Archives For May 2020


Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at

The Curious Handmade family is growing, with a very fuzzy new friend on the way. And so is my garden, and so is my Piosa Cardigan! There’s a lot of exciting stuff to celebrate this week, and I have a fun virtual event to share which includes some of my very favourite yarn shops and some brilliant opportunities to win giveaway prizes.

Show Links:

The Strawberry Thief

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Liberty Fabric

The Handmade Sock Society 1

The Shawl Society 3

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Subpod Compost


A Yarn Story

Emily Foulds

This is Knit

Ginger Twist Studio

Knit with Attitude

Tribe Yarns

Wild and Woolly

A Yarn Story on Instagram


Welcome to the Curious Handmade podcast. You’re listening to episode 296. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity. I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry, as HellsBells and on social media, as Curious Handmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Hello, and welcome to the show. I do hope you’re having a good week. I hope you’ve been able to get in lots of knitting and probably some other creative crafty pursuits judging by lots of people I’ve been following on Instagram. It seems like a lot of my friends and people I follow are taking the opportunity to delve into some more hobbies. It’s quite funny to see. I am certainly doing that here. We’ve been having a pretty exciting week here. Today, we had an extremely exciting day because I got an email yesterday in answer to an inquiry I had made about a potential puppy for the family. It was a little bit out of the blue. We had been promising the girls a puppy for a couple of years before we moved.

It had always been, when we move to Australia, we’ll be able to get a dog, but we can’t get one now because we have no yard and we’re moving to Australia. Since we’ve moved, I’ve been putting it off a little bit. I guess just being at home and having a little bit more head space to think about things, it clicked that I could manage a puppy now. I just put an inquiry out on Monday and got an email back on Wednesday, which I was really surprised about because puppies are in huge demand at the moment, apparently. We went and saw a little puppy today and agreed that when she’s ready to come home, we would take her. That’s going to be about a month time. Happily we have another month to mentally prepare and physically prepare for a new puppy.

Other exciting things that have happened this week, not quite that exciting, but the Liberty Hexies kit I mentioned a couple of weeks ago finally arrived. I bought it here in Australia from a Perth company called the Strawberry Thief, which is named after one of the Liberty Prints, so that’s exciting. I’m looking forward to doing my personal crafting time on the weekend and starting some hexie flowers. The Strawberry Thief Instagram has some great tutorials about English paper piecing for hexies to go along with these kits that they’re doing. And I’ll have to go and have a quick watch. I did make some hexies a couple of years ago because I sort of got into it a little bit, but haven’t done it for a little while. I think I’ll go and have a look at those. They use a method where they recommend using a glue stick to glue the fabric onto your paper piece.

I guess I’ll try that. That’s what I tried before and I found that slightly irritating, but I’ll give it another go. And if that doesn’t work, I can go back to sewing the fabric into the paper. Anyway, I am very excited to start that project because Liberty fabric is so beautiful. The other very exciting thing happening around here is that the kids are going back to school next week here in Queensland. That’s going to be a bit of an adventure. I need to check their school bags to make sure that there’s not some long forgotten lunchboxes still festering there and things like that. I think I’d got the lunchboxes out, but I don’t think I did anything else. Find school shoes and things like that because it’s been five weeks and then two weeks of Easter holidays and then a week before that, so eight weeks.

Quite a while. I have to say it hasn’t been too bad. It’s been fine. The girls like hanging at home and I like hanging at home so we’ve been getting on pretty well. I’ve kind of liked having my little office buddy sitting next to me in the mornings. I could probably do some of the online courses and Lexi’s poor teacher asking the kids in the class to mute their microphones every two minutes. Apart from that, it’s been quite nice. The story that’s being read is The Secret Garden, which is a gorgeous book and if you’ve been following along for a while, you know I’m a big fan. It was the theme for the first Sock Society and also the Shawl Society that same year. I had a secret garden theme around my two societies that year and very much enjoyed getting into that theme.

That’s been kind of nice. It will certainly be nice to have a little bit more time and a little bit more thinking space and we’ll see how it goes. They both asked me this week if I could keep homeschooling them so I’m taking that as a compliment. I tried not to have too shocked an expression on my face. I replied that they’d better go back to school and see their friends. So I have been doing a little bit of personal knitting this week, not a huge amount, but some. And I have been knitting away on my Piosa cardigan by Renee Callahan, East London Knits, and I now on part three, which is the main body. It’s a top down cardigan so I’ve joined under the arms for the body. I’m loving this pattern so much. It’s a really fun knit.

It’s very potato chippy and the worsted weight means that it’s knitting up very satisfyingly quickly. I think also because I’m using such a lovely yarn, it’s a very smooth yarn, it’s the Sweet Fiber Cashmerino worsted, which is 80% Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon in the beautiful rose gold color. So that’s an absolute delight to knit so that’s helping it make it go smoothly and quickly. I think this week I’ll just be working away on the body. And the other thing I’ve been doing apart from a little bit of knitting and a little bit of work, and a lot of homeschooling and childcare, is becoming more and more obsessed with my gardening projects. It’s kind of escalating quite quickly from buying a few seedlings in a few pots, to this week I ordered two quite large raised garden beds.

That was because I think earlier in the year, I had had one of those Instagram facilitated adverts purchases, which was a sub pod. So I don’t know why I was suggested that ad, I guess I was already Googling or talking about gardening and wanting to grow things. We have been collecting our compost, our vegetable scraps and taking it to my parents because dad has a garden and a compost bin. We have been doing that for quite some time now, since we moved into the house in October. I guess when I saw this composting system advertised, it was like music to my ears sort of. Sight for sore eyes. It’s basically a bin that has holes for worms to come in and out of and you kind of bury it into a garden, so theoretically it doesn’t smell as badly as an above ground compost bin might smell.

