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…
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
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!
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).
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
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
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!
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!
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!!
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.
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!
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
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!
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!
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
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)
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!
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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!
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!!
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!!
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.
Please excuse this flight of fancy, it may be lockdown isolation which is getting to me, or perhaps the home-schooling but my mind has wandered off into a fantasy land where my alter-ego Flora lives.
Flora lives for her plants and adores her garden…
She has all the gear (and no idea) and can’t wait for the spring flowers to fully appear once the snow and frosts have passed. Flora is like a tightly coiled spring ready to burst into action once winter loosens its grip on her new garden.
After years spent living abroad without a proper garden to call her own and all that time spent watching Gardeners World from afar and dreaming of having a huge garden like Monty’s she now finds herself living in the suburbs with a rather smaller plot than ‘Long Meadow’ but it’s hers nonetheless.
What will this year have in store for her as she sees shoots of new life appear in her new plot?
Hello there! How are you doing? I hope you are bearing up in the circumstances. We’re doing ok and I’m pleased to report and my parents got their first dose of the Covid jab last week so that feels like the first step towards something a bit more positive.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last postcard and nothing much has really been going on as I’m sure you can appreciate. We have completed 4 weeks of home schooling – which I’m feeling rather proud of achieving. It hasn’t been easy but it has given me the excuse to sit next to youngest and supervise his work and during bits he can manage on his own, I have been able to crochet.
I mentioned last time that I had been playing with amigurumi and attempting to design something of my own. I have been crocheting ‘properly’ for about 7 or 8 years now and I never felt I had the ability or creativity to create something that other people might like to make. However, towards the end of last year a germ of an idea started for a collection of amigurumi ‘dolls’ and I just can’t stop thinking about them, so I have begun designing.
There have been a couple of odd looking prototypes (which the Little Postcards say give them the creeps) but I’m hoping I have ironed out some of the quirks and I’m getting there. I hope to be able to share them with you very soon. The first is ‘Flora’ and here’s a sneaky peak of her….
Wintery weather continues…
We started the week with another wintery spell of weather. It looks so beautiful and bright and crisp but I was very glad I wasn’t having to get out early and scrape the car windscreen to drive anywhere! I could enjoy it from the warmth of the house!
I didn’t used to like hyacinths because of the perfume they give off. One positive of my post-Covid wonky sense of smell is that, that no longer bothers me, so I have greatly enjoyed this trio of hyacinths in the house this last couple of weeks. They blossomed quickly in the warmth of the dining room / makeshift classroom!
A tour from your armchair
Yesterday I enjoyed my third virtual tour around my home city of Manchester. The tour group ‘New Manchester Walks’ has been hosting virtual Zoom tours around the city and other places in lockdown. So far, I’ve been on a virtual tour of Underground Manchester, followed the Pankhursts on a suffragette tour and yesterday took a spin around the Northern Quarter and heard many fascinating stories about the history it holds from the Manchester Martyrs to the Beatles’ first audition for the BBC and Sean Ryder firing a bullet into the wall of a bar owned by the Haçienda’s Anthony H Wilson. I can highly recommend seeking them out if you have an interest in the city or just social history in general.
The subject of the latest edition of Making Stitches Podcast is textile artist Janet Browne. Janet makes the most beautiful pictures of journeys she has been on and places she has visited using hand-dyed fabric and stitching. She was a fascinating person to speak to and I’m sure you’ll agree if you listen to her chat with me. Just search for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or follow this link.
And that is it for this postcard, as I said there’s not an awful lot going on, as I’m sure is the case for many of us. I hope the coming week is a positive one for you. Until next time, look after yourself!
Hello there, sorry I didn’t get round to posting last weekend, there wasn’t the time! Here’s a double dose of Sunday Postcards for two weeks, although, please be warned – it’s not very exciting – life has suddenly become rather restricted!!
Two weeks ago today, we still had some remnants of snow from our snow fall on New Year’s Eve. As the Little Postcards hadn’t been out much we headed out for a walk across some open land close to where we live. This is part of the Mersey valley which is about 15 mins walk from our home.
It’s land which I used to play on as a child. There was much den building, hide-and-seeking and adventuring which happened here many years ago. I love that I can share it with my children now.
The fishing lake was frozen – there were some ducks doing a spot of ice skating at one point!
A new project
Now my Christmas blanket is done, I started a new project on New Year’s Eve. I’m trying a bit of amigurumi this time as it’s been quite a while since I’ve done any. Plus I’m having a go at designing it myself. Watch this space… it may be an utter disaster!!
Last Friday I had a sweet tooth so dug out the cake cases and made chocolate fairy cakes. They were rather nice, even though I say so myself!
