Saturday, 31 August 2013

Spyro Crochet Blanket

We are off to Blacklands in a couple of hours to do the second photoshoot.
At the moment the sun is shining, but its high tide, so we have to wait a couple of hours until the tide has gone down a bit and the rocks are exposed.
I'm really hoping it looks like this, with a bit more sea and less rocks.

Spyro is the second blanket from my new book, it was named after a character in a computer game that my children played during their childhood of the same name.
Spyro was a small blue dragon who had to run around a very colourful kingdom collecting gems.
I remember watching Spyro run around in circles a lot. 

I've blogged about it several times and twittered my progress day by day in the very early stages..
This is how it started.

I wanted to take it to the Handerbeit trade show in Germany in March, so I raced time to get it to the stage below.

And here it is finished.

I've just added the pattern to Ravelry HERE
And I've added the kit to the site HERE

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Lecchi done

My Madder Triangles book is so close to being finished.
I just have a few more photo's to take and it will be ready to be publish.

The photo below won't be in the book, but I'm thinking about developing the idea and doing something similar for the cover

If you want to see more photo's you can find them in my NDS Facebook group - I've been posting them all week.

Its been a long hard process putting this book together, but for once in my life I have loved writing crochet patterns.
Thats because this is a crochet book with a difference, its about design and colour rather than crochet techniques and as you may have gathered by now my whole life is about colour and I've spent a very long time on Photoshop colouring in triangles :-)

I'm not going to do a press release blog post yet, as its not quite finished and I want you to be able to have the chance to buy it, rather than telling you how fab it is then making you wait.

BUT I have published my Lecchi crochet blanket as a single PDF on Ravelry, the pattern has already been published in Simply Crochet, so I feel I won't be giving too much away.

The new Lecchi pattern is completely re-written in what I hope to be a very user friendly format, its crochet by number's :-)
It also has some lovely new photo's, taken at Blacklands, a beach just outside Lynmouth and a short walk for my house.

You can find the new updated Lecchi pattern on Ravelry - HERE
And we have a Lecchi Kit in the website shop - HERE

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Why I have blood shot eyes & Stardust Lace

Life is a bit mental here at NDS.
We are trying to dye 200+ kgs for the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching show in October, I know October seems a really long way away, but we need to take 20 kgs of mini skeins and about 80 kits, 3 of them made with Dazzling Lace which all needs to be rewound into small skeins.
We also have about 60 kgs of wholesale to dye and send, plus clubs, everything we do is always plus clubs :-)

Dais has broken her finger, so she is having to work at half speed, which is bad for me as her boss as I have to do everything she can't manage in the dye room.
But as her mum I don't want her to do anything in case she makes her finger worse.

All this means we are struggling to dye retail for shop updates, so I am putting several yarns in our Super Summer Sale to keep our on-line customers happy.
This week's yarn is Stardust 2 ply Lace - Merino/Silk/Stellina Sparkle
You can find it all here in our Orphan and Odd Boy section.

I've also taken the below set of photo's to document our chaos :-) 
This is what the studio looked like at 9 am this morning.

The un-dyed yarn waiting to be tied and mordanted, each of these big boxes holds 25 kgs of yarn, we started off with 10 of them.

Yarn mordanted, waiting to be dyed.

The cochineal baths

Indigo waiting to be washed

Madder and cochineal waiting to be washed

Indigo waiting to be hung outside to dry

There is a photo missing here, it should be of Phil re-winding all the skeins.

Indigo/Fustic waiting to be labelled

The start of the kits, the 2 piles in the bag and box on the floor are Dazzling lace and all need to be ball wound then re-wound into smaller skeins.

And finally some of the wholesale, most of it already labelled and packaged, these are the orders that are close to being fulfilled, there is another stack of orders in progress.

Oh and somewhere in between all this and the end of the month I need to publish my book, still haven't taken the outside photo's - keep your fingers crossed the sun keep shining over the weekend.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A sort of love letter to Mr NDS

I've just read a comment from someone on NDS's Facebook group saying "you are so awesome".
I'm not really, but I know someone who is - Mr NDS.

I don't talk about him very often, but I should do.
He is the reason NDS has grown into a successful business.

Once upon a time he had a proper job and career.
When I first met him he was a clerk in a shipping company with no particular direction, within 17 months of meeting me he had a wife, baby and mortgage.
He had also discovered his ambition and after 25+ years he had worked his way up the corporate  ladder to become a director of a logistics company.
His career always came first, it fed, clothed and housed me and our 3 children, but according to the company I was just his nameless, faceless little wife. It was ok, because it gave me the time to follow my artistic career and play with wool.
Then about 3 or 4 years ago (I can't remember how long, so much has happened since then) his world fell apart.
The recession killed his company and his ambition, he was angry and heartbroken.
He decided to leave the corporate life and join me in my little wool dyeing business.

It was very hard work, we lost our house, all the trappings of sucess and lived through some nightmare situations.
But we re-discovered happiness and he rediscovered aimbition.
He took over the business side of NDS and pushed it to the limits and is still pushing.
This left me time to develop the creative side of NDS and return to my career as an artist, although now it was re-named designer.

When we moved to Exmoor he cut all his ties to his other life, he didn't do it on purpose, it just happened.
But he discovered peace and a new lease of life with new mates doing boy's things -  fishing, kayaking, walking, allotmenting, pool, football etc etc
And we are happier and more content than we have been for decades.

