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 38 : Happy Stitchmas 2021! The Making Stitches Podcast Christmas Special & Review of the Year 2021 (Part 1)

It’s Christmas Eve, so here’s my Christmas gift to you dear listener! This year I’m splitting my Christmas Special into two halves, the first one is here for you today, and the second one will be out one week from today on New Year’s Eve.

In Part 1 I look back at a few of my personal highlights of the year so far on Making Stitches and feature little snippets from interviews with Sara Huntington – Editor of Simply Crochet Magazine, Louise Armitage aka Gini’s Dorset Buttons, Great British Sewing Bee 2021 contestant Adam Brooks, Heather Griffith from HGDC Crochet & Louise Murray from Hooked by Lou. You’ll also hear from Tracy, Julie and Lucy from Black Sheep Wools in Warrington and Kate Blackburn from Katie Did This UK hand-stitched cards.

You can find links to all my guests below. My thanks to everyone who spoke to me for the Podcast this year – I couldn’t have done it without you!

I hope you enjoy listening to this special festive episode and I very much look forward to sharing Part 2 with you soon! Have a great Christmas! You can listen to it here.

Sara Huntington – Editor Simply Crochet Magazine & @crochetdeli on Instagram
Louise Armitage aka Gini’s Dorset Buttons
Hayley Shelton aka DotCraftStudio
Adam Brooks
Matthew Downham Art
Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet
Louise Murray from Hooked by Lou
Tracy, Julie & Lucy from Black Sheep Wools
Kate Blackburn from Katie Did This UK on Etsy & Instagra
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 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.