Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Backbone of a book (Waiting for the Woolfest)

We're off to the Woolfest tomorrow.
We've spent the last week dyeing Woolfest wool and now Phil is winding like mad trying to get it all ready in time.
Dais and I are labeling and wandering around trying to work out what we need.
The last few weeks have been very busy and chaotic.
I keep thinking that once we have finished dyeing for the show and wholesale and clubs things will get back to normal, but I'm beginning to realise that chaos is normal.
So having a few hours to dither is a luxury.

 While I've been dithering I've been photographing wips for the new book, I've been posting them on twitter and facebook.
And so thought I would do a blog post about the book and project wips.

The book will have 5 design sections with 2 projects in each section.
So here is the backbone of "Madder Triangles"

Semi Random - needs new name

Lecchi Blanket - Finished

Plankton Scarf  - WIP


Un-named blanket - WIP

Isabella Scarf - Finished


Florence Blanket - Finished and given to baby Florence

Myrtle Blanket  - WIP which I am making as a Florence variation to exhibit on the stand at show's.

Star Scarf - not designed yet.


Spyro Blanket - Finished

Spiral shawl - not designed yet


Icarus Shawl - Finished 
 Designed for my project club, the members haven't recieved the last pattern installment yet, so you only get a very tiny peak.

Serefina Shawl - Finished
 It's a lace variation of the first one and has lots more colours, as its very similar to the club shawl you can only see a tiny bit of this one too.

I can already feel the RSI creeping in....sigh.......

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Crochet design

One of the ladies in my Ravelry group has been asking about crochet design classes.
I've told her I don't think there are any, as I've never heard of any, but I could be wrong.
Its got me thinking about crochet design in general.
I spend a lot of time on Ravelry looking at projects and patterns and have come to the conclusion that crochet design is about 10 years behind knitting design.
About 80% of crochet projects are made with cheap acrylic and feature the long time favourite granny square.
Please don't think I am anti granny squares as all crocheters and designers need to start somewhere and its a very simple motif, easy to make and perfect for beginners.
I'm not even anti acrylic even though I hate it and wouldn't use it myself, I understand that a lot of people can't afford more expensive yarn, especially if its for a blanket.
Plus a lot of beginners don't want to invest in expensive yarn only to find out they don't like crochet or find they can't do it.

My first blanket design was Bessies Blanket and was made with granny squares.
Bessie was a huge success, mainly because of the way the colours worked together. the success lead me to experiment and I haven't stopped experimenting since.

As I began to understand how crochet motifs worked my designs became more complicated and I decided it was my mission to change the way crocheters thought, gently persuade them to move forward from the granny and try something more complex.
So I wrote this
"My personal crusade is to make crochet motif’s sexy & desirable.

They normally have a bad reputation, ever noticed the un-loved granny square blankets lurking in the depths of many charity shops? 

The motifs deserve a bit more respect and love, hence my crusade!"

In the last year or so I have realised that I am trying to swim against the tide and being arrogant to think I can change the crochet world.
A big perecntage of the crochet world is happy where it is and doesn't want to change and if it makes them happy I shouldn't presume that I know better.

I have stepped away from my crusade, gone back to using a very simple motif and decided to concentrate on colour instead. After all its the thing that inspires me the most, being a dyer means I can dye the colours I need. 

You might of noticed NDS's colour range is based around the rainbow, very selfishly I've created my own palette :-)

Anyway going back to crochet design.
The remaining 20% of crocheter's/designers are moving forwards and making more and exciting designs.
For example if you search Crochet Shawl in the Ravelry patterns you will find some absolutely beautiful designs.
There are some incredibly talented designers, have a look at their profiles most of them started off with something simple like scarves and have developed over time.
I'll leave the crusade to them as they are doing a lot better job than I was and carry on indulging myself.

So my advice to my dear Ravelry lady is to start off slowly, don't run before you can walk.
Experiment and take time to develop your own style.
And good luck, I look forward to watching your progress.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Florence/Myrtle - Madder Triangles

I've spent all afternoon on Photoshop working on some Myrtle blanket designs for my Madder Triangle book.
I'm working on star designs, some of them are totally mental and I'm not sure if I'll be able to explain them as a pattern.
Trying to work out how I'd write the patterns has made me think about how I'm going to write the pattern for Florence.
I thought I'd already blogged about Florence/Myrtle, but I can't find the post so maybe I haven't.

Florence was made for baby Florence as a baby blanket.
The working name was Myrtle as that's what she was called before she was born.
Florence is not typical baby colours as baby Florence's mum doesn't like pastels or pink, plus I only work with my colours and even though some of them can be very subtle I don't think of them as pastel.
Myrtle will be the name of the second star blanket

So here are a few Florence photo's, including a photo of her and her mum and dad when she was a few days old.
I'll be blogging lots more about the blankets later, for now I have to get to the post office before it closes.