Wednesday, 31 July 2013

I love Godiva HT

I was really excited when we took delivery of our first batch of Godiva (Merino singles)  HT 4 ply, I love the Godiva DK its soft and plump and makes very snuggly cuddly blankets and garments, so I was hoping for the same in a 4 ply version.

When the 4 ply arrived I loved it, it was beautiful and soft in the skein.
It dyed like a dream, much like its big sister the DK, strong vibrant colours.
But became crinkly when we mordanted and dyed it.
I understood that the crinkles were a result of the very high twist, which makes it a lovely sock yarn with a brilliant stitch definition.
But I personally don't really like crocheting with high twist yarns I prefer plump, soft cuddly yarn.

Phil disagreed with me, he likes making socks and likes high twist, so he promptly knitted a pair of these claiming that someone should always test knit a new yarn and declared his undying love for Godiva HT.

So I thought I had better try it and used it for the background of my new Spyro blanket.
And instantly I fell in love!
Its soft and smooth to use, and had a brilliant stitch definition.
When I blocked Spyro the Godiva bloomed and transformed into a stunning blanket yarn.

I'm sad to say it has replaced Dazzle HT in my heart, my only regret is its Merino and not BFL, but you can't have everything....

We have some new colours in tomorrows update at 7pm UK time - you will be able to find it HERE

But if you can't wait for tomorrow night you will find we already have some colours in the shop and you can find them HERE

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Madder Triangles July 2013 update

I thought you might like a book update, I'm really hoping to have it published at the end of August.
I've had to abandon the star section as I was never going to have enough time to crochet and design a new blanket and scarf, so the book is down to 8 designs, the star's will have to be in next year's book, although I will publish Florence as a single pattern and maybe another one before next year's book comes out.


Lecchi Blanket - Finished

Plankton Scarf  - WIP
It looks very wobbly as the centre section is blocked.


The Rising Sun - Finished

Isabella Scarf - Finished


Spyro Blanket - Finished

Firefly Wrap - wip
I started Firefly on Sunday while watching Lewis Hamilton win his first F1 race of the year - I love Lewis.
These 3 photo's illustrate 3 day's worth of designing, the first is unblocked, the second blocked and the third after I had designed a new filler, which I hope works as well when its blocked.


Icarus Shawl - Finished 

Serefina Shawl - Finished

Monday, 29 July 2013

Granny Squares

As it was a designing day on Friday I thought I would have a look at Inside Crochet's Facebook page (
Inside Crochet asked a very interesting question - What is your opinion on Granny Squares?
They have a reader's poll with 3 possible answers
1 - love them - 27 likes
2 - They have their uses, but not for every project. - 16 likes
3 - They are good for learning crochet, but I have moved on. - 1 like (and that's mine!)

I was surprised by the results.
I expected the majority of people to like no 2, instead of which most people liked no 1
But I'm the only person to like no 3
I didn't realise I was in such a minority.

Before you all start shouting at me for being a crochet snob I will explain.

Firstly I want to define what I think a granny square is.
I searched the Ravelry data base for crochet granny squares
The search came back with over 1000 designs tagged granny square.
Most of them were square motifs that could be used for blankets, so I refined my search to crochet granny square blankets, this weeded out a lot of the square motifs and left a lot of designs using my definition of a granny square, there were still over 300 designs.
Many were the same old design used time and time again, some clever colour variations, but still the same basic design. (I'd like to add that one of them was Mine:-)
This is my definition of a granny square.

Granny squares are the perfect beginners project, they are easy to make and grow quickly, you can use any yarn or hook size and once you have learnt the pattern its difficult to forget.
Most designers start their careers with simple designs, normally scarves or hats, 6 years ago I started mine with a granny square blanket.
It was called Bessies Blanket and made in honour of my granny - Bessie

I have a very short attention span and quickly bored of the granny square, too many trebles and not enough scope to experiment. I prefer half trebles, one time less through the hole each stitch and they're bigger than double crochet stitches. But this is just my opinion.and I don't expect many people to agree with me.

Over the last 6 years I have experimented and played, my motifs became more and more complex, but I've never used complex stitches, I'm too lazy to learn them and can achieve the effect I want with simple stitches.

I have now returned to a really simple motif, because I want to play with colour and surface design. Its easy to make, if you can make a traditional granny square you can make this. 
If it was square it could be classed as a granny square, just not the classic granny square.

Going back to my comments about being surprised because the granny square is so loved, I'm not surprised that so many people love a crochet motif, I'm surprised that so many people are happy to stay in the same place and re-make the same thing over and over again instead of trying something new.
There are so many amazing designs and designers out there waiting to be discovered.

To all granny obsessives everywhere I urge you to give yourself a challenge, make one granny, make one something else, make one granny, make one something else.....
I've done a couple of Ravelry searches - maybe you'll find something you'll fall in love with...

