Ep 132 – Stolen Stitches with Carol Feller

Carol Feller joins me on the show this week, sharing her journey into knitwear design. Carol Feller ( is a designer, teacher, and author living in Cork, Ireland. She has published almost 270 patterns and 7 books, including Short Row Knits (Pottercraft) and Contemporary Irish Knits (Wiley), and is a popular instructor on with almost 400,000 students. She regularly teaches at yarn shops, fibre festivals, knitting retreats and tours, covering a wide variety of basic and advanced skills including chart reading, garment shaping, short rows, cables, and colourwork. Carol first learned to knit in primary school, and there is a strong history of crafting in her family. In university, she trained as a textile artist, and then as a structural engineer. Both of these backgrounds influence her work, which uses innovative construction methods to create well-shaped and flattering objects that are intuitive and enjoyable to knit, and that make the most out of carefully chosen yarns. She strives to help knitters create beautiful and unique products that they will love to use.

Getting into Knitting

Carol came back to knitting after children, having first learned as a child. In this episode, she mentions how her aunt had imported yarn into Dublin when she was young, and then how she had found her way back into knitting. This Is Knit, a knitting shop in Dublin, played a part in this. Carol first began to experiment with her knitting, before moving into full on designing, with her first published pattern in Knitty coming around a year after she started.

Image Copyright Joseph Feller

Online Business in the Days of Dial Up

Carol’s first online business was a forum, during the days of dial up Internet, so she has seen platforms and social media apps come and go. Although the first business was not knitting related, she learned a great deal from the experience, which she put into good use in the design business. She credits Ravelry with helping her to get her patterns out into the world initially, although she does host and see patterns, books and yarn through her own site, Stolen Stitches.

Teaching Knitting

Carol shares her knowledge with regards to teaching in this episode, particularly the use of knitalongs to motivate and teach people how to create specific objects. They can be especially useful when the garment has unusual construction, and Carol advocates a phased approach to releasing the clues/pattern so that the slower knitters have more chance to keep up. This staggered release usually means that the more experienced knitters tend to help the newer ones, which means they don’t feel left behind, and everyone has more fun moving through the pattern as a team.

Image Copyright Joseph Feller

Design as Art and Science

Carol draws upon her background as a textile artist and a structural engineer in creating her designs, which leads to interesting patterns that are fun to knit and great to wear.

Travel and Teaching

Carol travels and teaches worldwide, as well as hosting retreats and workshops more locally with Irish Tourism. She will be hosting retreats in Ireland in 2019, with workshops at her new studio space in Cork.

She is also hosting a number of knitalongs this year for both garments and accessories, with the first one, the Ice Cloud MKAL, starting in January.

Where to find Carol Feller online

You can find all the links for Carol at Stolen Stitches and her blog at Carol Feller.

Music by Adam and the Walter Boys with ‘I Need a Drink’ available via iTunes.

Ep 131 – How To Get The Most From A Knitting Show

Got yarn show plans for 2019? Are you a show veteran? or have you never been to a show? Somewhere in between?

In this episode I share some top tips for getting the most out of attending yarn shows, including where to find which ones are happening. Looking at why you want to attend (social, shopping, work or a mixture) can help you to narrow down the wide range of options available these days, and ensure you get the best experience. Also, we revisit episode 129, and I share some feedback from the community abut which knitting trends they expect to see in 2019.

Volt Sweater by Sue Stratford. Image Copyright Sue Stratford. Pattern available from Ravelry.

Community Predictions on Knitting Trends for 2019

The Shinybees Podcast Community has spoken and here are some of the suggested predictions for 2019.

Intarsia will make a comeback. Looking at the popularity of the Volt sweatshirt by Sue Stratford, people are willing to knit the technique.

Art yarn may become more popular along with the continued interest in weaving and spinning.

The triangular shape of shawls will give way to longer scarves and lacy stoles.

Mini skeins will continue to increase in popularity. Patterns such as Rainbow Relay by Jane Murison which make use of mini skein sets will be more popular as a result.

There will be a trend towards less fussy and complicated projects and simpler techniques (so intarsia won’t be a thing after all!)

Much more will be made of the connection between knitting (and making in general) and wellbeing.

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed ideas to the trend predictions. If you would like to add your thoughts, you can do so in the comments at episode 129.

