Curious Collective 2014There have been some very difficult decisions made over recent weeks.

Week 2 was particularly challenging for some of us – how to choose between the stunning Juno Fibre Arts Alice colour combinations?

The incredibly romantic combination of Cherry Blossom and Ethereal won the vote. Even the names of the colours are dreamy.

But it was very close and all the other combinations were popular as well. Which is why we’ve decided to take inspiration from ALL the combinations and create 5 Tribes for the knit along with a nod to each combination.

So in the knit along phase of the Curious Collective DKAL this year you will be able to Join a Tribe and knit your shawl inspired by your chosen theme.

The knit along phase of the DKAL is going to start towards the end of August when the pattern is designed and released.

The 5 Tribes and the colour combinations that inspired them are:

Art Deco Tribe (Inkblot and Oyster)

Art Deco Tribe CC DKAL

Sneak into a speakeasy and dance away the evening with glamour and exuberance in a fabulous fringed dress.

Enchanted Forest Tribe (Moss and Goldmine)

Enchanted Forest Tribe #CCDKAL #enchantedforesttribe

Fall into a forest of green and look out closely for sprites and elves with this fantasy theme.

French Vintage Tribe (Oyster and Stone)

French Vintage Tribe #CCDKAL #frenchvintagetribe

Pull up a bench to a wooden table set with heavy linen cloth to enjoy a simply delicious meal of baguette, brie and tomato salad.

Space Age Chic Tribe (Gun Metal and Stone)

Space Chic Tribe CC DKAL

Travel to the future (or a different galaxy) and remain bang on trend today with metallics and shimmer.

English Rose Tribe (Ethereal and Cherry Blossom)

English Rose Tribe #CCDKAL #englishrosetribe

Step into the picturesque English countryside and imagine the Bennet sisters taking the air on a brisk walk to the village.

You can Choose your Tribe by nominating your choice in the Curious Collective Chat Thread on Ravelry.

The categories for the Curious Collective KAL are as follows and there will be some fabulous prizes:
Finished Object – Random selection
Prize for random draw from FO thread in Ravelry.

Finished Object – Best Styled FO
Prize for the best styled shawl in keeping with the theme of the Tribe.

Social Media Maven Prize
Every shout out for the Curious Collective DKAL posted on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #CCDKAL will go into the draw for a special prize. Use the following Tribe hashtags for some friendly competition between the tribes!

#spacechictribe

#frenchvintagetribe

#englishrosetribe

#enchantedforesttribe

#artdecotribe

Look out for a poll to vote for your Tribe on the blog at the end of the week when voting for Week 4: What border would you like? is finished.

For a very short time only the Curious Collective pattern is 50% OFF.

Important Note about Juno Fibre Arts Alice

If you would like to use the exact colour combinations above then make sure you visit the Juno Etsy shop for the shop update on 31 July as there will be a special Alice sock weight update.

Play

Curious Handmade Podcast Episode 36

Thank you to my show sponsor:

Juno Fibre Arts is an artisan yarn and fibre company producing a unique hand dyed collection of yarns and spinning fibres for handknits, spinning, felting and weaving. The Juno studio is located in the grounds of an old, working farm in rural Devon, surrounded by British countryside and the range draws inspiration from its stunning pastoral setting.

Juno yarn is dyed in small and exclusive batches and is available in limited editions on the Juno Arts Etsy shop so look out for the monthly shop updates towards the end of each month.

What’s in the WIP?

A little bit of sewing – a project pouch for Deb (her wonderful write up of Unwind is on her blog here.

A new (extra glamorous) shawl design for the July pattern Dream Big Collection - currently being test knit.

Unwind Brighton Recap

I attended Unwind Brighton a couple of weeks ago.

Highlights included:

The weather and location in and around the Brighton Dome. It was sunny and being by the seaside felt like being on holiday.

Meeting people was a major highlight. I caught up with some good friends from my knitting group and people I knew online including podcast listeners and new friends. I also spoke to a couple of knitting celebrities including the lovely Joji Locatelli.

My two classes with Amy Hendrix of MadelineTosh and Åsa Tricosa who is a very talented designer.

Podcaster meetup

Here is a very cheery gang of UK podcasters and thanks to one of my lovely listeners Chloe for this photo!

Unwind Brighton

Casting on Pebble Beach in the Pavilion Gardens

We had a lovely spot under the trees and a group of us gathered and started our Pebble Beach shawls.

