Episode 354: The Rose Cottage Cowl

Helen from Curious Handmade, standing in the countryside wearing a light blue jean jacket, peeks over the top of a handknit cowl made of soft grey wool, featuring a braided cable design. Her own pattern called The Rose Cottage Cowl.

This week, I’m talking a bit about my design inspiration for this latest, very cosy Knitvent pattern (hint, it has to do with a favourite film) as well as mini review of my 2021 Happiness Project and what’s left to be done (I promise I’ll update you properly in the new year). 

I also have some thoughts on two ways I try to protect my creativity: decluttering and saying ‘no’, both when you want to and when you just need to.

So if you’re casting on the Rose Cottage Cowl today, or just want a little crafty company, let me join you!

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 has started; the first two patterns have been released with 4 more secret patterns to follow between now and the 2nd of December!

Knitvent 2021  on Ravelry

Knitvent 2021  on Gumroad

The latest pattern The Rose Cottage Cowl uses hand-dyed Aran merino 10-ply by Fibresmith 

If you’re joining me for Knitvent this year, welcome! I’ll be doing a giveaway for the whole of Knitvent in Jan. 2022 so keep an eye on the Curious Handmade Ravelry group and on Instagram be sure to use the #knitvent2021 

The Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft

#thehappinessproject on Instagram

#happierpodcast on Instagram

Simple Cookbook by Ottolenghi 

Amanda’s yummy gingerbread recipe can be found in this post 

The Fireside Sweater by Amber Allison (a lookalike to Camoron Diaz’s cardigan in The Holiday)

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 Ravely and Instagram. 

The Shawl Society 5 on Gumroad 

The Shawl Society 5 on Ravelry  

#tss5  and theshawlsociety5 on Instagram 

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 November  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 354. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you 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! Here we are, now well into the November time of year. We have under four weeks of the school year left here in Australia before our long summer holiday. Have to say,  I’m rather looking forward to that. That makes us a few months behind the Northern Hemisphere in that regard, in terms of school years. And it also makes for a slightly different vibe than in the Northern Hemisphere to have the school year aligned with the calendar year. Having grown up with that schedule, it does feel more natural, coming back to that sense of closure before the holidays. And it also means we just have to think about one present for teachers rather than a Christmas present and end of year present. So I guess that’s one small advantage. For this year. I’m trying to do a thing, in air quotes, instead of my usual, slightly panicked deer-in-the-headlights feeling ,of all the things I have to do or have missed doing already; I’m trying to have a feeling of cruising into the end of the year. I’m imagining more of an elegant glide than the usual mad scramble.

I’ve already mentioned on the show before that I’ve been working towards this for a couple of months already. And I’ve been doing few things to prepare, including trying to get organised at home, mostly successfully. It’s been Spring here, so a natural time to do a burst of spring cleaning. And this is, of course, a constant work in progress, but it’s been really good who get the carpets cleaned and the oven cleaned for the first time in two years. Small things. It’s been giving me a really nice feeling to have been de-cluttering a bit.

I’ve also been consistently prioritising, reprioritising and trying to take things off my plate rather than add more things on for the last couple of months. Wherever possible, saying no. And I’ve said no to quite a few things, some things that were easy to say no to, things that I didn’t really want to do. But also some things that I really wanted to do, but were probably just best left. For example, I think the whole month of October, I didn’t make it to band practice. I also missed a band concert and I really wanted to do those things, but I just couldn’t manage it. And so I just decided I’m just going to let that go and not worry about it. And of course, life and the band carried on without me. So it’s really not that big a deal, but at the time it feels like a real wrench to make those decisions sometimes.

But making some physical space with some decluttering, having some clear surfaces, less visual clutter, every time I walk around the house and having a little bit more time in the schedule, perhaps for a little bit of sleep and rest has been so good. So I’m planning on keeping that up over the next few weeks and keeping going with that idea.

In line with wanting to capture that feeling of happiness, and calm, and joy, I’ve been quietly reviewing my happiness projects that I set at the beginning of the year and doing a little bit of, sort of, planning and triage around what I have and haven’t achieved. I will do a full recap of my happiness project in the new year, but just a quick little update. I feel like I’m doing really well with it this year. And I think it’s because I’ve been focusing on it more regularly than I have in past years.

Once again, one of the items was cancelled thanks to Covid. I thought I’d structured my projects in a way that wouldn’t mean that they were affected by Covid, but that wasn’t quite the case. Still, one was cancelled, which was celebrating my best friend’s 50th birthday. She turned 50 in August and she lives in New South Wales. So we haven’t been able to travel to New South Wales or, well… I probably could have travelled down there, but I wouldn’t have been able to come back. I have a friend who went on a caravaning trip and she’s been stuck in New South Wales for several months now.

