A Postcard from November 2022 – no, make that 2023!

The River Mersey

So, hello there… it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve been around here… I thought that as we head towards the end of this year, it was time to blow the cobwebs & dust off my blog and check in with you.

It’s been a year and a half – 2023 – you know … and as I dipped into my drafts folder to open a new blog post I found this – A Postcard from November 2022 a post which was started but not finished. My word, a year is a long time and an awful lot can happen in that time.

These three first photos were indeed from November 2022, beautiful sunny blue skies above the River Mersey. Little did I know when I took them that the rug would be ripped out from under our feet – it’s just as well we don’t know what lies ahead…

The River Mersey

It’s funny really that one of the things which sparked my desire to post was a photo I took while I was on the very same walk with Son number 2 last weekend!

Taken on the same path as the above photo 1 year apart!

This new photo is of the same path, although I may have been facing a different direction, I’m not sure. It’s funny that when big things happen, that we cling to the small routines to keep our heads above water.

If you haven’t been around this way for a while, I’ll put you in the picture. This year we lost a hugely important person in our family. It’s been an unfathomable loss for me and my 3 boys. Life has changed forever in so many ways, obvious ones and in many other ways too.

Aside from the emotional side of things, I have had to return to ‘formal’ work which has meant less time for fun creative things. I have continued to make when time allowed and after taking half a year off from Making Stitches Podcast, I managed to get back into the swing of things with that. Blogging though, fell off the end of the ‘To Do List’.

Life is so different in so many ways from how it was this time last year, I have found strength I didn’t know I had and I have found my friends and family to be amazing. People are so kind.

I’ve learned many things, but the two most important ones are to lean on friends when they offer help and to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The River Mersey last weekend

So, the real reason for me blogging is that I had been meaning to get around to it. I miss my monthly updates – looking back through the back catalogue, they form a rather interesting diary for me.

Did you keep a diary as a child? Or maybe you still do now? I did as a child – I wasn’t that great at it but I have a 5 year diary from when I was young somewhere and it’s probably about half filled. I bought another one 5 years ago… this year has been the final year and, to be honest I didn’t feel like filling that in either very much.

One thing I had done pretty regularly, since starting this blog (as Postcard from Gibraltar) many moons ago, was post updates, so I shall attempt to do that again I think. Here goes….

A new project on my needles

A few weeks back I went to Black Sheep Wools to have a catch up with my sock knitting friend, Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum. It was our first catch up of 2023 (because of the reasons outlined above). It was so, so good to get together again and catch up on each other’s news.

I went armed with a planned purchase in mind – I wanted to have a go at knitting a jumper. I haven’t knitted a garment for myself (other than socks) since Eldest was a baby. That was a beige cardigan (with variegated flecks of brown) with a cable pattern up both sides of the front. It ended up being an ok fit, but a bit itchy and had a distinctly ‘homemade’ look to it.

I have been squishing this desire down for ages saying to myself : “you don’t need to buy more yarn”, “you’ll never finish it!”, “it’ll probably look rubbish if you ever do finish it”, “why not carry on with one of your *many* WIPs instead??” – you know the drill…

Anyway I gave myself a good talking to and bought the yarn anyway! I am making a Simple Sweater by Tin Can Knits and had planned to do a rainbow striped yoke, but when I priced up how much it would cost to buy all the different colours I wanted in order to make it (bearing in mind I might never finish it and it may look rubbish if I do) I decided to opt for this (much easier on the pocket) super rainbow yarn instead. It’s called Knit Me Crochet Me and is made by Stylecraft. There was a lovely jumper knitted up in the shop made in another colour way which caught my eye. So there you have it, a jumper in the making … eventually!

I did make really good progress to begin with then when I tried it over my head it was so tight it felt like I was being choked (my fault for using the wrong size needles). This meant I lost a week’s worth of progress, but I’m back on track.

On my hook…

A mini person in the making

I am in the midst of a gift for a special person… who may read this blog so I can’t show any more than this. I will, however share this little ‘mini me’ once it has been gifted. I was thinking of writing up the pattern if it gets a decent reception, so watch this space!

A trip to the theatre (and the spooky world of Uncanny)

Last month I was lucky enough to have the chance to see Danny Robins, Evelyn Hollow & Dr Ciaran O’Keefe in action at the Lowry in Salford. I have been a fan of the Uncanny podcast since it first started, having listened to The Battersea Poltergeist previously.

When the Uncanny tour was first launched very early on this year, I really wanted to go and see it. I had no one to go with – none of my friends are into the podcast so, seeing as it was a matinee performance, I decided to go it alone. My first time ever doing that!

It didn’t faze me at all and in fact I ended up sitting next to a lovely lady and her son who commented on the fact she would never be brave enough to go to the theatre alone and shared her sherbet lemons with me! I would highly recommend it! I had my first solo cinema trip last year and that went fine – once it’s dark no one can see you are alone anyway! And if anyone has any judgements about it, it’s their problem not yours!

I pre ordered a copy of the Uncanny book and was able to pick it up at the show too – signed!! It was a big fan girl moment!

