Welcome to The Gingerbread Bunny! I'm Sarah, a textile crafter and teacher based in the North-West of England.

Here you will find my crafty blog where I share my day-to-day crafty adventures, as well as details of craft workshops which I teach across the North-West of England and links to where you can buy my funky and unique handmade items.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog. Why not leave a comment or send me an email? I'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts!

Friday, 11 April 2014

An Evening with Debbie Bliss

Last night I met knitting royalty!  I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the Debbie Bliss event at The Black Sheep Craft Barn in Culcheth and it turned out to be a fabulous evening.  

Being rather excited, we did arrive early, but this gave us chance to browse the yarn and to check out the beautiful fabrics in the new Fabric Room. 

The evening began with a goody bag from designer yarns, a glass of bubbly (I couldn't refuse) and canapes (or butties and sausage rolls for those of us slightly more common) before being whisked off to the workshop room for a Q and A with the lady herself - Debbie Bliss.

It was really interesting listening to Debbie talk about her career as a knitwear designer and work in producing her line of yarns, what inspires her to design as well as tales of projects that haven't quite gone to plan!  We managed to have a little chat with her (and a piccie) afterwards. 

From left to right:  Fiona, Me, Debbie Bliss, Joanne
During our chat about knitting and my crocheting, she started to talk about her friend who had come with her who was a crocheter and had just started to write a column in Simply Crochet magazine.  At the mention of the name Emma I knew who it was and I was whisked away by Debbie to meet her! It was the wonderful crochet designer Emma Varnam. I have to say that I was a little starstruck about meeting her as I adore her patterns and have made a few of them myself - the Indian Summer Shrug being the first crocheted item of clothing I ever made!  If you aren't familiar with Emma's work then check out her blog.  She regularly has patterns published in Inside Crochet and has written a new How to Crochet Book.  We had a really good talk about crochet, even though I couldn't remember anything I did, she admired my shawl, and photographed it,and she even took my business card (squeal)! 

Emma Varnam and Me

I am truly inspired now to really knuckle down and write up some of the patterns I've designed and get them out there into the crochet world - as I've been threatening for quite some time now.

Well done to The Black Sheep Craft Barn for hosting such a great event .  When is the next one?!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Felt Through Contact

Last Thursday I was lucky enough to make an impromptu visit to Farfield Mill in Sedbergh with my Aunty.

We had arranged to go out for coffee and cake and, having exhausted all our usual local, crafty haunts, I suggested a trip up the M6 to see the current felt exhibition, Felt through Contact: Viltkontaktgroep 20 Years On. 

Farfield Mill is an old Victorian woollen mill just outside of the idyllic village of Sedbergh. It has been restored and is now a mix of museum, gallerys, workshops and studios.  You can find out all about the mill and see the old looms in action, take a peek inside artists studios, find out about the 'terrible knitters of Dent (meaning terribly good) and do a bit of crafty shopping!

Having visited before, I knew what to expect but, as a new visitor, my aunty loved all the different crafts and assures me she will be visiting again. 

The main reasons for our visit, was to see the current felt exhibition. 
There was a great array of pieces, from clothing and accessories to wall hangings, 3d items and abstract work.  As a felter, it was fascinating to see the way these items had been constructed, the way texture had been created and the use of colour.  My favourite items where the clothing and I just adored the deep pink felt dress in the entrance of the mill - it was absolutley stunning! The coat pictured below was also a firm favourite whilst my aunty loved a piece about memories with lots of small rectangles of embroidered felt attached to a piece of wood.

We enjoyed a cheese and onion toastie, glass if elderflower cordial and a piece of the most delicious lemon and ginger cake in the cafe before hitting the shop! We both exercised great restraint here, I bought a copy of Art of the Feltmaker by Mary Burkett and a bar of Kendal Mint Cake whilst my Aunt bought a gorgeous swaledale woolen braclet.

The exhibition is running until the 22nd of April and I thorougly recommend a visit if you can get to it!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Colour and Freeform Crochet

For once, I had a little bit of time to myself this weekend to try something a little new.  Last week, one of my students was asking about freeform crochet.  It is a technique I have seen before - I've admired it and looked at many images of it but I've never actually tried it because, well, I was a little bit scared and had no idea where to start.  She inspired me to do a bit more research and to have a go and, I can safely say, I have found a new addiction!

I began on Pinterest, pinning lots of images of freeform crochet that I liked and looking at the shapes used to build them (you can find my Freeform Crochet board here).  

Through my pinning, I discovered the beautiful Snovej blog with a whole series of  posts and tutorials on freeform crochet.  Her tutorials are very easy to follow and have photographs to help.  They are a great starting point for anyone wishing to enter the world of freeform crochet.

I decided to crochet my shapes and to join them as I went along.  I started with a paisley pattern I had and then a leaf pattern from an issue of Inside Crochet.  I made circles and then used the tutorials on the Snovej blog to make spirals and other exciting shapes.  I tried out the bullion stitch and found I need a lot of practise as this.  As I stitched each scrumble (the name for each shape you make) empty spaces where formed - I crochet circles, triangles and trapeziums to fill these and stitched them in, stretching where necessary to make them fit.  I even added some little pieces stitched behind the work.

I used hand dyed yarns in shades of pink, purple and red which fitted in nicely with this weeks Journal 52 prompt - Colour Swatch.  They are my favourite colours and have now become my latest page in my art journal.

I can't wait to start my next piece of freeform crochet.  I am thinking of making a small purse so will need to do a little bit more research - my next challenge!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Journal 52 - Jumping Ahead to Week 8

Despite not having even starting week 7's prompt yet, I've already completed week 8's (and the prompt was only posted this afternoon!)

The prompt was 'Found Poetry' encouraging us to create a poem. The inspiration page was an altered page from a book where words were highlighted that spoke to the artist.and the rest of the page blacked out.

I was inspired to have a go at this technique and grabbed my copy of pride and prejudice I use for craft purposes, ripped out a random page and grabbed a black pen. I followed the guide and just highlighted words that stood out as I read them and ended up creating this poem which is really relevant to me at the moment - it was as if the page and words just jumped out! I then added my little stick 'sisters'!

Incase you can't see it, it says:

Wished she had understood the truth travelling among sisters was great for her.