A Postcard from August 2022

Hello there! I hope you’re well. It’s the very last day of the school summer holidays for us today… tomorrow Youngest heads off to Secondary school for the first time -eek! Also, since my last postcard post, we have had A-Level results which means that Eldest will soon fly the nest to University… not sure how I feel about that.

In the meantime here’s a little look at what we’ve been up to this last month beginning with something I completely forgot to mention which happened in July … I went to ABBA Voyage!!! How could I possibly forget to mention that?!!

ABBA VOYAGE

ABBA Voyage venue

I know I’m not alone in the fact I grew up with Abba as the soundtrack to my life, so when I saw last year that the new show was coming to London, I applied for tickets. I was hoping to take my parents with me but unfortunately a holiday they were meant to go on in 2020 got rescheduled to the same weekend so I ended up going with a couple of school friends – which was really nice. It was an utterly amazing experience and unexpectedly emotional. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes ABBA, and thanks to the rescheduled holiday, I’m going back to see it again with my Mum later this year too!

Waiting for the show to start…

Vitamin Tree

It was always a tradition when we lived in Gibraltar, that on our annual summer holiday back to the UK we would take a picnic to Marbury Country Park near Northwich in Cheshire and have a walk, play some football or frisbee and then call in for ice cream at the Great Budworth ice cream farm on the way home – sounds like a perfect summer’s day out don’t you think? Well, this year was no different, although we were down to just 2 Little Postcards as Eldest has had a job this summer and wasn’t able to join us for our outing. It’s such a lovely place – which I treasured for the Vitamin Tree I got when I visited.

Just look at the light.

There’s something about a British summer and the way the world looks here which you don’t get in the Med. I think it’s the way the sun shines through the deciduous leaves maybe. Anyway, it’s not something I really appreciated before we moved to Gibraltar and I wondered whether I would begin to take it for granted again now we are back in the UK full time. I can tell you that I don’t! It’s just gorgeous. I didn’t take any photos of the ice cream farm this time – but I did snap the sunflower maze which had been planted for kids to wander through. Don’t those sunflowers look so bright and jolly?

Exam results day

Exam results day. 30 years ago I came to this very same building to learn my fate and find out my exam results. This year I went along with Eldest. I never could have imagined at the age of 18 that I would be back again one day with one of my children to find out how they had done. I’m relieved to say the exams went well and he’s now preparing to head off to his first choice of university later this month.

PARIS!

I had an amazing long weekend away in Paris with Eldest to celebrate his birthday (belatedly) and his exam success. We went on the Eurostar (which was amazing) and packed such a lot into our few days. There will be a blog post to follow with some of our adventures in, so I won’t tell you all about it now. Suffice to say it was amazing to get away for a few days (as we didn’t have a big family trip away this year) although I was ready for a holiday when I got back after all the walking and fun we packed in!

And so it begins… back to the old routine!

And so it begins…. back at football training again last week and a pre season friendly match at the weekend ready for the new season beginning next week. And just like that we were back to normal.

I began writing this post yesterday, and am finishing it off this morning (Monday morning) after having waved Youngest off on the school bus for the first time to take him to secondary. I have two still at home today, but will have a quiet house again tomorrow. I’m off on a shopping trip now to get things for Uni – wish me luck!

I hope August was kind to you! Thanks for stopping by,

Lindsay x

Summer Craft Challenge 2022 : Week 4

So here we are again! Another week gone already. This summer is whizzing by and I want it to stop or the Little Postcards will be back to school and the leaves will be falling and we’ll be heading back into winter – nooo!

It’s been a big week in our house – we were awaiting A-Level results and I’m thrilled to say they were favourable and all is well. I’m hugely grateful that’s over and done with but am all too well aware it hasn’t been the best week for some.

Day 22 : Saturday 13th August 2022

Just look at that fabulous texture as the summer sun shines on the slub base yarn from @the_yarnwhisperer – making progress on my Dragonfly River MAL.

Day 23 : Sunday 14th August 2022

Crochet Sunshine anyone? ☀️

Sunny weather brings out the daisies in the garden! Trying to get something whipped up in time for #grannysquareday2022 tomorrow…

Pattern is the Flora square by Lucy from Attic24 and it’s really fun to make!

Day 25 : Monday 15th August 2022

Happy Granny Square Day 2022!

I was so caught up in the excitement of Granny Square Day that I couldn’t stop making them! Here’s Day 24 of my #summercraftchallenge2022 and it’s all about the grannies!

All of these Grannies are evolving into a cushion cover I think… I’m in love with the Daisy centres to the squares and they work up so fast too! Granny Square appreciation isn’t just for Granny Square Day you know! 😂

Day 26 : Tuesday 16th August 2022

And that’s them all joined up. I joined them initially, decided against my colour choices and placement, so frogged part of it, made another square and swapped the red one out. I’m chuffed with how it’s growing!

