A postcard from April 2022

Quarry Bank Mill at Styal

Hello there and welcome to this latest Postcard from April – if a little late! It’s a teeny look back at what I got up to in April and as spring has sprung well and truly round here, it meant spending a lot of time out in my little garden.


Where we live we are surrounded by streets and roads filled with trees. I believe the local town planner back in the 1930s believed that there should be a tree planted for every person who lived in the district, so we have him to thank for all the lush greenery around here.

One of the side effects of having so many trees about is that they drop their seeds in autumn and as I discovered last spring (our first in this house) those seeds produce dozens and dozens of tiny seedlings in our pebble driveway. This is just one handful of seedlings picked during about 10 minutes one afternoon – there are approximately 124 seedlings there. I reckon in total I’ve pulled up at least 200 – which would have left me with a jungle or even a forest between our front door and the pavement! It’s no trouble really and rather therapeutic, although they can be hard to spot against the pebbles, and are easy to miss.

Fence panel painting before & after (left panel is painted, right panel isn’t)

Also in the garden, I decided that this year, it was time to give the fence panels a treat. Thankfully the previous owner had left a partially used pot of fence paint, so I was able to set to work straight away once the mood took me. Once I ran out of the original stuff, a quick trip to the local DIY shop had me back to work. One day over Easter weekend I managed to paint 15 fence panels. I was a little tired that evening!

I also thought the shed could do with a treat, despite painting it last year, it was looking a little tired. So that got a coat of paint too along with a new trellis and a new honeysuckle which I bought from the local allotment which was having a plant sale. It’s more than doubled in size since this picture was taken!

Birthdays

There were two birthdays in the household in April. One was a big one as Eldest turned 18 – eek! I have no idea how that happened. I’m just mentally preparing myself for the fact he’s going to be leaving home (all being well) in September to go off to University. Not sure how I’ll feel when the time comes….

Another birthday I celebrated last month was the 2nd birthday of Making Stitches Podcast – but more on that later….

Psyduck (minus his tuft of hair/feathers)

I was invited to a special 21st birthday party last month too. Special in that it was 2 years late. A very good friend of mine has a lovely son who turned 21 in April of 2020, at the time a party had been planned and of course lockdown happened so he had no celebration at all. In fact his parents only managed to deliver a cake to the driveway of where he was living and sang happy birthday from the car, before driving home.

Unlike certain other people, he didn’t have a party….. that was until this year, when, two years later than planned, family and friends were able to get together for a better-late-than-never celebration. Oh, and the amigurumi I’m holding above is Psyduck (a Pokémon character – in case you didn’t know). This young man was a huge fan of Psyduck when he was younger, so I made him one – albeit with out the tuft of hair he’s supposed to have because I left it to the last minute and forgot to in the rush! But the recipient was happy and the party was a great night.

Easter holiday trip out

We are very fortunate to have a few really great National Trust properties close to where we live. One of those is Styal Mill near Manchester Airport. Our great friends and neighbours across the road were going for the day, so I took youngest along with me (the other two were otherwise engaged) for an Easter treasure trail and picnic on a lovely warm and, at times, sunny day.

We hadn’t been for a few years – it’s so easy forget what’s down the road isn’t it? But I’m so glad we had the invitation to join our friends. The kids had fun and ran off some energy whilst learning about the industrial revolution and leeches (on the tour of the apprentice house). It had particular resonance for my young man because the mill was actually used as a location for the filming of the new CBBC drama Dodger, which he had very much enjoyed watching.

The grounds were looking gorgeous and the picture of spring with tulips galore and azaleas too – the rhododendrons were just about to explode into colour too.

A trip down to London

As mentioned before, Eldest has his sights set on University for later this year, and last month was invited for a look around one of the Unis on his list. I tagged along so I could see where he might be disappearing off to. Blimey, universities have moved on a lot since I was at one! The services and support are so much more sophisticated than I can remember, which certainly put my mind at rest as a slightly anxious parent. Another positive of the day trip was plenty of time for hooky on the train!

Podcast Update

In podcast news, as well as celebrating 2 years of Making Stitches Podcast, I released a couple of new episodes. Episode 42 was ‘Crochet-tastic’ and packed full of crochet chatter featuring a conversation I had with Hannah Cross of Hanjan Crochet and another with Amanda Bloom formerly of Little Box of Crochet and now from Cosy Life Boxes about her amazing fundraising efforts for Ukraine with her ‘Blanket of Hugs’ for Ukraine appeal. You can find a link to the episode here.

Hannah Cross of Hanjan Crochet (l) & Amanda Bloom (r)

Episode 43 was bright and colourful (if you can do that with sound) and featured the lovely Clare Albans from Hello Hooray Blog about her creative journey from music teacher to hand-embroidery designer and small business owner. Last year, Clare was able to open her own bricks and mortar studio and haberdashery shop thanks to a Kick-starter campaign. You can find a link to that episode here.

Clare Albans from Hello Hooray Blog

And that’s just about it from me for this month. I have been working on a few crochet projects behind the scenes but I hope to be able to share them with you very soon, and I’m still working on up-coming episodes of Making Stitches too.

I hope you have enjoyed this little look back at April in my world and that it hasn’t been too boring for you! I hope you’ve had a good month too.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time, bye for now!

Lindsay x

A postcard from March 2022

Cariad & Dave

Hello, hello, hello! Only one week into April, and here’s my Postcard from March. I’m feeling rather pleased with myself that I managed to pull this one off before the end of the month!

How are you doing? I hope you are ok. It’s a worrying world we are living in at the moment, and the over-riding feelings of being utterly helpless to make a difference is something I think a lot of us are feeling at the moment. Whilst this postcard focuses on the more frivolous aspects of life for me, I hope you are ok with that. I feel I have to look at the positives whilst being all to aware of what’s going on in the world too.

Here’s what I’ve been getting up to recently then…

Crochet news

At the beginning of March, to mark St David’s Day, I launched the next of my series of Up the Garden Path amigurumi crochet patterns on my Etsy shop. Again, fabulously assisted by my childhood friend and super-talented artist, Emma Jackson, the pattern looks lovely, full of process photos and the most gorgeous illustrations of Cariad & Dave the Daffodils.

However, Dave and Cariad aren’t the only new patterns to appear in my shop. I decided I simply had to do something to raise funds for Ukraine, so sticking with the floral theme I set to work creating a sunflower doll seeing as sunflowers are the national flower of Ukraine.

Meet Sophia the Sunflower, named after St Sophia’s Cathedral in Kyiv.

The PDF pattern to make Sophia the Sunflower is available in my Etsy shop here . All the profits from the sale of this pattern are being donated to the UNHCR appeal to support refugees affected by the war in Ukraine. So far £65 has been sent to the appeal thanks to sales of Sophia. Thank you to everyone who has bought one!

In other crochet news I joined in with an appeal to make crochet squares for blankets to raise funds for Ukraine through the DEC appeal. The Blanket of Hugs Ukraine is the brain child of lovely Amanda Bloom from Little Box of Crochet. She’s asking for crocheted squares to be sent to her and then she’s joining them into blankets which are being ‘raffled off’ to raise funds. The last time I checked there had been donations of £3,500 already! Well done Amanda. You can find all the information for the appeal here if you would like to get involved too.

