Episode 334: Heaps of hexies and the Spinifex Socks

THSS Spinifex Socks by Helen Stewart

Have you ever been daunted by the scale of a creative project? You’re not alone! I just saw the big numbers sitting between me and a completed quilt of hexie flowers…so today on the podcast I’m talking about that project: how it’s going and how far there is to go. I’m also chatting about the newest adventures of the Curious Crew, including the brand new Spinifex Socks from The Handmade Sock Society 4, and the launch of The Shawl Society 5.

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:

Liberty Fabrics 

The Strawberry Thief

#memademay

English Paper Piercing on Craftsy’s YouTube channel 

Anna Friberg on Ravelry 

Yarnesty  on Instagram 

Sylvia Sock Yarn by Birch Hollow Fibers

The Knit 20 for 2021 KAL

Join in with the Knit 20 for 2021 KAL by sharing your finished object photos here in the May FO Thread on Ravelry 

You can also enter on Instagram with the hashtag #knit20for2021 and don’t forget to nominate a local yarn shop or indie dyer in case you win!For more information on how the monthly knitalong works and how to enter, visit this page for all the details.

Knit20for 2021 Winners for April 

Ravelry winner  Post no 77  by Knitterlyobsessed who completed  the  New-To-Me Designer prompt –Hannah Thiessen and nominated Knit Circus Yarns. for her prize

Instagram winner   @shufu_in_stitches who completed the Made a Cardigan prompt (check it out here ) and nominated @beautifulknitters (website beautifulknitters.co.uk) for her prize

The Shawl Society 5

The Shawl Society 5 Yarn Teaser 1

The Shawl Society 5 Yarn Teaser 2

Yarn Spoiler Thread on Ravelry

The Shawl Society 5 Gumroad Presale (1st pattern arrives on the 20th of May, 2021) 

The Shawl Society 5 Ravelry Presale  (1st pattern arrives on the 20th of May, 2021) 

#tss5  and theshawlsociety5 on Instagram 

The Handmade Sock Society 4

The Handmade Sock Society 4 is over halfway; the first 4 patterns,  The Curling Mist Socks, The Picnic Blanket Socks , The Wild Bees Socks and The Spinifex Socks are available now with 2 more mystery sock patterns to follow each month until July! Don’t worry if you’ve not signed up yet, you can join in anytime!

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

The Spinifex Socks FO Thread will open soon, keep an eye on the Curious Handmade Ravelry Group

Knit Along Winner for The Picnic Blanket Socks 
Post no: 156   by  Tallmark  on Ravelry

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:

Hello, and welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 334. 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, A Yarn Story.

Hello, and thanks for joining me today. I just wanted to say a huge thank you to the people that wrote to me after last week’s episode. I always find it so funny that the episodes that I think are a little bit rubbish, or that I’ve been a bit rambly and just talking about random things, I often get nice emails about those ones. I try not to prejudge what other people will think about it anymore and just put them out there. But every now and then I’ll be like, “Should I redo that one?” Anyway, thank you so much to people who wrote about last week’s show.

I was just chatting about two of my happiness projects and my word for the year, connection. I had a couple of people who played the trombone getting in touch saying, “I played when I was at school.” And messages like that. I also had a message from a lovely listener, also Helen, who said that she really enjoyed the show and was inspired. And also has a problem procrastinating on replying to emails. That was really lovely. So thank you. I love hearing from you and hearing your thoughts on the shows especially when there’s such lovely comments as I got last week. It made me feel really good and sometimes I need that.

I have been working away steadily on my hexie-a-day in May little streak. I’m finding it very relaxing, stitching up my hexie flowers in English paper piecing Liberty fabric project that I’m working on. I need to come up with a snappier name than that. Don’t know. I’ve been keeping up with it. I made a few extras on the weekend thinking that I might need a few up my sleeve for the days that I don’t have time to make a flower. So far I’ve been keeping up with making at least one a day. That’s fun. Of course, we’re early days. I’m finding it very meditative to hand stitch the little flowers, the hexies together and enjoy the really pretty Liberty prints. I counted about 18 combinations to sew together of little flowers, so I don’t have to spend any time doing that part. Thank you to past-me.

