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.
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:
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.
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.
I am super excited to be sharing this week’s episode with you. It features none other than Eleonora Tully from Coastal Crochet!
Eleonora has been immersed in yarn crafts all her life but 5 years ago began her blog Coastal Crochet where she shares her love of crochet and beautiful photos taken on coastal walks near her home in the south of England along with her adorable Miniature Schnauzer Salty.
Eleonora has used her blog to run blanket crochet-alongs uniting a huge community of crocheters across the world. Each of her blankets have had a seaside theme and feature shell stitches and waves among many other stitch techniques. From the first Seaside Stashbusting Blanket to last year’s Changing Tides blanket and now her current Beachcomber blanket thousands of crocheters have joined in the crochet-alongs getting great enjoyment out of following the patterns each week.
Thank you so much Eleonora for speaking to me for Making Stitches!
You can listen to my chat with Eleonora here, or on Apple Podcasts, Buzzsprout, Deezer, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.
You can find Eleonora at coastalcrochet.com or just search for ‘Coastal Crochet’ on Instagram and Facebook.