Welcome to The Gingerbread Bunny! I'm Sarah, a textile artist specialising in crochet and felt based in Wigan in the North-West of England.

On my blog, you can find my day-to-day craft adventures and tutorials.

You can find details of my work for sale and workshops on my website - www.thegingerbreadbunny.co.uk

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

How to Finger Crochet


The summer holidays are well under way here in Wigan!

Sadly, the weather isn't what it should be: it's raining, cold and I've had to put a wooly cardigan on as I refuse to turn the heating on in July.

Miserable weather doesn't have to mean miserable children. There are lots of exciting art and craft activities you can do at home that will keep your little ones (and yourself) entertained. 

Finger Crochet

Finger crochet is a fantastic introduction to crochet. Children often find it tricky to co-ordinate the hook and yarn and finger crochet offers them a way try it out.  I taught finger crochet as part of a family learning session last year, and the children lived making great long chains which they then plaited together to make necklaces and scarves they adored wearing. 

All you need to get started is some yarn and your fingers! You want something quite substantial and thick: chunky yarn, a few strands of finer yarn held together or you could even cut up an old tshirt or  fabric to make your own yarn! 

This is a great video, showing you how to finger crochet. I recommend that you just stick with the chaining for children (shown at the start of the video). How to work into the stitches is shown later in the video, great for teenagers and for yourself as I'm sure you'll be joining in to! 

Once you get started, there's no limit to what you can create - from one skein scarves to beautiful rugs -  there'll be no stopping those crocheting fingers.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Under the Sea - A Water Themed Art Project

So last week I was in a lovely school in Wigan, St Catherine's, working on a big felt project.

The theme was water and that led us to a lovely design featuring lots of sea animals. The school has links to a school in South Africa and two teachers came to visit that week - Vivienne and Godfrey. This influenced the design with a mixture of British and South African sea animals featuring. 

Part of the project was making a smaller hanging to go back to South Africa - it's very exciting to think that a piece of my work is now over there! 

Every child, members of staff and both visitors participated and contributed to the work. I love sharing felt making with others and my favourite bit is when they've managed to felt and stick the wool together - it's like magic! 

Here are a few photos from my week!

           A gift to take back to South Africa

                         Making felt seaweed

                                         A little fishy before felting

                                      How amazing is this Killer Whale?

       Creating the first panel - British Sea

  The second panel all ready to felt - South Africa Sea

The panels are now all dry and ready to be prepared for hanging (I sew a thin channel of fabric to the back to be threaded onto a pole) and then I'll take them back to school to be hung. I can't wait to see them up! 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Crochet Trend 2 - Rainbows

So, here is the second trend I'm blogging about as part of Deramores (the lovely people who sell all the lovely yarn and now sell West Yorkshire Spinners - squeal!) blog competition. The trend for this post was originally blogged by Heather Leal of The Patchwork Heart. 

Rainbow Colours

                                          Rainbow Hook and Pencil Cup by Fibre Flux

If you didn't already know, I love colour! Rainbows take colour to a whole different level in colour choosing. We often think of a rainbow as being bright and bold and, when I was browsing through Ravelry, I discovered I'd favourited a number of patterns which all use bright rainbow colours.  There are a few areas to consider when crocheting a rainbow:  

Stripes vs Varigated

There are 2 ways to achieve a rainbow in our crochet.

Jessie Rayot's 'Skylark in Wonderland' uses mini skeins to create this beautiful rainbow shawl. 

The first is to use stripes. Changing colour at the end of each row or round (make that last pull through before you change colour in your new colour for a nice, clean change). This gives you beautiful, clean stripes where you want them and you can use however many colours you would like - think of the giant rainbow you could create?!   However, it can mean lots of ends to weave in - for me, the biggest chore of crochet!

This beautiful shrug by Bernadette Ambergen is called 'Rainbow' and uses a varigated yarn to create a rainbow.  Long colour changes create stripes without too many yarn ends to weave in.

