Today’s podcast episode is short but sweet, so grab your favourite work in progress and join me for a few rows of knitting and a friendly catch up. I’ve just finished a project I’m really excited about: sewing a brand new dress! And as we start to settle into the rhythm of the year, I’m focusing on being gentle with myself as I continue my happiness projects and explore new ways to connect with my community.
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Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 325. 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.
Hello, and welcome to the show this week. I hope you’re having a good week and not too many challenges or stress. I hope you’ve been able to do a little bit of crafting for yourself and your sanity. I feel like I left you with a couple of cliffhangers last week. I was talking about sewing the Sudley Dress by Megan Nielsen, an indie sewing pattern designer. And I did manage to finish sewing it a little bit later than my last Friday deadline. I was hoping to get it done before I released last week’s podcast, just as a goal for myself. But it ended up taking me a bit of time over the weekend as well.
And yeah. I’m really pleased with it. It’s a little bit over the top, let’s say. I’m not sure how much I’ll wear it. It’s a big blousy bloom print, which I absolutely love, but I’m not sure how I feel about wearing it. The fabric’s lovely and drapey. It’s 58% viscose, 32% cotton and 10% flax. So it looks like a linen almost, but it’s super drapey, which actually made it a little bit difficult to sew. That slowed me down quite a bit, oth in cutting it out and sewing it up because I had to pin out a lot. It wouldn’t just stay where I put it at any point in time. It would just be pulling away when I was sewing it.
So, yeah, so I think it made it a little bit longer to sew than I hoped. But yeah. Time will tell whether I wear it very much, but it was so, so wonderful to get back into sewing clothes. I sewed a lot of clothes when I was a lot younger in my teens and early 20s. And then basically stopped doing it for all that time in between. I did sew one dress, which I wore a huge amount and that was the Merchant and Mills shirt dress, Dress Shirt. And that pattern, that dress… Well, and that dress is still in my wardrobe, but it does need some repairs. And so I just need to sew up on the arms. Other than that, it’s great. The linen has really faded a lot, but I quite like that look so I better get onto that mending jobs so that I can wear that dress again. It probably won’t be needed until winter here because it’s heavy linen and even a linen is probably too warm at the moment. I was super thrilled to be sewing clothes includes again. So I will keep you posted with that.
Thank you so much to the lovely Julia, who’s @9crafty11 and she suggested we do a solo along to make our dresses and that is what really got me going. So huge thanks to you, Julia. The other thing I mentioned last week that I was going to have coffee with a new friend. And so that happened and it was really lovely. I overcame my stranger danger fear and then we also got invited to another coffee with some other mums and I went along to that. So that was a hugely social connecting week. And I think that’s me done for February now. So, yeah. It was good. And I think having the intention and the word for the year of connection is definitely encouraging me to say yes to these opportunities. I might be tempted to say no and make excuses to myself that I’m too busy, that I need to work. Whatever comes to mind as an excuse. But having that little guiding word, definitely is nudging me in the right direction.
After quite a busy week last week, I have been pretty much focusing on just keeping things really simple again this week. And just going back to getting into a groove for the year and just telling myself to try and achieve one small thing each day. I find that when I haven’t been in a routine for a while and I’m trying to get back into a routine, that’s the thing that helps me the most, is trying not to get overwhelmed by my list of things to do. And just saying to myself each day, “If you just do one thing, that would be great.” And that seems to get me into action.
It’s taken me quite a few years to realize what happens at the beginning of a new school year, but all of us in the family, well, me and the girls, tend to get quite overwhelmed at this time of year. And so I’m trying to allow for that more and more in our schedules and expectations. As a result, this week, I have been knitting a lot on my Habitation Throw because it is a very simple, relaxing and calming knit. And it’s simply easy to pick up and just knit a few stitches on at any point in time.
I did have a little setback where I had got some mini skein out to wind and Cindy had found them and ran around the house with much glee and pulled them apart. So I had some untangling today, but once I had managed to untangle those two skeins, I was back into a rhythm with it. And I only have about four minis left to knit into my throw now. So the end is in sight and I’m getting pretty excited to see the finished object.
