Well, I didn’t do too well with keeping my Summer Craft Challenge posts up to date and consistent did I? Life got in the way and all of a sudden we’re over half way through September! So here is a whistle stop dash through the last 3 weeks of my summer craft challenge for 2023 because if I don’t post it, I’ll feel like I failed! I did, however post most days to Instagram so I’ll cut myself a bit of slack!
Week 4 : Saturday 12th August to Friday 18th August
This week began whilst still on holiday in Scotland (Glasgow to be precise) knitting socks, and after a long drive back home (without knitting or crochet that day) I ended up crocheting circles back at home in Manchester!
It was Granny Square Day on 15th August and I shared this Daisy Granny Square I designed while sitting next to some daisies beside the water in Argyll the previous week…
I hope to be sharing more about this square, along with some others I’ve come up with in the coming months.
Week 5 : Saturday 19th August to Friday 25th August
Work was nearing completion on my Potato Field Shawl this week including whilst watching the Lionesses in the World Cup Final. Plus I discovered this haul of Granny Squares when I opened a bag I hadn’t looked though for a while. I think I feel another project coming on!
Week 6 & a bit – Saturday 26th August to Tuesday 3rd September
And we made it! Schools went back for my youngest 2 on Wednesday 4th September – we survived the long summer break with creativity along the way. I also managed to completely finish my Potato Field Shawl. I’m really pleased with it. You can find the pattern details for it here my rainbow colours stripes were made with yarn bought at Yarndale last year from Cuddlebums Yarn.
By this point I had just turned the heel of the sock I was knitting – I’m pleased to say I got it finished in time for Eldest to take away to university with him. I used yarn by West Yorkshire Spinners in Peacock and followed Winwick Mum’s Basic Sock pattern. This is my third pair to date…. I know there will be more!
I’m not sure whether he’ll wear them in public but at least they’ll keep his feet warm in bed if he needs them!
Thanks for following me on my annual Summer Craft Challenge. It’s been fun and much needed respite in this my first summer ‘holiday’ back in structured employment. It’s been a juggle at times balancing work, children and sanity, but we just about got there. Creativity is almost always the answer for me when things get tricky – failing that there’s chocolate!
Hello there, this time last week I was driving north to Scotland so didn’t get round to posting before now… so here’s a look back at my last 2 weeks of crafting.
Day 8 : Saturday 29th July
It was Black Sheep Wools’ 40th birthday party yesterday & today, so I popped along to join the celebration.
Eek, there I am… I may have made one or two purchases while I was there…
It didn’t leave much time for making though…
Day 9 : Sunday 30th July
I just felt inspired to make a daisy, can’t say why – it just leapt off my hook!
Day 10 : Monday 31st July
I ended the month on a high, almost exactly a year after I started it, I finished my Dragonfly River MAL shawl by Heather at Keep Calm & Crochet On and Kitey The Yarn Whisperer. Isn’t it lovely? I have no idea why I left it almost finished for so long!
Day 11 : Tuesday 1st August
Sticking with the circular theme…
Day 12 : Wednesday 2nd August
A very uninspiring circle was all I managed today…
Day 13 : Thursday 3rd August
A very busy day today, work, housework and preparations for a family holiday (yay!) meant not much crochet time…
Day 14 : Friday 4th August
I’m trying and trying to square my circle but my brain won’t work and I’m not giving in and looking up a pattern. That’s enough for today.
Day 15 : Saturday 5th August
I didn’t manage much ‘craft’ today it was a long day of driving from Manchester to the west coast of Scotland. It was a day of firsts as I drove onto a car ferry for the first time!
Day 16 : Sunday 6th August
I felt inspired by the Scottish sunshine in the garden of our holiday let to make a sunflower. What a fabulous spot! There’s a very good chance I won’t want to leave…
Day 17 : Monday 7th August
Sock knitting with a view today… our holiday let had the most amazing views.
Day 18 : Tuesday 8th August
It was such a beautiful day, I felt inspired by my surroundings and wanted to create a little crochet square to celebrate it. It also gave me the perfect excuse to visit a lovely yarn shop called Jinty & Baa in the village of Kirn near Dunoon to buy some yarn to make the water/loch section of my square.
If you ever find yourself in the area, I would highly recommend a visit. It’s really well stocked with yarn, fabric and other needlecraft supplies.
