Introducing…. ‘Up the Garden Path’

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

The Rock of Gibraltar

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

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

Our old ‘front garden’

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

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

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

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

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

Hooking in front of Hootenanny

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

Hope the Snowdrop

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

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

Flora the Gardener

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

Flora the Gardener
Copyright: Emma Jackson

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

Hope the Snowdrop
Copyright: Emma Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lindsay x

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

A Postcard from October

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

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

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

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

Stepping far outside my comfort zone!

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

A lovely trip out

Christine and I outside Black Sheep Wools

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

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

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

I’ve opened a shop!

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

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

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

2nd batch drying on the line!

Half term holidays

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

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

Anniversary of moving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

A Postcard from September

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

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

Last days of summer

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

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

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

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

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

Here they are…. What do you think?

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

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

Harvest time

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

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

A crocheted thank you

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

Craftivism update

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

Yarndale

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

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

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

After the crowds have gone home…

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

My Yarndale haul
Skipton

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

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

Lindsay x

A rainbow to end September
A monthly picture round-up

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

Sunday/Monday Postcard #24 5.4.21

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

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

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

Spring walks

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

Internet safety model

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

A new tree

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

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

Here it is in its new home!

Happy post

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

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

A new amigurumi person…

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

Introducing Dave, the King of the Daffodils!

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

Heading out of lockdown

Football training last week

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

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

Podcast news

Hayley from Dotcraftstudio

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

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

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

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

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #23 21.3.21

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

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

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

Spring has sprung

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

A new crochet project

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

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

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

Robin spotted!

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

Signs of spring

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

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

Podcast news

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

You can hear the episode by following this link.

Gini’s winning decoration and her trophy

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

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #22 28.2.21

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

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

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

Sunday nature reserve walk

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

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

Introducing Hope the Snowdrop

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

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

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

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

Saffron, Hope & Flora

Gardening

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

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

Gift from a friend

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

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

Take care,

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #21 14.2.21

Hello there, happy Sunday to you. Sorry I went missing in action last week with no postcard. It’s been a bit full on with home schooling and everything else so I took a week off.

I’m very pleased to say that we have survived six weeks of home schooling relatively unscathed (apart from my blood pressure and sanity) and we are now at the beginning of a week of half term holiday. Ooh what shall we do? A trip to the seaside? A walk in the country? A trip to the shops? No, no and no, we will mostly be staying home, walking round the block and eating too much – no change there then!

I will though, hopefully be spending a lot more time on my crochet. I am within touching distance of publishing a pattern for Flora my amigurumi gardener, and I’m trying to get some more podcast episodes sorted so Making Stitches can return for a new series before too much longer and I have a few other bits and bobs going on behind the scenes – oh so much to do and so little time!

Anyway, here’s a brief peek at what I’ve been up to during the past 2 weeks – warning – it’s not that riveting!!

Work moves on apace with pattern writing

So I have started remaking Flora and taking pictures as I go so that hopefully I can publish a pattern.

A trip to the waterside

Last Sunday we took a half hour walk from our house to…. the Manchester Ship canal! We used to be able to walk to the Bay of Gibraltar from our home… how times have changed! 🤣 It may look a bit bleak, and it was bitterly cold, but we saw lots of wildlife, it was late in the afternoon and we saw a murmuration of starlings coming in to roost near by, there were also lots of seagulls and even a heron. Plus there was a rather dramatic whirl pool on the opposite side of the lock gates to where we were standing…

More snow ❄️

We had a couple of days early this week when it seemed to snow off and on all day, I stopped counting at the ninth snow shower. It was lovely to glance out of the window in the midst of improper fractions or history and drift away watching the flakes float down. Unfortunately none of our showers came to anything unlike elsewhere in the UK this week, but we did have our snow over Christmas and New Year so I’m not complaining!

Happy post

In amongst the lessons this week, there was a knock at the door and the postman had a parcel for me. It was a kit for an amigurumi Harry Potter sent by my lovely friend Nikki in Liverpool. Thank you Nikki, I will be starting on this very soon!!

