Episode 351: Blossom Time & Knitvent Time

Helen, Curious Handmade, wearing a pale green top with a soft pink hand knit shawl around her shoulders, her own design the Blossom Time Shawl leans on a white fence.

 I’m just back from a lovely knitting retreat in the rainforest and am full of stories to share. On this episode, I’m also introducing the brand new shawl pattern I designed for the retreat, Blossom Time. And we have some fun holiday chat, with Halloween costume plans and the big Knitvent theme reveal to discuss! So pull up your cosiest chair, pick up your knitting, and let’s visit. 

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:

Knitvent 2021 presales are now open, with a special early bird price from now until the first pattern is released on November the 04th

Knitvent 2021 Presale on Ravelry

Knitvent 2021 Presale on Gumroad

The Blossom Time Shawl on Ravelry 

The Blossom Time Shawl on Gumroad 

The Blossom Time Shawl sample was knit in colourway Dusky Pink by Natural Fibre Arts,

Cheryl has put together a jaw-dropping range of ready-to-ship colour bundles

The Yarn Bowl


The Yarn Retreat at O’Reilly’s

Yarn Creative

Lamington National Park

The Lamington Shawl by Jessica Gore @thesweatercollective 

Shelley Husband Crochet @spincushions

I’m got some time in the evening to work on my Simply Curious Socks in Amble Yarn by The Fibre Company (This is a free pattern and workshop, click here to get yours

You can download my free Yarn Advent Calendar Guide here:  Just click and it should download automatically.
I also made a video a little while back where I share some tips on making your yarn advent calendar. You can find the video here on my YouTube Channel  and links to items mentioned can be found in the accompanying blog post

The Shawl Society 5

I forgot to thank my sample test knitters  for the Hinterlands Shawl last week! So a little late, huge thanks to  Deb @tinkhickman, Tracy @comfyredcouch,  Emma @ejw1969 and Karina @louielolayarns

All 6 shawls in The Shawl Society 5 are out now;  The Curling Mist Shawl , The Silver River Shawl,   The Wild Bees Wrap , The Lavender Fields Shawl,The Veranda Shade Shawl and now The Hinterlands Shawl.  Thank you to  everyone who participated in The Shawl Society this year, it’s been such a joy to share my designs and then to see your creations on Ravely and Instagram. It’s not too late to join in, to purchase the whole collection see the links below.

The Shawl Society 5 on Gumroad 

The Shawl Society 5 on Ravelry  

#tss5  and theshawlsociety5 on Instagram 

The Veranda Shade Shawl FO Thread on Ravelry will run until November 1st, 2021

The Hinterlands Shawl FO Thread on Ravelry will run until December 1st, 2021

TSS 5: Six/Five Completed Shawls FO Thread on Ravelry will run until January 7th, 2022

Lavender Fields Shawl FO Winner Post 14 by JeanPN

Winners can contact me via email (support@curioushandmade.com) or on Ravelry 

The Knit 20 for 2021 KAL

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

You can also enter on Instagram with the hashtag #knit20for2021 on Instagram 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 on the Curious Handmade website 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 351. 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, A Yarn Story.

Hello knitters. I have a lot of news to share with you this week. Some news and announcements. We have lots of exciting things happening here at Curious HQ. Thank you for all the lovely messages about the Hinterlands Shawl that was released last week. It’s the last of the Shawl Society designs and I forgot to say last week, a huge thank you to my test knitters, Deb, Tracy, Emma and Karina from Louie and Lola Yarns. Karina was really more of a sample knitter than a test knitter. She knit a second sample for me. It was photographed in the Sunshine Coast hinterland at a magical farm called Conondale Station. And just up in the hills a little bit and they have a little cottage that overlooks a valley. Oh, it’s just magical. It was the perfect place to photograph my Country Daydream collection. They actually have a really lovely Instagram account, which is @ConondaleStation. Conondale is one N.

We still have some knit alongs for that collection ongoing. The Veranda Shade Shawl will run until the first of November. You still have a little bit of time for that one. And that one was probably the smallest shawl in the collection so might be a good one to get into the knit along entries. And then the Hinterlands Shawl knit along will run until December the first. And we’ve decided to have a grand prize for anyone who has knit five or six shawls from the collection, you can enter into the grand prize and that will be drawn on January the 7th next year. We thought we’d give you a little bit of time, perhaps over holidays you can catch up on a few finished objects or maybe like some of us, we have goals to finish finished objects before the end of the year. We thought we’d let that one run until early next year.

