A postcard from a flock of Canary Craftivists

Hello there. Sorry I’ve not been about much of late. Life has been very busy and I’ve just not had the time for blogging lately. However, I did something yesterday which I simply had to share. Here goes…

Mrs Pankhurst helping the Craftivist cause!

I’m not sure when I first heard about Craftivism, but I know it was well over a year ago. I have followed the work of Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective for quite some time and found her method of ‘gentle protest’ so inspiring. The act of making for a cause; to raise awareness about something which needs to be spoken and thought about but in a quiet, gentle, thoughtful way rather than by shouting and waving placards. Whilst there is always a place for such things sometimes being quiet has a bigger impact than getting peoples’ backs up and shouting loudly.

I was reminded about Sarah’s work when I watched the BBC2 documentary ‘Craftivism: Making a Difference’ with the comedienne Jenny Eclair. In it she explored different methods of craftivism with different activists on topics from equal pay in the production of fast fashion by placing little notes into the pockets of clothes in shops to encouraging women to have smear tests by putting pairs of miniature knickers in public toilets. Sarah was one of the craftivists Jenny spoke to and she gave a compelling case for the effectiveness of Craftivism and the art of gentle protest.

After watching the documentary I was compelled to buy Sarah’s book ‘How to be a Craftivist’ and on reading it was amazed to see the amount of workshops she had led and the sheer scale of her one-woman mission. She’s spoken to groups all over the UK and many overseas as well. At her workshops she encourages people to mindfully craft something which will help focus attention on a whole host of causes including minimum wage as worker’s rights, to the environment and equality.

The book ‘How to be a Craftivist’ came beautifully wrapped with a ribbon and a yellow ‘Crafterthought’ pencil to write down my own crafterthoughts after reading it!

I decided that I had to contact Sarah and ask if she would consider being a guest on my Making Stitches Podcast. Much to my amazement, despite being a very small scale podcast I was thrilled when I got a positive reply. Our interview date was set and in the intervening weeks my trepidation grew at speaking to such an inspiring woman. There was no need though, she was so lovely.

Sarah Corbett
Photo Credit: Craftivist Collective


We spoke for more than the hour we had planned and by the time our chat finished I was more than won over to the cause of ‘gentle protest’ and offered my services to help with Sarah’s latest campaign to raise awareness about the need to reduce carbon ahead of this year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow.


You can hear my chat with Sarah for the Making Stitches Podcast here.


I became the contact for a ‘flock’ of Canary Craftivists who would get together in an iconic spot in Manchester (as many flocks will do up and down the UK and further afield), dress in yellow and mindfully create canaries either by sewing, knitting or crocheting them. The plan is to then send the canaries to our local MPs to put pressure on those going to COP26 to remember the need for urgent action to halt the rapid pace of climate change.

I have to admit that this is not my usual kind of thing to do on a Saturday morning. I felt well and truly out of my comfort zone co-ordinating a small group of crafters from across Greater Manchester to get together and quietly make a stand.

My attempt at a crocheted canary

Why Canaries?

First of all canaries are yellow, and yellow is such a happy uplifting colour which inspires hope. Secondly though, canaries played an important role in checking for clean air. Miners would take the birds down pits in the knowledge that if the canaries stayed alive, there were no poisonous gases about in the tunnels and shafts. If the birds died, it was time to get out and up onto the surface quickly. These little fabric birds are our way of saying it’s time to do something before we choke the planet with poisonous gases any more than it is already, and in fact we need to reverse the trend and quickly.


We kept the location and time of our flock secret to avoid attracting the attention of any troublemakers who might want to take advantage of our action. It was also a deliberately small group both for Covid reasons and because all of us are new to this – the aim of this campaign is to attract people who perhaps wouldn’t otherwise join a climate protest. I have to admit that our group was slightly smaller than we had hoped but the dreaded Track and Trace ping hit a few of our planned flock.


Our uniform was to be dressed in some yellow. Yellow isn’t a common feature in my wardrobe, although I did have a pair of yellow jeans. I added to my ensemble by sewing a yellow face mask and crocheting a yellow canary cape.

I finished my cape the night before and added the ribbon which came wrapped around my How to be a Craftivist book to be an appropriate way of fastening it at the front. The words on the ribbon say ‘little by little we travel far’.

The weather was kind to us, we woke up to bright, clear blue skies above Manchester. I jumped onto a yellow (on message) tram into the centre of Manchester ready for the flock.

We chose St Peter’s Square as the venue as it’s easy to get to via public transport, it’s very central and has the iconic backdrop of Central Library, trams & the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst too (someone who could teach us a thing or two about campaigning!).

We set up camp on one of the benches and got busy!

The Manchester ‘flock’

Gemma and her daughter Evie wore the most amazing costumes they had made for the event…

It was a really positive experience- my fellow Craftivists were all lovely as were the people who stopped to ask us what we were doing and why. We were able to direct them to the Craftivist Collective website so that they could find out how to make their own canary to send to their MP.

Crafting by the Emmeline Pankhurst statue

All in all, this ‘flock’ has been a truly positive experience and an opportunity to meet some lovely crafty folk.