Of course, that will run out before the end of the month. Once I’ve sewed those 18 prearranged hexies together, then I’ll have to come up with some more combinations, but I’ve got lots of hexies prepared at this stage, so that shouldn’t take too long. Yeah, I’m really enjoying it and I’m a little bit surprised that I’ve been able to keep up so far. But they do take a fair bit of time, at least an hour, maybe towards two hours for the larger ones. I actually have two projects on the go. I have a one inch hexie quilt and a two-inch hexie quilt on the go at the same time. I’ve been making a variety of one inch and two inch ones and the one inch ones are reasonably quick, but the two inch ones do take a lot longer, they’re significantly bigger.

In the instructions I got with the first pack of hexies, I have a monthly subscription, so I get some each month, but the first packet had a little chart. For the two inch hexies, you need 600 to make a queen sized quilt. But for the one inch, wait for it, you need 2,474 hexies to make a queen-size quilt. That’s the difference in size and number. I find that number so daunting. I don’t really know what my strategy should be, whether I should try and do three, I have to work out the proportions, 24. So whether I should make four small, one inch ones to every two inch one, just to keep them even. I guess that would make sense. Anyway, we’re a long way away from that number at this point. I’ve only made a few, so yes, just a little update on that. Coming up to week one of the challenge.

The other thing I kind-of missed when I was thinking about May challenges is that it’s Me-Made-May and I don’t usually participate too much in Me-Made-May . I’m always aware of it and enjoy following along on Instagram with my friends who participate, but I’ve never really felt like I have enough of a me-made wardrobe to get into it too much. But I might hopefully have some time this month to maybe make a couple of garments or even just one garment would be pretty cool. I might try and participate in that sense of having another me-made garment to add to my wardrobe. I’ve been on a little bit of a splurge in the last year, buying pretty dress patterns and dress quantities of fabric for them. It might be a nice prompt to make another outfit.

I actually have quite a bit happening this week for Curious Handmade Designs. I’d better get into introducing some new things. If you’re a member of the Handmade Sock Society, season four, you will have received your fourth sock in the collection yesterday, the Spinifex Socks. I’ll read you the beautiful description written by Amanda. Spinifex is not ashamed to be its stubborn, spiky self. It demands and deserves our respect. These humble but hardy grasses grow across the Australian landscape. On the coastline, Spinifex holds tight to the sand dunes, protecting them from erosion and sending its deep roots down into the earth to brace against storms and winds and tides. Out in the bush, Spinifex is a keystone of its environment, offering shelter and protection to vulnerable wildlife. Experts say that if it ever disappeared, so would dozens of other species. The Spinifex Socks pay tribute to the sturdy, indispensable Australian Spinifex grass. This pattern will keep you on your toes with a toe-up construction method. The wedge toe, heel flap and gusset lead into a star stitch and twisted rib panel along the top of the foot and front of the leg.They are finished with a twisted rib cuff.

As usual they are written in three sizes and for this season I wanted to introduce a couple of new techniques. And so I chose to do a toe up construction for one of them this time. I want to say a huge thank you to Anna Friburg of Yarnesty for helping me write this pattern toe up. As I had never written a toe up pattern before. She wrote a lot of the toe up construction for me. Thanks so much, Anna. I hope you enjoy trying something a little different. If you know that you don’t enjoy toe up socks and don’t want to try it, you can also use the top-down method with this same Spinifex front panel. But the Spinifex will be pointing down. That’s totally fine, it will still look really cute and you can knit your preferred method if that’s what you’d like to do. I will not be looking and judging, don’t worry. I think people are often quite worried to make mods to my patterns, but any mods are absolutely fine. It’s your knitting.

