Magazines

Episode 90: Curious Handmade- An interview with Helen Stewart

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Intro

So first things first, my mental and yet fabulous (obviously) assistant LJ is running the London marathon this weekend. She has broken her arse as a result of yarn fumes, sort of, so listen in for the full comedy breakdown of the incident. If you should take pity on the poor maniac then you can sponsor her here. As promised here is a little snap of her and what she will look like on the day in case you happen to be around and want to cheer her on in her sorry state! Good luck LJ!

ep90 me

I feel sorry for her already…

Interview

The lovely Helen had a very crafty upbringing in Queensland, complete with Macrame and all. How could she not grow up to be a creative soul? At the age of 25 she upped sticks after catching the travel bug and ended up here in the UK. She began knitting again as she was living in London (and it’s cold innit?) The growth of her hobby began as her friend asked her for a contribution to her pattern book, though it was after the publication of her Afternoon Tea Shawl pattern in Knitty magazine that she began to feel more recognition and believe that this may be something she would like to focus on. After having her second child she wasn’t loving corporate work the same way and wanted something flexible to fit around the children and having them gave her the push she needed to start her own business, something she never dreamt she would do. One of the least likely elements of her business is her podcast, given that she is quite shy. Her husband says it works for her as it creates a community and allows her to talk with people without actually having to meet them. Helen feels it is an excellent springboard into friendships and makes things easier when you do meet face to face. Clearly it is a good thing she took that leap – Helen’s career high is winning the UK Podcast Awards ‘Best Hobby Podcast’ last year.

Afternoon Tea Shawl c) Helen Stewart

Afternoon Tea Shawl c) Helen Stewart

There is no fixed pattern to Helen’s day, other than the drop off, work for 6 manic hours and then pick up – familiar to all us working mums. Given that her business is so varied, with many elements, her days are never the same, though having a podcast to do gives her some structure each week. Posh coffees also have a pivotal role. Another varies aspect of Helen’s life is her creative process. It will often begin with a colourful yarn she finds that sparks her interest and then she will look for a theme, however vague, that she can use to try and tie different pieces together. She likes a good swatch and some designs are quick and easy but some take an entire shawl’s worth of swatching. It can be a time consuming process but, thankfully, one that she greatly enjoys.

With the words ‘no journey is a smooth one’ ringing in her ears Helen gives a cautionary tale of what happens when you don’t allow yourself the time you need. Early in her career she submitted an idea to a magazine with a very tight deadline. It didn’t work as she was inexperienced and ambitious but had a trip planned and due to unforeseen circumstances got held up on the other side of the world. She submitted work that she wasn’t happy with and ended up with it not being published. The message Helen hopes we all get from this is to be patient, respect yourself and your process and give yourself the time you need. An excellent learning experience for all of us, thank you for sharing Helen.

Pebble Beach Shawl c) Helen Stewart

Pebble Beach Shawl c) Helen Stewart

If Helen could go back and talk to her pre-yarny self she would stress the importance of unpicking and fixing your mistakes immediately. It won’t magically disappear by itself and it’s easier to only unpick one row. You also need to get straight back on it, don’t throw it to one side in a hissy fit like I do, basically. One big message from this interview is to be patient. That is the main bit of advice Helen would give someone looking to enter this business world as it takes years to become a success. Since we’re an impatient bunch (sorry, Helen) I asked what’s next for Curious Handmade and was thrilled to hear that there is a new shawl collection in the pipeline that may even become a club. You can find Helen at www.curioushandmade.com and all the wonderful links from there. The podcast is available at Stitcher and Itunes.

Wrap Up

That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!

Episode 81: Re-Rewind

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Intro

This week I follow on from last weeks sing-along with a bit of Craig David, including a quick biograghy (for those who missed that 15 minutes of the noughties in the UK) and an eyebrow homage…

The original…

David does Bieber…

Merrion does David…

I am also giving a gentle reminder to pop along to the Shinybees Podcast Group on Ravelry for the Fish Lips Kiss Heel pattern giveaway. It’s not too late to get in on this Thursdays Patreon virtual knit night, sign up to $5 or more per month and you will be invited to our show and tell and get your wips out. If you love a bit of Swag, get down to the Swagporium and get your hands on an amazing new Barbie carrier, also known as a project bag.

