Hello there! Happy new month to you. I’m just dropping in for a quick post today as, when I looked back at my photos for May, they seemed very dull and not post worthy.
So here’s a very quick round up of what I’ve been up to lately…
Well, I seem to have been crocheting non-stop lately but I’ve not been able to settle on anyone thing for long! I began the month crocheting a rainbow hat for a future ‘Up the garden path’ character but got distracted by another project which you can see below…
Youngest’s school is holding its first summer fair in 3 years this year and I was racking my brains as to what to do to support it… I hit on an idea and will hopefully be able to share it with you next month!
One of the highlights of designing my own patterns is seeing someone else’s interpretation of what I’ve created. My fundraising Sophia the Sunflower for Ukraine is still available in my Etsy shop and I was thrilled to spot this Sophia made in the Ukrainian national colours – she is to be gifted to a Ukrainian girl who recently arrived in the UK. What a lovely thing to do.
Early in the month we had a very big game – well when I say we, I mean Youngest! I have been a football Mum for many years and never before have I seen one of my offspring play in a final…. Until this year. And guess what? They only went and won! Cue: boundless joy in our house for a few days as we all floated about on cloud 9!!!
One day while I was alone at home getting on with jobs I heard a racket coming from the back garden, when I went to investigate I found it full of starlings. I counted over 30. There were parents and chicks and all sorts of squabbles and shenanigans going on! The photos don’t do it justice. Suffice to say, the bird feeders took a battering that day!
Messing about on the water
Last weekend we had an invitation to join some very good friends for a kids sailing session at a nearby reservoir. Youngest had never been sailing before but he’s always up for something new and jumped at the chance. It was absolutely fabulous. They were given brilliant instruction by the leaders, monitored at all times, got full use of wetsuits etc and were on the water for a few hours – all for £10!!! We will definitely be going back!
The added bonus was a bit of peace & quiet for waterside alfresco crochet…
That was on Saturday, then on Sunday we spent most of the day on a local playing field having an impromptu football session with other families from his team. Another opportunity for alfresco crochet, however I did find myself being roped in to play. I am rubbish in goal – I let 5 in, but I was told I’m pretty good in defence, so I’ll take that. My aching muscles though, haven’t forgiven me. I’m still stiff as a board today! 😂
May saw two episodes of Making Stitches Podcast released. The first being a chat I had with knit and crochet designer Lynne Rowe from Knit Crochet Create & The Woolnest. The second episode last month featured a trip I made to the Peoples History Museum in Manchester where they have the biggest collection of Trades Union banners in the world. I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes peek at the fabric conservation work they do there. It was fascinating.
You can listen to all Making Stitches episodes by searching for Making Stitches Podcast on your favourite podcast app or via this link.
And that just about brings this quick post to an end. I do hope May has been a good month for you, and whatever you’re up to this long Platinum Jubilee weekend, I hope the sun shines for you!
Until next time, thanks for stopping by & take care!
Hello, 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…
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Hello there and happy St David’s Day! March 1st seems like the perfect day to share with you my latest crochet pattern; for Dave the Daffodil. Dave is one half of a daffodil couple – Cariad & Dave – a beautiful illustrated pattern for them both will be available in my Etsy shop very soon, but a basic version of Dave can be found for free below.
When I first started creating my ‘Up the Garden Path’ amigurumi people last year, I was very much guided by the seasons, beginning with Hope the Snowdrop (who’s also available in my Etsy Shop) and Saffron the Crocus and then Dave and Cariad made an appearance.
If you would would like to have a go at making your own Dave, here’s how to do it:
Dave is made using the Amigurumi technique of crocheting in the round, so a stitch marker is a must for marking the first stitch of every round, so you can follow where you are up to in the pattern. I also made him using a 2.5mm hook which makes the fabric nice and tight and there’s no chance that you will see the stuffing poking through between the stitches and rows.
Materials I used:
Face, hands, feet and hair – I used a dark beige to pick up on the colours of the papery cases around the buds of daffodil blooms a similar yarn is Ricorumi Shade 56 – Nougat
*I prefer a neater finish for my decreases in amigurumi which can be achieved using an invisible decrease rather than Dc2Tog. To make an invisible decrease, you put your hook through the front loop only of the next two stitches, yrh and pull it back through.
As Dave is crocheted together as you go, you will need to make his head, arms and legs first before attempting the body. His hair, cloak and crown and can be made later. The figure in brackets at the end of each row/round indicates how many stitches there are in that round e.g. (6). Please remember to use a stitch marker in the first stitch of every round so that you can keep track of where you are.