Day 27 : Wednesday 17th August 2022

So that red square which got jettisoned yesterday hasn’t gone to waste! Here it is surrounded by more granny clusters. Not sure whether it will be the back of a cushion or become a second cushion cover… I had been at sixes and sevens all day as I did a bit of this, then went off to do something else – I just couldn’t settle knowing that A-Level results were due the next day.

Day 28 : Thursday 18th August 2022

After the drama and excitement of an early morning trip to school to get some good news (thank goodness) I was back onto my Dragonfly River MAL. Getting closer to the end of part one… I’m itching to get cracking on part 2 – not long to go….

Day 29 : Friday 19th August 2022

Excuse the straggly ends… I promise I will weave them all in once I’m finished on this section of the Dragonfly River MAL! Those of you familiar with the MAL will be able to spot the mistake I made early on but decided I could live with… If my calculations are correct I’ve just got 7 rows left to go!

Thanks for stopping by to share my Summer Craft Challenge – it really is a lot of fun and keeps me busy making during the holidays when there are so many other distractions.

I hope it’s been a good week for you. See you next time!

Lindsay x

Summer Craft Challenge 2022 : Week 3

Hello there, how are we at Saturday already? This was meant to be published last Saturday but there’s something about the school holidays when routine goes out of the window and I completely lose track of what’s going on! I have a feeling I may not be alone in this!

Here’s what I’ve been up to craft-wise lately…

Day 15 : Saturday 6th August 2022

Day 15 of my #summercraftchallenge2022 and thankfully I found some time for crochet at the end of the day! Progress is being made on this lovely #dragonflyrivermal project. I’m loving it! 💙💚🤍

Day 16 : Sunday 7th August 2022

You know when you realise you are only 2 rows off finishing a project but you can’t find the pattern so decide to wing it?! Well about to frog the last 2 rows for the second time… I’m off to look for the pattern! 😂

Day 17 : Monday 8th August 2022

There are days when football training is pretty bleak and miserable, but there are also days when it’s brill. Today was one of those days, sunshine, lovely parents to chat to and a spot of crochet in the evening sunshine ☀️. Making progress on my #dragonflyrivermal – I reckon I’m about a quarter of the way through. Still loving it!

Day 18 : Tuesday 9th August 2022

More alfresco crochet today! Our annual picnic at Marbury Park in Cheshire… I even saw a couple of dragonflies although they were too fast to photograph.

Day 18 of my #summercraftchallenge2022 was very pleasant working on my #dragonflyrivermal from @kcaco.uk & @the_yarnwhisperer in the sunshine & dappled shade of the Northwich Woodland.

Day 19 : Wednesday 10th August 2022

No time for crochet today… it’s be a day filled of utility sewing – name tapes and school trouser hems. I did give the neighbours a treat though as I dragged the ironing board out into the sunshine in the back garden so my long standing WIP and finally finished scarf/shawl could block in the sun! They’re used to watching me pose amigurumi dolls about the place, but they must’ve thought I’d gone properly bonkers to be contemplating ironing in the hot sun ☀️ 😂.

Yarn by @woollywumpkins
Shawl Pattern : Easy One Skein Crochet Shawl by @anniedesigncrochet

Ta-dah!

Day 20 : Thursday 11th August 2022

Nocturnal crochet for me this evening and back to the #dragonflyrivermal – Day 20 of my #summercraftchallenge2022

Day 21 : Friday 12th August 2022

Crochet in the garden this evening whilst admiring my new solar fairy lights… Day 21 of my #summercraftchallenge2022

And that’s last week’s crochet adventures complete! I’m off now to write the latest installment!

See you soon!

Lindsay x

A postcard from June & July 2022

Sorry for the lack of postcard from June – it was a very hectic month with exams and school stuff in our house – very little of it photo worthy so I opted to tag a bit of June in with July’s postcard. So here goes…

Garden news

My front door pots

One of the joys of having a postcard from two months is that I can share the progress of my garden in that time. Last month I set about planting up two new pots to live either side of my front door – they looked a little sparse to begin with but blimey look how they’re doing now!

Also I love agapanthus, I have tried many times over the years, both in the UK and Gibraltar, to grow them but with rather lack lustre results. This year though, I was given some established plants by my parents who were thinning out their substantial agapanthus patch. Just look at these beauties – I didn’t expect them to flower after being disturbed and moved to my garden!

Football, football, football…

The calm before the chaos!

June was super busy for us with football. Our local club hosted two weekends of tournaments, youngest played in one of the home tournaments then another elsewhere the next week. The money raised from staging the tournaments, to which teams from across the North West of England come, means that they are able to keep the joining fee for young players affordable – some teams I have heard of charging literally hundreds for kids to join!

