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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Teeny Weeny Crochet Bunting Pattern


Hope you are all having a relaxing Sunday. I for one am a little bit worse for wear after a wedding last night but the little bit of crochet I have done has definitely distracted me from my hangover!

I have strung up the bunting I used in my last post on blocking.......

Teeny Weeny Crochet Bunting by SallyStrawberry

What do you think? I am also trying to work on my photography a bit so hopefully you will see some improvement in my pictures.

This bunting measures about 90cm in total so would be perfect for decorating a dressing table or for brightening up a bookcase. I love it and am making it in loads more colours to sell at my craft fair in Dec. The colours here are Sunshine, Denim, Raspberry and Meadow (all Stylecraft DK). It is also mega easy so suitable for beginners!

Now for the exciting part.......I have written up the pattern for this cute bunting and it can be found HERE! under my patterns tab. I have also adapted my previous post about blocking to make a tutorial which can be found HERE or under my NEW 'TUTORIALS' TAB. I am also going to make a photo tutorial to accompany the pattern in the very near future.

If you decide to have a go at making this bunting (and why would you not ey :-p) then I would love to see how you get on. Similarly if you have any questions about the pattern then don't hesitate to get in touch.

Much love,

SS xx

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Blocking small items


So, what do you think when I say "blocking"? The first time I had heard it was by my friend Ellie of Craft House Magic. She had made one of her first (of many fabulous) shawls and was saying how she was blocking it and was terrified how it was going to turn out. I just nodded and said yes, "its a worry isn't it" and then thought "what on earth is blocking?!?"......then I did some research.....

Turns out that 'blocking' is one of the most important steps of any knitting or crochet project to make your items look 'nice like in the picture'. So, I have been committing the ultimate woolly crimes.....I still to this day have never checked my gauge, nor done a swatch (to redeem myself I rarely make anything that actually has to fit).......but I had actually been blocking my work, just didn't know the correct terminology, and had been using an unorthodox method.

Joanne of Not So Granny recently wrote a fantastic, very informative, and very comprehensive post about how to block your work with step by step instructions and pictures. It must have been a lot of work so thank you! It will be a constant referral point for me as I start to make products that require blocking. Joanne writes about wet blocking by giving your item a good soaking. Lucy of Attic 24 also posted about 'steam blocking' whereby small items, such as bunting, are blocked by hovering a steam iron over your work which is firstly pinned into position. My method is a mix of the two, and I will go through it now.....

I must say that my method is only suitable for small items, such as bunting or for individual pieces of a toy before sewing together (I always find it is much easier to sew toys together once they are blocked as it is way easier to match stitches up and make the finished item look neater).

This is my method for bunting for example, or anything that could do with being a bit more sturdy. I wouldn't use this for a toy as it would loose some of its cuddliness.

So.....see these triangles of crochet fabulousness here.....sorry....I mean strange shapes all curled up at the corners.....these are my bunting triangle pre-blocking (I will write up the pattern for these soon).


The kit:

  • Damp t-towel (I put it under the tap and wring it out well)
  • An iron (any old iron- mine doesn't even steam anymore)
  • Pins
  • and the magic ingredient- SPRAY STARCH (only a quid in the laundry aisle of any supermarket)

The process:
  1. Place item front side down onto ironing board
  2. Spray liberally with spray starch
  3. Make sure it is flat and cover with damp t-towel
  4. With iron on a LOW SETTING (very important!) press firmly onto work through the t-towel

It is very important that you don't hold the iron down very long. 5 secs at a time max, otherwise you risk squashing/melting your work, especially if you are using acrylic. Keep on pressing until your work stays flat when you remove the t-towel, but please please please not long enough to burn it.

5. Turn work over so that the right side is facing up
6. Spray the front liberally with starch
7. Pin into place stretching out the corners. I just do this straight into the ironing board foam.
8. Leave to dry overnight
9. VoilĂ ! Lovely flat, slightly stiffened, triangles ready to be strung into bunting!

p.s When I am blocking component parts of a stuffed toy for example I just iron lightly on reverse through a damp t-towel. The pieces are then ok to be used straight away!


See the difference yeah? The advantages of blocking are really obvious.....so no excuses ey!

I hope this is useful for someone. Anyone else have any tips on blocking?