So I am trying to organise a plan B now the border openings have been announced. I think they’re fairly definite that the borders will be open without having to quarantine by I think the 17th of December. So that doesn’t give us a lot of time before Christmas. We might be looking at January for our first catch up, but I’m hoping that maybe I’ll be able to pop down for a night or two and meet up with her before Christmas. So we’ll see.

Another project that I have made a little bit of progress on is five new yummy recipes. So I did two earlier on in the year. So I found the amazing Ottolenghi cornbread recipe in the Simple recipe book, which I think is the latest one. I’m not sure if he’s brought out something since the beginning of the year. But I added that recipe and also a really nice, slow cooker veggie curry. So I still have three recipes for that happiness project. So I’m including Amanda’s gingerbread recipe that I published on the podcast a couple of weeks ago and also need two more by the end of the year.

So actually, if any of you have any recipes, favourite recipes, maybe you could email me with suggestions or post on Instagram. I’d love to have some ideas. I have lots of recipe books that I get inspired by, but I haven’t just sort of chosen anything. In my quest to simplify, I’ve been doing even more simple meal recipes for evening meals and things like that. But I think coming up, hopefully I can achieve two new recipes by the end of the year. So, that’s something I’d like to be able to tick off.

One of the projects that is upcoming is vlogmas. So I’m looking forward to doing vlogmas this year. And I don’t know if I’ll be doing it every day, probably not, but even if I manage a few vlogmas episodes on YouTube, then I’ll be happy with that. And also thinking about doing my 2021 photo album. So I’ll be looking out for photo book offers, especially around Black Friday and trying to snap up a bargain for a photo book, and then starting to think about organising my photos. I’m planning to create the album in that liminal week between Christmas and New Year. I did that last year and I decided to make it a tradition. So those should be two more things on the list that get done by the end of the year, but I’m not really… But aren’t quite ready to start just yet.

So that’s a little update and I’m sending out encouragement to you. If you are doing a happiness project, it’s not too late, there’s still time to do some more things on your list by the end of the year. So don’t give up and I will look forward to giving you a full review next year and sharing my list for next year. I’m starting to collect some ideas for next year’s happiness project. And thinking about these things, it’s just giving me such a warm, cosy feeling and making me very happy. So I guess that’s the whole idea of it.

And that reminds me of the second Knitvent pattern. The second window of Knitvent opened yesterday with the Rose Cottage Cowl behind the window. This is a super snugly cowl knit in Aran weight yarn with a cosy cable. I’ll just read you the description, which continues the story of our holiday movie theme.

Leaving the hustle and world of city life behind, the familiar pleasures of small town life seems sweeter than ever. She settles into a cosy picture book cottage with gingerbread trim and immediately starts making friends with the locals. Of course, there’s also the town busybody to contend with, and they might be a heartless rich, old mizer who’s trying to shut down the family business with the holidays just around the corner. But our heroine never lets anything keep her down for long. Optimism, a warm heart, and at least one batch of cupcakes will take her far.

The rose cottage cowl is a gentle knit as comfortable and welcoming as a rom-com cottage. It features a handsome braid cable panel against the background of stockinette stitch for minimalist modern twist on a traditional design motif. And the lovely Aran weight yarn means this piece knits up in a flash, even if you are new to knitting cables. It’s a wonderful gift that suits just about everyone. Knit one for yourself and then more for your friends and family.

I used Fibresmith hand-dyed Aran merino, which is a hundred percent sustainable, extra fine Australian merino yarn. And it is 166 metres or 182 yards per 100 gram skein and I use two skeins of that yarn. The colorway is called ‘Cloud Break’. Fibresmith is an amazing fabric and yarn store based in Melbourne, here in Australia. And I believe she does have some of this particular yarn in stock. I’m not sure about the exact colorway. If you’re substituting some other yarn, any Aran weight yarn that feels soft and snugly to be worn around your neck will be fabulous and you’ll need approximately 150 grams, which will be about 250 metres or 280 yards approximately. I used 4.5 millimetre or U.S. six needles, and I used circular needles, 24 inch circular needles.

This pattern was inspired by the amazing cable cardigan that Cameron Diaz wears in the movie The Holiday. Beautiful, beautiful cardigan. Someone has created a pattern for that cardigan it’s available on Ravelry. I don’t have the details in front of me, but I’ll put a link in the show notes to that pattern. I was inspired to take a lovely cable braid yet fairly simple pattern, stitch pattern for this cowl design as a little nod to that knitwear in that movie. So I hope you enjoy this snugly, cosy pattern. And I hope you are finding a little bit of time to do some knitting or stitching throughout this traditionally very busy month. I wish you some happiness and peaceful moments, even if they’re only a minute in the day, just to have a moment of calm and happiness.

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

Have a wonderful week. Thank you so much for joining me today, and I will talk to you soon.

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