We bought this sub pod thing and it had a long waiting list. I think it was originally a Kickstarter and now they’re sort of doing batches, so you order them and then I think they order the production when they have enough orders. We’ve been waiting for quite a while, but it’s due to arrive sort of at the end of this month, early next month. I thought I better order the garden bed that that’s going to go into. Anyway, a lot of gardening chat, it’s not really that exciting, but it’s kind of exciting to me because it’s new to me. My basil cuttings are starting to grow roots after a week, which is kind of exciting.

And thank you, I have to make a shout out to Lisa who emailed me to say, I just wanted to let you know if you don’t already that basil freezes amazingly well. I learned this after a bumper crop myself. It will never be fresh again because the leaves are softened by freezing, but it retains its fresh taste and is wonderful to cook with. I just rinse and dry the leaves and then freeze them in a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl and break off what I need. So thank you Lisa, for a fab tip. I wouldn’t have thought about freezing it so that’s really good.

I’m yet to grow too much for me to be able to use, but I think it’s going to happen. I’m trying to grow lots of cuttings. I love this community and sharing knowledge on all sorts of topics, not just knitting/ speaking of community, I heard about a really fun knitting community event that is happening next week from the 25th to the 31st of May. And it’s a virtual yarn extravaganza and it’s been put together by a collective called iKnit7, the number seven. It’s seven independent yarn shops that have joined together in these crazy times to do something fun for the yarn community.

What you need to know is that there is a website it’s iKnit7, the number seven, And there is a email newsletter to sign up for and when you sign up for that, you’ll get special access to discount codes, free gifts, exclusive patterns and more. It says shop from three or more of us during the week and you will be in for a chance to win an incredible prize. And the seven independent yarn shops, probably all my favorite yarn shops in the UK. So iKnit7 is a collaboration between Carmen of A Yarn Story in Bath, Layli of Emily Foulds in Coln, Lisa of This is Knit in Dublin, Jess of Ginger Twists Studio in Edinburgh, May Linn Bang from Knit With Attitude in London, Milli Abrams from Tribe Yarn in Richmond, and Anna Feldman from Wild and Woolly in London. As I said, some of my absolute favorite UK yarn shops, I’m so sad not to be able to visit them anymore.

For all the locals who have lost the chance to visit these beautiful shops due to the virus, I think this is a fab way to support these great yarn shops. It’s seven days, seven shops, seven special offers, and one amazing knitting community. So each day next week, one of the shops is going to have a special day dedicated to them and they’re going to have really fabulous activities going on. So make sure you sign up to the newsletter at to find out about all the discounts and fun activities happening next week.

Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my lovely sponsor, A Yarn Story.

I just wanted to give a special shout out to Carmen. She’s doing such a great job during these difficult times, maintaining a community around A Yarn Story and Bath and keeping us all up to date, doing fun Instagram stories and posts, and lots of photos of beautiful peaches, her gorgeous dog, and just keeping spirits up I think is really important. And Carmen’s doing a lovely job of it, so if you don’t follow her on Instagram, I really recommend giving her a follow because she’s just such a breath of fresh air and so fun and kind. Well, I think that’s all the news I have for you this week. It’s just a short, sweet episode. I have rain on our tin roof here, which I’m not sure if it’s going to be too noisy and kids kind of helping themselves to goodness knows what in the kitchen. I just wanted to pop in and say a quick hello and say that I hope you’re all doing well and that I’ll talk again soon. So see you next week. Happy knitting. Bye for now.


Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at

In my constant quest to nurture my creativity, I’ve added gardening to my list of personal projects! I’m finding lots of help and inspiration through the Master Class website and on YouTube. I’m also working on my daily habits and enjoying a new project, and I have news about our KALs and the final donation to the UN Refugee Council from Habitation!

Show Links:

The Grocery Girls

Mrs Browns Bags

Yarn Ink

Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg

I’m a Master Class fan and an affiliate: if you join up by clicking on the photo above I’ll get a small commission. Thanks for supporting the podcast!

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Knit City, Vancouver

Ambient Socks

The Handmade Sock Society 3

The Ambient Sock KAL just finished and our winner was
Toveme with Post 32!

Rainy Window Socks

Rainy Window Socks FO Thread

We raised $3000 AUS for the Australian UNHCR with the Habitation Throw last month!

Habitation Throw KAL FO Thread

The Yarniacs


Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 295. This podcast is all about crafting a life of happiness and creativity.

I’m your host, Helen, and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells, and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

I would like to say a big thank you to my sponsor, Meadow Yarn.

Hello, and welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me for a chat today. We have had a big week here at Curious HQ with lots of celebrations. Last weekend we had Mother’s Day here in Australia. We also had my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary as well as dad’s birthday, and this week Lexie’s birthday as well.

So there has been a lot going on, a lot of celebrating, a lot of cake, and a lot of fun. So that’s been very nice. I also wanted to give a shout out to the Grocery Girls, Tracie and Jodi for their 100th episode. I very clearly remember watching their very first episode, because I had only just discovered them via Mrs. Brown’s Bags, Jodi’s bag shop.

I think it’s fitting that I have finally finished a pair of socks with the yarn that Jodi sent me with my first bag purchase before they even started recording their podcast, which I gifted to my dad for his birthday. So thank you, Jodi, and thank you for all the amazing entertainment you have given us over the years.

