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Monday, 12 December 2016

SallyStrawberryShop is open on Etsy!

You might remember that at the beginning of the year when I posted my goals I mentioned setting up an Etsy shop selling my retro crochet coasters. I only went and did it :-)

You can find my shop by clicking here. Do let me know what you think! For now here are a few sneak peaks....

Monday, 28 November 2016

Shop small this Christmas- a gift guide (i.e where I have bought my presents this year)

As I write this I am tucking into a massive bowl of apple crumble, from the last of my friend's apples. This weekend I mostly spent time cooking with said apples and crocheting. I also had a bit of a podcast binge (I do love a good podcast), including the latest, and last in the series of Kate's lovely podcast, A Playful Day. Kate talked about where she would be spending her money this Christmas, with small businesses and those with an ethical, sustainable and charitable ethos. This made me think about where I have spent my money this Christmas and I believe this may be the first year I have purchased gifts almost entirely from small businesses, some of which are local to me. This made me very happy, and I would like to share with you some of the businesses I have purchased gifts from. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

A proper good Sunday



You know how it is sometimes when there is always something going on. A gig. Birthday drinks. Halloween get-togethers. Though I love all of the above I haven't had a day to just sit down and create for what feels like months. I always optimistically pack up my crochet on a Friday and before I know it I'm back on the motorways Sunday afternoon and it hasn't even been unpacked.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Casting Off by P.I Paris

   

I've never read a novel on knitting, so when this was brought to my attention by Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch I thought I'd give it a try. As I read this on my e-reader I hadn't read the blurb, but I had preconceptions this book would be about a 'knit and natter' group using knitting to escape the day to day realities of life. However, this book was nothing like this at all and as I read on I was surprised over and over again. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Why I love Autumn

You can't disagree, Autumn is beautiful. The trees start to turn and the landscape becomes a sea of yellows, reds, oranges and browns. Mushrooms pop up everywhere, I've never seen so many mushrooms as I have this year. I took these photos on a walk with friends (and their lively pups) this morning. We walked for about two hours on trails, tracks, alongside the rivers and waterfalls just north of Merthyr Tydfil. This area gets such a bad press but its outstandingly beautiful. We even came across a group of walkers who had come miles to walk along this specific route. They had come to see some interesting geology on the route, which we would have  never had known about. An area of completely unspoiled natural beauty right on my doorstep. A-amazing. 







This entire tree trunk was covered in mushrooms, I've never seen anything like it before!

Not only do I love Autumn for the changes in our surroundings, but also for the way it seems to spur me on in my creative pursuits. I always feel very inspired in Autumn to both create new things and try out new crafts, but also to finish up long-neglected projects. In January I often start new things, but Autumn is usually the time that I finish them. This Autumn I've felt a need to declutter, to work my way through the bags of yarn shoved under my desk, on top of my wardrobe, on my shelves (you name a place and I'll have a bag of yarn or a half-finished project there). I've also been making the most of the abundant berries, picking sloes in the Isle of Wight last month (which swiftly went into gin!) and blackberries which have made their way into a bottle of vodka! Last weekend I picked some crab apples from a tree at the end of my street (I got up super early on the Saturday morning so that no one would see me- its a busy street) which are also submerged in vodka to make Crab Apple Schnapps, a Danish delicacy. I also made jam for the first time. My friend has a glut of apples and I made some apple and chilli jelly using this recipe (here) and it worked! It was amazing, I was worried that it wouldn't set but it set really quickly. I think it would be great with cheese and its so easy I would definitely recommend giving it a go.

Getting back to my need to declutter I've been working through some longstanding projects, knuckled down and got them done. Do you remember by sock yarn hat that I started last summer (yep, I am that bad at finishing things)? Well I only finished it!




I'm so pleased with the way it turned out, and its lovely and warm too. The pattern is "sockhead slouch hat" by Kelly McClure and the yarn I used is Lana Grossa Meilenweit in India. 

I also finished my Worcester Scarf by Kat Goldin for The Crochet Project. I just love those little puff stitches! I used the suggested yarn for the pattern, Socks Yeah by Coop Knits


Two completed projects is enough for one post, more to follow :-)

Time for a bowl of crumble, my friends' apple trees giving again......