Also can you spot my Ukraine button badge too? Made by the lovely Mrs G Makes.

There’s been quite a lot of yellow yarn on my hooks this month… an appeal locally for crocheters to make sunflowers came my way so I made some as part of a charity virtual bike ride from where I live in Manchester to Kyiv last Saturday. Those amazing cyclists managed to ride the distance between the cities raising £8,000+ at the last count. Well done everyone!

Sunny Skipton

In other news, I had a lovely day trip to Skipton in March to celebrate my Mum’s birthday. The weather was exceptionally kind to us and we had a lovely wander around the town.

It was such a lovely treat to leave the usual jobs for the day and jump into the car to go somewhere different. It felt like a mini holiday!

And thanks to the lovely Cathy at Dear Emma Designs we had a tip off of where to avoid the crowds and enjoy a lovely lunch. Thank you Cathy!

A lunch of flat breads at Bean Loved in Skipton

Spring in the garden

Garden-wise, spring has definitely sprung, although as I’m writing this there are hail stones battering the window next to me and I had to rescue my little green house which had broken free from it’s moorings and was half way up the garden along with a pot of compost!

The prunus (above) which looked like a stick when we moved in in October 2020 has been covered in beautiful pale pink blossom for a couple of weeks now – I just hope the current weather doesn’t bash it to bits.

And this Pieris (below) was destined for the compost bin as it was a wash out last year. It may well have redeemed itself!

Glorious Manchester

One day a couple of weeks ago I was able to hop on a train into the city centre in order to record an interview for a forthcoming episode of Making Stitches. It was a stunningly sunny day.

Blossom tree outside Manchester Art Gallery

It was such a joy to be able to mooch about in the city after the interview was done. It felt like a window into another world watching the office workers sitting out on any patch of grass or bench to eat their lunches! I’m really looking forward to being able to share the interview with you soon – it was truly fascinating!

Podcast news

Olesya Lebedenko

My guest for the latest episode of Making Stitches and the first of the new 5th series was Ukrainian textile artist Olesya Lebedenko. Olesya, who is now based in Canada, makes the most beautiful quilt blocks and appliquéd pieces.

It was a joy to get to know her a little over the last few weeks. In the episode as well as talking about her craft, she spoke about her fears for her friends and family back at home in Ukraine and the online abuse she and other Ukrainian artists are facing since the war began.

You can hear her episode here.

One of Olesya’s projects featuring a tradition Ukrainian house

In print!

Issue 120 of Simply Crochet Magazine

I’m thrilled that another of my articles have appeared in Simply Crochet Magazine. This one looks at how designers can get their designs in print and featured in books and magazines. It was a fascinating piece to work on and a thrill to be able to speak to so many truly inspirational designers. Thank you Simply Crochet for giving me the opportunity to write again!

And that’s just about it for my Postcard from March. I hope you enjoyed it. I’m off now to finish getting my next podcast episode sorted in time for tomorrow – and in keeping with the last month I’ve had it’s crochet-tastic! If you haven’t already subscribed to or followed Making Stitches Podcast on your podcast app of choice, please do – it means you’ll be able to hear the latest episodes as soon as they are released.

Take care, and thank you for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Dave the Daffodil – Free Crochet Pattern

Presenting Dave the Daffodil

Hello there and happy St David’s Day! March 1st seems like the perfect day to share with you my latest crochet pattern; for Dave the Daffodil. Dave is one half of a daffodil couple – Cariad & Dave – a beautiful illustrated pattern for them both will be available in my Etsy shop very soon, but a basic version of Dave can be found for free below.

When I first started creating my ‘Up the Garden Path’ amigurumi people last year, I was very much guided by the seasons, beginning with Hope the Snowdrop (who’s also available in my Etsy Shop) and Saffron the Crocus and then Dave and Cariad made an appearance.

Cariad & Dave

If you would would like to have a go at making your own Dave, here’s how to do it:

Dave is made using the Amigurumi technique of crocheting in the round, so a stitch marker is a must for marking the first stitch of every round, so you can follow where you are up to in the pattern. I also made him using a 2.5mm hook which makes the fabric nice and tight and there’s no chance that you will see the stuffing poking through between the stitches and rows.

Materials I used:

Face, hands, feet and hair – I used a dark beige to pick up on the colours of the papery cases around the buds of daffodil blooms a similar yarn is Ricorumi Shade 56 – Nougat

Body – Sirdar Cotton DK 550 Olive Grove

Inner & outer Daffodil petals – Ricorumi Shade 006 – Yellow

Soft toy stuffing

7mm Black safety eyes

Stitches and abbreviations:

This pattern is written in UK terms.

Ch = Chain

Dc = Double Crochet

Dc2tog = Double Crochet 2 together*

Htr = Half Treble

Tr = Treble

MC = Magic Circle

Slst = Slip Stitch

St(s) = Stitch(es)

YO = Yarn Over

Rs = Right Side

FLO = Front Loop Only

BLO = Back Loop Only

YRH = Yarn Round Hook

*I prefer a neater finish for my decreases in amigurumi which can be achieved using an invisible decrease rather than Dc2Tog. To make an invisible decrease, you put your hook through the front loop only of the next two stitches, yrh  and pull it back through.

The Pattern:

As Dave is crocheted together as you go, you will need to make his head, arms and legs first before attempting the body. His hair, cloak and crown and can be made later. The figure in brackets at the end of each row/round indicates how many stitches there are in that round e.g. (6). Please remember to use a stitch marker in the first stitch of every round so that you can keep track of where you are.

Head (Begin Dave’s head with Yellow yarn and work the first 8 Rounds in Yellow before changing to Nougat /dark beige in the final YO of Round 8) :

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

Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)

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

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

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

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

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

Round 8 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around . Change to Nougat yarn in final YO of round 8 (48)

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

Round 17 (Dc2tog [or invisible decrease as detailed previously], 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around (42)

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

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

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

Round 21 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (18)

Fasten off and break yarn leaving a long tail to sew the head onto the body later on. Place the safety eyes between Rounds 11 & 12 and 4 stitches apart. Stuff head firmly.

Arms (make 2): (Note: Change to green yarn on the final YO of round 6 and work the rest of the sleeve in green.)

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

Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)

Rounds 3-25 1 Dc into every st around, ensuring you change to green yarn in the appropriate round as detailed above. (12)

Fasten off and break yarn. Darn in the yarn tail and stuff lightly.

Legs (make 2): (Note: Change to green coloured yarn in final YO of round 10.)

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

Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)

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

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

Rounds 5-8 1Dc into every st around (24)

Round 9 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (18)

Rounds 10-14 1Dc into evert st (18)

Round 15 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat around (15)

Rounds 16-42 1Dc into every st around (15)

Fasten off and break yarn. Darn in the yarn tails and stuff the legs firmly.

