Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

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

The lovely yarn La Bien Aimee for my Hermione Jean Granger Shawl

As I get closer and closer to finishing the Knitvent 2020 collection designs, I’ve hit a procrastination snag. I know by now that it’s just part of the creative process, and a sign that I probably need to let things simmer a little longer. But these days I’m trying to choose more productive ways of procrastinating, and my favourite procrastination method is decluttering. So a warning: there’s not a whole lot of crafty content in today’s show, but there is a fun decluttering game that I’m going to do to hopefully clear a little brain space for more design work. Care to join me?

After a week of small disasters and a lot of decluttering, some comfort knitting is called for. Today on the podcast I’m revisiting my queue of personal knitting. There are a few particular WIPs I am enjoying very much, and a few more very long term projects that are finding their way to the front of my queue. And of course there are always a few very special designs tempting me to just cast on one more thing…

Show Links:

The 30 Day Minimalism Game


Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish


Píosa by Renée Callahan

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Georgie Baby Blanket

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino

Sky Map by Emily Foden

Viola Yarns

Elton Cardigan by Joji Locatelli

La Bien Aimée

Dahlia Cardigan by Heather Zoppetti

Blue Sky Alpaca Silk

Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron

Everyday Lined Hat by Denise Bayron

The Wave of Change Jacket by Denise Bayron

Moving Forward Wrap by Denise Bayron


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 307. 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 Hell’s Bells and on social media, as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at curious

Hello, welcome to the show. I hope you’re having a good week. I am having a pretty good week. I have been very, very busy. I feel a little bit like it’s been one step forward, two steps backwards. I announced last week that I was undertaking a challenge, a personal challenge, of decluttering a thousand items from my home. This is based on a minimalist 30-day challenge that I’d seen on YouTube. It’s a challenge where by you declutter items each day over 30 days and end up parting ways with 465 items.

And I watched a video that described how a couple did it, both did it, and then made it for 31 days and then added a few items and it added up to a thousand items. So, I just decided that that a thousand number sounded pretty good and that I would go for it. And I won’t go into it this week, the process that I’ve been going through the last week or so, but I am up to 860 items after a week. So, that’s pretty good and it’s been very interesting. I’ll tell you the story, maybe in the next episode, and share some, I don’t know, lessons learned or tips about what’s happened. I’m sure by then I will be up to my a thousand item goal, maybe even more. So, it’s been an interesting week, having gone through that process. And a few things happened, came up along the way, which weren’t related to the challenge, but were more sort of every day life.

I was doing a little task that had been on the list since about April. I wanted to get a shelf removed from Sophie’s built in wardrobe because she didn’t have a long hanging space in her cupboard. Anyway, the built in wardrobe isn’t very flexible, so it needed a handyman to come and take out the shelf. And so I walked into her bedroom, and walked around a bit, and then came downstairs again after showing the guy what I needed done. And he came down about 10 minutes later going, “Uh.” And he had knelt in a little deposit that Cindy had left on a rug and I hadn’t seen, so I had walked through it and walked all through the house by this point. Yeah, so that was fun and quite embarrassing. He was really great about it, thank goodness. It was very embarrassing, actually. Anyway, he just said, “Oh, I’m going to have to go and change my clothes now.” And that led to a carpet cleaning episode, which was good, in the sense that it helped with decluttering, because, I don’t know, I tend to get everything up off the floor, as much as possible.

And so that led to just everything getting up off the floor and out into a sorting staging area. So, I guess it maybe speeded up some decluttering, made it more thorough. Anyway, now we have lovely clean carpets and Cindy is no longer allowed in carpeted areas in the house. We’ve been trying to keep her out of them, but had gotten a little bit slack about it because she’s so cute and we like having her with us at all times. That is no longer happening.

And then Saturday afternoon, we were having a lovely barbecue, and the kids were jumping on the trampoline and Lexi twisted her ankle. And we hoped, or thought, it was a sprain, but then a couple of days later I decided that we’d better get it x-rayed just in case. It turned out that she had broken her ankle, bottom of her leg, in two places. So, she spent a day basically getting x-rays and cast on, and was in hospital most of the day yesterday. Yeah, it’s such a shame for her. She is not a kid that will enjoy being immobilized, but I guess it could be worse. So, we’re going to have to deal with the crutches and things for a little while. But as Steve pointed out, at least it’s not swimming season just yet because she loves being in the pool and is in the pool as much as possible when the weather is warm. So, thankfully, small mercies, it’s not quite warm enough for that yet. Although, it won’t be very long before it is. It’s already quite warm weather up here in Queensland.