Monday, 17 October 2016

YARN The Movie



I'd seen this film 'YARN' across social media for the last couple of months, and was hankering to see it as soon as it was out. It was first officially screened in the UK Sunday 11th October and was thrilled to hear that Joeli of Joeli Creates had kindly organised a screening in Manchester! Before I go into more detail about the film I would like to briefly pause and tell you a bit more about the venue the film was shown at, as it is definitely a place I will be frequenting much more in the future.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Hello creativity



Alien hat by SallyStrawberry

Over the last few weeks I've felt my creativity coming back. Slowly but surely and I have to say its been great. My Nanny has next door neighbours with two young children, a 4 and a 2 year old, with Autumn birthdays and I usually try and crochet something for them. The brief this year, winter hats! 

Monday, 19 September 2016

#sixtymilliontrebles

Since Trailwalker I really lost my creative inspiration. I still felt the need to create but just couldn't think of any new ideas. I didn't appreciate initially how much the walk took out of me both physically and mentally. I spent a lot of time with my laptop propped up on the bed in front of me adding to the rounds on my sock head hat (til I went a bit wrong on the decreases). I then had a Facebook notification from a crochet friend who said she had added me to a Facebook group, Sixty Million Trebles. You may have seen the hashtag #sixtymilliontrebles flying around. This project aims to create crochet and knit blankets for refugees in Syria to a total of sixty millions trebles to represent the current number of refugees globally at the end of 2015.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Something new


I've been working on something new and I'm loving it. I was a bit scared to release it to the world as I was afraid of getting my hopes and spirits dashed if people hated it. Alas, it was the complete opposite and it got a wonderful reception on Instagram. Thank you all for being so kind. 

It is by no means perfect, but that's the charm of handmade no?

I'm working on another hoop which I will be sharing with you soon! I hope you like it. I'm really enjoying the whole process, slowly stitching away. I'm taking my time to get as much out of the creative process as possible. I'm trying not to rush, to focus on the work at hand and not on the finished product. For someone who is usually manically crocheting Christmas orders this time of year it is a sweet, sweet relief to be able to do this. This is what crafting is all about. 

More soon :-)

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Trailwalker 2016




A week has now passed, and its only now that I feel that I have recovered sufficiently to put it to words the events of last weekend. Last weekend I took part in Trailwalker, organised by Oxfam. This is an endurance event originally devised as a training exercise for the Gurkha Army. This amazing event involves walking 100km (just over 62 miles) across the South Downs in team of four. But here it gets hard, you have to complete the walk in under 30 hours! 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Staying creative when RSI strikes




This post is for those of us who suffer from repetitive strain injury from crochet or knitting. I wrote about my experiences back in 2014 and an update on Monday. The Crochet Project also wrote a fantastic post about the same subject yesterday and I definitely recommend you give it a read, regardless of whether you are having any problems. 

With this post I want to show how you can have a creative life outside of crochet when pain strikes, and some of the things I like to do to keep me on the straight and narrow when crochet went out of the window. 

Monday, 18 July 2016

RSI and me- an update

Cherry Pi by Joanne Scrace for The Crochet Project crocheted by SallyStrawberry


Whilst finishing this lace weight shawl for a deadline (it was for a birthday present) my arm was aching, literally aching from wrist to shoulder, for a 6mm hook and some chunky yarn.

As longer term readers will know I suffered terribly from RSI for a long while when I upped my crochet game. It got to the point where even pouring myself a cuppa or chopping vegetables for dinner was agonisingly painful. I wrote a collaborative post with Not So Granny and Lazy Daisy Jones on our experiences of crochet-induced Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI). This post is my most popular post on this blog so obviously this is a massive concern and prevalent problem amongst the crochet and knitting community. 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Join-as-you-go Granny Square Method- a tutorial

As promised I have created a tutorial to demonstrate the 'join-as-you-go' granny square joining method I used in my Rainbow Disco Blanket. This joining method is fantastic in that it is much quicker than joining your squares at the end by slip stitching or sewing. More importantly for me if you are joining a you go along you are able to see your blanket emerge before your eyes, giving much needed motivation to finish. This method is not only for blankets, I also used it on my vintage tea cosy and hot water bottle covers which you can find on Ravelry by clicking through here

One caveat though is to be careful if you are making a very large blanket as the weight of the wool will pull on the joins. Instead use a more secure fastening such as double crochet or hand-sewing. I have also produced a downloadable PDF of this tutorial which you can find under my tutorial tab here

Here goes with the tutorial, I hope you find it useful :-)

1) Work your first square to the total number of rounds (3 in this example) and sew in the ends


2) Work your second square to the penultimate round. You will be completing the final round as you join

3) It is easiest when you are first learning this method to start with a corner. As you get more experienced you will be able to start anywhere along the granny square and know exactly where to put your hook for the join.

