Episode 27: Crochet, Cherry Blossom & Friendship – A Day Out at The Crochet Sanctuary

I’m so happy that I’ve been able to bring you this latest episode of Making Stitches. Back in the spring of 2020 when I was recording my first episode of Making Stitches, I imagined that before too long, I would be able to travel to meet inspiring makers and record their stories in person. Thanks to Covid lockdowns and restrictions, that hasn’t been able to happen until now.

Lisa Hesketh & Lynda-Rose Simonini from The Crochet Sanctuary

That first episode of the podcast featured two ladies, Lisa Hesketh & Lynda-Rose Simonini, the creators of The Crochet Sanctuary, and the brains behind the Pandemonium Blanket Crochet-along (or CAL) which helped hundreds of crocheters cope through that first lockdown. That interview was recorded remotely as the vast majority of the Making Stitches episodes have been, but I hoped that one day, we would get the chance to meet in person. That day came two weeks ago at the first Crochet Sanctuary day of 2021.

The Crochet Sanctuary was first launched back in 2018, after Lisa and Lynda-Rose decided they wanted to create the kind of crochet get-away that they would like to attend themselves. They focus on inclusion and making sure everyone is welcomed and feels part of the group and there is help on hand if you are usure of stitches or techniques. The reason for the sanctuary is crochet, but from my experience on the day, the true message is friendship.

The Crochet Sanctuary May 2021

I took my microphone along with my crochet hooks and met some lovely ladies. I hope this epsiode gives you a flavour of the great time I had at my first ever Crochet Sanctuary!

You can hear the episode here.

Amanda aka Mrs G with her tea Cosy

My thanks to Lisa & Lynda-Rose, Amanda from Mrs G Makes, Diane & Sam for speaking to me for the podcast and to all the other lovely ladies I met that day.

Diane working on her tea cosy
Sam with her first ever finished Crochet Sanctuary item – a cherry blossom tea cosy


You can find out all about The Crochet Sanctuary here and do give their podcast a listen too!


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. You can also vote for Making Stitches in the Listener’s Choice Category of the British Podcast Awards here.

My very own cherry blossom tea cosy & napkin rings


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 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 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.

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 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 17 : Finding colour inspiration in a lockdown veg patch with Agnis Smallwood

Agnis Smallwood
(Photo credit: Joanne Crawford)

This week, designer, maker, educator and weaver Agnis Smallwood speaks to me about her craft, her creative journey and how she found inspiration for her work this year among the carrots and radishes she grew in her small veg patch during lockdown. Agnis, who is based in Yorkshire, works on solo weaving projects as well as collaborations with organisations like museums. She also teaches weaving and other crafts like rag rug making and felting.

Table Loom

Just a few generations ago looms were a familiar sight in domestic settings giving artisans the chance to work from home. Just like the generations of weavers who have gone before her, Agnis is currently working on her loom from home which is where she spoke to me from.

Woven fabric
Lockdown veg patch inspired woven scarves
(Photo credit: Joanne Crawford)

You can see Agnis’ work and find out about her workshops on her website.

Agnis’ radish inspired scarf
(Photo credit: Joanne Crawford)

Listen to this episode either by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or here.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Anu Dent, a crocheter and a much valued supporter of Making Stitches who very sadly passed away in November 2020. My condolences go out to her family and friends.

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.

Episode 7 : Sewing for family & fun with Victoria Peat

Sewing teacher, dressmaker and patchwork quilter Victoria Peat this week shares her story. From getting a sewing machine for her 18th birthday and designing patchwork quilts to studying at the London College of Fashion and giving sewing lessons on live television, Victoria has a true love of making.

Victoria moved to Gibraltar last year and thanks to the recent relaxation of the lockdown rules here, we were able to meet in person and have a socially instanced chat about everything from making World Book Day costumes to how on earth the contestants on the Great British Sewing Bee cope with the challenges they face.

You can find Victoria on social media by searching ‘Victoria Peat’ as well as on her website.

You can hear Victoria’s episode of Making Stitches here.

The competition winning fox pinafore dress mentioned in the episode

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

Episode 6 : Little Box of Crochet with Amanda Bloom

Amanda with her daughter Jenny

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.

You can find out more about Little Box of Crochet here: https://www.littleboxofcrochet.co.uk/ You can also find Little Box of Crochet & Craftopia on Instagram.

You can hear this episode here.

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from https://melodyloops.com/