Outside Central Library

If you would like to have a go either forming your own flock or making a canary to send to your MP, please visit the Craftivist Collective website for all the help you’ll need.

Photo credit: The Craftivist Collective

Bank Holiday Monday Postcard #28 31.5.21

Hello there, I hope you’re enjoying your bank holiday! We’ve been enjoying the most glorious sunny and warm weather this weekend – it’s almost felt like being back in Gibraltar!

The wildlife has been enjoying the sun in the garden as much as I have!

Since I last wrote a postcard the fair came to town! Littlest was the only one who was interested so we had a trip on the dodgems and got wet bottoms from sitting in a puddle and then got whirled round on the twister. This though, was a step too far for us…..

In podcast news, Making Stitches is up for an award! If you have listened and think I deserve a vote, the voting is open until 19th June and you can vote for Making Stitches in the Specialist Interest category here.

The latest episode of Making Stitches featured the inspiring Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet. She told me all about her creative journey from a career in law to full time crochet designer. You can hear her episode here.

Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet

Crochet news

It’s finished – the vintage granny strip cardigan designed by Fran Morgan for Simply Crochet Magazine. My shortest creation (for me) from start to finish of about 6 weeks. I love it, and got it finished just in time for….

The Crochet Sanctuary!

On Saturday morning I drove to Knutsford in Cheshire for the Crochet Samctuary. I had wanted to attend a sanctuary for ages, I interviewed Lisa and Lynda-Rose the organisers back in March last year for the first episode of Making Stitches Podcast and on Saturday I got to meet them in person for the first time.

It was a wonderful day, full of crochet, lovely people and just chilling! I loved every minute and can highly recommend it if you get the chance to go yourself. The theme was cherry blossom and we made a lovely tea-cosy, napkin rings and egg cosy. I opted for two napkin rings in place of the egg cosy and am very pleased with them.

That’s all I’ve got for you this time. I hope life’s treating you well and that the sun’s been shining where you are.

Take care,

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #27 16.5.21

Hello there! It’s been a while. I hope you’re ok. I went missing in action for a while there, there was no big reason, just didn’t feel the need to check into blogland. But I’m back, I just thought I’d pop in and say hi!

So what have I been up to lately? Well lots of stuff and nothing too. There has been some progress on unpacking the house (6 months after our move) thanks to a couple of trips to Ikea. However, despite this, the house seems to be a bigger mess than it was before for some reason. I guess we will get there in the end. There just seems to be so many other things which need doing too and progress on everything is slow. Here’s a quick recap on what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks…

I’ve been jabbed!

Last month, round about the time I went missing in action, I had my first Covid jab. I have to admit I didn’t have a great reaction to it as I was pretty unwell for a day or so – it felt a lot like when I had Covid last year – but I guess that means it’s working so I’m not complaining. Fingers crossed my next dose won’t have the same effect.

Football crazy

Football seems to have taken over my life in recent weeks. Littlest used to play for a team when we lived in Gibraltar and recently he got involved with a team over here in Manchester. We now have training twice a week and the possibility of two matches a week too to try to make up for lost time during the most recent lockdown. That may have had some bearing on my lack of visibility on here!! He’s loving it though, and the prospect of away matches means we have the perfect opportunity to explore some new locations not too far from home! This was my view from the touchline yesterday morning for his first ever match.

AmiguruMay

I have been taking part in the Instagram challenge by the talented amigurumi designer Ilaria Caliri called AmiguruMay this month. It’s given me the perfect opportunity to look back through my old photos to find my amigurumi creations of old! Here are a couple of old friends Rocksy & Gib! You can read about their exploits up the Rock here.

Podcast news

Episode 24 Rosina from Zeens and Roger

Blimey, I’ve been away so long that I’ve actually published not one, but two episodes of Making Stitches since I last checked in. The first was with a fellow blogger and hugely talented crochet designer Rosina of Zeens and Roger. Rosina and I started blogging around a similar time and have followed each other over the years, although Rosina has done very good things and achieved such a lot in the meantime!!

Episode 25 : Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective

My next episode, which was published on Friday this week, features my conversation with the inspirational Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective. I found our chat so inspiring and utterly fascinating. Sarah’s method of ‘gentle protest’ has had amazing results and she is keen for lots more crafters to get involved in her new project ahead of Cop26 in Glasgow this year.

You can listen to both of these episodes via this link.

In other news I’ve been published!

I have been a fan and a subscriber to Simply Crochet magazine for years, and recently was given the opportunity to write an article for them. It was a call to action for crocheters to support their local yarn shops after this dreadful year of lockdowns and restrictions. I spoke to some lovely shop owners who were so generous with their time, and I feel very proud to have been published in this super magazine. Thank you Simply Crochet!

And that’s just about it for this postcard. Sorry I was away so long, I will try to do better next time! I hope life has been treating you kindly, and that you have a good week.

Until next time, take care.

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #26 18.04.21

Hello there, I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a gloriously sunny one for us which has been a delight. Here’s what we’ve been up to this week…

Garden potterings…

Back in February/March I started planting seeds ready for summer, I now have two sweet pea wigwams planted up, broad beans, kale, dahlias and sweet corn seedlings. Plus I added to my crop with some baby bedding plants which are all sheltering in the summer house until the frosts have passed. I’m hoping for a colourful and tasty garden ahead.

