Episode 43 : COLOUR, CREATIVITY & A COMMUNITY KICK-STARTER with Clare Albans from hellohooray.com

Clare Albans from Hello Hooray Blog

Hello and welcome to this episode of Making Stitches Podcast celebrating the joys of colour and creativity as well as community support. You can hear Clare’s episode here.

When Clare Albans left a career in music behind, hand embroidery helped fill the gap leaving her job had left her with. After blogging about her life and makes for several years, Clare launched her small embroidery business selling designs and haberdashery and filling her Instagram followers’ feeds with a riot of colour and inspiration.

The Happy Stitch Project
One of Clare’s hoop kits

Last year, Clare launched a kick-starter campaign to raise the funds needed to open her own bricks and mortar haberdashery shop and studio which she hoped to use to help her local community in the North East of England. Unsure how the fundraising would go, she was overwhelmed with support and is now celebrating her one-year anniversary of Hello Hooray Haberdashery & Studio. Clare has been enjoying spreading her love of making, meeting customers and being able to host craft social events and workshops in her studio too.

The Happy Hooray Studio

You can find out more about Clare on her website, Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter. Clare also has her own YouTube channel, which you can find here.

Clare’s first book: Colourful, Fun Embroidery

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
The Making Stitches logo was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.
Making Stitches Podcast is supported by the Making Stitches Shop which offers Making Stitches Podcast merchandise for sale as well as Up the Garden Path crochet patterns created by me & illustrated by Emma Jackson.

If you would like to buy a PDF crochet pattern for Sophia the Sunflower, (£5 from the sale of every pattern will be donated to the UNHCR Refugee aid effort supporting Ukrainian refugees) you can find the link here.

Making Stitches Podcast is presented, recorded and edited by Lindsay Weston

Episode 39 : Celebrating Freedom & Crafty Resolutions for 2022 : The Making Stitches Podcast Review of the Year 2021 (Part 2)

I hope you’ve had a lovely Christmas! I have one last gift for you this year before the clock strikes midnight again and we begin another year. Following on from the Happy Stitchmas episode published on Christmas Eve, this is my Hogmanay offering with a celebration of some of the freedoms I was able to enjoy this year as well as hearing about peoples’ crafty New Year’s Resolutions for 2022.

Among my guests for this trip down Memory Lane are Crochet Sanctuary regulars Diane & Sam who I met on my visit to the Crochet Sanctuary in Cheshire in Spring. There’s the hugely inspiring Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective and Evie & Gemma from the Manchester Flock of Canary Craftivists which took place in the city centre in July. Former BBC Europe Correspondent, Mary Jane Baxter, spoke to me about her amazing crafty road trip around Europe and Scotland in her camper van – Bambi, plus there was my fabulous trip across the Pennines to the Yarndale Festival in Skipton in September.

You’ll also be able to hear from a couple of the ladies from Black Sheep Wools in Warrington, crafter Kate Blackburn who makes beautiful handstitched cards, Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum and someone who has helped me a great deal this year; Amanada from Mrs G Makes.

You can hear the episode here!

My thanks to everyone who has spoken to me for Making Stitches this year and made it a year to remember for the podcast. My thanks to you too for listening! Happy New Year – I hope 2022 is a good one for you.

My guests on this episode were:
Sam & Diane who I met at The Crochet Sanctuary
Sarah Corbett from The Craftivist Collective
Evie & Gemma from the Manchester Flock of Canary Craftivists
Tracy & Lucy from Black Sheep Wools
Kate Blackburn from Katie Did This UK on Etsy & Instagram
Mary Jane Baxter author of Sew on the Go
Yvonne, one of the volunteers from the Yarndale Festival
Juey from Juey Jumbo Crarft Tools
Carole Rennison from Hooked by Design & Yarndale Festival Organiser
Christine Perry from Winwick Mum
Amanda Greenhough from Mrs G Makes Etsy Shop & Mrs G Makes You Tube Videos

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.
The Making Stitches logo was designed by Neil Warburton at iamunknown.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.
Making Stitches Podcast is supported by the Making Stitches Shop which offers Making Stitches Podcast merchandise for sale as well as Up the Garden Path crochet patterns created by me & illustrated by Emma Jackson.

Holly, Ivy, Hope the Snowdrop
& Flora the gardener

Episode 32 : Yarndale 2021 : A festival of yarn, creativity & community

After a hiatus due to the pandemic last year, Yarndale returned to Skipton Auction Mart on 25th & 26th September and I was thrilled to be able to go along! As well as my mask and hand sanitizer I took my microphone and met so many truly lovely people.