Day 19 : Wednesday 9th August
Nothing to see here… just an embarrassing mother sitting on a historical monument knitting socks 😂. A cruise on the Waverley Paddle Steamer brought us to Tarbet, and we climbed up to see the castle.
Day 20 : Thursday 10th August
Beach day meant sock knitting on the beach – ignore the grey sky – it was deceptively warm even the water was! It was beautiful.
Day 21 : Friday 11th August
Our last full day in the Kyles of Bute before heading onwards to Glasgow. The boys decided to have a kick around on the neighbouring shinty pitch near to where we were staying (I managed a few rows before being roped in as goal keeper). I imagine this will be last of my spectacular backdrops for a while!
That’s it for this week, I look forward to sharing more summer craft adventures with you soon.
Hello there, here’s the first installment of my Summer Craft Challenge for this year. In case you missed my last post or are new to the blog, back in 2016, when we lived in Gibraltar and I was a full-time stay at home Mum to three young boys, I was staring down the barrel of a 10 week long summer school holiday.
Whilst I loved being at home with my boys, the prospect of entertaining them for 10 weeks filled me with slight trepidation, so in order to force myself to spend a bit of time each day doing something that gave me joy, I set myself the challenge of doing something crafty every single day. I started it, not knowing if I’d be able to achieve my target, but I did. I also amazed myself at how much I actually created.
So, each summer since then (apart from in 2020) I have repeated my challenge – some years have been better than others! Here is Week 1 of this year’s challenge:
Day 1 : Saturday 22nd July
I started off my day with some calm crochet before the storm that was about to be a 12th birthday party and sleep over…. (should read ‘not-much-sleep’ over). I sat in my pjs as the rest of the house was quiet and hooked up a few rows on the prototype of a crochet commission I’m currently working on.
I also managed some crochet while I sat and waited for the birthday boy and his friends to finish their Laser Quest session!
Day 2 : Sunday 23rd July
Sunday was a quiet one. Once our guests had departed and the house had been returned to ‘normal’ I spent a lot of time just sitting and crocheting (and not feeling guilty about it due to the lack of sleep the night before).
Day 3 : Monday 24th July
No time for a long lazy day on the sofa on Monday, back to work for me but at least it was a nice sunny evening when I took Youngest to football training. I took my project with me, sat on a bench with a couple of other football Mums and chatted while I hooked – it was very pleasant!
Day 4 : Tuesday 25th July
I can’t show you what I hooked on Tuesday as it’s for a top secret project but when I saw these two balls of yarn side by side I was sent on a trip down memory lane to my childhood and some chewy mints called Pacers. Do you remember Pacers?
Day 5 : Wednesday 26th July
Time for a bit of non-commission crochet for a change. I picked up this shawl I’ve been working on for a while, my aim is to get this completed over this challenge – there’s really not much left to do, but I keep doing a bit and putting it down – it’s taking forever!
Day 6 : Thursday 27th July
It was a super busy day full of Zoom meetings for me, then a hectic evening later so I knew my crochet time would be limited. I opted to crochet during one of the 15 minute comfort breaks in the midst of my working day – it’s all looking a bit black though isn’t it?!
Day 7 : Friday 28th July
I did such a lot of crochet on Friday but alas I cannot share it. What I can share is this cute bunny who was completed exactly a week ago ready to move in with his new family . I started him at a Crochet Sanctuary away day in March (the same one I made my Mindful Mandala at which was featured in my previous post), and I held off finishing him until his new owner had safely arrived – I’m pleased to say baby & and bunny have met and are getting on together just fine!
That’s it for this week’s Summer Craft Challenge, do you fancy joining in? If so, just tag any of your photos with #summercraftchallenge2023 on Instagram and we can all share our summer of creativity together.
Hello there, just popping in to say thank you for all the kind comments on my previous post, it’s much appreciated.
This is the ‘Mindful Mandala’ I made way back in March at a wonderful Crochet Sanctuary day. I didn’t post a photo at the time as we were in the midst of everything else that was going on. It was a wonderful day of yarny fun at a difficult time.
I don’t know about you, but on the whole, crochet really helps me when things are tricky. I often turn to creativity as a way of putting a positive spin on difficult days, and that’s why back in 2016, I set myself a summer craft challenge. I was staring down the barrel of a 9 or 10 week-long school summer holiday in Gibraltar with 3 young children to entertain and I was worried I might go a little bit stir crazy.