I’m looking forward to being able to tick off the finish a WIP prompt from the Knit 20 for 2021 challenge. And it’s also one of my happiness projects because I have one of my 20 happiness projects or 21. I think I’ve only got 20 again for my happiness projects. But one of them is to finish three works in progress, and I’ve nominated this one as one of the ones that I’m trying to finish. So I guess it will be 1/3 of a happiness project. Then I’ll need to figure out what I’m going to work on next. I think probably my Píosa Cardigan. I really want to finish that, and that will be another Sweet Fiber Yarn project. I’m knitting my Habitation Throw with the Sweet Fiber advent set. And I am knitting the Píosa Cardigan, which is a beautiful design by Renée Callahan in Sweet Fiber rose gold. So, it will be very indulgent to go onto another Sweet Fiber project.
Having my lists and happiness projects and prompts is definitely helping me to keep up momentum on my projects and it’s helping me keep on track because I don’t have to stop and wonder what I’m going to work on next because I already have a plan. So when I have a little pocket of time, I can reach for a project straight away rather than faffing around wondering what I’m going to do.
One of my other happiness projects is try five new yummy recipes. And before Christmas I purchased the cookbook Simple by Ottolenghi. And Ottolenghi is one of my favorite restaurants in London, or probably my favorite. And if I could, I would probably be happy to eat there every day, especially for lunch. They just do the most amazing salads. And when I used to go there from time to time, when I was living in London, I discovered the special cornbread, which was part of their bread board, bread platter, that you could order with meals. And whenever I could, I would ask for more of the cornbread that is part of… As a substitution for some of the other types of bread. I didn’t really care about the other bread. I just wanted the cornbread.
And they haven’t published the recipe in any of their cookbooks. And whenever I’d go, I’d ask if they could share the recipe with me. And eventually I gave up and I went through a phase of trying about seven or eight different cornbread recipes. This was about five years ago now. I really, really wanted to figure out how to make this delicious treat, but I could never get it quite right. I found one recipe that was really nice, but it wasn’t the same. You can imagine how excited I was to finally find the recipe in this latest cookbook. And I was flipping through thinking about what I could make and they’re all beautiful, delicious recipes. And when I saw the cornbread, I was so excited and the recipe really is nothing like anything I tried. So it was no wonder that I couldn’t get it right. And yeah. I’m absolutely delighted.
I made it this week and it’s not quite like the original, but it’s pretty good. And so, so yummy. So I’m pretty excited about that. So I’ve done 1/5 of one of my other happiness projects as well. I keep raving about this cookbook to all my friends. I love Ottolenghi recipes, but often they’re a bit complicated and a bit technical. And they have, I think, taken that feedback on board and made this recipe book so that the recipes are either less ingredients or easier to make than you think, or perhaps can be made ahead of time so that you’re not trying to make something complicated when guests are arriving or there. So they have different categories of the recipes in the book along those lines. And yeah. I’m really enjoying it. I haven’t made much from it yet, but I am definitely looking forward to making more recipes from this book. And it’s quite likely that all five of my new yummy recipes will come from this one book.
So I am going to keep things simple and leave this as a really short episode this week. I am trying something experimental with my schedule this week, which is to confine my activities and work into a certain amount of time, rather than letting the activity just take up all the time I have. I’m trying to get things done in the week so that I can have weekends off and also evenings so that I can spend time with family.
In the interest of trying to achieve that, I’m going to say goodby now. Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story.
Thanks so much for joining me this week. A huge thank you to everyone who is participating in the Handmade Sock Society. As always, I’m super honored that you’re choosing to participate in a mystery knit along basically. It’s an adventure where you don’t know what’s coming up in terms of the designs. And I am always amazed and very, very grateful for people who take that chance with me. So I’ve been loving seeing everybody’s first socks, the Curling Mist Socks, appearing on Ravelry and Instagram. It’s very, very exciting. And I always love seeing what yarn people are using and getting excited about different yarn color wears. I hope you have a fantastic week. I hope it can be full of simplicity and relaxation. And yeah. I’m thinking of you all. I hope you’re well, and I’ll talk to you again soon. Happy knitting.