And the Lavender Fields Shawl knit along finished a couple of weeks ago now, I think, or recently. And so we drew post number 14 and the winner is JeanPN for the Lavender shawls knit along. Congratulations, Jean and we will be contacting you or feel free to get in touch with me at support at Curious Handmade or message on Ravelry to HellsBells and we’ll hook you up with your prize. Thanks again for everyone participating in the knit alongs. I love seeing your finished objects and the beautiful colour choices. It’s so inspiring and so lovely to see.

Last weekend, I attended the Yarn Retreat, which was a wonderful retreat organised by Kylie of Yarn Creative. This is the second year the retreat has been held and it was at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a magical rainforest and national park part of the Lamington National Park in the hinterland of the Gold Coast. It’s about a three hour drive away from here on the Sunshine Coast, which is the other side of Brisbane. We’re on the north of Brisbane and the Gold Coast is south of Brisbane, which is the capital city of Queensland. Just a little geography lesson there. Kylie opened the retreat with an acknowledgement of country. I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I work and live. I pay respects to elders past, present and emerging. The acknowledgement is a traditional greeting that non-indigenous people can say at a beginning of a gathering or, for example, at the girls’ school they say an acknowledgement of country at the beginning of assembly. And if it’s an indigenous gathering or an indigenous people doing the welcome, it’s a welcome to country.

We had such a lovely time just being in person at a relaxing retreat knitting. The views are beautiful. There’s so many birds. It’s famous for its rosellas and just so many different birds and hearing the birdsong. It’s really beautiful. Lots of people did walks in the rainforest; I forgot my walking shoes so I’d packed lots of walking gear intending to walk every day and my non-walking shoes weren’t really up to it. I ended up sitting and knitting a lot, which was equally delightful. I also had a really great time spending the mornings with knitters who joined my shawl and sock workshops each day of the retreat. The first day we had the shawl workshop and cast on the Blossom Time shawl, which was the shawl I designed for the workshop and attendees chose one of my sock patterns to cast on in the sock workshop on the next day.

We had a really lovely time getting to know each other and knitting together. Thank you to everybody who participated and was so lovely. I get very nervous talking in front of people but I felt really comfortable with this group they were just so lovely. Thank you very much. This year we had two other tutors but unfortunately they weren’t able to be there in person because of border closures. Jessica Gore, who I think is in south Australia and Shelly Husband, who is a crochet designer and teacher. I think she’s in New South Wales…I’m not 100% sure. They both joined and taught via Zoom. We had a bit of a modern day retreat with tutors Zooming in and Kylie had organised some local knitting and crochet teachers to support them and be there in person. All the attendees were raving about those classes and said that it was not as nice as seeing them in person but it went really well and had really good feedback about doing it that way.

It was really good that they could still teach their workshops. Jessica taught brioche workshop and had designed a beautiful show called Lamington for that workshop. You can check that out. I’m not sure if she’s released it or when she’s releasing that pattern on Ravelry but it’s a lovely brioche, half circle design. I designed Blossom Time shawl for the retreat and workshop attendees and that is now out on Ravelry and in my Gumroad shop. And I think this might be the sweetest shawl I’ve designed ever. I had a very simple idea for this shawl and I contacted Cheryl from Natural Fibre Arts because she was vending at the maker’s market at the retreat and Cheryl came up with a beautiful dusky pink colorway especially for this shawl. It just makes my heart sing. This colorway is so beautiful, so gentle and pretty. And that’s the colorway you see in my photos. I chose a blend that is 50% silk, 50% merino and so it has a beautiful drape and a beautiful sheen and luminescence to it.

Cheryl had some alternative colorways at her stand at the retreat and a lot of attendees took the opportunity to choose colours in person for their Blossom Time shawl before the workshop. We cast on together. I was really inspired by the current season here in Australia, which is Spring. And I always really loved Springtime in London. We had a row of cherry trees lining our street and every year they would explode with beautiful pink, fluffy blossoms. It was so pretty and just completely lifted your spirits after a long, dark winter. And at the moment here for spring, we have Jacaranda trees blooming and they have amazing purple blossom. The trees are enormous and they’re just so beautiful. Just similarly fluffy, frothy blossom that comes out in spring here.

