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

Georgie Baby Blanket

The Georgie Baby Blanket is the June design for the Dream Big Collection.

I’m having a launch sale of 75% off for TODAY ONLY!

You can buy the pattern on Ravelry here (and the discount will be automatically applied during the sale period)

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

The blanket is constructed by working the body section in one piece, then the border is picked up and knit in the round.

Georgie Baby Blanket by Helen Stewart

Is it just me, or does it seem like it is “baby season” at the moment? I seem to have a lot of friends expecting just now. Now, I am certainly not complaining about this joyful state of affairs!

When I was expecting my first baby I spent a lot of time daydreaming about the perfect nursery. I poured over magazines and pinned lots of pictures of cots and other cute baby things.

Of course the question of what I was going to knit for the new baby was central to my perfectly kitted out baby fantasies.

I was obsessed with the Skandi look, with its clean lines and bright modern colours. But I really struggled to find knitting patterns in this style. What baby blanket would perfectly match my dream Stokke cot?

Since then, I have decided that a baby blanket is the perfect new baby gift. You don’t have to worry about fit and are therefore safe in the knowledge that (with a bit of care on the part of the recipient) it will last for many years. It may even become a much loved “blankie” essential for bedtime comfort.

Georgie Baby Blanket by Curious Handmade

5 great things about the Georgie pattern:

  • You can have fun choosing colour combinations to suit the new arrival (or their parents!).
  • It’s a fun, bright, unisex design that will suit little princes or princesses alike.
  • The design is graphic and eye-catching, but really easy and relaxing to knit.
  • The striped pattern is created by using slipped stitches so you are only ever knitting with one colour at a time.
  • The sample is knit in sport weight yarn but it would also be well suited to DK or worsted weight yarn.

Georgie Baby Blanket by Curious Handmade

Curious Collective 2014

Welcome to the second annual Curious Collective Shawl Design and Knit Along (DKAL) Project!

Join the collective to have your say in my next shawl design!

Starting 5 July 2014, you can join in here to vote in this choose-your-own-shawl adventure to help design the next Curious Collective shawl.

Each week there will be a vote to make choices regarding various design aspects of the shawl.

When all the votes are in and design choices made, I will finalise the design, write it up and update this file so you will have the full pattern.

Then the knit along will begin!

I am collaborating with Juno Fibre Arts for this project again, and the yarn for this shawl will be the delectable Juno Alice.

Important! Make sure you sign up to my newsletter Curious Yarns to make sure you don’t miss any votes or announcements throughout the project.

You can buy the Curious Collective 2014 pattern now on Ravelry for the special early adopter price of just £1.49!

VOTE NOW! 

 


Play

Curious Handmade Podcast

I have a very special guest on the show today, Jared Flood founder of Brooklyn Tweed.

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

Events

Unwind Brighton, 12 – 13 July 2014

The Pebble Beach Shawlette will be published in the Unwind Brighton programme for attendees and on Ravelry on 14 July 2014.

The Pebble Beach Shawlette Knit Along details are now up on the Curious Handmade board on Ravelry. You can sign up now and see the categories for prizes.

#PebbleBeachKAL

Podcast meetup: 1pm Saturday at the Cafe (Mezzanine level) at the Brighton Dome next the Corn Exchange where the Marketplace is.

Juno Fibre Arts “mini trunk show”:  you will be able to see my shawls designed in Juno Alice at the JFA stall in the marketplace.

Dream Big Collection

The next pattern in the collection, the Georgie Baby Blanket will be released soon!

Curious Collective 2014

The Curious Collective Design and Knit Along (DKAL) is back again this year!

I’ll be asking YOU for your input into my next design – via a series of polls on the blog.

The first poll will be released this weekend.

Interview with Jared Flood, founder of Brooklyn Tweed at Squam

I recently attended the Squam Art Workshops Spring sessions in New Hampshire and was lucky enough to catch “knitter in residence” Jared Flood for a chat on the deck of one of the cabins at Squam Lake.

Brooklyn Tweed yarn

Jared Flood is a knitwear designer, photographer, and founder of Brooklyn Tweed. From what started as a blog, recording his photography and knitting projects to the design house and yarn manufacturer that it is today – Jared and his company Brooklyn Tweed have been on an amazing trip and today Jared shares some wonderful stories about that journey, including the inside story about developing the Brooklyn Tweed yarn lines Shelter and Loft, what inspires his designs and a little sneak peek as to what is coming up in the future for Brooklyn Tweed.

Jared Flood and Helen Stewart

Brooklyn Tweed

BT Kids

Petal – lace cardigan with round yoke - by Michele Wang

Berenice – short-sleeved lace & cable top - by Julie Hoover

I love this short video of behind the scenes of the BT Kids photoshoot!

Jared Flood Brooklyn Tweed at Squam

Play the instagram game!

Take a picture of where you are listening to the podcast or what you are knitting and tag me @CuriousHandmade!

#curioushandmadepodcast