Nature walk

Last Sunday we simply had to get out to enjoy the beautiful blue skies. We popped out for a walk to our local nature reserve. Isn’t the sky glorious?!

Beside the sea

In August last year, we made our first trip to Crosby on the coast just north of Liverpool. It’s just an hour’s drive from our home in Manchester. On Monday, we went back – our first trip out of the local area since well before Christmas. As you can see, we were so lucky with the weather.

We took a picnic with us and found a bench amongst the dunes. We had the place very nearly to ourselves. It was perfect!

I even managed some alfresco crochet for the first time this year!!

Shopping!

Littlest returned to school after his Easter holidays on Wednesday, so that gave us the perfect opportunity for a teenaged clothes shopping trip to the Trafford Centre (everyone had grown so much during lockdown!). The crowds of Monday shoppers had passed and we were in and out before midday. That was enough for us!!

We also managed to get three young men’s hair cut as well… it was a successful week. I can’t wait until my own appointment next week!

Podcast news

Matthew Downham, a textile artist from Wales was my guest on the latest episode of Making Stitches. Matthew, who spoke openly about the struggles he has had with anxiety told me how when he discovered sewing, he was able to channel his creativity. If you would like to listen to our chat, you can hear it by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.

And that’s just about it for this week. I have one more day with two young men at home before everyone heads back to school. Time to get on with boring household jobs and less fun trips out. I fear the next Sunday Postcard won’t be quite as picturesque!

Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a good week. Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #25 11.4.21

Hello! I hope you’re doing ok. It’s been a funny old week hasn’t it? The last one of this stage of UK lockdown and the news being dominated by the death of Prince Philip. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose your partner of more than 70 years. My thoughts are with the Queen and her family.

Closer to home, we have tried to make the most of our Easter holidays in spite of a mixed bag of weather. As I looked out of the curtains after midnight last night – it was snowing here in Manchester!! No sign of the white stuff this morning though. Here’s a little look back at our week…

Easter cake

We had such a lovely Easter weekend last week, the weather was kind to us and the eased restrictions meant that we were able to spend time with loved ones who we hadn’t seen for too long. To celebrate, my Mum made this yummy cake! It was delicious!

Easter Monday walk

Despite a forecast of snow and ice, we woke up to more stunning weather on Easter Monday and made the most of the sun with a walk around fields near our home. Little did we know, the snow and cold weather would still be heading our way…

Snowy treasure trail

Lymm Cross

Last summer, we went on a treasure trail around the centre of Manchester as an activity to get us out of the house amid the severe restrictions we were facing. During the recent months of lockdown I have long wished we could do another one, as there are several within easy reach of where we are in south west Manchester.

On Tuesday, despite the grey skies and the drop in temperature, we paid for and downloaded another treasure trail – this one for the nearby village of Lymm in Cheshire. It took us along paths we had never visited before and taught us a little about the history of the place. In spite of the snow and cold, it was a fun afternoon!

Slittern Brook

We were glad of the hot drink back at home though!!

If you fancy a go at a treasure trail yourself, you can find them here. (This is not an advert! We just enjoyed it and thought you might too).

Bridgewater Canal in Lymm

Latest project

This was supposed to be finished by Easter, but life and lack of room in my brain to figure things out have got in the way of creativity. Hopefully, she will be making an appearance soon!

Reacquainted with an old friend

Tatton Park

On Friday morning we headed into Cheshire to visit a place I haven’t been to in years – Tatton Park. Unfortunately we were too late to book to visit the gardens, but we did get the chance to wander around the deer park. It was lovely, in spite of sibling bickering and a passing snow shower!

The aviation geek amongst us was even able to watch the planes taking off from nearby Manchester Airport and passing overhead.

New garden delights

Cherry plum (Prunus)

One of the joys of seeing a new garden wake up for spring is the delight of watching new things appear. Just two weeks ago, this small tree was simply a tree with new red leaves, now it is covered in the most beautiful, perfect, white blossom! It’s definitely a keeper!

It’s been fun to be able to get out and potter about in the garden. I was also able to get my brand new lawnmower out for a spin and potted on a few seedlings. Fingers crossed the threat of frost passes soon so I can actually plant them out in the garden soon!

Second National Trust visit of the week!

Footpath from Dunham Massey to Little Bollington

So yesterday we managed to get into our favourite and nearest National Trust property- Dunham Massey. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and we were only able to get a parking entry for late in the afternoon. We managed a short walk in the park and then out towards the village of Little Bollington before the rain and sleet came!

Heading back into the park

We didn’t hang around for long once the sleet arrived – it looked set to stay (and it did). Never mind, it was a nice trip out to see some green space!

That’s all from me for this week, I hope the coming seven days are good to you. A couple of our household are particularly excited about the prospect of going clothes shopping next week before returning to school. I think my standards have dropped since Covid first started because I’m not bothered about clothes – it’s yarn shops I want to get into!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Sunday/Monday Postcard #24 5.4.21

Hello there, I hope you’re doing ok. Didn’t get this ready in time to be a Sunday Postcard, so it’s an Easter Monday one instead.

