Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Yarn Thing & Queenies Square

I've got two exciting things to blog about today.


The first is that I'm delighted and excited that I am going to be interviewed by Marly Bird on her podcast today.
I should of told you ages ago, but the baby got in the way. If you miss the live podcast you can still listen to the archived version.
All the details are HERE

Second is that I have published a new blanket pattern, its called Queenies Square.


When my daughter Daisy first told me, she was pregnant in December 2016 I decided that I needed to make my first grandchild a granny square blanket. I haven't made a granny square blanket for nearly 15 years, and even though granny squares hold a very special place in my heart I just couldn't get inspired.
I tried all sorts of variations, but eventually gave up and decided to use a slightly more complicated motif instead.

I wanted to make my grand-baby's blanket with The Natural Dye Studio yarn, but knew that not many people would have the yarn as NDS has been closed for over 2 years and it would be very difficult to match the colours, so I made two blankets.

The first is made with Fyberspates Scrumptious, John Arbon Textiles Knit by Numbers, Drops Alpaca and Cascade 220 fingering.
I chose colours that would be suitable as a unisex blanket, as I didn't know what sex the baby was going to be.
The design is bold and geometric as new born babies can’t focus and find it difficult to see single tones meaning contrasting colours are ideal to help develop their eyesight.


The second blanket is The Natural Dye Studio version.
You might not have heard about NDS, it was my hand dyed yarn company that ran from 2002 to 1025. We dyed luxury natural yarns with plant dyes, it started off very small I dyed a little bit of yarn in my kitchen at home, but the demand grew so quickly I had to move it out into its own premises in 2006. NDS kept growing and eventually my husband Phil and daughter Daisy came to work with me.
A few years after we moved to Exmoor Phil was offered a grown up job, so left us to carry on without him, Daisy and I struggled on until I started writing my book, then the workload became very stressful and unbearable, so I decided it was time to close the business.

When NDS closed I kept quite a lot of yarn, but blankets take a lot of yarn and nearly all the blankets in Rainbow Crocheted Blankets were made with my stash. 
Eventually I decided to only use it for very special blankets and keep it as a memory to love and look at.
My first grand-baby deserved a very special blanket.


Albert (Bertie)was born on September 1st 2017.
The blanket is named Queenies Square because Bertie already had a great Granny (and a great Grandma and Nanny), so I decided to be his Queenie which is my nickname, both on-line and in the real world.

You can find the pattern HERE on Etsy
And HERE on Ravelry, I've set up a special discount in my Ravelry shop that runs from now until October 1st 2017, just add Bertie to the code box at checkout and you will receive a 50% discount on the pattern.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Drops Alpaca Colour Pack's & Bertie Update

As you might of guessed by now I have a lot of yarn, this is just the tip of the iceberg. 
I try and keep it in order of the colour wheel as the colour wheel is my main palette




So you can imagine I was delighted when I was invited to create a yarn pack for Dermores
I've chosen Drops Alpaca as its my favourite budget yarn. Its soft, crochets beautifully, comes in a range of beautiful colours and is amazingly good value. 




The colour wheel pack is perfect as blanket starter collection, I chosen colours that I love, use and go well together. You can find it in my shop on Deramores - Here


If you've already got some of the colours or just want to buy them one at a time, this is the list of colours in the pack.

Goldenrod - 2923
Dark lime - 2916
Olive Mix - 7233
Dark olive mix - 7238
Dark turquoise - 2918
Teal - 2919
Dark blue - 6790
Purple violet 4434
Dark Pink - 3770
Pink - 2921
Deep pink - 2922
Orange - 2915

I have to admit I've got rather a lot of it and use it all the time, I like to make up my own shade cards just to keep track of which colours I've used in case I need to buy some more for a blanket or rather what I've already got in my collection so I don't duplicate when I go on a yarn spending spree.



Albert update
Life is not really back to normal, I didn't realise how much a tiny grandbaby would disrupt our lives.....
At the moment we have a constant stream of family members coming to stay with us so they can meet the newest member.
Plus Dais had to have an emergency c-section so needs constant attention to stop her doing too much too soon, so I'm spending quite a lot of time with her cuddling Bertie :-)

Here he is with his Grandpa and Mummy enjoying the warm Exmoor sun on Sunday.



Monday, 4 September 2017

Albert

My first grandchild Albert Theodore, 7lb, 7oz, was born 33 minutes past midnight on the 1st of September 2017.


Normal service will resume when life calms down a bit :-))

Love Amanda

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Waiting for the Tuff

I should be writing blog posts and doing my normal daily social networking, but I am very absent and really struggling to concentrate.

