Welcome Back to the Curious Handmade Podcast! Our first episode of the year is a big chatty catch-up after our holiday break. How did I do on my own Knit 20 for 2020 project? What WIPs did I finish and what new things did I try? I’ve also got KAL winners to announce and we’re kicking off a new Knit 20 for 2021 project, too! So grab your knitting and a snack and come join me for some happy, crafty company.
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.
Knit 20 for 2020 KAL December winners!
Knit 20 For 2020 FO December Thread (now closed)
Knitvent 2020 KAL Winners!
Knitvent 2020 KAL FO Thread (now closed)
#knit20for2021 on Instagram
Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 321. 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 full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com.
Hello and welcome to the very first episode of 2021. A fresh new year, a clean slate, sort of. It’s not really, is it, in many ways with lockdown number three in the UK and in many parts of Europe and the US and Asia and pockets of Australia? Time for some uplifting crafty chat, right? I had a lovely relaxing break over the holidays. We had a very nice, very quiet and relaxed Christmas and New Year’s. Had a few sparklers around a fire pit on New Year’s Eve. I was tucked up in bed by 11:00 and the kids wanted to
party on later than I did. But we watched a Harry Potter movie and then went to bed, so it was very quiet and very lovely.
We had some nice food and we do a sort of a secret Santa swap with the grownups in my immediate family or my extended family, and my dad bought me a spinning wheel. So, I will be sharing some more adventures with regards to that in the future. I’m not sure how soon I will get into that because I’m pretty busy and I’m a bit reluctant to take on a new hobby at the moment. But, yeah, it’s beautiful. I don’t even know what it is. It’s Ashford, I think. I am yet to really investigate all the bits and pieces and everything that came with it. He bought a little bit of fleece for me as well, which was really sweet.
There are a lot of spinners and a guild locally apparently, so I’ll be looking into that. That was a big surprise. I had given no hints about that, so I was a bit shocked. But, yeah, it was lovely. Yes, lots of seafood and mangoes and other delicious food. Today, I thought I would start off the year with a review of my knit for 2020 challenge. We had a lot of fun with it last year. I’ll talk a little bit about that. I also have some news, fun promotion coming up and prize winners to announce. Let’s get started with the news. The team and I have been working really hard on several collections for this year, and the first one, starting next week, is the Handmade Sock Society, which will be the fourth Sock Society collection.
I decided to start this one nice and early in the year when we’re all enthusiastic about our new projects, and also to give me a little bit more time at the other end of the year, because I have lots of plans this year. I thought I need to start early with this one so that I can fit everything in. I’ll have a lot more details for you over the next week or two, and pre-orders will open next Friday, which is Friday the 22nd of January, which is coming around very quickly. The first pattern will be released on Thursday the 4th of February, so a few weeks later. It will be available on both Ravelry and Gumroad. I tested out the Gumroad platform with my Stillness Mystery knit along last year, and it worked really well for collections or clues when the pattern’s being released over time, unlike Etsy, which doesn’t really support that.
My current plan is to now shift over to Gumroad with most of my patterns and stock up that shop. It’s going to take me a few months, but that’s my plan to shift… I don’t know if I’ll close the Etsy shop or just leave it there as well to have another alternative. But my basic plan is to have Gumroad as my main shop apart from Ravelry. So, yes, that’s in the works. I would love to hear any feedback people who used Gumroad had on that platform, if it was easy to use and the patterns came through easily and all of that. I didn’t get any questions really about it, so I’m assuming it was all okay. But, yeah, if anybody has any either positive or negative feedback, I’d love to hear about that.
I’m having a promotion this week, and it’s starting today, and the promotion will be to a buy one get one free pattern of any of my sock designs to get us all in the mood for some sock knitting. This has come about because I have just published both last year’s Handmade Sock Society patterns as single patterns, as well as the year before’s patterns as single patterns, which had not previously been published individually. Two years of socks, which is 12 patterns, 12 new patterns available as singles. They were obviously out as the collection previously. I think in all of the excitement of 2020, I just slipped off one of the balls that bounced around on the floor in terms of publishing them as individual patterns. I’ve done it all at once, and so there’s 12 new patterns available, sort of, and lots of previous sock patterns. You don’t need a code, just pop the patterns in your cart and then make sure you have two in there and the second one will be free.