I hope you have had a decent Easter weekend – we have had such lovely sunny weather in Manchester which meant we were able to have my brother and his wife over to see us in our back garden – the first time we had seen them since Christmas Day. It was the perfect day – lovely weather and lovely conversations. You couldn’t have topped it.

Here’s a little look back at the last couple of weeks in our world.

Spring walks

We’ve been able to pop out for a few walks lately, as the weather has been kind to us. Mostly dry and sometimes beautifully sunny. We headed back to the banks of the River Mersey for a walk and lovely takeaway hot chocolate from the Riverbank Café.

Internet safety model

Littlest came home from school with this kit to make. It was made by Google and involves you answering questions about internet safety and as you get them right – you are given assembly instructions. It was a very informative half an hour or so, and was amazed how much he knew already. A very good idea for young ones and old ones alike.

A new tree

When we last lived in the UK (and weren’t planning on leaving) we planted an apple tree in our back garden. I imagined the Little Postcards would be able to watch it grow as they grew. Of course we left that tree behind when we moved to Gibraltar, so I always intended on getting a tree for our new garden.

I took a trip to the garden centre while the boys were at school for something else and spotted this tree, it was an impulse buy and I had a slight panic that it wouldn’t fit in the car – with a bit of jiggery-pokery I got it in!

Here it is in its new home!

Happy post

I got some super happy post a fortnight ago, I have long wanted one of Cathy from Dear Emma’s fabric pots with little houses on. They are so cute! So I spent some of my birthday money on one. Isn’t it beautiful?

I also took delivery of this inspiring and very well written book by Sarah Corbett – ‘How to be a Craftivist’. I have long watched the Craftivist Collective at work on Instagram and wanted to know more about what they do. I can highly recommend it.

A new amigurumi person…

I’ve been taking inspiration from my own garden for my latest amigurumi make. Can you tell what I’ve been making?!

Introducing Dave, the King of the Daffodils!

He’s looking a bit lonely though isn’t he? I think he needs a friend… watch this space!

Heading out of lockdown

Football training last week

It’s been lovely for the past week to begin doing some more ‘adventurous’ things. Now we are on the way out of lockdown (hopefully) Littlest has been able to join a local football team for training – which is brilliant after so long trapped in our own home and garden.

I’ve also been able to have a couple of friends over for coffee (and a glass of wine) in our garden – what bliss after so long apart!

Podcast news

Hayley from Dotcraftstudio

Last Friday on Making Stitches I published the latest episode featuring Hayley from Dotcraftstudio who spoke about her experience on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas and how her craft of amigurumi faux animal heads has developed over time.

You can listen by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.

That’s all I’ve got for you for this latest Postcard, I often find it hard to find things to include as life isn’t quite as picturesque as it once was for us when we lived overlooking the Bay of Gibraltar! However, inspite of the lack of sea views, life has been very good to us and we have been blessed with the kindness of friends and family who more than make up for any sea views!

Until next time, I hope life treats you kindly. Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Flora the Gardener : Free Crochet Pattern

Flora the Gardener

Hello there! I hope you’re doing ok. I’ve had some really lovely feedback since I first shared Flora with the big wide world a few weeks ago. A very good friend of mine who is a super talented artist even illustrated her for me!

‘Flora’ by Emma Davies

Isn’t she a beauty?! I love her! Thank you Emma! (There are details to find Emma’s work at the end of this pattern).

I’ve been wanting to have a bash at designing crochet patterns for a while, so here is my first ‘proper’ one (I did a tiny bumble bee for a yarn bomb ages ago, but that doesn’t really count!). Please be gentle with me (I have checked for mistakes and don’t think there are any), and if you make a Flora of your own, I’d love to see yours. Please tag her on Instagram with #florathegardener or #postcardfromgibcrochet

Here goes…

Before you begin:

  • Please read through the complete pattern before you begin.
  • Flora measures approximately 34cm tall.
  • This toy is suitable for children to play with, however if you are planning on giving her to a small child please embroider them with black yarn or embroidery cotton instead.
  • Flora is made using the amigurumi technique of crocheting in the round. You will need to use a stitch marker to mark the first stitch of every row.

What you will need:

I created Flora using DK weight cotton yarns as I prefer the effect of the cotton yarns and they are pretty hardwearing for toys however standard synthetic DK yarn would work up fine for this project. 

I used: 

Face & hands – beige cotton yarn

Shoes – orange & black cotton yarn 

Trousers – blue cotton yarn 

Coat – green cotton yarn

Jumper – Sirdar Snuggly Smiley Stripes 80% bamboo 20% wool in ‘Razzmatazz’

Hat – Scheepjes River Washed No 941 ‘Colorado’

Basket – Scheepjes River Washed No 822 ‘Brown Agate’

You will also need some soft toy filling – I used Recycled Polyester Craft Filling from Phoenix Fibres which is made from recycled plastic bottles.

You will also need some safety eyes – I used 7mm but a larger size would work fine. Alternatively you can embroider her eyes on using embroidery thread or yarn.

Stitch Markers to keep track of where you are in the pattern.