The challenge forced me to do something crafty every day of that long summer recess and it really worked. I ended up being far more creative than I would otherwise and that did me the world of good.
A few weeks back I was firmly of the mindset that I wasn’t going to do it again this year. Things were still feeling too difficult and now I am working a lot more so my time is very limited. But then I put my last blog post up about where I’ve been for the past 6-7 months and then I published a podcast episode and life began feeling a bit more like it’s ok to have fun now and again. So, with that in mind, and the fact school broke up today for Youngest (and earlier this week for No. 2 son), I guess now’s as good a time as any to kick off a challenge.
As from tomorrow, I shall endeavour to do something crafty every day of the school summer holidays as I have done every year since 2016 (apart from 2020 – owing to the fact we moved country etc!) and as I do it, I’ll document it on Instagram each day and once a week there’ll be a weekly round up here on the blog.
If you fancy joining in, you’d be most welcome to join me! If you do, just use the hashtag #summercraftchallenge2023 and we’ll see where this crafty summer takes us! 😊 No pressure at all – I may not manage every day myself – but I’ll have a go!
Hi, I’ve been thinking about how I could find the words to write this post for months. Life has been incredibly difficult since New Year for us as a family. At times it’s felt like we’d slipped into a parallel universe thinking at some point I’d wake up and be back in my ‘old’ life.
I don’t want to go into details about what’s happened, suffice to say it’s been health related and we have lost a very special person in our lives. Grief is a tricky thing to navigate and I’m on that road now with my boys. Life will never be the same for us but we have to look to the future now.
I have always been a passionate advocate for creativity helping me in tough times, and it truly has in the past. This time though, perhaps my feelings were too big so my creativity and need to make just slipped away. I ‘had’ to make a few crochet items for a commission I was working on and that forced me to get lost (temporarily) in the mindless rhythm of crocheting, but I can honestly say that in the past six months I have probably crocheted for pleasure a couple of times – the most recent of which was last night, which got my thinking about my blog & podcast.
I had big plans for the podcast this year – which haven’t happened. In fact there is still an episode which was due to be published in early January just as our difficulties first arose. I have felt a bit guilty at times because I have a lovely audience out there (some of whom have contacted me directly to check on me – which is lovely) and I always prided myself on being reliable and regular in my podcast episodes. I don’t like to let people down.
In addition to what we’ve been dealing with emotionally, I have had to take on more paying work recently to support my family and that has eaten into my spare time which in the past would have been spent having lovely chats with fabulous creative people about their lives for the podcast. The impact this additional pressure would have on the podcast going forwards has worried me, as it’s a big part of who I am, but the podcast doesn’t bring any financial reward – only emotional and in fact, it actually costs me money to make.
With this in mind, I think the time has come to face up to the future of Making Stitches. The plain facts are that my time is a lot more limited nowadays and will be for the foreseeable future but I would like to continue with my podcast and blogging adventures albeit in a reduced manner. So hopefully, in the next few days, that outstanding episode of Making Stitches Podcast due out in January will make a late appearance and some more ‘stand alone’ episodes will follow later in the year.
If there is still anyone out there still following my blog who hasn’t disappeared since I hung up my blogging hat in January, thank you for hanging on. And to everyone who has been checking on me in my absence – thank you, it’s nice to know I wasn’t forgotten. Please bear with me, and I will pop back again from time to time, hopefully with happier news and some colorful crochet…
Hello there, can you believe it’s the last day of 2022? I can hardly believe it and am shocked I’ve been away from my little blog for so long.
Life (as always) has been rather busy of late and blogging found itself at the very end of the to-do list. This time though, blogging felt quite unattainable – I didn’t have the words to write or anything interesting to say either. So here goes, the jolt of moving from one year into a new one might just be the impetus I need to get me going again!
When I looked back I was shocked to see I hadn’t posted for so long. When I changed from Postcard from Gibraltar to Making Stitches I assumed I’d be back again very quickly but hey ho, I’m here now. Here’s a little jaunt through the past two months in my world.
