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 42 : CROCHET-TASTIC with Hannah Cross from Hanjan Crochet & Amanda Bloom from Little Box of Crochet

Hannah Cross from Hanjan Crochet (l) & Amanda Bloom from Little Box of Crochet (r)

Welcome to a crochet-tastic double bill of Making Stitches featuring not just one, but two inspirational makers; Hannah Cross from Hanjan Crochet and Amanda Bloom from Little Box of Crochet. You can listen to the episode here.

Hannah Cross

My first guest, Hannah Cross has been designing crochet garments, toys and soft furnishings for over a decade and has been featured in Simply Crochet Magazine many times over those years. After leaving a career in Midwifery, Hannah now designs full time and is about to launch her first crochet course this spring. She spoke to me about how she finds comfort in her crochet and how her career has developed over the years.

Hannah’s Strawberries & Cream Blanket

Hannah can turn her hand to all sorts of crocheted items and says she has a style but not a particular niche with garments, toys, accessories and soft furnishings amongst her many designs.

Hannah’s Oliver Sweater

You can find Hannah on her website, Facebook & Instagram.

Hannah’s Cross Cable Pillow design
Amanda Bloom wrapped up in one of the Blanket of Hugs for Ukraine

In part 2 of this episode I share a chat I had last week with Amanda Bloom from Little Box of Crochet about her project ‘Blanket of Hugs Ukraine’ which has seen her appeal to crocheters around the world to send her crocheted squares to be made into blankets to raise funds for the DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) for their work on the ground in Ukraine. The Little Box of Crochet community hasn’t let her down, with dozens of squares arriving daily at her home where she’s eagerly joining them to make beautiful blankets.

Amanda’s dog Betty who you may hear in the background of our chat admiring one of the blanket tassels!

You can find out more about Blanket of Hugs Ukraine through the Little Box of Crochet website, Facebook page & Instagram.

Sunflower detail from one of the blanket squares
A completed Blanket of Hugs for Ukraine

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.

Sophia the Sunflower surrounded with Blanket of Hugs for Ukraine squares ready to be posted to Amanda


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 40 : Forgiveness, Hope & Knitted Bears with Figen Murray

Figen Murray OBE

Figen Murray first took up knitting seriously to help her cope with hearing loss. At the time, she was working as a psychotherapist, and decided to practice what she preached and turned to creativity to help lift her mood. Little did she know then that just a few years later her knitting would help her cope with the dreadful loss of her son, Martyn Hett, who was one of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.

Figen’s knitted bears

By the time of the attack, Figen had taken to knitting bears which she sold online and which she used to help people with various mental health issues. In May 2017, her life was (in her words) “turned upside down”, and she left psychotherapy work to look at why people are compelled to commit acts of terrorism and to try to prevent it happening so that other families wouldn’t have to experience what happened to hers.

Figen’s book which was published in 2017

Figen’s bears became ‘Peace Bears’ and not only have they given her a constructive way of coping with her own grief, but she has used them to reach out to the victims of other attacks too. Figen now visits schools to speak about terrorism and the dangers of radicalisation as well as the good and positivity there is in the world in a bid to “break the cycle of hate”. In December 2021, Figen graduated with a Masters Degree in Counter Terrorism from the University of Central Lancashire and was recognised for her work in counter terrorism when she was awarded an OBE in this year’s New Year’s Honours List.

Figen’s Bears doing yoga!

It was utter pleasure to speak to Figen for Making Stitches and I’m incredibly grateful for her time and openness in speaking to me for the podcast.

Jordan Bear whose travels are documented on Facebook

You can find out more about Figen here and to see Jordan Bear’s traveling adventures you can find him 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.

Episode 35 : The Power of the Craft Community with Sara Mulvey of Black Sheep Wools

Sara Mulvey at the Black Sheep Wools Craft Barn

I have been wanting to share this episode with you for a very long time. Back in the darkest days of Covid and lockdown in the Spring of 2020, one of the things which kept me going was watching the series of videos posted by Sara Mulvey from Black Sheep Wools. They ranged from chats about yarn supplies and things which could be ordered from the shop to projects she and the rest of the team were working on to general chit chat about surviving the mundane routines we all found ourselves in during those long months of lockdown.

A selection of ‘A Day Out’ blankets designed by Sarah Hatton on display at the Craft Barn


Back in April of 2020, when I first began Making Stitches, I had a ‘hit list’ of people I really wanted to get onto the podcast. Sara was one of those people. If nothing else, I wanted to say thank you to her for helping me at a very tricky time. Fast forward to October 2021 and I finally was able to sit down with Sara in her office at the Black Sheep Wools Craft Barn and have a chat about how the past 18 months had been for her and the team, as well as how it all began for her.

Sara Mulvey

You can listen to Sara’s episode here.

If you would like to find out more about Black Sheeps Wools you can find them here.

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 Black Sheep Wools Craft Barn


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 also 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 32 : Yarndale 2021 : A festival of yarn, creativity & community

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.

