Episode 332: Back from a break…and a design marathon

crane scissors and glasses sit on a book, with a coffeecup and glasses nearby, with some white yarn in the background

On today’s podcast episode, I’m chatting about what I’ve been up to in the break: probably the most intense design and knitting sprint I’ve ever done! And stories from an all-hands-on-deck photoshoot that was a lot of fun. 

Just a little content warning for this episode, in case you’re feeling tender: in this week’s podcast I’m also remembering my very dear friend and mentor Paula Emons-Fuessle, who passed away at the end of March. It is a huge loss to the knitting community, but I have a lot of happy and beautiful memories of time we spent together, and so much gratitude for her kindness and generosity over the years. I wanted to share some of that today, but if loss is a heavy topic for you right now I just wanted to let you know before you hit play.

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The Handmade Sock Society 4

The Handmade Sock Society 4 has begun; the first 3 patterns, The Curling Mist Socks, The Picnic Blanket Socks and the Wild Bees Socks are available now with 3 more mystery sock patterns to follow each month until July! 

The Handmade Sock Society 4 on Ravelry

The Handmade Sock Society 4 on Gumroad 

#thehandmadesocksociety on Instagram

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#thehandmadesocksociety4 on Instagram

The Handmade Sock Society 4 KALs 

The Curling Mist Socks FO KAL Winner is Post 293 by alhbooks 

The Picnic Blanket Socks FO Thread his KAL will run until May 1st, 2021

The Wild Bees Socks FO Thread his KAL will run until June 1st, 2021

Knit 20 for 2021

Knit20for2021 Challenge Details

Knit20for2021 Printable PDF

April #knit20for2021 FO Thread

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Knit 20 for 2021 March Winners

From Ravelry Post 149 by joannacanada ;nominated yarn shop is  Wet Coast Wools 

From Instagram @waifmtl; nominated yarn shop is Unraveled

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From Cinthia on Instagram

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Entice Yarn by Hazel Knits 

Skein Yarn 

Beautiful Instagram Post by Susan B Anderson in memory of Paula Emons-Fuessle

Paula Emons-Fuessle YouTube 

Paula Emons-Fuessle’s podcast The Knitting Pipeline 

Fruity Knitting podcast

Fruity Knitting on youtube

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Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast, you’re listening to episode 332. 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 all social media as CuriousHandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curioushandmade.com. I’d like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story.

Hello, and thanks for joining me today for a chat about knitting and other creative pursuits. It’s been a little while, I think, haven’t published for about a month. And there’s just been a lot going on. I will sort of go into one of the main reasons why I haven’t recorded in the show, but it’s also been school holidays, and just some personal family stuff, I guess.

And so, yeah, I decided at the beginning of this busy period that I had better focus on prioritizing some other things. So sorry about that, it was kind of not really particularly planned break, but it was necessary, and I feel like I can now come back with a bit more of a clear head. Just before I go into a bit of an explanation about one of the things that has been happening, we’ll just catch up on announcing some winners of knit-a-longs that we have happening.

So for the March Knit 20 for 2021, ongoing year long knit along, we have happening. The winners are Post 149 in the Ravelry thread by Joanna Canada, and her nominated yarn shop is Wet Coast Wools, which I have actually visited a few years ago. So lovely choice. I very much enjoyed visiting that shop when I was in Vancouver. And on Instagram, we have @waifmtl , and her nominated yarn shop is Unraveled. I can see on her feed, she is knitting a Sadie Souris mouse by From Cinthia, which I have the kit for, and going to knit from my toy prompt for the Knit 20 for 2021, which I’m hoping to be able to do soon now that my big project is over.

And the winner for the first knit along, The Curling Mist Socks from The Handmade Sock Society, is post number 293, and that is alhbooks who is, Anne from the Sierra Foothills in California. And she’s knit two pairs of Curling Mist Socks, and the second where her winning entry in some lovely hazelnut knit yarn. Thank you to all the participants in the knit alongs in the last month or so. And congratulations to the winners. Please just email us, support@curioushandmade.com if you’d like to get in touch about your prizes, and we can arrange for those for you, otherwise we will endeavor to contact you as well.

So what’s this big project I’ve been talking about? So about a month ago, I was talking to a friend here on the Sunshine Coast, and I was saying how I was looking for a photographer and she has an online business here as well, in a completely different field and recommended a local photographer. And so I had a chat with Paula, the photographer, and booked-in a shoot with her for, I think it was at the time, maybe five weeks away when I booked it. And so we chatted and she found out what I wanted to photograph and we booked it all in and we booked a location, a little AirBnB.

And then I decided to try and get as many designs photographed all at the same time as I could to make the most of this photo shoot. So I then spent just the most hectic five weeks I think I’ve had in a long time designing and knitting. I had some wonderful sample knitters to help me get there. And in the end, had three sample knitters, including Wendy, who’s been doing lots of sample knitting for me. She did most of the samples, and also had some help from two more knitters that I roped in at the last minute. And I also knit five samples myself at that time.

So it’s just been absolutely nuts, but it’s been really good. I highly recommend having a stretch goal like that. I have to admit, I’m not sure that I should admit this, but I have to admit that I was finishing the last sample on the shoot. So it was down to the wire, but it worked out so I was so happy to have them all done. It was a lovely, lovely day. Paula and her team looked after us. I took Sophie along to help model, and we had really, really good weather.