Cheerio for now

SS xx

P.p.s I think I have dragged myself out of the 'procrastination zone'- a yummy dinner is on and I got not one, but two dresses from the charity shops this afternoon.......and I finally completed this blog post  :-)

Enough of the procrastination


Hope you are all well! The title of this post says it all really......"Enough of feeling sorry for yourself having poorly wrists......stop blog hopping and feeling jealous of everyone for being able to make things.....and actually DO SOMETHING!" I seem to have got myself into a constant state of lethargy whereby I can't even be bothered to leave the house......which has got to change. RIGHT NOW.

On the wrist front my right wrist which has been causing all the problems is very very slowly getting better. Yay!! If I do something that makes it hurt it has been ok the next day, whereas before if I did anything that made it hurt I would be set back a few weeks......improvement I guess, but its just been painfully slow. The only problem is my left wrists has started hurting-maybe I will be left with wrist pain forever that just alternates from wrist to wrist?!?! Noooooooooo! I can knit a tiny bit though which is a positive.

Enough of feeling sorry for myself though as I have loads I could be doing such as:

  • Planning a crochet workshop series for November
  • Applying for science research jobs
  • Blog posts- I have a couple almost ready to go- just need to sort some pics- I am just being lazy here
  • Get out and practice with my borrowed camera- its sunny so may actually do this RIGHT NOW!
  • Finding the perfect vegan brownie recipe- I'm not vegan, its just something I am on a mission for do
  • Compile a recipe book
  • Read my book group book- American Tabloid by James Ellroy- not 100% sure about it but will give it a go
  • Charity shop hopping to find a dress to wear for my friends wedding in a couple of weeks
Right now I am going to make the most of my day off and make a meal and cake for friends, then go and take some pics so share with you later!

Hope you are all well

SS xx

p.s anyone know of a good vegan brownie recipe?!?! ;-p

Friday, 20 September 2013

Baby steps.....of different sizes....

Good afternoon and Happy Friday!

Today I finished the second baby bootie I posted about on Wedesday. Cute don't you think?!

I was pretty pleased with them apart from quite a major problem......

There is about a 1cm size difference between the two. Uh-Oh! I think this is because when I made the first bootie (the right one, or the left one in the picture above) a week or so ago when my wrists were still a bit painful. I think I was knitting a bit loose to prevent the pain. They are now a lot better (although had a bit of pain yesterday at work- making 5 cakes probably didn't help!) and I knitted the second bootie in three stints of about 10 minutes with no pain at all :-) 

Thinking positively and re-igniting the knitting bug I may have been a bit naughty and have done about an hour of knitting today in total. Maybe a bit too much but I will see tomorrow as it takes a while for the pain to set in. I am trying to make some knitted 'sugar' mice- can't wait to show them to you once I have finalised the pattern.

Fingers crossed for no pain tomorrow!

Up to anything nice this weekend? Have a great one,

SS xx

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Baby steps


Since my last post I have done a teeny tiny bit of knitting......about 10 mins or so at a time. I have decided to try knitting as I think it was crochet rather than knitting that sparked off my sore wrist/arm/hand. I am still getting occasional twinges of pain (but I think these are reducing in frequency by the day), and I would much rather wait until I was completely better before starting out again.....but I am so incredibly impatient! I am therefore doing as little as I can possibly contemplate.

And what am I making?


These are from a free pattern on Ravelry by April Cromwell.

Can't wait to show you them finished, fingers crossed with a pain-free arm!

I am probably doing a bit more computer work than I should......so I am going 'computer free' for the rest of the day......or until I have finished this post!

Take care,

SS xx

Monday, 16 September 2013

My recent blogging hiatus

Hey everyone,

How are we all? I haven't posted in 8 days......and the last time I posted about anything I made was mid-August. The sad truth is I got repetitive strain injury (RSI) of some sort. I was making far too many things, all at once- about 6 hours of crochet and knitting a day, likely without taking enough breaks. In addition, blogging was hard as typing hurt my wrists- hence the short posts too. 

Since I first started getting wrist pain I have had an almost total break from crafting for nearly a month I think I am well on the mend now. I can type ok, and do most things now (although I am still getting a bit of pain).....but I am bit scared to do much crochet too soon as I don't want another major set-back (I keep on thinking I'm ok, then do too much resulting in being back to square one!). I am therefore going to extend my crochet break for the rest of this week and see how it is by the weekend. Fingers crossed I can get going again (albeit slowly!).....AS I HAVE A CRAFT FAIR IN A MONTH ARGGGGGHHHHHH!!!! I was really excited by this but am doubting that I will be able to make enough stock in time. Oh well, there will be more. 

