Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Valid excuses

Good lovely sunny morning

I haven't written a personal blog post for a long time, so this one is long overdue.
You might have noticed I've been a bit absent for a month or so, but I've got some very good excuses :-)
Real life has caught up with me and I am being forced to step back and take a bit of social networking sabbatical.
There are several reasons and they are all very exciting and very happy.

1 - My son is getting married to his long term partner.
They've been together for over 5 years and finally decided to tie the knot, so I have lots of proud mummy stuff to do.

2 - Those of you who remember NDS will know that Daisy is my number 2 daughter She moved to Exmoor with us and we worked together at NDS for 4 years.
Well I'm really proud to announce that Daisy is pregnant, her baby is due at the end of the summer, its a bit daunting to think I'm going to be a Grandma, but I am so happy for her and her man and so excited to meet the little bean who is actually turnip size at the moment.
I'm very lucky she lives just around the corner as I get to spend lots of mummy time with her and support & experience every panic and milestone as baby bean grows.
As the summer progresses I will spend more time with her, especially when she goes on maternity leave in June.

3 - Is the biggest excuse (physically)
We are moving again, just around the corner and up the hill a little way, but this move is going to be a big one. We're moving to a house that needs redecorating and has a big garden that is completely overgrown. I haven't had a garden for over 7 years, and due to NDS didn't have any time for one for the previous 4 years. Gardening has always been my second best thing to crochet, I didn't realise how much I missed it until I started pruning my new front garden.
I'm going to be spending my summer discovering hidden plants and turning it into something beautiful, its already started. When I finished pruning the giant fuchsia which took up the whole front garden I discovered 2 roses and a honeysuckle.
One of the best things is that the other Grandparents live in the house next door and the other Grandma is a very keen gardener, so we'll be spending lots of time together.
Plus I have to decorate the whole house almost single handed, which leads me onto excuse number 4

4 - Again if you remember NDS you will know that Phil is my husband who also worked with me at NDS. After years of working at a proper job he has decided to throw all his cards in the air, giving it up to follow his dream of becoming a chef. This means that he is working 6 days a week and doesn't have much time to do anything else.
Even though it makes life a bit tricky financially  I feel his happiness is more important, and so I am really excited for him.

BUT don't worry I'm still crocheting, for me crocheting is like breathing I can't not do it and have quite a few projects on the go at the moment, sadly due to all the above excuses most of them are secret. So I don't have much to show and share with you,
I'm aiming to do a couple of Instagram & Facebook posts a week and blog when I get a spare moment, I will share the secret projects with you as soon as I can, but for now all I can share are a few wips.

Wip 1

Wip 2

Wip 3

And finally the not secret wip, its going to be a third Kissing Circle design, I was working on it at Edinburgh. I'm not completely happy with it, so need to do a bit of a re-think when I've finished some of the wips.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

NatCroMo 2017 - Day 3 Amanda Perkins

Hi NatCroMo visitors

Its been a very busy year, I've published an awful lot of crochet patterns since I last talked to you.

I've been self publishing my pdf crochet patterns for about 12 years, but in October 2016 my first real book was published.
There are two versions of the book, Rainbow Crocheted Blankets written in UK terms and Rainbow Crocheted Afghans written in US terms.

I'm delighted to say the book has become a bestseller and the UK version is already on its third reprint.
The book is loosely based on the rainbow and is more about colour than crochet technique, it features patterns for 10 crochet blankets made in 4 ply and DK.
The patterns contain lots of yarn information, coloured charts, step by step instructions and 2 colour variations for each blanket.

The UK version of the book is for sale in my Etsy shop, as a NatCroMo special I am running a prize draw.
If you buy one of my patterns from my Etsy shop during March 2017 you will be automatically entered into the draw, the first 2 names out of the hat will receive a signed copy of the UK terms version of my book.
You can find my Etsy shop "Amanda Perkins Crochet" HERE
You can find the US terms version on Amazon HERE

Just a quick note to say if you scroll to the bottom of this post, you can find another NatCroMo special ;-)

So without further ado here are the book blankets, I've written blog post about each blanket, just click on the blanket photo's to find out the story of the blankets.

I finished writing the book in December 2015 and went into overdrive designing and publishing 8 new blanket patterns during 2016 ..... phew.... :-)
All the new designs featured a simple circle in a square motif, I spent the whole year experimenting with colour which is the thing I enjoy most about crochet.

The first three blankets were inspired by the Exmoor Night Skies, Exmoor is a International Dark Sky reserve and the night sky's are spectacular. 
You can buy the patterns individually or all 3 are published in a e-book - HERE

The second set of blankets were inspired by the wild foxgloves that grow on Countisbury hill, I can see the hill from my bedroom window and is one of my favourite dog walks.
Again the patterns are all published separately and also in a e-book which you can find HERE

The final 2 blankets have different layouts and inspirations, both of them use specific yarns, however as with all my designs you can use which ever yarn you wish.
You can find Scrumptious Bubbles - HERE and Severn Sea - HERE

And now that you have reached the end of my blog post here is my second NatCroMo offer.
Buy one of my crochet patterns on Ravelry and get a second one free, the offer includes all my e-books.
Simply put your 2 patterns in your cart, add the following code at checkout and you will only have to pay for one of them.
The code is NatCroMo17
And you can find my Ravelry patterns HERE
The code is valid until April the 1st and you can use it as many times as you want.

