Episode 344: Family fun and sewing plans

A plate of cookies on a black plate, sit on top of 3 books about Australia. Next to the books are two sewing reels with blue thread and a small scissors. All items are on a small round black table.

This week’s episode is a chilled out chat about crafty stuff and family life! After last week’s review of my 2021 Happiness Project, I’ve gotten a fresh burst of energy and excitement about the many creative projects I have on my plate. Today I’m talking about how I’m finding balance in a busy season, the fun things the girls are up to, and some sewing I’m hoping to work on in the next couple of weeks. 

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:

The Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft

#thehappinessproject on Instagram

#happierpodcast on Instagram

The Sheep and Wool Show  (unfortunately cancelled) 

Píosa Cardigan by Renée Callahan    

Panda Bear Kit (Kit by The Barrett Wool Co. and pattern by  Susan B. Anderson

Sadie Souris Kit (Kit by Wild and Woolly and pattern by Cinthia Vallet.)     

Milk Books    

Jeni Baker Patterns   / @jenib320 on Instagram

Liberty Fabrics 

The Strawberry Thief

The Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company

Amble Yarn by The Fibre Company 

The Shawl Society 5

Can’t believe The Shawl Society 5 is already halfway;  The Curling Mist Shawl , The Silver River Shawl  and now The Wild Bees Wrap are all now with 3 more mystery shawl patterns to follow each month until October 

The Shawl Society 5 on Gumroad 

The Shawl Society 5 on Ravelry  

#tss5  and theshawlsociety5 on Instagram

The Shawl Society 5 Finished Object Threads 

Curling Mist Shawl FO Thread

Silver River Shawl FO Thread

Keep an eye out for The Wild Bees Wrap FO Thread on the Curious Handmade Discussion Board on Ravelry 

The Handmade Sock Society 4

All 6 patterns have now been released for The Handmade Sock Society 4 ;  The Curling Mist Socks, The Picnic Blanket Socks , The Wild Bees Socks ,  The Spinifex Socks, The Lavender Fields Socks and The Scribbly Gum Socks  are all available now.  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 Finished Object Threads 

The Lavender Fields Socks FO Thread will run until August 1st,2021

The Scribbly Gum Socks FO Thread  will run until September 1st, 2021 

Knit 20 for 2021 KAL

Join in with the Knit 20 for 2021 KAL by sharing your finished object photos here in the July 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.

Knit 20 for 2021 Toy KAL

I need your support and encouragement to help me tick the ‘toy’ prompt off my knit202for2021 list, so I’ve decided to add this pop-up event to the regular  #knit20for2021 KAL. There are prizes to be won and so much cuteness to come.  

The rules are simple:

I am trying to complete 2 toys for this challenge:

The Panda Kit by Susan B. Anderson  and the Sadie Souris Kit by Cinthia Vallet

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 344. 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.

I’d like to say a big thank you to my sponsor Meadow Yarn. 

Hello, knitters, and welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a lovely week. I don’t really have any major announcements or news this week, so it’s more of a general chat. So grab a cuppa of something strong and maybe some knitting, or if you’re out for a walk, that’s fabulous. And yeah, join me for a little chat about crafty stuff.

It’s been a really busy week, as always. The kids are slowly building up their activity schedule again, and Sophie has started basketball, which I’m super excited about, but it means that she has a game on one night of the week, training on another night, and sometimes they get the team together for another session on the weekend as well. So that one new activity has created quite a few sessions in the week that we need to go to, but she gets so much joy out of it. And I get a lot of joy out of seeing her have so much fun. And it’s kind of exciting because she hasn’t early gotten into any sports in this way before, and she’s really talented and athletic, so it’s exciting to see. But I guess it’s one of those things that somehow when life gets busy it sometimes, not always, but sometimes it means that you get a bit more productive and get a little bit more done. I have happily found that that’s been the case this last couple of weeks. And I think I got a really nice boost from reviewing my Happiness Projects.

I talked about that on last week’s episode, and it could be the weather as well. We have had some glorious days here on the sunshine coast. And it’s not too hot yet, and we’ve had blue skies and that just really, really lifts the mood. I guess it’s helped a lot to balance out the latest COVID doom and gloom here in Australia. A couple of weeks ago, the really big yarn show here, The Sheep and Wool show, which has held in Bendigo in Victoria, was meant to go ahead. I was meant to be going down. I talked a little bit about that on the show, how I was looking forward to wearing my new Píosa Cardigan, and some hand knits and getting, cause it’s quite cool weather down there compared to here, getting rugged up in my winter woollies and just meeting lots of knitters and yarn-y people.