I did finally remember the name of the indie dyer of that yarn from Canada as well, which is Yarn Ink, of course. I’ve also been getting out most days this month, my walking streak is going really well. I’ve been doing combination of hill walks and a little bit of flat walking, which I actually have to drive to do a flat walk around here.

And I’ve been listening to a great audio book, which is called Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. And if you’ve been listening for a while, you’ll know how much I love my productivity and habit books, and this is a really good one. I would rate it very highly in the habit genre. It’s super encouraging, super positive psychology, and the main philosophy is that you can only get yourself to do things that you enjoy and that you feel good about.

And so to start really small and get your confidence up, basically is the kind of in a nutshell, but there’s a lot more to it. And it’s really well-researched and in-depth theory behind all his suggestions, and a really nice framework as well. So if you’re wanting to start some good habits or give up some bad habits, then I would really recommend Tiny Habits.

And the habit that I have decided to work on, I suppose, is I’ve got a lot that I want to be working on, but I’ve decided to aim for eating more vegetables, which is slightly random, but it is one of the things I’ve been reading about a lot lately in terms of the thing that you can do that’s best for your health. And as my word for the year is healing, I’m focusing on health and just getting healthier.

And so I’m going to focus on eating more vegetables. And as I am one to do, when I start thinking about one thing, it leads to another mini obsession. And so I’ve now gone down a bit of a rabbit hole of gardening, and I’ve been thinking about this for a long time as well. I attempted growing things in London, but there was never enough sun in our garden.

And when there was a summer with enough sun, we would head off to Australia just at that time of year. And so tomatoes would rot and it was never very successful. So now we are living in a subtropical climate and it’s very lush and green, I figure things should grow a lot better and that I should try again. So I have been watching some videos. I was a member of MasterClass, which is an online learning platform, probably a couple of years ago.

It was when they were first starting. So they weren’t that many classes, but they have put a lot more classes on the platform now and a lot more variety in the types of classes. And one of them that I saw an advert for was growing vegetables, and I thought the class looked really fun. So after thinking about it and getting emails and seeing adverts for a while now, I finally decided to sign up again.

And I watched the MasterClass, it’s by a guy called Ron Finley and he’s based in LA in the U.S., and is a community activist and he calls himself the gangster gardener. I have to say, it’s a little bit sweary. So quite a bit of swearing peppered throughout it, but I don’t know, I quite enjoyed his style and he’s definitely passionate about gardening.

And it was really, really inspirational and very enjoyable to watch the production value of the classes on MasterClass is super high. It’s amazing, beautiful filming, and just the quality is really good. So I just went through that class on MasterClass, and he ends up with talking about finding your creativity and how gardening is a place for creativity, and it’s something that is within all of us.

And so I really appreciated his whole philosophy towards gardening. So I really recommend that. I am a affiliate for MasterClass. I signed up for the affiliate program a couple of years ago when I first joined and I’ve never really promoted it, but I will put a link or an image in the show notes. So if you do fancy joining up and do so via my link, I would appreciate it. I get a small commission for that.

And now I need to look at what class I’m going to take next. I’m quite interested in a lot of the writing classes. There are a lot of different creative writing classes from different big name authors on there now. So I’ll probably look at some of those next. There’s also some interior design and just a lot of ones that seem to be very much about creativity and expressing your creativity in different areas.

The other really great video I found was on YouTube and it’s called Basil, How To Grow More Than You Can Eat on a channel called Gardening at 58 North, which is a guy in Scotland who has a gardening YouTube channel. And I haven’t watched any of his other videos yet, but this basil propagation video was really, really good. And he starts off with a 50p supermarket basil container and then grows a massive amount of basil plants from it.

So I have started a little basil propagation project in our window sill. I’m hoping to get the kids interested in that, and I’m hoping that it works as well as it did for him. I can’t say I have a green thumb at all. I am definitely a house plant killer, but I’m trying, and I’m trying to learn how to not kill my plants mostly by loving them too much with too much water. So I’m trying to be better about that, and it seems to be going a bit better this time with my latest family of houseplants.

So hopefully I can have some luck with growing some veggies as well. I’m hoping to grow some tomatoes and some greens like kale and lettuce, things like that, some herbs. What else did I think I might be able to grow? Some sweet potatoes. In the Ron Finley MasterClass, he talks about growing sweet potatoes and my dad has actually just growing some sweet potatoes this year, successfully, nearby. So I think I’m going to try that as well.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted on that little project. Last week I mentioned that I was going to take the weekend off and try and do some personal crafting projects, and I didn’t get to my quilting at all, but I did make some really great progress on my Píosa cardigan by Renée Callahan. So I think I did a swatch on Friday night and let that dry.

And I always find it so difficult with swatches. It’s a ribbed swatch. It’s a five by one ribbing pattern that you do the swatch on, and I’m just always so tempted to just stretch it to the right gauge. But anyway, I think that it’s the right gauge. I’m not sure how to dye. I mean, it was tricky and it always changes anyway, depending on the fiber of the yarn, it can stretch or felt or do all sorts of things after a wash or two, but I think I’ve got gauge.

And so that was exciting and I’m using gorgeous, gorgeous yarn by Sweet Fiber, another Canadian yarny. And I purchased this yarn at Knit City, I think 2018 it was. I think I often say Knitty City when I’m referring to it, but that’s a yarn shop in New York. So it’s Knit City, the yarn festival in Vancouver.

And the yarn is Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted, which is 80% Merino, 10% cashmere and 10% nylon. So it’s absolutely gorgeous. And it’s the Rose Gold colorway, which is also stunning. And I am alternating skeins on the advice of Tracie from the Grocery Girls, because I know that she knit a pullover, I think, in the same yarn. And I asked her if she alternated skeins and she said, “You definitely need to.”

