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

Summer Craft Challenge 2021 (Weeks 4 & 5)

Hiya, I’m a bit late with this post – again! So late it’s two weeks for the price of one!

It’s not been that exciting I’m afraid – just a super busy couple of week with us traveling down south to see some very dear friends. Then, on my return, I’ve been busily crocheting something which I can’t share with you yet. It’s a very exciting new endeavour which I’m bursting to share with you, but that will have to wait for now I’m afraid. Hopefully in October I can tell you more…

For now though, here’s what I got up to during the last two weeks in my Summer Craft Challenge.

Day 22 : Saturday 14th August

Day 22 of my Summer Craft Challenge saw me back working on another Flora the Gardener ably assisted by my gorgeous Mrs G Makes stitch marker.

Day 23 : Sunday 15th August

My make for Granny Square Day 2021 on Day 23 was this gorgeous square designed by @lovedottycrochet for Simply Crochet Magazine – you’ve got to love a rainbow 🌈 granny square!!

Day 24 : Monday 16th August

Day 24 of my #summercraftchallenge and I was back on the holly leaves again – adding prickles this time! Quite hard in Amigurumi.

Day 25 : Tuesday 17th August

We took a road trip down south to visit some very dear friends, the crochet came with me though… another amigurumi head in the making.

Day 26 : Wednesday 18th August

A couple more amigurumi arms…

Day 27 : Thursday 19th August

Crochet by the pool! Our last morning down south brought the sunshine.

Day 28 : Friday 20th August

Day 28 of my #summercraftchallenge2021 and I put my crochet hook away for a moment to begin something new. Remember that fabric purchase I made at Liberty in London? Well it was a kit to make a EPP (English Paper Piecing) patchwork cushion cover.

I’ve done some EPP before and find it’s easy to pick up and put down if I get bored or need something new to focus on. I’m very much looking forward to getting stuck into this.

Day 29 : Saturday 21st August & Day 30 : Sunday 22nd August

Days 29 & 30 of my #summercraftchallenge2021 were filled with crochet which unfortunately I can’t share with you at the moment – but will do in a couple of months 🤞. But in other news my hexies are very slowly growing in number…

Day 31 : Monday 23rd August

🧶Day 31 of my #summercraftchallenge2021 saw the super exciting arrival of the August Little Box of Crochet – squeeeel!! It’s adorable but I’m not showing you inside incase it spoils the surprise… I think I may have to wait until term begins and I have a quiet house again to give this my full attention, but we’ll have to see if I can last that long… 🧶

Day 32 : Tuesday 24th August

Day 32 and I’m really enjoying all the gorgeous fabrics in this pack from Liberty London ❤️ It’s the perfect little project to have going on the side – when my current crochet pattern is making my brain into mush I can zone out as I stitch a hexie or three.

Day 33 : Wednesday 25th August

Not the most inspiring photo for Day 33 but at least it’s decent daylight for crocheting with black yarn! Crochet on the sidelines at goalkeeping practice… thank goodness it’s not raining! 😃⚽️🧶

Day 34 : Thursday 26th August

There hasn’t been much time for crafting but I fitted in a teeny bit of crochet – I wonder what those red bobbles will be? Red noses, cherries? Ear muffs for a tiny person? You’ll just have to wait & see!

Day 35 : Friday 27th August

Just a little bit of time for some more hexies today.

That’s all there is from me for now. I hope the last 2 weeks have been good for you. Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #27 16.5.21

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

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

I’ve been jabbed!

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

Football crazy

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

AmiguruMay

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

Podcast news

Episode 24 Rosina from Zeens and Roger

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

Episode 25 : Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective

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

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

In other news I’ve been published!

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

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

Until next time, take care.

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #25 11.4.21

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

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

Easter cake

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

Easter Monday walk

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

Snowy treasure trail

Lymm Cross

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

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

Slittern Brook

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

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

Bridgewater Canal in Lymm

Latest project

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

Reacquainted with an old friend

Tatton Park

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

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

New garden delights

Cherry plum (Prunus)

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

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

Second National Trust visit of the week!

Footpath from Dunham Massey to Little Bollington

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

Heading back into the park

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Sunday/Monday Postcard #24 5.4.21

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

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

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

Spring walks

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

Internet safety model

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

A new tree

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

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

Here it is in its new home!

Happy post

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

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

A new amigurumi person…

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

Introducing Dave, the King of the Daffodils!

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

Heading out of lockdown

Football training last week

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

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

Podcast news

Hayley from Dotcraftstudio

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

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

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

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

Lindsay x

Flora the Gardener : Free Crochet Pattern

Flora the Gardener

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

‘Flora’ by Emma Davies

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

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

Here goes…

Before you begin:

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

What you will need:

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

I used: 

Face & hands – beige cotton yarn

Shoes – orange & black cotton yarn 

Trousers – blue cotton yarn 

Coat – green cotton yarn

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

Hat – Scheepjes River Washed No 941 ‘Colorado’

Basket – Scheepjes River Washed No 822 ‘Brown Agate’

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

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

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

A darning needle to sew in your yarn tails.

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

Stitches & Abbreviations:

This pattern is written in UK terms

Ch = chain

Dc = Double crochet

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

MC = Magic Circle

Slst = Slip Stitch

St(s) = Stitch(es)

YO = Yarn Over

Hook size:

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

THE PATTERN

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

HEAD 

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

Round 2 2Dc into each st around (12)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARMS (Make 2)

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

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

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

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

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

LEGS (Make 2)

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

Round 2 2Dc into every st (12)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fasten off and break yarn.

BODY

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

Photo 1

Photo 2

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

Photo 3

Round 2 1Dc into every st (38)

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

Round 4-5 1Dc into every st (42)  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Round 30 Dc into every stitch (20)

Fasten off and break yarn.

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

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

HAT

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

HAIR CAP

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

COAT

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

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

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

Arm hole loops
Photo shows Dcs in to chain spaces

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

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

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

Turning the corner on the jacket

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Basket   

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrots (Make 3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #23 21.3.21

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

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

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

Spring has sprung

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

A new crochet project

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

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

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

Robin spotted!

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

Signs of spring

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

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

Podcast news

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

You can hear the episode by following this link.

Gini’s winning decoration and her trophy

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

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #22 28.2.21

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

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

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

Sunday nature reserve walk

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

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

Introducing Hope the Snowdrop

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

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

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

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

Saffron, Hope & Flora

Gardening

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

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

Gift from a friend

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

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

Take care,

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #20 31.1.21

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!

Heavenly hyacinths

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

New Manchester Walks tour of the Northern Quarter

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.

Podcast update

Janet hard at work at her sewing machine

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.

Stockinger Lane Allotments by Janet Browne

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!

Lindsay x