A darning needle to sew in your yarn tails.

Skill Level: This is suitable for anyone with experience of double crochet stitches, magic circles, making chains and slip stitches. There are plenty of useful videos online which illustrate how to create a magic circle if you haven’t come across one before.

Stitches & Abbreviations:

This pattern is written in UK terms

Ch = chain

Dc = Double crochet

Dc2tog = Double crochet 2 together (US single crochet 2 together) If you prefer a neater finish you can use an invisible decrease rather than Sc2tog. To make an invisible decrease  you put your hook through the front loop only of the next two stitches, yarn over hook and pull it back through.

MC = Magic Circle

Slst = Slip Stitch

St(s) = Stitch(es)

YO = Yarn Over

Hook size:

Most amigurumists choose a hook size which is smaller than the one recommended on the yarn ball band eg DK yarns often suggest a hook size of 4mm. By using a smaller hook your fabric is tighter and stops any filling material from being visible through the holes. Whatever hook you choose to use, make sure you use the same size for the whole doll. I used a 3mm hook for this project but you could go even smaller and get a much tighter fabric if you wish.

THE PATTERN

As Flora is crocheted together as you go, you will need to make her head, arms and legs first before attempting the body. The figure in brackets at the end of each row indicates how many stitches there are in that round eg (6). Please remember to use a stitch marker in the first stitch of every round so you can keep track of where you are. 

HEAD 

Round 1 with beige yarn, work 6 Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)

Round 2 2Dc into each st around (12)

Round 3 (2Dc in next st, 1Dc in next st) repeat around (18)

Round 4 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 2 sts) repeat around (24)

Round 5 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 3 sts) repeat around (30)

Round 6 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 4 sts) repeat around (36)

Round 7 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 5 sts) repeat around (42)

Round 8 (2Dc in next st, 1 Dc in next 6 sts) repeat around (48)

Rounds 9-16 1Dc in every stitch around (48)

Round 17 (Dc2tog (or Invisible Decrease as detailed above), 1 Dc in next 6 sts) repeat around (42)

Round 18 (Dc2tog, 1 Dc in next 5 sts) repeat around (36)

Round 19 (Dc2tog, 1 Dc in next 4 sts) repeat around (30)

Round 20 (Dc2tog, 1 Dc in next 3 sts) repeat around (24)

Round 21 (Dc2tog, 1 Dc in next 2 sts) repeat around (20) 

Fasten off and break yarn leaving a long tail to sew head to body later on. Place safety eyes between rows 10 & 11 approximately 4 stitches apart. Stuff head firmly.

ARMS (Make 2)

Round 1 With beige yarn work 6 Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)

Round 2 (2Dc into each st) repeat around (12)

Round 3 – 6 Dc into every stitch, in YO of final Dc change yarn to the colour of the coat (green) (12)

Round 7 – 25 1 Dc into every stitch (12)

Fasten off and break yarn. Darn in yarn tail and stuff firmly. 

LEGS (Make 2)

Round 1 (In black for soles of the shoes) 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)

Round 2 2Dc into every st (12)

Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc) repeat around (18)

Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 st) repeat around, but change colour in the YO of the final st to orange for Flora’s boots (24)

Round 5 (In orange) 1Dc into the back loop only of each stitch around (this will give the look of the edge of the sole). (24)

Rounds 6 – 8 1Dc into every st around (24)

Round 9 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next two st) repeat around and change colour in YO of final st to blue (for Flora’s trousers) (18)

Rounds 10 – 40 1Dc in every st around. (18)

Fasten off and break yarn.

BODY

At this point you need to look at your legs and decide at which part of the top round (Leg Round 40) you want to begin your Body Round 1. Ideally the colour change stitches between black to orange on the shoes and orange to blue of the trousers should be at the back of the doll so they aren’t as noticeable. It is directly above these colour changes where you need to join your blue (trouser coloured) yarn to begin joining the legs together and forming the body (see photo 1 below).

Photo 1

Photo 2

Round 1 Join yarn in appropriate st as described above and ch 1 (this does not count as a st) then 1Dc into the same st, 1 Dc into the next 3 sts, chain 1, then take the second leg, assess which is the back of the leg and squish the top of the leg to fold it flat with the back in the centre, at the stitch nearest the right side (3 or 4 st to the right of the colour joins – see photo 2 above). This is the point at which you need to begin 1Dc in every st around the top of the second leg, once you have gone all the way round, Dc into the side of the Ch nearest to you (see photo 3 below) and continue to Dc around the remaining 14 st of the first leg. (38 stitches – 18 x2 from both legs plus chain and Dc into chain on return)

Photo 3

Round 2 1Dc into every st (38)

Round 3 1Dc into next 15 st, 2Dc into next 2 st, 1Dc into next 16 st, 2Dc into next 2 st, 1Dc into next 3 st (42)

Round 4-5 1Dc into every st (42)  

Round 6 1Dc into every st, in YO of final Dc change to yarn for Flora’s jumper (photo above) (42)

Round 7-24 1Dc into every st (42)

At this point, flatten out the body so you can clearly see the two sides where the arms should go, mark the two sides with stitch markers to show the midpoint of each arm position (see photo above) – we will be attaching the arms in Round 25.

