Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

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It’s one of the most exciting times on the Curious Handmade calendar! The presales for Knitvent have just launched, and I am beyond excited to welcome you all for another season of surprises and gift knitting. So I’ve got that to chat about, of course, and also lots of stories from the magical rainforest retreat I attended last weekend. So get cosy and join me for a nice big catch-up episode!

Show links:

Presales for the Knitvent 2020 Collection have begun!

You can get all six mystery patters for the Early bird price of £9.95 (over 30% off the regular ebook price of £15) when  you join us before the first pattern is released on Thursday, October 29th, 2020!

Knitvent 2020 on Ravelry

Knitvent 2020 on Gumroad

Kitch Kreative on Etsy

O’Rielly’s Rainforest Retreat

Reconciliation Australia

NNK Yarns

The Yarn Bowl

52 Weeks of Socks

Snippet Socks

Natural Fibre Arts

Rose Hip Island

Louie and Lola

Get 20% off the Rainforest Shawl pattern with the code RAINFOREST when you check out until the 23rd of October, 2020

Rainforest Canopy Shawl on Ravelry

Rainforest Canopy Shawl on Gumroad

Stillness Shawl

Get 40% off the Rewilding Shawl pattern with the code REWILDING when you check out until the end of October 2020!

Rewilding Shawl

Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to Episode 313. 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

Hello and welcome. Thanks for joining me today. I hope you’re having a good week and are finding some spaces in your days to do some knitting and stitching, crochet, patchwork, whatever takes your fancy and yeah, grab a tea or coffee or other beverage, and join me for a chat. I’ve had a very exciting week this week because I got to attend a knitting retreat and I have to say, after the year we’ve had and still having, it was an amazing experience to be able to join a group of knitters for the weekend.

So the event was organized by Kylie Kenny, who is Kitsch Kreative. She has an Etsy shop selling beautiful project bags, and she organized this retreat at O’Reilly’s. I think we first discussed it last year, I can’t remember when. I think fairly early last year actually, maybe about halfway through the year. So a lot in the world has changed since then. But thankfully and amazingly, we were able to go ahead with it here. Unfortunately, participants who were going to be coming from interstate weren’t able to come because of restrictions on travel. But people from Queensland, which is the state that I live in and where the retreat was held, were able to attend.

So the retreat was held in a very, very special location at a place called O’Reilly’s, which is a resort, I guess you’d say. It doesn’t quite feel like a typical resort. It’s more of a retreat in the mountains and there are really nice cabins, various sizes that you can stay in or a beautiful campground, which was sort of the original part of the retreat. But I think it’s developed into something bigger over the years. It’s up in the mountains in the Lamington National Park, which is the Gold Coast hinterland. So if you’re familiar with the Gold Coast, which is about an hour’s drive south of Brisbane, and then west from there.

And Kylie’s family still own the place today and her parents and grandparents were part of O’Reilly’s as she was growing up, and she lived there growing up as well. So it was a very special location for her and it was quite a special location for me as well, because that’s where my parents had their honeymoon. And we went up there a little bit when I was little. And yeah, I’ve been back since for camping trip and just yeah, it’s just beautiful. Just so special to experience true rainforest and bush walking, and the views are spectacular. It’s just a lovely, lovely, relaxed place. The air is really clean and fresh.

So we started the event with dinner on the first evening on Thursday, and Kylie greeted us and acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land. She said a acknowledgement of country and paid respect to the elders past, present and emerging. And we heard a little bit about the venue and about Kylie’s stories growing up there, which was just made it that extra bit special. And then over the course of a couple of days we had a room where we could sit up with our knitting and we had some vendors. So we had some yarn and project bags and other lovely things to buy. The vendors where Lisa from NNK Yarns. And she brought some beautiful hand-dyed yarns. She’s based in Brisbane.

We discovered we had a connection because when she first started her business, she was knitting items for kids and babies. And my sister had purchased a little vest for, I think, Sophie, from Lisa and sent it to me in London, which was quite some years ago now. And then she purchased another one and sent that over. And so I think that it got handed down to Lexi, and Lexi still has the little vest that Lisa made in her wardrobe and she won’t let it go. She loves it so much. It’s a beautiful color. And so that was so funny to discover that connection from many years ago.

We also had Fiona from The Yarn Bowl, which is a fairly new yarn shop in Brisbane at a suburb called Banyo. And Fiona said that they’ve just had their one year anniversary for The Yarn Bowl. And that was obviously a very popular yarn shopping destination and knit night for, most of the knitters were from Brisbane and were very familiar with The Yarn Bowl, and she had absolutely lovely things. Needles from ChiaoGoo. She had some copies of 52 Weeks of Socks from Laine, which was quite nice because I had my snippet sample there from the book. And she also had a amazing stand of yarn from Natural Fiber Arts, who is Cheryl, another local indie dyer, and Cheryl just lives a little bit north of me on the coast. So that was lovely to meet Cheryl. Cheryl was also there, the dyer behind Natural Fiber Arts.