So, yeah. That’s been my week. Luckily I was already on strike from work, procrastinating with my decluttering and various things. So, I don’t know maybe it didn’t impact my week as much as it would have if I’d actually had some tough deadlines. But I was hoping to get myself motivated to get back into some design work this week, but it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe later the week. I’m recording this on Wednesday. So, a couple of days ahead of publishing. Anyway, so after that personal introduction about what’s happening around here, I thought I’d talk a little bit about knitting this week, considering that it is a knitting podcast. And I thought as I’ve gone through almost all my yarn, not all my yarn, but almost all my yarn and works in progress and things. I thought I’d just go through some inspiration I’ve had about projects that I’d like to work on, going forward, inspired by yarn and patterns in my stash.

So, of course I would like to finish some WIPs and most of them are fairly… Well, no, that’s not true. I was going to say most of them are fairly recent. Two of them are fairly recent, sort of cast ons. So, I’m working on the Hermione Jean Granger Shawl by Tyne Swedish, who is the cleverest stitch and really enjoying this knit. Actually, I’m working on it in the evenings when I’m watching TV a little bit, at the moment, and so that’s kind of happening, slowly, bit by bit. It’s super relaxing. It’s garter stitch and stripes and a crescent shaped shawl with gorgeous tassels. I’ve mentioned it before on the show, but yeah, just really enjoying that as a relaxing evening knit. There’s not too much to think about. All you have to do is check which side you’re knitting on to make sure that you’re getting the right number of increases, and that’s about all the thinking that is involved with this one.

And I also have another relatively recent cast on, which is the Piosa Cardigan by Renee Callahan. I’ve knit the body and really just need to knit the sleeves now. I don’t know why I’ve stalled out on that. I think I just went on to design work and put it aside for a little while, and the fact that I need to pick up stitches and do a little bit of a slightly harder, more thinking, task to get onto the next step has made me just put it down for a little while.

But I’m super keen to finish that, it’s going to be a lovely cardi, and I’m slightly nervous that I picked the size too small. I kind of did that knowing that it might be the was too small, which is a bit stupid really, but I was a bit concerned about the amount of yarn I have. I think if it is too small for me, I’ll just give it to Sophie and she’ll probably love it, and it will really suit her because I’m knitting it in Rose Gold by Sweet Fiber. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful color. We’ll see if it stretches out a little bit when it gets blocked, otherwise it will probably be for Sophie. But she’s very knit-worthy, so that’s fine.

I have two older works in progress. One of them is a deep WIP, and it is a Georgie blanket, that was a design of mine from quite a few years ago now. And I think my mom knit the main part of it for me, and it might’ve been for Lexi. So, I’m not sure if it was when she was born even, which would make it a very old WIP. But anyway, it just needs the border knitted onto it. It’s not a huge task, and I would really like to get that finished. So, that’s kind of coming further up to the top of my list of works in progress. I’ve finished a few things this year and that’s one that I really would like to finish. Because it is a really sweet little blanket and I think she would still use it. And it’s knit in Debbie Bliss, Cashmerino, which is a lovely yarn. So, that would be nice to finish up.

And I also have the Star Map Wrap, which is pattern and yarn by Emily Foden in Viola Yarns, based in Canada. I think that one is a more of a longterm project. I’m not really planning on trying to finish that too soon. It’s just a lot of stockinette knitting in the round in mohair and it will be absolutely gorgeous when it’s finished. I did contemplate whether I would just cast it off and make a cowl at some point, but I think I will keep going with it and try and finish it at some point. But I don’t feel a huge sense of urgency to do that. I think it’s going to take me quite a lot of knitting time to do, and so that might just become a project that sits beside the sofa and I pick up when I’m watching TV.

I think the main reason that I’m not enjoying that as much as I could, is that I am alternating skeins. And so with it being mohair and alternating skeins, I don’t know, it’s just slowing me down that bit more than it would otherwise. So, I’ll have to think about that. I did the workshop with Emily in London, was that last year or the year before? I don’t know, maybe last year. I can’t remember. In the last couple of years anyway. And she very, very strongly suggested to alternate skeins. So, I did what I was told and tried to be good. But I’m just not sure. It’s just taking the joy out of knitting it for me. So, we’ll see. Anyway, that can just wait for a little while to make these kind of heavy decisions.