Round 25 1Dc in next 15 st, (this should bring you to within 3 st in front of the stitch marker) then squash the top of the first arm flat and put your hook through the first stitch on the right hand side of the top of the arm and through the mirrored stitch behind it – ie in one side and out of the other of the arm (see above) – then 1Dc into the next st on the body, continue like this through both sides of the arm for the next 5 stitches of the arm and the body (this will securely fix the arm to the body and remove the need to sew it on later). Then Dc across the next 15 stitches and repeat the arm attaching process again with 6Dc in the next 6 st. (42)

Round 26 Dc into next 15 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next 2 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next 15 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next 2 st, Dc2tog (38)

Round 27 Dc into next 14 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next st, Dc2tog, Dc into next 14 st, Dc2tog, Dc into next st, Dc2tog. (34)

Round 28 Dc into next 14 st, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, Dc into next 12 st, Dc2tog, Dc2tog (30)

Round 29 (Dc into next st, Dc2tog) repeat to end of round (20)

Round 30 Dc into every stitch (20)

Fasten off and break yarn.

At this point, you should sew the head in place on top of the neck making sure the eyes are facing front!

L-R Head with eyes, hair cap & bobble hat

HAT

This is made (in blue) to the same pattern as the head finishing at the end of round 16. I added a small pompom made out of the same yarn wound round the prongs of a fork to the top of the hat. 

HAIR CAP

This is made in a russet coloured yarn to the same patter as the head ending at the end of round 16. I then used yarn in 3 different shades of orange/russet/red to add hair to the edge of the hair cap. I measured lengths of approximately 30cm and folded them in half then fed them though stitches around the edge of the hair cap using my hook and knotted them securely in place. As my version of Flora is wearing a hat (which is permanently attached) I didn’t need to add any more hair, however if you would like your hat to be removable, you will need to cover the hair cap with strands of hair. I then sewed the hair cap in place and then sewed the hat in place on top of the hair cap, then plaited the hair before trimming it to neaten it up at the back.

COAT

Row 1 Using the same green yarn as you used to make the sleeves on the arms, ch 41, then 1Dc into the second ch from the hook and continue along the ch with 1Dc into every ch to the end, ch1 and turn. (40)

Rows 2 – 21 Remembering not to work into the turning chain, 1Dc into every stitch along the row, ch 1 and turn. (40)

Row 22 (This is where you begin shaping for arm holes – see photo below) 1Dc into next 7 st, ch 6 and miss the next 6 st, 1Dc into the next 14 st, ch 6 and miss the next 6 st, 1Dc into next 7 st, ch1 and turn. (40 including the 12 chs)

Arm hole loops
Photo shows Dcs in to chain spaces

Row 23 1Dc into next 7 st, 6Dc into the chain space from Row 22 (as shown in photo above), 1Dc into next 14 st, 6Dc into the second chain space from row 22, 1Dc into next 7 st, ch1 and turn. (40) (Work should like photo below)

Row 24 1Dc into every st, ch1 and turn work at right angles to you with the same side facing you to work along the front edge of the coat. (40) Then 1Dc into the edge of every row down to the bottom of the front of the coat (24) then 1ch & turn (see photo below)

Row 25 1Dc into the next 23 st along the front edge of the coat (see photo above), but you will need to 4Dc into the top st which will automatically turn the corner (photo below) and the jacket for you to allow you to 1Dc into the next 7 st along the top of the coat, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 st, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 15 st, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 st, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 7 st, ch1, then turn the coat so that you can 1Dc into the edge of every row down to the bottom of the front of the coat (24 down the front edge), ch1 and turn. (Grand total of 88 st in all on row 25)

Turning the corner on the jacket

Row 26 1Dc into next 23 st, in the top stitch of the front of the coat, you will again need to 4Dc into this in order to make a corner, sl st into the next st, break yarn and sew in the end.

If you put the coat onto Flora at this point, you will notice that there is some gaping around the shoulders and neck, so another row with decreases in is required to neaten the fit of the coat.

Row 27 Put a stitch marker on each end of the top row of the coat 5 stitches in from the edge (see photo above) – this is where the row will begin and end to allow you to form a lapel. There should be 21 stitches between the two stitch markers. With the wrong side (inside) facing you, join the yarn at the right hand stitch marker and ch1, 1Dc into the same st, pull the yarn tail tight to shrink the ch so it’s practically invisible and there isn’t an obvious lump next to the Dc as this will be the first st on display in the upper lapel, 1Dc into the next 3 st, Dc2tog 3 times (ie next 6 st become 3), 1Dc into next 13 st, then Dc2tog 3 times (ie 6 st become 3), 1Dc into next 4 st, ch1 and turn. (27)

Rows 28 – 29 1Dc into every st, ch1 and turn. (27) 

Row 30 1Dc into every st, finish off, break yarn and sew in the end. (27)

Row 31 Join yarn into the stitch where you fastened off the edge if the lower lapel (see picture above), 1Dc along the edge of the collar, up the side of the top lapel and 4Dc into the corner st (1st photo below) continue with 1Dc along the top of the top lapel in the next 25 st, 4Dc into the final st on the top lapel to turn the corner, work 1Dc into the edge of each row along the side of the top lapel and fasten off into the corner (see 2nd picture below), break yarn and sew in the end.