Head(Begin Dave’s head with Yellow yarn and work the first 8 Rounds in Yellow before changing to Nougat /dark beige in the final YO of Round 8) :
Round 1 With yellow yarn, work 6 Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)
Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)
Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next st) repeat around (18)
Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (24)
Round 5 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 3 sts) repeat around (30)
Round 6 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat around (36)
Round 7 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat around (42)
Round 8 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around . Change to Nougat yarn in final YO of round 8 (48)
Rounds 9-16 1Dc into every stitch around (48)
Round 17 (Dc2tog [or invisible decrease as detailed previously], 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around (42)
Round 18 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat around (36)
Round 19 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat around (30)
Round 20 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 3 sts) repeat around (24)
Round 21 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (18)
Fasten off and break yarn leaving a long tail to sew the head onto the body later on. Place the safety eyes between Rounds 11 & 12 and 4 stitches apart. Stuff head firmly.
Arms (make 2): (Note: Change to green yarn on the final YO of round 6 and work the rest of the sleeve in green.)
Round 1 With Nougat/dark beige yarn, work 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)
Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)
Rounds 3-25 1 Dc into every st around, ensuring you change to green yarn in the appropriate round as detailed above. (12)
Fasten off and break yarn. Darn in the yarn tail and stuff lightly.
Legs (make 2): (Note: Change to green coloured yarn in final YO of round 10.)
Round 1 With Nougat/dark beige yarn, work 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)
Round 2 2Dc into every stitch around (12)
Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next st) repeat around (18)
Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (24)
Rounds 5-8 1Dc into every st around (24)
Round 9 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat around (18)
Rounds 10-14 1Dc into evert st (18)
Round 15 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat around (15)
Rounds 16-42 1Dc into every st around (15)
Fasten off and break yarn. Darn in the yarn tails and stuff the legs firmly.
Round 1 With Olive Grove Green yarn, join yarn in the first stitch after fastening off on the first leg. Ch1 and 1Dc into the same st, then 1Dc into next 9 sts. Ch1 and join 2nd leg by making 1Dc into 1st st after fastening off on the 2nd leg. 1Dc into all remaining sts on 2nd leg, 1Dc into the front loop of the connecting chain, 1Dc into the remaining sts of the first leg. (32)
Round 2 1Dc into every st around including both sides of the connecting chain. (32)
Round 3 1Dc into next 2 sts, 2Dc into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 14 sts, 2Dc into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 12 sts. (36)
Rounds 4-24 1Dc into every st around. (36)
At this point flatten out the top of the body so you can clearly see the 2 sides where the arms should go. Mark the sides with stitch markers to see the midpoint of each arm position. We will be attaching the arms in Round 25.
Round 25 work out the point which is 3 sts away from the nearest stitch marker, this is where you need to begin joining the first arm. 1Dc into every st until this point. Taking the first arm, put your hook through both the front and back sts on the right hand side of the top edge and then work 1Dc into the next st on the body. Continue to attach the arm in this manner until all 6 sts across the top of the arm are attached to the body. 1Dc into the next 12 sts across the front of the body, then attach the second arm in the same manner into the next 6 sts, 1Dc into the remaining st of round 19. (36)
Round 26 1Dc into every st until the st above the beginning of the 1st arm join in Round 27, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 12 sts, Dc2tog, Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the remaining unworked sts of Round 25. (32)
Round 27 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the next 10 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 2 sts, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the remaining unworked sts of Round 26. (28)
Round 28 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 10 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into remaining unworked sts of Round 27. (24)
Round 29 1Dc into every st until the st above the first decrease of the previous row, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 8 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into remaining unworked sts of Round 26. (20)
Fasten off and break yarn leaving a long enough tail to sew the head on.
Firmly stuff the body. At this point, position the head with eyes facing forwards on top of the body, pin in place and sew the head onto the body securely.
Dave’s outer daffodil petals (Make 6)
Round 1 With Yellow yarn, 6Dc into a MC and pull tight (6)
Round 2 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 2 sts) repeat (8)
Round 3 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 3 sts) repeat (10)
Round 4 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 4 sts) repeat (12)
Round 5 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat (14)
Round 6 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat (16)
Round 7 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (18)
Round 8 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 8 sts) repeat (20)
Round 9 (2Dc into next st, 1Dc into next 9 sts) repeat (22)
Rounds 10 – 13 1Dc into every st around (22)
Round 14 (Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (18)
Round 15 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 7 sts) repeat (16)
Fasten off and weave in ends.
