Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Twinkle, Twinkle - When a plan goes wrong

After all the show chaos and meeting all my immediate deadlines I finally have time to design what I feel like.
I do have the Kaleidoscope club blanket to make, which does have a deadline, but as I've already finished January there is no urgent rush.

So I have been playing with some idea's and come up with a new blanket design - "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"
Its not symmetrical which is a huge challenge for me, my brain works symmetrically so I have to force myself to not try and rearrange the design.
Its also a mix of colour, rather than blending the colours I am using whatever comes out of my wool basket.
Over the past few months I have begun to realise that you like mixed colours rather than blended colours.
My Lily blanket and Lula scarf are still best sellers and sell more than my newer more organised designs.
I love colour mixes as well as blends, so I don't mind designing some new ones.

Twinkle, Twinkle is the result, made with Godiva HT which is soft and snuggly - one of my favourite blanket yarns.
I thought it might be a nice idea to publish the pattern before Christmas so we could produce starter kits to put on the site so you could buy them as gifts.
It started off like this a couple of weeks ago. I tend to make a swatch then block it to make sure the design is working and at this stage I was happy.
The colours and focus aren't quite right in the following photo's, some were taken with my phone and others were taken inside, so they are all a bit off. I normally photograph all my designs outside as the natural dye colours look their best in nature :-)
The colours of the wool at the bottom of the page are the correct ones and colours I am using in the blanket.

Then I did a bit more, even though I still liked it I decided that the dark background was wrong, it stood out and made the central colour blur, so I changed it, which was/is not an easy job!
To start with I couldn't come up with a background I liked, most of them took too much emphasis off the stars, I really liked a mosaic of blues, aquas and greens, but all the blue stars disappeared into the background.
Eventually I came up with all the little circles.
The photo below shows the existing dark background and the circles I was experimenting with.

Like a good crochet motif maker I had sewn in almost all my ends, so for the past 10 days I have been cutting out all the solid dark blue/motifs and replacing them.
Considering I'd almost finished 2 sides of background its taken me ages, a lot longer to cut and frog than it took me originally to crochet and sew in the ends.

This was how it looked yesterday afternoon when I came home from work.
Its progressed a bit further as I worked on it last night, I've almost finished replacing the dark background motifs and am back to the place where I started cutting and frogging.
If you look closely you can see all the ends I haven't sewn in, I want to make sure its right before I commit myself and have to cut and frog all over again!

 The photo below was taken with the flash and has bleached the colours, but it does show what the blanket looks like when it is the right way around, so I've included it.

This weeks NDS yarn update contains an awful lot of Godiva HT, including mini Skeins and colour collections. Twinkle, Twinkle uses all our rainbow colours, so if you want to make it now is the time to start collecting skeins. The update will be live tomorrow (31st of October 2013) at 7 pm and you will be able to find it HERE

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Pinterest and what it means to me

After writing my last blog post about how I'm struggling to find enough time to do social networking.
I'm going to admit to having a slightly unhealthy obsession with Pinterest.
It's something I look at when I have a spare 5 minutes, before I go to sleep, when I'm too tired to crochet, at least 3 or 4 times a day.

I have been a member for several years and never taken much interest in it, to be honest I couldn't see the point of saving pictures of cake and clothes I want to wear.
You might not believe this when looking at me, but I'm not a food person, I eat because I have to, not because I enjoy it, it just doesn't excite me.
But I have a foodie for a husband who does all the cooking and has made it his life's work to ensure I don't starve, he's a brilliant cook and always cooks too much. And has been known to sulk when if I leave anything, hence the fact I'm quite round and not a skinny beanpole.

Anyway back to Pinterest..
When I was at art college we were actively encouraged to keep scrapbooks of pictures that inspired us and I have recently discovered Pinterest is a giant scrapbook with pictures and inspiration found from the entire internet.
I do have a couple of boards that are pointless, such as my Lurcher and Sheep board's, I've saved the photo's because I like lurchers and sheep.
But I have lots of boards full of quilt's, crochet, islamic tiles, textiles, colour's, texture and shape.

I'm also beginning to realise that peoples boards reflect their personalities, its fascinating to discover that you can tell exactly whether they like cooking and clothes or where they want to live or who they want to be etc etc
I'm not sure what my boards say about me, except I like sports cars, lurchers, sheep and the whole rainbow, texture and shape.

I'll let you decide for yourselves.....

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The end of our show year & social networking

Here at NDS we have had a very, very busy year.
Our last show was Ally Pally which was last weekend, since our return home we have been trying to relax and catch up on sleep.
So I have been very, very quiet on the social networking front

We haven't really had a break since January, each month was packed full.
Every month we dye on average 100 kgs for clubs, wholesale and retail stock.
Sometimes we have more wholesale, sometimes we have less.
We started planning the shows we had booked in January.
Our first show was Unravel in February.
The we did the big European trade show in Cologne in March.

Wonderwool in April.
I published my second crochet motif book in May.

Then we did Woolfest in June.

In July, August and the beginning of September we dyed for Yarndale and The Knitting and Stitching show, a total of 6 days show, 2 weeks apart.
Plus I published Madder Triangles in September

All this has meant I haven't had much time to chat on-line, which has resulted in our Ravelry group going to sleep and Twitter almost ignoring me, however our Facebook group has grown and grown and grown.
Social networking is really important to a small business like ours, so I constantly feel guilty that I'm not keeping up with friends, customers and the news.
But something has to give, the 3 of us work 7 days a week, just to keep the work under control.

And now we can have a bit of a rest, although we still have clubs, wholesale and retail stock to dye.
Plus I have some very exciting crochet design work in a very distant pipeline.
I also have a complete crochet motif collection book planned asap, maybe in time for Christmas if I can fit it in.
Plus I need to finish the pattern for a design which is being published in a magazine very shortly.
And finish and publish my Florence blanket.

And finish and publish my new Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Blanket.

And finally finish and plan the Kaleidoscope club blanket.

I'm not complaining we've had an amazing year, I loved every minute of it, we've met loads and loads of customers, both old and new, but please forgive me if I seem absent.
Don't worry we're still here.................