Its been pretty depressing at times, not being able to do the things I love to do.....but I figure a month off to make sure I get better properly is worth it rather than risking a long-term injury. I have definitely learnt a lesson!

I will leave you with a picture of one of the most beautiful cats I have ever seen (anyone know what breed he is???) who just happens to live next door :-)

He was so friendly and playful when he was a kitten but is a bit dis-interested in anything other than sleeping now.......and you can tell from his expression that he was not too happy to be disturbed by the clicking of my camera!

Much love, will keep you updated on my recovery :-)

SS xx

Sunday, 8 September 2013

SallyStrawberry is now on Facebook!


Hope you all had a brilliant weekend :-)

I am using that bit of "urgh its nearly Monday already......weekend is over" moping time, just waiting to go to bed and the inevitable to resume, to catch up on some blogging. Even though I don't have work tomorrow morning, and I rarely do on a Monday, I still have that feeling most Sundays. 

I have had loads of ideas for posts over the last couple of days, and have read loads of interesting things that I would like to elaborate on given the time. I now have about 10 drafted posts (titles only, I'm not that organised!) that I would like to write about all manner of things. But for now, I would like to announce that I have generated a Facebook page!!!!! 

There are a couple of reasons for this.....the first being that blog posts take a while to write and format (and up-loading pictures takes ages- more than the time it takes to make a cuppa, or a 'brew' as I have got used to calling them up-North!). I can therefore just use the Facebook page for up-loading quick phone snaps of what I am up to craft-wise. The second is that I have taken the plunge and signed up to a couple of craft fairs (more in a post in the near future), and for the application the organisers want to see your work on Facebook. It appears they liked what they saw as I got accepted! Take a look if you fancy it :-) (pssst......its the massive icon on the right of this post!)

For now I will leave you with a picture of our afternoon tea and cake in a local cafe- a perfect antidote to the impending' Monday feeling'.

Have a fantastic week, will be in touch.

Much love,

SS xx

Friday, 6 September 2013

Exciting times- my blog has made it onto Google!

Hello everyone!

I owe you all a massive thank you all for viewing, following and commenting on my blog. It has made me so happy and excited :-) I can't thank you enough as now SallyStrawberry is being recognised by Google. Just had a little check and if I searched for 'SallyStrawberry knitting' it was the top entry......followed shortly by my Facebook page (please like if you fancy it!). When I searched 'Crochet Strawberry Bunting' my bunting (pattern here) comes up as the top image result! Woo hoo!

This has only happened because of increased traffic to my site and links in other blogs etc.....which is down to all of you, so once again, thank you!

Much love,

SS xx

Monday, 2 September 2013

Waxham Gnome Extravaganza


How are we all? I have been on holiday!!!! Over the bank holiday we went to visit family and to spend some time in the caravan at Waxham. For those of you who don't know, it is a small village on the Norfolk coast. The campsite we stay at is a mile or so away nearer to Horsey (which is famous for the multitude of baby grey seals come December)......nothing fancy......just a shop and a chip van which makes it perfect for getting away from everything, and a quick (but slightly tiring!) walk over the sand dunes gets you to the sea :-) We all had a brilliant time, it was great to see everyone and to top it off the sun shone for the entire weekend!

As I have mentioned a couple of times in recent weeks we always have a theme......and this weekend was gnomes!

So, we had to paint a gnome......

......these are mine and Pete's efforts

.....dress up as gnomes.........

.......and we had 'gnome-themed' afternoon tea......

The other challenge was to make a 'gnome-garden' for our caravans. This is my Mum's beautifully decorated caravan......

........and my sister crocheted some brilliant toadstool bunting for her caravan.....

and a close up to fully appreciate their fabulousness

I didn't have time to make a garden for my caravan but I did get round to painting it.

So before it looked like this:

Pretty dirty, flaky paint and a lot of moss along the stripe......and after:


Its brilliant white again with a gorgeous pink stripe ('fondant fancy' on the tin!). I absolutely LOVE it! Check out the hearts on the hub-caps and the clear blue sky! I know I have gone on about the weather but seriously, its the best weather we have had on this weekend in years! 

When it got a bit chilly we moved into the gazebo where you can see the mushrooms that I made strung up into bunting!

Can't wait for next year! 

Hope you too had a brilliant bank-holiday weekend,

SS xx