Hello there! Please allow me to introduce the newest member of the Up the Garden Path gang – Daisy.
Did you make daisy chains as a child? It’s something I always liked to do during the summertime – if I could find any…. you see my Dad was very proud of his garden (he still is to be fair) and rarely did he allow the grass to get long enough to allow daisies to appear in the lawn. Most of my daisy chain making was reserved for playtime on the school field or the occasional trip to a field or meadow.
But despite that, daisies always mean summer to me. Way back in the very early days of Postcard from Gibraltar, in July 2015 on one of our family trips back home to Manchester from Gibraltar during the school summer holidays I blogged about a lovely family outing we made into the Cheshire countryside. Amongst the delights on offer that day were a woodland walk, a picnic, creamy Cheshire ice cream and, you guessed it, a daisy chain. Living in Gibraltar at the time, there was very little access to ‘real’ grass due to the climate, and certainly no daisies, so they were a bit of a novelty.
You can find that blog post about Daisies and Damselflies here .
Fast forward to last year and we were enjoying our first summer in our new home in Manchester and what should pop up through the blades of grass in our new back garden lawn than a small but very welcome crop of daisies? As I was already in the mindset to try and turn any floral inspiration I found in my garden into something yarny and specifically amigurumi, there was absolutely no question that I had to make a daisy inspired doll.
Fortunately I had some yarn in my stash which fitted the bill perfectly for the job – a couple of balls left over from making Hope the Snowdrop and some yellow which had been bought with daffodils in mind (do you remember them?) and I was able to crack on pretty much immediately. Before long Daisy was beginning to take shape.
I actually had another inspiration for my Daisy too, she was a lovely lady who was full of fun and involved in everything going – my Great Aunt Daisy. Although not her actual name, she was known as Daisy from being young and was always Aunt Daisy to me.
She lived on the west coast of Scotland in a tiny little village, which although small, made up it for with a sense of community and boy did she squeeze every ounce of fun out of that community. She was involved with so many groups and events from country dancing to women’s groups. Sadly no longer with us (she would have been well over 100 if she was still around today) I initially set out on my Daisy crochet adventure with Aunt Daisy in mind.
I had thought to give her white hair and glasses befitting of a village elder, but this Daisy is youthful and no less great for it. I imagine she is never one to say no to turn around the dance floor and ready to squeeze every last ounce of fun out of life.
Yet again, my pattern is based on the amigurumi technique of crocheting in the round and is in UK crochet terms. It comes in a beautifully produced and illustrated version (thanks to my wonderfully talented childhood friend Emma from Emma Jackson Art) and a text-only printer friendly version too for those who prefer to work from paper patterns and perhaps scribble notes in the margins (like me). The Daisy pattern has been launched on my Etsy shop today and is available for immediate download.
I hope this inspires many Daisies to be made and that they all bring that same sense of fun with them out into the world. If you fancy capturing a bit of summer meadow or lawn which will last all year long you know what to do.
She’s a perfect project for stash busting – just four colours are required and she’s made using simple stitches which would be great for beginners.
You can find the pattern for sale in my Etsy shop which you can get to via this link.
Thank you so much for stopping by, and if you do make a Daisy of your own, please do let me know by either tagging me in on social media, use the hashtags #upthegardenpathdaisy or #upthegardenpathcrochet , or just send me a message to tell me – I would love to see where any Daisies start springing up!
Hello there! Happy new month to you. I’m just dropping in for a quick post today as, when I looked back at my photos for May, they seemed very dull and not post worthy.
So here’s a very quick round up of what I’ve been up to lately…
Well, I seem to have been crocheting non-stop lately but I’ve not been able to settle on anyone thing for long! I began the month crocheting a rainbow hat for a future ‘Up the garden path’ character but got distracted by another project which you can see below…
Youngest’s school is holding its first summer fair in 3 years this year and I was racking my brains as to what to do to support it… I hit on an idea and will hopefully be able to share it with you next month!
One of the highlights of designing my own patterns is seeing someone else’s interpretation of what I’ve created. My fundraising Sophia the Sunflower for Ukraine is still available in my Etsy shop and I was thrilled to spot this Sophia made in the Ukrainian national colours – she is to be gifted to a Ukrainian girl who recently arrived in the UK. What a lovely thing to do.
Early in the month we had a very big game – well when I say we, I mean Youngest! I have been a football Mum for many years and never before have I seen one of my offspring play in a final…. Until this year. And guess what? They only went and won! Cue: boundless joy in our house for a few days as we all floated about on cloud 9!!!
One day while I was alone at home getting on with jobs I heard a racket coming from the back garden, when I went to investigate I found it full of starlings. I counted over 30. There were parents and chicks and all sorts of squabbles and shenanigans going on! The photos don’t do it justice. Suffice to say, the bird feeders took a battering that day!
