Episode 333: Creativity and connection

Hexie quilt pices in Liberty fabric made by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade

Today on the podcast I’ve got a mini review of the year so far, in terms of creativity, productivity, and my word for the year. I’m also sharing some personal project plans and the new season of The Shawl Society, which is coming up next month. (And it just occurred to me that next month starts…tomorrow!) So join me this week for a big cheerful chat about music, quilting, embroidery, knitting, and yarn: so many of the things we creative crafty folk like best.

Show Sponsors

Meadow Yarn. Anj is the heart, mind, and hand behind Meadow Yarn. She spends her days dying yarn and telling stories in the Suffolk countryside. The regular hand dyed shades you’ll find in their online shop are influenced by the surrounding landscape, the north sea coast, and the big skies overhead. For an extra dose of imagination with your knitting, Anj also releases her limited edition yarn fictions from time to time. These capsule yarn collections are inspired by her original short stories. You can download them and read along as you knit. As well as their own label, Hand Dyed Yarn, Meadow Yarn also stocks some of Anj’s personal favorite wools and supplies, Icelandic Lopi, Hazel Knits, KnitPro needles and notions, Eucalan wool wash, and arrange of inspirational journals and magazines. You can find them at meadowyarn.co.uk.

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.

Show Links:

Buderim Concert Band

Buderim Craft Cottage

Brynn and Co Shop

GROW embroidery by Brynn and Co

Brynn and Co on Instagram

Liberty Fabrics 

The Strawberry Thief

English Paper Piercing on Craftsy’s YouTube channel 

#100hexies100days2021 on Instagram

@sewfoxymama on Instagram (Maranelle)

Skein Yarn

The Shawl Society 5 First Shawl Yarn Spoilers

Rooboost on Ravelry (Emma, Tech editor and support extraordinaire)  

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

#thss4 on Instagram

#thehandmadesocksociety4 on Instagram

The Handmade Sock Society 4 KALs 

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

Free Curious Handmade Workshops

Simply Curious Socks: Free Beginner Sock Knitting Pattern & Workshop 

The Spindrift Shawl: Free Beginner Shawl Knitting Pattern & Workshop 

Join the Curious Handmade Group on Ravelry for  new pattern announcements, KALs, support and questions for patterns and any other fun things that come up, and join our Curious Crew Newsletter at the link below


Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 333. 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 thanks for joining me today. It’s lovely to have you here for a chat about knitting and other crafty things. I’ve just realised that the day of release of this episode is the last day of April, and that means that a third of the year has passed and we have two thirds left to go. So I have spent a little bit of time this week, not a huge amount of planning or thinking, but just noted that where we are in the year, and that yeah, a decent amount of it has already passed by, which, yeah, it just is going very quickly this year, I feel. Compared to last year, especially around this time last year, it was very, very slow and a lot of uncertainty. And while there is still a lot of uncertainty, I don’t feel like it’s quite as intense as it was this time last year.

As part of my little mini review of things and life, I was thinking about my word of the year, which is connect. And it’s been a really great word for me this year. I wasn’t sure how it would go if I was kind of ready for it, in a weird kind of way, but it’s been lovely. I have done some big and little things to support this word, or this word has supported me in different ways. One of the biggest things I have done is joined two groups and I joined the Buderim Concert Band, and my dad was a member and encourage me to go along. So I can’t remember when I first went along. I think it took me till about February or March to get organised and go. And I have been absolutely loving being part of a band. I haven’t done that since high school. And it’s just so funny to me that 30 years later, I’m playing in a concert band again.

We are lacking a few instruments though so if anyone’s on the sunshine coast and plays the clarinet, or basically any brass instruments, especially euphonium or tuba, trombone, we really need a trombone player, you’d be very, very welcome. There’s a heap of flutes, and we’ve got quite a few saxophone players, and a really great percussion section, but yeah, we really need some clarinet players, and other brass players. So if anyone’s local, come along on a Monday night, it’s really fun.

The other group I joined is a group with my mom, which is the quilting group on a Thursday night, and there’s the Buderim Craft Cottage, and they have a lot of different groups with different crafts. So there’s pottery, painting, more of an embroidery group. And yeah, mom’s been going along as part of the quilt group. And so, yeah, so I’ve decided to become a member of that group and go along regularly.

And it’s interesting because it’s quilting, but a lot of the projects that people are working on a hand stitching projects. And so, they talk a lot about their quilt projects, but unless you’re sewing on a binding or something, mostly it’s other stitching projects like an embroidery. Since I joined just a few weeks ago, they were doing a make along with a particular cushion cover style of embroidery, I don’t know the name of the designer or artist that designed the pattern they were using, but it was like a combination of applique and embroidery and yeah, just really fun sort of mixed media, I guess. Maybe not mixed media, but it might be more embroidery. I’m getting my crafts well mixed up. So yeah, so quite a few of the group were working on this particular project. So it’d be interested to see what group project comes up next.

Since I finished my grow embroidery by Brynn & Co I will need a new project to take along. And so, what I thought I would do is work on my Liberty hexie quilt with English paper piercing because that’s really… Well, it’s all hand sewing. Then I sort of thought, “Oh, I’ve been getting really behind in that project or, well, it’s not behind, there’s no schedule to it really, it’s just a personal project, but I haven’t done… I don’t think I’ve done any this year at all. So I thought what I would do is give myself a little challenge for May and see if I can make a hexie flower a day in May, which kind of rhymes. So that’s my little personal challenge and anyone’s welcome to join in.