Bilum Yarns Gradients

Where to Find a List of Yarn Shows and Yarn Events

For a UK-only list, check out Travelknitter’s annual UK yarn show guide for 2019. For a comprehensive list of worldwide shows and events, Clara Parkes’ Knitters’ Review has a huge number of options.

How to Choose Which Yarn Shows to Attend

There is a plethora of yarn related events to attend both domestically and worldwide these days, so there’s no need to feel that you are missing out if you don’t go to every single one. Depending on the length and the distance, attending shows can be a costly exercise, so it pays to think carefully about which ones are worth your while to go to.

The best way is to decide whether you are looking to go for shopping reasons, social interaction, work or a combination. This is because different shows offer different amounts of each of these things, so you’ll be able to choose one that is most likely to meet your needs, instead of just choosing one due to FOMO.

Tips for Shopping at a Yarn Show

On the shopping side, it’s worth saving up if possible, so you have a kitty of money to spend at the show. This can help with planning and budgeting. Some people collect £2 coins all year for instance. Make a list of what you want to make, and consult the stash to see where the gaps are. Once you know what the requirements are, make a list of what you need to get in terms of yardages and weights. This will mean you don’t need to find wifi to look it up at a busy show stand, and can have the information easily to hand.

Having a priority route planned out can help with avoiding distractions. Check out the guide online in advance of the event, so you know where you need to go, and in what order. This means you are less likely to succumb to random purchases, and can ensure you get what you need, and see the vendors you definitely want to see.

Hanging out with Gill of Mina Loves Designs at Woollinn

Tips for Socialising at a Yarn Show

On the social side, make sure you have made firm plans with anyone you definitely want to see. If you say you will ‘see them there’ there is every chance you won’t, because it is busy and full of yarn fumes. Fit in coffee breaks with catch ups and save money by getting a group Airbnb if staying over.

If your budget is a little bigger, you might decide to travel to a show in Europe, and stay only for the day or just one night, as an alternative to staying at a longer UK show, so you get a different experience.

Don’t be afraid to leave the venue to eat and have drinks with people you wish to see. Event catering can be very hit and miss, and the queues can be long with limited seating. Take advantage of being in a new area to look up good local cafes and pubs and go there instead. This will give you some quieter time away from the hubbub of the show, and make having a relaxed catch up that much easier. Plus, you never know, you may discover a gem of a place you will return to next time!

Don’t forget to check if your favourite podcaster is hosting a meetup. This is a great way to say hi in person, and to meet other people you may have been chatting to through the show.

Case of goodness at the Travelknitter/Woolkitchen stall

General Tips For Attending a Yarn Show

Be a toddler. Take snacks and drinks and go to the toilet way before you think you need to!

Make use of the bag check to shed extra baggage and layers, so you don’t get too overheated and have your hands free to shop or knit.

Layering is advisable. Some venues (especially agricultural ones) vary wildly in temperature, so whilst it is tempting to wear every piece of knitwear you own (and why not?) you might need to consider some lighter garments so you can remain comfortable.

Take plenty of extra totes or bags for purchases. It’s better for the environment and avoids taking paper bags, which can be more fragile, especially in crowds.

Lastly and most importantly, ensure you pack an appropriately easy project to work on, such as Louise Tilbrook’s Fuss Free Festival Shawl or some vanilla socks.

What Do You Think?

Do you have any top tips for attending yarn shows? I’d love to hear them! Leave them in the comments below, or head over to the Shinybees community and let me know what you think there.

Music for this episode by Adam and the Walter Boys with ‘I Need a Drink’ with kind permission.

Ep130 – Daria Rakowski of Cloud 9 Fiberworks

Daria Rakowski is our guest today to discuss widely varying subjects from eyelash yarn merkins(!) to an overview of the Canadian yarn industry.

Image Copyright Daria Rakowski

Cloud 9 Fiberworks

Daria is the creative genius behind Cloud 9 Fiberworks, and is based in Winnipeg in Canada. Originally, she indulged in her love of yarn as a child. She would often be found under the table in her Aunt’s yarn shop in Winnipeg, untangling balls of yarn. She’s still an aficionado of vintage yarns from the period. Daria has a full time job, and produces hand dyed yarns and fibre as a side business.