Messing about on the water
Last weekend we had an invitation to join some very good friends for a kids sailing session at a nearby reservoir. Youngest had never been sailing before but he’s always up for something new and jumped at the chance. It was absolutely fabulous. They were given brilliant instruction by the leaders, monitored at all times, got full use of wetsuits etc and were on the water for a few hours – all for £10!!! We will definitely be going back!
The added bonus was a bit of peace & quiet for waterside alfresco crochet…
That was on Saturday, then on Sunday we spent most of the day on a local playing field having an impromptu football session with other families from his team. Another opportunity for alfresco crochet, however I did find myself being roped in to play. I am rubbish in goal – I let 5 in, but I was told I’m pretty good in defence, so I’ll take that. My aching muscles though, haven’t forgiven me. I’m still stiff as a board today! 😂
May saw two episodes of Making Stitches Podcast released. The first being a chat I had with knit and crochet designer Lynne Rowe from Knit Crochet Create & The Woolnest. The second episode last month featured a trip I made to the Peoples History Museum in Manchester where they have the biggest collection of Trades Union banners in the world. I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes peek at the fabric conservation work they do there. It was fascinating.
You can listen to all Making Stitches episodes by searching for Making Stitches Podcast on your favourite podcast app or via this link.
And that just about brings this quick post to an end. I do hope May has been a good month for you, and whatever you’re up to this long Platinum Jubilee weekend, I hope the sun shines for you!
Until next time, thanks for stopping by & take care!
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.
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!
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….
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
*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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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?
A New Year and a new 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
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
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!
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…
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.
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!
I had a lovely treat when I logged into Instagram one day to see that Llanita was back in the sun!!
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
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!
I also left with a bit more than I arrived with….
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!
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…
Thanks so much for joining me in this daily quest and thank you for stopping by!
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!
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 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.
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.
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!!
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.
Hello! I hope you’re doing ok. It’s been a funny old week hasn’t it? The last one of this stage of UK lockdown and the news being dominated by the death of Prince Philip. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose your partner of more than 70 years. My thoughts are with the Queen and her family.
Closer to home, we have tried to make the most of our Easter holidays in spite of a mixed bag of weather. As I looked out of the curtains after midnight last night – it was snowing here in Manchester!! No sign of the white stuff this morning though. Here’s a little look back at our week…
We had such a lovely Easter weekend last week, the weather was kind to us and the eased restrictions meant that we were able to spend time with loved ones who we hadn’t seen for too long. To celebrate, my Mum made this yummy cake! It was delicious!
Easter Monday walk
Despite a forecast of snow and ice, we woke up to more stunning weather on Easter Monday and made the most of the sun with a walk around fields near our home. Little did we know, the snow and cold weather would still be heading our way…
Snowy treasure trail
Last summer, we went on a treasure trail around the centre of Manchester as an activity to get us out of the house amid the severe restrictions we were facing. During the recent months of lockdown I have long wished we could do another one, as there are several within easy reach of where we are in south west Manchester.
On Tuesday, despite the grey skies and the drop in temperature, we paid for and downloaded another treasure trail – this one for the nearby village of Lymm in Cheshire. It took us along paths we had never visited before and taught us a little about the history of the place. In spite of the snow and cold, it was a fun afternoon!
We were glad of the hot drink back at home though!!
If you fancy a go at a treasure trail yourself, you can find them here. (This is not an advert! We just enjoyed it and thought you might too).
This was supposed to be finished by Easter, but life and lack of room in my brain to figure things out have got in the way of creativity. Hopefully, she will be making an appearance soon!
Reacquainted with an old friend
On Friday morning we headed into Cheshire to visit a place I haven’t been to in years – Tatton Park. Unfortunately we were too late to book to visit the gardens, but we did get the chance to wander around the deer park. It was lovely, in spite of sibling bickering and a passing snow shower!
The aviation geek amongst us was even able to watch the planes taking off from nearby Manchester Airport and passing overhead.
New garden delights
One of the joys of seeing a new garden wake up for spring is the delight of watching new things appear. Just two weeks ago, this small tree was simply a tree with new red leaves, now it is covered in the most beautiful, perfect, white blossom! It’s definitely a keeper!
It’s been fun to be able to get out and potter about in the garden. I was also able to get my brand new lawnmower out for a spin and potted on a few seedlings. Fingers crossed the threat of frost passes soon so I can actually plant them out in the garden soon!
Second National Trust visit of the week!
So yesterday we managed to get into our favourite and nearest National Trust property- Dunham Massey. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and we were only able to get a parking entry for late in the afternoon. We managed a short walk in the park and then out towards the village of Little Bollington before the rain and sleet came!
We didn’t hang around for long once the sleet arrived – it looked set to stay (and it did). Never mind, it was a nice trip out to see some green space!
That’s all from me for this week, I hope the coming seven days are good to you. A couple of our household are particularly excited about the prospect of going clothes shopping next week before returning to school. I think my standards have dropped since Covid first started because I’m not bothered about clothes – it’s yarn shops I want to get into!!