So which indie dyed, hand dyed yarn, you should generally alternate skeins, but I’m very lazy. So I try not to wherever I can, but I am being good and trying it. Not 100% sure how you do it for a cardigan with yarn going up the side of an open piece. I think I might have to Google how to do that once I get down into the body, but I’m just going across the back now and where the yarn’s going up the sides, alternating will be in the sleeve side at the moment.

So I’m not worried yet, but I think once I get down a bit, I’ll have to figure out a bit of technique. Maybe I’ll change over the skeins in from the edge. If anyone has any suggestions, they can message me on Ravelry or on Instagram about that. I am absolutely enjoying the pattern. It’s beautifully written as is all Renée’s patterns, but she also has videos to go along with it, which just adds to my confidence.

So the videos just give a fantastic extra confidence that you’re doing the techniques correctly and it saves a lot of time and energy wondering if you’re doing it right. You can confirm by watching Renée’s great instructions. And she’s such a wonderful teacher. I’ve done a couple of classes with Renée in the past and she’s a brilliant teacher. So if you’d like to knit a gorgeous cardigan with extra support, there’s a knit along happening at the moment and it’s really fun, so join us.

I decided to knit the small size though, so I’m a little bit nervous about that, because it’s meant to have generous ease, and Renée is about the same size as me and she knit a medium and it’s really sort of slouchy on her. And I was a bit undecided because I do like the slouchy look, but also I like the fitted look that some of the test knitters have done as well, but it was the amount of yarn that I had that kind of decided me to go for the smaller size, because it was quite touch and go for yarn amount.

So, I’m not sure that I had quite enough to do the medium. So I thought, “Well, I think I’ll just go for the small and worst case scenario Sophie can wear it, if it doesn’t fit me.” She’d absolutely love it as well. So, I decided to go for the small. Hopefully I will be able to wear it, but we’ll see. We’ll see. I’m not sure.

But I did very, very much enjoy having a weekend off and doing my personal crafting. So I am going to aim to do that again this weekend, get all my work done. It’s a really good way of motivating myself to get all my work done and then have the weekend off. I have some Handmade Sock Society news. So the fourth sock will be released next week for the third Handmade Sock Society series.

And we have just finished the knit along for the Ambient socks, which are the second socks. That finished up on Tuesday. And the winner, which was chosen by random number generator is number 32, who is Tove Me. So I think her Ravelry name is short for Tove Metta and she is based in Norway. So, congratulations Tove, and I’ll get in touch with you via Ravelry and find out your address to send your prize.

The knit along for the Rainy Window Socks is still going, and that will be drawn on Tuesday, the 9th of June. So if you’re needing the Rainy Window Socks, you can post that in the finished object thread on Ravelry by the 9th of June to be in the draw for some sock yarn and other little goodies that I will put together.

And I realized after I finished recording last week, that I forgot to mention the results, I guess you’d say, of the habitation event that we had happening last month. So I was giving away the habitation throw pattern and anyone who purchased the pattern, the proceeds were to be donated to the UNHCR, which is the UN Refugee Agency. And so thank you to hundreds of generous knitters, I was able to donate 3,000 Australian dollars to the Australian UNHCR.

And I selected the option wherever it’s needed most. When you do your donation, you can donate to Covid or Syria or other places that they’re supporting at the moment. And I was, I was going to choose the Covid support, but I decided to just say wherever it’s needed most at the moment. So thank you so much to everybody who purchased the pattern. I’d like to say a special thank you to a lovely knitter called Terry who sent a generous donation to be included in the main donation, because she already had the pattern. So that was absolutely lovely.

Thank you, Terry, for your lovely email and support. And a huge thank you to everybody who downloaded the pattern and is using it to knit and bring themselves some peace and joy and fun at the moment. It was completely overwhelming. And we actually had 21,832 downloads using the code “Shelter,” for the pattern, which amounted to over £100,000 of habitations throw pattern that we gave away last month.

So that’s pretty phenomenal, and I feel really good about that. I hope it’s just brought so much joy. It’s brought so much joy to me, and I get a thrill every time I see someone’s posts on Instagram or on Ravelry. So I decided to extend the fun by having a more official knit along on Ravelry. So if you finish your habitation throw this month, in the month of May, I will do a draw and send the winner a set of 24 minis that I will make from my leftover stash, from patterns and samples and projects.

I’ve just been through my stash this morning and found 24 gorgeous colors to send to the winner. So all you have to do to be in the draw for that is to create a project page on Ravelry and then post in the finished object thread in The Curious Handmade group. So we’ll put links to that in the show notes. And we will draw that after the 31st of May, early April, we’ll draw that, but the entries will close on the 31st of May.

So I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everybody who’s shared their habitation throw projects on Instagram or Ravelry or on podcasts. I know that The Yarniacs have mentioned it and I can see on Ravelry that I’m getting a lot of people linking from their website. So thank you so much Yarniacs and anyone else who’s shared it, because it really helps get the word out about my designs and is just a huge help. So I’m very, very appreciative.

Just before I sign off today, I’d like to say a huge thank you to my sponsor, A Yarn Story. I just wanted to mention that while the A Yarn Story shop in Bath is closed at the moment, Carmen is doing virtual shopping sessions for people. You can make appointment with her to do a video call, to help choose yarn and colors and get her advice.

So have a look on her website for details about that. Thanks so much for joining me today. It’s been lovely having a chat and it’s been so nice to stay connected with you during this crazy time. And I hope you’re doing well, I hope you’re staying well and happy, and I will talk to you again soon. Happy knitting and bye for now.