Join on your yarn and make your first 3-treble cluster of the corner. Usually if you were making a granny square you would make three chain stitches then your second 3 treble cluster. This time however you will make your first of your three chains as normal and INSTEAD of the second chain make a DOUBLE CROCHET (UK terminology) into the corresponding 3-chain space of your FIRST granny square.

Make the third chain stitch as normal followed by the second 3 treble cluster to finish the corner of your second granny square. 


4) So now you have joined your first corner you need to join along the edge.

To do this, make your next stitch a DOUBLE CROCHET into the 1-chain space between the treble clusters on the edge of your first (red) square as shown by my needle on the second image below. 




…..Then make your three treble cluster into the next 1-chain space on your second (orange) square. It will look like this…..


5) Repeat step 3 for the second corner, making your middle chain of your three chains of the corner a double crochet into the corner of your first square. 


6) Complete the final round of the second square as you would normally for a granny square. Voila! You have your first join. This becomes a bit more tricky when you are working a blanket rather than just strips of squares as some squares you will have to join on both sides. Once you get going though I am positive that you will love this technique!


If you do use this tutorial please let me know how you get on and show me your projects!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The fragility of small businesses- raise a glass to supporting the independents!




In the past couple of weeks my two most favourite independent yarn companies have closed. Libby Summers closed her doors last week and Artesano announced that they were going into liquidation today. 

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Disco Rainbow Blanket- The details

SallyStrawberry rainbow crochet granny square blanket


Thank you for you kind response to my Disco Rainbow Blanket. Here are some more details for you if you wish to have a go yourself. I will include some more information including how to work the join-as-you-go squares in a later post (next Sunday so keep a look out).

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Another blanket? What is happening to me?! The Disco Rainbow Blanket


"Oh, so you crochet?" "My nan used to crochet blankets, do you?" Until very recently I would have categorically said no, definitely not. I find them boring, they take waaay way longer than you think, the initial enthusiasm wanes quite quickly and any attempt has previously ended up in a basket in the corner gathering dust. 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

BLOGTACULAR!



What to say about Blogtacular? The creative stimulation from Blogtacular was brilliantly overwhelming to the point where I just don't know where to start. The speakers, the other delegates, the venue, the food! I hope that by saying "I will not forget it" sums up how amazing the event was and how much it meant to me personally and to my blog......

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

"the secret of getting ahead is getting started...."


"the secret of getting ahead is getting started...." says Mark Twain who after a quick tab hop to good old Wikipedia wrote some pretty famous stuff.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A little antidote

As an antidote to my revision heavy weekend and week so far here are a few snaps of what I have been up to recently (non revision thankfully).....

Cutest, tiniest avocado I had for my post-run breakfast Sunday






Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Sunday, 6 March 2016

An Ode to the Crochet Blanket

Oh blanket when I first saw you in Mollie Makes (issue 53), designed by Ayda AlginI was drawn to the bright colours, the sharp lines, and how they were beautifully offset with the white.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Upcoming projects i.e. plans....round 1

I loved The Crochet Project Shawl book one and have crocheted both the Northmoor Lock and Transposition Shawls. My next project is Cherry Pi but I got sidetracked this morning when these arrived.....eek!


Any guesses as to my 'second' next project?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Hello, plans, projects, life

Good internet collection- check
Laptop that actually works- check

Well hello, I'm back! Trying to blog (or trying to do anything!) became so frustrating on my old laptop that it really wasn't worth all the stress. At one point it was taking me fifteen minutes to load a web page so sadly blogging was off the cards. I really didn't want to lose my hair over it so it had to go. It also meant that editing photos was a nightmare as I couldn't open more than one program at once. Some Birthday money (yep, I had a Birthday, you all missed that too I'm afraid- I was going to do a special pattern release but alas no) has meant a brand spanking new laptop and my landlady has kindly sorted the internet so all is go!