Me (on the left) with Yvonne (R) from Bonnie’s Little Crafts in front of the charity shop Yarndale blanket mentioned in this episode.

This episode is my experience of Yarndale 2021, which in a nutshell was wonderful, friendly, colourful and utterly uplifting. In it you will hear from yarn dyers, craftspeople and business owners who were exhibiting their wares along with Matt Farci from Crojo.Life and Alyson Chu from Moorit Magazine as well as friend of Making Stitches, Carole Rennison from Hooked by Design who is also one of the festival’s organisers. I hope you enjoy listening to it as I enjoyed my Yarndale experience – it was a blast!

Juey from Juey Jumbo Craft Tools
Niki from Allium Threads
Part of the Bigwigs Angora stand
Kate from Kate’s Kloths
Alyson Chu from Moorit Magazine
The Buttoned Up stand
Carole Rennison from Hooked by Design and one of the Yarndale organisers in her gorgeous granny square cardigan

Here are the people & businesses who feature in this episode – my thanks to everyone who spoke to me.

Yarndale Festival
Juey from Juey Jumbo Craft Tools
Matt Farci from Crojo.Life
Niki from Allium Threads
Sarah Paul from Bigwigs Angora
Kate from Kate’s Kloths
Jenny & Ruth from Ammonite Yarns
Michelle Lewis from Woolly Wumpkins
Alyson Chu from Moorit Magazine
Judith from Buttoned Up
Carole Rennison from Hooked by Design

Looking down towards Yarndale at the Skipton Auction Mart from the Yarn Walk where I recorded at the end of the day


The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.
Making Stitches  Podcast is supported by the Making Stitches Shop.

Making Stitches Podcast is presented, recorded and edited by Lindsay Weston.

Episode 30 : Sew on the Go with Mary Jane Baxter

Mary Jane with her new book in ‘Bambi’
Photo credit: Thomas Skovsende

Back in the days before Covid, when the notion of being able to pack up a camper van and do a road trip of Europe was a thing, former BBC Brussels Correspondent Mary Jane Baxter did just that. She did it in style in a 1986 Bedford Bambi van adorned with vintage wallpaper. Taking just a few possessions with her, including her hand-crank sewing machine and a collection of her own hand-made hats, she set off on a voyage of creativity and adventure calling in on former work colleagues and discovering new textile inspired destinations.

A picturesque meal by Lake Annecy

On her return from her tour of France, Belgium, Italy and Scotland, Mary Jane set about recording her travels in the form of a book; Sew on the Go. In it you find a travel journal, a number of creative craft projects you can have a go at as well as a searingly honest document of the highs and, at times, painfully lonely lows of solo traveling. From driving down a black run in the Alps (during summer) and camping next to a Cathedral in France to browsing flea markets and hosting craft pop-ups to help fund the trip, Mary Jane’s account of her travels is warm, emotional and utterly inspiring.

Bambi on the road

My grateful thanks to Mary Jane for sharing her adventures with me for Making Stitches.

Crossing into Italy

You can listen to Mary Jane on Making Stitches here.

Mary Jane looking for bargains at a brocante (flea market)

You can find Mary Jane’s website, where you can order her book; Sew on the Go here and her Instagram account here.

Sewing on the go in Britain


The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

Bambi at Applecross in Scotland

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.

Episode 25 : The Art of Gentle Protest with Sarah Corbett from The Craftivist Collective

Sarah Corbett
photo by Gary Morrisroe

A chance conversation about a small embroidery project while on a long train journey led Sarah Corbett to unite her interest in craft with her passion for activism. Sarah says that at the time of that conversation, while working on a cross-stitch kit during a 5-hour-long train trip, she was feeling burned out by her job as an activist. But she realised there was a way to marry the mindfulness of stitching and other crafts with getting important messages across and supporting the under represented in society.

A Craftivist Collective mini banner in situ
photo by Robin Prime

Sarah now single-handedly runs The Craftivist Collective and has engaged thousands of crafters from around the world (including the inspirational change-maker Malala Yousafzai) in creating their own acts of gentle protest on a range of issues from climate change to gender equality and the campaign for a living wage.

Malala Yousafzai engaging in slow & mindful activism at a Crochet Collective workshop photo credit : Craftivist Collective

You can hear Sarah’s episode here alternatively search for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app.