Dave’s Body

Round 1 With Olive Grove Green yarn, join yarn in the first stitch after fastening off on the first leg. Ch1 and 1Dc into the same st, then 1Dc into next 9 sts. Ch1 and join 2nd leg by making 1Dc into 1st st after fastening off on the 2nd leg. 1Dc into all remaining sts on 2nd leg, 1Dc into the front loop of the connecting chain, 1Dc into the remaining sts of the first leg. (32)

Round 2 1Dc into every st around including both sides of the connecting chain. (32)

Round 3 1Dc into next 2 sts, 2Dc into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 14 sts, 2Dc into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 12 sts. (36)

Rounds 4-24 1Dc into every st around. (36)

At this point flatten out the top of the body so you can clearly see the 2 sides where the arms should go. Mark the sides with stitch markers to see the midpoint of each arm position. We will be attaching the arms in Round 25.

Round 25 work out the point which is 3 sts away from the nearest stitch marker, this is where you need to begin joining the first arm. 1Dc into every st until this point. Taking the first arm, put your hook through both the front and back sts on the right hand side of the top edge and then work 1Dc into the next st on the body. Continue to attach the arm in this manner until all 6 sts across the top of the arm are attached to the body. 1Dc into the next 12 sts across the front of the body, then attach the second arm in the same manner into the next 6 sts, 1Dc into the remaining st of round 19. (36)

Round 26 1Dc into every st until the st above the beginning of the 1st arm join in Round 27, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 12 sts, Dc2tog, Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the remaining unworked sts of Round 25. (32)

Round 27 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the next 10 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the remaining unworked sts of Round 26. (28)

Round 28 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 10 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into remaining unworked sts of Round 27. (24)

Round 29 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 8 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into remaining unworked sts of Round 26. (20)

Fasten off and break yarn leaving a long enough tail to sew the head on.

Firmly stuff the body. At this point, position the head with eyes facing forwards on top of the body, pin in place and sew the head onto the body securely.

Dave’s outer daffodil petals (Make 6)

Round 1 With Yellow yarn, 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)

Round 2 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat (8)

Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 3 sts) repeat (10)

Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat (12)

Round 5 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat (14)

Round 6 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat (16)

Round 7 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (18)

Round 8 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 8 sts) repeat (20)

Round 9 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 9 sts) repeat (22)

Rounds 10 – 13 1Dc into every st around (22)

Round 14 (Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (18)

Round 15 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (16)

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Dave’s Crown

Round 1 Once all 6 petals are complete, they need to be joined together to make Dave’s Crown. Take the first petal and put the hook through both the front and back sts on the right hand side of the top edge and pull a loop of Yellow yarn through, Ch1 then 1Dc into this same st, 1Dc across the remaining 7 stitches (both front and back sts) of the first petal. Then take the 2nd petal and work 1Dc across all 8 sts (both front and back sts) and continue in this manner until all 6 petals are joined with a row of Dc sts then slst. (48)

Round 2 We want Dave’s crown to be worked in the round, so the first st of Round 2 is worked into the 1st st of Round 1 which will connect the whole row of petals into a circle – remember to make this first stitch of the next Round with a stitch marker. 1Dc into every st around (48)

Round 3 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around (42)

Round 4 Working into the FLO (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat around (36)

Rounds 5-12 1Dc into every st around (36)

Round 13 (Htr, Tr, Htr, Slst) repeat around to form frill on top of the inner trumpet of Dave’s Daffodil Crown. Finish off and break yarn. Weave in the end so that it’s invisible on both the inside and outside of the trumpet.

Then with yellow yarn, stitch the outer petals to each other at their widest part so that they stand up around the trumpet.

Place the daffodil crown onto Dave’s head positioning it along the edge of the yellow circle on the top of Dave’s head. Pin in place and then sew it to the head using the rim of back loops formed in Round 4 which should marry up with the edge of the yellow circle.

Dave’s Hair

Row 1 With Nougat yarn, Ch 40. (1Dc into 2nd ch from hook and the next 4 chains. Stst into next ch & ch6) repeat along to the end of the chain until you have 35 strands of hair. Once you rech the end of the row, ch1 and turn.

Row 2 1Dc into every st along, Ch1 and turn (33)

Row 3 Slst into the next 3 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the next 3 sts, Htr into next 2 sts, Tr into next 5 sts, Htr into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 3 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, slst into next st and finish off leaving a log tail to attach hair to Dave’s head. Sew the hair in place just below the crown.

Dave’s cloak

Row 1 With Olive Grove green yarn ch 52. 1Tr in 3rd chain from hook and each subsequent chain. Ch1 and turn. (50)

Row 2 Slst into next 36 sts. Ch 18 and turn.

Row 3 1Tr into 3rd ch from hook and 15 remaining chains. 1Tr into the next 36 sts. Ch1 and turn (52)

Rows 4 Repeat Row 2

Row 5 Repeat Row 3

Row 6 Repeat Row 2

Row 7 Repeat Row 3

Row 8 Repeat Row 2

Row 9 Repeat Row 3

Row 10 Repeat Row 2

Row 11 Repeat Row 3

Row 12 Repeat Row 2

Row 13 Repeat Row 3

Row 14 Slst into next 36 sts. Chain 16 and turn.

Row 15 1Tr into 3rd ch from hook and 13 remaining chains. 1Tr into the next 36 sts. Ch1 and turn the cloak at right angles to begin working along the top edge.

Row 16 begin the first row of the cloak collar by working 1Dc into the end of the first row and 2Dc around the 1st Tr of the first row. Repeat this along the top edge of the of the cloak. Ch2 and turn (25)

Row 17 Work 1Tr into each of the stitches of row 16. Fasten off and weave in the ends.

Now take the yellow yarn and join it in one side of the cloak where the collar joins the main cloak and ch12 to bring a fastening across the front of the cloak and then secure it into place on the other side of the cloak once it is around Dave’s neck.

Cariad & Dave

If you make a Dave of your own, I’d love to see him! Please tag him on your social media posts with #upthegardenpathdave so I can see him.

Happy hooking!

Lindsay x

Some of my ‘Up the Garden Path’ creations

A Postcard from January & February

Sand dunes on Crosby beach yesterday

Hello there! I hope you’re doing ok. I kept meaning to post my postcard from January throughout the beginning of February but there seemed to be so many other things which needed my attention, so I was rubbish and let things slide. We are now on the cusp of another month though, and I’ve decided that it’s time to take the bull by the horns and stop procrastinating. So here you go, two for the price of one, a postcard from January AND February rolled into one.

I deliberated about whether I should even post at all, there is so much going on in the world at the moment that things like this seem very frivolous, but I think it’s important to keep going, as burying my head in the sand and veering between trying to block the outside world out and being glued to the news updates and fretting about the helplessness I feel about the plight of so many innocent people isn’t actually helping anyone. I thought it better to try to put some sunshine and positivity out into the world, so here goes, and if you have been affected by the terrible actions taken against Ukraine, please know that you are very much in my thoughts.

A New Year and a continued fitness quest…

A view from one of my January runs

Back in November I began my quest to get my weight down to a healthy number and get a bit fitter and began the Couch to 5K programme for the third time in the last couple of years. This time though, I managed to see it through. I am now over a stone lighter and I managed to complete the whole Couch to 5K programme. Not only that, I’ve kept going and am now running just over 5K in 35 minutes. I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet too much or that I’m building myself up for a fall, but I’m really rather proud of how far I have come.