Snowdrops

I have been seeing some beautiful photos of banks of snowdrops over on Instagram lately, and I have to say I think they are my favourite post-Christmas plant (I can’t say spring because it isn’t spring yet is it?!). They always herald the beginning of the gardening year and hope of what is to come. I have hardly seen any on my walks around our neighbourhood but spied this rather weedy clump in our local municipal gardens. I will try to do better for the next postcard!!

More crochet

Flora now has carrots in her basket. I’m bursting to show you something else I’ve been working on but want to share my Flora pattern first so I’m biding my time. Flora #2 had an unfortunate accident with a cup of coffee and a young man’s foot this week which didn’t help progress, so she had to have a rather drastic plunge into a washing up bowl and a toast on the radiator which added to the delay… But suffice to say, I’m so enjoying my crochet at the moment, it’s what’s giving me focus and a reward to my day to day lockdown drudge.

I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got for you this week, sorry it’s been a dull one, but I guess that’s the same for everyone at the moment.

Have a good week and stay safe!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #20 31.1.21

Hello there! How are you doing? I hope you are bearing up in the circumstances. We’re doing ok and I’m pleased to report and my parents got their first dose of the Covid jab last week so that feels like the first step towards something a bit more positive.

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last postcard and nothing much has really been going on as I’m sure you can appreciate. We have completed 4 weeks of home schooling – which I’m feeling rather proud of achieving. It hasn’t been easy but it has given me the excuse to sit next to youngest and supervise his work and during bits he can manage on his own, I have been able to crochet.

I mentioned last time that I had been playing with amigurumi and attempting to design something of my own. I have been crocheting ‘properly’ for about 7 or 8 years now and I never felt I had the ability or creativity to create something that other people might like to make. However, towards the end of last year a germ of an idea started for a collection of amigurumi ‘dolls’ and I just can’t stop thinking about them, so I have begun designing.

There have been a couple of odd looking prototypes (which the Little Postcards say give them the creeps) but I’m hoping I have ironed out some of the quirks and I’m getting there. I hope to be able to share them with you very soon. The first is ‘Flora’ and here’s a sneaky peak of her….

Wintery weather continues…

We started the week with another wintery spell of weather. It looks so beautiful and bright and crisp but I was very glad I wasn’t having to get out early and scrape the car windscreen to drive anywhere! I could enjoy it from the warmth of the house!

Heavenly hyacinths

I didn’t used to like hyacinths because of the perfume they give off. One positive of my post-Covid wonky sense of smell is that, that no longer bothers me, so I have greatly enjoyed this trio of hyacinths in the house this last couple of weeks. They blossomed quickly in the warmth of the dining room / makeshift classroom!

A tour from your armchair

New Manchester Walks tour of the Northern Quarter

Yesterday I enjoyed my third virtual tour around my home city of Manchester. The tour group ‘New Manchester Walks’ has been hosting virtual Zoom tours around the city and other places in lockdown. So far, I’ve been on a virtual tour of Underground Manchester, followed the Pankhursts on a suffragette tour and yesterday took a spin around the Northern Quarter and heard many fascinating stories about the history it holds from the Manchester Martyrs to the Beatles’ first audition for the BBC and Sean Ryder firing a bullet into the wall of a bar owned by the Haçienda’s Anthony H Wilson. I can highly recommend seeking them out if you have an interest in the city or just social history in general.

Podcast update

Janet hard at work at her sewing machine

The subject of the latest edition of Making Stitches Podcast is textile artist Janet Browne. Janet makes the most beautiful pictures of journeys she has been on and places she has visited using hand-dyed fabric and stitching. She was a fascinating person to speak to and I’m sure you’ll agree if you listen to her chat with me. Just search for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or follow this link.

Stockinger Lane Allotments by Janet Browne

And that is it for this postcard, as I said there’s not an awful lot going on, as I’m sure is the case for many of us. I hope the coming week is a positive one for you. Until next time, look after yourself!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #16 20.12.20

Hello there, thanks for stopping by. Before I begin this Postcard, I just want to say that I know this coming few days is going to be difficult for many people this year more than ever. Following the announcement yesterday of even tougher restrictions in parts of the UK, many people’s plans have been left in tatters.