I'm waiting for the tuff to arrive, the tuff is due in a couple of days and I can't wait to meet my new Grandbaby in the flesh for the very first time :-)
Here's the tuff yesterday, with its mummy on our walk through the Valley of Rocks to see the North Devon Mini Rally.


Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, but definitely in the next couple of weeks........... :-)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Pin boards

At over 12 years ago I used to have a proper studio and a pin board, since then we have moved 5 times and I haven't had a suitable studio space or wall to place a board.
In those days I embroidered, painted and made patchwork art quilts, plus a small amount of batik, the board gave me the chance to pin out designs, move bits around and make sure I had the right colours.
It saved a lot of unpicking time.
I used to spend a lot of time looking at my board, just thinking.
(The photo's below aren't very good, they were taken with a old fashion point and click camera and then scanned into the computer, long before the days of the Iphone)




I've really missed having a board, and have had to rely on photographs, which are good for checking colour and design, but rubbish when it comes to moving pieces around to get the right layout.
I've done an awful lot of frogging :-)
So as you can imagine I am delighted and relieved  to have a new pin board in my new wool room (studio), fingers crossed the days of constant frogging are over.
The piece on the wall below maybe be a blanket one day or maybe it won't, but I can guarantee I'm going to spend a lot of time looking and rearranging :-)


If you fancy a board of your own they are very simple to make.
Mine is a sheet of polystyrene which I bought from Wickes DIY, I've painted it with 3 coats of white gloss paint which gives the pins something firm to press into.
I use sewing pins to pin with, as they don't damage the yarn (fabric) and are cheap and easy to replace.

Love Amanda

Friday, 4 August 2017

Wigglytuff's Star Mobile


You may have heard me mention that I'm going to be a Grandma for the first time in the very near future.
The bump is called Wigglytuff and named after a Pokemon character.
I'm very honoured and lucky to have been able to watch Wigglytuff grow every day and watch & feel it when it wiggles in its mummy's womb.
If its on time in just under 4 weeks I will get to meet it in person, so as you can imagine I have been crocheting in the background like a mad woman, trying to make some special secret things to welcome it into the world.
This mobile is the first thing, I can show you now, as I gave it to Adam and Daisy last night, they are decorating the nursery at the moment so the mobile needs to be in place ready and waiting.

Making a mobile is a huge step away from a blanket and I had to work it out as I went along, so the pattern was a challenge.
Its made with 6 padded stars, each with a bell on the end, hanging from a metal ring.
There were so many steps that I had to work out, so rather than write pages and pages of what I've done, I've added step by step photo's as well.


I've enjoyed making the mobile so much, that I suspect there will be more Wigglytuff designs to come.... :-)


You can find the pattern on Ravelry - HERE
And Etsy - HERE

Happy crocheting
Love Amanda

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Ten years of endlessly writing crochet patterns.

I seem to be constantly writing patterns, I have a big list to work through, for example at the moment I have 6 old patterns to be revamped, 3 secret blanket patterns and 5 unmade designs that I need to work on. It can take me anything up to 6 weeks to write a pattern so you can understand just how long its going to take me to work through them all and why my patterns might seem expensive.

The queue is endless and exhausting, as soon as I've finished one I move straight onto the next one.
While endlessly drawing charts I have time to think and have realised that I've been writing crochet patterns for over 10 years. In the very early days my patterns were very simple and not very informative, they contained a photo, motif chart and written instructions.
I've come a long way since then, not only have my blanket designs developed and got better so have my patterns.
I want to make them as beautiful and easily understandable as possible.
I thought I'd write this blog post to show you how far I've come :-)

I still make my blankets using very simple basic stitches (ch, dc/sc, htr/hdc, tr/dc dtr/tr), I think of my motifs as jigsaw pieces, so need to keep them simple or the finished look of the blanket will be blurry. I'm too lazy to learn complex stitches and the basics make the effect I want, plus I don't want newbies to be scared off.
The stitches haven't changed, they are still the ones I used 10 years ago, but everything else has.

As my blankets have very complex colour layouts I now include detailed colour information about the palette and yarns  I use. 
Most of my patterns include swatches of the colour used, so if you can't find the right yarn you can use the swatches to find a similar colour.



The patterns now include information on joining sewing in ends and more recently how to keep your colours in the right order

My motif patterns are written in UK and US terms and all of them have charts and stitch abbreviations, also in UK and US terms.
The charts have developed and become more professional, in the early days they were hand draw with a mouse, believe it or not the one below is actually one of the better ones.

