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Wednesday 30 April 2014

Work In Progress Wednesday

It has been a while......too long to even work out really but I have a new work in progress. After the stress of THAT jumper (I really can't emphasise enough how much of a time and energy sap that was) I am really excited about this new project.

As you can probably guess this is going to be a blanket (a first for me!) but there are a few twists on the traditional 'granny square'. 

I'm finding it really relaxing crocheting it a piece at a time, and actually it is working up very quickly!

I can't wait to show you more next week.


Monday 28 April 2014

Day Trip

Last week my parents were visiting for a couple of days. They drove all the way from Norwich, armed with Easter goodies!

As we don't have a car at the moment so find it hard to leave Manchester unless we use public transport they took us out for a day trip. My Dad has a new car and he wanted to drive it along the windy roads of the Peak District so we chose to go to Buxton. Buxton is a spa town in Derbyshire- home of Buxton water and some gorgeous buildings (Opera House and the Dome) to name a few. 

So, after posting THAT jumper (phew!) we got going. Unfortunately the weather wasn't too kind as you can see from these snaps but it was still fantastic to get away from the city. If you haven't been to the Peak District before you should. The scenery is stunning in places. 

We stopped for a cuppa at the cafe next door but I just loved the arrangement of flowers outside the florists.

As you can see it was a bit rainy....

So, here's a bit of the historical stuff....

Here you can see the Dome. In the 18th Century it was actually a stable block housing some 110 horses but now it is home to one of the Derby University campuses. What a great place to be at uni hey?

Here is the pavillion. I just love the bandstand in the Pavillion Gardens.

Best of all we made friends in the Pavilion Gardens.

Hello chaps :-)

Ooooh, I do love a day out! Have you been on any day trips recently?

SS xx

Friday 25 April 2014

5 Minutes with Emma


I would like to introduce a new feature ......'5 minutes with.....' where I pose 5 quick questions to fellow craft bloggers whose blogs I love! The idea is to gain a bit of an insight into what other bloggers do, how they work and what makes them tick. I hope you enjoy it!


First up is Emma of EmmaMade. I came across Emma's blog when I first joined Twitter and I have been following avidly ever since! You can also see more of Emma's love of crafting on her Pinterest Page
Hi Emma, how are you today?

Hello Sally Strawberry readers! I'm very well thank you - it's such a pleasure to be chatting to you all today. 

 Looking at your blog you are into a range of crafts from crocheting, knitting, sewing and paper craft. What would you say is your favourite and why?

For me, it's got to be crochet that's the winner. While I was at university and when I first started working, I dabbled in a few different creative projects but never seemed to find time to really get stuck in to crafting. Crocheting helped me to fall in love with making things as I found I could fit it into my busy life. 

When I was living in London, I could crochet on the tube or on the buses to and from work. Sometimes I'd have people admire my handiwork or ask me what strange form of knitting I was doing! Gradually I started to find patterns online and naturally stumbled across beautiful blogs such as Attic24, Lululoves and One Sheepish Girl. The crafting obsession began.


Like me you are a self-taught crocheter. How did you learn? Was it through books or YouTube for example?

In the summer after my first year of teaching I decided that I wanted to improve my knitting so that I could run a lunchtime knitting club for the kids at school. I bought a crochet hook because someone had told me you could pick up dropped stitches several rows back using one and I wanted to learn how to do it. 

Around about the same time my mum had visited Hobbycraft for the first time and had brought back their free guide on learning how to crochet. I ended up playing around with a spare ball of wool and the hook and learnt the basic stitches from that guide. It's available online here and I always recommend it to people who are thinking about taking up crochet.

Being a teacher and a craft blogger must be very time-consuming and tiring. How do you fit it all in?

Good question! Lots of teachers really struggle with managing any kind of reasonable work-life balance. I tend to work 10-11 hour days at school without a lunch breaks so I don't have to work so much at home. I often dream up new craft projects on my train home from work so that, most nights, by the time I'm home school-work is a distant memory and I'm eager to get crafting!


Finally, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time when you are not crafting or blogging?

I'm pretty busy during the school terms, but, at the weekends and holidays, I love a good day trip! I'm currently re-reading the Harry Potter books after a trip to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour. I also love going up to Scotland to visit my family. It always feel like an antidote to my busy term times.

Thanks so much for your time Emma. I couldn't imagine being a teacher and blogging and crafting regularly- I don't know how you do it! Please, don't forget to check out Emma's blog where you can see loads more of her fabulous creations!

If you would like to be interviewed for this new feature please get in touch :-)

Thursday 24 April 2014

.....and I'm back

I'm so pleased to be free to crochet....my creativity has resurged, the ideas are flowing and I couldn't be happier!

Here's a sneak peek of what I have been up to this morning....

....some 'spur-of-the-moment' designing.....

....if you can guess what this will be I will send you a prize!

....and an old favourite- some retro circle bunting crocheted in aran

Now to tackle those ends!