Me (on the left) with Yvonne (R) from Bonnie’s Little Crafts in front of the charity shop Yarndale blanket mentioned in this episode.

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!

Juey from Juey Jumbo Craft Tools
Niki from Allium Threads
Part of the Bigwigs Angora stand
Kate from Kate’s Kloths
Alyson Chu from Moorit Magazine
The Buttoned Up stand
Carole Rennison from Hooked by Design and one of the Yarndale organisers in her gorgeous granny square cardigan

Here are the people & businesses who feature in this episode – my thanks to everyone who spoke to me.

Yarndale Festival
Juey from Juey Jumbo Craft Tools
Matt Farci from Crojo.Life
Niki from Allium Threads
Sarah Paul from Bigwigs Angora
Kate from Kate’s Kloths
Jenny & Ruth from Ammonite Yarns
Michelle Lewis from Woolly Wumpkins
Alyson Chu from Moorit Magazine
Judith from Buttoned Up
Carole Rennison from Hooked by Design

Looking down towards Yarndale at the Skipton Auction Mart from the Yarn Walk where I recorded at the end of the day


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 28 : Hooking a brighter future with Louise Murray from Hooked by Lou

Louise in one of her crochet creations

So many of my guests on the podcast so far have spoken about the healing properties of their crafts, the mindfulness of repetitive stitching, be that with a sewing needle or machine, a pair of knitting needles or a crochet hook. For my latest guest; Louise Murray, crochet and other crafts have helped her in her journey since losing her brother suddenly four years ago.

Louise with her brother Martyn

Back on 22nd May 2017, a terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena left more than 800 people injured and twenty two people lost their lives. One of those who died was Louise’s brother Martyn Hett. At the time, Louise was nearing the end of her foundation year studies ahead of plans to study for a degree in Fashion Design. All that was put on hold when the tragedy struck her family so suddenly and so publicly.

Hooked by Lou ‘Mixed Emotions’ bag, bralette & earrings

Since then, Louise’s love of crafts and creating helped her find a new direction and she’s now crocheting full time with her business ‘Hooked by Lou’ designing and making clothing and accessories. I’m so grateful to Louise for agreeing to share her story and for speaking so openly about her experiences.

Hooked by Lou bralette tops

You can hear Louise’s episode here.

Hooked by Lou top & skirt set

You can find Louise’s work through the following links:
Hooked by Lou website
Hooked by Lou on Instagram
Hooked by Lou on Facebook

Hooked by Lou ‘Patchwork’ vest top


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 26 : Granny Square Appreciation with Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet

Heather Griffith of HG Designs Crochet

Crochet can be a form of therapy for so many of us, but for Heather Griffith of HG Designs Crochet, it was through using the craft as rehabilitation after an injury, which set her off on a whole new adventure. At the time, Heather was training to be a lawyer and the repetitive movements of making granny squares helped her physically and mentally throughout her training.

It was last year though, during a period of ill health that she appealed for help to the online crochet community to buy her granny square patterns (to sustain her financially) that she decided to make the leap to crochet full-time.

Heather with some of her crochet patterns

Now, Heather runs a crochet design business (HG Designs Crochet) and online tuition for wannabe crochet designers (HGDC Hub) publishing work books to help designers grade their patterns and produce work which can be sold.

HGDC Hub

Heather says that far from being an overnight success, her design work has been a slow burn with her publishing YouTube videos and Instagram posts since 2017. She believes there is room in the market for plenty more crochet designers to join her, sharing their own niche of the crochet world.

Heather modeling her ‘Example’ jumper

**LISTEN TO HEATHER’S EPISODE HERE**

You can find out more about Heather’s work and her social media and YouTube channels through her website.

My sincere thanks to Heather Griffith for speaking to me for Making Stitches Podcast.

If you would like to vote for Making Stitches Podcast in the ‘Specialist Interest’ category of the Quite the Thing Media 2021 Podcast Awards, voting is open until 19th June 2021. You can vote here.

For full show notes for this episode, please visit the Making Stitches website.
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 22 : From Christmas Crochet to Amigurumi April with Hayley Shelton from Dotcraftstudio

Hayley with some of her animals

Hello again! Last episode we heard from Louise Armitage aka Gini’s Dorset Buttons, and how a friendship blossomed between her and Hayley Shelton from Dotcraftstudio while they were competing in Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas last year. Well it didn’t seem right to only hear from one half of that crafty partnership, so in this episode I share the chat I had with Hayley all about her craft and her amazing end to 2020.

We know Hayley for bringing amigurumi to a national television audience in December last year as she created a beautiful reindeer head using the amigurumi crochet technique. However, she is also an accomplished illustrator and won a tv competition for her Christmas card design last year as well and her work has been shared online by the influencer Mrs Hinch.

I caught up with Hayley a few weeks ago to hear about her big tv experience, how she first got into crafting and her exciting plans for this month. You can hear her episode here or here.

You can find Hayley on Instagram at @dotcraftstudio
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.