Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Blanket Club Update

Firstly here is Bettina's September Kaleidoscope crochet blanket.
Its a brilliant progress photo and much better than the one I took for the pattern (which you can see below)
I'm so pleased and proud of the way the member's blankets are developing, I can't wait until the finished blankets start appearing in December :-)

And I'm really excited to show you the below photo's of next year's Zodiac club blankets.
I've thought long and hard about how much I should reveal in these photo's, originally it was going to just be detail shot's, but the 2 January's side by side look so amazing that I have to show them off.

A huge Thanks to Nicky who is knitting the knitted blanket, she's never tackled anything like this before and I think she's done a brilliant job.

For some reason the colour's of the crochet blanket are wrong, but the knitted one is fine

And 2 detail shot's of "The Sun"

You can find all the club details HERE

Monday, 15 September 2014

Inspiration, design process & frustration

WARNING - this is a long self indulgent blog post with me being a bit arty :-)

 Over the years I've meet quite a few people who want to be crochet/knitting designers, they normally have lots of questions, but the main ones are where I get my inspiration from and my design process.

Its very difficult to answer either of these questions, but I'll give it a go.

I've read an awful lot of blog's and bio's stating that the maker's inspiration comes from nature or their local landscape.
This statement doesn't work for me as its too vague,my local landscape is stunning and ever changing in different lights and different times of year and to pick out one colour or one inspiration would be impossible.
Plus my local landscape contains everything from a dead sheep carcass rotting on the moor to a rare orchid in a field of butterflies
Most of my inspirations are very personal, but also reflect the place I live, and some blankets come from several different inspirations merged together.
For example the book blanket I have just finished was originally inspired by a early morning walk through a meadow on the banks of the West Lyn, the air was clear and clean and yet full of the smell of wild garlic with clouds of butterflies and flowers in the hazy sunshine.
But the blanket is also inspired by memories of my mother and aunt's fabric stashes and the fact they were both seamstresses for the whole of their lives. My mother died several years ago, but aunty Pat is still sewing :-)

So that's the inspiration question answered, now onto the design process...

I normally start off with a vague inspiration and shape in mind and then spend hours on Photoshop colouring in graph paper and developing and refining.
Once I have something I'm happy with I print it and start sketching (swatching) with my crochet hook.
Yarn is no problem as I'm very lucky to have my own giant personal  stash, commonly known as The Natural Dye Studio's stock.
If I haven't got the colour or yarn I want I dye it especially for my blanket.
Once the design, motif and colours are right all I have to do is make the blanket, I normally refine design elements or colour as I go.

However occasionally my whole design process breaks down and I just can't do "it".
I spent the end of last week and this weekend not being able to do "it".
I'd had the inspiration, worked on the chart, but once it came to the actual colours and crochet my designing capabilities disappeared.
I spent most of the weekend moaning to Instagram and Facebook about how frustrated I was, posting photo's of my failures and then yesterday lunchtime, just before I put my hook down for the afternoon I had a light bulb moment.
I have to thank Charlotte on Facebook for an honest comment, I'm not sure if she meant it in the way I read it, but it made me stop and think about what I was doing wrong.

So here are some of the photo's in order of posting.

Book Blanket NO 6 has 4 different motif's, one of them is a flower motif, the others are flat.
I decided that a 3D flower wasn't going to work as it would pull the finished blanket out of shape, so all these went to the discard pile.

Then I designed a flat flower motif, which a lot of people loved, but it wasn't very new and exciting and its really not what I do. Charlotte said "very retro" which I read as "you are going backwards"

I thought maybe it was wrong because I was using the wrong colour's, so the frogging began and re-started every time I tried a new colour combination.

My light bulb moment was realising the colours were fine, it was the motif that was wrong and these day's I prefer solid motifs as they are more like colouring than crochet and I love colouring!
So the flowers disappeared and were replaced with circles

I did have a long confused debate with Phil trying to get him to understand that hedges don't need to be green, which resulted in him trying to prove his point by showing me photo's he'd search on his phone of green hedges.
So here it is the very beginnings of Book Blanket NO 6, after a very long frustrating design process (without green hedges)
(Don't worry the relevance of green hedges will be revealed in time :-)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Blanket Book Update September 2014

I've been busily working on my new blanket book blankets behind the scenes and I thought it would be nice to do a progress update on the blog.
So far I've finished 5, I only need to do another 2 this year to be on track for the deadline.
But I haven't really started writing the patterns yet, I'm hoping to get them done over the autumn.

So here are the blankets carefully photographed so you aren't able to see them fully.
The book has a theme that covers all the blankets in the book,
There are 7 sections in the book, 2 blankets per section, each blanket has its own inspiration, but each section has a inspiration and basic design which covers both blankets....hope this makes sense...

I think there are clues to the overall theme in these photo's, I wonder if you can work it out.......

Blanket 1

King Sized, made in Godiva HT 4 Ply

Blanket 2
Sister to blanket 1

Lap Blanket made with Primavera DK

Blanket 3
Lap Blanket made with Godiva Silk 4 Ply

Blanket 4
Sister to blanket 3

Single Bed Blanket made with Primavera DK

Blanket 5

Lap blanket, made in Phoenix/Dazzling 4 Ply