One more episode before I disappear into the holidays for a few festive weeks and Australia’s summer school break! Today I’m chatting about the projects I have on the go and the ones I’d really like to finish by the end of the year, as well as my recent deep dive into the merry world of Vlogmas and YouTube videos!
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.
You can also enter on Instagram with the hashtag #knit20for2020 and a nomination for a local yarn shop or indie dyer!
Susan B. Anderson patterns on Ravelry
Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 320. 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 the full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn
Hi knitters. Thank you for joining me for this last episode for 2020. It’s been quite a year, and I thought we’d just have a little chat today, a little bit of a recap of things, a little bit of looking ahead. We still have two knit alongs happening that will run through to the end of the year, the 31st of December. And that is the Knitvent knit along, which is happening on the Curious Handmade board on Ravelry, and there is a finished object thread there, so just pop any finished object, photos, and links to projects in the finished object thread in Ravelry, And I will draw prizes when I return in January.
We also have the Knit 20 for 2020 knit along continuing, and for the December post, I thought it would be fun if people want to do a summary of what they managed to tick off for the year, and I will try and post that as well. I am still working on it, so I’m going to give myself till the end of the month to do that. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to work on it, but I would quite like to manage to tick off my toy prompt. I don’t know why that was just kind of the one at the beginning of the year that I put on there thinking I really want to do that. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for ages. I always love Susan B Anderson’s toy patterns. I’ve been admiring them for years and years and thinking that I would do them. I just don’t identify it as a toy knitter. I just think it would be quite a fun project to do, though.
So I bought her little bear kit with a red jacket which would be quite festive, I think that’d be kind of a holiday theme project today. So I have that kit that’s been sitting here for a while now with this prompt in mind. And even though I haven’t made that kit yet, that didn’t stop me from ordering another toy kit recently. So this of course was a little Instagram inspired purchase. It came about because I was just looking at Moel View Yarn’s feed. Paula was knitting a little toy, and I love Paula’s feed at Moel View Yarns use her yarn for designs fairly regularly. She just has such a beautiful aesthetic. So I instantly noticed this pattern she was knitting, and it was just the cutest little toy.
So that led me to find out what the pattern was, and led me to Cynthia. The designer is on Instagram, her name is FromCinthia, and it’s spelled with a C, so it’s from C-I-N-T-H-I-A, and she is Cinthia Vallet, And she says in her intro, “Hello, my name is Cynthia and I live in France. I love knitting, creating toys, writing, reading kids literature, and the wonderful world of illustration. All these ingredients carried me to the launching of From Cinthia Designs, dedicated to the creation of knitted toys, wool animals with an extra touch of soul to cherish.” She goes on to describe a little bit more about her designs and man, her toys are so adorable. They’re just the cutest things I think I’ve ever seen.
So when I saw that one of my favorite Yarn stores in London, Wild and Wooly Shop, was doing a collaboration with Cinthia and The Wool Kitchen, one of my favorite indie dyers in London, of course I couldn’t resist. So they have come up with… Well, Cinthia has come up with the of Sadie Souris, Sadie mouse, and the yarn is from The Wool Kitchen and it’s being sold through Wild and Wooly Shop. And I believe that the kits is still available. The first round has been done, I think, and I think they’re creating more for us. So yes, I went straight on and bought one of the kits. It’s so stinking cute. Just adorable. You have to go check it out. Even if you’re not a toy knitter, they’re just adorable.
So that hasn’t arrived yet. It’s just been sent from London in the last few days, so probably won’t arrive before Christmas unless I’m lucky with extra postage time needed at this time of year. You never know. Sometimes it can be quite quick from London, sometimes, maybe. I don’t know, there’s something about if you miss the plane or miss the boat, then it takes a bit longer, and I don’t think there’s that many planes going at the moment. Anyway, we’ll see if it arrives before Christmas, but in the meantime, I don’t really have any excuses because I do have my Susan B Anderson bear wool kit to work on for that prompt, but I can’t wait to knit my Sadie Souris, little mouse, so cute. I might become a toy knitter after all.
So with Knit 20 for 2020, I was talking about plans for the next year, and I have decided to do the challenge again for next year. I didn’t get a lot of feedback about it. I sort of invited some comments last week about whether people wanted the prompts the same or not, and I had a couple of people saying they were looking forward to joining in next year, and I think what I’ll do is just keep things simple, keep the prompts the same. I think there’s something to be said for consistency. And that way, if we haven’t managed to do some of them this year, then we can roll them over to next year. And of course, if people aren’t keen on any particular prompts, just cross them out and put your own in. There’s nothing wrong with that. So I’ll keep it at 20, rather than going up to 21 for 2021. I think I’ll just keep it at 20 and just let it be at that.