20092017 


I draw complex numbered colour charts to show you exactly which colours are used in each motif, which correspond to a layout chart, these charts can take 6 or 7 days to draw.


Then I break down the chart into step by step charts, showing you where to start and what to do next.

  
There can be as many as 9 or 10 steps on the more complex patterns.

All the motifs have a colour key, telling you which colour to use for each round for the corresponding motif on the chart.

Also included are instructions for finishing.
And finally sometimes I include a couple of colour variations.

(Secret blanket due to be published in the autumn.)

And to think in the old days, all I did was photograph, write and just do a motif chart....:-)

If you fancy buying a piece of my hard work you can find my patterns all on Ravelry, don't forget I am running a Ravelry Summer Sale .


Happy crocheting
Love Amanda 
Back to Photoshop for some more chart drawing....sigh.....

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A little bit of knitting and a lot of love & happiness

Those of you who have followed me since the NDS years will remember Daisy my daughter who worked with me dyeing yarn.
You will be delighted to know Daisy got married last Friday to her wonderful Viking, she's given me permission to share some of the photo's with you, so without further ado here are some of my favourites..........

Dais, her new brother-in-law & Baby Collier, (you will notice the wedding car is slightly unusual - :-)


Dais with her Daddy waiting to walk down the aisle


Mr & Mrs Collier's first kiss, as you can see from the window it rained quite a lot in true Devon style.


Adam is an engineer on the famous Lynton to Lynmouth cliff railway, so of course they had travel down the hill in style on their way to the reception.


Thankfully it had stopped raining by the time we got to Lynmouth.


The two family's plus our assorted dogs on the bridge at Lynbridge.


There was lots and lots of love and hugging.


Adam's Granny made a mountain of wedding cakes.


And then we celebrated till the early hours of the morning.

The flowers were done by the two mummy's (Myself and Jo)


The little bit of knitting is stunning wedding shawl made by Daddy Phil, who had to take 3 days off work to finish in time for the big day


And finally if you are wondering about the AC/DC badge, its because John Arbon Textiles surprised us all by giving one to everyone, it took a little while to realise that AC/DC actually stood for Adam Collier/Daisy Collier.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Ravelry Summer Pattern Sale

Two blog posts in a week - wonders will never cease!! :-)

Today's is to tell you about my Ravelry Summer Pattern Sale.
All my patterns (including the books) on Ravelry are discounted by 25% until August 31st 2017.
To receive your discount follow the steps below...

1 - Visit my Ravelry pattern shop HERE
2 - Choose the patterns you want to buy, add them to your cart.
3 - Go to checkout and add the following code SUMMER17 and Ravelry will work out the discount for you.


Happy Crocheting
Love Amanda

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Zigzag yarn pack

As promised in the previous post here are the details for the yarn packs for Zigzag


You can find the packs on Deramores HERE


If the pack is out of stock, Deramores will e-mail you when its available, just press the button on the yarn pack page.
If you can't wait or would prefer to buy the yarn one or two balls at a time, I've made a list of the recommended yarns. Deramores stocks all the yarn, so follow the link above :-)


Number
Yarn
Colour

Number
Yarn
Colour
1
King Cole Merino Blend 4 ply
Damson
 798

14
Drops Baby Merino
Orange
36
2
Drops Alpaca
Dark Purple 4400

15
Drops Alpaca
Orange
2915
3
King Cole Merino Blend 4 ply
Petrol
 926

16
Drops Alpaca
Rust Mix
2925
4
Drops Alpaca
Teal
2919

17
Drops Alpaca
Red
3620
5
Scheepjes Invicta Extra
1463

18
King Cole Merino Blend 4 ply
Scarlet
3620
6
Drops Alpaca
Dark Turquoise 2918

19
Drops Alpaca
Deep Pink
2922
7
Drops Baby Merino
Vibrant Green 31

20
Drops Alpaca
Pink
2921
8
Scheepjes Invicta Extra
1466

21
King Cole Merino Blend 4 ply
Fuschia
787
9
Drops Alpaca
Olive Mix
7233

22
Scheepjes Invicta Extra
1461
10
Drops Alpaca
Dark Lime
2916

23
Drops Alpaca
Dark Pink
3770
11
Drops Alpaca
Goldenrod 2923

24
King Cole Merino Blend 4 ply
Violet
1534
12
Wendy Merino 4 ply
Saffron
2399

25
King Cole Merino Blend 4 ply
Emperor
906
13
Scheepjes Invicta Extra
1465

Border
King Cole Merino Blend 4 ply
Emperor
906