A postcard from April 2022

Quarry Bank Mill at Styal

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


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

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

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

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

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

Birthdays

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

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

Psyduck (minus his tuft of hair/feathers)

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

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

Easter holiday trip out

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

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

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

A trip down to London

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

Podcast Update

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

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

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

Clare Albans from Hello Hooray Blog

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

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

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

Lindsay x

A postcard from March 2022

Cariad & Dave

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

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

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

Crochet news

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunny Skipton

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

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

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

A lunch of flat breads at Bean Loved in Skipton

Spring in the garden

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

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

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

Glorious Manchester

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

Blossom tree outside Manchester Art Gallery

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

Podcast news

Olesya Lebedenko

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

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

You can hear her episode here.

One of Olesya’s projects featuring a tradition Ukrainian house

In print!

Issue 120 of Simply Crochet Magazine

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

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

Take care, and thank you for stopping by!

Lindsay x

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

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

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

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

New pattern releases

Holly from Up the Garden Path

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

Ivy from Up the Garden Path

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

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

Holly as drawn by Emma Jackson
Ivy by Emma Jackson

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

Start as you mean to go on…

Slightly blurry in-motion snap!

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

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

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

Booster-tastic

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

Podcast Christmas Special

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

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

Christmas crochet makes

A dinky Christmas tree from a Molly Makes pattern

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

A Cinderella doll for a special friend

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

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

Happy Post

The latest book published by Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective

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

A Festive Walk

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

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

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

Podcast New Year Special

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

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

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

New Year’s Eve walk

Fields outside Wigan, Lancashire

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

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

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

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

Until then, take care,

Lindsay x

A postcard from November

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

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

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

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

A golden tree at the end of the rainbow

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

No it’s not Christmas yet!!

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

Meeting real people in real life!

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

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

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

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

Costa del Ship Canal

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

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

Just look at those blues and the golden leaves….

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

Plastic hedge be gone!

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

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

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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

Barbara Hepworth sculptures

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

Ai Weiwei’s Chinese Horoscope Characters

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

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

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

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

Just look at that intricate work!!

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

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

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

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

There were also pictures made of bulbous crochet structures…

Finisterra 2018
Close-up of above picture
Heartbreak 2015

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

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

Red Independent Heart #3

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

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

And a fabulous chair…

The back of the chair above

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

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

Sock knitting update

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

Well they’re finished!!

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

I now have toasty warm toes!

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

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

But I got there in the end…

And I’m on my way!

Making Stitches Podcast

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

Emma Leith
(photo credit: Emma Leith Atelier)

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

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

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

And finally…

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

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

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

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lindsay x

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

A Postcard from October

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

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

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

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

Stepping far outside my comfort zone!

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

A lovely trip out

Christine and I outside Black Sheep Wools

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

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

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

I’ve opened a shop!

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

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

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

2nd batch drying on the line!

Half term holidays

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

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

Anniversary of moving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

A Postcard from September

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

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

Last days of summer

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

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

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

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

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

Here they are…. What do you think?

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

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

Harvest time

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

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

A crocheted thank you

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

Craftivism update

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

Yarndale

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

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

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

After the crowds have gone home…

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

My Yarndale haul
Skipton

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

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

Lindsay x

A rainbow to end September
A monthly picture round-up

Summer Craft Challenge 2021 (Week 2)

Only on week 2 and I’m late posting this already! Well it is the holidays isn’t it?! Here’s what I got up to in my Summer Craft Challenge this week…

Day 8 : Saturday 30th July

Day 8 of my #summercraftchallenge2021 was all about joining granny squares & making stitches 🧵🪡🧶

Day 9 : Sunday 1st August

A grey cloudy Sunday was perfect weather for staying in and crocheting! Day 9 of my #summercraftchallenge2021 – has anyone seen my ✂️ scissors?! 😉

Day 10 : Monday 2nd August

Day 10 of my #summercraftchallenge2021 was about sewing rather than crochet. 🧵🪡

Day 11 : Tuesday 3rd August

Not much time for ‘real’ craft today – just a paltry hexie round, but I did ‘craft’ a podcast episode – does that count?

Day 12 : Wednesday 4th August

Day 12 of my #summercraftchallenge2021 and the balls are finished and ready to be attached to their final home… can’t wait to share the finished project once it’s completed 😊.

Day 13 : Thursday 5th August

I’ve was playing with festive leaf shapes … feels a bit early for such things but time waits for no one…. Day 13 of my #summercraftchallenge2021 #crochetholly #c

Day 14 : Friday 6th August

It’s finished!!

It may have been started about a year ago, but I think it’s worth the wait? My Craft Room wreath is finished and ready to go on the wall in @making_stitches_podcast HQ!! I’m rather pleased with how it’s turned out. The pattern is by @sewing_the_seeds_of_love & is from Simoly Crochet Magazine issue 96.

And that brings week 2 to a close, I’m looking forward to seeing what week 3 has in store…

A postcard from a flock of Canary Craftivists

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

Mrs Pankhurst helping the Craftivist cause!

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Corbett
Photo Credit: Craftivist Collective


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


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


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

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

My attempt at a crocheted canary

Why Canaries?

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

The Manchester ‘flock’

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

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

Crafting by the Emmeline Pankhurst statue

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

Outside Central Library

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

Photo credit: The Craftivist Collective

Bank Holiday Monday Postcard #28 31.5.21

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

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

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

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

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

Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet

Crochet news

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

The Crochet Sanctuary!

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

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

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

Take care,

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #27 16.5.21

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

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

I’ve been jabbed!

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

Football crazy

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

AmiguruMay

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

Podcast news

Episode 24 Rosina from Zeens and Roger

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

Episode 25 : Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective

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

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

In other news I’ve been published!

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

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

Until next time, take care.

Lindsay x