It’s a little gift to you for the start of the year if you’ve had your eye on any of those individual patterns in the collections but not one of the whole collection, it’s a specially good opportunity. That will run from today through to Sunday. I’ll probably extend it to Monday morning just to give people a little bit of extra time and make sure I’m covering all the time zones. But basically this weekend, that promotion is happening. As I’m announcing this, it’s just going to be on Ravelry because I don’t have all my stock patterns on Gumroad or anywhere else at this stage. I’ll just do that promotion on Ravelry this time, and if it’s a major issue for you, you can email support at curioushandmade.com and we can help you. I’ll try and figure out a way to purchase the pattern and take advantage of the promotion.
I will really try to get patterns up on Gumroad soon. Last year we had so much fun for the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge that I decided to do it again this year. We have the knit 20 for 2021 challenge this year, which doesn’t have such a great ring to it, but I didn’t want to start down the path of increasing the number of prompts because I just felt like that would be a little bit too challenging. I thought I’ll just repeat what we did this year and have the same prompts for now and see how we go. It’s a series of 20 prompts, and you can find the printable printout of the prompts on my website. There’s a menu item on the top menu bar right-hand side of my website which says hashtag Knit 20 for 2021. All the information is on that page, as well as a download of the prompts.
I started this last year as just I love this kind of memes and challenges, and I do the Happiness Project every year, which is a list of projects that will make you happy, and I really enjoy that, so I kind of thought it’s be fun to apply to knitting projects. Ironically, the two prompts that I kind of put in there as really the challenges that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and putting off, I didn’t end up doing. It wasn’t challenging enough to me to make me do these things. Namely, brioche and knitting a toy, so both things I really, really want to do, but just for whatever reason don’t get around to. I thought this year I’ll prioritize those two and try and start with them.
But anyway, I thought I would just go through and give a little overview of how I went with my challenge. I guess I’ll just run down the list. Finish a WIP was quite successful. I started off the year pretty strong on this one and finished a couple of WIPs. I finished my Cleo pullover by Elizabeth Doherty, which I’d been knitting for several years. So, it was super exciting to finish that. I also finished a shawl, Pure Joy by Joji Locatelli, and that had also a long term work in progress. I knit that in Juno fiber arts yarn from Very Deep Stash, so that also ticked that one off. That probably would have been about at least eight years old. I think 2011 was when I bought that at the Brighton Yarn Festival in the UK, which sadly was only held once, but was wonderful.
That was when I first met Joji, actually, so that’s kind of a nice connection. I always like to make these little connections with my projects and yarn and choices. Anyway, so, yeah, I finished a couple of WIPs, and I think there might’ve been even another one or I picked up a couple of other WIPs and started working on them again. That was good. That was a good, effective prompt for me. The next prompt is brioche, which I didn’t do at all. Moving right along, lace, I knit lace a lot and I had to kind of think what I actually did for this. I was basically planning for this challenge for it to be personal knitting, not work knitting, so I couldn’t think of anything in my personal knitting that I’d really knit with lace. But I did design the Rainforest Canopy Shawl and knit two samples of that, and also designed a knit, the Stillness Shawl, with quite a bit of lace in those.
I think I’ll have to bend the rules and make it any knitting, not just personal knitting, to be able to tick any of these off. I did probably do more personal knitting this year than I have other years, but it’s still a small proportion of my overall knitting. Colour work, I can’t say I did any colour work. I think by that, I really mean actual stranded Fair Isle colour work rather than, I don’t know, mosaic or other types of colour work. I think for me, I want to challenge myself to do some Fair Isle, and I saw that tinkhickman and Iindielynx, two of my friends, Deb and Claire on Instagram, are doing a little color work socks knit along at the moment. I am considering whether I can jump in on that.
