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 41 : From Ukrainian Cross Stitch to Canadian Quilting with Olesya Lebedenko

Hello and welcome to the first episode in this new series of Making Stitches Podcast!

You can listen to this episode here.

Olesya Lebedenko with some of her previous books

Kicking off this new series is a chat I had with Ukrainian artist Olesya Lebedenko. Olesya first got creative as a young child making up stories for her toys, then at the age of 5 she was taught to cross-stitch by her grandmother. Crafts would stay with her throughout her life – she says she has never been able to sit and do nothing with her hands.

An example of traditional Ukrainian cross stitch along with quilted button in Ukraine’s National colours

When the global economic crash hit in 2008, Olesya found herself without a job and expecting a baby with her husband, so she turned to craft as a way of making money. Firstly with craft supplies to make rag dolls and then also teaching students how to make them. However, when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, things changed, and Olesya and her family began planning to move to Canada to begin a new life closer to her brother and supported by her quilt-making and applique work.

A traditional quilted Ukrainian cottage scene used to make a glasses case

Now based in Toronto, Olesya runs workshops, writes for several craft magazines and has written a number of books, the latest of which is due out in May featuring applique designs of flower animals.

One of Olesya’s fox poppies

At the beginning of this interview, we spoke at length about Ukrainian folk embroidery, the war in Ukraine and Olesya’s fears for her family and friends still living in there. She also spoke about the online abuse she and other Ukrainian artists have experienced since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The quilt block of a dreaming cat which Olesya referenced in our chat
One of Olesya’s books

To find out more about Olesya and her beautiful work, please have a look at these links:

Olesya Lebedenko Design
Olesya Lebedenko Instagram
Olesya Lebedenko Etsy Shop

You can find out more about traditional Ukrainian embroidery here.

A quilt block from Olesya’s 365 days quilting challenge

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.

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.


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 36 : Crafting a Dream Sewing Business with Sarah Wadey & Freya Gilbert of Crafty Sew and So

Sarah Wadey (L) & Freya Gilbert (R)
from Crafty Sew & So

When Freya Gilbert and Sarah Wadey met at a sewing workshop in 2014, they knew they had met a kindred spirit. Within months they followed their dreams of setting up a sewing business and opened their bricks and mortar shop Crafty Sew and So in Leicester selling fabric haberdashery and offering award-winning workshops. They used their skills gained in retail and the fashion industry to build their business which included a variety of craft workshops as well as dressmaking patterns and kits.

When Covid forced the shop to close, undeterred, Freya and Sarah moved to the Crafty Sew and So workshop and put their business online. During the past 18 months they have not only continued to sell sewing essentials but have run online workshops attracting participants from overseas as well as closer to home. Now that Covid restrictions have eased they are beginning to offer in-person workshops too.

I’m thrilled that Freya and Sarah were able to share their story with me for Making Stitches. You can hear their episode here.

If you would like to find out more about Crafty Sew and So, you can do here. You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

If you would like to take part in the Christmas episode of Making Stitches with your own ‘stitch story’ please get in touch with me via social media or email: makingstitchespodcast@gmail.com
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.

Episode 33 : The Patchwork Girls with novelist Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest

For many of us, our crafts take a back seat as we concentrate on our careers and creativity can be stifled by everyday life. For novelist, Elaine Everest, a childhood growing up with a mother who made clothes and sewed for friends and family, that creativity stayed with her. From dressmaking as a young girl to making designer garments on a knitting machine for London boutiques to then setting up her own business sewing raincoats for dogs, Elaine achieved a lot before she embarked on yet another creative career as a novelist.

Sewing is a theme which runs through Elaine’s series ‘The Woolworths Girls’ and is centre stage in her latest book; The Patchwork Girls. The story, set in World War II, sees a group of women form a sewing circle making patchwork quilts and other items for the war effort. Elaine drew on her own experience of crafts to write the story which shows the healing effects of both friendships and creativity.

Elaine says that although her interest in crafting had waned over the years, the events of the past 18 months have reacquainted her with sewing, crochet and other crafts and that they have ‘saved’ her during lockdown. She spoke to me about her life, her love of creativity and how she ended up writing a string of novels.

You can listen to Elaine’s episode here.

The Patchwork Girls is published by Pan MacMillan.

You can find out more about Elaine on her website, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

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 29 : From sewing scrubs to Sewing Bee 🐝

Adam Brooks

I don’t know about you but this year’s Great British Sewing Bee was just what the doctor ordered for me. After a spring of lockdowns, isolation, burst bubbles and home schooling, the creativity, colour and humour of GBSB was so uplifting.

The standard of the contestants this year was really high, and many of them could have gone all the way to final had it not been for one bad day when things didn’t go exactly according to plan. The camaraderie of the 12 sewing competitors, the friendships you were able to witness developing and the fabulous garments that were created made it a fantastic series.

Adam in one of his own sewn outfits

One of those contestants was Adam Brooks, an Entertainments Director on a cruise ship, who used his time during the pandemic while stuck on dry land, to get creative and reacquaint himself with his sewing machine. He created beautiful garments on the show from a stunning 1950s style button down dress to a Frida Kahlo inspired playsuit and won the transformation challenge twice! Unfortunately a child’s raincoat got the better of him in week 5 and saw him saying goodbye to his fellow contestants.

Another of Adam’s passions is knitting by hand & machine

You can listen to Adam’s episode here.

I’m absolutely thrilled that Adam agreed to speak to me for Making Stitches and really grateful he shared some of his behind the scenes experiences from Sewing Bee. I hope you enjoy listening to our chat as much as I did recording it. You can find Adam on Instagram.

A poem Adam wrote about his time on GBSB


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.

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 23: Stitched with textile artist, Matthew Downham

Matthew Downham with one of his bears

Welsh textile artist Matthew Downham always knew he wanted to be an artist, and when he picked up a needle and thread, he knew that was the medium for him. Matthew, who has exhibited his art in the United States, uses layers of stitches to cover teddy bears in his work. For him, the act of threading a needle and tying a knot is as much part of the art as the finished piece itself.

Matthew’s black sketchbooks

In this episode, Matthew shared with me his journey to becoming the artist he is today, which was interrupted by a prolonged period of anxiety. I’m very grateful to Matthew for speaking so openly about the struggles he has faced so far, and am delighted he shared his story with me.

Listen to Matthew’s episode by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.

You can find Matthew on Instagram and via his website.

Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

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

Episode 20 : Mapping the World in Textiles with Janet Browne, textile artist

Halifax, A Yorkshire town

Hello and welcome to the twentieth episode of Making Stitches. After two episodes almost exclusively focusing on crochet, our attention is turned to textiles and textile art in particular this time. Late last year I spoke to Yorkshire-based textile artist Janet Browne about her beautiful observational work which maps journeys she has made as well as townscapes, gardens and allotments.

Janet at her sewing machine

Like all of us, 2020 and the pandemic has seen Janet’s world shrink from the freedom of long car journeys to walks around her local neighbourhood and that has had an impact on her work. She spoke to me about her love of making, how she wasn’t able to create the work she does until this particular time in her life and how she finds inspiration everywhere – even in motorway traffic signs!

Starlings and Cornflowers

You can listen to Janet’s episode here.

Stockinger Lane Allotments

To see Janet’s work, please visit her website : https://janetbrownetextiles.wordpress.com/2020/08/18/janet-browne/ or find her on Instagram

A Journey from Wharfedale to Seahouses

Making Stitches is going to be taking a short break, but will be back soon. Please subscribe to Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or follow Making Stitches on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter so you won’t miss the next episode.


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.