Episode 356: The Montage Hat & my secret quilt project

Helen wearing her newly knitted blue bobble hat with a white fluffy bobble on top. Helen is facing to the camera and smiling.

I’ve been keeping a pretty massive project under wraps all year, but I can finally share! This week on the podcast I’m chatting about an ambitious quilt-design project I’ve been working on in the background for months. And there’s a new Knitvent pattern to discuss, of course: the very fun and quick Montage Hat. Finally, I’m still pondering what to make with one of my Advent yarn sets and am looking for suggestions!

So if you’re in the mood for some crafty chat, settle in with your current project and let’s catch up over a few stitches.

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:

I can’t believe Knitvent 2021 is nearly  over already ; the first five  patterns have been released with just 1 more secret pattern to follow on the  2nd of December! You can join in anytime thorough, Knitvent is designed with quick knits for gifts in mind. 

Knitvent 2021  on Ravelry

Knitvent 2021  on Gumroad

The Montage Hat sample 1 was knit in Wren & Ollie Exotica DK; a  super-luxe blend of Merino, Yak and Silk fibres

Sample 2 was knit in the wonderfully squishy Merino Nylon DK  by Louie & Lola ( you might recognise this one from The Meet Cute Socks and Meet Cute Mitts samples) 

Both samples included fabulously fuzzy pompoms from The Grocery Girls

Stash Divers, the actual DK weight yarn used was

 Extra Small (Baby) 45g 95m/105yds

Small (Child) 60g 130m/140yds

Medium (Adult) 70g 150m/160yds

Large (Large Adult) 80g 170m/185yds

And just a little note: I’ve seen some people worrying that they don’t have a lot of DK or Sport weight yarn in their stash. It’s pretty common: somehow many of us tend to stash a lot more sock/fingering/4 ply yarn instead. 

If that’s true for you, and you want to stick to stash for all these DK patterns, you can hold two strands of sock yarn together to equal DK weight! If you’re worried about gauge, you can do a quick swatch, but honestly these patterns are quick and easy enough that you can probably just go ahead and if they’re a little big or small,  gift them and cast on another! 

If you’re joining me for Knitvent this year, welcome! I’ll be doing a giveaway for the whole of Knitvent in Jan. 2022 you can find the thread here 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

Quilters Candy 

Natural Fibre Arts Advent Calendars

Sherry Iris Advent Calendars

The Skyline Wrap from this year’s Knitvent 

The Habitation Throw from Knitvent 2019

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 356. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen and you can find me on Raverly as HellsBells’ and at social media as curioushandmade. 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 and welcome. Thanks for joining me for a little chat today as we are about to leap into the silly season with both feet. Today, I’m talking a little bit about a year-long project that I’ve been working on and a bit of a family milestone, and I’ll also share some thoughts so far on my knitting plans for December. 

First, I thought I would share with you about the latest pattern to be released for Knitvent 2021. And that is the Montage Hat. Every delightful, cheesy holiday movie needs a delightful, cheesy montage somewhere in the middle. It could be our couple, falling in love on fast-forward as they skate in the park, sip hot chocolate, share wine over dinner, make each other laugh, and then walk home hand in hand through the twilight. Or it might be the whole hometown pulling together to foil the wicked plans of their local scrooge: trading hugs and high fives and knowing nods. No matter what, the message is clear: things are happening. Good things. So many good things, that we could only set them to music and make it a montage. 

The Montage Hat is a feel-good project, so quick and fun to knit that you might find yourself knitting enough for a whole cast of characters. The allover cable pattern is deceptively simple and adds lots of texture and squish. With deep ribbing and a slightly slouchy fit, it will suit just about everyone, and the pattern includes four sizes, so it will fit just about everyone, too!

I’ve knit two samples of this hat. The first in Wren & Ollie Exotica DK, which is a lovely blend of 60% Superwash Merino, 20% yak and 20% silk. And, I knit the hat in the Colorway Juniper, which is a beautiful magenta colour. And I knit the second hat in Louie & Lola Merino Nylon DK, which is 80% Superwash Merino and 20% nylon. And for that one, I used the colour weight Robin’s nest, which is a kind of Teal blue-green colour, lovely soft colour. In the photos, the samples have pompoms from The Grocery Girls, very fun, super poofy pompoms. And, I really love these particular pompoms because they’re on a ribbon. So, you can thread them onto the hat and then easily take them off for washing. So, I really like using these pom poms. Thank you grocery girls for having such cool things in your shop.

And, that means we have just one more week of Knitvent to go. So, that’s a little bit bittersweet. And, if you are wondering about yarn for the final project, there is a spoiler blog post over at curioushandmade.com, if you’d like to take a little peek about what yarn you might need for that final project. I also have after that one, one more pattern for the year to be released. And I will share more about that in next week’s episode.

So, I hope I piqued your interest when I was talking about my personal project for this year. At the beginning of the year, I was thinking about what I was going to work on during the year and my Happiness projects. And, this wasn’t really a happiness project, but it was a… I don’t know, I guess a side project that I thought I would like to work on.

