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 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.

Episode 14 : Stitching at the bottom of the garden with Cathy from Dear Emma

Many of us choose to seek a different career path after starting a family, and Cathy Emmott is no different. She took the time she spent on maternity leave with her young family to look at ways of developing her creative side rather than returning to a job in finance.

After a lifetime of being creative, she dusted off her sewing machine and began creating fabric pictures inspired by her surroundings in the Yorkshire Dales. Her business ‘Dear Emma Designs’ was born and after initially selling her work at local craft fairs, she branched into online sales and leading workshops to pass on the skills she has learned over the years.

I had great fun speaking to her about her work, her inspiration, how her business has developed over the past 15 years and about her wonderful workshop in her garden where all the magic happens.

Cathy’s fabulous garden workshop

You can find Cathy on social media as ‘Dear Emma Designs’ and here: dear-emma.com

Where the magic happens…


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

One of Cathy’s beautiful lampshades inspired by the wildflowers growing near her home

You can listen to this episode by searching for ‘Making Stitches’ on your favourite podcast app or by clicking onto this link.

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