Craftivist Sarah Corbett
photo by Jonathan Cherry

My sincere thanks to Sarah Corbett for speaking to me for Making Stitches Podcast.

Graceful activism: bespoke hankerchiefs for retail company board members to encourage their company to be as ethical as possible
photo by Sarah Corbett

You can find out more about The Craftivist Collective and sign up to The Craftivist Collective newsletter here.

Jenny Eclair with Sarah Corbett
still from BBC4 Craftivism show January 2021

Craftivist Collective on Instagram
Craftivist Collective on Twitter

How to be a Craftivist by Sarah Corbett
photo by Jonathan Cherry
Craftivist Collective mini fashion statement workshop 2017
Photo by Elliott James


The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

You can support Making Stitches Podcast with running costs through Ko-fi.

Making Stitches Podcast is presented, recorded and edited by Lindsay from Postcard from Gibraltar.

Episode 21 : Keeping a Heritage Craft Alive with Gini’s Dorset Buttons

Gini’s Dorset Buttons

Until I watched last year’s Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas (in December 2020), I had never heard of Dorset Buttons before. That was until Louise Armitage (also known as Gini) created the most beautiful picture using five Dorset Buttons to depict the four seasons to clinch the trophy for the Handmade Decoration competition.

Gini’s trophy for Christmas Decorations Champion alongside her winning entry for Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas 2020

Dorset Buttons originated from the county of Dorset (the clue’s in the name) on the south coast of England and have been around since the 1600s. They were used to fasten items of clothing in the days before mass produced machine-made buttons were available and were worn by all sections of society even royalty.

Some of Gini’s designs

Gini first discovered the buttons as a 17-year-old student when she managed to trace a lady in Dorset, who was in her 80s at the time, and was the last of her family to practice the skill after it had been passed down through the generations. That lady agreed to teach Gini the basics on the understanding that she would keep the tradition going. Gini certainly did that when she introduced so many people to Dorset Buttons on primetime TV!

That winning moment on TV

I caught up with Gini in January this year, after the excitement had died down and the flood of orders which came through in the aftermath of the TV show had been dispatched. We had a great chat about her creative journey as well as her TV experience.

You can find out more about Gini by visiting her website and Instagram page.

A close-up of Gini’s winning design

You can listen to Gini’s episode here. Alternatively look for Making Stitches Podcast on your favourite podcast app and you will find Gini’s episode in the podcast feed there.

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

Making Stitches Podcast is presented, recorded and edited by Lindsay from Postcard from Gibraltar.

Episode 16 : Creativity for Mental Health with Emma Jones from the Vintage Sewing Box & Looking Ahead to Christmas with The Apex Singers

Creativity whether it’s music, craft or art has long been seen as having a positive impact on mental health, and after the year we have all experienced, it’s something many of us have had to focus on. This week on Making Stitches, Emma Jones from Vintage Sewing Box speaks about the benefits of focusing the mind on stitching and how that simple repetitive activity can calm the mind and our thoughts look ahead to Christmas with the Apex Singers.

Emma Jones from Vintage Sewing Box

Emma Jones says on her blog that she ‘loves sewing’ it’s been an important part of her life since early childhood. In this episode Emma not only explains how stitching has helped her deal with difficult times, she also discusses her love of English Paper Piecing and hand embroidery and has a truly lovely tale about a quilt dedicated to the memory of her Gran.

Mabel’s Garden – Emma’s quilt dedicated to the memory of her Gran
Emma with ‘Mabel’s Garden’ on display at the art exhibition

To find out more about Emma Jones’ work please check out her website: Vintage Sewing Box

The Apex Singers

Also this week, as our thoughts turn towards Christmas, we hear from The Apex Singers about a special Christmas Concert they are hosting online. The young vocalist group, which is based in Manchester, launched its first album back in March just as the UK went into lockdown and is now looking forward to performing together for the first time since that launch. Lydia Wonham from The Apex Singers explains how 2020 has changed the way the group has made music and how they now want to share their Christmas performance with as many people as they can online.

You can find out about The Apex Singers here and you can buy tickets for their Christmas Concert ‘Snowed in at Home’ here.

** YOU CAN LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE HERE OR BY SEARCHING FOR MAKING STITCHES IN YOUR FAVOURITE PODCAST APP! **

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

Making Stitches Podcast is recorded and edited by Lindsay from Postcard from Gibraltar.

Vintage Sewing Box