And then I have three other projects that I haven’t really started yet. One is the Elton cardigan by Joji Locatelli. I was very generously gifted the yarn for this by Amy, from La Bien Aimee. And so I have the gorgeous, gorgeous yellow yarn, and I think it’s going to suit my gray hair really well. It could be a nice grellow outfit. Yeah. So, I’m keen to do that and that’s another mohair cardigan, so it might be a bit slower. I don’t know if that’s what’s putting me off tackling that one, but I don’t think so. I think it’s just the fact that I haven’t had a lot of time to work on it. But definitely want to prioritize that one. And then as I was sorting through yarn, it reminded me of another very, very deep stash, deep, deep, yarn pattern cardigan that I’ve been wanting to knit for so many years, which is the Dahlia cardigan by Heather Zoppetti. And this was published in Interweave in fall 2011.

I don’t know if I’ve been wanting to make it since then, but I know that I’ve had the yarn, which is Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in the gorgeous amethyst colorway for a really long time. And I actually had in my head that that was the called for yarn for this pattern, but it’s not at all now I look at it. So, I don’t know why I thought that. And I couldn’t even see it in Yarn Ideas on Ravelry. So, I don’t know why I thought that was the yarn, but maybe I just thought it would be a really good yarn for it, which I still do. So, yeah. There’s that one. I went to see if the pattern was still available, before I talked about it on the podcast, and it is still available on the Interweave website. And I went to look at Heather’s blog and it doesn’t seem like she’s designing anymore. So, she’s said that in a blog post, sort of early last year, that she was going back to her a full time corporate job.

Anyway, it doesn’t mean that I want to knit the pattern any less. It’s a beautiful, gorgeous waterfall front cardigan with a beautiful lace panel on the back. It’s just always appeal to my romantic side. So, I still wanted it that one. I’ve mentioned this on the podcast in the past, but I still do want to knit that one. And then a much more recent, slight obsession is the Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron, Bayron Handmade. I am a little bit obsessed with Denise’s designs and I’ve been talking about knitting various different designs of hers. She has a bulky cardigan that I was initially thinking I would knit, but will never wear, definitely never wear here in Queensland. And that’s the Wave Of Change jacket, which has been a really, really popular design. But just probably not for me.

And then the Everyday Lined Hat really appealed. I thought it’s super cute. I love the simplicity. But again, I’ve just gone through winter here and haven’t worn a hat, and I didn’t even wear hats that much in London, in winter. So, yes. Then I thought, “Oh, okay.” I had to look at her other designs because I just love her aesthetic, and so now I think the Droplet Capelet will be the design that I’d like to knit of hers. She’s got a gorgeous wrap as well, which is the Moving Forward Wrap. But again, I think that the capelet will be more wearable, and I think it would look really cute on Sophie or Lexi. It sort of like can either be a cowl or go down over your shoulders. Really, really cute design. So, yeah. I’m looking forward to seeing Denise’s book that’s going to be published with Laine, I imagine next year. But they’ve announced that they’re publishing a book of her patterns. So, I’ll be very excited to see that.

In the meantime, I’m putting the Droplet Capelet onto my queue. The extra small size takes one skein of fingering weight yarn, but probably I’d want a larger size than that. So, I’ll probably have to find some fingering weight yarn in my stash that I have two skeins of, which shouldn’t be a problem because I have a lot of yarn. So, that’s been my ponderings about knitting this week. It is a little bit of a fantasy queue at this point, but I’ve been getting better and better about being able to do some personal knitting, and separate that from my design and work knitting. It’s been so good for my creativity and calmness and enjoyment of knitting. So, I definitely want to keep that up and try to keep up my plan of keeping at least one of the weekend days work free and just for pursuing hobbies, which I don’t tend to do very often. But when I do, I really enjoy it.

So, I hope you’ve enjoyed a little bit more knitting content this week. I will probably be talking about the decluttering process on the next episode. And next week I am going to take the week off because of various things happening. I would have had to record two episodes this week to make it happen next week, and I’ve just decided after a day with Lexi, sorting out her leg and all the time I’m spending decluttering, I just can’t manage to record two episodes this week. So, I am going to have a week off and give myself a little bit of ease and I will be back with you in two weeks time.

Have a fantastic week, everyone. I hope you’re well and staying healthy and able to enjoy a little bit of knitting or crafting time. I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye for now.

Direct download: 120820CH307_Rounding_up_the_wild_works_in_progress.mp3
Category:Knitting -- posted at: 11:47am UTC