I cast on mine using some divine Skein Australia Merino Cashmere in the Sea Salt colourway.

Thank you to suddgummi, littleyellowuke, lumpyjumperlady, ruthrabbit, aspellofwinter, amaknitter, snailgarden, tinkhickman for joining us in the gardens.

Unwind Brighton Pebble Beach Cast On

The Marketplace

Curious Handmade shawls at Juno and Kettle

I was very honoured to have my shawls displayed on the stands of two brilliant UK indie dyers, Juno Fibre Arts and Kettle Yarn Co.

True Brit Knits

Eden Cottage Yarns

Juno Fibre Arts

Kettle Yarn Co

Thank you SO much to the brilliant Dani and her fabulous team for putting on such a wonderful fibre event in Brighton.

Knit Along Updates

Velvet Rose Shawl KAL

Going until 8 August

Sponsored by the Curious Stash with a skein of Wollmeise lace.

Prize for randomly selected FO

Pebble Beach Shawlette KAL

Sponsored by Kettle Yarn Co and the Curious stash

Prizes for:

Randomly selected FO

Curious Handmade Favourite FO

Social Media Maven #pebblebeachKAL

Curious Collective DKAL

Voting is live for Week 4: What border do you want on the shawl?

Sponsored by Juno Fibre Arts

I will announce more details about the knit along segment of this project next week.

Let’s just say – there are going to be Tribes and its going to be awesome!!

You can buy the pattern here

On holidays in Gascony

This episode is recorded in Gascony, France where I’m on holidays with my family and wonderful knitting friend Loba. (she is also a designer and has a super cute kids pattern in Arimisu that featured on last week’s episode – it is a small knitting world!!)

Sunflowers Gascony France

Have an awesome week!!

Velvet Rose Border

For the voting this week you can decide what border the shawl will have.

There are many different options available to beautifully finish a shawl and I have chosen some of my favourites for the poll this week.

Here are the choices and I’ve included links to where I’ve used the option on other designs.

Garter border with a plain border like on the Red Robin Shawl.

Picot bind off. This is one of my favourites that I’ve used on Radiance, Afternoon Tea, Glitz at the Ritz and Pebble Beach.

Lacey border – this is a beautiful option and I’ve used it on Odessa and a variation on the Frangipani Shawl.

An elegant Ribbed border like on Fireflies Rising.

Finally a ruffled border like Radiance and Elemental Things.

What is your favourite border? Vote and add your comments below!


While others may follow the Royal family in Britain for the fashions of the princess of the day, I have a slightly different angle. Rather than being concerned with whether Kate is wearing McQueen or Whistles, I’m wondering whether Prince George’s cute name jumper is hand or machine knit.

It started me thinking about knitting and the Royal family and I discovered some nuggets of interesting knitting (and knitwear) history to share with you here to mark Prince George’s first birthday on 22 July.

1. The “George” powder blue cashmere sweater was gifted to the prince’s proud Granddad  by Royal Warrant holders (and makers of Prince Charles’ socks) Corgi a Welsh knitwear company.

2. Another popular knitted item “worn” by little George was the shawl he was wrapped in for going home from hospital. This shawl was also a machine knit, by GH Hurt & Son, identical to the one his Dad was wrapped in for the same occasion (according to my reputable source, The Daily Mail).

3. Neither of these items matched the knitting copycat frenzy caused the by Kate’s green ruffle shawl from Couture Candy. It’s sold out, so if you want one its probably a nice thing to have the knitting skills to make it yourself. In 100% cashmere please! There are several patterns on Ravelry – just search “Kate’s shawl” or “Middleton shawl” and take your pick. There is also a Ravelry group dedicated to this iconic accessory.

4. The above examples aren’t the first time Royal knit wear inspired a knitting trend. Back in 1921 the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VIII wore fair isle vests and set knitters off to puzzling over their colour palettes everywhere.

5. Now for an item that was actually hand knit with incredible skill, is the gift to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate the birth of Prince George from New Zealand. It is a delicate lace shawl, designed by Margaret Stove, and spun and knitted by Cynthia Read. After looking at photos of the shawl its not surprising that this was Cynthia’s comment on finishing it: ”Oh the relief, it’s wonderful,” she said. “I had a nice lie down, it was lovely to get it finished.”. The pattern is Filmy Fern and available in Margaret Stove’s book Wrapped in Lace: Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World.

