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

Monday, 20 February 2012

Scarfgate, the Scarf of Doom and a knitting revolution.

Bagpuss and his Scarf of Doom

As you are probably already aware, I love making.  I enjoy a whole array of crafts from crochet to art journaling, sewing and knitting.  Most of these, if not all, are self taught from books, the internet and the wonderful world of You Tube.  This is the beauty of craft - you can have a go and teach yourself.  Workshops can be really expensive and, quite often, not in the area you live meaning that attending these have to be chosen very carefully.  Sometimes this means you might not quite get the technique quite the way the book or video intended or you adapt patterns and substitue yarn and materials to suit yourself.  But really, does it matter? 

Apparently so, as I found out last week.  A few weeks ago Deadly Knitshade, guerilla knitter, yarnbomber and all round fabulous creative gal, appeared on BBC News early one Saturday morning to talk about knitting, it's rise in popularity and the relaxing, de-stressing benefits of taking up such a craft.  Sporting a stripey scarf (and Cooey the Pigeon), she sat knitting a stipey scarf, henceforth to be known as the Scarf of Doom, on massive needles in very cool bright colours whilst talking and being filmed and being watched by millions of viewers across the World (no pressure there then).  I have watched the video of this (check it out here) and was pretty impressed - what a great way to promote knitting to a wider audience and show how it is for everyone, not just knitting ninja nannas! 

But all was not well in the knitting world.  Some people did not approve of her appearance and weren't afraid to share their views with the wider World. Imagine my shock when on the Facebook page of a well known local yarn store to me, appeared the video followed by lots of derogatory comments about Deadly Knitshade's tension, technique, choice of yarn, choice of needles, choice of pattern!  Some of these comments where rather nasty and very personal and, as I follow Deadly Knitshade on Twitter, she began to post links to other Facebook pages of well know yarn brands where other people had also posted nasty comments about her appearance and, in some cases, the owners of the pages had added comments to.  Since Scarfgate began, these posts have been removed although I've yet to see them post a public appology on their own page - we still saw it and we haven't forgotten it.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are patterns that I have seen that I don't particularly like or I would never make but, someone designed it and someone somewhere will be making it because they like it.  That doesn't mean I need to publicly comment on it, does it?  But it seems that as this event had taken place on live television, anyone could say what they liked regardless of the feelings of the person that made it.  I wasn't aware that, as crafters, we were being 'watched' and 'judged' by the knitting/crochet/sewing police?! That someone, somewhere was making notes on what I was making, in what yarn and using which techniques - and they better not be as my needles may well be sharper than theres!  (If you haven't already gathered, I am just a teensy bit angry)

Being the tough cookie that she is, Deadly Knitshade has not sat in the corner and wept, she has started a revolution of the knitting kind!  I sent my tweet of support to her when Scarfgate kicked off, as did many of my fellow good natured knitters and crafters.  Last week, she released the free pattern of the Scarf of Doom (as seen on BBC News) so that we could join in the knitting revolution ~ I recommend downloading the pattern from Ravelry here as just reading it is thought provoking and entertaining.  The purpose of knitting the Scarf of Doom is to show your support for Deadly Knitshade and to show that you believe that we, as knitters and crafters, are free to make whatever we want using whatever materials we want and whatever techniques we choose. 

Last night I knitted my very own Scarf of Doom using acrylic yarn from my stash in the brightest colours I could find using 9mm needless.  I ran out of white yarn so I cast off, added some tassles and decided that it would be perfect for Bagpuss (my car cat!)  Bagpuss is overjoyed to receive this beautiful, creative, handmade gift and will be wearing it with pride as he sits on the parcel shelf of my car, showing everyone that we support freedom for knitters and crafters everywhere. 

Bagpuss supporting the knitting revolution

So, what are you waiting for?  Get to Ravelry, get the pattern downloaded and show you support for the freedom of knitters everywhere.  Join the knitting revolution!  Power to the purly people!

You can follow Deadly Knitshade on Facebook, Twitter and through the Stitch London group on Ravelry. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

My first sweater!