And then Kylie had a stand as well for Kitch Kreative. And she was selling her bags, her beautiful handmade project bags, as well as yarn from Rose Hip Island, who is a hand dyer in Tasmania, and that is Hannah. And Hannah does very, very beautiful romantic colorways and also some self-striping sock yarn in really fun colorways. And because of the restrictions I think Hannah would have had to quarantine for two weeks up here and then quarantine for another two weeks going back down to Tasmania. So she wasn’t able to attend, but she sent her yarn that she dyed for the up to Kylie and Kylie had it on her stand. So we were able to see her beautiful yarn, even though we were all very sad that we weren’t able to meet Hannah in person. But next year, I’m pretty sure. I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to meet the people that couldn’t come this year at the event next year. Kylie’s already announced that we’ll be doing it again next October. And I’ll be teaching some workshops again.

So over the weekend we had two workshops, they were fairly informal. The first one was a sock cast on. So I brought a whole bunch of my samples from my sub collections and some one-off patterns. And we talked about making socks. A lot of people cast on some socks, and there are a few people there that were knitting some of my sock patterns already, which was really lovely to see and to see those projects happening, all righty. So thank you to all the participants that were knitting my patterns and brought some projects that they had knit.

And then on the second day, on the Saturday, we had a shawl workshop, and I designed a special shawl for the event and as a gift for the attendees, which was the Rainforest Canopy Shawl. It was obviously inspired by the location in the Rainforest and Karina from Louie & Lola, also in Tasmania, had created a special colorway called O’Reilly’s. And she’s having an update for that this week, or it’s already happened. So check out Louie & Lola if you would like some of the amazing deep forest green colorway that she created for the cover shawl. And I also have samples in Rose Hip Island yarn in a beautiful pink rock orchid colorway, an amazing mustard colorway from NNK Yarns, as well as another sample in Louie & Lola in the S-colorway. So if you go to the pattern page for that, you’ll be able to see all those different colorways that I’m mentioning.

And I’ve released the pattern for the Rainforest Canopy Shawl just this week after the retreat. And so that is now available and it is for sale at our launch price of 20% off with the code, RAINFOREST. And it’s an asymmetrical triangle with lovely lace panels that to me represent Rainforest Canopy and either stockinette or garter stitch sections in between the layers. And there’s also a rectangular scarf version available in the pattern as well. So two sizes of asymmetrical triangles and a rectangular scarf version, which can easily be adapted to be wider if you want to make a more of a wrap style rectangular version.

So it was absolutely lovely spending some time with knitters. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a knitting retreat. I don’t think I went to one all year last year. I think that’s right. I think with the move and everything going on, I couldn’t do anything last year. And then this year has obviously been a little bit of a shambles in that regard with COVID happening. I don’t think I would have probably been going to anything before now anyway. But I was kind of hoping to get down to the Bendigo Wool Show at some point, obviously that was canceled. So it was, yeah, it was an amazing treat to be able to meet lots of local knitters, lots of knitters based in Brisbane and a little bit further south and a little bit further north. There was 16 participants altogether in the end. So that was amazing that that many people could attend.

I met some ladies from Murwillumbah, it’s a bit of a tongue twister, and they had knit my Stillness Shawl. So that was absolutely beautiful to see. Vicki and Sue’s projects and we had some photos. And I got to meet Maureen who has been knitting my patterns for many years. And yeah, it was absolutely lovely to meet her and just everyone. Everyone was so friendly and it was just such a fun few days. The food was very good. We ate a lot. The meals were very generous and delicious. The coffee was excellent and a lot of the staff were quite young and just really friendly and energetic. And yeah, it was really nice.

So I’m already looking forward to working with all the new Australian indie dyers’ yarn that I’ve discovered through this event, which has just been so fun and meeting up with the knitters that I met. And hopefully being able to see them at future events. So thank you to Kylie for organizing the event and reorganizing it several times as the rules and restrictions around COVID changed. I do not envy you trying to manage all of that, but she did it and it was wonderful. And if you listened to last week’s podcast, I was very nervous about the windy road and the road was in fact windier and longer than I remembered. But actually it was fine in the end. So yeah, I think being in the driver’s seat and just being able to take it at my own pace was good. And I had the lovely Lisa with me for the journey. I picked her up in Brisbane and then we drive down from there together and she was super, a super winged person and very calm copilot. So that was also really lovely.