And apparently both Queen Victoria, the Queen Mum and Queen Elizabeth all knit, so its not just us common folk who have the joy (embarrassment?) of wearing those slightly itchy, somewhat wonky hand knitted sweaters made by family members with much love, but not worn much after the age of four or five when autonomy and fashion sense kicks in. Although if it were to be knit in 100% cashmere…..

This week we are going to decide on the shape of the shawl.

I have given you a choice of four basic shapes, Triangle, Crescent, Rectangle, Semicircle. Within those broad shapes there are a lot of possible variations. For example triangular can be regular, wide, rounded – there are really a lot of possibilities.

If you have other ideas that you want to expand on, please add them in the blog comments.

I will close the poll at midnight Thursday 24 July (GMT).

I know that trying to choose from the delectable colours of Juno Alice last week was difficult for some of us, so I’m very excited to see what you choose this week!

So go ahead, vote, comment, share with your friends!

You can join in at any time!

The pattern is available here (the earlier you buy it the lower the price!)

Have your say in the Curious Collective 2014 shawl design here!


 

Play

Curious Handmade Podcast Episode 35 Amirisu

I have a wonderful guest interview for you this week with Meri Tanaka of Amirisu magazine from Japan. This is the last in my series of interviews from Squam.

I’m HellsBells on Ravelry, and CuriousHandmade on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Thank you to my show sponsor:

Juno Fibre Arts is an artisan yarn and fibre company producing a unique hand dyed collection of yarns and spinning fibres for handknits, spinning, felting and weaving. The Juno studio is located in the grounds of an old, working farm in rural Devon, surrounded by British countryside and the range draws inspiration from its stunning pastoral setting.

Juno yarn is dyed in small and exclusive batches and is available in limited editions on the Juno Arts Etsy shop so look out for the monthly shop updates towards the end of each month.

Interview with Meri Tanaka, co-founder of Amirisu Magazine

Meri Tanaka together with her business partner Tokuko Ochiai are the founders and editors of Amirisu magazine.

Tokuko also has some stunning knitting designs available on Ravelry including the Yane sweater in BT Wool People 7.

Here are some photos of Meri and Tokuko enjoying Squam and the cover of their latest issue of Amirisu.

Meri Tanaka and Tokuko Ochiai Amirisu

Meri Tanaka and Tokuko Ochiai Amirisu

Meri Tanaka and Tokuko Ochiai Amirisu

amirisu4

Squam Lake

Events

Curious Collective DKAL

Pebble Beach KAL

#pebblebeachKAL

Pebble Beach Shawlette Curious Handmade

Pebble Beach is NOW AVAILABLE and is 25% OFF for TODAY ONLY 14 July 2014 as a launch special!

 

This design was the winner of the Unwind Brighton design competition and was published in the event programme on the weekend.

It is now available to everyone on Ravelry.

Pebble Beach at Kettle Yarn Co

Pebble Beach Shawlette is a light crescent shaped accessory, perfect for keeping off chilly sea breezes while at the beach. This accessory is knit with one skein of luxury sock yarn and is the perfect travel and holiday knitting project.

A simple yet effective lace pattern means this project can be packed alongside your craft magazines and chick-lit beach reading. It drapes beautifully across the shoulders and the picot bind off gives a polished finish like the stones on Brighton Beach.

Pebble Beach cast on

We had a lovely time casting on the shawl at Brighton in the gardens.

Lotta in Pebble Beach

Thank you so much to my lovely test knitters Tinkhickman, Lotusen and GingerLucy!!

You can join in the knit along on the Curious Handmade Ravelry board and there are some LOVELY prizes. More on that soon!

Curious Collective 2014The Curious Collective Shawl Project is generously being sponsored by Juno Fibre Arts again this year.

I will be knitting the knitting the shawl in the exquisite Juno Alice sock (70% Baby Alpaca 20% Silk 10% Cashmere) and this week you get to decide on the colour combination for the sample.

Juno yarns are hand dyed by Asti Grafham in her studio in Devon and the colours are absolutely luminous. I have now used Juno Alice for Glitz at the Ritz, Curious Collective Shawl 2013 and Frangipani Shawl and it without a doubt my favourite yarn for knitting shawls.

Here are the colour combinations to choose from for this week’s poll. I’ve included larger pictures here and then smaller images in the poll itself.

These combinations have been carefully selected by Asti and I in collaboration.