I was looking at some other English paper piercing quilting accounts on Instagram, and I came across a make along or a sew along with the hashtag #100hexies100days2021. And I kind of managed to track down the host who is @sewfoxymamama, Maranelle, I think she’s based in Canada. And in her profile, she has “host of the 100hexies100days2021, join in any time”. And I don’t really know what the make along is, what you’re sort of supposed to do, whether you just add 100 hexies to a quilt or to a project in 100 days. I think maybe that’s what it is, judging from some of the posts. I didn’t go back far enough in her feed to find any details of what it exactly is, but I gather it’s just making something with hexies for 100 days.

So I thought, “Yeah, well, I can kind of go along with that.” I think if I did a flower every day for 30 days, that would be, what’s that, there’s six or seven hexies in a flower. So that’s… My maths is terrible. I won’t embarrass myself by trying to do some simple maths in real time. But anyway, so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to do a hexie flower a day in May as a challenge to myself. And I feel like that will really boost my quilt project.

I’m getting packages of hexies every month from The Strawberry Thief, which is a Liberty specialist quilt shop in Western Australia and Perth. And so, they’ve started to really build up. I think I’ve been doing that for about a year now, since last June, I think was the first month I joined up. And so, yeah. So I have made a few flowers and I have done a lot of the preparation, but yeah, it’s time to really give that project a boost and that’s one of my happiness projects for the year as well. So it’s all kind of related and something I really want to do.

So in the Curious Handmade community, something we have been connecting over for five years now or six years, but there was a break in there last year, is the Shawl Society. And I’ve been mentioning and giving hints in previous episodes that the fifth Shawl Society is coming up this year, and now it’s coming up very soon so I revealed the yarn for the first shawl a couple of weeks ago. It’s a sport weight Merino silk from Skein Australia. And I meant to say, when I was talking about it last week, that my test knitters have knitted in fingering weight as well. And so it’s absolutely fine to use fingering weight, if you have fingering weight in your stash, or unable to get sport weight as easily, or suitable sport weight that you want to use. Fingering sock weight is absolutely fine as well.

And we will start sharing details about this season next week on Monday and tell you all about the theme and more details. So if you would like to hear more about it via email, please do sign up to my newsletter. You can find a sign up form on my website at curioushandmade.com. And we will be opening it for pre-orders next Friday, the 7th of May. So very, very excited to start sharing about that. The first shawl is due to be published on the 20th of May. So just a few weeks time and it’s getting very close. So I am looking forward to that knit-along, and it will be going for six months. So one shawl each month, starting in May, and we will have knit-a-longs and lots of connecting and fun with that.

So, so far connect has been a really wonderful word for me. I’ve also been mindful of it on a smaller scale and just thinking more about texting friends, getting in touch with friends, replying to emails, although I’m still a bit rubbish at that, but trying to use this word as a little reminder and little prompt to just reply to people and get in touch with them. And I am conscious that I have some emails that I haven’t replied to, so I’m really, really sorry if that’s you.

One of the things I do is procrastinate on replying to emails and I do the thing that I think a lot of us do, I don’t think it’s just me, but I think to myself, “Oh, I need to reply properly to this person. I need to think about it. I need to write something nice.” And then the email drops off the page and I have it in my mind, but I don’t have it written down on my list, and then it gets so long that it’s embarrassing, and then I think, “Oh no, it’s too late now.” So that’s something I’m working on. I hope I’m not alone in that, I hope other people can relate to it and aren’t too cross with me. But yes, it’s not a good habit, and it is something that I would really like to address.

I have tried to address it with support emails, by having a great support team. Emma, who does my tech editing, she’s rooboost on Ravelry so if you’ve written to me on Ravelry or to the support@curioushandmade.com, you’ve probably heard a reply from Emma. So I had to put that in place to avoid my support emails getting the same… Being a victim to the same habit that I have with my personal ones. But yes, I can’t really outsource personal replies so I am going to just gently work on that this year with my word for the year. So yes, it’s been a really good word so far. Sometimes my word for the year just doesn’t do much for me, but yeah, this time it’s been pretty good.

So maybe it’s a nice time of year to consider your word for the year, your plans for the rest of the year. I think here in Australia and in the UK and possibly in the US we have one or more public holidays and long weekends. Here in May we have the Labor Day weekend, and last weekend we had the Anzac Day long weekend, but that wasn’t in every state in Australia, I think Queensland and Perth maybe had a long weekend, and not necessarily other states. So yeah, so maybe it’s a good time of year to take that extra day to have a little review and thinking about where you are and where you’re at and what you’d like to be doing.

So I feel like maybe it’s been a bit of a ramble today, I hope it hasn’t been too bad. It’s been lovely to have a chat and share some things on my mind. I hope you’re well and having a good week. Just before I sign off, I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story.

I was so pleased for Carmen and her team to be able to open up their shop in Bath again after such a long lockdown in the UK. And I hope people feel like it was it worth it. I think that the UK is doing pretty well at the moment with their COVID management. And yeah, I was just so happy for Carmen to be able to open up and get her beautiful shop back ready for customers again. So if you’re in the Bath area, be sure to drop in and say hi for me. So I hope you all have a good week. Happy knitting. I’ll talk to you soon.

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