From here, we entered a rather sinister rabbit hole, prompted entirely by the broaching of the subject of eyelash yarn. Somehow, we got through the uses of eyelash yarn very quickly. First up, was the knitted tinsel/eyelash yarn hedgehog. There are many patterns for knitted hedgehogs utilising the raw texture of eyelash yarn on Ravelry. However, the pattern I was referring to is by King Cole and features chunky tinsel spikes.

I can confirm there are no patterns for merkins whatsoever on Ravelry. Tinsel/eyelash or otherwise.

Image Copyright Daria Rakowski.

Inspiration for Hand Dyed Yarn Colourways

Daria takes her inspiration from many places. A lot of her yarns have a nod to fantasy and sci fi (with Star Trek and Harry Potter being two of the bigger influences). She also draws on random ideas, such as suggestions from customers or other inspiration.

Image Copyright Daria Rakowski

The Canadian Hand Dyed Yarn Scene

We discussed the Canadian hand dyed yarn market at depth, with regard to what is available to dye onto both commercially and as custom spins. The mills in Canada are few and even fewer are capable of handling long staple fibres. Although there is a great climate for growing wool and fibre in the country, it doesn’t necessarily translate to the ability to process these fibres. Also, the market is split into little ‘islands’ – there is so much geographical distance between groups, that it can be hard to both find breed yarns to try and be brave enough to do it.

Custom Blend Yarns

Daria had her own yarn commissioned which was a blend of merino, Shetland and Gotland from local farmers, into a singles, fingering weight yarn.

Image Copyright Daria Rakowski

Where Can You Find Cloud 9 Fireworks?


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Ep129 – Knitting Trends for 2019

Five Knitting Trends for 2019

What will be the five big trends for knitting in 2019?

In this episode I share what I think will be the five top trends for the hand knitting world in 2019.

Based on what has gone prior and general observation of content and social media, I have picked out the following as things to watch.

1) Intarsia

We’ve seen brioche come and get overcooked. Twenty-eighteen was definitely the year of the colour work yoked sweater. Intarsia is the next logical step in this progression for me. As certain techniques get more popular and more patterns become available, what was once seen as a ‘tricky’ technique, starts to feel more achievable. The more mainstream that designs using these techniques become, the more people try them and it becomes a feedback loop.

The yoked sweater trend has been paralleled on the High Street in the UK, along with a lot of intarsia designs, which haven’t (as yet) been seen as widely in hand knitting indie patterns. I think that will change in 2019.

Bonus: Beads will be big in 2020/1 I reckon.

2) More Commercial Yarns

People will be combining hand dyed with more off-the-shelf, mass produced yarns in classic palettes and colours to tone down the speckled yarn crazy. The popularity of wildly patterned yarns for the past 12-24 months has left a lot of people with yarns that are hard to use or match up with each other. Couple this with economic uncertainty over the political situation and reports of reduced consumer spending running up to Christmas, I believe knitters will turn to more affordable (if less exciting) mass produced yarns.

Holiday knitting stash

3) More Emphasis on Knitting What You Have

To be clear, I’m not talking about stashing down or cold sheeping necessarily (they get done and abandoned every year). Rather, it’s a growing awareness of impact and sustainability in general. The mainstream media has had a lot of coverage in 2018 regarding single use plastics, sustainability and environmental impact. Lots of people are actively seeking to reduce the waste they produce, via reusable products, making do and mending and minimising food waste. This will expand to knitting and encourage people to use what they have over wanton procurement.

4) Purchasing One-Offs

The buying will continue at a lower rate than previously. Personally, I think consumers will focus more on the luxury, one-off and single farm type yarns that are special, over mass buying of run-of-the-mill yarns. Those who have focused on building a strong brand will be the winners in 2019. This will be especially so for those who have focused on the sustainability angle previously.

5) The Death of the Shawl

I think the one skein shawl dying a death for a long time, since its height of popularity in the first half of the decade. Firstly, there are too many patterns. Secondly, people have just knitted too many of them. Additionally, looking at the top name designers, very few, if any, are producing single skein shawl patterns. There is a definite shift towards garments and bigger shawls that use 2, 3 or many skeins in one design.

You only need to look at the popularity of the fade designs, multitude of brioche patterns and marled knitting to see people are embracing using multiple skeins in designs and their choice of knitting patterns. This means there will be less demand for the one skein shawl.

What are your predictions for 2019?

What are your predictions for 2019? I’d love to know!

Ep 128 – Planning a Year of Knitting

Do You Plan Your 2019 Knitting?