I’m really sorry if you have seen your Christmas plans reduced or even cancelled, or if your work situation has been rocked even further after this turbulent year. I don’t know what I can say or do at this point other than say you are not alone, even if you are physically isolated. Do reach out if you need someone to talk to.

Now to the usual tripe! Apologies that this year I’m not sharing uplifting photos of the blue skies and seascapes of Decembers gone by in Gibraltar… my location has changed this year to a rather greyer but no less friendly and happy Manchester in spite of everything that’s going on. Here goes…

Final flat pack delivery

Finally after almost 2 months of living in our new home, our final furniture delivery of 2020 arrived a couple of weeks ago. Eldest now has a desk for his homework and I have a bookshelf for my crafty books – hurrah! That means several more boxes have been unpacked. They are getting less and less!

Keep on running!

My Couch to 5k training is continuing. I’m pleased to say I have now passed the point at which I stopped last time. Having a training buddy with me is a huge boon and makes us deliberately schedule in our runs, plus now we can hold a conversation most of the time too, so it feels like less of a chore! I snapped a brief bit of sunshine on one of the morning training sessions last week.

A Postcard birthday

We had a family birthday earlier in December – it gave me the chance to bake an old fashioned Victoria sponge with buttercream & jam filling. Yummy!

Christmas lights

There are some super examples of Christmas decorations in the streets near where we live now. I am planning on taking the Little Postcards on a nocturnal walk to see them as soon as we get a dry night! I love Santa in the camper van and this house (below) has Santa projected onto an upstairs window complete with “Ho ho ho!” sound effects!

More baking

It’s just as well I’m running at the moment – there’s been a lot of cake-age going on Chez Postcard lately. Middle Postcard has been having to do his Food Tech lessons at home so last week was Swiss roll. The last time I made a Swiss roll I was at school!! It turned out alright. Although I would have preferred jam as a filling to chocolate spread – the chef had the final choice naturally.

Model making

In addition to baking there’s been model making on the go too. This is a waterfall which had to be produced for an end of term geography lesson. Hours of work went into it, I’m still finding paint splatters in the kitchen!!

Empty Malls

I had to make a trip to the Trafford centre last week for a couple of Christmas bits. The joy of living close by means I can be there when it opens and before the hoards arrive. It was a successful trip and I was able to leave just as it was getting busy.

Crafty bits

I got some very unexpected happy post this week… this pack of Scheepjes yarn and a super case of Knit Pro crochet hooks. I recently renewed my subscription to Simply Crochet magazine which had elapsed this year while we were moving about from house to house. I had received the magazine for several years while living in Gibraltar but as an overseas subscriber I never received a subscription gift. This time I did! Woo hoo! What a treat – thank you Simply Crochet!

Strictly Crochet…

Wasn’t the Strictly Come Dancing final glorious last night?! In the words of the great Craig Revel-Horwood, it was “Fab-u-lous”. The only problem was I had to keep stopping my crochet to give the dances my full attention! I love that Bill & Oti won – they were my favourites after Caroline & Johannes left.

So what was I working on whilst watching Strictly? My Crochet Sanctuary Christmas blanket CAL. Will it be finished by Christmas this year? Who knows? I’m trying though… I’m over half way…

Don’t look too closely at the unorthodox bobbles near the top… I did one bobble row 4 times because I kept miscounting it and getting it wrong, so when I discovered later on that I’d missed 3 bobbles a few rows back I couldn’t face unraveling and added them afterwards. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!

Podcast News

Agnis Smallwood – weaver & educator
(photo credit: Joanne Crawford)

Last Friday I released another episode of Making Stitches Podcast featuring a weaver called Agnis Smallwood. She spoke to me about how she first got into weaving, her enjoyment of passing the skills of weaving and other crafts onto her students and how she found colour inspiration in her lockdown veg patch. You can listen by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app.

And that brings this Sunday Postcard to a close. It’s been a funny old run up to Christmas, and my mind keeps being taken back to the many Christmases we enjoyed in Gibraltar. We may not be there right now, but it will forever stay with us, just as our Christmas tree is reminding us.

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you have a peaceful Christmas and are able to find joy in these coming days.

Take care,

Lindsay x