Thursday, 23 May 2013

Desirable Crochet Motifs, Volume 2, 2010 to 2012

Drum roll please.........

I have just published Desirable Crochet Motifs, Volume 2, 2010 to 2012 as an e-book on RAVELRY and the WEBSITE.

Its been a lot longer coming than I had hoped, too many other things like dyeing and doing shows got in the way.
I am planning to do volume 3, its kind of half finished already.
I'm not sure whether to get it published asap while I finish working on the designs for "Madder Triangles" or to wait until next year.
But I have decided I am going to try and put all 3 motif books together in one big collection later on next year.
It will be more expensive and take a lot of editing to get it down to a publishable size, but I think it will be worth it and probably will only be available as a hard copy.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Ophans and Odd Boy Sale

I've decided to discontinue NDS's Yarn of the Week.

We have about 18 different yarn bases and every week I struggle to work out which one to feature.
Some we only dye occasionally like Precious and Angel DK, they are both occasional sellers, we keep them in the range as we like them, rather than because you want them.
If we are doing a big wholesale dye run we tend to order more than we need of the yarns we are dyeing and dye the extra as retail.
For example we have been dyeing tons of Dazzling wholesale recently, so we have had tons of Dazzling retail.
But we haven't had any Dazzle 4 Ply/sock for wholesale, so we haven't dyed any for retail, so the retail box  is empty.
This limits my choice of Yarn of the Week and I end up featuring the same yarn in week after week.

So I have decided to change it to a Ophans and Odd Boys Sale.

Before I tell you more I will explain that we think of all our skeins as boy's, (even the pink ones :-)
And we dye all our yarn in 500 gm skeins (5 skeins tied together), so there will always be at least 5 skeins of each dye lot.

The orphans are self explanatory, they are the single skeins left over when all their brothers have been sold.
And the Odd Boys are skeins that don't fit in with their brothers.
Sometimes the dye hasn't completely dissolved and 1 skein picks up the excess or sometimes 1 skein hasn't soaked up the dye as well as the others. And when they are wound and sitting on the table in their set waiting to be labelled, it stands out from the others like a sore thunb.

Each week I will add more Orphans to the page (the Odd Boys will be added when we have some) and keep them hidden until the Thursday night update, so each week you will need to check the page to see what is new in the sale.
The Orphans and Odd Boy skeins will cover our whole range and will all be reduced by £3 a skein, so there will be lots of bargins to be had.

The first batch will be revealed tomorrow night, when the Yarn of the Week page magically transforms into Orphans and Odd Boys.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Pattern support and books

I was going to write a blog post about tension, but I still haven't got it quite right in head what I want to say, so I thought I would write about what is in my head.
Which are the 2 books I am working on at the moment.

You may of noticed NDS has started selling knitting patterns, we have introduced 3 stunning new shawl patterns in the last couple of weeks.

There is Jubilant by Jacqui Harding

Marrakesh by Judy Furlong

And Valeriana Estonica by Kristina Vilimaite

All 3 patterns are free if you buy the yarn to make them with, just e-mail us after you have placed your order.

We/I have decided that if we sell knitting patterns that it takes the pressure off me as a designer and means that I can do what I want rather than what I feel I need to do.

1 - I like making garments for me to wear, but I hate writing garment patterns, I hate having to do the sizing and trying to explain the shaping. I am very lucky to have Valerie  my brilliant tec editor who walks me through step by step and makes my garment patterns a reality. But I get stressed just thinking about doing them.
So I'm going to stop writing garment patterns.
I will say I might do more at sometime in the future, because I have learnt that saying never means that as soon as the word leaves my mouth I will start working on one next week.

2 - I will concentrate on the things that I am obsessed with, at the moment its my triangle motif and the book I plan for the summer.
I have to finish my second motif book first, I don't really want to do it, but I've promised I will and its so close to being finished if I work really hard I can get it published by June.

