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 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.

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 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 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 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.