Varigated yarn takes the millions of ends to weave in away and someone has selected your rainbow colours for you! However, you have no control over how long your stripes will be, when the next colour will start or the number of colours in your rainbow. 

You also need to be aware of the length of your colour changes. In the shrugs the colour changes are lovely and long creating beautiful stripes.  In the flower below, the colour changes are much shorter, lasting only 2 or 3 stitches. Your project will determine the length of colour change you want. Although a short change is effective in a small flower or shawl, would you want to wear it as a jumper? 

 Crocheted flower produced by a student on one of my workshops. The short colour changes in this yarn are very effective in a smaller project. 

Choosing Your Rainbow Colours

I love the way we all have our own palette we steer towards when we choose colours - mine are pinks, purples, teals, turquoises and emerald greens. Although this is wonderful, and I love seeing how other people combine colour, it can make choosing colours for a rainbow a bit daunting. 

1) Firstly, a rainbow doesn't have to be bright and bold. It can be more subtle, like the pastel shades in this flower. It could be an earthy rainbow of rusty oranges, browns and greens or a neutral rainbow of greys, black and white. 

Pastel rainbow flower crocheted by a student on one of my workshops. 

2) You can start by getting your stash out, or visiting your local yarn shop, and looking at different ways of combining the colours. Start with 2 or 3 colours and put the balls of yarn next to each other. Introduce other colours and see how they affect your choice so far - do they brighten it or dull it? Does it make you smile or grimace? Keep playing around until you find the colours that make your heart sing.

3) Do you have a ball of varigated yarn you love? You could use this to crochet your rainbow but, if you want beautiful, clean stripes,  then pick out the individual colours within it and use these as solid colours to create your rainbow.

   A very different type of rainbow by Attic 24. Cosy Striped Blanket. 

4) Finally, look at other peoples rainbow projects and how they combine colours. Use their colour choices to inspire yours. There are lots of crocheted rainbows out there so there's plenty of inspiration to be found.  Attic 24 is a great source of inspiration for your rainbows!

I hope this post has given you some inspiration to start your crochet rainbow. 

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit www.deramores.com for more details. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Crochet Trend 1 - Large Motifs

Deramores (the lovely people who sell a wide array of yarn in just about every fibre and colour) have launched their Blog competition for 2015. They've asked 6 bloggers to share what they think is a key crochet or knitting trend and then we (the bloggers who hope to win £500 of yarn - that's a lot of yarn!) share our take on the trend. It's definitley worth checking out the competition and it really does get you thinking about your crochet (or knitting!)

Large Motifs

The first trend I'm going to blog about is large motifs as previously blogged about by Dedri Uys of lookatwhatimade

This trend jumped out at me right away as I'm currently part of the Moogly Afghan Square CAL, making large afghan squares to stitch together to make a blanket.

I started just before Christmas, using yarn from my stash,  with the 2014 motifs and am now working through the 2015 squares as they're published - I get very excited waiting for the next one.

The great thing about large motifs is that not only do they look fabulous, and can be made using the ends of yarn balls from other projects, but, for those of us that are a little impatient, you feel like your making progress towards your blanket rather quickly (and there aren't as many squares to stitch together so less ends to weave in.)

Large motifs aren't only great for blankets but can be used for a whole range of projects - cushion covers, bags and how fabulous would one look on the back of a crochet jacket? I definitley need to try the jacket idea!

Here are my 5 favourite large motifs from the Moogly CAL:

Flower Tile Afghan Square - http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flower-tile-afghan-square

More V's Please - http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/more-vs-please---12-square

Tamara's Kismet Square - http://jessieathome.com/tamaras-kismet-square

Starburst Square - http://www.triflesntreasures.com/my-attempt-at-blogging/starburst-squarefree-12-afghan-square-pattern#.VUN3l354WK2

Pinwheel Afghan Square - http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/flower-tile-afghan-square

This post is my submission to the Deramores Craft Blog Competition 2015. Deramores is the UK’s number one online retailer of knitting and crochet supplies. Visit www.deramores.com for more details.