The main headline I guess from the last two months is that I’ve managed to secure the impossible – paid work for my crochet. I have rather excitedly been commissioned to design some things for a craft magazine. This has taken up a LOT of my time. Solid crocheting from the moment the Little Postcards leave for school in the morning until they come home! I’ve loved it, but it has been a lot of hard work.
The old spectre of self doubt popped into my head on many occasions during this work but I’m pleased to say, the first commission was gratefully received and got a stamp of approval so I’m thrilled about that. I have 3 more projects to complete by mid January and I’m in the midst of those right now.
I wish I could tell you more and show you photos of what I’ve been working on but sadly I can’t for now – just some of the yarn I have used for one of the projects (above). I will investigate further on whether I can share them once they are published.
New article published
Within the last week the latest issue of Simply Crochet magazine popped through my letter box complete with my latest article for them. It was prompted by the outbreak of war in Ukraine and the outpouring of support I witnessed in the online craft community. The main photo is of Amoami bears. This amazing social enterprise helping Ukrainian refugees featured in one of my podcast episodes too. You can listen to it here.
Inspired by their work, I ordered my very own mini Christmas Amoami bears. They were made by Yuliia. They look gorgeous on our tree this year!
A trip to the Lakes
A very dear friend of mine and her husband moved away from our home town earlier this year and settled in beautiful Grasmere in the Lake District. It’s been something they’d been talking about for years, and this year ended up being the right time for them.
I don’t know this part of the world very well, but I have a feeling I’ll be getting to know it a whole lot better from now on!
In November we were invited for a visit to their new home – and boy what a move they have made. They have lost their old decent sized back garden but blimey with this on your doorstep, they have all the greenery they need!!
We took a walk from their front door up to Easedale Tarn. There were butties and crisps at the top to give us the energy to walk back down… what a picturesque picnic spot!
The weather was so kind to us!
It was wonderful to be able to share this with the two Littlest Postcards – unfortunately Eldest missed out by being away at University but hopefully he will be able to join us another time. It was remarkable to see a real change in the youngest two though, from their usual slightly grumpy teenagerish (11 & 15) demeanor to being full of life and scrambling over rocks as we undertook our walk.
We had one whole day of sunshine before the weather turned a bit grey and damp. We were so lucky to be able to truly see the beauty of their surroundings. We most definitely will be back!
November in a nutshell
Throughout November I took part in an excellent daily photo challenge on Instagram run by The Yarn Whisperer and The Pigeon’s Nest. It was called ‘Yarnovember’ and was lots of fun. That kept me rather busy on social media and reminded me just how much crochet has been in my life for the past few years which was such fun.
Also in November I competed my second pair of knitted socks. I picked up the ‘Hope’ yarn from Yarndale in September and used the Winwick Mum basic sock pattern to knit them. I love the colours – they are so autumnal.
I also had a lovely morning walk with Eldest to see the deer at Dunham Massey National Trust park early in the month. He managed to get home for a few days during his University reading week, and we headed out for a walk one day, coffee cups in hand to enjoy the greenery.
The big painting challenge
At the start of December I set myself a tough challenge – to redecorate our lounge in time for a surprise birthday party just over a week later. It was a tough one, but I managed it, despite 4 coats of paint to kill the pattern of the patterned wallpaper on the feature wall.
I’d been living with wallpaper I disliked for 2 years, and the surprise party was the kick up the behind I needed to get busy. I’m very pleased to say I managed it (with a bit of help from the unsuspecting party recipient). We were all ready in time to welcome party guests to my lovely Dad’s 80th birthday party!
Whilst it’s been rather mild recently, earlier this month, it was decidedly nippy. We had a proper cold snap in mid December which made the early morning school runs a bit on the cold side. I believe it was minus 9 one morning when my friend’s husband left for work. I walked with Littlest to the bus stop that day to keep him company as his friend was ill and I can confirm it was COLD! It had warmed up slightly when I drove son Number 2 to school (see below)…. It’s so hard to comprehend that a few months ago, parts of the UK were burning in the heatwave!
Back at Old Trafford
I managed to get back to Old Trafford to watch the Manchester United Women’s team play against Aston Villa. I went with my youngest two and my Dad. It was brilliant – the atmosphere is so lovely in women’s football. As you can see, the sun shone and they got a win too – a perfect trip out!