And the week before I had to cancel, because Queensland was a red zone and we couldn’t go down without having to quarantine. So it wasn’t feasible for the weekend, but the show was still going ahead. And I was preparing myself for the FOMO, but the day before the show was set to open at a quarter to five in the afternoon, after all the vendors had set up, everybody had come from interstate if they could, farmers had brought sheep from interstate and they announced that Victoria was going into a five day lockdown starting from midnight that night. So everybody had to really rapidly tear down their stands, pack up and try and get home before the lockdown slash curfew. Oh my goodness, so devastating. I think that moment when I saw that on Instagram was maybe one of the worst times I’ve felt the impact of the pandemic because I felt so upset for those people that have worked so hard.

I can’t imagine the amount of work going into putting up a stand and, oh my goodness. I can’t even. But I was so impressed and inspired by how the vendors dealt with it, at least in public. I’m sure there were quite a few tears shed, but they very quickly regrouped. We got the yarn and other things back into their online shops, which of course they’d had to take offline for the weekend, post everything back up again and make the most of the situation. So hopefully I think the community here, at least, really got behind the vendors and did quite a lot of online shopping over the weekend. I did a little bit of shopping and tried to support the poor people that had had to go through all that work and then not have the show go ahead. Such a shame. It was cancelled last year, of course. And then again this year. So I just tried to take the inspiration from how people dealt with that. And my thoughts go out to everybody who was in that bad situation.

So this month has been a bit of a boost for my Happiness Project in the end. I maybe it’s having the little bit of focus on it in terms of reviewing them, and thinking about them. And maybe some of it is that I’ve just been gradually working on them over the course of the year and got to the stage of finally being able to tick some off. So as I mentioned last week, I had completed my bushwalk and finished three personal knitting projects and they weren’t exactly what I initially had on my list, but that’s okay. I substituted Bear by Susan B. Anderson for Sadie Souris on my Happiness Projects. And so I was able to tick off my prompt of finishing three WIPs. So that was pretty exciting to be able to do that just over halfway through the year. Not quite before the end of June, but still pretty early in the year.

And since I recorded the last episode, I’ve also managed to finish Lexi’s first year photo album. So she just turned 10 and that has been something, not weighing on my mind so much, but a little bit because Sophie’s one was done the year after she turned one and I spent hours on it. But of course that was before Lexi came along, so I just had one child and it was a lot easier. But I was really, really happy to be able to send Lexi’s off to the printing company that I used, which was Milk Books. M-I-L-K. And that was the company that I used for my annual album last year, and it came out pretty good so I’ve used them again.

So that was a few significant things to complete. And I also started my project, which is project with Lexi in brackets ‘Easter’, which didn’t happen, but I sort of regrouped and thought, okay, I will help her do what she really, really wants to do, which is do her Halloween costume and also a costume for book week, which is, I think, this coming week. So we went and found two sewing patterns. I managed to convince her that it will be a good idea to use a pattern because normally what she does is she just wants to freestyle it and hack into pieces of fabric. And she has a vision in her mind of what she wants to do, but it never really works out quite to her vision. So this time I’ve managed to convince her, I think I’m not sure if we’re there yet, but I think I’ve managed to convince her that using a pattern will be a good idea. And I want to teach her how to use a sewing pattern or at least show her what that might look like, because I haven’t done that before so how does she know how that works if she hasn’t seen it before? So that’s my project with Lexi.

So for book day, she wants to go as Snape from Harry Potter. I don’t really know why she wants to go as Snape, but she does. She’s got a very, very particular vision of how this is going to look and it’s very much based on the descriptions of him in the book, and so she wants a wig, but she wants to put oil in it to make it greasy. She has a really, really specific vision for how the cape needs to flow and flutter because of the way it’s described in the book. And it was just a joy and fascinating to see her in the fabric shop feeling the fabric, and she actually was blowing on the fabric to try and see if it would blow in the wind how she wanted it to. So adorable. So we’re working on that. I hope that it works out to have vision or at least close to it.

Yeah. I haven’t really talked about it on the podcast much, but Lexi’s autistic, and so her brain works in a little bit of a different way and it’s a joy and a steep learning curve to try to figure out how to help her achieve what she wants, because it’s not always how my brain works. So it’s a challenge and I’m trying to lean into the challenge. I struggled with it for a while after she was diagnosed, but two years later we’re just learning a lot about autism and about her especially, of course.