It’s always a popular time to plan your projects for the coming new year, but do you really need to?


Are you taking part in this project? It’s an ongoing challenge where you choose 9 projects to make in 2019 and then review your progress at the end of the year. It’s a fun approach to pushing yourself creatively through the year. It also encourages you to think about what you would like to add to your wardrobe. I won’t be doing Make9in2019 next year (spoiler) bout I will be using other people’s ideas for that project as inspiration for what I could consider.

I feel a year long challenge is too long and I don’t want to feel too hemmed in creatively by projects I already chose. As an alternative, you could consider leaving it a little more open. You could say you are doing a particular jumper pattern, but leave the rest as 2 pairs of socks, 2 shawls etc then you can change as you see fit.

Holiday knitting stash

Shinybees On Tour

The podcast will be going on tour soon and that has prompted thoughts in terms of what to take with me. As it’s going to be a little longer than the average holiday, more consideration in terms of planning is needed. This episode is a discussion around the process I’m in currently in terms of trying to work out what is essential and desirable when changing continents.

Having moved and been separated from my stash once before, I am only too well aware of the mojo effects that can result.

Susan Crawford Vintage Exclena DK

I opted for some nice new British yarn and a new cast on as a going away treat. This was some Susan Crawford Vintage Excelana DK in the colours Cornflower and Eau de Nil and the pattern, Compass, is from Strange Brew by Tin Can Knits.

Join the Community

What are your thoughts on planning your knitting? I’d love to hear! Come and join us in the community and meet other listeners.

Ep127 – Christmas Jumpers

Christmas Jumpers

Love them or hate them, Christmas Jumpers are everywhere at this time of year.

Christmas Jumper Day is 14th December and in today’s episode, I’m running through your different options when it comes to embracing this staple of the festive season.

Prompted by a social media post from @fash_rev about the Brits’ obsession with the Christmas Jumper. Did you know that we will spend in excess of £220 MILLION on Christmas Jumpers this year?

A quarter of which will end up in the bin?

Charity shops are saying they are overflowing with Christmas jumpers. So, for our first option for acquiring a festive sweater is to go to your local charity shop and get your jumper from them. That way, charity wins twice!

Use a British (or local) Knitted Christmas Jumper manufacturer

The next option is to consider an onshore supplier for your Christmas jumper. Kate Hills of the Make It British podcast interviewed Bhavik Master, who runs a family knitwear factory in Leicester. They manufacture Christmas jumpers here in the UK. They are acrylic, but at least they are local and they have a good range of designs, including some that are on the nordic end of the festive spectrum. My favourites of these are the Classic Fair Isle and the Penguin Fair Isle design. You can find these at and you can hear the full story at

Knit Your Own Christmas Jumper

Your gold plated solution, is, of course, to knit your own jumper that you can wear for the next 30 years, just like Uncle Robert. I’ve a selection of my favourite 6 knitting and 1 crochet patterns to share with you.

Santa on a Cute Unicorn by Blonde Moments. Image Copyright Blonde Moments .

Christmas Jumper Knitting Pattern Ideas

1) Anything by Blonde Moments

This designer has over 140 patterns available, including a sizable selection of novelty Christmas designs. If you’re not in the market for a Christmas design, you can check out the unicorn and German Shepherd Dog inspired patterns.

If you are in the mood for Christmas wear, you can find any number of comic-style, cheesy colourwork patterns to suit your mood, covering every aspect of festive fun. Some stand-out designs include one of Father Christmas taking a dump down the chimney, one showing him pulling a moonie with the caption, ‘Bah Humbug’ and one of him flashing from under his red tunic, with only a yellow knitted star to maintain his modesty.

My personal favourite of the lot is Santa on a Cute Unicorn. This DK weight jumper is an intarsia pattern for Santa riding a unicorn.

This pattern is available on Ravelry for £3.60.

Christmas Jumper by Fiona Bennet. Image Copyright Fiona Bennet.

2) Christmas Jumper by Fiona Bennet

This is a cracking free pattern for an aran weight jumper, sized from small to extra large. The design is plain, with a round neck and understated colourwork yoke, featuring one of three motifs. Choose from a Christmas pudding, a snowman or a reindeer to adorn your yoke.

This pattern is free on Ravelry.

Christmas in July by Tanis Lavallee. image Copyright Tanis Lavallee.