And, it involves making lots of quilts. My daughter, Sophie is just turning 13 and when I was in the UK and she was born, I joined a mom’s group. Well, mom’s and dad’s group. There’s antenatal courses that you can do there. And, we became great friends with five families. So, when the kids turned one, I sewed them each a little tote bag, kind of like a library book bag and created their initial in a appliqué. I had lots of fun choosing fabric for them and making little details like pockets and then sewing their initials onto the bags. I was just thinking, now that they’re teenagers all these years later, which is just a bit mind boggling, I could make them all a quilt. I’m a bit mental. But I don’t know…just was an idea that popped into my head and I ran with it.

When I first had the idea, I was actually had in my mind to do really simple quilts and then put the same initial on the back of them. And in the process of doing this project, I then started looking at patterns and what I would make and what would suit them. I decided that I wanted to design the quilts, so that they would be unique for them and suit each personality of the kids. So, I texted their moms at the beginning of the year and asked what their favourite colours were. And as the year progressed, I started working on the quilts. It took me until about halfway through the year and I did a little vlog about our staycation with my sister and that was until I think July. So, that’s when I first started really working on the project. Before that, it was just like ideas bubbling away.

So, I have just finished all of the five quilts. And when I made the tote bags, I got to the last one, which Sophie was the last of all the babies to be born. And, I didn’t make her one because I’d run out of energy, steam. So, all the other kids got a tote bag except for her, which is a little bit sad. So, this time I was like, I’m definitely making Sophie a quilt this time. And so, I’ve just nearly finished hers and there’s a little bit of a time delay because I finished hers quite late and it needs quilting and finishing off. But, the top is designed and made. So, a little bit late but at least it’s done.

And yeah, it’s just been such a fun project because I… Part of the inspiration was that I just thought all these kids were such superstars for the past. Well, they’ve been superstars all their lives, but for the past two years coping with the pandemic and they were finishing primary school during the first lockdown stage, especially in the UK. So, they didn’t get to say goodbye to the primary school friends at the time, or have any celebration around that. It was a very scary time. And then, over the course of the next year and a half, it’s been more lockdowns, more long lockdowns in London in the UK, shorter ones here in Queensland, but stressed parents nevertheless, and its just so much going on and they’ve really just coped with it all so well and been inspirational I think. So, my theme for the collection ended up being stars.

And so, each of the quilts have at least one star in them and it was just really nice being inspired by that idea and very fun to design quilts with star motifs. So, I’m happy to finally be able to share more details about that project with you now. And, I’ve been referring to making quilts and letting little snippets out of the bag, but not really wanting to share too much about the whole project because I know that at least one of my friends listens to the podcast. And Sophie sometimes listens to it, even though she has known what’s been happening. She saw the quilts that went off to the UK for the girls. So, she has known about the project, but yeah, I kind of wanted it to be as much of a surprise as possible. And now, I am writing up those patterns or some of them and experimenting with some quilt pattern designs.

So, that is in progress. And, I will share more details about that with you as I go along. I did a quilt writing course this year with Elizabeth of Quilters Candy, that’s her blog or website. She also has a great podcast as well, that has been really interesting for me to listen to, sort of thinking about branching out into quilt patterns and becoming a bit more familiar with the quilting world. I still feel like a complete newbie and definitely have a bit of imposter syndrome with thinking who am I to publish quilt patterns and you know, all these thoughts.

But, I thought I’m just going to jump in and share the quilts I’ve designed and made. And I know that they were fun to make and the recipients really like them. So, I’m just going to have the attitude of ‘put it out there’ and see what happens at this stage. So, that will probably happen at some point next year. I’m not sure how long it will take me to do that. And, of course this is a busy time of the year and I’m leading up to the holidays with a focus on other things. So, I’ll just plug away on that project and share more about that with you next year.

And in the meantime, I am thinking about what to make with my two yarn Advent sets. I have one from Natural Fibre Arts and I used her Advent set from last year that Cheryl kindly gave me the yarn support to make the Skyline Wrap for. So, I’m thinking about making a second Skyline Wrap with the Advent set that I have from Cheryl this year from Natural Fibre Arts. I worked with Cheryl earlier in the year to come up with a mood board for one of the two colorways she was doing for her Advent sets because she’s an overachiever and didn’t just do one set. She did two different sets. I think last year she did four. So, this year it was two, but I still think that’s very amazing.

I also have a set from a beautiful indie dyer and fibre artist in the UK, Sherry Iris. I’ve really not… I haven’t decided what to make with that one yet. I’m wondering if I would like to make a Habitation Throw. The other thought I had was maybe use that set to design a new pattern for next year. But, I’m also thinking I want to design next year’s pattern in my scrap yarn stash, that I’ve been having a lot of fun playing with recently and thinking about all the beautiful colours that I have from past projects and be a nice meditative process to use those. So, yes, I haven’t quite decided about that second one yet. The other idea is to use a pattern from another designer and I always enjoy doing that as well, letting somebody else do the thinking and being inspired by another designer’s creativity. I just haven’t had much time to look at other options at this stage.

So if you have any suggestions, drop me a message on Instagram or Ravelry, or drop me an email to Helen@curioushandmade.com and yeah, let me know any thoughts. So, that brings us to the end of the episode.

And just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadowyarn.

So, I hope all my American friends had a lovely Thanksgiving yesterday and have a wonderful weekend and that everyone has a lovely start to December this week. I am very, very excited to see lots of stitching, daily stitching as we go into the month of December. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.

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