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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Here are the people & businesses who feature in this episode – my thanks to everyone who spoke to me.
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.
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.
My grateful thanks to Mary Jane for sharing her adventures with me for Making Stitches.
You can listen to Mary Jane on Making Stitches here.
You can find Mary Jane’s website, where you can order her book; Sew on the Go here and her Instagram account here.
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.
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.
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.
You can hear Sarah’s episode here alternatively search for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app.
My sincere thanks to Sarah Corbett for speaking to me for Making Stitches Podcast.
You can find out more about The Craftivist Collective and sign up to The Craftivist Collective newsletter here.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.