Christmas in July by Tanis Lavallee. image Copyright Tanis Lavallee.

3) Christmas in July by Tanis Lavalee

This fingering weight, stranded yoked sweater is an all-year-round suitable piece. The plain, neutral body of the jumper is complimented by a rainbow patterned yoke. You can create your own colour sequence for the yoke, allowing you to use up leftovers or showcase gradients. As it isn’t an obviously festive pattern, you can easily wear this versatile design all year round.

You can buy this pattern on Ravelry for CAN $10.80 (around £6.70)

Christmas Tree Sweater by Ewelina Murach

Christmas Tree Sweater by Ewelina Murach. Image Copyright Ewelina Murach.

4)Christmas Tree Sweater KAL by Ewelina Mirach Designs

This is a lovely, simple, one-colour, 4ply jumper, sized from 2-14 years. The Christmas tree motif is created using different stitches to make the outline of the tree. Bobbles in different colours (or craft pom poms) are used to represent baubles. The overall effect is rather understated and looks a bit Boden-esque.

This pattern is available on Ravelry for £6.

The Perfect Christmas Jumper by Susan Crawford. Image Copyright Susan Crawford.

The Perfect Christmas Jumper by Susan Crawford. Image Copyright Susan Crawford.

5) The Perfect Christmas Jumper by Susan Crawford

Embrace the glamour of the 1940s with this vintage pattern for a classy, puff-sleeved version of the Christmas jumper. With a high round neck and buttoned, back placket detail, it’s a refined option. The red and white colour scheme gives it a classically festive feel. With intarsia and stranded aspects, it has a plenty to keep you interested on the knitting front.

Pair it with the Junior Christmas Jumper or the Junior Christmas Cardigan for a complementary family set.

You can buy this pattern on Ravelry for £6, with the full Vintage Gifts to Knit eBook at £14.

Tinsel Tannenbaum Christmas Jumper by PenniesfromDevon. Image Copyright PenniesfromDevon.

Tinsel Tannenbaum Christmas Jumper by PenniesfromDevon. Image Copyright PenniesfromDevon.

6) Tinsel Tannenbaum Christmas Jumper by Pennies From Devon

How could I not include this awesome crochet pattern? Embracing tinsel yarn to create the tree is a stroke of genius.

This pattern is available from Ravelry at £3.60.

183.5 Season Greetings by Drops Design. Image Copyright Drops Design.

183.5 Season Greetings by Drops Design. Image Copyright Drops Design.

7) 183.5 Seasons Greetings by Drops Design

This free pattern is knitted in DK weight yarn and comes in size S-XXXL. The Nordic pattern extends over the whole garment, neatly matching on the yoke and arms thanks to the seamless construction.

You can find this pattern for free on Ravelry.

You can find the whole collection of pattern suggestions here in my Ravelry queue.

Ep 126 – A Hat For Every Eventuality

Everyone needs more knitted hats in their life, and today I share seven pattern ideas for hats. I’ve been out of knitting sorts lately and attempting a new hat is just the ticket to get back into it.

I’ve gone through a tricky time recently and I wanted to find a way to order my thoughts through the yogic medium of knitting. I was inspired to look at hats as a quick and satisfying project. This would allow the thrill of an FO with minimal commitment of time and effort. Today I’ll share seven different pattern ideas for you if you need a quick and satisfying project.

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Ep 125 – Hawkshaw Sheep with Sue Horn

Sue Horn of Hawkshaw Sheep in the Scottish Borders is our guest on the show today. She shares the ups and downs of being a shepherdess, creating your own yarns and fabrics and farm life.

Ever wondered what it is like to commission your own yarns? Sue shares how she decided to produce yarn, as well as how she went about producing fabric from the yarns.

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Ep 124 – Yarnporium Fun

Yarnporium 2018 is reviewed on this episode of the podcast, where I give you a rundown of the event which took place at Westminster Central Hall in November. Hosted by the fabulous ladies of Yarn in the City, Allison Thistlewood and Rachel Brown, this was a fabulous event which brought together some of the best UK and EU vendors into a glorious venue in Central London for two days of yarny fun.

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Ep 123 – Strange Brew

This week we review the new Tin Can Knits collection – Strange Brew. It’s a knitwear collection that embraces everything colour work for the whole family. There’s some knitty news and an update on School Council gate.

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