe Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris. What an amazing result. I hope the transition is smooth and non-violent. Obviously I’m not American, but this election and result really impacts countries around the world and Australia very much.

So, we really look to America for a lot of things, politically, socially, environmentally, all sorts of things. You guys have a huge influence on us and other countries around the world. So, it’s a big deal for us here as well. This week, I feel a little bit lighter and a little bit more hopeful and more energized to recommit to living in alignment with my values, and showing them through my actions. Obviously I’m far from perfect and I just try to be an honest and decent person and maybe a little bit braver. Anyway, that’s where I’m at today. Actually, I’m very up and down at the moment, but today I’m feeling hopeful and I hope you’re all okay, wherever you are. And especially if you are a black person or person of color. I’m sure it’s a lot to process right now and very emotional, especially if you’re in the US, so yeah. My thoughts are with you. And on a positive and more local note, here in Australia this week is NAIDOC week, which stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, which is a little bit of a funny name, but it’s been around…

Well, reading the history on the website it’s been around for nearly 50 years. It was originally a day of recognition and that started the year I was born. So, it’s been around for a long time. And basically it is a week to recognize first nations people, and this year there is a theme which is, “always was, always will be”. And that theme recognizes that first nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years, and recognizes the spiritual and cultural connection to this country. It acknowledges that hundreds of nations and cultures covered the continent, all were managing the land, the biggest continent on earth to sustainably provide for the future.

And on the NAIDOC website, it says, “NAIDOC 2020 invites all Australians to embrace the true history of this country. The history which dates back thousands of generations. It’s all about seeing, hearing and learning the first nations 65,000 plus year history of this country, which is Australian history. We want all Australians to celebrate that we have the oldest continuing cultures on the planet, and to recognize that our sovereignty was never ceded.” So, I would like to acknowledge the Kabi Kabi people as the traditional custodians of the sunshine coast, where I live, and I wish to pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging. Over the last couple of years, I’ve started following various indigenous accounts on Instagram and am enjoying very much the sharing of art and culture and knowledge about communities across Australia. So, after that introduction, let’s talk a little bit about some knitting. And firstly I want to announce some knit along prize winners. I wasn’t able to record last week, partly because I had some personal things happening that took up more time than usual.

I didn’t have as much time in the week to get everything done. And I was also working hard to finalize knitting patterns and newsletters and things like that, as well as compulsively refreshing my screen for news. So, yeah. I didn’t feel like I could record last week and apologies for that. So, these announcements are a little bit late, but I did announce them in my newsletter last week. So, I sometimes am more consistent with my newsletter than I am with the podcast. And if you want to sign up for that, you can do so on my website. So, we have winners of the Knit 20 for 2020 Knit Along, and the winner on Ravelry was post 39 by Cuppacha. And on Instagram, the winner is asteride and both of those names are familiar to me. I think they’ve been participating in the Curious Handmade community for a long time. So, thank you for continuing your support.

And we will be getting in touch with you to ask which local yarn store or indie dyer you would like to have a $50 gift voucher for. The November Knit 20 for 20 thread is open on Ravelry, or you can post projects on Instagram with the hashtag Knit20for2020. So, if you’d like to find out more about the Knit 20 for 20 Knit Along, if you haven’t heard of it, if you’re new to the show, you can find details about that. There’s a link on my website at on the menu bar at the top. And there are still two months to go of 2020, so there’s still plenty of time to join in. We also had a giveaway for the launch of Knitvent 2020, and there was a thread with beautiful stories about what gives people comfort and joy, which is the theme of the collection this year.

And thank you for sharing your beautiful heartwarming stories. I just loved reading them and just appreciate you all so much. It really just makes me feel like I get to know you a little bit better and also get some ideas for holiday traditions. So, without further ado, there were three grand prize winners. The winner of The Ocean by the Sea gift card is post 125, Marvelous Makes. Ocean is an indie dyer based in the UK. And the winner of The Birch Hollow Fibers gift card is post 116, by Knitable. And Robin is a wonderful indie dyer based in the US who I have used her yarn for designs before. And the winner of the Wren and Ollie gift card is post 428, by Zip156. And Wren and Ollie is based in Australia. So, I tried to spread out the prizes with indie dyers from around the world.

We also have 10 winners of The Rainforest Canopy shawl pattern, and if you already have that pattern, if you’re one of the winners you can let me know which other of my single patterns you’d prefer us to send you. So, I’ll just quickly run through the 10 winners of a pattern, The Rainforest Canopy shawl pattern, which is my latest shawl design or something else. So, Jay Moratus, JJ Bagnall, Em’s Little Nest, Susan Thornley, Crisis Knitter, Delightful Works, Crazy for Purple, Linda Shields, Victoria Jane, Lace Lady Dory. And again, you can send an email to support at or a Ravelry message to Hell’s Bells, and we will get your choice of pattern to you.