Show Sponsors

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is meadow-yarn.jpg

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is AYS.jpg

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at

Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade sits in an armchair by a window, knitting a sweater.

Three weeks of homeschooling down, maybe two more to go? Somehow, I’m still managing to get some exciting knitting done in between it all. Today on the podcast I’ve got a short and sweet life catch-up, some KAL winners to announce, and more news on the upcoming Curious Handmade Mystery Knit Along, which I’m really excited about.

Show Links:

Download the 20 for 2020 Challenge printable

Follow #knit20for2020 on Instagram

May #knit20for2020 FO Thread

April Ravelry winner: porthardy1 with Post 46

April Instagram winner: BlankSlateYarns

Snippet Socks

52 Weeks of Socks Book

Farm to Cable Yarns LYS

Unnathi Shawl by Lana Jois

The Ambient Socks is ending on Tuesday the 13th of May, so get your photos into the Ambient Socks FO Thread on Ravelry!

The Handmade Sock Society 3

Impressionists Shawl

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Píosa KAL

Sweet Fiber Yarns

House Quilt Block Tutorial


Welcome to The Curious Handmade Podcast. You’re listening to episode 294. This podcast is all about crafting your life with happiness and creativity. I’m your host Helen and you can find me on Ravelry as HellsBells and on social media as curioushandmade. You can also find full show notes and transcript on my website at

Welcome and thank you for joining me for a chat today. I’m just snatching a moment in a busy day to record so it might be quite a short episode, but I just wanted to pop in and have a quick chat with you and not let a week go past without recording. It’s been a really busy week. We are now just finished week three of homeschooling. The girls’ school is providing a really great service with online classes and a lot of support for them, but especially with Lexi, she needs a lot of support here at home as well to encourage her to do some work. So I have her set up in my office on a little folding camping table beside me, and I’ve decided it’s been quite interesting to see how she works.

Sophie is a couple of years older and is doing really great. She has a little desk set up upstairs and she doesn’t need as much support but still needs help with some things. I just kind of decided when we were homeschooling that I was going to enjoy the process and I was going to be patient with it and not expect to get any work done or expect too much of them in terms of what they would do. So that’s been working pretty well. They’ve been doing more than I expected that they would to be honest. Their school’s been really sensible and has just basically put on a schedule that goes until about one o’clock rather than the normal three o’clock, and in Lexi’s case it really only goes till about midday. So that’s really good and we can manage a morning quite happily.

Lexi sits there listening to her teacher and passing me notes, so we have a massive pile of little hand scribbled notes from, “I found my pen,” to “I need a hug.” And it’s quite funny. So week three, at the moment it’s scheduled to happen for another two weeks that they’re at home. Here in Queensland, some kids are going back next week. So they are opening schools up again for littlies, little kids like prep, grade one, and our school’s also sending back grade twos and then the oldest kids so the year 11 and 12s and our school is also having the year 10s back. So it’s starting again for some grades, not our grades though. It’s okay, two weeks isn’t that long really. She says slightly hysterically. And I think they’re going to see how things go with the numbers of cases and all of that jazz over the next couple of weeks.

But I think as it stands at the moment, it’s fairly as certain as it can be that they’ll be back at school soon, which will be nice for them to see their friends. I think they’re getting quite, not lonely but missing their friends quite a bit. And because we’re quite new to the school, we didn’t really have sort of the level of friends that they wanted to FaceTime very much or call people or get in touch all that much with their friends. Their friends were quite new. So we have caught up with some people a little bit but not very much.

I’ve been enjoying having some Zoom calls with knitting friends. Although with the kids home from school, that’s been a little bit tricky and the time zones here with Australia are a bit crazy regardless of where else you are in the world. I haven’t felt too lonely. I’ve started feeling a little bit like I’d like to have a bit more contact with people but it hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been working from home by myself for a long time, quite a few years now. So I’m quite used to it. It doesn’t feel like such a massive change for me. I think my husband is going pretty loopy with being stuck at home because he’s not used to it at all. But we’re getting there, we’re getting there.

We have acquired another mouse for the mouse house. So we’re now up to six mice. And yesterday I started Googling to see if there are any puppies available locally. So maybe it is affecting me a bit more than I’m trying to let on. But yes, I hope you’re staying fairly sane and safe and I hope your friends and family are safe and well also. I’ve been enjoying some very nice walks and maybe feeling like I’m getting slightly fitter. It’s quite hilly where I live so most of the walking routes involves some sort of hill if not quite a big hill as part of it although there are some flat routes I can take you from feeling lazy. So I’ve been enjoying that. My yoga has slipped this week. I was doing so well on a 30 day yoga challenge but that slipped a bit this week. But hopefully I’ll get back into it again next week.

So first up in knitting chat, I have the winners of the April Knit 20 for 2020 challenge to announce. So to be in the draw for prizes for Knit 20 for 2020, all you need to do is post a finished object in either the thread on Ravelry for their respective month or on Instagram using the hashtag and just any finished object that ticks one or more boxes on the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge. And you can find the details of that on my website It involves a series of 20 prompts of different items and techniques and types of yarn to try over the course of the year. And when you enter into the prize draw, you can nominate a favorite dyer or yarn shop or online yarn shop to win a $50 US or local currency equivalent gift voucher from that shop. So I wanted to encourage both participation in the challenge as well as encourage our local yarn shops and indie dyers, especially at the moment.