I haven’t found the process too arduous and in fact have quite enjoyed getting out and pounding the streets and enjoying the beauty of sunshine and nature on my way around the neighbourhood. Who knows where it might lead me?

My couch to 5k graduation!

A New Year and a new hedge

The terrible plastic ‘hedge’

You might remember last year that I said goodbye to our old ‘fake’ plastic hedge which we inherited when we moved into our home the year before. Well, the intention was always to replace it with something else, of a more natural variety. It took me a while to decide what to do for the best, but in December I realised that winter was the perfect time to plant a hedge, so I did my research and ordered my new privet hedge which arrived early in January. Then came the hard work…

Our front garden is more of a carpark than a garden, we inherited an area covered in small stones which lie on top of black weed suppressing fabric. After a lot of scraping away of stones, and the lifting of not one, but two layers of fabric which had several inches of compacted dirt between them I was ready to dig the holes ready for the baby hedge plants.

It was quite a job. Fortunately the weather was favourable – it was cold, but the ground wasn’t frozen, and it stayed dry for most of the two days it took for me to plant these 22 specimens. Plus my very helpful neighbour offered me the use of this rather nifty device (on the right of the picture below) for digging holes.

They are in, and I’m really chuffed that I managed to do this – single-handedly! How many years it will be before it’s an actual hedge is anyone’s guess but it’s a vast improvement on what we had before! My next project is a flower bed out front, but I may wait a while before beginning that.

A lovely walk and coffee by the river

River Mersey

In the middle of January, the weather was being very kind to us indeed, so a really good friend and I decided to leave the jobs which needed doing one afternoon and put our muddy hiking boots on for a wander along the River Mersey and a coffee at the Riverside Café. It was such fun, and just what we both needed to have a chat and mull over stuff which was going on before heading back home in time for the school run.

Getting the garden kickstarted

Who needs a potting shed when you have a wheelie bin lid?!

I so enjoyed having sweet peas in my back garden last summer, so decided to have a go at planting them again. I had quite a few seeds left over from last year’s attempts so I went ahead and planted them up in loo rolls again like last year. Fingers crossed this year’s crop will be as successful!

Some of last year’s sweet peas

A Sunday walk

I don’t know if it’s because of memories of lockdown and being restricted on where we can go, but I often find that it’s suddenly Sunday afternoon and apart from going to Littlest’s football match and perhaps the shops, our weekends are passing without heading out of the house as a family. I decided to change that and am trying to get us out and about if the weather & teenagers allow!

Fortunately, the lovely National Trust property; Dunham Massey is a short drive from our home and once the youths are corralled into the car, we can be in amongst the deer within half an hour. As long as there’s the promise of ice cream or hot chocolate involved in the outing, it’s generally a goer!

Another WIP begun…

Back in September last year, you may remember that I made the trip across the Pennines to the Yarndale festival in Skipton – it was a truly amazing day which you can read about here. While I was there I bought some lovely hand dyed yarn from Michelle at Woolly Wumpkins. I’ve been debating what to make with it; another pair of hand-knitted socks? A bobble hat? I settled on a shawl/scarf as that is the item of woolly clothing I wear most of all.

Unlike in my previous experience of winding a skein, this time it was a painless experience (perhaps because It hadn’t been sitting in my stash for years first) and I got to work on this pattern for a one skein crochet shawl which I bought from Annie Design on Etsy. I’m rather happy with the colours and look forward to enjoying wearing it when I eventually finish it. I have a feeling it will be something I dip in and out of while working on other things.

Llanita’s Travels continue…

Llanita in Catalan Bay in the summer of 2016

Long time readers of Postcard from Gibraltar may remember my little friend Llanita the Yarndale Sheep. I made her back in 2016 for that year’s Yarndale charity appeal. You can read all about Llanita’s adventures with me here.

Can you spot Llanita in Karen’s sewing room?

Well when Llanita arrived at Yarndale back in 2016, she was bought by Karen (aka WakeyMakes on Instagram). Karen’s sisters have recently been to Gibraltar on holiday and they took Llanita back to her homeland for a visit!

Llanita in Ocean Village

I had a lovely treat when I logged into Instagram one day to see that Llanita was back in the sun!!

Llanita on the Windsor Suspension Bridge

Stormy weather


We got off rather lightly when Storms Eunice and Franklin came to town. Just a couple of wobbly fence panels which are rather worse for wear and this one almost bit the dust. Thankfully my lovely Dad came round with his bag of tricks and some timber to patch it up until it can be replaced.

A sunny seaside walk

Crosby beach beckoned on Sunday when the sun came out and I found myself with an empty diary. The ironing and housework could wait, living back in Manchester makes you realise that you need to grab sunny days by the hand and make the most of them. I got the Little Postcards in the car and headed off west to Crosby on the Merseyside Coast.

We first visited Crosby last year after it was recommended to me by my lovely friend across the road. It’s pretty much the nearest beach to where we live and it takes under an hour to drive there. Plus the beach is home to a load of Antony Gormley statues so that makes it even more special. It’s a favourite with the Little Postcards – as is the ice cream reward at the end of the walk.

And that just about brings this postcard to an end. Thank you so much for stopping by. Where ever you are in the world and whatever you are facing, I hope that you can find some positivity in the days ahead.

Love,

Lindsay x

Is it too late to say ‘Happy New Year!’?: A postcard from December

Hello everyone, happy New Year! I know it’s a bit late but you know how it is, post Christmas and New Year business got in the way of planning this post. Better late than never – at least I managed this while it’s still January…….just!

I hope your festive period was ok. I know it’s still not completely how it used to be and for many people in particular it will have been difficult.

Here’s what I got up to at the end of last year…

New pattern releases

Holly from Up the Garden Path

Following on from my patterns for Flora the Gardener and Hope the Snowdrop, in December I published the next two patterns in my Up the Garden Path collection. They are ‘Holly’ and ‘Ivy’.

Ivy from Up the Garden Path

They are both available to buy from my ETSY shop….

… and feature more beautiful illustrations by my very talented friend Emma – aren’t they adorable?!

Holly as drawn by Emma Jackson
Ivy by Emma Jackson

I think Ivy has a look of Rula Lenska don’t you think?

Start as you mean to go on…

Slightly blurry in-motion snap!

Last year’s New Year’s resolution was to try and design my own crochet patterns for the first time – which I’m thrilled that I managed to see through.

This time though, I don’t want to risk failing or setting the bar too high, so I haven’t made any resolutions as such. However, in late November I reacquainted myself with my Couch to 5K app. Throughout December I carried on with my thrice weekly runs, and was lucky enough to enjoy some beautiful, sunny mornings.

I’ve now (in January) completed all 9 weeks and am running 30 mins without stopping, which I’m thrilled about – I was built for crochet not speed!!

Booster-tastic

December also meant booster time for me. The previous time I visited this vaccination Centre, there were daffodils around the place. It was funny to be back again with the leaves which had just begun appearing last time now on the floor.