On the design front Knitvent is in full swing, and I always get a bit, not surprised, but it’s a different rhythm publishing a pattern each week for Knitvent than it is publishing say The Shawl Society or The Handmade Sock Society, which is every two months, or the Shawl Society on a monthly basis, which is what I’ve tended to do in the past. And then go from a monthly rhythm to a weekly rhythm, it suddenly feels very fast. So, because I missed podcasting last week, last week’s pattern was The Tidings Shawl, and it’s a big triangular cozy shawl. I wanted something just super, super cozy to wrap around you and keep you really warm in the cold northern winter.

So, I’ll just read you the description. It doesn’t really matter how they arrive. Tidings of comfort and joy come in many forms, a handwritten card from a beloved friend, a text message from a family member you wish you could say more often. Good news you didn’t see coming shared on social media, a note you wrote yourself tucked into an old notebook and discovered on an unexpected afternoon. These missives of hope and love are always wonderful and always welcome. The Tiding Shawl is an exuberant flourish of both comfort and joy, oversized and cozy. It knits up fast in cuddly worsted weight yarn. This three color triangular shawl features big straps of texture with sections of ribbing and a beautiful, easy to memorize stitch pattern. It makes a magnificent gift for someone very special, but it’s such an enjoyable comfort knit that no one could begrudge you getting too attached to give it away at the end.

The yarn I used for this shawl is The Fiber Company Cumbria and Cumbria comes in two weights, a worsted weight and a fingering. And I used the worsted weight for the sample, and it is 60% Merino, 30% Mashim and 10% mohair in the blend. So, it’s mostly wool with a touch of mohair to make things interesting. And it uses four skeins, so two skeins of the main color and then one each of two contrast colors. So, it uses 260 grams of the Cumbria all together, and I’ve specified five millimeter US eight needles. And I’ve had quite a lot of questions about substitutions. Because it’s a shawl you can be quite flexible, and when I was asked if you could use fingering weight I hadn’t really thought about it all that much, but then I looked up some of my other shawls to compare.

So, The Tidings Shawl has about 130 rows, and a comparable number of rows for fingering weight would be the medium Candlelit Shawl from a few years ago. So, that turned out to be quite a nice size, not huge and cozy, but on four millimeter needles in fingering weight, The Candlelit Shawl was 132 centimeters or 52 inches wingspan, and then 46 centimeters or 18 inches from the neck to the bottom edge, to the point. That might give you a bit of an idea how it would turn out in fingering weight. And then for DK weight, I did put a little note in the pattern that it could be knit in DK weight. So, I looked at The Rock Pooling Shawl from last year’s Shawl Society, and I knit that in The Wool Kitchen Blue Faced Leicester silk DK, which is 55% Blue Faced Leicester and 45% silk. Gorgeous, gorgeous base.

And that is also very close to 130 rows. I think it’s 131. So, very similar in terms of number of rows as The Tiding Shawl. That also used about 260 grams of DK weight, so not a huge difference between the worsted and the DK. And I also recommended using five millimeter needles for The Rock Pooling Shawl, so you could just have a play with needle size and just basically get a fabric that you like. That’s what I would recommend if you’re looking to use a different way to have yarn. But shawls are pretty flexible and I will be very happy to see pictures of people, especially using fingering weight, to see how the texture and everything shows up. But I think it would be beautiful in a finer weight of yarn, it will have a slightly different feel to it, it wouldn’t be so cozy and squishy, but it would still be quite beautiful, I think with the twisted stitches. Especially if you use something a bit drapey with a little bit of silk or something like that in it.

You could also use the Cumbria fingering weight, which would be lovely as well, if you didn’t want such a heavy shawl as The Cumbria worsted, but still wanted to use The Beautiful Fiber Company, Cumbria blend. And a big thank you to The Fiber Company for yarn support for this design and supporting my designs. It’s always a joy to collaborate with The Fiber Company. And so for this week’s releases, yesterday we published The Cheering Hat and Cheering Cowl, a little accessories set. And the description for the hat is, raise a glass to the end of an extraordinary year. Send an encouraging note to someone who has been facing tough odds. Wrap up a little something cozy for someone who could use an extra dose of affection right now. Cheering means many different things, but it’s always an action of optimism, hope and love. It’s about raising our spirits, both literally and figuratively.

So, the set includes a hat, which is in four sizes, from extra small to large, which roughly equates from baby to adult large, whether that’s male or female. And the cowl is in one size, but easily adaptable, you can increase the number of repeats around or the number of repeats up, width wise, to make it bigger or you could make it smaller as well. So, yes. I used Moel View, Infallible DK, which is a yarn I bought from Moel View yarn based in Wales in the UK. I think I might’ve picked it up at Edinburgh Yarn Festival a few years ago, when I saw Paula there, or I might’ve purchased it online. When I sat down to design the collection, I really wanted to use yarn from my stash, so I’m not sure if Paula is even stalking this space anymore. She doesn’t have any in the shop at the moment. And I will talk about some alternative suggestions in a minute.