This year I’m taking part in the Betwixtmas Makealong by Black Sheep Wools. I have had a skein of Yarn Whisperer hand dyed yarn waiting for the right project to come along and I think this is it. I took it along to Black Sheep wools and picked out two contrasting colours to make up this ‘knitted’ – yes – knitted shawl. It’s pushing my abilities and a bit of a challenge but I have enjoyed putting my hook down for a while over the last few days. I wonder if it will be finished before next Betwixtmas?!!
That’s all I have for you this time, but it’s been lovely to be back and sharing my comings and going’s with you. I hope you have had a restful Christmas – I know it’s very difficult for so many people. I wish you a new year filled with joy and creativity.
Hello there! I hope this finds you well. It’s November – eek! How did that happen??
Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past month…
October began and ended in a blaze of orange! The first photo is of one of my little Acers which took on a great colour at the beginning of the month, we also enjoyed this sky of fire at the start of October (below) – the second sunset was taken on Saturday evening before the clocks went back to put us on Winter time….. the last hurrah of the summer that was…
Last month, you may have noticed that there were some changes on this blog from Postcard from Gibraltar to Making Stitches Blog. I won’t go into all the reasons behind it, as you may well have already read the previous post, but if you have just landed here and are wondering why Postcard from Gibraltar is no more, you can read why here.
Last month I decided the time had come to finally dig out my knitting needles and have another go at knitting some socks! About a year ago, I was inspired by Christine Perry of Winwick Mum, to have a go at knitting socks for the first time. Now I learned to knit well before I learned to crochet, but apart from an odd cardigan here and there over the years I haven’t done too much so the prospect of knitting in the round, turning a heel and using double pointed needles sent me running for the hills. (It turns out you don’t need to used DPNs after all – hurrah!) After interviewing Christine for Making Stitches Podcast, we got together for a brew and with her help I actually managed to knit a pair!
At Yarndale this year, I picked up a ball of Yarndale sock yarn called Hope (I have admired this colourway for a while). I have done non-stop crochet for so long, I fancied a change and early in October I cast on the first sock. Determined that it wouldn’t take me months to complete this project (as happened last time) I powered on through and had my first sock finished in less than a week!! I’m very pleased to say that on Monday (31st) (with the help of Christine’s fabulous book “Super Socks“) I Kitchener Stitched the toes of my second sock and I own a second pair of hand knitted socks made by me!
Up the Garden Path friends
Two new friends joined the Up the Garden Path gang in October, Oakley the Acorn Tree Sprite and Agatha the Fly Agaric Mushroom. I had loads of fun making these – they had both been in my head since last autumn, and finally I was able to complete the patterns in time to get them out for this autumn. Oakley and Agatha should actually have a couple of other autumnal companions but I’m afraid other things got in the way of getting to the finishing line with them, so they will need to stay under wraps (or maybe that should be hibernation) until next autumn.
I took them with me to the gorgeous Dunham Massey National Trust parkland for a photo shoot a couple of weeks ago on a bright sunny morning. It was so lovely to have the perfect excuse to get out of the house and enjoy nature for a few hours. It was great fun finding suitable spots for them to pose with the gorgeous natural backdrop. The only issue is that as it is a deer park, there are lots of lovely areas you can’t go into because they are exclusively for the deer. Any parts where you are allowed to stray a little from the path are generally rather well populated so there’s a ready made audience for a crazy middle aged lady arranging crocheted little people on tree stumps or next to fungi.
I tried to keep my head down and not make too much of a spectacle of myself but I was sniffed out by a rather lovely little spaniel on a super long lead at one point, and at another, I was asked by an amateur photographer if he could photograph my little people too. Those were just the passers-by I engaged with – with many others I just ducked down behind the ferns and tree stumps and hoped for the best! I think most people were just glad to give me a wide berth as I was clearly barmy.
Downloadable PDF patterns for Agatha and Oakley are available now in my Etsy Shop if you fancy making either of them and if you would like to make both, you can buy the pair as a bundle with a bit of a saving.
As you can see below, it was a truly stunning morning at Dunham Massey when I went for my photo shoot….