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Episode 79: OwlPrintPanda – An Interview with Amanda B Collins

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Intro

This week I very warmly, if somewhat gruffly, welcome Amanda on to the show for an interview. Having previously enabled you to her new collection I was delighted to see more of her work on the front cover on Knit Now magazine. Enjoy some slight sidelines and finding out more about Amanda, her Fiat and lots of dodgy eyelash yarn chat.

Copyright OwlPrintPanda

Copyright OwlPrintPanda

Interview

We start as we mean to go on with a mildly comedic journey through needle felt, crochet blanket magazines, to Amanda’s discovery of Ravelry and her subsequent adventures with spinning wheels before her hobby becoming a business. The release of her first pattern, and it’s popularity on Ravelry, spurred her on and gave her the encouragement she needed to keep going…mostly in orange. Although it’s not a full time profession for Amanda, it is certainly a big part of her life and slots in at the end of her hard working days as a Doctor.

Copyright OwlPrintPanda

Copyright OwlPrintPanda

 

Amanda talks us through her design process. It mainly involves pinterest boards and a quick swatch, though she is not set in one particular method and enjoys taking a more relaxed and ‘haphazard’ approach. That keeps it from feeling a chore for her and keeps things different. No journey is ever a smooth one but there have been no major lessons or terrible experiences for Amanda, just the usual ‘too much yarn, too little time’ and some problems with the space/time continuum. Perhaps some errors and some questionable taste in hot water bottles, tea cosies and cheap yarn…by both of us…

As Autumn Falls, copyright OwlPrintPanda

As Autumn Falls, copyright OwlPrintPanda

 

Amanda’s highlight is the meeting of the lovely yarny community at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. The realisation that she is a big part of the community and the opportunity to meet some of you lovely lot face to face really pleased her greatly. Amanda also talked honestly about the tremendous excitement at having your first submission accepted and the validation of your work. She is also a lover of Ravelry (who isn’t?) and joins the rest of us in wondering how anyone ever got by in the pre-Ravelry world and serious envy of those who discovered it before. The most valuable lesson – Remember that you do this because you love it, keep loving it.

 

Copyright OwlPrintPanda

Fearlas Mor, Copyright OwlPrintPanda

 

Some controversy – socks in bed? Discuss.

Wrap-Up

That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!

Episode 67: Mo’ Mohair

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Image Details: ‘ull mohair’ by AnnaKika, via Flickr

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Intro

It’s another mohair heavy episode today where we talk about different yarns which contain mohair. There really is something for everyone in terms of taste, spin, weigh and price point, along with some unusual blends to consider.

In news, we bid a fond farewell to the iMake podcast. Martine was the reason I started podcasting and without her help and encouragement, this podcast simply wouldn’t exist.

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Shinybees in The Knitter Magazine

The Knitter Podcast

That’s right! The podcast was recommended in the latest issue of The Knitter. It was a pleasant surprise; I bought the magazine today to get my copy of the sock heel masterclass article by Clare Devine. I spotted the mention as I was flicking through the rest of the magazine, prior to sitting down for detailed reading.

Along with Clare’s brilliant article, there were some lovely sock patterns in this issue in a separate booklet. There is also a great article on visiting Shetland, which is on our to-do list for this summer, so should come in very handy.

If you would like a quick preview of what is in this issue, you can see it on the preview video on YouTube here.

Magazine review: Mollie Makes

I guess it is time for the first magazine review on the blog: Mollie Makes. Unfortunately for me, the lovely Martine from iMake has somewhat beaten me to it, as I have been working on the seemingly endless search to find out whether I can, indeed, take my knitting on the plane. Check out the link above for Martine’s version and read on for mine.

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