I’m also probably going to be able to take off my scrappy project prompt. I’m knitting away on my habitation throw with my Sweet Fiber advent set. I’m just loving the way that the colors are progressing as I open each day. I’ve been quite good and haven’t peaked ahead, unlike Tracy. I was watching the Grocery Goals podcast on YouTube the other day, and she confessed that she not only unwrapped all the parcels, but took a photo of them and sent them to her sister. Massive spoiler alert. So that was very funny, and I just loved Tracy’s enthusiasm for everything. But I’m being quite good. In fact, I’m actually getting a little bit behind, if anything, on some days, and I am up to day three at the moment as I’m recording this, and I went to wind the mini, I’m hand winding the skeins with a lovely [inaudible 00:09:54] that was given by my friend Sue a few years ago at a retreat.
I discovered a little stitch marker attached to it. A gorgeous little bird, so sweet. I’ve attached that to my project, and I’m also attaching some beautiful progress keepers that I have from EvaFaith shop, my lovely friend Paula in the UK does beautiful progress keepers and stitch markers, and I had some festive ones that I bought from her and previous years. And with the habitation throw, it’s quite helpful to have a little reminder about which side you’re on, otherwise the I-cord on the side gets a bit messed up and requires a little bit of un-knitting, which I have been doing a bit of. But now that I’ve got my pretty festive progress keepers on the right side, it’s helping. So thank you to Paula off from EvaFaith shop for your lovely little baubles. And also thank you to Melissa for the delightful little surprise.
I feel a bit conceited saying this, but I am really enjoying knitting the habitation throw. It is really quite a relaxing knit. I have to confess that I didn’t knit my original sample, my amazing sample knitter Deb knit it for me. I did quite a big swatch to start off with, but didn’t knit the whole thing, and I hope that’s not too shocking to people that I don’t knit all my samples myself. I do remember watching a documentary about Tracey Emin, an artist in the UK, many years ago now, and she was designing a quilt, so I was very interested in that, and she had sample quilters making it for her. She was also doing handbags, I think. Quilted designs that was a project she was doing at the time.
And I just remember being utterly shocked that she could design something and call it her work and not have actually made it herself. But now I have reached the point where I just physically do not have the time to knit all my samples myself and create the number of designs I do. I could do it, but I wouldn’t get anything else done. I wouldn’t be able to podcast or do anything else for my business, which I need to do. Yeah, so I do have mostly Deb sample knitting for me and sometimes Wendy here in Australia. So since I’ve been back, I’ve found a new person here in Australia. So Wendy knit the beautiful pair of cheering socks from Knitvent for me.
So anyway, that was a little bit of a tangent. I feel like I have to explain myself sometimes about the way I do things, but just to say that I haven’t actually knit the whole habitation throw yet, so I’m quite enjoying doing that. So thank you to everybody who has been knitting on that during the year. We had a knit along earlier in the year and people are still working on their habitation throw projects. And we also have the Hearten Cowl advent project. Lots of people are knitting that at the moment from this year’s Knitvent as well, so I really, really enjoy seeing people’s scrappy projects, and you’ll be able to tick off that prompt on Knit 20 for 2020 as well, if you’re participating.
You might have seen, if you’re following me on Instagram or subscribe to my newsletter, that I have started doing vlogmas and posting some little videos on YouTube. If you’ve been following me for a few years, you will maybe remember that I did a few vlogs, I think it was about three or four years ago now, intending to do some more regularly. Just could never quite get my act together. But it’s always been on my list of things that I want to do. I love the audio podcast, but sometimes you just want to show off some of the lovely things and get the visual capture of that as well. So it’s been on my list, and in the spirit of trying to get as much ticked off my list by the end of the year, I have bit of a personal challenge going to try and start next year with a fresh, clean slate with all my admin tasks done.
One of the things on my list was get help with video set up and make videos. I just out of the blue one day looking at my list, I contacted a couple of local videographers, and one of them got back to me and he does training for people wanting to make videos because obviously it’s becoming more of a thing and YouTube is so popular my kids are on it or would be on it all day or week if I let them, especially on holiday, so I’ve had to put in some limits around that. But they love just watching videos, as do I. I love watching YouTube and sitting here knitting. So I’ve been intending to do it for a long time, but just couldn’t quite get my head around the process.
So yeah, I contacted this person and he got back to me and said, “Yeah, I can do a couple of hours session for you.” And he’s really local, it was like a 10 minute drive away. So I went down on last Friday and he said I could bring a couple of other people, so I took my sister Susie and thought Sophie might be interested because she has been doing a few little videos and getting into editing them. In the olden days we would do plays and act out things. They record it on their iPads and then edit it. So she’s been having a lot of fun doing that, so I thought she might be interested. And then she wasn’t really that interested, but then I offered to give her a job editing my videos and paying her for them, so then she became really interested. So we went along to this little course and got some tips on how to use my iPhone to record and some tips on microphones and audio and lighting and I ordered the microphone suggested, but that hasn’t arrived yet.