This challenge has got to run every month this year. So the winners for this month on the Ravelry thread is porthardy1 who is Joanne in Canada. And she has knit an absolutely gorgeous pair of snippet socks, which is my design in the Laine 52 Weeks of Socks book. And I have to say it doesn’t have to be one of my designs for an entry into the Knit 20 for 2020 challenge by any means. But I do love these socks and she has nominated Farm to Cables LYS, which is a wonderful online yarn shop in Canada. So congratulations Joanne, and you can either drop me a message on Ravelry at HellsBells or I’ll get in contact with you as well.

And on Instagram the winner is blankslateyarns, and that’s Avery, and she’s entered a picture of a gorgeous lacy shawl or wrap I think it is. It’s a design called Unathi by Lana Joyce. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous design. Really beautiful lace, so thank you for sharing that. And I don’t think she’s nominated a particular yarn shop or dyer. She looks like she’s an indie dyer herself. So I’ll be in touch to organize your prize as well. So thanks so much for joining in. It’s a really fun challenge and I love looking at all your projects, seeing all the different things people have made because it’s such a variety of prompts. There’s so many different projects and I’m getting lots of ideas of things to knit as well, which is fabulous. So if you’re finishing anything this month, don’t forget to post it for the May prize draw.

We also have the Handmade Sock Society knit along happening as well. And the knit along for their second socks which is the Ambient Socks, is finishing on next Tuesday the 12th of May. So if you have knit a pair of Ambient Socks from the Handmade Sock Society, you can post your finished object and the thread on Ravelry and be in the running to win a prize for that which will be a skein of sock yarn and possibly some other little goodies that I pop in there.

So last week I mentioned that I was sort of thinking about a mystery knit along coming up, and in the past week I’ve actually got the bit between my teeth and worked all week on a design and have been knitting like crazy. So that looks like it’s going to be coming up for sure. And I just need to work out a timeline now for testing and writing up the pattern and all that jazz. I haven’t worked it out yet because I’ve literally just basically cast off the sample today, a couple of hours ago, so it will be at least a few weeks away but not too far. So keep an eye out for more details of that if you’re interested in participating in a shawl mystery knit along.

The last mystery knit along I did was The Impressionist Shawl and that was two years ago, so March 2018 that started. I loved that knit along and I am really, really looking forward to this next one as well. So I hope you are able to join in. Perhaps some of us might have a bit more time on our hands than usual at the moment. Some of us possibly busier than ever, especially if you’re an essential worker or trying to work full time and homeschool your kids. But lots of people in lots of different situations at the moment, but hopefully we can have some fun with our knitting in these crazy times.

So as a result of working pretty much full time on that shawl design this week, I haven’t had much time for anything else and I think that what I’ll do is this weekend give myself a proper weekend from work, try not to do any work, and I’m just absolutely desperate to start my Piosa Cardigan, which is a knit along that Renee Callahan of East London Knit is hosting at the moment. I signed up for the knit along and it’s a gorgeous cardigan I wound a couple of skeins of the Sweet Fiber Yarn in Rose Gold, but I didn’t get as far as swatching yet. So that’s going to be my challenge for the weekend is to swatch and hopefully cast on my Piosa Cardigan. And if I can be really ambitious, I like to finish cutting out the fabric for my houses quilt that I started a few weeks ago.

I had a weekend where I cut out almost all the fabric but I didn’t quite get to finish that. So I like to get everything cut this weekend so that I can start sewing up little house blocks for my quilt and it is Mother’s Day here on Sunday so I think I deserve it and hopefully will be given some time to do some things for myself. We’ll see, I don’t know. I’m hopeful. I think we’re in sync with the US, so maybe it’s mother’s day in the US. I think we’re out of sync with the UK. I can never quite remember where we match up with, but yes, Mother’s Day here on Sunday and if it’s Mother’s Day where you are, have a good day. And.

I’m looking forward to seeing my mom and being in the same country as my mom after many, many years, so that will be quite nice. And I hope you can have some lovely, lovely crafting, knitting, relaxing time this weekend as well even if it’s just for a few moments.

So thanks again for joining me. Hope you have a wonderful day, a wonderful weekend. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you again soon. Bye.


Show Sponsors

Alongside an eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knits, Icelandic Lopi & CoopKnits, we stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched ‘hand dyed by meadowyarn’, our very own in-house, hand-dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio, nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of colour, producing complex tonal, kettle-dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and grow, inspired by the landscape and people around us.

Find all your favourite luxury yarns and discover plenty more at A Yarn Story, Bath’s premier yarn store based in Walcot Street, Bath, UK. From gorgeous skeins by The Fibre Co and Walcot Yarns to a fine selection from Shibui Knits, La Bien Aimée, House of a la Mode, and Julie Asselin, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. With friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you browse, there is plenty for the discerning knitter to enjoy. Visit the store at Walcot Street, Bath or shop online at

I’m feeling cheerful and full of crafty mojo this week, so in this episode I’m sharing my plans for several new projects: knitting, quilting…and even an upcoming mystery knit along! And of course, new projects provide a good excuse for some lovely new materials, so I have some recent purchases to talk about (along with some special stash.) I even have another Curious Handmade KAL to announce!

Show Links:

So Just Shop

So Just Shop on Instagram

Grocery Girls Podcast

Píosa by Renée Callahan

Sweet Fiber Yarns

Susan B Anderson Panda

Barret Wool Co.

The Strawberry Thief Shop

The Strawberry Thief Instagram

Skein Australia

The Habitation Throw


Welcome to the show. Thanks for joining me today for a chat about knitting and other crafty things. I am having a much better week this week than I was last week. Last week I felt like I was slightly negative compared to what I normally try to be. I’ve been on some lovely walks this week. The weather has been a bit better. It’s been really gorgeous. We’re heading into autumn here now, so it’s starting to cool down a little bit. It’s been blue skies and just really lovely. I’m also feeling quite good about the routine. We’re settling into a bit of a better routine now with the homeschooling and getting used to what me and the kids can manage in any one buy. So that’s becoming a little bit easier as well. I feel like I’ve got a little bit more knitting and crafting mojo back and just lots of projects happening or about to happen. So I’ll chat a little bit about that this week.

