Episode 346: Sunshine, shawls, and a creative surge

Helen Stewart, Curious Handmade in a garden with a fence behind her. Helen is crouching down and looking into the camera, and her golden dog Sindy is sniffing her face

Things are feeling quite summery on this side of the world! On this week’s podcast I’m enjoying that sunshiny feeling and talking about some knitting patterns that work for warmer weather and transitional seasons. My little staycation has already paid me back in a renewed sense of creativity and enthusiasm, so join me for a cheerful chat about knitting, sewing, and the crafts we love 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:

Free Beginner Sock Knitting Pattern & Workshop for my Simply Curious Socks

 Amble Yarn by The Fibre Company

Why I love knitting socks video on my YouTube Channel (blog post for this video

The Lavender Fields Shawl

Wendy  @wendeecut1er 

Julie Asselin Nurtured Fine

Hoshuku Lace yarn from Circus Tonic Handmade

In the Dunes Wrap from The Shawl Society 4

Meadow by the Fibre Company

Pebble Beach Shawl from my Essential Shawls collection 

Learning to Cry Shawl from The Shawl Society 3 

The Cloud Wrap from my Dream Big 2014 collection 

Skein Yarn Shawl / Cowl KAL details 

To participate, just cast on a shawl in any weight yarn using at least one skein of yarn from Skein Yarn, Australia  , and tag your project on Instagram using the hashtag #skeinshawlkal2021 or by tagging @skeinyarn (This KAL will run until the end of September)

Liberty Fabrics

The Panda Kit by Susan B. Anderson

PomPom Magazine ( The patterns I mention are from Issue 37: Summer 2021 )

Reifel pattern by Carlie Olfert 

Fenix by Nomad Stitches

Hoopoe by Valerie Rache

Ardea by Ksenia Naidyon

Passerine by Chloe Elizabeth Birch

Penelope by De Rerum Natura

The Shawl Society 5

The Shawl Society 5 is over  halfway;  The Curling Mist Shawl , The Silver River Shawl,   The Wild Bees Wrap and The Lavender Fields Shawl  are all out now with 2 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 

Silver River Shawl FO Thread on Ravelry will run until September 1st, 2021

Wild Bees Wrap FO Thread on Ravelry will run until October 1st, 2021

The Lavender Fields Shawl  FO Thread on Ravelry will run until October 7th, 2021

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

There is also Grand KAL for knitters who have made 5 or 6 of this season’s socks can post a photo of their collection for another chance to win; check out the Ravelry Thread here

Knit 20 for 2021 KAL

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

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 346. 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 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 another episode. I am thinking a lot about summer at the moment. It is still winter here in Australia, but where I live it is now starting to warm up again and it’s making me think about getting into a little bit more summer style knitting. And of course in the Northern hemisphere, summer is already in full swing and people are enjoying some warmer weather. It started me thinking about what projects I like knitting in summer and warmer weather, and of course socks occurred to me. I think they’re really the perfect all year round project. I’ve been knitting away on my Simply Curious socks in the Amble from the Fibre company. I have finished my first sock and have now finally started on the second. And I had some questions after I posted my video on YouTube about why I love to knit socks.

So I thought I would just slowly work on creating a tutorial to go along with the Simply Curious pattern and do a video tutorial on how I love to knit my vanilla style socks, my simple socks. So that’s something that I’m working on behind the scenes and other than socks I also love to knit the lightweight shawls and I don’t often knit in lace weight yarn, but when I do I love it so much. It’s just so light and yeah. There’s just something about it that I really, really love and probably should knit lace-weight more often because when I pick it up it’s just so pleasant to me.

My latest design in The Shawl Society, the Lavender Fields was knit with lace weight yarn, beautiful lace weight yarn. Two samples from Julie Asselin and Circus Tonic handmade. My wonderful sample knitter Wendy knit those samples for me, but I really enjoyed swatching for those and I really planned the collection so that this lace weight pattern would arrive in the summer. I think I did the same thing last season. It wasn’t last year for The Shawl Society, but the year before with the In the Dunes wrap. And this was my summer pattern for that collection and that was in Meadow by the Fibre Company.

And this isn’t strictly lace weight yarn. It’s light fingering. I would say you could describe it as heavy lace weight or light fingering and it is a beautiful summery light blend of 40% Merino, 25% llama, 20% silk and 15% linen. And that’s 498 metres per 100 grams. So there is more yardage than a fingering weight but probably less than a lace weight, which I typically think of as being 700-800 yards per hundred grams.

So yeah, that’s just some light shawl ideas to get you thinking about if you’re casting around for a summery type project. I would also say Pebble Beach Shawl, the Learning to Cry Shawl and the Cloud Wrap are also perfect for lace weight knitting. And they have some lovely, simple, summery vibes to those patterns as well.

