Episode 33 : The Patchwork Girls with novelist Elaine Everest

Elaine Everest

For many of us, our crafts take a back seat as we concentrate on our careers and creativity can be stifled by everyday life. For novelist, Elaine Everest, a childhood growing up with a mother who made clothes and sewed for friends and family, that creativity stayed with her. From dressmaking as a young girl to making designer garments on a knitting machine for London boutiques to then setting up her own business sewing raincoats for dogs, Elaine achieved a lot before she embarked on yet another creative career as a novelist.

Sewing is a theme which runs through Elaine’s series ‘The Woolworths Girls’ and is centre stage in her latest book; The Patchwork Girls. The story, set in World War II, sees a group of women form a sewing circle making patchwork quilts and other items for the war effort. Elaine drew on her own experience of crafts to write the story which shows the healing effects of both friendships and creativity.

Elaine says that although her interest in crafting had waned over the years, the events of the past 18 months have reacquainted her with sewing, crochet and other crafts and that they have ‘saved’ her during lockdown. She spoke to me about her life, her love of creativity and how she ended up writing a string of novels.

You can listen to Elaine’s episode here.

The Patchwork Girls is published by Pan MacMillan.

You can find out more about Elaine on her website, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter

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.

A Flock of Canary Craftivists – Bonus Episode

The Manchester Flock at Manchester’s Central Library

Hello there! Although Making Stitches is supposedly on a summer break, here’s a little bonus episode all about a project I’ve been involved with recently which began with a previous episode of this podcast. Back in May, I released Episode 25 of Making Stitches which featured a chat I had with Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective. In it, she told me about her plan for a summer of ‘craftivism’ featuring flocks of Canary Craftivists staging public displays of crafting to raise awareness of environmental issues ahead of this year’s Cop 26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Galvanized by Sarah’s infectious enthusiasm, I found myself co-ordinating a small flock of canary craftivists in Manchester. This episode is the story of how it came about and how it went. Blighted by the ‘pingdemic’ our flock was small but, dare I say it(?), perfectly formed and we were able to engage passers-by in our craft and the message behind it. I do hope you enjoy listening!

You can listen to the episode here.

The Manchester Flock stitching at the Emmeline Pankhurst statue

If you would like to find out more about the Canary Craftivists and the Craftivist Collective please visit the Craftivist Collective website, Instagram or Twitter.


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 Weston.

Evie & Gemma from the Manchester Flock

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 29 : From sewing scrubs to Sewing Bee 🐝

Adam Brooks

I don’t know about you but this year’s Great British Sewing Bee was just what the doctor ordered for me. After a spring of lockdowns, isolation, burst bubbles and home schooling, the creativity, colour and humour of GBSB was so uplifting.

The standard of the contestants this year was really high, and many of them could have gone all the way to final had it not been for one bad day when things didn’t go exactly according to plan. The camaraderie of the 12 sewing competitors, the friendships you were able to witness developing and the fabulous garments that were created made it a fantastic series.

Adam in one of his own sewn outfits

One of those contestants was Adam Brooks, an Entertainments Director on a cruise ship, who used his time during the pandemic while stuck on dry land, to get creative and reacquaint himself with his sewing machine. He created beautiful garments on the show from a stunning 1950s style button down dress to a Frida Kahlo inspired playsuit and won the transformation challenge twice! Unfortunately a child’s raincoat got the better of him in week 5 and saw him saying goodbye to his fellow contestants.

Another of Adam’s passions is knitting by hand & machine

You can listen to Adam’s episode here.

I’m absolutely thrilled that Adam agreed to speak to me for Making Stitches and really grateful he shared some of his behind the scenes experiences from Sewing Bee. I hope you enjoy listening to our chat as much as I did recording it. You can find Adam on Instagram.

A poem Adam wrote about his time on GBSB


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.

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 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 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 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 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.