So yeah, that was really good, but I’m still catching my breath, it was bonkers. On the day before the shoot, I had mom making castles, dad was helping clean shoes, and my sister was weaving in ends for me on one of the samples, and Sophie was making some props. It was so funny, but it was so wonderful. It was really, really nice to have the help, and then the photo shoot day was really great as well.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, and included was six shawls for the upcoming Shawl Society season five. And The Shawl Society is going to open up to join in just around three weeks time. So we are going to be sharing some other information and inspiration about this season via my newsletters and on Instagram. So if you haven’t already, do sign up to my newsletter. And we have done a lot of work on my newsletter and kind of the system behind the scenes for my newsletter, as well as the Spindrift Shawl Workshop and the Simply Curious Socks Workshop.

And so now it’s set up that if you join either of those workshops, you will also seamlessly join the newsletter. Of course, you can unsubscribe if you no longer wish to receive my email newsletter at any time, but when you join the Socks workshop to get the free pattern for the Simply Curious Socks, or get the free pattern for the Spindrift Shawl, you initially join my newsletter.

So, yeah, so we’re really excited to start sharing more details about this season with you. I’m really, really happy with my designs. I have been really inspired this year and I feel like they’ve come out really beautifully. So I can’t wait to start sharing them with you. And as you might’ve seen, if you follow me on Instagram, or are already subscribed to the newsletter, we’ve already announced the yarn for the first shawl, which is beautiful Merino Silk Sport from Skein Australia. You can visit Skein Australia’s website if you’re interested in that yarn, or there’s lots and lots of alternatives, I’m sure that you can find; you don’t need to use that particular yarn, but yes, made a beautiful sample so I’m very happy to share that with you.

One of the other reasons I was struggling to record a little bit a few weeks ago, shortly after I recorded the last episode I published, we heard the news that my dear, dear friend, Paula Emons-Fuessle had passed away. She had ovarian cancer and had been putting up a very, very brave fight for about two years. Her wonderful community of knitters was incredibly sad to hear the news of her passing in late March, and she will be sorely missed by many, many, many friends. Paula was a really close friend and mentor to me over many years, she was always incredibly generous and kind, she was my inspiration and helped me start this podcast as well as the retreats I hosted in the UK, and she came to my first retreat, and we had a lot of fun going to the Edinburgh Yarn festival, and shopping together.

I was watching some of her YouTube videos and just to hear her voice and see her face after I heard the news and I watched one where she was talking about that first retreat and us shopping together at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. And oh, so sad. I’m just… Just miss her so much. She just had an amazing way of making everybody she met feel really listened to and seen, and she had a lot of friends as a result in the knitting world.

She previously played the bagpipes and had a lot of friends all over the world from her bag piping days, as well as in her local community. She taught kids to knit at one of her local schools. And her love of nature was shining through in, I think, all of her podcast episodes in her nature notes section. And it was always a fascinating podcast, every time I listen, I learned something. And yeah, we’ve just lost just such a lovely person and friend. I haven’t posted anything online about it, I went through my photos and found a whole bunch of photos of Paula and at events we’d been to together. I think the most recent was Rhinebeck a couple of years ago, where as I saw Paula in real life.

I did see a beautiful post on Instagram by Susan B Anderson in memory of Paula. And she invited people to leave their memories of Paula in the comments. And I found that so comforting, it was such a lovely post. So thank you, Susan, and everybody who commented. So I hope you can rest now, Paula.

Also, just this week was the sad news of Andrew from the Fruity Knitting podcast passing away. He had brain cancer, and yeah, so my deepest sympathies to his wife, Andrea, and daughter, Madeline. At this time, terribly, terribly sad, and have lots of not publishable words to say about cancer as probably most of us do.

So, sorry to end this episode on a sad note, but also I’m feeling hopeful and uplifted by some news that’s happening in the world. A lot of it’s still dark and difficult, but I think hopefully some spring sunshine in the Northern hemisphere is helping a lot of places that have been in a really dark place for most of this year. So I’m looking forward to bringing some fun projects and designs and knit-a-longs for the rest of the year. Yeah, I’m feeling really hopeful, and I feel like there is some hope of being able to travel again. Here in Australia, we’ve had the interesting situation where we haven’t been as affected by COVID on a day to day basis, but the price we are paying is not being able to travel outside of the country, or have not been able to travel very much inside the country either for the past year. So I am not sure when that situation is going to change.

We had a little bit of a COVID scare just before Easter here in Queensland. And I don’t know when there’s sort of flare ups or issues are going to… I don’t know when it’s going to end. But in the meantime, I’ve just being very grateful for what I have around me. It’s amazing to be living in a beautiful place and have my family and little puppy. And yeah, quite content being here. But I am looking forward to the day where I can see my beautiful friends in places a little bit further away.

So thinking of you all as always, I hope you’re well, I hope things are going okay for you and that you can find some joy in your knitting and crafting. And yeah, I’ll talk to you again next week. I’m back to a regular schedule hopefully. I can’t foresee anything happening, but things always happen. But as far as I can tell, it will be a regular schedule from now through till the end of the year. So just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor, Meadow Yarn. 

Have a wonderful week; happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon. 

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