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

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Patchwork Project Bag

It seems like such a long time since I last blogged (probably because it is!)  I have been busy working on a number of projects, many of which I have completed, and now have plenty to keep me going with my blogging for the next few weeks.

As part of the textiles course I have been attending at night school, we looked at patchwork.  I really love the mix and match look of patchwork and have had a go at a few projects using simple rectangular strips of patchwork in the past.  On the course we looked at the use of hexagons to create patchwork, a technique very popular in Victorian times and again in the seventies.  In class I made a simple hexagon patchwork flower, using some patterned fabric from an old skirt, which could very simply be used to decorate a cushion cover.

The patchwork page in my sketchbook
Everyone on the course chooses a final project to make.  I have been dying to make the hexagon patchwork knitting bag from Cath Kidston's Sew for a long time and saw this as my opportunity to finally get it made.  Now, this wasn't a small project - would I pick anything easy?  And has taken me quite a long time to finish.  This is why:

It required 60, yes 60, hexagons to make the  bag.  That meant:

Cutting out 60 small paper hexagons. (I used an old magazine)

Cutting out 1 larger paper hexagon to use as a template to then cut out 60 fabric hexagons

Sewing 60 fabric hexagons over the 60 paper hexagons

Sewing all 60 hexagons together, in a specific way, to make the bag and then sewing in the lining and attaching the handles!

A lot of work?  Definitley, but I really really enjoyed it!  It was a great project that could be picked up and put down as and when.  Some nights I managed 2 or 3 hexagons whilst other days I would make lots of progress.  It was really rewarding to watch it grow and to see how all the different patterns of fabrics came together and I love my finished bag. 

My finished bag
In the interests of sustainability, and saving some pennies, I used fabric from my stash.  There are fabric scraps left over from past projects, fabric from old clothes, fabric from larger pieces I have and, if you look carefully, fabric from the printing I did earlier on in the course; I just made sure that they were all of similiar weights.  Each fabric appears no more than 3 times and I arranged them carefully to create a real mix of pattern and colour.  The lining fabric and handles I already had; I bought absolutley nothing new to make it. 

Now I have caught the patchwork bug, I am desperate to tackle a large project - a cushion? another bag? or maybe an entire quilt??

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


Examples of couching can be seen in the Bayeux Tapestry

In what appears to be a catch-up series of posts, I wanted to share with you all some more of my work from my textiles course, couching. 

Couching is the technique of sewing down fabrics, yarn and other fabrics to a large piece of cloth. 

It is generally thought of as an embroidery technique and examples of couching can be seen on medieval textile work including the Bayeux Tapestry!  It is still a technique that is popular today, being used to decorate Indian and Palestinian clothing, most commonly wedding dresses and formal wear.

For my sample, I found examples of couching work on the internet and Pinterest, and then found whatever I could lying around, yarn, scraps of fabric and even some plastic, and stitched it down!  You can use straight forward running stitches or more fancy embroidery stitches to sew them down and can sew the fabrics straight or in spirals, zig zags and curves. 

My couching sample
Couching is a simple but effective way to decorate a piece of work and I think it would fabulous on bags, purses and other small items. 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Printing pretty pictures

As you are probably already aware, I have been attending a textiles course at night school since September.  I have had a great time, met some wonderful people and learnt lots of new skills and techniques along the way.  I have already told you about some of the things I've been up to in my previous posts, Embroidery and Cross Stitch, All about Applique and Rag Rugging

Today's post is about printing, more specifically batik and acrylic paint printing.  I found myself really enjoying both of these techniques and am keen to try my hand at other printing styles now.

Batik is the craft of using wax and dye to create pictures and patterns on fabric.  It is a printing technique often seen in textiles from countries such as Java, Indonesia andAfrica and has been practised for many centuries.

Using hot wax and a tjanting tool, a pattern is created on the fabric (I sketched my picture out in pencil first so I knew what I was doing).  When the dye is applied to the fabric, the areas where the wax has been applied resist the dye, thus creating the picture.  Once dry, brown paper is placed over the top of the picture and then you iron the fabric to remove the wax. 

I made 2 batik pieces on the night:

A tree

and a small sock knitting project bag for my friend as a Christmas present.

Polysterne Block Printing
This technique involved using polysterene (the sort you find on the back of pizzas in supermarkets) to create a printing block.  I used a sharp pencil to etch my design deeply into the polysterene.

Then, acrylic paint, diluted with a touch of water, was applied to the block and then the block pressed firmly onto the fabric to print on the design.

I made 2 repeated patterns on my fabric.

A ball of yarn with a crochet hook

And my multicoloured I heart Crochet

Both of these fabrics are now being used in my final project for this term which will be revealed when it is finished!

There are, of course, many different types of printing techniques included using stencils and screen printing.