I just had an email pop up from Kristen from Skein, Australia. She’s hosting a shawl knitalong, or crochetalong and she said, in her email she said, “Our shawl/ cowl KAL is being held over on Instagram. To participate, just cast on a shawl in any weight yarn using at least one Skein of our yarn.” That’s Skein, Australia. “Our KAL will run until the end of September so there’s plenty of time to cast on. Please make sure you tag us or use the hashtag #skeinshawlkal2021 so we can feature you in our stories and feed as well as add you to our prize list. We have lots of lovely prizes from some of our favourite Australian creators. We will of course share them as they arrive. Prizes will be awarded to those who post pictures of their works in progress and finished objects using the hashtag #skeinshawlkal2021 or by tagging us.”

So if you are knitting away on a shawl, particularly if you’re knitting the Curling Mist Shawl from The Shawl Society season 5 in the Skein Australia sport weight yarn that I suggested in the pattern and used for my sample, that might be a nice knit-a-long to enter that into. And another project I’ve been working on, which isn’t knitting, a different craft, is my English paper piecing quilt that I’m making in Liberty fabric Hexies. That particular fabric is super light. It’s Liberty Lawn, which is a very fine cotton. And that makes for a beautiful project to have in your hands when it’s a bit warmer and perhaps don’t feel like knitting or having yarn or warm fibers in your hands.

I’m really enjoying making stitches on my Hexie project. I found it a bit tricky at first because I struggle to find the right spacing for the stitches. I was glueing my fabric onto my cardboard too tightly, so it was again difficult to make the stitches, and basically having similar problems to a beginner knitter with their tension. So it took me back to being a beginner at something, but now I’ve made quite a few hexies and put several flowers together and that is yeah, really getting quicker to make a flower or a rosette with my hexies. And I have set myself a goal to put together 12 flowers each month. The first month I achieved the goal. Last month I was busy working on my toy, my Panda so I only managed five hexies last month. So this month I’m trying to get back into it and so far I’ve done four or five maybe even. So I’m approaching last month’s total already and feeling like I might get back into the swing of that this month.

So yeah. So lots of inspiration there. And finally, I started thinking about whether I might need a summery top. I talked about in a recent YouTube video receiving a fairly recent issue of PomPom quarterly magazine. It’s the summer 2021 issue called “Like a Bird”. I think there’s been another issue out already since this one, so I don’t think it’s the latest but it is very recent. And being their summer issue there are lots of summery tops for inspiration in there. So these include some that I probably wouldn’t wear at the moment. There are two tank tops, or one with spaghetti straps which is Reifel . It’s really, really beautiful. I love the colour that they’ve knit the sample in. It’s a really beautiful deep green. That’s by Carly Olfert.

And then there’s another tank top, which is a crochet top called Fenix by Nomad Stitches. So they’re lovely sleeveless tops. And then there was another one that caught my eye called Hoopoe by Valerie Rachel. This has got really striking, stripey capped sleeves and a really cute stripe detail down the side. I thought it was really cute, but I probably wouldn’t knit this because they did say that there’s a little bit of yarn management with handling the several colours and I think there’s some intarsia and that does put me off a little bit. I probably shouldn’t say this, but honestly I don’t cope very well with having to manage different skeins of yarn. That’s probably why I never really persevered to become good at colour work. So I think I probably would pass on that one even though it’s absolutely adorable.

And then there’s a really cute cropped top called Ardea by Ksenia Naidyonand that’s really lovely. It’s got a really lovely sort of textured stitches, and I’m sure you could knit it a bit longer. The sample is cropped in the photographs, but they, I think, have instructions for a longer version as well. The one that really caught my eye that I would really like to knit is Passerine by Chloe Elizabeth Birch. And it’s interesting because this is DK weight and so it’s a little bit heavier, on the heavier side. And I think in the description they refer to that being more for a London summer than a hot, tropical summer.

But yeah, it’s really lovely and simple, but with amazing detailing on the sleeves that says it’s worked flat and full pieces from the bottom up with raglan shaping. The raglan seams are sewn then stitches are picked up around the neck for the neck band. The feather shape expands up to sleeves through cables at either side before being decreased again as part of the raglan shaping. Yeah, it’s super, super cool. I’ll put a link in the show notes and yeah, check out this. I don’t know, I just love the shape of this. It’s very modern but also a bit classic. Just super cool. I’m definitely putting this on my queue. The sample is knit in Penelope by De Rerum Natura . It’s a DK weight yarn, 90% Merino and 10% silk, which is probably adding to the beauty of this pullover.

So yeah. I went down a little bit of a rabbit hole of looking at summer tops, and have come out with those ones from PomPom Quarterly. There are lots of other lovely ones available, so yes if you’re thinking about knitting a summer top, I guess now is a good time and there is definitely a lot of inspiration around them at the moment. So have a little look.

Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor A Yarn Story. A

And that’s all the knitting chat I have for you this week. I will go back to working away on my sock tutorial and various other projects I have on the go here. I’m having quite a creative burst doing lots of swatching and designing and having quite a lot of fun with it. I seem to be quite refreshed after my little holiday and just really happy to get back into things. I hope you’re hopefully having a little bit of rest as well as everyday life things that we all have going on and are enjoying yourselves wherever you are in the world. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

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