Episode 352: Halloween, holiday moods and holiday movies

Helen sitting in her kitchen with a notepad and pen and a basket of wool nearby.

We’re gearing up for Halloween this week at Curious Handmade HQ, with costume prep in high gear (including something for our pup Sindy to wear!) This week on the podcast I’m reflecting on how close we’re getting to the end of the year, and how to make the most of it. With the first Knitvent 2021 pattern release coming up fast, I’m sharing more about the inspiration for the collection (holiday films) and planning out what I’d like to watch myself and with the girls. It’s time to grab your gift knitting and join me for a cheery, cosy chat!

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

Knitvent Giveaway thread on Ravelry (includes details on how to enter on Instagram)

The Shawl Society 5

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 Ravelry and Instagram. 

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

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

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Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 352. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find 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.

Thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn. 

Hello, and welcome to the show. Here we are at the end of October, with just two months of the year left to go. I have been thinking a lot about making the most of the rest of the year and thinking about my goals for the year, what they’ve been, how much of them I’ve achieved. It’s been pretty good, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve achieved this year, I think, that despite the pandemic causing a lot of chaos and heartbreak.

For me, it has been a lot of enforced simplifying of life as well, so that’s been a positive to come out of it. We’ve had to cut back on a lot of things that we might have done, trips that we might have taken, activities, a lot more time spent at home, and that’s been quite good. It’s been a chance to regroup a little bit and spend more time with my family and reconnect a little bit, so I’m grateful for that, amongst all the other chaos that’s caused for a lot of people. I feel like I’m looking at the last couple of months of the year with a little bit more calm than I might have done in previous years. I feel like even having time to take stock and think about what it’s going to look like is a big improvement for me, so I am going to enjoy that.

We’re currently planning for Halloween festivities this weekend. My daughter, Lexi, loves Halloween and loves to plan costumes. She loves dressing up. We had a big dress up day for World Book Day a while ago and she’s spent this weekend just gone just putting the final touches on her costume. She’s going to be a vampire queen. Yeah, so she’s got her teeth and some vampire queen jewellery and a black dress. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we are all set. Cindy has her costume, Lexi found it on a shopping trip one day at some shop. I’m not sure where she got it from, but it’s a spider costume. It’s the same colour as Cindy’s fur, so she looks pretty funny. I don’t know how long she’ll keep it on for, probably about two minutes, but hopefully we’ll be able to get a photo.

Yeah, last year Halloween was a little bit cancelled because there was severe thunderstorms on the day. The kids did go out, but there wasn’t much happening, there wasn’t so much happening this last year. We’ll have to see this year. There’s been a lot of thunderstorms around in the last few weeks, so fingers crossed we’ll be able to have a nice afternoon.

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in Australia, so I’m thinking that after Halloween will be into the commercial side of the holiday season here. I think that from the 1st of November, all the decorations will start to go up in the shops and all the decorations for sale will come out and all that kind of thing. I think that come November we’ll be into the holiday season here.

My plan is to have a bit of a sprint on finishing up my work, I’m laughing already at myself, by the end of November. 1st of December is the girls’ last day at school for the year. We run on a calendar school year here in Australia, so that will be the end of their school year. We’ll be on our long summer holiday then for six weeks or so. I’m planning to hopefully basically be finished with work for the year by the 1st of December. Can I make it happen? I don’t know.

I have the last pattern of Knitvent scheduled to come out on the 2nd, so maybe not the 1st, but maybe soon afterwards. I’m keen to be just enjoying the girls, spending time with the girls and a little bit of relaxing, and knitting on my advent sets, on an exciting pattern for the month of December. I’m also thinking Sophie and I will do Vlogmas again. We did that last year when I was first starting to get back into publishing some videos on YouTube. We really had a lot of fun with that and I’m just really hoping that Soph wants to do it again this year and we can spend a bit of time together having some fun. She will be a teenager by then, so I’m not 100% sure if that will happen, but fingers crossed for me.

I’m already getting in the holiday mood because I have just spent a very happy hour or so reading through all the posts for our Knitvent launch competition. People have posted about their favourite holiday movies that they like to watch, because ‘holiday movies’ is the theme that inspired me for this year’s collection, and other holiday traditions that they have. That was really, really nice to read. I really enjoyed finding out some different holiday movies. It’s a relatively new-to-me tradition. I could really relate to a comment that was a post from Jane Poppins on Ravelry. She said, “I’m Australian, so our TV watching at this time of year tends to focus on all types of cricket rather than holiday movies. My Christmas Eve tradition is to drive around the suburbs, admiring all the Christmas lights, coming home to watch Carols by Candlelight on TV, and then going to midnight mass, if I’m not too tired or too busy helping out Santa.”