For the Spinifex Socks, I’ve used Birch Hollow Fiber’s Sylvia Sock and it is in the grunge colorway, which is a beautiful muted, dark green, forest green kind of color. I absolutely love Robin’s colors and I’m always inspired by them. This is the Sylvia sock base which is 75% super wash Merino and 25% nylon. You can find it at Birch Hollow Fiber. I’ll link to her shop in the show notes. I hope you enjoy these latest socks. I would be interested to know what you think of different construction for me, whether you enjoy trying it, and whether it’s your first time at trying toe up socks, I’d love to know so you can email me or leave a comment on Instagram or in the Ravelry chat thread.

That brings me on to announcing some Knit Along Winners. We have the winners of the Picnic Blanket Socks. The winner is Tallmark with post number 156, for her beautiful picnic blanket socks. We’re giving people two months for the knit along. That’s why we’re still number two for this prize draw. You’ll have two months to knit each pair of socks. The knit along will continue for a couple of months at the end of the season.

And then April has been and gone very, very quickly for me and the Knit 20 for 2021 winners for April on Ravelry, we have Knitterlyobsessed with post number 77, and she used the prompt, New-to-Me Designer, who is Hannah Thiessen with her toe up custom socks, so hopefully at least one of my knitters will enjoy the toe up socks. She nominated and Knit Circus Yarns. Then on Instagram we have @shufu_in_stitches who made a gorgeous cardigan for the cardigan prompt. She has nominated beautifulknitters.co.uk for her prize. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you so much for entering and posting your finished objects. I really enjoy seeing what you’re up to and it’s lovely to get some ideas about other patterns and new to me designers, all the inspiration.

The news that I have been so excited to share with you for weeks now is that season five of the Shawl Society is finally here. Pre-sales for the collection open up today. You can now join season five of the Shawl Society. Of course, I’ll put links to where you can do that in the show notes on my website at curioushandmade.com. It’s on Ravelry and my Gumroad store. I sent out an email earlier in the week with a description of the theme of the collection. I thought I would read that to you on the show today.

Returning for a fifth season, The Shawl Society is a secret pattern subscription for knitters who love a bit of mystery, beautiful shawls and knitting along with other daring, creative spirits. Over six months, we’ll discover six exciting shawl patterns and cheer each other on through the process of choosing yarns, matching colors, mastering some new stitches, and trying out some fresh techniques. The Shawl Society season five carries us into the wide open feeling you get from days spent almost entirely outdoors.

The freedom and inspiration that comes from being just another part of the landscape. No screens, no phones, no clocks, deadlines or demands, just you, the wind and the hum of small contented things going about their simple little lives amongst the grasses and the trees. Your thoughts can roam, your soul can soar and settle down. Your hands will find their work and your feet will find their path. The whir of garden sprinklers and the rhythm of garden chores, bush walks, and camping trips, and lunches eaten and out of crisp, paper bags. Long afternoons sheltering in the shade of an ancient tree as the sun bakes the earth and your mind drifts off into daydreams. Evenings rocking on a porch as a blessed breeze begins to stir. Nights under the stars where your heart swells with the constant wonder of the universe whirling overhead. We’ll meet our first secret shawl pattern of the season on the 20th of May, 2021 and carry on together with a new pattern each month until October.

The shawls this season will feature soft romantic styles with a modern twist and they’re designed to be both simple and interesting to knit. While past seasons are a good indication of the style of my designs, I have included a couple of new techniques this time, new to me. And experimented with shapes a little bit this season. Just a little teaser for some fresh stitches, and techniques, and shapes coming up for the season. As always, they will be written in my percentage checklist style. I will be providing charts where appropriate and the level of knitting is no more difficult than most of my patterns are, fairly aimed at the adventurous beginner. I think that with a very small amount of patience, you should be able to tackle all of these shawls without too much trouble. As I mentioned, the pre-sale is open now, very exciting. The first pattern will be dropping on the 20th of May. I’ve already shared the yarn requirements for the first two shawls and you can start dreaming and preparing. I’m super excited to be sharing this with you today. I can’t wait to get stuck into the knitting part of the Shawl Society season five.

Thanks so much for joining me today. I’m happy to have so much exciting news to share, and I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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