Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

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Lovely Skein Yarn for the Droplet Capelet

After an unexpected break to wrestle life into a reasonably manageable shape, the podcast is back! Today I have a giant group of giveaway winners from Today on the Curious Handmade Podcast I have some hints about the upcoming Knitvent collection (did someone say scrappy?) I also have a chat about how I’m coping with anxiety these days, with some resources to share. One of the things that helps ground me a lot is having a few tiny habits to anchor my days, and I’d love to hear about yours.

Show Links:

Resources I’ve found to help with Anxiety:

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

Healthline Anxiety

Black Dog Institute Anxiety

Very Well Mind Anxiety

Other show links:

The Strawberry Thief

Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron


Welcome to the Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 309. 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 to the show. How are you this week? I’m having a pretty good week feeling okay and being reasonably productive. The kids are well and puppy’s well, and all the mice seem well also, yes. As I talked about last week, the thousand-item purge major decluttering session in the last month or so has really done wonders for reducing anxiety and I’m already planning another session tackling some remaining problem areas and, yeah, just keeping going on the quest to lead a simplified life. It’s already helping me be more motivated and get things done more quickly so that’s fantastic.

Although I have been reading a little bit of the news this morning and I don’t do that too often, I find that it stresses me out too much and this morning was really no exception. I’m sort of reading the news and then I start thinking about all my friends and family all around the world and all of you and wonder how you’re all feeling and doing. My thoughts are with people on the West Coast in the U.S. battling terrible fires and smoke, and my thoughts are also with the refugees on Lesbos in the Moria Camp where a fire broke out and destroyed the refugee camp there. So that’s also another terrible situation.

It’s a lot altogether with COVID and racial injustice and divisive political situations all around the world at the moment. It can be very anxiety-producing and give you a bit of a feeling of helplessness really. And I don’t know, I guess I didn’t want to start this episode with a big downer, but I just wanted to acknowledge all of this today because I know that there are just so many people who are so worried and stressed, especially in the U.S., but all around the world with kids going back to school and just so many things, all the things. I just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you and I hear you.

I’m going to pop a few links in the show notes today that I’ve found helpful for some tips to manage anxiety for what it’s worth. I’m following the Tiny Habits which is a great book I read recently by BJ Fogg, and that method of just trying to incorporate one or two tiny habits into my routine to actively try to manage my anxiety. And it does help. So some things I’m doing is I’ll just generally try to focus on my circle of control and influence and not on my circle of concern and the worries.

At the beginning of the year one of my happiness projects was creating a gratitude journal that I do each evening with the goals and we each write down three things we’re grateful for. And we are definitely a little bit ad hoc

about doing it but we’ve kept it up over the year, not every day, but at least in a way consistently. And that is a really nice moment in the day and I think it definitely helps us all.

Yesterday I made sure that I’m on the electoral roll here in Australia, and I found out that the next election in Queensland is the 31st of October this year so I was glad that I finally did that to-do item on my list. Having been out of the country for many, many years I wasn’t sure what my status was, and today I’m going to set up one or two regular donations to charities and maybe some one-off donations as well for really topicals issues at the moment.

I’ve been getting a lot of joy from my small gardening efforts and yeah, one of the most successful efforts for my gardening which is really I feel like a tiny habit is growing sprouts. That’s been my most consistent gardening effort and it’s also been my most productive, growing a batch of sprouts each week. And I’ve mostly been doing alfalfa but also sometimes broccoli sprouts, which I hadn’t even heard or thought of before but it’s apparently incredibly good for you. And I quite, I really like the taste. It’s a bit of a weird paste but I really, really like it. It’s gives a bit of a punch to your sandwich if you put your sprouts on your sandwiches or in a salad. So that’s a little tip of, I think a gardening thing that probably anyone could do is grow sprouts in your kitchen.

I’ve actually been using my standing desk to stand up and I am standing out right now as I record this and wondering why I haven’t been doing this more because I already feel more energetic, and you can probably hear it in my voice that are more energetic talking while I’m standing up. And one thing I have been wanting to start doing all year and have done a tiny bit of but not very much is some kind of breathing, meditation, stretching habit. That one is a to-do, is still on my wishlist, I wish I could start doing this more regularly.

But I think from everything I read about managing anxiety and stress this is always comes up as the best thing you can do for yourself, so I think I’m quite silly not to be doing it, but I don’t know. Like a lot of things that are good for us we don’t do, but I’m going to just try again to tackle this as a tiny habit and see if I can manage to get myself to meditate or do breathing exercises for one minute a day or something like that. I have to design the tiny habit to work in my routine.