Life for me at the moment is work work and more work. I also have exams in 6 weeks time so am working a couple of extra hours a day to revise. Whilst I have the best of intentions of keeping up with my blog if things slip you know why.

Enough of the boring stuff....

Here is what I made in January/February:


Project 1:

The beautiful Transposition Shawl by Joanne Scrace for the Crochet Project.

I just love how the lacework opened up after blocking (though it did take up my entire floor so I had to climb over my bed to get out of my room)



I crocheted this in Artesano Silk Alpaca 4ply that I picked up in the sale. This colour is cyclamen. I also picked up a couple of skeins of Signal Blue which I will be using to crochet up Cherry Pi later this month. 

I absolutely loved crocheting this shawl and didn't want it to end! The yarn was also beautiful to work with though it got a bit tangled if I had to undo a section. I can't wait to get started on Cherry Pi which will be a gift for my boyfriends mum

Project 2:


This was a quick little number that I made for my sister to give as a gift to one of her friends who has just had a little girl. Apparantly she also got a little duffel coat which would go perfectly. Whilst I was crocheting this I was a bit worried that the bow would be massive, and yes, it does look pretty massive in photos, but when on it looks much more in proportion.

Project 3:

I feel a bit bad about this as it was for my Dad for Christmas and I only finished it a couple of weeks ago. As you can see its knitted. I think I just wanted to remind myself that I could still knit, and whilst I found out that I definitely still can it reminded of why I love crochet so much- the speed. I'm sure if I had been crocheting this scarf it would have been finished by Christmas.


Despite the amount of time it took I really quite liked it in the end. This as going to be my special Birthday treat pattern but as it was for my Dad I may actually write it up for Father's Day (someone remind me please!).

Since Christmas I feel that I may have taken a funny turn, I seem to be in the mindset of finishing something before I start something else. Its very unlike me but its working- I feel less stressed as my brain is only working on one (or two) things at a time, plus my room/flat feels a little less cluttered as I don't have project bags coming out of my ears! It actually feels quite good to be tying up some loose ends.

Talking if loose ends this week I tied up a rather big, blanket shaped, loose end and I can't wait to tell you all about it! Those who follow me on Instagram may be able to hazard a guess.....

So I've covered the 'hello', the 'projects' and 'life' and as for the plans......mmmmm......

Back soon!

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Best of 2015

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I hope you all had a lovely festive season. I had a lovely one and was pretty gutted about having to go back to work.....all that crochet I could be doing instead!

Apologies for the delay of my New Year message and lack of posting recently but this is the first time I have managed to sit down at my computer and that it has actually worked. The poor old thing has had some heavy useage over the years and is in desperate need of an upgrade. 

Anyway, before I do a 'proper' post about my goals for 2016 I thought I'd do a little round-up of my favourite pictures/projects of 2015.

January: OK so this was actually taken on Boxing Day 2016 but posted in January. The 'Boxing Day Run/Walk'. She was still wearing her medal when she was put to sleep in March. I still miss her lots.




February: I completed this 'Scandi Cushion' by Kath Webber as a house-warming present for my sister. Its still going strong :-)



March: another gift for a different sister, the granny socks from Simply Crochet (26) by Simone Francis



April: Some of my flower bunting which proved to be very popular last year.



May: Northmoor Lock Shawl by Joanne Scrace for the Crochet Project. One of the very few projects I have ever done for myself. Love it. I made it for the Crafts from the Cwtch makealong.



June: A new design of mine which so far hasn't made it out of my notebook. Watch this space....




July: so I started on another blanket....its still not finished. I'm on the last repeat and I WILL have it finished by the end of this month. Ooh, this can be one of my goals!


August: I crocheted up some fun bunting to decorate our tents at Greenman Festival in the Summer.



September: Alpacas at the Toft Alpaca Farm. They were cute as anything.


October: a spot of fascinator making for my friends' hen do. I even wore it at the wedding. 



November: I picked up a set of polystyrene hearts and made some wreaths. I definitely want to crochet more bows in 2016. 


December: who wants to see a picture of me frantically crocheting christmas gifts up til Christmas Eve evening and consuming obscene amounts of processo? Thought not!

Here's to a great 2016!