So I have changed that project to light green. It’s not completed yet, but it’s underway and I’m really happy about that one as well. I have to say, I’m not looking forward to really making this in the sense that the fabric we have chosen is satin, which is kind of my nemesis, but let’s see how we go. It will definitely call on all my sewing skills to get this to work.

And then after that, coming up, I am taking a week’s holiday and I’ve been working really hard to try and get on top of my work work the last couple of weeks so that I can really relax and have a break. And my big hope is to finish another Happiness project which is my house’s quilt. I’ve been talking about this for ages. This is a quilt I’m making from fabric that I was given by my friends in London for my 40th birthday and I’m turning 50 next year, so it would be nice to get that done within the decade. And so funny because that project has evolved over the 10 years, quite a bit.

I started making a quilt with it a long time ago and I was going to do a really random peace quilt with just random sized blocks and just make it up as I went along and I started doing that. I actually have a small panel, but I didn’t really enjoy that process so much. Maybe that’s just not my style. I don’t think it’s my style. So maybe a year and a half ago or longer, I came across a pattern on Instagram with these cute little house blocks and so I’ve decided to change tacks and go with that pattern. It was kind of a rainbow gradient type thing that I saw and it suits the fabric that I have quite well. So I really want to get that piece, that top. I have the blocks cut out. I’ve started piecing them into blocks and then I need to finish that and put them all together. So I don’t know, not too big a job really, probably. If I can just have a few hours to dedicate to it, I can probably get the top done quite quickly and maybe it would be really great to actually finish it.

I’ve been thinking about the quilting that I want to do, and I was contemplating hand quilting it because it would be kind of cute to hand quilt around the roofs or the houses. It doesn’t really have any features on the blocks like doors or anything, but I thought it could lend itself quite nicely to some hand quilting. But I think in the interest of finishing it this year, I will just do some simple machine quilting. And I will probably just do that myself because I don’t really want an all over pattern on it. I think I will just do a grid around each house block, probably. So that should be fairly doable for me to do. And maybe I can even finish the whole project in this week. Which would be so satisfying, wouldn’t it? We’ll see. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself, but that’s kind of a rough goal to do that.

I thought I won’t embark on a big hand quilting project because I also have my Liberty English paper piecing Hexie quilt on the go that I would also like to make progress on this year. And that’s a lot of hand sewing. So I think I’ll put my time into doing that and just quickly machine quilt, the house’s quilt.

Ideally I would also like to make a garment this week. I’m thinking about sewing the Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company. I’ve had that in my queue for a long time. I’ve had the actual pattern in my stash for a long time and I have some lovely floral lawn fabric that I think will be perfect for that dress. It should be a lovely spring, summer dress to wear. I’ll put a link to what that looks like in the show notes and probably post a picture on Insta. It’s a very flowy gathered dress. I’m not sure if it’s totally me, but we’ll see. I don’t know, I think I’ll have to make it to see if I want to wear it. I like the idea of wearing it. My fantasy self would like to wear that dress. We’ll see if my actual self wants to wear it. I think it won’t be a too complicated garment to sew, and I’ve seen some lovely inspiration to make this on Insta, so I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

For knitting projects, of course I have a couple of knitting projects that I will have with me. I will work on my Simply Curious socks in Amble by the Fibre Company. I’ve been working away on those. I started them for an knit along in June, and I’m still on the first sock, but nearly finished the first sock. So that will be a lovely, easy evening knitting to do a few rounds on that. And maybe a little bit on my Sadie Souris toy.

We have two more days for the July knit alongs for knit 20 for 2021, and knit 20 for 2021 toy knit alongs. We have both of those finishing in two days from when this is published and for the toy knit along WIPs are fine, so if you do have something that you’ve nearly finished, maybe you could get that out this weekend and finish off that project and enter it into winning a 50 US dollar voucher from a yarn store or indie dyer of your choice. And so we are going to have a prize for Instagram and the Ravelry thread, and I think we’ll probably allow double dipping in the sense that if you post a toy in July, that will also count to the general July knit 20 for 2021 as well. So you can have two chances to win, and if you post on both Ravelry and Instagram, you’ll have four chances to win. Just make sure you tag your projects with knit 20 for 2021, as well as knit 20 for 2021 toy.

So I will have a week off the podcast as well next week. I won’t have an episode next week. So I’ll be back in August and that’s all the news I have for you this week. 

Have a wonderful couple of weeks. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.

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