I have finally done it!  I have crocheted my first sweater.  I actually finished it in January but life has gotten in the way and so I'm only blogging about it now (sorry!)

My finished sweater!
 The pattern I used is the Lace Sweater pattern by Victoria Brown featured in issue 26 of Inside Crochet (check out their blog here with a much better photo of the sweater than I took!)  It was worked from the bottom up with the body made in 1 piece and the sleeves made separatley. The sleeves were then attached to the body and then the yoke and neck of the sweater worked last.  The cuffs, bottom and neck used a lovely raised treble stitch with the body and arms worked in a 7 row repeat lace pattern.  Once I got into the lace pattern, it was very simple to complete.

Close up of the lace pattern

I used some yarn that I had in my stash, Sirdar Country style.  This is a wool acrylic blend which I bought from Abakhan at a bargain price of £12.95 for 12 balls!  It took approximatley 8 balls to make (I made the largest size).  The yarn is a lovely purple colour which washes well!! 

Once complete, the pattern says to steam block it - new for me!  I used a steam iron and the way the yarn changed was very exciting.  

I have worn my sweater a couple of times and it has been admired by many people.  All in all, I really enjoyed crocheting it and am looking forward to tackling my next sweater pattern.   

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Wonder of Wool @ Rheged

Some time late last year, I was on one of my many visits to the beautiful Lake District and once again visited Rheged at Penrith. Rheged is a wonderful place with shops, cafes, a 3D cinema and a gallery.  It regularly holds exhibitions and other exciting events, including vintage and craft fairs, and is well worth a visit.  On my visit I saw a poster for an exhibition, Wonder of Wool and the art of knit and stitch, and made a mental note to return to see it!

So, today was that day!  Teamed with an overnight stay in a country inn last night (and a few cheeky drinks), me and Mr Bunny ventured up the M6 to Rheged to visit this exhibition - and we were not disappointed.

The exhibition is located on the fourth floor in The Gallery and 'manned' by helpful, friendly and informative staff.  As well as paying the £2.50 entrance fee (well worth it in my opinion) I also purchased a small catalogue for £1.50 which contains information about the various exhibits and their artists.  This has been personally hand bound in Herdwick wool by Marion Woolcott (founder member of The Woolclip) and there are only 500 of them (I have number 81!)

The exhibition was wonderful and I really enjoyed wandering around, at my own leisurley pace, taking in all the pieces, reading my booklet and generally enjoying myself.  The pieces are varied and, like all art, some I liked more than others! There are exhibits to look at, some to listen to and a few interactive areas.  There is also a small shop selling handmade items, books, yarn and kits. 

Rather than discussing every single piece with you, I will share my best bits and Mr Bunny's best bits!

My Best Bits!
I found every piece interesting in it's own way.  I particularly liked the knitted BMW engine, a collaboration between the artist Amy Twigger Holroyd, BMW apprentices and pupils at Coleshill Primary School.  It was very detailed and made fromn some rather pretty sparkly wool!  There was also a piece that was made from pieces of knitting patchworked together which I really liked (although I can't remember the artist's name).  I am really inspired by this to make a knitted or crocheted patchwork item from all the left over bits of yarn I have!

Mr Bunny's Best Bits!
Now then, at this point it is important to tell you that Mr Bunny has very little interest in textile art.  He is supportive of my interest and often accompanies me to such events as this one with very little fuss (although I have to pay!)  He enjoyed the exhibition and really liked Freddie Robins' Knitted Homes of Crime, knitted houses of the homes of female criminals, Max Alexander's knitted animations and the Flock.  He has instructed me to download templates as he now wants to make some pom-pom sheep to contribute to the Flock (check out the project here) - I am sure there is a future blog post here!

If you, like me, are interested in textile art, be it knitting, crochet, felting and stitching, then a visit to WOW is a must.  The exhibition runs until the 15th April 2012 and, if you check out the website here, there are other events, including drop in workshops, running alongside it.