I might not be able to do it at the same time as them, but I’ll keep it in mind for perhaps later in the year when I have a little bit more time to try and knit those socks. I can’t remember the name of the pattern, I’m afraid. But if you have a look at their Instagram accounts, you’ll be able to find that it’s tinkhickman and Iindielynx. I’ll put a link in the show notes to the pattern that they’re knitting. Short rows, Pure Joy counted for short rows, so that was good. Even though it was a WIP, I am counting WIPs in my challenge, which is fine. I think for the challenge, the rules are very flexible. It’s your challenge and your knitting. I’ll talk about the challenge for this year after I’ve gone through the list. Don’t want to get things too confused.
Cables, I am counting the Cleo Pullover as well as the Cheering Hat, Cowl and Socks from Knitvent. I knit all those samples. I knit quite a few cables with those, which I do like knitting cables, so that’s not something I procrastinate on like some other techniques. I really enjoy cables. Pullover, also Cleo. That was the only pullover I knit this year. For a cardigan, I knit half the Píosa Cardigan by Renée Callahan in gorgeous Sweet Fiber, rose gold. That’s definitely on the cards for me to finish that this year. I am committing to that project and finishing that project this year, and ideally before our winter here, so in the first half of the year. I don’t think it will take me very long. I’m just at a bit of a mental mode block in terms of picking up for the sleeves.
As soon as I’ve done that, I think it’ll probably just take me a couple of days to finish that because it’s I think worsted weight. Definitely at least DK. I think it’s worsted weight, so it’s super fast. I’m just being silly in terms of that roadblock. For socks, I was trying to remember, I think I finished a WIP earlier in the year, but I can’t remember what it was. Then more recently, I knit the Cheering socks sample for Knitvent, so that was really nice. I knit one of the samples, and Wendy knit the other sample for me, my sample knitter here in Australia. I knit several shawls, and my non work knitting shawls, I am happy that I knit two shawls by other designers. I finished my Pure Joy by Joji, and I also knit the Hermione Jean Granger shawl by Tyne Swedish, who is The Cleverest Stitch is her Instagram handle.
She has a lovely Instagram account featuring her designs, as well as some really great anti-racism information. She is one of the accounts that I love to follow on Instagram. For a hat, I knit several samples of the Cheering hat. I think that’s all I knit in terms of hats this year. I didn’t get to knit my toy. I really tried to just get there in December. I was hoping to be able to do it after I’d finished all my work for new advent, but no, it didn’t quite get there. But this year, it’s definitely going straight to the top of the queue. I have two kits that I purchased this year, the Sadie Souris kit by From Cinthia, and the Bear, Polar Bear, I think it is, from the Barrett Wool Company, designed by Susan B. Anderson.
I have two kits waiting for me to knit toys, and I’m so excited to knit these things. Again, I think it’s just a little bit of a mental block of realizing that I’m going to have to take in a lot of information and think a little bit. I don’t know, I just guess that that’s a little bit difficult for me these days. All my brain power goes on work, and so I think when it comes to my fun knitting, I just like to knit things like vanilla socks and my Habitation Throw and very things that I don’t have to think about at all. I need to maybe come up with a strategy of how to deal with that, like just set aside some time, I think, is probably the main thing I need to do, just a little bit of time, probably when the kids are at school when I know I won’t be interrupted. That’s my toy prompt, my sad toy prompt that hasn’t been checked off yet, but will be this year. I am committing to that here to you all.
