Kerry Lord took up crochet for the first time when she went on maternity leave from her family’s alpaca yarn business less than ten years ago. She watched some YouTube tutorials and created a cuddly elephant for her baby; Edward, who was still yet to be born. Little did she know back then that Bridget the Elephant would eventually go on to be made thousands of times by crocheters around the world and the book of crochet animal patterns she would go on to write would be translated into 22 different languages.
This week on Making Stitches, I have a chat with Kerry Lord, the founder of Toft and creator of more than 200 crochet patterns. Kerry has gone on to write 11 pattern books, the most recent of which; A Partridge in a Pear Tree, has been released in time for Christmas. She told me how the business first got started and how after shaky beginnings it’s become the flourishing creative hub it now is.
We chatted last week in the first day of our most recent National lockdown here in the UK and just before Kerry launched the brand new Toft Christmas campaign which you can find out all about on the company’s website.
Many of us choose to seek a different career path after starting a family, and Cathy Emmott is no different. She took the time she spent on maternity leave with her young family to look at ways of developing her creative side rather than returning to a job in finance.
After a lifetime of being creative, she dusted off her sewing machine and began creating fabric pictures inspired by her surroundings in the Yorkshire Dales. Her business ‘Dear Emma Designs’ was born and after initially selling her work at local craft fairs, she branched into online sales and leading workshops to pass on the skills she has learned over the years.
I had great fun speaking to her about her work, her inspiration, how her business has developed over the past 15 years and about her wonderful workshop in her garden where all the magic happens.
You can find Cathy on social media as ‘Dear Emma Designs’ and here: dear-emma.com
The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
You can listen to this episode by searching for ‘Making Stitches’ on your favourite podcast app or by clicking onto this link.
When Jill picked up a crochet hook after a period of ill health and a serious injury three years ago, she had no idea where it would lead. Her Gum Leaf Crochet Instagram account now has over 14,000 like-minded people forming part of the Gum Leaf community.
Jill says she has formed deep bonds with some of her fellow online crocheters across the globe as well as in her native Australia. She offers support and encouragement to anyone who wants to get involved, especially those who may have had health problems like she has.
Jill says she’s inspired by the nature which surrounds her on the eastern coast of Australia, and has begun dying yarn using natural dyes & pigments.
You can hear this episode with Jill from Gum Leaf Crochet here. You can also find Making Stitches on podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher as well as many others.
This week on Making Stitches I have two guests for you; Bag Maker Extraordinaire Samantha Hussey (also known as Mrs H) and Carole Rennison from Yarndale. Last weekend saw the first ever Yarndale@home as the yarn festival was forced to go online because of the current Covid restrictions. I caught up with Carole earlier this week to find out how the new-look festival had gone.
Before that though, you will hear from Samantha Hussey of Patterns by Mrs H. A bag maker who is on a mission to share the love of her craft with anyone who wants to have a go. Her book The Complete Bag Making Masterclass is packed with tips and ideas for creating your own beautiful bags. It comes with several patterns with detailed instructions on how to make your own.
In addition to that, Samantha runs bag making retreats and supports an online bag making community. She tells me all about how her bag making journey developed and why she believes she has a very special super power which helps with her designs.
You can find Samantha here: mrs-h.com Swoon patterns can be found here.
Hello there! Making Stitches is back for a new series after a long summer break. In this series, as with the first one, I hope to be sharing the stories of interesting creative projects as well as hearing from creators themselves about their own creative journeys.
In this first episode of series 2 I recap on what’s been happening over the summer for myself as well as some of my guests from series 1. Since I last spoke to you, a new crochet podcast has been born, a lockdown quilt has been completed and is now on tour raising funds for charity and just like many other events this summer a yarn festival is going online so you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home.
For more information on the subjects covered in this episode, please check out:
Hello and welcome to the tenth and final episode in the first series of Making Stitches. This week I’m sharing a story which is very special to me, that of my sewing teacher Dorcas Hammond.
With a career spanning more than 30 years, Dorcas Hammond is a well-known name in Gibraltar. Her dressmaking workshop has created gowns for many brides and beauty queens ahead of their big events – none more so than when Kaiane Aldorino was crowned Miss World in 2009 wearing a beautiful dress created by Dorcas.
Dorcas has held fashion shows in London, Marbella, Madrid and Portugal, and has won several designers competitions, including the Agulha de Ouro (Golden Needle) in Portugal back in 2004. Dorcas not only creates beautiful clothes, she also teaches students to create their own garments at her fashion academy. She teaches everything from the basics of using a sewing machine, through to home furnishings and finally elegant evening wear.
This week we hear how she began sewing as a young child and how she turned her passion into her profession (Dorcas also shares a trick of the trade which involves coffee!).
This week on Making Stitches I’m sharing my first international interview – it’s with Esther from Essiebirdies. I spoke to her from her home in the Netherlands on her first day in an empty house after 10 weeks of lockdown.
Esther is a crochet designer who creates beautiful patterns for amigurumi toys, shawls, bags and home furnishings. Her passion for crochet came relatively recently when her daughter asked her to make an amigurumi toy. Once she had started, Esther was hooked.
Esther designs in both English and Dutch and has followers from around the world making her beautiful designs.
This week, Phil from The Twisted Yarn shares her story on Making Stitches. A knitter and crocheter in her spare time, Phil works as a clinical psychologist in her day job and is a mother of twin boys.
Known as ‘The Modern Knitter’ in her quarterly column in Simply Knitting magazine, Phil has also appeared on BBC TV with her imaginatively reupholstered chair which was reborn as a yarny country cottage complete with a front garden, pond and vegetable patch!
Phil’s real love though, is her own take on modern stranded knitting rather than the more traditional Fair Isle style. She says she’s inspired by nature and is hoping to have her first book on the technique published next year.
Sewing teacher, dressmaker and patchwork quilter Victoria Peat this week shares her story. From getting a sewing machine for her 18th birthday and designing patchwork quilts to studying at the London College of Fashion and giving sewing lessons on live television, Victoria has a true love of making.
Victoria moved to Gibraltar last year and thanks to the recent relaxation of the lockdown rules here, we were able to meet in person and have a socially instanced chat about everything from making World Book Day costumes to how on earth the contestants on the Great British Sewing Bee cope with the challenges they face.
You can find Victoria on social media by searching ‘Victoria Peat’ as well as on her website.
You can hear Victoria’s episode of Making Stitches here.
The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
This week on Making Stitches we hear from Amanda Bloom the driving force behind Little Box of Crochet. The bi-monthly subscription box delivers a yarny treat to crocheters around the world and contains a complete project with yarn and instructions along with what Amanda describes as ‘knick-knackery’ or extra little treats to enjoy.
Amanda spoke to me from her home above her beautiful yarn shop ‘Craftopia’ in Ingleton in North Yorkshire. She spoke movingly about her beloved daughter Jenny who set her off on her Little Box of Crochet journey whilst she was seriously ill with cancer as well as about her move to Ingleton and her hopes for the future.