One of his life challenges is to look after me, I didn't ask him to do it and never expected it, but he has taken it on with gusto.
He does everything, because he likes to think I am incapable of looking after myself.
He cooks, cleans, does the washing, walks the dogs, drives me everywhere, wakes me up every morning with a cup of tea etc etc
I know he panics when I am left on my own to do things, but occasionally I have to, just so I don't forget how to do it.
Only last week Dais and I had a stand at the North Devon show, which was an hour's drive away. He was obviously struggling with the fact that he had to let go for a day and offered to drive us in the van.
But we refused politely and really enjoyed our day, I have to say it felt a bit like being Thelma and Louise, me and Dais in the big bouncy van going places on the open road - only if it was just to Umberleigh and back.

You might be excused in thinking that I am being smothered, but I'm not.
I have the time to indulge my passion and my obsessive artistic side. I dye wool, I look after the website, I do social networking and I get to crochet and design every waking hour of my day.
This year's book is nearly finished and I am already designing next year's blankets in my head.

I wouldn't have the time or space to do this with out Mr NDS.

I love you Phil, Thank you for letting me live my dream.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Plankton Crochet Scarf

Plankton Crochet Scarf - Update 23rd of September 2013

I've updated this post to add the links to the pattern, which you can find in my new book MADDER TRIANGLES - HERE
and as a single pattern PLANKTON CROCHET SCARF - HERE

There are also some new photo's :-)

 I'm going to say this will be a tiny blog post, but you know how I ramble on about nothing so it may be longer than I intended.

I have just finished and blocked Plankton, which is a crochet scarf and design number 7 for Madder Triangles.
The following is its introduction in the book

Plankton was subconsciously designed, I tend to watch mindless tv when I am crocheting, I had a pile of scraps I didn’t want to throw away so I made little lace triangles and crocheted them together in a semi  random pattern.
Later when I looked at the blocked sample I realised the triangles looked like Plankton’s eye, 
Plankton is a evil genius plankton from SpongeBob SquarePants which I had been watching all day and it obviously affected me subconsciously

Plankton is also inspired by the work of Sophie Digard who designs scarves made with hundreds of tiny motifs made with a multitude of colours.

And here are a couple of photos.
The first one had a phenomenal feedback in the NDS Facebook group, it had over 80 likes, plus lots of comments. 
I was very happily shocked as I hadn't expected such a reaction :-)

Plankton Crochet Scarf - Update 23rd of September 2013

This post has being getting a lot of comments asking for Plankton's pattern, so I thought I'd better update the post rather than answer everyone 1 at a time - hope you don't mind :-)

Plankton was published a couple of weeks ago, both in my new book MADDER TRIANGLES - HERE
and as a single pattern PLANKTON CROCHET SCARF - HERE

And here are some of the new pattern photo's

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Last week & Community

We had a holiday, not really a proper holiday as most of it was spent driving.
And we didn't go anywhere exotic, we went back to Suffolk to see the family, we also popped into London on the way past to see our big girl and her husband in Bethnal Green.

We had a lovely evening with them at "1st Thursday", on 1st Thursday all the local art galleries open for the evening, Felice and Phil live in street full of art galleries, so we spent the night wandering in and out being part of the London arty crowd.
On Friday morning Felice took us to see Bow Arts Studio's, up until a few weeks ago she had a studio, she has now moved out as she has space to work at home, but she still spends time at the studio's as she is part of the community and she will be showing in one of their exhibitions later in the year.

As we took Tinks with us we thought we needed proof that our country dog had been to the big smoke, so here she is in front of the Olympic park, just around the corner from the studio's.

London looks wet and gloomy in this photo, but as we had suffered 37 degree heat the day before it was heaven.

Then we drove to Suffolk and spent 2 nights at Phil's sister in Kessingland, we went to Southwold on Friday night for fish and chips and a pint of Adnams. 
It was a very strange experience, we felt like tourists in a place we had spent all our lives....

Last time we went back to Suffolk I felt very anxious and didn't enjoy it much.
Even though I am a born and bred Suffolk girl the last few years before we left had been a living nightmare.
I think a part of me still didn't believe that I had found peace and happiness on Exmoor and I was worried that I wouldn't or couldn't get back to my new life.
This trip was different I was relaxed and happy and could enjoy the sun and pretty Suffolk countryside, as I felt safe in the knowledge Exmoor is my home, I'm part of the community and I belong there/here.

Anyway back to our holiday, on Saturday we had a very enjoyable Perkins family barbeque and Tinks met Peggy the pug, she didn't quite know what to make of her and was slightly scared. However when it came to begging for burnt bits of burger on my plate she decided that Peggy was safe enough to sit next to.

On Sunday we went back to Woodbridge to spend the afternoon with my Dad and Aunt, we had a lovely relaxed lunch and filled the van with the last of our belongings. Fred met us there and helped with the van packing :-)

Then the 3 of us and Tinks went to Shingle Street for a walk. I hadn't ever wanted to go back to Moors Farm and our old house, but when we drove past they seemed like a distant memory and it was nice to see them.

I've just realised that Tinks looks like a lap dog in all the photo's, but she isn't. 
Firstly she's now a bit big for a lap dog and secondly in the above photo I had to hold on to her as she had been running around the marshes like a mental case and needed to be held just to have her photo taken.

Sunday night was spent at Fred's eating Chinese takeaway from our favourite Chinese takeaway.
And on Monday we drove back to Exmoor, arriving home about 4 pm.

Tuesday was spent sorting out all the e-mails and sales we had had while we were away and yesterday Daisy and I took NDS to the North Devon show.
It was fun and lovely to chat to new customers and meet lots of local's, but it also reinforced that Exmoor is our home. 
Several Lyntonites came to the show and came to chat with us, it really made me feel happy that these were people I know from my everyday life and Dais and I were able to show them what we did.

Oh and while we have been jaunting around I did this......

Firefly is beginning to come together and the pattern is beginning to show, I have 2 weeks to finish it in time to be photographed for the book. I'll keep you posted on the progress.