The process basically went along the lines of Asti sending me a gorgeously edited selection of combinations to choose from and several days of me trying to narrow the selection down to five. Me, utterly unable to choose and Asti stepping in to help with the final decision!

So what is your favourite for the Curious Collective 2014 shawl?

Juno Alice ethereal and cherry blossom

Juno Alice in
Ethereal and Cherry Blossom

Juno Alice in gunmetal and stone

Juno Alice in Gunmetal and Stone

Juno Alice in Ink Blot and Oyster

Juno Alice in Ink Blot and Oyster

Juno Alice in Moss and Goldmine

Juno Alice in Moss and Goldmine

Juno Alice in Oyster and Stone

Juno Alice in Oyster and Stone


Curious Collective 2014Well that went quickly!

Thank you to everyone who voted!

It is so exciting to see the votes coming in and people signing up the the Curious Collective Design and Knit Along on the Curious Handmade board on Ravelry.

The results of Week 1 Poll are here and a “combination of lace and textured stitches” is the winner by quite some way.

Curious Collective 2014 Week 1

I am very happy with this result as it is really inspiring me.

I would love any comments from people that voted for the combination about what that means to them. I have some ideas popping into my head and I would be really interested to hear any other thoughts.

You can buy the “future” pattern on Ravelry here

I’m about to post next week’s poll on the blog with some delicious eye candy!

Play

Curious Handmade Podcast 34

Today I’m catching up with What’s in the WIP, Events and knit along news. I’ve launched a new design, the Georgie Baby Blanket as part of the Dream Big collection and am getting very excited about Unwind Brighton happening this weekend.

Thank you to my show sponsor:

Juno Fibre Arts is an artisan yarn and fibre company producing a unique hand dyed collection of yarns and spinning fibres for handknits, spinning, felting and weaving. The Juno studio is located in the grounds of an old, working farm in rural Devon, surrounded by British countryside and the range draws inspiration from its stunning pastoral setting.

Juno yarn is dyed in small and exclusive batches and is available in limited editions on the Juno Arts Etsy shop so look out for the monthly shop updates towards the end of each month.

What’s in the WIP

Custom Fit Pullover

Custom Fit - ”CustomFit makes custom patterns for hand-knit sweaters. It takes your choices, your body, and your hand-knit fabric and produces a pattern perfectly suited to you.”

I haven’t cast on this yet but have been stalking Custom Fit projects.

Erin and Jessica mention Custom Fit in their recent Double Knit episode 93

I’m keen to delve more into Amy Herzog’s Knit to Flatter course on Craftsy

and join in with the Knitting Pipeline Craftsy KAL.

Amy Herzog Knit to Flatter Craftsy Course

(Please note – I am a Craftsy Affiliate and the above is an affiliate link)

Georgie Baby Blanket

The Georgie Baby Blanket is the June pattern for the Dream Big collection and was released this week.

Georgie is an easy baby blanket or throw in a fresh modern style.

You can buy it on Ravelry here.

Georgie Baby Blanket by Curious Handmade

Curious Collective DKAL

Week 1 of the Curious Collective 2014 is now live.

Join in the DKAL on the Curious Handmade Ravelry board here.

You can buy the pattern here:

The yarn for the Curious Collective 2014 shawl is Juno Fibre Arts Alice sock weight.

Unwind Brighton – this weekend!

Pebble Beach Shawlette

We will be kicking off the KAL for the Pebble Beach shawlette at Brighton so bring some 4mm (US 6) needles along.

Juno Fibre Arts

Juno Fibre Arts will also be in the marketplace and I will have a “mini trunk show” at the stand of my designs knit in Juno Fibre Arts yarn which are Fireflies Rising Shawlette,Curious Collective ShawlFrangipani Shawl and Glitz at the Ritz.  I will also be at the Juno Fibre Arts stand between 3-4pm on Saturday afternoon to chat with anyone who has questions about the designs.

Podcast meetup

There will be a podcaster meetup at 1pm on Saturday at the Mezzanine level of the Cafe at the Brighton Dome. Just next to the Corn Exchange where the Marketplace is. Come along and say hi!

Velvet Rose KAL

The Velvet Rose shawl KAL has been extended until 8 August – another three weeks to knit this shawl and be in the running to win a gorgeous skein of Wollmeise Lacegarn!!

Play the Curious Handmade Instagram game – take a picture of where you are listening to the podcast, or what you are knitting and tag me with #curioushandmadepodcast