Anyway, that’s some things I’m thinking about and doing and might give you some inspiration of small things you might like to try as well. I’ll put the links to a few articles in the show notes. And of course I am not a health professional, I have no background in this kind of thing but I thought I’d share some encouragement because I’m finding these things helpful to keep me going, keep me positive and yeah, I just thought I’d share today. If you want to share with me one tiny thing you can be proactive and take a bit of control or you’re welcome to email me or drop a note on Instagram and let me know your little tiny habit and give yourself a big yes and a big pat on the back for when you do it.

In knitting news, I did promise you some knitting news this week after my decluttering chat last week. I’ve been doing a lot of work and designing and knitting samples for Knitvent 2020, which is coming up quite soon now. I can’t believe we’re halfway through September, it’s all the crazy. I felt like time slowed down massively through March, April, May, June, and now it seems to be speeding back up again going into the end of the year, but that’s the way it goes, isn’t it?

Yes, I’ve been doing a lot of work. And the last few years I’ve designed a pattern especially for Advent Yarn Kits, which typically have 24 mini-skeins, and this year I’m continuing this tradition for Knitvent. And I think I can tell you that it’s going to be suitable for a 10 gram mini-skein set. So people who have a 10 gram set can do the pattern and also a lot of the Advent kits are 20 gram sets so they can either do two of the item or perhaps do a different scrappy project with the other half of their kit. So that’s what I’m thinking about.

And I did manage to have Sunday off work, so very happy about that. I’m trying to carve out a little bit of time for personal crafty projects. And I was working quite a bit on my Liberty Hexie project, which is an English paper-piecing quilt or quilts, I should say, because I’m doing two. I have subscribed to kits from a company here in Australia called The Strawberry Thief, they’re based over in Perth and they’re specialize in Liberty fabric. And so I’m working on both a two-inch and one-inch hexie project.

Hopefully I’ll quilt, hopefully I’ll make enough hexies and flowers to do a quilt, that’s the goal for two quilts. And yes, I really enjoy the process, I enjoy the process of making each hexie where I’m using the method of gluing the fabric to a piece of heavy paper-like cardboard, and then they get sewn into hexie flowers. So one hexie in the middle and then six petals, and then eventually those flowers will be made into the quilts but for the moment it’s just a matter of making the flowers. So I enjoy all parts of that process and yeah, giving me a lot of joy.

And on the knitting side I started a new project which I have no business starting because I have too many wips, but I couldn’t resist starting the Droplet Capelet by Denise Bayron. And I’ve been wanting to knit one of her patterns for a while. I’ve been wanting to support her because she’s a brilliant designer, I love her aesthetic and she’s so sophisticated. I’ve purchased several of her patterns but I hadn’t got as far as downloading them. And when I downloaded the Droplet Capelet pattern I was so delighted with the pattern. She has a beautiful story about the design and she has super clear instructions, schematics, how to choose your size, video support for casting on and casting off. It’s quite incredible and inspiring, so thank you, Denise, for the incredible work you’ve put into this pattern.

I am knitting this in a skein from the stash. One of my precious skeins, which is by Skein Australia, and so the colorway is a gorgeous light blue, a very dreamy light blue with aquamarine speckles and some lime-green speckles as well. It’s going to be so fun to knit and I’m going to knit this for my daughter Sophie, who really likes that kind of garment. I like her little, I want to say poncho capelet. Ponchos aren’t really considered to be very cool but this is a very cool item so I don’t really want to call it a poncho, let’s stick with capelet like the name says.

Yeah, this is a super fun knit and I think it should be fairly fast. It’s a one-skein project and the size I’m getting for Sophie, which is the smallest size and I will keep you posted on progress. I have started quite a lot of projects this year and I’m not finishing them, but yeah, I’m just going to plug away and hopefully finish this by the end of the year. But to be honest, because I’m knitting it for Sophie it doesn’t really need to be done until next winter which is next June here, that we’re just coming into spring here. So there’s no real rush on this one, it’s just something to knit for fun. That’s all the crafty knitting news I have for you this week. As I said in the introduction, I really hope you’re doing okay. I’m sending you all my love wherever you are in the wild and have a great week. Happy knitting, and I’ll talk to you soon.

Direct download: 170920CH309_Anxiety_Strategies_and_the_Droplet_Capelet.mp3
Category:Knitting -- posted at: 12:00am UTC