I could totally relate to that. That was my growing up experience, exactly that, cricket on the telly all day, long kids in swimmers, bathers, swimming costumes, whatever you call them. We call them togs here in Queensland. And yes, lots of lights put up around the neighbourhood and Carols by Candlelight services in big parks around the country. I have to admit, I haven’t been to a midnight mass for many, many years, since I was a child probably, but we always thought maybe we would go in in London, but never managed to get the kids out at that time. Yeah, so I haven’t done that for a long time.

The Christmas movie tradition is fairly new. I don’t know why, whether it just hasn’t been a thing here in Australia when I was growing up or even as a teenager so much. It’s a totally different mood for us here, being summer and hot, so the whole cosy, wrapping up in blankets on the sofa with popcorn and hot drinks doesn’t really make a lot of sense here, but I do love watching the movies. I think we’ll just crank up the air con and pretend it’s cold.

My two favourites, which is The Holiday and Love Actually, were mentioned many times. A lot of people described scenes from the movies or why they love those movies and I could totally relate. I love The Holiday because I just love the cosy Cotswolds cottage. I love all the knitwear in that movie. It was watching that movie that inspired this collection, because I was noticing all the beautiful knitwear worn by both Cameron Diaz’s character, as well as Kate Winslet’s character; she also had some really cool knitted items even though she was over in warm LA. That’s what planted the seed for this season’s theme. I do enjoy Love Actually, some of it I find a little bit too cheesy, but generally it’s a pretty sweet, funny movie.

I’ve been trying for the last few years to get my kids into this tradition. Something about my kids is that they don’t like watching new-to-them movies. It’s really, really hard to get them to watch something the first time. Once they’ve watched it, they tend to watch it over and over and love it, if they’ve enjoyed it of course. A couple of years ago, I basically forced them to sit down and watch Christmas Chronicles. I just put it on and bribed them with popcorn, and now they love Christmas Chronicles, which is a very fun movie and happily one that I can watch as well. Thankfully, there was a sequel released as well, so there’s two of those that they will watch. I’m hoping to expand the repertoire a little bit this year.

I have to make a confession… that some of the more classics, like It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street, I have never seen. I think that’s because it just wasn’t a tradition when I was growing up. I think maybe this year I’m going to make some time to watch some classics. Those will definitely be on my list. White Christmas was also mentioned a lot, which I gather is a bit of a classic, and so I will check that one out as well. I’m not sure what our equivalent of Hallmark Channel is here in Australia, so I’m going to have to figure that one out too. But yes, I’m looking forward to sitting and knitting, turning the air con up really high and getting cosy. It’s a bit crazy, isn’t it, but I think I’m going to do it.

Thank you so much to everybody who answered that little competition and giveaway. Thank you for sharing your holiday movie suggestions. I’ve written a little list of ones to check out, and some for me, some to share with the girls, and yeah, just really looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to doing some baking. I’m going to do some gingerbread cookies with the girls and look up some other recipes, fun things to do with them. They both like baking, so I will try and have a few baking sessions.

This will be the last podcast before the first pattern is released. Next week, I’ll be able to share with you the first Knitvent pattern for 2021. That means that the special early bird price will finish on the 4th of November, which is next Thursday. If you are wanting to join in with Knitvent and receive six surprise knitting patterns leading up to the holidays, then be sure to jump in before that early bird price goes away.

I’ve been working away on my gift knitting. I’ve mentioned on some YouTube videos that I’m knitting some Simply Curious socks for my mom, for a Christmas present. I’m doing really well with those. I’m onto the second sock and onto the foot now, so I am hoping to have those finished this week. I’m hoping that your gift knitting, if you are knitting for other people, or maybe just working away on finishing some works in progress by the end of the year perhaps, or maybe some Knit 20 for 2021 projects, don’t forget to enter those. If you’re listening to the podcast on release day, you still have two days to enter October Knit 20 for 2021. There are great prizes, so pop your entries on Instagram or Ravelry to be in with a chance for that.

Just before I sign off, I would like to thank my sponsor, A Yarn Story

Happy Halloween, happy knitting. I hope you have a great week, and I’ll talk to you soon.

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