Happy camping & crocheting and maybe see you next year.
Love Amanda

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Rose Window - Story of a Crochet Blanket

The 10th and last blanket from my book Rainbow Crochet Blankets is Rose Window.
(You can find the book on Etsy HERE)

Rose Window was my grand finale, and finished a few weeks before my deadline, however I stupidly made it round which made it impossible to get a good photo and so didn't get the love or have the wow factor it deserved.
It was inspired by stained glass rose windows found in Gothic cathedrals and contained yarn from all my indie dyer friends.

Rather than choose the colours before I started I decided to work them out as I crocheted, I love working this way as I never know what the finished blanket is going to look like. I start of with a basic layout plan and colour it in as I go.
I had a lots of false starts and really struggled to get the colours right, so there was an awful lot of frogging involved.
In a way I find frogging quite satisfying as I end up with a pile of scrappy dog ends that I refuse to throw away, I want to use every last little bit, if its more than 30 inches I keep it for another day.
I keep my dog end scraps in little bags patiently waiting for the right blanket to come along.

Wip photo's

Finished photo's

As you can see Rose Window belongs on a wall (or flat on the floor), I've learnt my lesson no more circular blankets for me!! :-)

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Flying Geese - Story of a Crochet Blanket

Flying Geese is the 9th blanket in my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets, which you can find in my Etsy shop - HERE

Flying Geese was inspired by the traditional American quilt block of the same name.
I love the colours and shapes used in traditional quilts, they share a common purpose to crochet blankets and so there is a crossover between the 2 crafts.
It is claimed Flying Geese quilts were hung on washing lines as part of the Underground Railroad Quilt Code; the Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes used by American slaves to escape the southern states where slavery was legal to the free northern states and Canada in the north.

The points of the triangles (Geese) pointed in the direction that the slaves should travel on their secret journey north.
Even if this is just a myth, it’s nice to imagine that a quilt could not only be comfort against the cold but also helpful as tool against slavery.
I love the idea that a quilt's could point the slaves to their freedom and wonder who my blanket is trying to aid and what/where its pointing to.

I used about 18 different colours, the blanket design is consists of stripes, the stripes slowly change colour from top to bottom, giving the blanket a very subtle sense of movement.

Wip photo's

 I really struggled to get the colours right, so there was an awful lot of frogging involved :-)

As per usual Billy performed his comfort control tests.

Finished photo's

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Mirage - Story of a Crochet Blanket

Mirage is the 8th blanket in my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets, which you can find in my Etsy shop - HERE

Mirage is a re-make of a quilt I made in the 1990’s, called Reflection of a Mirage, which was originally inspired by historical Turkish/Islamic city maps. 
The centre panel of the blanket depicts the reflection of a desert city, I can’t remember why there was a reflection, but as I love the way the shapes fit together I decided to stick to the original name and design.
The base colour is turquoise and fits into the rainbow as a replacement for blue, for me turquoise is the colour of the Mediterranean and works nicely with orange which is the colour used in Persian carpets, which also form part of the inspiration.
Most of the yarn is John Arbon Textiles Knit by Numbers DK, its a beautiful soft snuggly yarn to work with and the turquoise was perfect for my blanket.
Wip photo's

Finished photo's

Photo courtesy of Search Press.

This is my favourite photo of the book, because of the chickens. They are Buff Orpingtons, We had some Buffs about 10 years ago, they were much loved cuddly pets rather than useful egg laying chickens. 
They loved to eat rose petals and would gather around my rose bushes jumping to eat the petals from the flowers, they also purred if I gave them custard cream biscuits, sadly they were killed by a fox, 
One day I hope to have some more....

Maisy, Mabel, Gladys, Doris and Betty.
Plus Minnie, Mouse and Ethel, 2 Pekins and a Maran in the background.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Knot Garden - Story of a crochet blanket

Firstly let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR, I know its been a bit late, but I've been up to my neck in all the admin that I put off till "later". Later finally caught up with me and I decided the new year was a good time to clear the decks.

Onto Knot Garden, which is featured in my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets, its sold out almost everywhere, but I still have a few copies left in my Etsy shop HERE
The book is being reprinted and will hopefully be back in stock in all the normal places shortly.

Knot Garden was inspired by a quilt I made about 25 years ago, as I loved the geometric patterns of Tudor knot gardens and I wanted to try out some mitred squares it was the perfect place to start.
I had no end of problems with getting the right colours and frogged and frogged and frogged again.
The edging on the flower beds is a little bit too dark, but I had to stop frogging or I would still be dithering nearly 2 years later :-)
So here are the photo's

WIP photo's

Billy doing his comfort quality control test :-)

Finished Photo's

Thank you to Search Press for allowing me to use this photo from the book.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Flower Power - Story of a crochet blanket

This week's featured blanket from my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets is Flower Power.

Flower Power is the sister blanket to Liberty, it uses the same motif.
As Liberty was inspired by the fabrics my aunt used I thought it was only right I made a blanket inspired by fabrics my mother (her sister) used.
My mother worked for Singer Sewing Machines and made her own clothes all her life, in later life she was a big Laura Ashley fan and when she died we found a cupboard full of Indian saris she had bought and hidden away to use to make into dresses.
But I have chosen to design the blanket around fabrics I remember as a very small child, I was born in the 1960's and grew up through the 1970's,
I remember big bold simple flower prints using a lot of green, orange and brown, a colour combination I'm not very fond of, so I've swapped the brown for a dusky pink and violet.

WIP photo's

Finished photo's