Thursday, 29 May 2014

New Crochet Scarf Kits

I've finally managed to find the time to add a couple of new crochet scarf kits to the NDS website.
You can find the crochet kits on the crochet kit page of the website which you can find  HERE

I say new, but what I mean is one new and one old kit.
The new kit is Ariana, I've been holding off listing this kit and pattern, because I'm not 100% happy with the photo's.
But I decided that I was being a bit too OTT, so have decided to add it and change the photo's when I've taken some new ones.
The scarf can either be made with NDS's Dazzle HT and a slightly bigger and more luxurious version in Godiva Silk and there is a kit for each yarn option.
The scarf in the photo's is made with Godiva Silk

 I've also re-listed some new Lula Scarf kits.
The original kit contained 10 x 20 gm skeins of Dazzle HT, but we could never find the time to rewind the 20 gm skeins, so the kit has always been unavailable.
So we've changed it, now it contains 5 x 50 gm skeins of Dazzle HT, which means you can make the scarf slightly larger.
The Lula kits will contain at least 1 variegated colour skein.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Identities and blogs

I've just resurrected the Dye Studio Diary blog.

The main reason is I am writing/designing a crochet blanket book and need to separate my identity from the day to day workings of NDS.

I've always just been a designer in the background who designs for NDS to help sell yarn, but my book means I have to start thinking about myself as a designer who has her own identity, as I will need to do lots of marketing for it.
All the designers I know are designers who design under their own names and so have blogs and facebook pages and are known for who they are and what they do.
I feel a bit embarrassed about being "Amanda Perkins - Crochet Blanket Designer"
I feel like I'm puffing up my pants and saying "look at me, look at me" the whole time, although I already do it already for NDS without any worry.

Yesterday I started a Facebook page for "Amanda Perkins - Crochet Blanket Designer"
I told the NDS page I was doing it and overnight gained 169 likes, which has given me a lot of confidence.
I've always thought that our "likes" were from knitters who suffer the crochet while waiting for the wool posts to appear, guess I was wrong.

Another reason for becoming myself is the changes we are making at NDS, but you'll have to read DYE STUDIO DIARY to find out what they are :-)

I have copied and pasted part of the post, but I thought I'd add a bit more here, not much, but a bit :-)

The bit more is this photo of the Ariana Scarf on top of a pile of blankets all waiting to be photographed.
The pile includes book blanket's NO1 and NO2, the finished Kaleidoscope club blanket and Supernova.
As soon as we get a lovely sunny day I will photograph and publish Ariana and Supernova.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Moving On

Dear Readers

Now you'll all be aware that this is Amanda's blog where she happily rants for hours about her wonderful world of work and life in general. 
Whilst we see each other every day, we've tended to work apart as I've been winding four days a week at home and in the office on a Friday doing paperwork and she's at the office Monday-Wednesday, and home Thursday and despite working together it's been 'ships in the night' as far actually spending time together, and in the evening she's crocheting and I'm knitting, and we snuggle down into our own little worlds despite being a few feet apart on the sofa.
So for me reading Amanda's blog is always and exciting experience as I have a chance to catch up on where her brain has got to, and this is quite tricky, trust me! (she has an amazingly active mind!)

So today I've hi-jacked the blog to tell you my news.

After three and a half years of working alongside Amanda I've been given the opportunity to return to the big bad world of the real workplace.  A very dear friend of mine, who is the Managing Director of a growing design/engineering company, approached me about a month ago with a business proposal.  Since the demolition of my confidence following the liquidation of a company in Felixstowe that I had worked for heart and soul, forsaking everything else, I vowed never to work for another company where this could happen was less like falling from a bike and more like being in a derailing train with no hope of stopping the final impact and knowing you'd never trust the railway again! 
My friend is one of the most engaging and likeable individuals that you could ever hope to meet, and I could see that he desperately needed help to allow him space to develop his business ideas which he was struggling to do as he found himself bogged down with the day-to-day affairs of his job.
I knew immediately that I could work for him, it would be a pleasure in fact, but there was NDS to consider.  When I told Amanda she was like a rabbit caught in headlights - I don;t think she knew what to say, and it wasn't until we met with Daisy the following morning that she was able to rationally consider the possibility of me moving on, which could only happen if Daisy bought in to the change....thankfully Daisy was hugely positive about the whole thing and so we had a platform to work from.

Over the past few weeks Daisy and Amanda have been developing their ideas for the changes that need to be made to NDS to accommodate my departure, and I have been singularly impressed with they way they have worked together to this end.  I'm now 100% positive that they will take NDS on into a new era with a really positive plan of action.
This has left me to pursue my new future, and last weekend I met my friend's business partner and his financial controller, which went well - lunch in a rather lovely family run hotel in Martock, near Ilchester....all culminating on Tuesday night with a pint in the local and an agreement on implementation.