And then the next day I was just watching some vlogmas blogs on YouTube from some of my favorite people, including Kristen from Voolenvine, and I always enjoy Brooklyn Knitfolks vlogmas, she does a beautiful vlog. I love seeing the New York scenery from both of those podcasters. I’ve been enjoying Stitching the High Notes and several others. Their names aren’t coming to me off the top of my head. I’ve been watching heaps. But anyway, I just suddenly thought, “Why don’t I do that as a project and start making some little vlogs?” They don’t have to be very long and Sophie was super keen to do the editing, so I thought I’ll take advantage of that enthusiasm.
So yeah, we started a little bit late, we started on the fifth, but so far have been managing to record and get something up every day. They’re not the slickest videos in the world and I really don’t always enjoy seeing myself in front of the camera. I feel slightly awkward. But we’re just going for it anyway and really enjoying the process. It’s been fun to have a project with Soph as well. So if you have discovered those and commented, thank you, thank you for your support. It’s a little bit daunting to be doing this in particular. I just really appreciate all the comments and friendly support from people.
Another big advantage that I’ve discovered doing this just in the last few days is that it’s really making me waste less time and think about what we’re going to film, so that’s making me crack on with some of my projects. So I’ve been working on my houses quilt by Jenny B. That’s been one of my home stretch goals for the year. It’s one of my happiness projects, and I chose that as kind of the one thing that I wanted to try and complete for 2020. Yeah, it’s making us get a few things done around the house, and Sophie’s like, “What are we going to film now?” So I’m like, “Okay, well I better do something.” So that’s upped the productivity levels around here quite significantly.
And it’s also been nice because we’ve been doing nice things that are worthy of filming rather than just housework and boring things. So if you’ve been following along with us, thank you. And thank you for your kind words. I’ve also been working on a little bit of design work behind the scenes and mostly working on the Handmade Sock Society for 2021. It’s been getting quite a bit of that done and that will be launching early next year. So you can look out for that early next year. And I am planning on having both the Handmade Sock Society and the Shawl Society next year. This year it was just the socks and I had a break from the shawl. So I am really itching to do some lovely shawl designs for next year.
So that’s about as far as I’ve got with my planning for next year, but I’m quite pleased that I’ve started a little bit of progress and a little bit of getting ahead already, which feels fantastic. And I think maybe that’s one of the positives that have come out of this year as that, because we have had less opportunities for travel and have been required to be home more, it has given me the chance to get on top of my work a little bit more, I guess that’s been one of the positives, and another positive has been spending more time at home together with my family and focusing on that more rather than us all dashing about all over the world.
So yeah, that’s been really good. And even though it’s been just exponentially more stressful in some ways, there have been some positives. I hope that’s the same for you. I know that we are very lucky here in Australia that we are relatively COVID safe, I guess. I mean, I think probably some of the footage that I’m capturing for the vlogs might seem really strange to some people. People aren’t even wearing masks in my area. So I do feel a bit weird about showing that because I know that that’s not the case in most places and it probably is making some people feel a bit weird watching some of the footage of people just out and about without masks on and things like that, so we’re really quite lucky in that regard, but also quite conscious that that can change very quickly as people, particularly in Melbourne would know, and South Australia. So we’re definitely not taking it for granted, and in the main pretty much staying at home and not really going out all that much compared to previously.
So I just want to wrap up with wishing you happy holidays. I hope you can have a happy, joyful, and peaceful holiday season. I’m thinking of all of you and just sending you all my best wishes. I know that a lot of people are dealing with very stressful situations with family and struggling themselves with all sorts of issues and events of this year have just exacerbated a lot of things, but I just really hope that you can find some moments of peace and joy. I couldn’t have done this year without my amazing team. Deb, who, as I mentioned, does a lot of my sample netting for me and test knitting and photography. She is also the moderator of my Ravelry groups, and if you hang out over there, you will be very familiar with lovely Deb. She is just such a beautiful person and I’m so grateful to be working with her.
Also Tracy who’s in Canada. She has the Comfy Red Couch podcast and she tests knits all my patents. And she’s just amazing, so thank you so much, Tracy. My lovely friend Amanda, who is in Ireland. She writes my newsletters, pattern descriptions, and various other things that come up. She is brilliant and so talented and I’m so grateful that I’m able to work with her as well. And Emma and Anna who tech edit my patterns and we try and make them as error free as possible and as easy to knit and read as possible. So I have an amazing support crew and team working with me, and I’m so grateful to all of you, of course, my lovely, lovely knitters. Thank you for listening.
Thank you for knitting my patterns and cheering me on with your beautiful comments and chat in Instagram and Ravelry. I absolutely love reading your comments and having little conversations with you all around the world. It still blows my mind that I’m just chatting with people on a daily basis in so many different countries and just getting all those different perspectives. It’s so rewarding and it just fills me with joy. So yes, a huge, huge thank you. And I’d like to thank my beautiful sponsor A Yarn Story. Carmen is also a dear friend and just wishing you and your team in Bath. All the best for the holidays as well.
Happy holidays. Of course, happy knitting. We will be back with you on the 15th of January for lots of fun, knitting, crafting, and companionship in 2021. Bye for now.