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 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 19 : Doing What You Love with Sara Huntington, Editor of Simply Crochet Magazine

Sara Huntington

Happy New Year and welcome to the first episode of Making Stitches for 2021! In this episode we hear from crochet designer and Editor of Simply Crochet Magazine Sara Huntington. Sara tells me how she first discovered crochet by chance on a family holiday and hasn’t put her hook down since! She also explains how, several years ago, she made a conscious decision to follow her dreams and turn her passion for craft into her profession after juggling two jobs as well as motherhood to get there.

Sara has seen a boom in the number of people becoming interested in crafts, and specifically crochet, in recent months and is a keen advocate for its benefits. In this episode she shares her creative journey and the amazing determination she had to get to where she is today. Sara also shares her experiences of the process of finding inspiring designs to fill the pages of each issue of Simply Crochet magazine.

Bunting designed by Sara for Simply Crochet Magazine

You can hear the episode by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.

Blanket designed by Sara for Simply Crochet Magazine

For more information on Simply Crochet, please visit the magazine website and you can find Sara on Instagram as @crochetdeli.

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 18 : Happy Stitchmas! The 2020 Making Stitches Christmas Special

Season’s greetings! Here’s a very special Christmas episode of Making Stitches Podcast for you. I know that this Christmas is one like no other and thought you might appreciate an extra long episode of stitchy chat to lift the spirits – especially if your festive plans have been dealt a blow by the latest Covid restrictions.

Making Stitches is a product of the lockdown (it was a project for me to focus on instead of thinking about everything else that was going on). So I thought I’d take this opportunity to look back at 2020 and how crafts help get us through when things are tough. I asked Making Stitches listeners if they would like to share their ‘Stitch Stories’ and four of them very kindly stepped forward. My thanks to Diane from Merseyside, Lisa in Macclesfield, Rebecca in Ontario in Canada and Sarah in Gibraltar for sharing their Stitch Stories.

Lynda-Rose (l) & Lisa (r)
from The Crochet Sanctuary

Also featuring in this episode are Lisa & Lynda-Rose from The Crochet Sanctuary (who were my first ever guests on Making Stitches back in April) as well as Eleonora from Coastal Crochet. Lisa & Lynda-Rose spoke to me about their projects since April (3 Crochet-alongs and a podcast of their own no less!) and Eleonora spoke of the therapeutic benefits of crochet and how hosting her Beachcomber Blanket CAL this spring helped her cope with all that was happening.

Eleonora Tully & her dog Salty
from Coastal Crochet

Wherever you are in the world at this time and whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you find peace and joy and let’s all look forward to a brighter, more positive 2021 with our crafts to keep us company! Happy Christmas & Happy Stitchmas!

Listen to the episode by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or through this link.

You can find Lisa & Lynda-Rose at The Crochet Sanctuary on social media. Eleonora’s website is Coastal Crochet and you can find her on social media too.

And to find my lovely listeners who shared their Stitch Stories: You can find Diane at Stitchscape, Lisa is Teal & Tangerine on Etsy and on social media. Rebecca is at Sweet Bee Crochet and you can see Sarah as @sarahsheehangib on Instagram.

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 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

Episode 15 : From Alpacas to the 3 Wise Men with Kerry Lord from Toft UK

Kerry Lord

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.

Kerry’s first pattern book: Edward’s Menagerie

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.

Toft Alpacas
The Three Wise Men from the new Toft Christmas Collection

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.

You can listen to the episode here.

Ellie from the new Toft Christmas collection

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

Estella the Clockwork Nightingale
Kerry’s latest book: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Episode 11 : Making Stitches is back for a new series!

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:

Lynda-Rose & Lisa from The Crochet Sanctuary

The Crochet Sanctuary Website or find the new Crochet Sanctuary Podcast on your favourite podcast app.

The Creativity in Captivity Quilt

Search for ‘The Quilt. Spring2020 Creativity in Captivity’ on Facebook.

For full details of Yarndale@home please visit the Yarndale website and follow Yarndale on social media for all the details.

For full show notes for this episode, please visit theMaking Stitches Podcast

Music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops

**You can listen to this episode here! ** You can also find Making Stitches on podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher as well as many others.

Episode 9 : Crocheting Under Lockdown with Esther of Essie Birdies

Esther from Essie Birdies

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’s latest ‘Close to You’ shawl design

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’s Frida Kahlo cushions & hand sanitizer covers

Esther designs in both English and Dutch and has followers from around the world making her beautiful designs.

Esther’s ‘Miss you’ shawl

You can hear Esther’s episode here.

You can find Esther at Essie Birdies.

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

Episode 4 : Yarndale 2020 World Creative Project with Carole Rennison

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.

Episode 3 : ‘Creativity in Captivity’ A Coronavirus Lockdown Quilt

A lot of us are turning to crafts at this time of lockdown and isolation. The act of making things can work wonders for our mental health, and being able to contribute that craft to a community project can help ease the sense of isolation.

Inspired by the story of female prisoners of war making a quilt at Changi Prison in Singapore during World War II, a global group of quilters are contributing to a community quilt which will raise funds for a charity helping communities during this difficult time. For this episode of Making Stitches, I spoke to Sue Brown who’s idea it was to begin the quilt and Amanda James who has contributed a square to the project.

The photos feature some of the quilt squares already sent in to the ‘Creativity in Captivity quilt. Top photo: (clockwise from top left) made by Harriet Seddon, David Seddon, Cathie Holden & Amanda James (who features in this episode).

Bottom photo: (clockwise from top left) made by Gwen Shackleton, Barbara Holden, Nikki Holden & Lynda Jackson

You can listen to the episode here or by searching for ‘Making Stitches’ on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and other podcast apps.