Other than a short walk round the block we hadn’t all been out of the house since the previous Sunday so last Saturday morning before too many people were about, we headed out to our local playing fields and park for a misty walk.
It was very atmospheric. I do like a bit of mist (if I’m not trying to drive in it!!).
While out and about we took a different route to normal and spotted this chap for the first time. He’s super!
Au revoir Robert
I have unfortunate news about Robert the snowman… This was him on 28th December…
…and this was him last Saturday. I’m afraid by the start of this week, he was no more.
Over on Making Stitches, last Friday saw the release of the latest episode of the podcast. This one features Sara Huntington, Editor of Simply Crochet Magazine.
I was thrilled when Sara agreed to speak to me. She had a fascinating story to tell about how she got to her current job situation and is really worth a listen. You can hear the episode via this link.
I have to hold my hands up and say home schooling is hard work. I have really struggled with managing to keep up with what has needed to be done by the Little Postcards. We have kept up but it’s not been easy. In fact it’s been rather all consuming. However towards the end of this week, we got into enough of a rhythm that I was able to squeeze a bit of amigurumi in between the long multiplication. We are getting there!
Amongst the home schooling has been food tech. So one evening we had a rather tasty chilli cooked by Middle Postcard. I believe it’s carrot cake next… yum!
It was my birthday this week, so I have joined the lockdown birthday club. Inside this beautifully wrapped parcel from my little brother was this gorgeous book:
I can’t wait to get started on some of the projects inside. He knows me so well! As do my Little Postcards who got me this…
I’ve been looking at this for a while, without telling anyone, so I was thrilled that they had chosen it for me. Well done boys!
Another lovely birthday surprise was the fact that my latest issue of Simply Crochet arrived on my birthday and it featured a write-up about Making Stitches!!
I am feeling very chuffed with everything that came my way!
Apart from that, it’s been a rather quiet week of trying to complete schooling tasks and keep on top of running a house. I have done lots of little bits of crochet in between and I’m almost finished. I’m looking forward to sharing what I have made with you very soon.
Wherever you are I hope you are ok. We had some positive news recently about people we know who slowly recovering from serious hospital-stay bouts of Covid and also some very sad news too. This truly is a very difficult time for everyone. I’m sending my very best wishes to you and hope that things are going ok for you even if it’s challenging.
I hope you have had a decent festive period, it’s been rather muted but also rather nice to be at home too with no pressure to attend events either. We now find ourselves in Tier 4 like much of England and my friends in Gibraltar are in lockdown due to a huge spike in Covid cases there after being relatively unscathed until this point. I do hope they manage to get things under control over there very soon.
I’m having an internal debate about when to take the decorations down, there’s something a bit sad about packing the twinkly lights away for another year and yet there’s something nice about having clear surfaces and a fresh start too, maybe I’ll do it tomorrow…
Anyway, here’s this week’s Sunday Postcard and the first one of 2021.
First snow! ❄️
It was a big day in our house when we woke up to this on Monday. A generous dusting of white stuff had arrived while we slept and for Littlest it was his first experience of snow ever!
It was such a treat to see and completely changed the way I look at my new garden, I feel very lucky to have a little patch to call our own especially now we are effectively back into lockdown.
It was also rather fun to sit by the window and crochet snowflakes while looking at the real thing outside!
After the snow came the freezing fog which enveloped us in a rather murky gloom for an entire day. I found it quite atmospheric although not everyone in the house agreed.
Then more snow arrived on New Year’s Eve…. and a heavier dusting.
Doesn’t it just make everything look magical?
I set myself the challenge of completing my Christmas Eve blanket (pattern by The Crochet Sanctuary) by the end of the year seeing as I had missed my initial Christmas target (whoops). I didn’t manage to finish the border but the blanket is finished for now (last stitches completed on New Year’s Eve) so I’ll take that as a win. I love how it looks and really chuffed I managed to pull off the mosaic crochet Christmas trees too – my first attempt at that technique and I love the effect.
My word, I know how to party. A new crochet project in front of Jools Holland’s Hootenany is how I rolled on New Year’s Eve! I did have a few bubbles though curtesy of my lovely brother and sister in law’s Christmas gift hamper! Cheers!
Since New Year we haven’t really done anything of note, a bit of preparation for the return (or non-return) to school and a bit more crochet for me. I will share more pictures when and if they are worth showing!
I will leave it here for now and hope you are doing ok where ever you are and whatever restrictions you are facing. I had a look at my ‘best nine’ photos on Instagram and it’s a sign of the times that my lockdown rainbow featured, I’m glad it was filled with two of my favorite things though – crochet and Gibraltar!
Until next week, take are and thanks for stopping by!