Wednesday 23 April 2014

#CraftBlogClub- March Challenge

Started by Emma at Frugally Peachy, #CraftBlogClub it is a sociable network for all craft bloggers including a weekly twitter networking chat (Tuesdays 7-8.30pm). Each month Emma sets a challenge, with this month's challenge being a 'Spring Clean Gift Swap' . The idea is that you make something either out of materials you already have or finish off a project that has been hanging around a while, and swap gifts with another member of the club.  Emma paired us up- I was paired with Katie of Katie Gets Crafty (@KatieGetsCrafty).

I was so excited about this challenge! I love making things but rarely do they have any use or a recipient in mind. This was the perfect opportunity for some crafty indulgence. I wanted to make something that Katie would really like....from her blog I knew she liked animals. Unfortunately my attempt at needle-felting some woodland animals fell pretty flat (they were so so bad) so, being in the middle of knitting THAT dreaded 4ply jumper,  I turned to my sewing machine and some fabric I had bought for a curtain years ago. I no longer even live in the house it was intended for so I was thrilled to be able to put it to use. 

The day I finished my gift for Katie, I got a parcel....EEEEK!!! I may have actually had a little jump around!
I haven't got a crochet hook case- my hooks are usually strewn over the coffee table- so I was over the moon with this lovely gift from Katie. 

whats more....... when you open it up..........strawberries!!!!!


It was put to use right away :-)

Thanks so much Katie!

You can see my other #CraftBlogClub post here

Sunday 20 April 2014

Happy Easter


I hope you are all having a great weekend and have a chocolate and family filled day!

For me, I'm off to work. Oh well!

SS xx

Saturday 19 April 2014

Ideas Ideas Ideas

I have had ideas, ideas, and more ideas whirring around my head recently. One of which was inspired by this picture I took when I was visiting my family last weekend......

This is not me....its my little sister. Sitting next to her on the sofa is my mum. Guess what she is doing?

Yep, crocheting a blanket. And there's more.....can you spot the 3 other crocheted blankets in the background? The granny square type ones were also made by my mum, and the other by my mum's friend. Fabulous don't you think?

Anyway, don't forget this, because as I mentioned before, these photos have given me an idea, and I may be asking for help :-) 

SS xxx

Thursday 17 April 2014

Catching up....

As you could probably tell from my last post I have been a bit frustrated about a lack of time to do anything bar knit a jumper (deadline is looming!) and go to work in the evenings. However, I can now see the light and I am well on the way to finishing the bloomin' thing. Thought I would catch up on here and share some of what I have been up to (not much due to the jumper though so be warned......).

The weekend before last I returned to Norwich to see friends and family. Not having a TV and not having read the news (no time- silly jumper!) I hadn't heard about the smog sweeping over the south of the country. Needless to say it was a bit of a shock when I got off the train!

This photo taken on a lunch-time trip to Happisburgh (pronounced hays-borough for the non-Norfolkonians) really show the smog at its worst....

.....you can just make out the light-house. You can usually spot this for miles but it took us a good few minutes to even locate it!

Another of a pill box.....

....see how the sky is just totally white?!

It wouldn't have been complete without catching a glimpse of the sea. It was difficult to see where the sky ended and the sea began. 

We spent many family holidays here. Such a lovely place.....but also so incredibly bleak at times. I think thats the beauty of it really.....


Thursday 10 April 2014



Says it all really! 

I have been itching to post for days...... I have loads of photos to upload to show you....tons of ideas and even a guest interview ready to go but alas! I am knitting a 4-ply jumper to a deadline and its taking over my life!

More soon 


Tuesday 1 April 2014

How I started knitting.....

I was writing my 'About Me' page for this blog when it turned into this......too much for an 'About Me' but definitely enough for a post. 

Here goes......

Five years ago I started a PhD in cancer research. Whilst it was great, it was also beyond stressful! During this time, inspired by my Mum who had recently picked up the needles again, I thought I would have a go at knitting. My Nanny taught us all to knit as young children (I wish I had some pictures of those odd shaped squares!) but I only really knitted a few scarves (by about the 4th scarf I was pleased to announce that I could end a project with the same number of stitches that I started with!). 

I got a 'Knit Your Own Monkey' kit (suitable for an 8 year old....I was 22 so should have been ok!) and got going. The pattern went straight into increases, decreased, picking up stitches and to be honest I was massively overwhelmed. I got frustrated, angry and even accidentally broke a few needles because of my super tight knitting! However, with a bit (read a LOT) of help from my Mum I managed to make the little fella (albeit with no ears- why do kits never contain enough yarn to complete a project!). Here he is:

Despite the poor thing not having any ears I credit this monkey to teaching me pretty much all I needed to know about knitting, and for getting me addicted!

I then mastered stocking stitch and knitted more animals....

Such as this tiger for my sister......

.....and this tortoise for my Nanny....

.....and then the obsession with crochet began!

Details of all these projects can be found on my Ravelry page. Please excuse the bad photography- these were all made pre-blog for my personal records only!

How did you get started with knitting? I would love to hear your stories....