I did manage to do a couple of bush walks, which for me was unusual. I usually just manage to knit and not much else when I go to a knitting retreat, but I managed to sneak away and do a couple of walks. I did a lovely walk with Cheryl and we had a lovely chat about yarn and got to know her a little bit. So that was wonderful. We did the wishing tree walk. So we walked down to this amazing old tree that had split at the bottom and you could walk into it. So I’ll definitely be trying to get up there for a family trip at some stage. I think everyone would really enjoy doing some bush walks. There’s shorter ones and much longer ones. You can walk over to the next resort, Boonaburra.

There’s a long walk, a 20 kilometer walk that you can do. There’s a tree tops walk with suspension bridges through the canopy of the rainforest, which was amazing. That’s just a really small, short one, just lots of different walks. And yeah, definitely love to go back. I’m not sure if we’d camp or stay in one of the lovely cabins. So the Rainforest Canopy Shawl is now available on Ravelry and I’ll also put it up on Etsy and it will be 20% off on Ravelry with the code rainforest until next Friday, the 23rd of October. And I’ll try and work out what I can do on Etsy as well. I might just post it at the discounted price on Etsy. I’m not quite sure what the situation with discount codes is there, but I’ll look into it.

And amazingly, we are well into October now, which means that we are getting into Knitvent season. Every year for the past seven or eight years, we have celebrated Knitvent and it is a combination of a knitwear collection and an advent calendar. So each week for five weeks, I will be publishing six secret knitting patterns. One week we will have two patterns published on the same day, and the other four weeks there’ll be one pattern published.

The presales for Knitvent are starting today, which is Friday the 16th of October. And so when you sign up for that, you’ll be signing up for six secret knitting patterns that will be revealed like an advent calendar as a surprise. It has become a very lovely tradition over the past years. And when I was thinking about the theme for this year, I just kept coming back to the idea of simplicity and simple pleasures.

I was thinking a lot about the simple pleasure that bring us comfort and moments of joy. And so that is the theme for this year’s Knitvent is comfort and joy. I feel like we could all use a little bit of that at the moment. And I feel like it’s a really nice theme for this time of year, which I like to be a bit reflective and have moments of gratitude and relaxing, try and have some moments of relaxing. So that’s my ideas behind Knitvent is that we can share in the joy and comfort of knitting and have a knit along for the month of November and through to the holidays.

The patterns are roughly designed to be suitable for gift knitting, but also designed to be suitable for yourself if you’d like to knit the projects for yourself. That’s also a very appropriate thing to do. So as I mentioned, you can purchase the collection as a presale on Ravelry, and I’m currently setting up an alternative to Ravelry, which I will post about. I’m recording this a little bit earlier in the week, so I haven’t quite finished setting it up yet. And I’m trying to find a platform that will work to deliver patterns. You know, one pattern per week, which is what I need. And some of the platforms I don’t think will do that such as Etsy. So I’m currently looking at an alternative and I think I’ve found one. But I will put a link to that in the show notes and on the blog and so forth. Otherwise it will be available on Ravelry as per normal. And I always do an early bird price for the presale period, which is roughly a third off the price that it will go up to after the first pattern comes out.

So you get a discount as a reward for taking the plunge and trusting me. I think it’s nice to have little surprises. Not everybody likes surprises, so I understand if you want to wait till the patterns come out. But yeah, there will be a significant discount for purchasing them early. And the full price is also a significant discount on purchasing them individually. So the first pattern will come out on the 29th of October and the sixth pattern will be published on the 26th of November. And patterns two to five will be published each week in between. If you’re signed up to my newsletter, you’ll get some more information about it. And some reminders when the early bird time period is finishing. And maybe a few sneak peaks about some of the yarn that I’m using in some of the patterns possibly. I do tend to post some sneak peeks on Instagram as well.

And I’ll also set up a spoiler thread in my Ravelry group for people who don’t like surprises and want to get prepared in advance with information about what yarn will be needed. I’ll do that a little bit in advance of the patterns coming out. So that’s Knitvent, and I’m really excited about this year’s collection. I’ve been working hard on it for a few months now, and it’s always so fun when I finally get to share it with you. That’s all the news I have for you today I think.

Just one more announcement before I say goodbye. I do still have the promotion for the Rewilding Shawl running for the whole month up until the end of October. And that is 40% of the Rewilding Shawl with the coupon code, REWILDING. And we also have the launch code for 20% off the Rainforest Canopy Shawl available just for this week, which is RAINFOREST. I hope you have a wonderful week. I hope you’re staying safe and well, and having lots of vitamin C and vitamin D, keeping your immunity up. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you again soon.

Direct download: 141020CH313_Knitvent_2020_is_here.mp3
Category:Podcast Episodes -- posted at: 12:49pm UTC