The first Great Northern Textile Show
A week or so ago it was the first ever Great Northern Textile Show, just down the road from where I live in Manchester. I stumbled across the event on Instagram and reached out to the show’s organiser Tracy Fox to ask for more details. Once I’d spoken to Tracy it became apparent that not only did I have to go to the show, but that I also had to go to meet Tracy and hear more about her story. Tracy is an artist working with textiles, she dyes fabric to create art cloth for art quilts and can use anything from leaves from her back garden to rusty saw blades to create the most amazing patterns. I interviewed Tracy for Episode 52 of Making Stitches Podcast which you can listen to below. Then, on 23rd October I found myself at my second big show in a month by going to the Great Northern Textile Show. It was fab – I met some really lovely people. I shared my experience of the day in the latest episode of the podcast which went out last week – you can also listen to that below too.
In other podcast news, I got a rather lovely surprise at the weekend. I noticed that there had been a rather big upward surge in my listener figures so thought I’d check on the Apple Podcast charts to see if the numbers had had an impact there – and they did! I found Making Stitches Podcast at the Number 1 spot in the craft podcast charts in the UK, Canada and New Zealand, at Number 2 (then up to Number 1) in Australia and at Number 5 in the USA!! What a thrill! The podcast has made it to number 1 several times in the past but never in so many places at once or for so long. Thank you to everyone who has listened to it, recommended it to a friend or left a review – I am a very happy podcaster!
A return to ABBA Voyage!
If you read my August Postcard, you may remember that I made the trip down to London with a couple of school friends to see Abba Voyage. The trip had originally been meant to be for my parents to join me but their holiday which had been booked for 2020 and had been rearranged so many times ended up clashing with the ticket dates. I was able to return to London this month with my lovely Mum, the person responsible for introducing me to ABBA in the first place. It was super to be able to share the experience with her. (It also meant that I was able to meet up with Eldest – who is now a London based Uni student – for the briefest of times for a quick cuddle before hopping onto the train back home).
Half term football fun
Last week was half term week for the two youngest Little Postcards. Youngest is back in love with football after breaking his thumb and really enjoyed being able to take part in the local soccer school for the week. There was some rain, but they were really very lucky with the weather. The pitches, despite appearances, were rather muddy so I spent a week with the washing machine going almost constantly!
After a busy half term week and a weekend grass roots football match, it was rather nice to have some time at home on Sunday. Sunday afternoon meant there was time for a session of pumpkin carving and pumpkin soup making with the innards. I may have been a little heavy handed with the chilli flakes – the soup is in need of yogurt to make it palatable but never mind. It was fun to do.
And that, is that. October ticked off. It’s been a pretty good month all in all and the icing on my cake was the arrival of Eldest home late on Halloween night for a reading week break from Uni. It was so lovely to be able to get him back home again and look after him. He has been very sorely missed these last six weeks.
That’s all from me for this time, thanks so much for stopping by and reading my October ramble!
Way back in the summer of 2015, I set off on a blogging adventure. Inspired by the likes of Lucy at Attic24 and several other craft bloggers, I decided that I would have a go at sharing a few snap shots of my life on the Rock. At the time, I had a the unique selling point that I was based in Gibraltar, and at that time, there were no other craft bloggers active on the Rock. I thought that even if no one was interested in what I was making, at least I could share beautiful photos of my sunny surroundings way down in the south of Europe.
I felt compelled to share some of the quirks and beauty of where I was living at the time – a much misunderstood place from the outside. There is so much more to Gibraltar than the day trips from cruise ships and bus tours from along the Costa would have you believe. There’s much more than red phone boxes and fish & chips, British bobbies and Marks and Spencer in the sun. It’s home to a diverse group of people with origins from far and wide, the fortunate byproduct of it’s geographical location at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsular and just a short distance across the Strait of Gibraltar from Morocco and the African continent beyond.
Soon I began sharing a series of blog posts called ‘A stroll around Gibraltar’ as I took my camera and later my phone along on walks around the narrow streets and back alleys of Upper Town and into the Nature Reserve of the Upper Rock – in fact my post about the ‘facts and figures of the Med Steps’ remains my most read post to date. I posted more than 200 Sunday Sevens posts and hosted a Friday Photo Challenge on Instagram one year as well.
I also used Postcard from Gibraltar to share what I was making, from the dressmaking and watercolour classes which I was able to attend once all three Little Postcards (my three sons) were old enough to all go to school, as well as a number of community crochet projects I joined in with from Yarndale worldwide appeals for crocheted bunting and mandalas to Eleonora from Coastal Crochet‘s Seaside Stashbusting blanket and Changing Tides blanket crochet-alongs.