NDS has been an amazing ride for me over the past three and a half years, and we've taken ourselves from personal rock bottom, jumped off the cliff, and landed on our feet again - when I think back to the building of the log cabin in Suffolk, at that time I firmly believed we would live our lives out in a broken down old farm, and at that time I was happy to hide from the world and lick my wounds.
I don't think that some of the wounds will ever truly heal, but this is a step towards a time when perhaps they'll be just distant memories.

My time at NDS will come to an end at the beginning of August, giving Daisy and Amanda a couple of months to recruit a new player and empty my head of all the stuff that's collected there for the past few years!  The process has started with the purchase of new winding gear, and moving it to the dye studio - if you take a look at our facebook page you'll see a short video of the new set up - an important part of the new NDS design.

I know that many of you may be concerned about the future of NDS with my departure but please don't be, it's very much in safe hands and I look forward to watching how Amanda and Daisy take it forward from here (they have already made some important decisions about yarn bases).

It just leaves me to say THANK YOU to each and ever one of you for your incredible support of NDS over the past few years, putting bread on our table, and enabled us to put NDS right at the heart of the hand-dyeing industry.  You are an amazing bunch of customers and I will miss you all greatly when I leave.....but don't worry I won't be too far away and I'm sure you'll still see me at the shows :-)

Best wishes
Phil. x

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Two years and a bit

Its 2 years and a few days since we moved here to Exmoor.
Although it seems like only yesterday I also feel I have been here forever and only have hazy memories of the trauma's that lead to us leaving Suffolk in the first place.
Lynton is now my home and I am beginning to feel like a local, I know I still have years to go before I can claim complete localship, but its enough for now.

I could write pages and pages of what we did last year, but instead I will share a few photo's instead or I should say a lot of photo's.

The day after Wonderwool 2013 we drove to Cornwall to pick up my new puppy Tinkerbelle

Ted Bad Poodle died in January 2013, Phil didn't want another dog and told me so many times right up until the moment he saw her tiny puppy face looking up at him.

In June it was my 50th Birthday, we had lunch at Hartland Quay and ate Thai in Dulverton in the evening with all our friends.

Then Daisy met her Adam and finally found happiness

Lynton and Lynmouth come alive in the summer, the place is full of tourists doing happy holiday summery things.
So the locals join in and have fun too.

There's the dog show, Tinks won first prize for best puppy

The annual Lynmouth raft race

The girls went on a boat trip to see the sea cliffs (including Tinks)

The boys went kayaking

And the dogs played in the river

We confused a lot of tourists by having an impromptu cocktail party on a boat in the harbour.

The boys sat around on the harbour wall in the evening summer sun, enjoying a few pints and talking utter nonsense to each other.

In August we visited Fep and her Moonpie in London 

And then we went back to Suffolk for a few days to see family and friends and re-visited Shingle Street with Fred. Moors Farm overlooked Shingle Street, so it was our local beach.
The first summer after the move I was too scared to go back as our last couple of years had been nightmare ones, I felt like I would be going back to the nightmare and wouldn't be allowed back to the moor.

We met a local lady on the beach who had lurchers, so had a chat about our dogs (it seems all lurcher owners are very proud of their dogs).
She asked where we came from and when we said Exmoor it suddenly struck me that Shingle Street wasn't my place anymore, even though I had lived there for 16 years it was no longer my home, it made me slightly sad to think I was an outsider. 
But I belong to another place that I love, so it was ok to leave it behind for her and her dogs to enjoy.

In September Daisy drove us to London for a surprise visit to Fep at the opening of her exhibition.

The winter was full of storms and sea surges

We had impromptu surge parties and Beaujolais night and Christmas and New Year, all of which were very drunken affairs at the Rising Sun on the harbour wall.
And then we began 2014, busy, busy working, too busy to spend much time gallivanting around.
We're still busy, busy, busy, but very much looking forward to the summer after the long months of hibernation

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Billy and the book blankets

Just a quick post about nothing.....

Firstly Billy likes to test everything I make, luckily he doesn't moult like normal cats as he's a Maine Coon, so its safe to let him test them.

Here he is testing book blanket NO 1 which is half finished

And book blanket NO 2 which is completely finished.

And while I'm blogging I might as well share Daisy's and my new blog.
Its a irreverent take on food blogs, don't read it if you are a devout foodie and think you might be offended, but if you are domestically challenged you'll love it :-)
Today's post was about my cake making skills
You can find the whole blog by following the link below.