Round 1 Once all 6 petals are complete, they need to be joined together to make Dave’s Crown. Take the first petal and put the hook through both the front and back sts on the right hand side of the top edge and pull a loop of Yellow yarn through, Ch1 then 1Dc into this same st, 1Dc across the remaining 7 stitches (both front and back sts) of the first petal. Then take the 2nd petal and work 1Dc across all 8 sts (both front and back sts) and continue in this manner until all 6 petals are joined with a row of Dc sts then slst. (48)
Round 2 We want Dave’s crown to be worked in the round, so the first st of Round 2 is worked into the 1st st of Round 1 which will connect the whole row of petals into a circle – remember to make this first stitch of the next Round with a stitch marker. 1Dc into every st around (48)
Round 3 (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 6 sts) repeat around (42)
Round 4 Working into the FLO (Dc2tog, 1Dc into next 5 sts) repeat around (36)
Rounds 5-12 1Dc into every st around (36)
Round 13 (Htr, Tr, Htr, Slst) repeat around to form frill on top of the inner trumpet of Dave’s Daffodil Crown. Finish off and break yarn. Weave in the end so that it’s invisible on both the inside and outside of the trumpet.
Then with yellow yarn, stitch the outer petals to each other at their widest part so that they stand up around the trumpet.
Place the daffodil crown onto Dave’s head positioning it along the edge of the yellow circle on the top of Dave’s head. Pin in place and then sew it to the head using the rim of back loops formed in Round 4 which should marry up with the edge of the yellow circle.
Row 1 With Nougat yarn, Ch 40. (1Dc into 2nd ch from hook and the next 4 chains. Stst into next ch & ch6) repeat along to the end of the chain until you have 35 strands of hair. Once you rech the end of the row, ch1 and turn.
Row 2 1Dc into every st along, Ch1 and turn (33)
Row 3 Slst into the next 3 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, 1Dc into the next 3 sts, Htr into next 2 sts, Tr into next 5 sts, Htr into next 2 sts, 1Dc into next 3 sts, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, Dc2tog, slst into next st and finish off leaving a log tail to attach hair to Dave’s head. Sew the hair in place just below the crown.
Row 1 With Olive Grove green yarn ch 52. 1Tr in 3rd chain from hook and each subsequent chain. Ch1 and turn. (50)
Row 2 Slst into next 36 sts. Ch 18 and turn.
Row 3 1Tr into 3rd ch from hook and 15 remaining chains. 1Tr into the next 36 sts. Ch1 and turn (52)
Rows 4 Repeat Row 2
Row 5 Repeat Row 3
Row 6 Repeat Row 2
Row 7 Repeat Row 3
Row 8 Repeat Row 2
Row 9 Repeat Row 3
Row 10 Repeat Row 2
Row 11 Repeat Row 3
Row 12 Repeat Row 2
Row 13 Repeat Row 3
Row 14 Slst into next 36 sts. Chain 16 and turn.
Row 15 1Tr into 3rd ch from hook and 13 remaining chains. 1Tr into the next 36 sts. Ch1 and turn the cloak at right angles to begin working along the top edge.
Row 16 begin the first row of the cloak collar by working 1Dc into the end of the first row and 2Dc around the 1st Tr of the first row. Repeat this along the top edge of the of the cloak. Ch2 and turn (25)
Row 17 Work 1Tr into each of the stitches of row 16. Fasten off and weave in the ends.
Now take the yellow yarn and join it in one side of the cloak where the collar joins the main cloak and ch12 to bring a fastening across the front of the cloak and then secure it into place on the other side of the cloak once it is around Dave’s neck.
If you make a Dave of your own, I’d love to see him! Please tag him on your social media posts with #upthegardenpathdave so I can see him.
Hello there! 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!!
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.
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.
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!!
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…
How about this for a giant pouffe for your living room?
There was also a sculpture made purely of red plastic knives & forks..
And then more examples of intricate crochet covering everyday household items…
And a fabulous chair…
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!!
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.
The first was with the hugely talented and inspiring crochet designer Emma Leith. You can find that here.
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.
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!
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!!
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…
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Isn’t she marvelous? Hot on the heels of Flora came Hope….
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!
PS: The super logo for my shop was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.com
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.
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!
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
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!
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!
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!!
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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!