I was on bacon butty duty for some of it. I could still smell the bacon days later 😂.

From grass roots to top of the tree! Earlier this month I was lucky enough to take number 2 and number 3 sons to Old Trafford to watch the opening game of the Womens Euros – England against Austria.

Wow! What an atmosphere and their first game at Old Trafford. I’m so pleased I was able to do this and now they can say they were there at the start of the Lionesses Euros journey!

And then down to earth with a bump!

Nothing like sitting in a puddle on a deckchair on a very wet Sunday afternoon watching your 11 year old play! Utterly saturated!! We dried out eventually!

School play

Youngest’s school were able to put on their first school production in 3 years this year. Someone caught wind that I could sew so I was drafted in on the costume making. It was gorgeous fabric – rather like the type you would use for a wedding dress or bridesmaids dress which the school had been gifted. It was lovely to sew but not quite big enough for what they wanted… two cloaks with hoods. Sadly there wasn’t enough for the hoods and one sleeve was made of a patchwork of 5 different pieces but I got there in the end!

Foxy Loxy

We have a few neighbourhood foxes and they are so cheeky! Since we moved here 2 years ago I have encountered one or more on my evening strolls but blimey this one was cheeky. I was walking home one evening and stopped in my tracks when I caught sight of this cheeky money stretched out at my neighbour’s driveway! He / she sat there quite happily looking straight at me as I took photos and then vanished!

Crochet news

There have been a couple of crochet pattern releases since my last monthly postcard. Daisy (above) is my most recent floral inspired pattern and the pattern has yet again been illustrated by my very talented childhood friend Emma Jackson. She was inspired by the daisies popping up on my lawn!

You can find Daisy’s pattern here.

School days pattern

Next up was my ‘School days’ pattern which was prompted after I made a couple of crocheted school children for Youngest’s school summer fair along with a load of crocheted friendship bracelets.

I thought that maybe someone else might like to make a school child for their local school’s fundraising efforts or for a young person who’s about to begin their own school adventure soon.

You can find the School Days pattern here.

Podcast news

It’s been a busy couple of months for Making Stitches Podcast. There have been 5 episodes released in June & July. Clockwise from the top left of the photo above there was Joanne Scrace from The Crochet Project, Kitey aka The Yarn Whisperer, Sally Wilson from Caterpillar Cross Stitch, Emma Munn from Emma Knitty and finally Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum and Juey from Juey Jumbo Craft Tools.

You can listen back to any of the episodes by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.

And that just about brings this latest postcard to a close. I hope June & July we’re kind to you and your August is going well too. The tension levels are rising in our house as the dreaded A-Level results day draws nearer…. Eek!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Take care,

Lindsay x

A postcard from May 2022

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…

Crochet news…

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.

Football crazy

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!!!

The birds….

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! 😂

Podcast news

Lynne Rowe

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.

Khloe, a conservator at the Peoples History Museum

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!

Lindsay x

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

A Postcard from January & February

Sand dunes on Crosby beach yesterday

Hello there! I hope you’re doing ok. I kept meaning to post my postcard from January throughout the beginning of February but there seemed to be so many other things which needed my attention, so I was rubbish and let things slide. We are now on the cusp of another month though, and I’ve decided that it’s time to take the bull by the horns and stop procrastinating. So here you go, two for the price of one, a postcard from January AND February rolled into one.

I deliberated about whether I should even post at all, there is so much going on in the world at the moment that things like this seem very frivolous, but I think it’s important to keep going, as burying my head in the sand and veering between trying to block the outside world out and being glued to the news updates and fretting about the helplessness I feel about the plight of so many innocent people isn’t actually helping anyone. I thought it better to try to put some sunshine and positivity out into the world, so here goes, and if you have been affected by the terrible actions taken against Ukraine, please know that you are very much in my thoughts.

A New Year and a continued fitness quest…

A view from one of my January runs

Back in November I began my quest to get my weight down to a healthy number and get a bit fitter and began the Couch to 5K programme for the third time in the last couple of years. This time though, I managed to see it through. I am now over a stone lighter and I managed to complete the whole Couch to 5K programme. Not only that, I’ve kept going and am now running just over 5K in 35 minutes. I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet too much or that I’m building myself up for a fall, but I’m really rather proud of how far I have come.

I haven’t found the process too arduous and in fact have quite enjoyed getting out and pounding the streets and enjoying the beauty of sunshine and nature on my way around the neighbourhood. Who knows where it might lead me?

My couch to 5k graduation!