Crochet & Podcast News

My latest episode of the podcast features Fran Darlington-Pollock, CEO of the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity. The charity is joining forces with Black Sheep Wools in the run up to Christmas with their A Bed for the Night / Deck the Halls campaign. Money realised from selling wool packs and patterns for Christmas decorations will support the charity’s aim to provide 1,000 beds for rough sleepers over Christmas. It costs £30 for a bed for the night and the associated wrap around care. You can find out more information on the Black Sheep Wools website.

Also in Podcast news, at the end of October I went down to London to the Independent Podcast Awards. It was a fantastic night and I was able to meet up with some friends from my local podcasters club (yes they do exist – it’s our Christmas party tomorrow!). Making Stitches Podcast didn’t win but blimey the standard of the other podcasts was high so it was an honour to be considered alongside them!

You might spot Making Stitches on the shortlist (bottom right)!

Winter is here…

The temperature levels have fallen considerably in the last few weeks – this photo was taken on that walk by the Mersey a week ago – it was the end of the afternoon and the frost from the night before still lay on the fields. Yesterday it was -4 degrees when I scraped the ice off the car to drop the boys off for school!

Super cold days usually mean clear skies though so I’m not complaining – blue skies and sunsets are far preferable to damp greyness!

So that’s all from me, thank you for stopping by, it’s been nice to be back again!

Until next time…

Take care,

Lindsay x

A postcard from a difficult time

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…

Lindsay X

A Postcard from London at a particular moment in history…

I found myself in London today as I took Eldest to begin his University adventure. Once he was settled in, I had the chance to soak up some of the atmosphere of a capital city preparing for the funeral of our Queen tomorrow.

Normally I wouldn’t be in a position to hop on a train specifically for an occasion like this, but today, I found myself in the right place at the right time.

The famous queue of people waiting to see the Queen lying-in-state was inescapable as we were based on the south bank of the Thames – right next to it. After settling my son into his new home, I was free to wander and experience the atmosphere.

As the sun set and the rain came, I followed the queue along the South Bank…

By the British Film Institute there was a huge screen showing footage from the Queen’s 70 year-long reign…

The atmosphere was remarkable, amicable chats amongst those in the queue. Not one raised voice. Just patient shuffling along the side of the Thames.

As 8 o’clock approached, I wanted to be somewhere significant for the National minute’s silence. I was hoping to make it to Buckingham Palace but was warned roads nearby were closed because of the reception for world leaders so I opted to stay close to the Palace of Westminster.

Road closures meant pedestrians could spill into the road over Westminster bridge. However, those same closures meant a diversion for pedestrians back along the Embankment and then on to Whitehall, where people were already camping – some with tents – to have front row seats for tomorrow’s events.

Parliament Square was a hive of activity as contractors removed all the traffic lights and many police officers and army personnel were involved in preparations.

I found a perfect vantage spot to wait for half an hour or so ready for the silence. I even spotted the Castle & Key of the Gibraltar flag hanging opposite the Houses of Parliament.

Tannoy announcements told the gathering crowds that the silence was imminent and slowly the noise levels fell. Work came to a halt. People stood still and you could hear a pin drop. The silence was impeccably marked and was really quite moving. Being so close to where the Queen was lying in state felt right.

I’m so glad I went. The silence was ended with a round of applause and a spontaneous rendition of the National Anthem.

Then it was time to head back across the river..

The queue continued to move slowly along the South Bank and nightfall meant a projection onto the front of the British Film Institute had appeared.

I stood for a while to watch black and white footage of the Queen at important moments in her life.

It was lovely to see all the different ways her passing had been commemorated at different locations.

Tate Modern

There was a beautiful and huge light & sound sculpture at Tate Modern – an unexpected surprise.

At the Globe Theatre there were wreaths of Rosemary for remembrance and photos of the Queen & Prince Philip from the official opening of the venue.

And then, unlike those hardy folk in the queue or camped out on the funeral procession route, I returned to my hotel by following the queue back to where I’d started. I am unlikely to be able to watch the Queen’s funeral tomorrow because of travel back up north but I’m glad I was able to spend some time in London at this particular moment in history.

Sending love to all those who need it.

Lindsay x

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

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

A postcard from November

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

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

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

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

A golden tree at the end of the rainbow

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

No it’s not Christmas yet!!

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

Meeting real people in real life!

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

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

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

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

Costa del Ship Canal

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

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

Just look at those blues and the golden leaves….

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

Plastic hedge be gone!

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

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

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

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

Barbara Hepworth sculptures

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

Ai Weiwei’s Chinese Horoscope Characters

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

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

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

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

Just look at that intricate work!!

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

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

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

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

There were also pictures made of bulbous crochet structures…

Finisterra 2018
Close-up of above picture
Heartbreak 2015

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

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

Red Independent Heart #3

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

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

And a fabulous chair…

The back of the chair above

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

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

Sock knitting update

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

Well they’re finished!!

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

I now have toasty warm toes!

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

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

But I got there in the end…

And I’m on my way!

Making Stitches Podcast

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

Emma Leith
(photo credit: Emma Leith Atelier)

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

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

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

And finally…

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

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

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

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Lindsay x

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

A Postcard from October

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

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

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

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

Stepping far outside my comfort zone!

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

A lovely trip out

Christine and I outside Black Sheep Wools

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

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

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

I’ve opened a shop!

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

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

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

2nd batch drying on the line!

Half term holidays

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

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

Anniversary of moving

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x