As our family went on trips around the place I would blog about our travels in my ‘A Postcard from…’ posts which included Rome, The Algarve, Carcassonne, and skiing in the Dolomites, as well as UK destinations like Manchester, Cheshire, and Suffolk.
Postcard from Gibraltar also opened doors for me and I began writing for an online parenting magazine in Gibraltar which now no longer exists sadly, I also got articles published in print for the Calentita! Gibraltarian food festival magazine. In short, Postcard from Gibraltar gave me the confidence to venture back out of my domestic set-up after many years being a stay-at-home Mum.
In 2020, along with everything else which was happening in the world, close to home for us, change was afoot. We found ourselves moving back to the UK after 11 very happy years in Gibraltar. It was a big adjustment, which wasn’t made any easier by the pandemic, but we survived! At the time, I wondered whether I should continue with Postcard from Gibraltar as it would no longer be ‘from Gibraltar’. I had begun my new podcast project ‘Making Stitches Podcast’ by then, and whilst it brought me very welcome creative distraction – especially during lockdown, I felt I would miss Postcard too much if I just finished it, so I kept it going in a slightly less regular, less sunny and blue skies kind of a way!
More than 2 years on from our move though, I think the time is right to say goodbye to Postcard from Gibraltar. I won’t be saying goodbye to it completely though. This blog and all of the previous posts will still be available to read and if you should search for Postcard from Gibraltar online, it will still lead you here. Postcard from Gibraltar is evolving, just as I have, and from now on, will be known as Making Stitches.
It felt right to adapt what I’m already doing to compliment what I have been working on with Making Stitches Podcast. In the last two years, that has gone from strength to strength and is now in it’s 6th Series with more than 50 episodes featuring interviews with creative people from many different disciplines including crochet and knitting (including my old friend Eleonora Tully from Coastal Crochet), dressmaking, embroidery, textile art, weaving, yarn dying and more. In addition to this, I have made a foray into crochet design myself with the launch of my amigurumi crochet patterns. My life has changed quite a bit from what I was doing back in Gibraltar and it’s time this blog caught up with me.
I will still post my monthly Postcards (because I would miss writing them too much) although I can’t guarantee I’ll be any more prompt with posting them (!) and I’m pretty sure I will have another go at a Summer Craft Challenge again next year, so in a way nothing has changed, just the name.
Thank you to everyone who has read my posts, liked them or commented through the years and a special thank you to those of you who have become friends through this medium too. Your support, although virtual, has been very much appreciated over the years and it’s that which has kept me going. Who knows what lies ahead?
Well here we are again, in the midst of October and slowly inching towards the October half term holidays…. Roll on Monday and no early alarm!
I hope October’s been kind to you thus far. I have some news for you coming soon, but before then, here’s my Postcard from September. It was a busy month, but blimey it feels like a long time ago already! Here goes…
End of summer
The beginning of the month fell in the last few days of the school summer holidays. A group of friends from Youngest’s old primary school got together for a final hurrah before they went their separate ways to their new secondary schools. The venue for the meet up was Manley Mere Country Park in Cheshire.
It’s a super place with a huge lake for water sports, and an adventure trail which we went to….
There were tunnels, woodland walks…
….and lots and lots of mud. Thankfully we were forewarned and Youngest was dressed in old clothes – just as well as he went swimming in a pool of mud!! I think I’ve just about got him clean now!
New season of football… or not
The football season got back into gear at the start of the month too with some pre-season friendlies and assessment matches but not for us. In his first week of school, Youngest managed to break a bone in his thumb whilst in goal playing football at school – not the most auspicious start to his secondary school career, although he was very proud of the fact he did save the goal in spite of the injury. No contact sport for 6 weeks meant no football of course. I’m pleased to say that the thumb is now healed and he has restarted PE and training at last.
Of course last month was dominated by the news that HM Queen Elizabeth died, so it wasn’t your average September. When the Royal Proclamation was made in Manchester, I went along to witness history being made. I’m glad I was there.