Podcast Christmas Special

My guests for the first Making Stitches Christmas Special (Clockwise from top left: Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet, Sara Huntington, Editor at Simply Crochet Magazine, some of the staff from Black Sheep Wools in Warrington, Kate Blackburn from WhatKatieDidUK, Louise Armitage aka Gini from Gini’s Dorset Buttons, Adam Brooks from Great British Sewing Bee & Louise Murray from Hooked by Lou.

You can find the podcast episode webpage here if you want to find out more.

Christmas crochet makes

A dinky Christmas tree from a Molly Makes pattern

As always it was a busy time for my hooks in the run up to Christmas… I made a couple of gifts and a new top for myself.

A Cinderella doll for a special friend

And… you know when you set yourself a slightly unrealistic target and have to burn the midnight oil to get it done? Well I decided at the last minute to make a Christmassy tank top…. I did get it finished in time, but the ends weren’t woven in in time for the day in question…. I hope no one noticed!

Tank Top modelled on the Vintage Granny Stripe cardigan by Fran Morgan from Simply Crochet Magazine.

Happy Post

The latest book published by Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective

I bought myself a little early Christmas present in the form of this gorgeous book by Sarah Corbett all about the Canary Craftivist movement which got under way last summer. It even includes a photo I took of the Manchester Flock working on crafting their canaries sitting next to the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in the centre of Manchester back in July.

A Festive Walk

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

It was lovely to be able to return to Dunham Massey National Trust park and gardens over Christmas. It’s a fab place and just a short drive from where we live. It’s a place which instantly takes me back to my childhood and I love taking the Little Postcards there for a walk on a weekend or during the school holidays.

We got a great view of the resident deer and even spotted a couple of pure white ones.

Podcast New Year Special

(Clockwise from top left) The Crochet Sanctuary, Sarah Corbett from The Craftivist Collective, Gemma and Evie from the Manchester Flock, Mary Jane Baxter, Amanda from Mrs G Makes, Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum, Black Sheep Wools & Yarndale 2021.

I ended the year podcast-wise with a second Christmas Special which was released on New Year’s Eve. It featured my chats with Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective, as well as Gemma and Evie from the Manchester Flock of Canary Craftivists, Mary Jane Baxter also made an appearance speaking about her epic trip around Europe in a camper van called Bambi stitching as she went. I looked back at my visit to the Crochet Sanctuary in Spring and to Yarndale in September last year, and heard from some of the staff at Black Sheep Wools in Warrington. I also included chats with two new friends of mine who I met last year; Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum who helped me on my sock-making adventure and Amanada from Mrs G Makes.

You can find the podcast web page here if you want to take a listen.

New Year’s Eve walk

Fields outside Wigan, Lancashire

We were treated to a stunningly beautiful and warm day on New Years’ Eve, and made the trip to Wigan to visit my brother and his wife. Just a short walk from their home is open countryside and it made for a very picturesque walk.

It was just the perfect way to end the year. In lovely company and enjoying lovely weather in the fresh air.

And that brings this rather late December round-up to an end. I promise I won’t be as tardy with my January post!

Thank you so much for stopping by and making it to the end of this rather epic post. I promise I’ll be back again soon!

Until then, take care,

Lindsay x

A postcard from November

Hello there! It’s the last day of November already eek! I’m not ready for December!!

It’s been a busy old month – perhaps that’s why it’s gone so quickly. It’s only now I look back at what we’ve been up that I’ve realised it’s been quite a lot.

In the latest twist of the Covid story it’s also been a month of regular trips to our local testing centre every time anyone gets a cough or sniffle or we are alerted about a close contact. I think we may have been about 10 times lately – I’m thinking of asking for loyalty points!! Fortunately all tests have come back negative.

Here’s what we’ve been up to this month…

A golden tree at the end of the rainbow

Yet again this year, after over a decade away from the UK I have loved seeing the beautiful colours of autumn this month. I may no longer have little people at home who like to make pictures out of autumn treasure, but I can’t help but pick up pretty leaves when I see them!

No it’s not Christmas yet!!

Eek – am I the only one who gets freaked out by early Christmas decorations? I took Littlest out for hot chocolate on 1st November to a local café and they had a huge tree, giant baubles… the works! On the first of November!!! Maybe I’m just a Scrooge but it’s seems a bit early to me. This photo was of the Trafford Centre on the first Saturday of November…. Christmas lights galore!

Meeting real people in real life!

One evening early in the month, I had the most wonderful time ‘out out’ in Manchester. Since February/March last year I have been a virtual member of a super community for podcasters.

After months and months of zoom virtual meet ups where we hear from real ‘professional’ podcasters and swap advice and help amongst our community, I actually got to meet everyone in real life!! What a thrill. (People were so much taller than I expected after spending so long just seeing them on my phone/laptop screen 😂! )

The occasion for this meet up was to celebrate the club’s 3rd birthday and the 30th meet up in total. There were drinks and even birthday cake!

If you are a podcaster yourself or are thinking of starting your own podcast do come along to a future zoom. The group’s called MIC’s Podcast Club and although it’s based in the North West of England, there are members from much further afield (like America) and I was still living in Gibraltar when I first joined. You can find them on Twitter @MICsPodcastClub and maybe one day you can have the thrill of seeing your own podcast up in lights on the wall of a real-life meet up!

Costa del Ship Canal

Littlest’s football match got cancelled one week and instead the team coach opted to run a team building training session in our local nature reserve.

It was a perfect morning for it – definitely worth setting the alarm for an early start on a Saturday!

Just look at those blues and the golden leaves….

That water almost looked Mediterranean – well almost – it is the Manchester Ship Canal!

Plastic hedge be gone!

In this era of everything needing to look perfect and be convenient, we end up with situations like astroturf and plastic hedges. I am not a fan at all. I’m a bit more slap dash and enjoy going with the flow with nature, plus I really enjoy gardening. So when we inherited this delightful plastic hedge at our new home last year, it’s days were numbered. It did a lot better than expected as other jobs took precedence but this month, it’s time was up.

It didn’t take long, it was so rotten inside it practically fell apart – very little force was needed at all. I’m looking forward to installing a rather more environmentally friendly replacement soon!

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

A few weeks ago I received a message from a lovely friend I used to know in Gibraltar. She, like me has moved back to the UK and is now based in the South East of England. She wanted to let me know she and her partner were having a few days up North and would I like to meet them at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park? Yes! Was my answer!!

Barbara Hepworth sculptures

Before we moved to Gibraltar, we lived in Wakefield just a stone’s throw from YSP and it was a regular destination for us as a family on a weekend. It was so lovely to be able to go back there – albeit briefly while the Little Postcards were at school.

Ai Weiwei’s Chinese Horoscope Characters

The weather was so kind to us. It was very cold but it was beautifully sunny. The perfect conditions for having a wander through the beautiful park and sculptures.

Close-up of one of Ai Weiwei’s Chinese Horoscope heads
You can never have a big enough hand bag!
A Diamond ring made out of car wheels!