I'll leave you with this quote from my favourite author, I feel its relevent to my blog post and the film version of the song is playing in my head while I write this post. its the first verse from "The old walking song"

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Rising Sun update

I finished the blanket on monday night and meant to post about it on tuesday.
But we've had a busy week here at NDS, lots of visitors coming to see us, so I'm only just getting round to it now.

Here's the blanket almost finished, before I finished the border and ends.

And here it is finished and being modelled by Tinks

And here is a very rubbish photo of it drying in the sun after its wash.

And lastly a not so quite so rubbish detail photo

Next time you see it, it will be properly photographed and heading for publishing in my Madder Triangles book.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Happiness & playing like a tourist.

Like everywhere else in the UK it unbelievably hot here on Exmoor.
After last years rain its a welcome change to actually have a proper summer.
Lynton & Lynmouth are both really popular tourist places, it makes the whole area a really happy one, people come here to relax and enjoy themselves, its hard not to join in and enjoy it with them.
So last saturday I went on a boat trip with my girly friends and Tinks, all our men spend their weekends kayaking, fishing and playing at the allotment, so we thought it was time for us to stop working for a few hours and relax.
The boat goes from Lynmouth harbour along the coast for a few miles, past The Valley of Rocks and up to Lee Bay.
It was amazing and wonderful to see my home from the sea.
I didn't take many photo's as I was too busy enjoying the scenery, but thats ok because the view is 5 mins away from my front door and I can go again any time I feel like it.

My sea dog on her first trip, its not a very good photo, but you can see Lynmouth in the background, so I thought it was nice to include it.

And on Sunday it was the annual Lynmouth raft race, which is brilliant fun.
The raft's parade along the village street down to the harbour wall, then launched from the slipway, they make their way out of the harbour and up the Lyn river to the footbridge over the river.

Photo courtesy of Miles Trevelyan-Johnson

The race is to a buoy just outside the harbour wall and back, some of the rafts make it, so of the competitors take it very seriously, some just join in for fun including the Wayward Women ( Daisy and her house mates :-)

Photo courtesy of Miles Trevelyan-Johnson

For the entire duration of the race spectators line the beach, harbour wall and road throwing flour and water bombs.

I stupidly went to collect Daisy's shoes from her when she was on the raft parade and ended very wet and slightly floury.
Its made me think maybe next year I'll be part of the team, in fact I might of mentioned it to Dais and Jill her landlady, I suspect they might not let me forget :-)

And finally for those of you who used to read the old blog and remember the trauma's we suffered and Daisy's heartbreaking history
Here's an update photo - I'll let you make up your own minds as to what it mean's, but I will say life is so much happier here on Exmoor.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Serefina and Icarus

A few weeks ago I gave you some very small sneaky peak's of my 2 crochet club shawls.
The club ran from April to June 2013 and there were 2 variations, a 4 ply and a lace.

I really struggled with the design, but once I had allowed myself to use my trusty triangle it was easy.

I made the 4 ply version first and was limited to 3 colour's, 1 skein per month for the duration of the club. I really struggled with 3 colours, I kept wanting to add more, so I allowed myself to use as many colours as I wanted with the lace version.
Here are the final results, I'm afraid the photo's aren't very good, the 2 shawls need to go on a proper photo shoot.
Both of the patterns will be published in Madder Triangles, so I am afraid you will have to wait until then.
Icarus will be the only design in the book that doesn't contain orange triangles.

Icarus - named after the Greek mythological character.

And Serefina - named after a character in the Golden Compass trilogy

Incidently if any of my club members have finished their shawls I'd love to see some photos :-)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The Rising Sun - Ripple Blanket

The Rising Sun is the thrird blanket destined for my Madder Triangles book
I thought you might like to see my progress.

The blanket is named after The Rising Sun pub  (my "local"), at the bottom of the hill were I live.
Incidently its also a very good hotel and does amazing seafood - well worth a visit, especially if you want to watch the locals being idiots on a Friday night.

The pub faces east over the harbour wall in Lynmouth. If you get up early enough you can see the sun rising over Countisbury Hill.
The photo below was taken in the evening, but you will get the idea.

My blanket has waves of green and blue nestled in the bright pink and orange sun rise.
I've wanted to make a ripple blanket for ages, but struggle with crocheting straight rows, they involve counting stitches, which I never get right however hard I try, so I needed to make a ripple with motifs.

I've been crocheting for a couple of weeks.
You will have to excuse the photo's - they are taken with my iPhone.

This is what it look like before the Woolfest.

This is what it looked like after the Woolfest

And this is what it looked like yesterday morning.

I can't wait to finish the central panel so I can start the border, I think it will transform the whole blanket.
I am finding having to crochet 24 identical triangles (one row) really boring, but thats because I have a very low boredom thresehold.
I want to see something new happening with the colours every few motif's, so the Rising Sun is testing my patience.
Its almost there and every new row makes the anticipation more exciting.