The coat is now complete, you can stitch the lapel down if desired. You can also stitch the jacket into place around the arm holes onto the top of Flora’s arms or leave unattached if you would prefer it to be removable.

Basket   

Row 1 Using Brown yarn Ch 7, 1Dc into the top loop of second chain from hook and continue into the top loop of the next 4 chains, 3Dc in final chain. Work 1 Dc into the bottom loop of next 4 chains and 2dc into the last one. Sl St into the 1st Dc to close the round (14)

Row 2 Ch1, 2Dc into same st, 1 Dc into next 5 st, 2Dc, 2Dc, 1Dc into next 5 st, 2Dc, then Sl St into top of 1st ch of that round (18)

Row 3 Ch 1, 1Dc into same st, 2Dc into next st, 1Dc in next 6 st, 2Dc, 1Dc, 2Dc, 1Dc into next 6 st, 2Dc, Sl St into top of 1st ch (22)

Row 4 Ch1, 1Dc into the back loop only of each sit around the oval.

Row 5 1Dc into every st through both loops as normal. Fasten off and weave ends in.

Look at your basket and figure out where the middle of the long sides are to position the handle, mark where the handle should go with stitch markers. Join the yarn on one side and chain 10 (or longer if you prefer), sl st into opposite side of basket where the marker is placed making sure you don’t twist the chain. Weave in ends.

Carrots (Make 3)

Using orange yarn, ch 6. 1Dc in second chain from hook, then 1Dc in every other chain, ch1 and turn.(5)

Work the following stitches into the 5 st from the previous row; 1htr, 1htr, 1Dc, 1Dc, 1slst. (5)

Fasten off and sew carrot along the side. Add some greenery to the top using lengths of green yarn or embroidery cotton tied on.

And there you have it, a Flora of your own! I hope you enjoy making her.

If you would like to see my very talented artist friend Emma’s work (who illustrated Flora for me), check out Emma’s work on Instagram @emmadavies_art or Emma Davies – Art & Illustration on Facebook or visit her website.

Please remember that if you make your own Flora, I’d love to see her! Please tag her with #florathegardener or #postcardfromgibcrochet

If you have any feedback about the pattern, please be gentle, but I would love to hear it!

Enjoy!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #23 21.3.21

Happy UK Census Day! I’m feeling rather historic, I do like family history and feel quite excited that at some point in the future one of my descendants or distant relatives may read what I put in our census return today.

I wish I had something exciting to tell you about, but alas lockdown life has a rather predictable plod to it and life has been rather samey of late. One big improvement has been the fact the Litle Postcards have been back in school for two weeks and my word, that frees up an awful lot of time to get some long-awaited jobs done!

In the last two weeks I have managed to unpack a few more boxes since our move and we now have another room which is totally box free. There’s still a good way to go with other rooms though, but that depends on being able to buy furniture to put the box contents into!

Spring has sprung

There’s no doubt about it, we have past the spring equinox and nature is waking up. I loved watching the brand new episode of Gardener’s World this week – that can only signal good things. I have been admiring this Crocus strewn lawn while out and about for the past few weeks – it’s so cheerful.

A new crochet project

I treated myself to some new yarn and am loving working on a new project. It’s something I’ve been thinking about making for years and finally I thought, ‘what am I waiting for?’ So just bit the bullet and ordered the yarn.

It’s going to be a granny stripe cardigan which appeared in Simply Crochet a while ago. Unfortunately I left it so long to make it that some of the shades of yarn recommended in the pattern have been discontinued so I’ve had to swap them out for alternatives! It was designed by the super talented Fran Morgan.

In other crochet news I made an Emmeline Pankhurst especially for International Women’s Day on 8th March! The pattern for Emmeline comes from the Crochet Iconic Women book by Carla Mitrani. She was my first make, but I’m sure some more will appear before long!

Robin spotted!

I’m loving being able to enjoy the bird visitors to our back garden. Since we first put food out for them in January, we have had starlings, wood pigeons, sparrows, blue tits and this rather cheerful robin. It feels like such a privilege to have so many little visitors over.

Signs of spring

A couple of weeks ago we had a lovely sunny Sunday walk over some open ground near our home. The last time we made the trip, there was snow on the ground and it looked so different.

Another sign of spring is that my sweet pea seedlings are up! I’m itching to plant them out but can’t take the risk yet in case we have another frost.

Podcast news

This week, Making Stitches made a reappearance with a new series (it’s amazing what you can achieve when your children are in school!!). The first episode of the new series features my chat with Louise Armitage aka Gini, from Gini’s Dorset Buttons. Gini won the Handmade Decoration trophy in last year’s Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas and spoke to me about how she first discovered the craft of Dorset Button-making as well as her TV experience.

You can hear the episode by following this link.

Gini’s winning decoration and her trophy

That’s all for this postcard, thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a good week ahead and that all is well with you.

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #22 28.2.21

Hello there, I hope this postcard finds you well this week. We’ve had half term and then another week of home schooling since I last stopped by.