We didn’t spend too long together as I was clock watching to get back across the Pennines in time for school pick up, so we didn’t get to see the whole of the park but one exhibition both myself and my friend (who’s also a crafter) enjoyed immensely was one by Joana Vasconcelos who likes to create amazing things out of everyday objects… like giant stilettos out of pots and pans…

…. Lots and lots of crochet!!! Viva crochet!

Just look at that intricate work!!

Close-up of the above statue
Animal heads enrobed in intricate crochet

But the next fabric structure stopped us in our tracks… it was huge!

The photo doesn’t do it justice – it was giant and filled the huge exhibition space. It was a combination of patchwork, embroidery and very complicated crochet.

The photo above shows the end of one of those tentacles and was over a metre in diameter.

There were also pictures made of bulbous crochet structures…

Finisterra 2018
Close-up of above picture
Heartbreak 2015

How about this for a giant pouffe for your living room?

There was also a sculpture made purely of red plastic knives & forks..

Red Independent Heart #3

And then more examples of intricate crochet covering everyday household items…

A double sink
Detail of the sink piece above
A urinal called ‘Purple Rain’

And a fabulous chair…

The back of the chair above

The Joana Vasconcelos exhibition is on until 9th January 2022 both in the underground gallery and with pieces in the open air too. The artist’s work is said to be “sculptures that comment with a feminist perspective on cultural identity and tradition and celebrate the creative lives of women” – YSP Guide.

It was a lovely visit to the YSP and fabulous to be able to see my friend again – who I hadn’t seen since pre-Covid times. I can highly recommend a visit if you haven’t been, I’ll certainly be back when I can spend longer there.

Sock knitting update

Remember the pair of socks I was knitting thanks to Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum’s fabulous book?

Well they’re finished!!

Knitted using the Winwick Mum Basic Sock Pattern in West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply in ‘Brightside’ also designed by Winwick Mum

I now have toasty warm toes!

In other crafty news, I’m currently working on Eleonora from Coastal Crochet’s Winter Walk Scarf CAL.

It took a while to get started as my hand-dyed skein I’d been saving for the right moment got into rather a big tangle…

But I got there in the end…

And I’m on my way!

Making Stitches Podcast

In podcast news, there have been 2 new episodes this month – both of them yarn inspired.

Emma Leith
(photo credit: Emma Leith Atelier)

The first was with the hugely talented and inspiring crochet designer Emma Leith. You can find that here.

Sara Mulvey from Black Sheep Wools
(Photo credit: Black Sheep Wools)

The second was a real treat to record because it meant I was able to go ‘back stage’ at the fabulous Black Sheep Wools Craft Barn and speak to Sara Mulvey. What a joy it was to have a proper chat with Sara after months of watching her videos through lockdown – it was such a positive part of a rather unpleasant time. You can listen to Sara’s episode here.

And finally…

My first ever crochet patterns have been launched and are available to buy from my Etsy Shop!

There’s Flora the Gardener and Hope the Snowdrop and all being well they will be joined by some more friends very soon!

And that’s just about it for this month. I hope November has been kind to you.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Edit: I forgot to mention the snow! We also has some of the white stuff fall in the last few days – super exciting even if it was very cold!!

Introducing…. ‘Up the Garden Path’

Hello there, thanks so much for stopping by on what’s a really special day for me. Today I have launched the first of my crochet patterns for sale on my Etsy shop. It has been a long journey of many months (perhaps even years) to get to this point and I would never have achieved it without certain events happening or some special people helping me along the way. Here’s the story of how ‘Up the garden path’ came about…

The Rock of Gibraltar

Many moons ago (well about 18 months ago to be precise) we moved back to the UK after spending more than a decade living in Gibraltar. Before we moved there we lived in a house with a garden and I loved my garden. I loved the huge oak tree in our neighbours garden which made a really pretty backdrop to our own small patch, I loved the really old hedgerow which bordered the side of the lawn and was a throwback to the old days when the land the house was on was farmland. I also loved the apple tree we planted expecting to spend years there and watch it grow. 

Life had other plans for us though and we found ourselves packing everything up into boxes and moving thousands of miles away to a tiny place call Gibraltar at the very southern tip of the Iberian peninsular. In Gibraltar land is scarce and gardens are scarcer. We ended up in a lovely apartment with a beautiful balcony filled with pots of geraniums and other mediterranean plants, we were also lucky enough to have a sun scorched patio which we put potted citrus trees in too. I missed my green English garden though (the grass truly is always greener!).

Our old ‘front garden’

When life brought us back to the UK to live last year, it opened up the possibility that we would be able to enjoy the delights of a proper garden again. I was like a coiled spring…. I had spent years watching Monty Don and co. on Gardener’s World from afar wondering if and when I would have my own garden again and what it would look like.

Then, one year ago (almost to the day) we moved into our new family home, it doesn’t have the biggest garden but it’s ours and it’s allowed my imagination to run wild with possibilities of what I could plant and grow.

My first batch of seedlings this spring
Some of my sweet peas from this summer

Meanwhile, I have long admired many talented people who design the most wonderful crochet creations like Lucy at Attic 24, Eleonora at Coastal Crochet, Rosina at Zeens & Roger, the lovely ladies at The Crochet Sanctuary and many, many more and wondered whether one day, I could have a go at designing something myself which other people might like to make. I knew I couldn’t attempt to design clothing – sizing would be sooo hard. I also didn’t want to attempt a blanket – there are already so many beautiful ones in the world to choose from. But, I could have a go at amigurumi – there’s no end of possibilities when it comes to making little people and creatures out of yarn and a hook.

I guess I took a fantasy trip back to my childhood, where I remember so many of the books and stories I loved were based in gardens and adventures in nature. What if I could combine my fascination with gardens and plants and trees with crochet? I had hit on an idea.

Hooking in front of Hootenanny

So, after finishing the Christmas crochet blanket I’d been working on in the run up to and over Christmas last year, I found myself on New Year’s Eve with a burning idea, some yarn and a hook and I set to work with some of my stash making the first prototype of an amigurumi doll. It took a bit of frogging and lots of note taking, and then another couple of prototypes before I bought the yarn I needed to have a go at my first little person…. Hope the Snowdrop.

Hope the Snowdrop

She was my New Year project and loads of fun to make. I called her Hope because snowdrops are pretty much the first plants to flower in the year and offer such hope of the better weather still to come, and the promise of Spring.

Next I decided to have a go at my alter ego, Flora the Gardener. Flora (in my imagination) has just acquired a garden of her own (remind you of anyone?) and is filled with expectation for what her new garden will offer her. The peace and quiet, the anticipation of what would sprout up from the soil and how successful her seedlings would be. I imagine that in the seasons and the years to come, she will make lots of new friends.

Flora the Gardener

So that was Hope and Flora. But then, a very good friend of my mine, Emma, saw Flora and asked if she could illustrate her. I didn’t need asking twice. Here’s the beautiful illustration she came up with:

Flora the Gardener
Copyright: Emma Jackson

Isn’t she marvelous? Hot on the heels of Flora came Hope….

