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

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Off the hook #3 - Hill of Tara shawl

It is finished!!! I am so excited (and slightly relieved) to have finally finished my shawl. I started it what seemed like years ago although in reality it was only the beginning of the year.

The hibernation of this project has nothing to do with the pattern - as an Aoibhe Ni pattern it is fabulously written and very simple to follow. You work it from the centre out in a semi circular shape, increasing at the points to get the pointy effect I so love about this shawl. You work in double crochet front loop only and the bigger it gets the longer the rows become. I made very quick progress at first and then seemed to slow down. Also, I decided that I wanted it to be bigger than the original pattern, really easy to do with this pattern, and this may have been one of the reasons it has taken so long!

I have used 4 or 5 (I've lost count) of King Cole Riot DK in The Deep. The yarn is a wool/acrylic blend and is gorgeous to work with and very soft when washed - it also comes in chunky and is great for mitts and hats! The shade is like the sea, blues, greens and a hint of pink!

I am so pleased with the finished shawl and can't wait to wear it in winter!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

There be sheep in these parts!

I love sheep! They are not only cute and funny but they also provide me with much of the yarn I need to keep my stash at an appropriate level for crochet and knitting.

My friend from work left last week to move permanently to the beautiful part of the UK that is the Lake District. I will be visiting very soon to partake in yet more of her delicious gluten free cakes and to enjoy the breathtaking views from her cottage.

As a crafter, I needed to make her an extra special leaving present. I considered many things from blankets to cushions an even a shawl but, after trawling through books for inspiration, I finally came upon the perfect gift - crocheted sheep. Now this may seem an odd sort of leaving/house warming gift but there are 3 reasons why I made them!
Reason #1 - the Lake District is renowned for its sheep. They are everywhere you look!

Reason #2 - my friend and her husband regularly play a game they have created called Sheep Bingo which involves using the numbers painted in the sheep to play bingo (I kid you not!)

Reason #3 - who doesn't need a pair of his and hers crocheted sheep in their life?

The basic sheep pattern came from the book Amigurumi. It was very easy to make using Sirdar Snowflake and a cream Arab weight yarn for the body and black Arab weight yarn for the head and feet. I omitted the bit for the top of the head and improvised a bobble hat and scarf for each sheep - they do a fair bit of walking and again the Lake District is a great place to walk!

I am very proud of my little mountain sheep and Mr Bunny chuckled at them for days as they sat on the mantelpiece waiting to be wrapped up. My friend loved them and they even made an appearance at our certificate assembly at the end of term. Whimsical gifts are by far the best!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Gingerbread Bunny HQ

Around a month ago, me and Mr Bunny embarked on the arduous task of redecorating the spare room, aka Gingerbread Bunny HQ! We are hoping to up sticks and move north of the border sometime in the not to distant future and this was the first room to be made over. Unfortunately, I don't have any before pictures but it was pretty dismal with pale blue walls, a manky border and generally an uninspiring room where I didn't want to spend much time creating and, as I have plans for The Gingerbread Bunny to grow, it needed to change!

It is amazing what a very large tub of white paint can do! Now white isn't a colour I would normally choose for my walls but they need to be pretty neutral for renting out purposes. Now worry not, I got the colour in there! My woodwork and radiator is yellow and I have managed to get just about every colour somewhere in my room to make it bright!

Storage was a big issue before (despite the large built in cupboard -which was full of rubbish!) We tidied up and organised the cupboard, putting a large curtain in front of it, and added some shelves to display my craft books (I never realised I had so many!) I've even managed to squeeze a 2 drawer unit under the table!

My favourite part of the whole redecoration was wall art! I found a gorgeous owl picture in IKEA and a great Make do and Mend canvas in a discount shop for £3.99! I have lots of cards and pictures I wanted on the walls so I created a little washing line and used pretty pegs to hang them all up! I even painted a notice board and glued buttons onto pins to make it all crafty!!!

I love cushions but haven't had any need for them, until now! My little cosy area is a place where I can sit and browse books, magazines and do a bit of crochet! My foam blocking boards are at the bottom (useful and stores easily) with a throw and my Attack of the Giant Granny Square blanket on top and lots of cushions!

I now love spending time in the new Gingerbread Bunny HQ and feel much more inspired to create and make!

(I apologise that all the photos are at the end but I am blogging from my phone and it won't let me place them anywhere else!!)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Woolfest 2012

Woolfest!  I love it!  And this year's didn't disappoint.  We had a lovely journey up in the torrential rain and wind and, as we drove up the M6, had to keep checking to see what roads where closed due to flooding - brilliant.  It didn't turn out to be too bad and the poor weather certainly didn't keep us yarn obbsessed knitters, crocheters, felters and crafters away.

