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.
Hello and welcome to Episode 5 of Making Stitches! This week I’m sharing a chat I had with a friend of mine who I met through our love of crochet and our connection to Gibraltar.
Marisa Alcock was born and brought up here in Gibraltar but is now based in London and teaches music and crochet. We met a few years back through Instagram and I signed up for one of her Gibraltar based summer crochet lessons to master the art of reading a crochet chart. It was loads of fun and involved tapas, wine and reading our charts by the light of our phone torches when it got too dark to see them properly!
In this episode, Marisa shared an insight into her creative life, which began here on the Rock but which took her to England. She spent some time speaking to me between online piano lessons and a virtual craft club she’s running with some of her music students. You can find Marisa on Instagram as @Mariwish
Hello and welcome to the latest episode of Making Stitches. This week I’ve been speaking to Carole Rennison, one of the founders of the Yarndale Festival which takes place in September each year in Skipton in North Yorkshire.
Every year, the festival organisers enlist the help of knitters and crocheters from around the world to help them with their charity appeal, and this year is no different. The call has gone out for makers to create cotton dishcloths which will be sold at the festival to raise much needed funds for the nearby Martin House Children’s Hospice.
Carole told me about how the festival first got started along with how you can get involved with this year’s dishcloth appeal. You can hear the episode through this link or by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app.
For more information about the Yarndale dishcloth appeal, please check out the Yarndale website.
A lot of us are turning to crafts at this time of lockdown and isolation. The act of making things can work wonders for our mental health, and being able to contribute that craft to a community project can help ease the sense of isolation.
Inspired by the story of female prisoners of war making a quilt at Changi Prison in Singapore during World War II, a global group of quilters are contributing to a community quilt which will raise funds for a charity helping communities during this difficult time. For this episode of Making Stitches, I spoke to Sue Brown who’s idea it was to begin the quilt and Amanda James who has contributed a square to the project.
The photosfeature some of the quilt squares already sent in to the ‘Creativity in Captivity’ quilt. Top photo: (clockwise from top left) made by Harriet Seddon, David Seddon, Cathie Holden & Amanda James (who features in this episode).
Bottom photo: (clockwise from top left) made by Gwen Shackleton, Barbara Holden, Nikki Holden & Lynda Jackson
You can listen to the episode here or by searching for ‘Making Stitches’ on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and other podcast apps.