Yeah, I had some of this yarn and it just really fit beautifully with what I wanted to make and inspired the design. The base is 55% Blue Faced Leicester and 25% silk, so it’s a beautiful drapey yarn with an nice sheen to it, but it’s a fairly typical DK weight, so you can pretty easily substitute DK, any DK weight yarn, and you can probably substitute worsted weight as well. Sometimes people use fingering weight held double to get a DK weight. I think, that’s what it makes. So, just play around with what you have in your stash, or treat yourself and buy something new for it. Moel View is gorgeous, natural dyed yarn, indie yarn dyer Paula, and I just wanted to give a shout out to her Whimsy Club. She does this wonderful mystery club, which she calls The Whimsy Club and it’s her creative outlet. She just creates these most beautiful packages with a beautiful hand dyed yarn in an interesting base, as well as some other little treat usually, which is something handmade from a local hand maker or someone fairly local to her in Wales or in the UK.

And I think I purchased her very first Whimsy Club when she first started doing it, which was absolutely delightful, and I haven’t signed up since. I think she just does it on a month to month basis, and I think December is now sold out. But look out for that next year because it’s such a lovely fun club, quite special, something quite special. Otherwise, if you’re looking for some suggestions, if you’re in the UK in particularly, or if you’re anywhere, but I would suggest Wool Kitchen, she ships worldwide, but is based in London. And she has, I think it’s probably the same base of yarn and it’s her Blue Faced Leicester and silk DK yarn. I’ll put a link in the show notes, and it’s 55% Blue Face Leicester and 45% silk, which is the same makeup as the Moel View yarn I used and has the same yardage.

So, I think it’s probably the same base. So, that would be a great substitution. Otherwise, perhaps if you’re in the US Birch Hollow Fibers, Phyllis DK looks like a lovely yarn to use, and that’s a hundred percent super wash Marino. And she says, “This is my go-to for hats and cowls.” So, there you go. Perfect. It also has a lovely drape for shawls and garments, and that’s 250 yards per hundred grams, which is pretty similar to what I used. Also in the US Seven Sister Arts has a lovely Zenith DK, and this one is a hundred percent Blue Faced Leicester, and it has a beautiful luster and drape and a lovely halo, wonderful for sweaters, hats, mittens. So, that’s a hundred percent Blue Faced Leicester and 252 yards per hundred grams. One of my absolute favorite DK yarns is Julie Asselin, Lazy DK. And I have used Julie Asselin’s Lazy DK for hats in past Knitvents and just came up absolutely beautifully.

And that is 90% Merino, 10% silk. So, that little bit of silk gives it a lovely drape, and pretty similar yardage. So, there are some suggestions if you’re looking for suggestions, otherwise just find your local yarn shop and look at their DK selection, is a great place to start. Or maybe have a browse on Ravelry for some suggestions. You can look at my past hats in past Knitvents. For the past, I don’t know how long, maybe four years, I have done DK weight hats, so any of the yarns that I’ve used for those will also be good for this hat. I use fairly similar stitch counts, so it’s pretty consistent in terms of sizing and gage and so forth. So, yeah. So, that’s just some suggestions.

I had a couple of questions already since I published the pattern yesterday, people looking for the Moel View and not being able to purchase it. And I do tend to forget that people often want to use the exact weight of yarn or the exact yarn that I’ve used in my samples. And I’m sort of, I guess, trying to get a little bit away from really recommending the particularly yarn I use in my samples. And I’m wanting to encourage people to use yarn from their stash or yarns local to them, especially at the moment, it’s been a bit difficult to get yarns internationally, with postage being difficult, especially here in Australia. So, I’ve just been conscious of that and just trying to not really be dogmatic about, you must use this particular yarn. I’ve just used something from my stash and if you have something suitable in your stash, go for it.

So, that’s about all the news I have for you today. If you’re joining in with Knitvent I’m so excited and happy to have you joining us, and you can use the hashtag Curious Handmade and Knitvent 2020 on Instagram and social media. I’m mostly hanging out on Instagram these days, and very much enjoying seeing your works in progress and finished objects. I wanted to give a huge shout out to my test knitters, Deb, Tink Hickman and Tracy. Tracy R.R. and Tracy also has The Comfy Red Couch podcast. They have test knitted all my Knitvent patterns and just done a wonderful job. I could not do the collections without them. And also Deb has knit some of the samples and photographed some of the samples for me, including The Hearten Cowl, which was the first design of the collection.

And I also wanted to thank my wonderful copywriter, Amanda, for writing all the beautiful pattern descriptions and emails. And again, I couldn’t do this without her. As well as my tech editors, Emma and Anna,. She does a wonderful job. They both do a wonderful job of checking and making sure they’re all accurate. And Emma and Deb are the people answering all your questions. So, thank you. Thank you. Thank you to my wonderful team. I couldn’t put out these collections without them, especially at the moment with this year being so crazy. So, really, really appreciate my team and the friendship I have with them. It’s just wonderful to have nice colleagues and a lovely team, even though we are completely dispersed throughout the world.

So, I hope wherever you are throughout the world you’re okay and well. I look forward to talking with you again soon. Happy knitting and bye for now.

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