This year I took Mr Bunny with me for the first time.  We had to go and look at the animals first - various breeds of sheep, alpacas, goats and angora bunnies, before we could do anything else.  The rest of the day could have been a disaster with me 'dragging round' Mr Bunny whilst I comment on how pretty/soft/sparkly yarn is whilst he stands there looking bored as if to say 'it's only wool' but luckily the Rare Breeds Survial Trust where giving a talk and showing animals so Mr Bunny went to that whilst I spent all the money (he shouldn't have left me on my own!)

I think that I was quite well behaved. I bought 3 balls of petrol blue with a small amount of purple yarn (I think it is 4ply weight), 2 skiens of Easyknits Aran Tweed in purple and 3 balls of alpaca dyed pink, purple and turquoise.  I also paid a visit to the button stand (textilegarden) and purchased some buttons.  

One of the most exciting parts of the day was my visit to the ArtyBird stand.  They deliver textiles based City and Guilds courses in felting, fashion and embroidery up in Carnforth or via distance learning.  There were a selection of sketchbooks and work by current students and it is amazing.  So amazing that I have enrolled on the taught course for Level 1 Felting starting in September - squealllll!

All in all, it was a great day, as ever, everyone was super friendly, the ewes milk ice cream was delicious and the clog dancing entertaining.  I can't wait for next years Woolfest!

Sparkle and Shine!

The newest edition to my craft room - I am the sparkly button!

If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory (a must for anyone a bit geeky) you may recognise the title from a chat-up line once used by Leonard.  Now don't worry, I'm not trying to chat anyone up (I'm happily married!) but it is perfect for my sparkly makes I want to share with you today.  I must admit that I am a bit of a magpie!  I love sparkly things and am drawn to them instantly so when I saw the tutorial for blinging up a pair of pumps in last months Mollie Makes I just had to have a go myself.

Squeal!  I love my sparkly shoes!

I used a cheap pair of white canvas pumps from Asda (I couldn't bear to do this to my Converse incase it didn't go to plan!), some silver fabric paint, gem tac glue and lots of sequins.  My sequins are overlapped and very close together to give that extra sparkly feel to them and I only sequinned the sides.  I found the easiest way to apply the sequins was to put a bit of glue on the end of a paintbrush and let it go tacky and use this to pick the sequins up - it made it so much easier than fiddling with them.  Gluing all of those sequins on, 1 by 1, did take a bit of time but I found that I could do it infront of the TV so it wasn't too tedious.  I actually found it quite theraputic. 

I have road tested my new super sparkly pumps out and they performed extremley well - I lost 1 sequin which I think is down to not enough glue on it - lots of glue is definitley key and as it dries clear you can't see it anyway.

I love my new pumps and no doubt will wear them until they fall apart (much like the purple glittery pumps I once owned which had holes in them by the time I would throw them away)!  I have already begun to think of all the different coloured pumps I could have - I may need a new wardrobe.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Off the Hook #2 - eReader Cover

I gave in and bought myself an eReader!  I'm not about to give up all my books or never buy another book again - my Kobo will never replace books -but it is so handy to pop in your bag and you get the instant gratification of buying a book and having it straight away (no more repeats of me waiting behind the door for the second Hunger Games book to come in the post).  Of course, when one gets a new gadget it needs a case and, being crafty, of course this had to be handmade. 

I used some left over wool from a bag I made (the wool came from B&M Bargains - £1.99 for a 100g ball in some delicious colours!) I crocheted ribbed squares in pink, purple and green, and then crocheted them togetehr in  grey in a patchwork pattern. I finished it with a button and loop fastening. 

I love my Kobo as I can get my instant book fix as well as being able to download my PDF patterns to it which is way more tidier than having lots of sheets of paper everywhere!  I have avoided buying craft books on it as it is black and white and I love the colours in these and think they are so important.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Off the hook #1 ~ Sock Yarn Mitts

To continue my series of posts sharing my finished items from the past few months, I bring you my finished mitts!  Now, I know what you are thinking, it's summer and, despite the vast quantities of wet stuff that seems to be pouring from the sky here in England, it is still quite warm out there and not 'mitt' weather.  No, I haven't worn them yet (as tempted as I was to show them off to the World) but I am looking forward to being able to slip them on when the weather starts to get a bit chillier.

As you may recall, I received some superb birthday presents way back at the start of June and my best friend, Shinybees (she has a fabulous blog here), bought me the most delicious ball of supertwist sock yarn from Nuturing Fibres in South Africa which had been hand dyed especially for me. I couldn't resist the temptation to use the yarn straight away and started searching for suitable patterns to use.  I chose the Boleyn Mitts by Aoibhe Ni from her collection of mitts and gloves in the eBook Gloves to Love (all the mitts are fabulous in here and I have plans to make more - no cold hands for me!)  They have a stretchy, ribbed cuff and are then finished with lace detail at the top.  You then add ribbon and a button to finish it all off - gorgeous.  

I made the small size, and my ball of sock yarn was 100g.  There is still some yarn left and I now need to decide what to make with it - quite possibly some flowers for brooches and my hair!