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

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Getting organised and the Summer Crafty Challenge!

I am not the tidiest person in the world, infact, Mr Gingerbread Bunny is frequently complaining about the magazines I've left on the coffee table, the wool on the couch and the clothes I leave all over the floor!  My craft half-a-room had also gotten a little bit untidy of late and needed a good sort out and reorganising so, that is what I set to do today!

I store my crafty bits and pieces in various boxes and baskets and everything does have its place (when I put it away!)  My fabric is organised by size into crates and my wool is in a plastic box with a lid (so the moths don't get at it).  There isn't a vast amount of space for things so I have to make good use of what I have, space under the table, on the windowsill and on the tiny shelfy box thing against the wall. 

Tidy room!
I also have lots of crafty books and ideas taken from magazines.  The books live on the bookcase in my bedroom whilst all the clippings I put into various folders and notebooks according to their craft.  I have acquired many of these and hadn't gotten round to sorting them out so I did this today - it took ages!

Hopefully, I will maintain the very tidy state of my craft half-a-room for quiet some time!

Now, being a teacher, it is the summer holidays so I have set myself a Summer Crafty Challenge!  Each day I am going to do something crafty or craft related.  I had initially been too ambitious and aimed to complete a crafty project so am now being more realisitic!  I am posting my crafty activities each day on my Facebook page and on my new Twitter account as gingerbreadbun!  If you would like to join me in the challenge, which lasts until the 1st September, that would be amazing!

I would love to hear about your organisation tips and your crafty projects!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Getting to grips with pointy sticks!

Some more knitting needles 1 by pennydogaccessories courtesy of Flickr

I have done it, I have learnt how to knit!!!  I must admit I am still definitley a crocheter at heart but I had learn how to knit as there are just so many beautiful effects you can only get through knitting. 

I taught myself how to knit using some instructions from a magazine (I appologise but I cannot remember what it was called - it came with free wool and knitting needles and, to be fair, they weren't that great!) whilst I was on holiday early in June.  I spent a whole evening getting to grips with it, knit stitch was easy but I couldn't work out what I was doing with the purl stitch at all.  The instructions weren't clear enough and, being in a cottage in the middle of nowehere, the internet connection on my phone was not good enough to access the wealth of knoweldge on the web.  After a few texts and phonecalls to my Mum and fellow knitting friend, I finally got it (I had been adding extra stitches by bringing my yarn forward but knitting the stitch - I know this now!) as well as discovering that I had to keep swapping the needles over in my hands (so glad I found this out but I was getting pretty good at knitting left handed!)

Now I knew the stitches, I wanted to knit something. I have downloaded the Lion Brand Yarn App to my iPhone and I love it as it is packed full of patterns for both knitting and crochet which are all free, so I searched for easy/beginner scarf patterns. Many of the scarves for beginners where just a very, very long scarf of knit stitch or stocking stitch which I knew would not keep my interest for long.  Eventually I found my pattern, the Sebastian Scarf which is, pretty much, one big stitch sampler.  It is made up of several blocks of different stitches, basket weave, ribbed and a lovely textured stitch, all framed with knit stitch.  Much more interesting, and so I cast it on.

It took me about 4 weeks to complete the scarf (progress in knitting is much slower than in crochet!) but I really enjoyed knitting it and love the final scarf, it is gorgeous!  It also gave me a great chance to learn different stitches as well. 

So, here it is:

I will definitley be keeping a knitting project on the go alongside my many crochet ones.  I have already cast on a basket weave cowl using my beautiful angora wool and, I have to say, it is looking good - hopefully it will be finished by winter!!!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Project update!

Today's blog is going to be a project update.  So, here goes!

I have been making quite a few gifts recently.  For Amanda's birthday I crocheted her a purse out of some gorgeous turquoise wool, lined with some fabulous spotty fabric!  The pattern was free from the Lionbrand website!  I have the free iPhone App and it is amazing!  The pattern was easy and quick to make and I am planning on making it again!  

I have also been working on some baby blankets!  This blanket was for Jill's baby and she has very kindly said that I can post this gorgeous picture of her snuggled up in her blanket!  The pattern was another free one from Lion Brand and I crocheted it in Sirdar DK Bonus, an acrylic yarn which is really soft and very practical on the washing front for babies!  Rather than using 1 colour, I used a main colour, lilac, then trimmed it in pink as well as making the hood in pink.  The stitch is popcorn stitch and is really pretty.  I love it so much I am making a giant stripey one for me, and yes, there is a hood!

So cute!
I have also been making for me!  I am currently working on an altered book journal (Work has gotten in the way of progress but I hope to do more in the holidays and will be posting a tutorial on how I did it!)  A new journal means a new journal pouch!  I have made this one out of an old woolen/felt dress I no longer wear and have made a feature out of the pockets and the buckles. 

