CH 296: A puppy, a garden, and a satisfying WIP

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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.


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