Curious Handmade with Helen Stewart

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Designer Helen Stewart wearing a green Rainforest Canopy Shawl and a dark blue handmade dress

Sometimes scheduling relaxation is the best way to make sure you actually find the time: that’s what I’m doing this week. In this episode I have more Knitvent chat for you, exploring our theme of “Comfort and Joy” and our delightful community giveaway. And I’m looking forward to our first hot Aussie Christmas since the girls were born! You also might have noticed that Curious Handmade has a brand new website, so I’ve got stories about that as well as an update on some issues I’ve been working out with the podcast.

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

 The beautiful and inspiring Knitvent 2020 Giveaway Thread

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

October Knit 20 for 2020 Finished Objects Thread

Show transcript:

Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 314. 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 CuriousHandmade. You can also find the full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello there, come and join me for a little natter about knitting, yarn and crafty things. Things are really intense in the world right now, and I’m certainly feeling it every day. I think after I record this, I’m going to sit down and schedule in some blocks of relaxation into my diary for some personal knitting, maybe working on my liberty hexie quilt project, and perhaps I’ll schedule in some walks as well. I think I need to just make sure that I have some time carved out for a little bit of downtime at the moment. And I’m also going to put a ban on myself from scrolling on my phone during those times, just for an extra element of relaxation. So I hope that listening to the show today can be a little relaxing moment for you too.

Here in Curious Handmade land, we are now into Knitvent season. Knitvent, if you haven’t heard of that before is a holiday themed collection of six patterns that I’ve designed that are surprises, like windows of an advent calendar. This is the eighth year we have celebrated Knitvent here at Curious Handmade. I can’t believe it’s been eight years, but there you go. Time flies when you’re having fun. And the theme for this year’s Knitvent is comfort and joy. And the theme just came very naturally from a conversation I was having with my sister talking about the year and the rest of the year. And I was just saying how I felt that I needed to keep things very simple and uncomplicated. This year more than ever. I always feel a little bit that way about the holidays, but even more so this year.

So that’s the theme for the collection and I hope it’s reflected in the designs. I think it will be. And it’s given me a lot of comfort and joy designing the collection for you. That’s for sure. So the presales for Knitvent 2020 opened this week, and thank you so much for the lovely responses and all the excitement you have been sharing for it. That gives me a huge amount of joy and a very warm, warm, fuzzy feeling. So thank you for everybody who has already joined in. We have the pattern on sale at the moment. And during the presale period, before the first pattern comes out, it’s at a big discount. So it’s £9.95 at the moment, and that’s priced in British pounds. And then once the first pattern comes out, the price goes up to the normal price of 15 pounds for that collection.

So I think it’s a pretty good deal, especially at the moment. Even when it’s full price I think it’s quite a good deal compared to buying individual patterns, but I recognize that you are taking a risk in purchasing a surprise collection. So I have a special presale price for you, for people who are willing to take that risk. You can purchase the pattern on either Ravelry, and I’ve also set up a Gumroad page, not an alternative platform. And as an aside, a little shout out thanks to Stephen West, who inadvertently mentored me in that. I was wondering how to deliver the collection in the format that I deliver it because Etsy can’t really handle delivering the pattern in other collection in six weekly installments. And so when I signed up for Stephens mystery knit along, I saw that he was using Gumroad to deliver his clues. So thank you Stephen for that tip and for an amazing mystery knit along as well. I haven’t had time to knit any of the clues, but I have been following along the spoilers with great delight and lots of people look like they’re enjoying that mystery knit along.

Anyway, just sorry for that little diversion there, but just to explain why the pattern is on Gumroad and not Etsy, I guess. Just to spread a little more of the joy and excitement of Knitvent, we have a launch competition happening. For this competition I’ve made it my choice of gift vouchers rather than the winners choice and the dyes I’ve chosen are Ocean by the Sea, who is an amazing dyer based in London. And she just creates the most dreamy botanically dyed yarns. She writes beautiful poetry. I just love her work. We also have Birch Hollow Fibers in the US. She’s based in Hudson Valley in New York. And she is a dyer that I’ve been following for a while. She creates beautiful, beautiful colourways, and I just love Robin’s aesthetic as well. And then in Australia, we have Wren & Ollie who is based in South Australia. And I discovered Wren & Ollie a couple of years ago when I was visiting a yarn store here. And she just has such fun, beautiful colourways, again.