Half term brought with it a bit if a virus (I think) not THE virus I’m very glad to say, so the ‘holiday’ was even more underwhelming than anticipated! I’m now well on the mend and looking forward to just one more week of home schooling before the Little Postcards all return to school next Monday- hurrah!

As a consequence of feeling a bit meh for a big chunk of the last few weeks, this week’s postcard is a little bit lack lustre…

Sunday nature reserve walk

We began half term with a walk to a new place for us. Less than half an hour’s walk from our front door is this nature trail which was created back in 2000. By that point I had moved away from the area with work so as a result I had never visited, so it was a first for all of us.

It may have been a cold, damp and grey day but the ducks put on a bit of a show for us which made me giggle. You can’t beat a bottoms up duck can you?!

Introducing Hope the Snowdrop

I did say a few weeks back I would be publishing a pattern for Flora the gardener, but things have got in the way of that. In the meantime, I shared this photo of Hope the Snowdrop onto Instagram. I made her back in January before Flora as a matter of fact.

On cue I received a lovely present in my doorstep, a bundle of snowdrops to plant in my own garden courtesy of my Dad. Thanks Dad!

I also shared Saffron the Crocus, who I finished this week…

If the neighbours saw me out in the sunshine playing with crochet dolls they’ll be wondering about what home schooling has done to my marbles!!

Saffron, Hope & Flora

Gardening

As the weather has improved lately, I’ve been able to get out into the garden, not only to plant my snowdrops but to cut back a few shrubs which were getting a bit big. I’ve also started planting seeds ready for the summer ahead. That’s my first batch of sweet peas.

I’m so looking forward to my first summer in my new garden, oh the possibilities!

Gift from a friend

My lovely friend who lives across the road dropped these beautiful daffs off to me when I was feeling under the weather last week. They have been looking beautiful all this week. The perfect sunshiny yellow boost to remind us all that spring’s around the corner!

That’s all I have for you this week from sunny Manchester. I hope you are well and beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

Take care,

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #21 14.2.21

Hello there, happy Sunday to you. Sorry I went missing in action last week with no postcard. It’s been a bit full on with home schooling and everything else so I took a week off.

I’m very pleased to say that we have survived six weeks of home schooling relatively unscathed (apart from my blood pressure and sanity) and we are now at the beginning of a week of half term holiday. Ooh what shall we do? A trip to the seaside? A walk in the country? A trip to the shops? No, no and no, we will mostly be staying home, walking round the block and eating too much – no change there then!

I will though, hopefully be spending a lot more time on my crochet. I am within touching distance of publishing a pattern for Flora my amigurumi gardener, and I’m trying to get some more podcast episodes sorted so Making Stitches can return for a new series before too much longer and I have a few other bits and bobs going on behind the scenes – oh so much to do and so little time!

Anyway, here’s a brief peek at what I’ve been up to during the past 2 weeks – warning – it’s not that riveting!!

Work moves on apace with pattern writing

So I have started remaking Flora and taking pictures as I go so that hopefully I can publish a pattern.

A trip to the waterside

Last Sunday we took a half hour walk from our house to…. the Manchester Ship canal! We used to be able to walk to the Bay of Gibraltar from our home… how times have changed! 🤣 It may look a bit bleak, and it was bitterly cold, but we saw lots of wildlife, it was late in the afternoon and we saw a murmuration of starlings coming in to roost near by, there were also lots of seagulls and even a heron. Plus there was a rather dramatic whirl pool on the opposite side of the lock gates to where we were standing…

More snow ❄️

We had a couple of days early this week when it seemed to snow off and on all day, I stopped counting at the ninth snow shower. It was lovely to glance out of the window in the midst of improper fractions or history and drift away watching the flakes float down. Unfortunately none of our showers came to anything unlike elsewhere in the UK this week, but we did have our snow over Christmas and New Year so I’m not complaining!

Happy post

In amongst the lessons this week, there was a knock at the door and the postman had a parcel for me. It was a kit for an amigurumi Harry Potter sent by my lovely friend Nikki in Liverpool. Thank you Nikki, I will be starting on this very soon!!

Snowdrops

I have been seeing some beautiful photos of banks of snowdrops over on Instagram lately, and I have to say I think they are my favourite post-Christmas plant (I can’t say spring because it isn’t spring yet is it?!). They always herald the beginning of the gardening year and hope of what is to come. I have hardly seen any on my walks around our neighbourhood but spied this rather weedy clump in our local municipal gardens. I will try to do better for the next postcard!!

More crochet

Flora now has carrots in her basket. I’m bursting to show you something else I’ve been working on but want to share my Flora pattern first so I’m biding my time. Flora #2 had an unfortunate accident with a cup of coffee and a young man’s foot this week which didn’t help progress, so she had to have a rather drastic plunge into a washing up bowl and a toast on the radiator which added to the delay… But suffice to say, I’m so enjoying my crochet at the moment, it’s what’s giving me focus and a reward to my day to day lockdown drudge.

I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got for you this week, sorry it’s been a dull one, but I guess that’s the same for everyone at the moment.

Have a good week and stay safe!

Lindsay x