Eldest off to Uni
September was also significant for us as Eldest flew the nest down south to University. I didn’t fancy my chances driving down to central London to drop him off, so we had to be packing ninjas and fit as much as we possibly could into suitcases ready for the train. I’m not sure how we did it but all bedding, pots and pans, food and clothes were squeezed in and we got him there! He got the keys to his accomodation on the evening before the Queen’s funeral – it was an auspicious time to be in London. I wrote a post about that time if you are interested in reading more, you can find it here.
Once Eldest was safely ensconced in his lodgings I headed off for a walk to soak up a bit of the atmosphere and made it to Parliament Square in time for the National minutes silence. You could have heard a pin drop.
Happy birthday Yarndale!
I managed to get to Yarndale again this year in time for the festival’s 10th birthday and it was great fun. There was so much lovely yarn to squish and bucket loads of inspiration. It’s such a lovely festival. You can read all about my trip to Yarndale 2022 in this post.
One of the benefits of being out in the Yorkshire countryside while visiting Yarndale was that I was finally able to find the perfect spot to do a photo shoot with my latest Up the Garden Path dolls – Oakley the Acorn Tree Sprite and Agatha the Fly Agaric Mushroom. I may have had a few funny looks from passers-by but I don’t care! The light and location were perfect!
Making Stitches Podcast came back for a new series in September. The first episode featured my trip to Yarndale. You can listen to it here….
It would appear that I have let things slide somewhat with this blogging lark! Here we are in October and I’ve just realised I never actually officially ended my Summer Craft Challenge 2022 – that will never do!
So here, an awful lot later than previously intended, is the final installment of my Summer Craft Challenge….
Day 30 : Saturday 20th August 2022
First half of my main summer project completed – the beginning of the Dragonfly River MAL by Keep Calm and Carry on Crocheting & The Yarn Whisperer. I found the slub yarn really quite tricky to get to grips with to start with, but once I got into a rhythm with it, it was fine. Although, that said I am really looking forward to the next section as it is all in the gorgeous aqua blues of the accent yarn used in the accents of this section I’ve just completed.
Day 31 : Sunday 21st August 2022
Sewing in ends is right up there in my least favourite jobs alongside ironing I’m afraid, but I embraced it and felt very virtuous once all the loose ends were tidied away today. This means I can now continue with the rest of my cowl without a guilty conscience. What’s more I even got so into it that I actually revisited an old project (my Crochet Sanctuary Christmas 2020 blanket CAL) and finished off all the loose ends on that too!
Day 32 : Monday 22nd August 2022
Back on the Granny Square bandwagon!
Day 33 : Tuesday 23rd August 2022
The Granny Square grows…
Day 34 : Wednesday 24th August 2022
No crochet as such for me, just some tech editing for my Oakley and Agatha patterns I launched earlier this week.
Day 35 : Thursday 25th August 2022
It may have still been the summer holidays but some things continue – like music lessons. So while number 2 son made music, I sat in the car and made amigurumi!
Day 36 : Friday 26th August 2022
Sadly there was no craft today – I was too busy packing the two youngest of the family off on a trip and packing for myself and Eldest to go on holiday too….
Day 37 : Saturday 27th August 2022
Three train journeys gave me loads of time to get hooking. Lots of progress was made on my Dragonfly River MAL en route between Manchester and……. Paris!!!!!!
Day 38 : Sunday 28th August 2022
Too much sightseeing for me today to manage any more than a quick row before collapsing into bed!
Day 39 : Monday 29th August 2022
My last evening crocheting dragonflies in Paris.
Day 40 : Tuesday 30th August 2022
Four train journeys today… 1 Paris Metro, 1 Eurostar, 1 Intercity between London and Sheffield and finally 1 Trans-Pennine Express from Sheffield to Manchester and home = lots of hooky time.
Day 41 : Wednesday 31st August 2022
No exotic location for my crochet today, just back on my sofa at home!
Day 42 : Thursday 1st September 2022
Back to in-car crochet during music lessons again.
Day 43 : Friday 2nd September 2022
Whoops I may have accidentally started a new project….
Day 44 : Saturday 3rd September 2022
Can you guess the theme of my newest creation?
Day 45 : Sunday 4th September 2022
More pumpkin crochet for me – this time alfresco at a football match. It was a pre-season friendly which ‘we’ won 3-0!
And that brings my Summer Craft Challenge to an end for another year. Thank you for joining me on another yarny summer adventure. I may not have managed a 100% record for doing something crafty every day this time, but I gave it a decent try.