Hope the Snowdrop
Copyright: Emma Jackson

Then…. Emma, being the wonderful friend she is, offered to design my patterns for me too. I wanted them to be as clear and simple as possible and with lots of photos (pretty much like a blog post) and that’s just what she’s done. I’m so thrilled with what she’s done for me!

And so, after 10 months of experimenting and absolutely bursting with ideas of what to do next (I have a list of about 30 future projects!!) and lots of to-ing and fro-ing between Emma and I, the big day has arrived – it’s launch day of the first of my patterns. Flora and Hope are available to buy from my new Etsy shop – Making Stitches Shop. [The proceeds of which are going to cover the costs of my podcast – Making Stitches].

The patterns are quite photo heavy so in addition to every illustrated pattern, you will also receive a text-only printer friendly version so you don’t run out of ink!

I couldn’t have reached this point without the help of Emma, and so many other wonderful people who have listened to me go on, and on, and on about my little ‘Up the Garden Path’ people. Sharing my successes and failures and not telling me to be quiet!! My sincere thanks also to my pattern testers and everyone who has offered me help and advice along the way.

If you would like to see some of Emma’s other work, you can find her Emma Jackson Art website here.

So, that’s the story of Up the Garden Path so far…. I can’t wait to share a couple of seasonal friends with you very soon as well!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lindsay x

PS: The super logo for my shop was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.com

A Postcard from October

Well, here we are in November already. I really don’t know where the past month has gone. October has been such a busy month with day to day, nose to the grindstone kinds of things that I feel like I blinked and missed it. It’s only when I looked back at the photos on my phone that I realised what I had done and achieved – sadly I can’t share all of that with you, but before too much longer I will be able to – hurrah!

So here goes, here’s my postcard from October!

The beginning of the month began much as September ended, with children in school and me busily trying to get my ducks in a row for a deadline of the end of the month. As the calendar flipped into October the realisation dawned that by the end of the month, we would have been living in our ‘new’ home for exactly a year. It was Halloween last year that I hired a van, and with the help of two very strong friends, we moved from our rented temporary house into our very own home. That meant that twelve months had passed and there were still quite a lot of boxes sitting around the place hiding under crochet blankets….. they have many uses! I set myself the target of getting rid of the boxes by the end of the month. Did I manage it? Well, I’ll reveal all at the end!

There has been a definite autumnal chill in the air this month, and in case the changing colours and falling leaves didn’t give us a clue about the season, our neighbourhood squirrel (or maybe even squirrels) certainly let me know as they planted my newly cleared pots with all sorts of treats to sustain them through the winter!

Stepping far outside my comfort zone!

Early in the month, I was invited to do something utterly terrifying. I was asked to speak to a my local group of the WI about my podcast and crafts in general. Blimey it was a nerve wracking thing to do. I’m very happy to speak into a microphone in a room on my own but to speak to a room with about 100 pairs of eyes staring back at you – that’s quite another thing!! I debated long and hard about whether I should do it or not, but friends encouraged me to and I’m so glad I did. The ladies were lovely and didn’t bite! Not sure I’d do it again in a hurry but it was a bit of a high to know I’d managed it!

A lovely trip out

Christine and I outside Black Sheep Wools

Back in September I interviewed the lovely Christine Perry from Winwick Mum for Making Stitches Podcast (You can hear the episode here). While we were chatting online we realised that we are actually not that far apart geographically so we arranged to meet at one of my favourite places for a chat and a brew – Black Sheep Wools. It was so lovely to speak to Christine and get to know her a bit better, and she has helped me get over my fear of knitting in the round. As the ‘Queen of Socks’ (I hope she doesn’t mind me giving her that title!) she has helped thousands of people learn how to successfully knit socks with her ‘sockalong’ which you can find on her blog. At the last count, over 15,000 pairs of socks have been knitted by people using her technique and that’s just the ones she knows about. Incidentally Christine has just completed a whole month of daily blogging – phew what a feat! The above photo features in one of her posts!

Christine guided me (and another lady who happened to be in the shop at the same time) on what yarn to buy and what needles were needed to get started. So using her blog and her brilliant book, I have set off on a sock-making adventure. My initial momentum has been dulled by some necessary work on some crochet related items, but I’m back on it, and about to begin decreasing on my first toe!

In crochet news, my Making Stitches wreath which I made from a pattern in issue 96 of Simply Crochet Magazine actually got featured in the magazine itself. What a total honour! Thank you Simply Crochet!

I’ve opened a shop!

Also this month, I launched my Etsy shop called the “Making Stitches Shop’. I decided to try and see if I could sell a few bits and bobs to help support my podcast activities. Whilst I would not want to put the podcast behind a pay wall, it does cost quite a bit to keep going with hosting fees and other things and I thought that if I could raise some money via the shop, it would help me keep going. In the summer I bought a custom made screen with my podcast logo on it, and began screen printing cotton tote bags. It took a lot of trial and error and advice from others, but in the end I successfully printed enough bags to open the shop.

The wonderful Amanda from Mrs G Makes also helped me with advice on running the shop and postage etc. Then, she became not only my first ever customer, she also gave me a glowing review and showed the world her new bag in an episode of her Vlogtober YouTube series. Thanks so much Amanda!

In that first month of being open, my shop completely sold out! Thank you to everyone who supported me! I had to get my screen back out and print a load more on a sunny day just before the Little Postcards finished school for half term!

2nd batch drying on the line!

Half term holidays

Half term was a bit of an odd one for us this year, Littlest had soccer school for most of the week and Eldest was away most of the time on work experience too, so it was just me and Middle Postcard for a lot of the time. Being a teenager, most of that time was spent in his bedroom and I made the most of the peace and quiet by beavering away on something special I’m working on for this month…. (I will reveal all very soon!).

In amongst the hard work, we had a trip to the Etihad campus in Manchester for a teenaged Covid jab. So that’s all bar Littlest done. I feel a lot happier about that now.

Anniversary of moving

As we were celebrating our first anniversary in our home, I decided to have a soirée to celebrate our first year on Saturday evening with the two families who helped us with our move a year ago. As it was Halloween weekend, we had to make the house look the part, so we had a go at pumpkin carving. I think we did pretty well.

I even had a go at carving a squash myself and crocheted one too for good measure!

The innards were used along with some Butternut Squash to make some spiced soup for our soirée and the pumpkins are now out in the garden so the birds and other creatures can enjoy them.

And that pretty much brings my October ramblings to a close. Apart from those boxes. Do you think I managed to get rid of them all?

Well no, but my excuse is that I need a new cupboard to store some of this stuff in, and I can’t find the right one, in the right colour and the right dimensions to fit in the space I want it to go in…. is that a good enough excuse?! I did get rid of about 12 others though – so it wasn’t a complete failure!

I hope October was good for you and that November is even better!

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

A Postcard from September

Hello there, it’s come to my attention of late that I’m no longer very good at maintaining momentum with my weekly Sunday Postcards. I miss posting stuff but just can’t churn posts out anymore with such frequency as I fear they will become just that – churned out and be pretty rubbish.