I just wanted to give a little shout out to our friends at So Just Shop.’So Just Shop is an online shop. They’re based in the UK, but will send items anywhere in the world, I think subject to COVID mail restrictions at the moment. The ethos of the shop is to support artisans, especially female led artisans in producing craft products and jewelry and all sorts of handmade products all around the world in the communities where the women are providing for their families and don’t have any other means to do so apart from making these things. So one of the groups that So Just Shop supports is the Big Blue Moma Bags for example. I’m a huge fan of these bags. I first saw them on the grocery girls and I said to my friend Jen, who runs So Just Shop, “You must stock these bags because they’re so beautiful. They’re so beautifully made.” So they have some in stock, and they’re also doing a really special campaign at the moment to support all the communities where possible during these uncertain times.

Some of the groups are not able to work at the moment or produce their goods due to lockdowns. I’m just reading from the website now, and they say, “And so we have developed a plan to allow us to offer financial support through the crisis. We have approached groups in the most adversely affected areas and asked them to design a product which they will produce and supply as soon as they are able to return to normal working practices.” These products are available to pre-purchase and the So Just Shop platform or organization is donating all the profits from the sale of the products directly back to the artisan groups to help them sustain through this really difficult period. You’re also able to add a voluntary donation to your purchase which will equate to a specific staple item for a family to buy. For example, the cost of a bag of rice or a basket of vegetables. “We are committed to transferring all of the profits and anything additional back to the groups as soon as we practically can.”

Anyway, you can have a look at the page if you’re interested in helping support these are artisan groups, and I’ve accessed the page via So Just Shop accessories’ Instagram page, but if you Google, you can find it as well. So some of the products include a Big Blue Moma special bag, which is a small u-shopper, which is just a gorgeous shape, really cool shape. There’s a Krisha bracelet from Tara, which is beautiful bracelet with, it looks like, pearls and maybe a leather band. There’s gorgeous earrings, another bracelet, sari embroidered cushion, giant crunchies, and a beautiful mug are some of the products that are available for pre-purchase to support these artisans. I know that it’s difficult for a lot of people right now, but if you were interested in supporting these groups and interested in having a look at any of these products, that would be great. And also if you could just support the So Just Shop by liking the page or liking posts, following, commenting in support, all these things mean so much to people running businesses or the artisan groups themselves. And yeah, you could support in other ways even if you can’t or don’t want to purchase something from the site.

I have to admit I have been super influenced by Instagram in my purchasing recently. I was chuckling to myself so much recently because I heard Jody and Tracy from the Grocery Girls talking about things that they had bought after seeing them on Instagram, including the pink clay, the Australian pink clay, which I had also bought on the basis of the Instagram ads and other weird things that you buy once you see an Instagram ad. I haven’t been doing that for a while. Not since we moved, probably. I’ve scaled back a lot on my internet purchasing partly because here in Australia it’s a lot slower and more postage, more expensive postage than when I was in London. But anyway, I have made a couple of purchases this week I post on Instagram.

The first one is the piosa cardigan pattern by Renee Callahan. I did a little story about it. I hardly ever do video stories, but I plucked up the courage to do a story about the cardigan because I wanted everybody to know about this new pattern that Renee has just released, because she’s releasing the pattern in parts. I’ll just read out the description that encouraged me to get involved when I saw it on Instagram. So she said, “Are you looking for a new cardigan to cast on?” Yes I was. She says, “I have just the thing, piosa is a top down seamless cardigan knit in a gorgeous Worsted weight yarn which is Nua by Carol Feller. The pattern will be released in four parts. Part one will be tomorrow,” which was actually lost Thursday. “And then you’ll have a week to get your yarn, your needles, and gauge already to cast on for next week,” which was yesterday, when you’re listening to this, if you’re listening to this on Friday when I release the podcast. Sounds a bit confusing.

But anyway, so the first clue or part is already just released. Each part of the pattern will be accompanied by a video with tips, demonstrations and tutorials to guide you through the process. I was very drawn to the photograph. It’s gorgeous, grandpa’s style cardy with a reverse ribbed design and gorgeous pockets. Lovely details, and I love these big cozy pockets. So I can’t wait to cast this on. And I had the yard for it and my stash, which was super bonus. I’m using some sweet fiber yarn that I bought in Vancouver at Knitty City a couple of years ago on a wonderful trip. So I’ll have wonderful memories of buying the yarn and it’s rose gold, which is such a gorgeous color way. So yeah I can’t wait to cross this on and get into it and I’m excited about having the tutorials and videos to go along with it in case of any getting stuck, which I sometimes do with cardigans. So yeah, very exciting. And thanks Renee, for doing this. It’s super fun to do a knit along and I’m going to endeavor to keep up with it, this knit along.

I don’t normally keep up with knit alongs very well at all, but this is Worsted weight, so I’m thinking that bodes well doesn’t it, that you can knit fairly quickly in Worsted weight yarn. So that was one thing that I was tempted into and it was true. I was looking for a cardy pattern for knit 20 for 2020 challenge and I’ve been tossing around different ideas. But then when I saw this it was just like, “Yes, that’s perfect.” So much more fun to do it as a knit along. And then also I’ve been keeping an eye out for a toy option for my knit 20 for 2020, and when I wrote that prompt to make a toy, I had in mind to make a toy by Susan B. Anderson. I’d been wanting to make one of her toy patterns for years, and I’d seen people on retreats with them, specifically the Knitting Pipeline retreat where people had done classes with Susan and were knitting her gorgeous dolls and toys. I just always found them so cute.