Last week, I bought a pair of purple jeans from a charity shop for £3!  The legs where a bit on the narrow side so I decided to turn them into a skirt!  I used some bright pink cord fabric to fill in the triangles and I love it now!  I haven't hemmed it as I'm not sure whether I want to - I quite like the roughness of the fraying edge!!!

I love the embroidery on the back pockets!
 And finally, my first big crochet project - a gorgeous granny square shrug! This is the Indian Summer Shrug from Issue 19 of Inside Crochet.  It is made in Rico Cotton and, I have to admit, not my favourite yarn!  I perservered with the cotton because I loved the pattern but, I will not be making it in cotton ever again!!!!  I wore it to work last week and had so many compliments about it.  Some people thought it must have been shop bought and couldn't beleive that I had made it.  It is really comfortable and so bright and unusual - I love it!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sarah and the Amazing Technicolour Yarn

I have finally gotten round to it!  Having a go at dyeing yarn.  It has been on  my crafty list of things to do for some time and this morning I eventually found the time to do it. 
After much Googling and research I settled on the very technical (ha!) method of Kool Aid dyeing!  I had heard about this in the Craftlife podcast and wasn't sure I would be able to get hold of Kool Aid in the UK but, again after much Googling (isn't the Internet a wonderful thing?!) I found a UK based supplier.  Yay!  For those of you unfamiliar with Kool Aid, it is a powder drinks mix that, in the USA, you mix with water to make a drink.  Now then, I am not adverseto e numbers and know all too well what spilling Lucozade and Iron Bru does to your clothes but, given the fact that you can actually dye yarn with Kool Aid, I would not be drinking it!

I bought my Kool Aid from DT Craft & Design, where they have a range of colours as well as brilliantly put together kits.  I wanted to dye some gorgeous natural merino and alpaca wool I bought on my holidays but, as it wasn't cheap, needed to test out my skills first.  So, I bought a Funky Dyeing Kit for the reasonable price of £6 which included a 50g skien of wool, 6 sachets of various colours of Kool Aid, gloves, apron, detailed instructions and a clear, microwavelable plastic tub: everything I needed to get started.  I decided to use all 6 colours to make a multicoloured yarn as this would allow me to see which colours gave the best effects. I also included a piece of the merino yarn to see how it took the colour too!

Brilliant kit from DT Craft & Design

I began by soaking my yarn in a pan of water with a small amount of washing up liquid for around 45 minutes so that the yarn was throughly soaked.  I then sqqeezed out the water carefully, making sure I didn't wring it.

Soaking Yarn
 Whilst the yarn was soaking, I made up my dye.  As I was going for a multicoloured look, I made each colour up in a plastic sports bottle - the lids are great for easy application of the dye!  I used 100ml of water to 1 sachet of Kool Aid.

A range of beautiful colours!
 Next came the application of the dye.  I lay the yarn out in a horseshoe shape and applied the dye in blocks (there are lots of different ways to apply it which you can read about in the instruction leaflet!) You don't actually need an awful lot of dye, although I think I used to much.  Once applied, it was time to cook my yarn.  I put it in the plastic tub provided and microwaved it on high for around 4 minutes, in 1 minute slots until the liquid was boiling - this helps to set the dye in the yarn.

Cooked yarn!

Once cool, I rinsed the yarn in warm water, carefully squeezing and wringing the water out.  I then placed it
out to dry.

The finished product!

I am really glad I bought the dyeing kit as it has given me the chance to try out the colours and technique first before commiting it to my gorgeous yarn!  Some colours work much better than others - the Strawberry Red and Cool Berry Turquoise come out really well!  You need to be really careful not to apply too much dye of you are going for a multicoloured yarn as it can run together and make a muddy brown colour (I got this effect unintentionally). I have decided to dye my yarn in 1 colour next time, and have some Pink Lemonade Kool Aid and Grape to use!) 

Kool Aid dyeing is really easy, really cheap (50p a sachet from DT Craft & Design ~ this will dye 50g of yarn!) and makes your yarn smell pretty good to. It would also be a great activity for kids to as it is pretty messy!  I am so looking forward to my next dyeing adventure!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

A little bit late Being Creative!

It seems like such a long time since I blogged!  (It has only been about 2 weeks!)  I have been really busy lately, with school, recovering from a residential with school and finishing some projects (I am being good and not starting the many projects I want to until I've finished some of my outstanding ones).

I am a little bit late in posting last month's Being Creative work but, as they say, better late than never.  If you aren't familiar with the Being Creative project then check out some of my previous blogs or hop over to Julia Crosslands fabulous blog to find out more. 

The theme for June was the ocean.  At the beginning of June I went to Scotland for a relaxing week away.  On my brithday, we spent the day at the coast and I took some photographs of what I found on the beach that had been swept up by the sea.  Here is what I took!

Me and Mr Bunny at Coldingham Beach

What a view!




More seaweed
 If you fancy joining the Being Creative group, just pop along to Julia's blog!  She is now very kindly offering a free Being Creative ebook to all who sign up to her mailing list.