My triangles book has been cleverly re-named by Valerie, she's seen the very first draft and all my dyslexic notes and suggested I call it Madder Triangles and not Orange Triangles.
At the moment "Madder Triangles" is the centre of my universe, its the only thing I think about and apart from Tinkerbell is my main topic of conversation.
This book demands all my time and I can't waait to turn it into a reality
Its going to have 5 different design's, 2 projects of each and lots and lots of information on re-sizing and different yarn types.
I've finished 3 projects - Lecchi, Isabella and Serefina.
And am working on another 3 - Spiro, Icarus and Plankton
I'll be working on Myrtle next and thinking about the last 3 projects as I crochet.

I've been trying to decide whether I should show you the finished designs as I make them or to keep them secret.
I think I should show you as then you can decide if you want to buy the book or not
You've already seen Lecchi and Isabella as they have both been  published in magazines.
Serefina is the crochet project club shawl, Iacurus is the lace version with extra colours.
And you've seen the Spiro wip that we took to Germany.
You've also seen Florence which is a different colour version of Myrtle and a baby blanket given to baby Florence.

That leaves Plankton, its a rubbish photo, but the only one I have

Ok - Back to the dyeroom to dye more yarn for Madder Triangles and maybe you too if I have any to spare :-)

Friday, 3 May 2013

Dear blog (excuses)

Hello Blog

Long time no see :-)
I haven't abandoned you, its just that I've been unbelievably busy and my brain has been so full of wool that I haven't had any space to construct sentences that didn't start with "Daisy -where's the Precious silk we need another 500 gms of Westerwood for order no 10".

We brought 14 or 15 wholesale orders back from Germany and have had another dozen since we came home.
I always think we can do it all together, but realised after a week we needed a priority system as we needed to dye clubs and stock for Wonderwool. It was a race against time, we managed orders 1 to 10, all 200+ clubs and Wonderwool stock with no time to spare.
Dais and I dyed nearly 200 kgs in 2 weeks both of us looked like zombies, she wrote a whole blog post about our coloured hands - Multicoloured hands

I know you've seen photo's like this before, but I thought I'd show you anyway, you can just see her little pink dyeing wellies hiding at the back in all the wool.
There was a moment when I thought the wool might have eaten her and her wellies were all that was left.

When I cam home at night I was working full time on the crochet triangle club shawl.
I had started it at the end of January as I wanted to be ahead of myself, so I designed a motif and started crocheting, the shawl took 3 different colour skeins of Dazzling 4 ply (there is a lace version too)
After several weeks of crochet I hated it and decided it wasn't working, so that was 130 gms of chewed up, frogged dog ends. I designed a second motif and had to to start with new skeins as I needed to make sure my calculations were right.
I hated that one too, so that was another 300 gms wasted.
I hated the layout and kept changing it, I came to realise I was struggling because I was restricted to 3 colours and I've been using as many colours as I want in my recent work.
So at this point during the first week in March I begged Homer to send the club members a refund as I couldn't do it.
He said "NO" - I had to do it I owed it to my customers, but he promised I didn't have to do another club as I was so stressed, but I had to do this one.
He also said it was ok to do my triangle motif as I am very comfortable with it and maybe it would take some of the stress out of  designing.
So I did!
Its a slight variation and my layout worked.
But the next problem was the calculations which took me days and days and days, not only did I have to calculate the colour layout to make sure I used all 3 colours in equal amounts but I also had to do the same calculations for the lace version which had a different colour layout, due to the fact I could crochet a lot more triangles with a lace yarn.
I finished the shawl in the third week of April, which was good as we were still winding the club yarn.
The shawl looked ok and I was resonably happy, I didn't block it before Wonderwool as the dye room was full of wool and dyeing and I didn't want to accidently splash it with the wrong colour.
But I blocked it this week and I'm so pleased with the result, its worked far better than I imagined, I hope my club members enjoy it.
I'm now working on the lace version, but as a treat for suffering so much stress I am using as many colours as I want.
Both the shawls will be in the new triangle book later on in the year.
I will NEVER do another club that I have to design especially for, but I am planning a blanket club later on in the year, I'm going to make the blanket first and then fit the club around it.

So dear blog I'm sorry to have rambled excuses for so long, I promise to try and to not be such a useless blogger again.

Love Amanda