Author: Shinybees

Award-Winning Podcaster | Online Business Owner | Community Builder

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!

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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 89: Paula Abdul Would Be Proud

Image Details: Los Angeles by Wilson Loo Kok Lee, via Flickr.

Image Details: Los Angeles by Wilson Loo Kok Lee, via Flickr.

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Intro

This wee’s episode is a little later than planned but here nonetheless. Paula Abdul discussed the concept of two steps forward and two back. If you’ve not heard ‘Opposites Attract’ for a while, I bring it to you for your listening delight.

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Episode 88: The Wool Kitchen – An Interview with Helen Reed

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Intro

A short intro this week as the old croaky voice is threatening a return. This week I am thrilled to bring you the other half of my Best in Show EYF winning double act – Helen from The Wool Kitchen. She is from the wrong side of the Pennines but a good Northener nonetheless and is responsible for my breaking of the ‘no 4 ply purchasing’ self inflicted rule for EYF. Her love of colour gets me every time…

Interview

Helen follows the classic pattern of a knitter – her mum taught her all she knows! She was a knitter, mainly of scarves, until her first pregnancy, when she started to knit clothes for the impending arrival. It was during this time that she realised she could read patterns and immediately have the 3D image of what it could be. Her love of bright colours and her interest in how a piece of string can be manipulated into different patterns and paired with other colours is what fuelled her desire to dye. She is a self confessed geek.

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Episode 87: Travelknitter- An Interview with Larissa

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Intro

I hope we are all enjoying the change in weather…she says whilst looking at today’s snow. Before we get going I will take the opportunity to let you all know that you can still join the #RewindKAL. There is no pressure, you can join in with whatever you choose and just take your time, Lord knows that I am. I am also excited to say that I am on the wonderful Yarn in The City podcast this week with Rachel and Allison. I like a little mini enabling, so if you haven’t heard them before but you like this show I’m sure you’ll appreciate them too. You may remember an interview they did on the show in July last year.

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Episode 86: Knitting on a Train

Train carriage to add to the bunting train, by the Craftivist Collective, via Flickr

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Intro

There can be no escaping EYF chat this week, though there is no rubbing noses in it, I promise. Key points include attending the pub with some podcast Patrons – the benefits are endless folks, get involved. A big thank you to everyone who brought cards and gifts for me, it really blew me away. Special mention to Jenny, Kate and Hannah – a bee cake – Perfect! Still, it’s not a watch… I also thoroughly enjoyed hosting my session on Friday and will be doing a repeat on Thursday at 8. It is my first official webinar and if you’d like to be involved please sign up to the mailing list so I can send you the replay. There will be workshop notes available too. It is entitled ‘How to create a Content Calendar for your Blog or Podcast (and still have time to knit)’.

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Episode 85: The Little Grey Girl – An Interview with Gemma Dudley

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Intro

Just a short intro this week, I’m saving myself for an epic catch up and lots of shout outs next week after EYF. Which will come up lots this week as it’s very nearly here. In that vein I am rekindling my love affair with Periscope so if you cant be at EYF add me on there – Shinybees – and I will take you along with me! I will be hosting a free session at Edinburgh Yarn Festival on creating a content calendar for your blog or podcast in the Podcast Lounge on Friday 18th March at 2pm. Come and see me to get sweeties there, as it’s my birthday. If you’re not going, but would like to attend the free replay of this session, along with the Q&A I am running on Saturday at 2pm, they will be taking place the week after Edinburgh Yarn Festival. To receive your invite to these free online webinars, join this mailing list.

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Episode 84: Yarns From The Plain – An Interview with Nic Rudd

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Intro

This week we’re joined by the wonderful Nic Rudd of Yarns From The Plain, purveyor of lovely British hand dyed yarns and voice of the Yarns From The Plain podcast.

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