For the cowl, I knit the Cheering Cowl sample for Knitvent last year, a deep yarn stash, the Pure Joy Juno Fiber Arts from Esti, who was a beautiful dyer in the UK, so stopped dyeing several years ago. I think I did use other reasonably deep yarn stash, and I’ve had a few questions about that. What is deep yarn and deep pattern stash from people. It just means that it’s yarn or patterns that have been in your stash for awhile. How you define that, again, it’s up to you. It just kind of means it’s buried deep underneath new items, basically. It’s kind of relative to the rest of your stash, so it depends how long you’ve been collecting yarn and patterns. This is just relatively older yarn or patterns that you have.
Gift or charity, I didn’t knit a specific item for that. I don’t think I have given away any of my I knits. I tend to mostly knit samples and I don’t give them away because I feel like I could need them again. I did do a big donation to charity, thanks to you. People who purchased the Habitation throw earlier in the year, I was able to donate 3,000 Australian dollars to the UN refugee charity, so I’m kind of counting that as a donation made to charity through knitting. I was so thrilled to be able to do that, so thank you to all of you who participated in that.
Deep pattern stash, I don’t think I did. Maybe I could count Pure Joy as that. I don’t really consider that I knit anything from my deep pattern stash. Non-super wash yarn, I did do this with my Cheering socks. I used a beautiful, beautiful yarn by Wren & Ollie, who is an Australian indie dyer called Purist. It’s quite a special yarn. I’ll just read you the little description from their website. They say, “For many years, we have wanted to bring our very own yarn to you, one made here in Australia as local as we possibly could. Finally, after all the trying, we can share this with you. It has been quite a journey. Before making this yarn, we considered many things. We wanted a yarn that could be used to make socks, but perform well for garments too, a yarn that is strong but not too crisp, a yarn that reminds us of the past, but also considers the present and the future, one that leaves a smaller imprint on our planet, not just in its making, but when it reaches its end of life too.”
“Purist is a yarn that is a joy to hold in your hands and wear on your body.” I would agree with that. I enjoyed knitting it very much. “The white and colored wool we source is from here in South Australia and run by one family who have been doing so for three generations. It is one I’m very familiar with, having used it in my hand spun and fiber preparations when I started Wren & Ollie. The wool travels to Victoria for washing, combing, and skinning. It then makes the journey to me here where it is dyed or left in its beautiful natural colored state. It is a fingering weight yarn. I was just checking the website to see if it was also DK weight, but I think it’s just available as fingering weight.
Yes, as I already said, it’s just really such a beautiful yarn to knit and having your hands, and gorgeous colors as well, both natural and dyed. Anyway, that was a little diversion. We are nearly at the end of the list. New to me designer was Tyne Swedish with my Hermione Jean Granger shawl. I hadn’t knit any of her patterns before. It was a lovely pattern to knit, so highly recommend. Scrappy or advent project. Well, I started my Habitation throw with my Sweet Fiber advent kit. As I’m recording this, I’m just over halfway and I’m into the decreases on that. Very much enjoying that. I can’t say it got ticked off last year, but it will be finished pretty soon. It can be on this year’s list.
Then an epic or a bucket list project, I would have to say my Cleo Pullover fits into that category. It was really quite an epic project. It was not an easy project. It was quite challenging and took me a long time, and I enjoyed it very, very much. But it was definitely some techniques in there, some short rows and required a bit of very careful shaping on the shoulders. Yeah, beautiful to knit and I enjoyed it very much. That is what I am including as my epic project for last year. I was just thinking about that one, and I was thinking that I don’t really have anything at the moment in mind that would qualify for this year. I might have to think about starting a new one.
For this year, I haven’t made a lot of plans, but I do plan to finish my Píosa Cardigan for my finish a WIP, a work in progress. That’s a definite commitment, as well as I really, really want to knit both my Barrett Wool Company Polar Bear and Sadie Souris, at least one, if not more of the From Cynthia toys. They just look so cute. I’m sure that once I’ve knit one of them, I will be over my mental block and it won’t be a problem anymore. I just need to get through that slight fear barrier. Yeah, I don’t really have plans for the other prompts yet. They’re the only ones I have particular plans for at this stage. The challenge is very flexible. It’s designed to be for you. It’s your knitting. It’s just meant to be a bit of fun.