So, instead I’m going to have a go a publishing a monthly Postcard looking back at some of the highlights of my month just gone. If you’re up for it, here’s my Postcard from September 2021…

Last days of summer

We woke up on 1st September in beautiful Whitby but it was our last few moments of our trip and we had to pack up and be off on our way by 9am – eek! We managed it and were soon pootling along the road back to Manchester. Bye bye Whitby, thanks for having us!

You can read all about our stay on the Yorkshire coast here.

We had just a quick few days turn around before everyone returned to school for a new academic year. Everyone stayed at the same schools this time so the whole uniform thing has been far easier this summer than last year!

The return to school and the empty house gave me the freedom to get on with some things I just couldn’t do with a house full of young men….

I have been trying to find a way to financially support my podcast and hit on the idea of screen printing some bags to sell on Etsy to help pay for the hosting fees etc. I got a custom screen made by Hunt the Moon and set off on my screen printing adventure. It’s not as easy as it looks! After many attempts I managed to produce some semi-decent prints on old clothes which weren’t fit for the charity bag and started on some bags.

Here they are…. What do you think?

They are available for sale on my Etsy shop if you fancy a look. I’m hoping to add to them with some more podcast merchandise very soon plus I will be putting up some crochet patterns for sale too which I have been working on behind the scenes and I just can’t wait to share with you.

We were blessed with some truly lovely sunny days in September which meant not only could I screen print in the back garden, I could also enjoy a bit of a potter. There’s been so much wildlife in our little patch of late from foxes and squirrels, all manner of birds including a lovely Robin and this gorgeous butterfly stopped by for a visit.

Harvest time

I’ve really enjoyed having a go at growing some of our own food this year during our first summer in our new garden. I managed to harvest loads of cherry tomatoes, enough potatoes for one dinner including several potatoes about the size of a large pea (!), strawberries, loads and loads of kale for Diamond (our bunny) and one measly broad bean! I think I’ll give the beans a miss next year!

Some of Diamond’s kale – he even let us have some too!
The single broad bean!

A crocheted thank you

The schools where we live now are selective at secondary level and in order to get Littlest ready for the impending exams he’s been visiting a lovely lady called Emma. The exams are now done (what a relief) we won’t know the outcome for a while yet but we have said goodbye and thank you to Emma for all her hard work. I made her a mini Emma to have on her desk in her tutoring uniform as a little thank you. She was really pleased with it. (I made it using the Crochet Iconic Women pattern book by Carla Mitrani).

Craftivism update

You may remember the Manchester Flock of Canary Craftivists I was a part of in the summer? Well the start of September marked the time to send our canaries off to our local MPs with a handwritten letter asking for them to do all they can to support action to stop the Climate Crisis ahead of COP26 in November. Charlie the canary flew off to my MP who later wrote back to thank me.

Yarndale

A rare photo of me (left) with Yvonne from Bonnie’s Little Crafts

On 25th September I was lucky enough to be able to go to Yarndale. It was such a thrill to go back to Skipton after my last visit in 2016. the first person I bumped into once I was in the auction mart was Yvonne from Bonnie’s Little Crafts who I met on that previous visit when she ran a campaign for knitters & crocheters to make 7000 woolly hearts for Yarndale. She told me all the about the story of this blanket, which you will be able to hear by tuning into Making Stitches when it gets published.

I took my microphone with me and recorded loads of material for my latest episode of Making Stitches Podcast which will be out on Friday. I stayed literally to the end as you can see below! It was lovely to be able to enjoy all the beautiful decorations without the crowds of folk standing in the way!

After the crowds have gone home…

I also left with a bit more than I arrived with….

My Yarndale haul
Skipton

I enjoyed my day in Skipton for Yarndale so much I actually felt like I’d been away on holiday for about a week! It was just what the Dr ordered.

That’s just about all my news for September, I hope it was a good month for you. Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

A rainbow to end September
A monthly picture round-up

Summer Craft Challenge 2021 (Week 6)

I won’t say it’s gone by in a flash, it has in some ways but in others it’s gone slowly. The school summer holidays are over (two of my three are back in school today, Number 3 goes tomorrow) and that means this year’s Summer Craft Challenge is over too.

Back in the summer of 2016 I set myself the challenge of doing something crafty, even if it was just for 5 minutes, every day of the school summer holidays. At the time we were living in Gibraltar, far from family in the UK, and although we would fly home to Blighty for a few weeks, the 9-week-long Gibraltarian school break was more than a little bit daunting. By doing something fun and crafty each day, I thought that would break things up for me. Also by blogging about it, it forced me to keep going.

I find it’s so easy (when you’re busy) to forget about crafts. They get put on a back burner and forgotten about as I get consumed with everything else going on. However, the longer I am without a crochet hook or needle in my hand the worse my mood becomes. By setting myself this challenge it reminded me to not forget my crafty projects and also made me consciously plan what I would do ie. Was it portable to take on holiday or for a day out?

I managed to fill that first 9 weeks with fun makes, and every summer holiday since (apart from last year when we moved house and country over the summer back to the UK). This year I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep the momentum going in a new (old) country with fewer days at the beach and lazing about, but I did. I achieved something crafty on every day bar one – as you will see.

Here’s my final installment…

Day 36: Saturday 28th August

Just over a week ago, I packed up the car and drove us all to Whitby for a little holiday. This was the one day all summer that I didn’t manage to do anything crafty (unless packing and unpacking fall into that category). It was a lovely day nonetheless and the sunshine welcomed us to the North Yorkshire coast!

Day 37: Sunday 29th August

After a day exploring Whitby, I had the chance for an evening with a chilled vino and my hook… now that’s what holidays are for!

Day 38: Monday 30th August

I brought my liberty patchwork kit with me on holiday and day 38 meant hexies.

Day 39: Tuesday 31st August

Our last night of the holiday – by the time we were all packed up there was only a little bit of time to sit down and crochet.

Day 40: Wednesday 1st September

Back home again and after all the washing was done I sat down to make a few more hexies.

Day 41: Thursday 2nd September

This is my least favourite sewing job of the year… school trouser hems and name tags. The most monotonous job! It can only be improved to my mind with a decent podcast playing in your ears and a cup of coffee by your side!!

Day 42: Friday 3rd September

Back on the crochet again, playing with amigurumi patterns.

Day 43: Saturday 4th September

Saturday evening in front of the telly gave me the time to work on another seven hexies, in blues & greens this time. I’m really looking forward to joining them all together.

Day 44: Sunday 5th September

I ended this year’s summer craft challenge with a very unremarkable bit of crochet … a mistletoe leaf – well at least that’s what it’s supposed to look like!! It was a busy day yesterday making the most of good dry sunny weather to get to the bottom of the laundry pile and getting the last few bits and pieces sorted ready for returning to school this week. I was almost falling asleep as I did this last night!

So that marks the end of this summer’s challenge, it’s been good fun and just the impetus I needed to keep me going with my crafting when all things family seem to get between me and few moments of craftiness. I managed to either crochet or sew on all but one day of the past 44 days so I’ll take that as a victory.

I also managed to complete a couple of things…

My Making Stitches craft room wreath from Simply crochet Magazine

And….

My Little Box of Crochet heart cushion

Thanks so much for joining me in this daily quest and thank you for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Summer Craft Challenge 2021