A New Year and a new hedge

The terrible plastic ‘hedge’

You might remember last year that I said goodbye to our old ‘fake’ plastic hedge which we inherited when we moved into our home the year before. Well, the intention was always to replace it with something else, of a more natural variety. It took me a while to decide what to do for the best, but in December I realised that winter was the perfect time to plant a hedge, so I did my research and ordered my new privet hedge which arrived early in January. Then came the hard work…

Our front garden is more of a carpark than a garden, we inherited an area covered in small stones which lie on top of black weed suppressing fabric. After a lot of scraping away of stones, and the lifting of not one, but two layers of fabric which had several inches of compacted dirt between them I was ready to dig the holes ready for the baby hedge plants.

It was quite a job. Fortunately the weather was favourable – it was cold, but the ground wasn’t frozen, and it stayed dry for most of the two days it took for me to plant these 22 specimens. Plus my very helpful neighbour offered me the use of this rather nifty device (on the right of the picture below) for digging holes.

They are in, and I’m really chuffed that I managed to do this – single-handedly! How many years it will be before it’s an actual hedge is anyone’s guess but it’s a vast improvement on what we had before! My next project is a flower bed out front, but I may wait a while before beginning that.

A lovely walk and coffee by the river

River Mersey

In the middle of January, the weather was being very kind to us indeed, so a really good friend and I decided to leave the jobs which needed doing one afternoon and put our muddy hiking boots on for a wander along the River Mersey and a coffee at the Riverside Café. It was such fun, and just what we both needed to have a chat and mull over stuff which was going on before heading back home in time for the school run.

Getting the garden kickstarted

Who needs a potting shed when you have a wheelie bin lid?!

I so enjoyed having sweet peas in my back garden last summer, so decided to have a go at planting them again. I had quite a few seeds left over from last year’s attempts so I went ahead and planted them up in loo rolls again like last year. Fingers crossed this year’s crop will be as successful!

Some of last year’s sweet peas

A Sunday walk

I don’t know if it’s because of memories of lockdown and being restricted on where we can go, but I often find that it’s suddenly Sunday afternoon and apart from going to Littlest’s football match and perhaps the shops, our weekends are passing without heading out of the house as a family. I decided to change that and am trying to get us out and about if the weather & teenagers allow!

Fortunately, the lovely National Trust property; Dunham Massey is a short drive from our home and once the youths are corralled into the car, we can be in amongst the deer within half an hour. As long as there’s the promise of ice cream or hot chocolate involved in the outing, it’s generally a goer!

Another WIP begun…

Back in September last year, you may remember that I made the trip across the Pennines to the Yarndale festival in Skipton – it was a truly amazing day which you can read about here. While I was there I bought some lovely hand dyed yarn from Michelle at Woolly Wumpkins. I’ve been debating what to make with it; another pair of hand-knitted socks? A bobble hat? I settled on a shawl/scarf as that is the item of woolly clothing I wear most of all.

Unlike in my previous experience of winding a skein, this time it was a painless experience (perhaps because It hadn’t been sitting in my stash for years first) and I got to work on this pattern for a one skein crochet shawl which I bought from Annie Design on Etsy. I’m rather happy with the colours and look forward to enjoying wearing it when I eventually finish it. I have a feeling it will be something I dip in and out of while working on other things.

Llanita’s Travels continue…

Llanita in Catalan Bay in the summer of 2016

Long time readers of Postcard from Gibraltar may remember my little friend Llanita the Yarndale Sheep. I made her back in 2016 for that year’s Yarndale charity appeal. You can read all about Llanita’s adventures with me here.

Can you spot Llanita in Karen’s sewing room?

Well when Llanita arrived at Yarndale back in 2016, she was bought by Karen (aka WakeyMakes on Instagram). Karen’s sisters have recently been to Gibraltar on holiday and they took Llanita back to her homeland for a visit!

Llanita in Ocean Village

I had a lovely treat when I logged into Instagram one day to see that Llanita was back in the sun!!

Llanita on the Windsor Suspension Bridge

Stormy weather


We got off rather lightly when Storms Eunice and Franklin came to town. Just a couple of wobbly fence panels which are rather worse for wear and this one almost bit the dust. Thankfully my lovely Dad came round with his bag of tricks and some timber to patch it up until it can be replaced.

A sunny seaside walk

Crosby beach beckoned on Sunday when the sun came out and I found myself with an empty diary. The ironing and housework could wait, living back in Manchester makes you realise that you need to grab sunny days by the hand and make the most of them. I got the Little Postcards in the car and headed off west to Crosby on the Merseyside Coast.

We first visited Crosby last year after it was recommended to me by my lovely friend across the road. It’s pretty much the nearest beach to where we live and it takes under an hour to drive there. Plus the beach is home to a load of Antony Gormley statues so that makes it even more special. It’s a favourite with the Little Postcards – as is the ice cream reward at the end of the walk.

And that just about brings this postcard to an end. Thank you so much for stopping by. Where ever you are in the world and whatever you are facing, I hope that you can find some positivity in the days ahead.

Love,

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!!