That was the theme of the shawl. And it’s a crescent shawl in fingering weight yarn. I’d say it’s medium sized. It’s a little bit bigger than a single skein and it uses about 140 grams of yarn. So into a second skein and you can make it a little bit bigger if you want to keep going at the border for a few more rows, just to use more yarn or make it bigger. And the lace pattern I’ve used is sometimes known as candle, candlelight or Shetland lace. And it’s a beautiful lace pattern that’s really very simple. It’s just two lines of lace that are repeated and offset after a certain number of repeats. And so it’s very simple to memorise and knit and it gives an amazing beautiful result. And I’ve included some little bubbles, which I don’t know, just gives it a little quirky touch on the border and then a lacy border as well.

Huge thank you to Kylie and the vendors at the retreat who were Natural Fibre Arts, as well as the Yarn Bowl. Fiona has a lovely yarn shop in Brisbane. Stocks all sorts of lovely things. And Kylie had her amazing project bags for sale as well. And I brought home a really cute little project bag for Lexi, as she loves taking bits of yarn and knitting needles and crochet hooks with her wherever she goes.

I managed to do quite a bit of personal knitting in the afternoons after I’d finished teaching and I made very good progress on my second sock that I’m knitting in Amble. And I also finished a little cowl that I had designed. It’s more of a recipe than a design. It’s very, very simple but I designed it for the tiny little mini skeins kits that I’ve put together and have been selling on Instagram. I don’t have very many so I haven’t been advertising them particularly but I thought I would make a design to knit something with those sets. And so I had 48 ends to weave in so I finished weaving in the ends on that. And so that’s now finished and I’ll be able to release that soon.

Which brings me to talk about Knitvent for this year. Pre-orders for the 2021 Knitvent collection are now open. You can join and purchase the pre-orders for the collection at a really special early bird price on Ravelry and also my Gumroad shop. It’s available there. And the early bird price will be available just until the first window is opened on the 4th of November. If you’re feeling like me, that will come around very, very quickly. The time seems to be sprinting at the moment. We’re halfway through October already. It’s just crazy.

And the theme that inspired me for this year’s collection is lights, camera, Knitvent, also known as holiday movie season. It’s one of the cosiest parts of the holiday season, in my opinion. Cosying up on the couch with a blanket, something warm to drink, some popcorn and some friends or family or by yourself. I quite like watching them by myself and knitting and watching really cheesy, fun holiday movie. I know a lot of people have favourites that they watch every year, have a bit of a tradition to watch particular movies and I don’t really have a particular tradition. I have my favourites but I also enjoy the new ones that have been coming out and watching those with the kids. This year, when I was thinking about Knitvent designs, I like to start thinking about the next year’s designs in the holiday season.

I was watching some of these movies, including the holidays, which was quite inspiring for this particular collection. There’s some awesome knitwear in that movie and it gave me the little spark of inspiration. We will be telling you more about the collection via my newsletter if you’re signed up to that. And it’s a subscription for six designs that are designed to be knit fairly quickly for the most part, little accessories and fun things. And that is with the exception of the first pattern, which is designed to knit with your advent yarn set or scraps of yarn that you have from projects that you’ve knit throughout the year. I know many people have advent sets on the way and a lot of you will have some lovely fingering weight leftovers in your stash that could also be wonderful to use. I have on my YouTube channel, a kind of a tutorial, I guess, about creating an advent set for yourself or for a friend that you can do a swap. And I think that’s always a really fun thing to do.

This is always such a joyous and fun time of year for getting together with people who are participating in Knitvent and knitting away together. That’s very exciting to have coming up. And in the meantime, I’m going to be helping Lexi work on her Halloween costume and we might even work on a costume for Cindy as well when we go trick or treating in a couple of weeks time. Lexi’s quite keen to take one of her Guinea pigs trick or treating so my task for the next two weeks will be trying to figure out a way to dissuade her from that. Maybe I can make them a little Halloween costume and just have them at home. Anyway, the things that I think about.

Have a fantastic week. Just before I sign off, I would like to thank my lovely sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Happy knitting. I’ll talk to you soon.

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