So I’d been thinking, “Oh, which one of her patterns will I knit because there’s so many.” And then she showed on Instagram the panda kits with custom heart buttons were in the shop, and it says the kits include our Wisconsin woolen spun yarn. It’s an amazingly fun, seamless knit with a lot of charm and character to boot. So when she said it was relatively easy, I was sold, and this panda is so adorable. It’s got a lovely red cardy. It’s just the cutest thing ever. It’s so cute. So I ordered one of the kits from Barrett Wool co because I’d also been wanting to try Barrett Wool co yarn for ages. So yeah, Barrett Wool Co kit combined with pattern from Susan B. Anderson will be my toy. So hopefully it will arrive soonish. Post is taking a fair bit longer than normal at the moment, but I think our postal service is working okay, so it’ll just be a matter of whether there’s flights taking freight between the US and Australia or maybe it will go on a slow boat. I’m not sure. Anyway, it’ll probably take a little while to get here, but hopefully not too long. Anyway, so I’ll have that to look forward to.

And then another thing that I bought just yesterday. As you will have gathered from previous recent episodes, I’ve been getting into quilting. I have never been a huge quilter but I’ve made a few quilts over the years and I’ve just finished one that I’ve been making over the past three years. Very simple squares, nothing fancy at all, just squares. As a result of that, I’ve started following some quilting and fabric and sewing accounts on Instagram and I came across this one which is called the Strawberry Thief, and the Strawberry Thief is a online shop based in Perth. I don’t know if they have a physical shop in Perth, but anyway, they have a great online shop. It’s is the website, and the Instagram account is The_Strawberry_Thief. The owner was doing some tutorials about making hexie quilts, which I thought were fabulous. I did start a hexie project a couple of years ago, and the girls also started making hexies and we never really got very far with it, but she was having some great tips on making a hexie quilt in this video.

And then a few days later they were advertising a club and they specialize in Liberty of London prints. I don’t know that they sell any other type of fabric. It’s all Liberty of London, I think. So I saw a post saying, “This is the last day for our hexie clubs. To sign up for our hexie clubs for the month.” So I was just in that mood where I was like, “Oh, that sounds so cool.” So I ordered, I went in on this hexie club. I don’t know where I think I’m going to get the time to do this, especially once life gets back to normal, which hopefully won’t be too long away. But anyway, I just signed up for that on a bit of a whim and thought maybe that’s something I could do when I feel like doing something other than knitting. So I have a little Hexie project making these types of quilts by hand, which I think might be quite meditative and the fabric is so beautiful and inspiring. So yes.

So I have been on an absolute Instagram shopping roll this week and I’m not feeling too guilty because I haven’t been buying much online at all, if anything, until this little spree. And I certainly haven’t been shopping outside of the house, so I don’t feel too bad about having a little splurge. And it’s been quite satisfying to do it all at once, in a funny kind of way. So yes, that’s what I’ve been up to. I’ve also been doing some design work and have had a little bit more mojo for that as well. I had on my schedule for the year to maybe do a mystery knit along later on in the year, but with being at home and not having as much to do and not being able to get out and about, I thought, “Well, I might just work on that now.”

So I’ve been working on some ideas for a mystery knit along shawl, and I just thought I’d drop that in there. I’ll let you know that that might be coming out at some point. I’m not going to decide on a timeframe until I get a bit further into the design and knitting up the sample. But yes, I’ve been really enjoying that and working with some gorgeous yarn. Actually some gorgeous yarn from Skein Australia that arrived recently, so I’ve been having a lot of fun getting out my stitch dictionaries and playing with color and thinking about themes and all of that fun stuff that comes into designing.

Just before I sign off, I’d like to thank my sponsor Meadow Yarn. Alongside an interesting and eclectic yarn range, which includes Hazel Knit, Icelandic lopi, and CoopKnits, We stock a carefully chosen selection of needles and notions. We’ve also recently launched Hand Dyed by Meadow Yarn, our very own in-house hand dyed yarn range. Working in our tiny dye studio nestled in the Suffolk countryside, we are able to indulge our love of color producing complex tonal kettle dyed shades across a range of weights and bases. With regular updates our collections evolve and growth inspired by the landscape and people around us. You can find them at, or you can click on the ad on my blog.

I just wanted to say a huge, huge thank you to everybody who downloaded the habitation throw in the month of April, and for the people that purchased the pattern I will be sending off a really generous donation to UNHCR Australia and a huge, huge thank you enabling me to do that. And I had one lovely knitter who actually contacted me and said she already had the pattern but she sent me money to include in the donation, so thank you for all those generous people out there. I thought what I might do during May is to open up a knit along thread on Ravelry for people to post their habitation throws, and I am going to make a prize of 24 minis from my stash, which will come from patterns that I’ve designed and special yarns and put together a mini set as a prize.

So we’ll have that knit along going through the month of May, and anybody who started a habitation throw, or finished a habitation throw can post in the thread and be in the draw to win a special prize of minis. So just when you thought you were getting rid of your scraps, you can win some more. So thank you again. It has been so wonderful to feel the community joining in on that and seeing people’s habitation throws on Instagram and Ravelry. It’s brought a lot of joy to me during this quite difficult month and yes, thank you, thank you, thank you so much. So on that note, I will say goodbye. I hope you have a wonderful week. Happy knitting and I’ll talk to you soon.