So, we have a gift vouchers from each of those dyers, and also I’ll be offering 10 copies of my latest pattern, which is the Rainforest Canopy Shawl to 10 lucky winners. And if you already have purchased that pattern, a single pattern of your choice. So to enter the competition, grab your copy of Knitvent and then create a project page for the first window. I have a placeholder pattern page for the first pattern that will come out. It’s called Knitvent window one. And if you create a pattern page for that and then post in the thread a photo or a story of something that brings you comfort and joy, especially around the holidays. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just a little moment, or it could be something extravagant, whatever it brings you, comfort and joy.

There’s already an amazing thread happening in the Curious Handmade group on Ravelry. And it is full of heartwarming stories. I just love these threads so much. People are sharing about their family, pets, comforting food, snuggling up warm in snowy weather. Cooking, of course knitting and crafts, family heirlooms. And this year, a lot of gratitude for technology and Zoom, which is maybe a new thing. I do hope reading the posts that people’s wishes to be able to spend more time with loved ones can come true this year. But if not, that you can find other ways to connect. We might have to be a little bit more inventive this year. And for people who have lost loved ones this year, that they can find some comfort. I know that the holidays can be a very hard time for people.

And as always, I’m incredibly grateful and overwhelmed by the stories you share from all over the world. And I can recognize names of people that have been knitting my patterns for many years, joining in Knitvent for many, many years. And it’s just lovely to have this little way of connecting, and yeah, I just love it. So thank you so, so much for people who have posted, and if you’d like a little heartwarming cheerful thread to read, I would recommend it. This will be our first Christmas here in Australia. Last year, we were back in the UK for family reasons. We had moved to Australia, but went back for Christmas. And so this year, yeah, it’s going to be interesting. I think it’s going to be good, but it’s going to be a bit of a blast from the past to having a hot weather Christmas. We’ve only spent one Christmas back here in Australia since the girls were born. And so, it’s not usual at all.

Usually came back in the Northern hemisphere summer, rather than at Christmas time if we were doing any trips. We do have some family traditions that will translate, okay. Like giving certain gifts. And of course, Santa visiting. We have assured the girls that Santa can still deliver presents to houses without chimneys. And yeah, we might be making some new traditions as well. So I’ll be reading through the amazing inspiration thread on Ravelry for some lovely heartwarming ideas. Maybe you can find some ideas there too, of things you might like to do. So the first window will open. The first pattern will come out next Thursday, which is the 29th of October. And if you want to jump into the festivities, then jump in before the 29th of October and take advantage of the 30% off pre-sale offer.

In other news this week, some of you might have noticed that my website has finally been updated. I have been working on a project to revamp my website for about three years now. And in the midst of that, I re-branded and had to start again. So it’s taken a really long time. And then I moved and there was just always something happening. So my poor web developer had to keep being very patient for a long time. So we have finally got it live and I’m really pleased with how it’s worked out. So I’ll let you have a little look. We have had a little bit of trouble getting the podcast to feed correctly through to podcast feeders. Apparently when it was originally set up, it was a little bit complicated. So we’re still working that out and I’m having to remember passwords from, I don’t know, 10 years ago and things like that. So that’s required a little bit of troubleshooting.

Hopefully we will get there soon, but if you’re listening to this, you’re obviously able to access it, but I’ll have to let people know that it is available to listen to you on the website. But as of today, not through podcast apps. Anyway, hopefully by the time you’re hearing this, that will be sorted. But yes, very exciting with the new website, and I think the podcast is the only thing that’s gone amiss. But if you do see anything, anything that’s gone astray, please do let me know. Also, it’s nearly the end of October. So this is the last week for entering into the knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And that happens both in Ravelry and on Instagram with the hashtag, #Knit20for2020 and the prize is a $50 voucher to a indie dyer or yarn shop of your choice. So it’s well worth entering. You can find all the details about knit 20 for 2020 challenge on my new website, there is a link on the menu bar. And that’s about all I have for you today.

Thanks for joining me this week. I hope you have a good week and I’ll talk to you again soon. Happy knitting.