We have monthly prizes of a voucher from a yarn store or indie dyer of your choice. We get to support our favorite indies, and there’s two prizes, one for posts on Instagram and one for posts on Ravelry, and the discussion, the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry. You can make up whatever rules you want. To be in the draw for the prizes, you just need a finished object for one of the prompts. I don’t mind if you double dip, I don’t mind if you knit 12 brioche projects across the year and put a brioche project in each month. I don’t mind if they’re WIPs, because I think it’s great to finish works in progress, and I certainly count mine. Yeah, it’s all pretty flexible.
I mean, if you have any questions about whether something counts, just ask. But it’s probably fine. It just needs to be a finished object to be counted. Tag everything, especially on Instagram, with Knit 20 for 2021 is the hashtag. Also, nominate or tag your indie dyer or yarn shop that you would like to nominate if you win the prize, just to give them a little bit of a shout out. Yeah. I think that that’s all I need to say. I will talk about it all during the year. I do have the prize winners from December to announce, so let’s announce them now. The December Knit 20 for 2020 winners on Ravelry, it’s post number 63 made by Panushka. So, thank you, Panushka.
On Instagram, we have the Bankhead hat made by Gale Toronto. Gale has nominated The Knitting Loft as her favorite indie local yarn shop. Thanks to everybody who joined in next year. I did post that we’re doing it this year on Instagram and had a huge response of people wanting to join in. So, welcome if you didn’t participate last year and are now thinking it sounds fun to join in this year. Welcome and welcome back to everybody who joined in last year. We had a lot of fun, and it was just lovely seeing what the Curious crew is up to in their knitting projects. It’s a nice way to share, and obviously they don’t need to be my designs. They can be from anybody. Also, if you want to substitute your own version of a prompt if you hate colour work or just want to know why that popped into my head, if you don’t like something, you can substitute your own prompt as well.
You could just make a comment about that if you want to enter something using a different prompt. It might give us some ideas for introducing some different prompts next year. When I left off for the podcast last year, we were in the middle of Knitvent. Well, all the patterns had been released, but people were still knitting away on their projects. The knit along has now closed, and so I’ve drawn six winners from the finished object thread. We will give six winners a $50 voucher for their local yarn store or indie of their choice. I’ve just settled on this as a prize because it is relatively easy. The post from Australia is still really, really slow. It’s taking six weeks to get to the UK or Canada or the US at the moment. I posted a couple of Christmas gifts, admittedly a little bit late, but they’ve only just arrived into January.
I really like being able to support local yarn shops and indie dyers and giving the winners the choice of their favorites. I think it’s working quite well. Anyway, having said all of that, let’s announce the winners. The winners drawn from the finished object thread on Ravelry, and we have number 65, who is CJSK1970, post number 17, NanasHouse15, post 154, PurpleKnits, post 117, Hoozal, post 84, SiobhanDrummond, and 127, AbbyN. We’ll put all the winners into a newsletter and probably contact you or drop us a message to support@curioushandmade if you hear your name and are excited to get in touch. You can also message HellsBells on Ravelry and just let us know your preferred indie dyer or yarn shop that you would like a voucher from and we’ll organize that for you.
Thank you so much for joining in the knit along and sharing your projects. Really love seeing my designs come to life. That’s my favorite thing about the job. I really appreciate you sharing, and, yeah, looking forward to a really fantastic year ahead. I know that a lot of people are struggling on so many levels, and it just makes me feel a bit tearful at times, but I will try to just keep the podcast really positive and fun, and hopefully be a little bit of an escapism for you during these crazy times. Don’t forget the buy one get one free sale this weekend on Ravelry for my individual sock patterns. Just pop on in the cart and then pop another one in the cart, which will be free. That’s for this weekend, which is running from Friday the 15th of January through to, let’s say Monday the 18th of January.
Have a great week, everybody. Happy knitting. I’ll talk to you again soon.