Saturday, 30 November 2013

Twinkly sunny blanket day

After a week of gloomy grey skies we finally have a glorious sunny winter day.
So we took Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star on a photo shoot in the Valley of Rocks.

And as a result I've been able to publish the pattern HERE on Craftsy, I'll add it to Ravelry, the NDS website shop and Etsy later.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Is my tec editor.
I mention my tec editor quite a lot in my post's, she is a major part of my life and I thought maybe you'd like to know a bit more about her.

I can't quite remember how our relationship came to be, I think I asked for feedback on a design I was publishing.
She was kind enough to take time out of her day to write a really constructive, detailed and helpful appraisal.
So I asked if she would like to help me with more of my patterns and she said yes.
Since then she has worked on every pattern I have written.

I work every waking hour a day, 7 days a week, the time I spend away from NDS and dyeing is spent crocheting and designing.
She is almost always at the other end of an e-mail, whatever time of day or night.
I feel guilty e-mailing her over the weekend as she should really be enjoying her time off and its not her fault I am an obsessive workaholic.
Sometimes I am so wrapped up in my work I don't e-mail her for day's, its not that I'm ignoring her, its just I am ignoring the world and indulging myself in my crochet.
She always understands.

We only ever see each other at show's, where there is never enough time to talk. I fear if there was we would brain storm for hours and hours and hours and maybe its not good for me to have too many new idea's, I have too many already.

The photo below was taken last year, I have made it very small as I'm not how sure she feels about having her picture on-line, we both look like scared rabbits caught in the headlights, I hate to think which problem we were discussing.

Not only does she tec my work, she also comes up with suggestions of how I can improve my patterns, sometimes I love her idea's, sometimes I'm not so sure and don't use them, she always accepts my decision with grace.
I think between us we have come up with a fairly good pattern template, that hopefully is understandable for most people.

On top of all this she also tec's for magazines and is a talented designer in her own right, has several patterns published in magazines and more to be published in the pipeline.
She also dedicates her time to her local knitting group, arranges bus's to the shows, organises KAL's and CAL's and answers my customer's questions.

So if you want to read more about a very modest, reluctant superwoman, you can find her blog HERE 
And her patterns on Ravelry HERE

Monday, 11 November 2013

Twinkle, Twinkle & Kaleidoscope

I've just spent the last 4 day's sitting on my sofa crocheting.
I want to finish Twinkle, Twinkle as soon as possible as I want to start concentrating on the Kaleidoscope Club Blanket.
At the moment I'm obsessed with Twinkle, I need to finish it as I've started the club blanket and I know once I get stuck in I won't be able to do anything else,
 I've taken a few sneaky peak photo's of the club blanket. I want to show you what it looks like so far, but I want it to be secret, so I've tried not to give too much away.

This photo is the whole blanket (so far), its the back folded into quarters, I haven't sewn the ends in yet, just in case the colours are wrong and I have to move them around.

This is a close up of the front.

This is what Twinkle looked like on Thursday morning.

And this is what it looked like last night before I went to bed.

And a few shots taken in daylight over the weekend, the colours are truer. It hasn't been blocked and so it looks lumpy.
And I'm going to run out of the background colour, I'm trying to dye some more, but the chances are it will be totally different, so I have to work out what to do next.......

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Lynmouth Storm - 2nd of November 2013

We live in Lynton which is half way up a hill,  at the bottom of the hill is Lynmouth, which is 2 minutes drive away.
About a week ago we had a severe weather warning for a massive Atlantic storm, the storm didn't really happen here, although I know other parts of the country were badly affected.
But we had our storm on Saturday.

It was high tide at 5 pm, so Phil and I decided to venture out to buy fish and chips for our tea and see what the sea looked like.
We weren't disappointed, as we drove down the hill the sea looked higher than the land, I have never seen it look so dramatic.
Stupidly we had left the camera in the office and so the following photo's were taken with my iPhone.
The photos are dark, because it was getting dark

This is from outside the fish and chip shop looking west towards the Valley of the Rocks.

This was taken from the same place, if you look carefully you can see a small black line, which was a surfer, there were several out surfing - Mentalists!!

The harbour and the Rhenish tower, which shows how high the sea was.
The 2 Lyn rivers meet at Lynmouth, there is a small harbour with a wall that divides the harbour from the river, the tide was so high the wall had disappeared completely.

We walked the dogs over the bridge to the other side of the river, this photo is taken east across the bay looking towards Countisbury hill, you can see a very windswept Phil and Loki, (there is a small black dot in the distance which is Tinks)

And another shot from the same place looking west, the boats you can see are inside the harbour, the harbour wall was under water. When we walked back over the bridge the water had flooded the road in front of the buildings and waves were crashing over the wall in all directions.

The noise of the wind and water crashing twinned with twilight and the fact that the whole village had turned out to look at the sea made it a very surreal experience.
In a very strange way it was magical and I'm glad we braved the storm.
The video below isn't brilliant, but it will give you an idea.

Limited Colour & Experiments

As you already know NDS has had an incredibly busy year, we've done 6 shows and dyed hundreds and hundreds of kilo's of wholesale.
This has meant we have had to stick to our rainbow range.
I spoke to one of our ladies at Ally Pally who commented that our colours have been a "samey" all year.
I understood exactly what she meant, our colour's have had the same names all year, although there has been a huge difference in shades due to the changes in the water, our water comes from a spring off the moor and the rainfall affects the minerals that are washed through the rocks.
For example last year it rained all summer and this year its been sunny and dry, so our colours have been different, the colours also change with the seasons.

We only use 5 dye plant's - Indigo, Fustic, Logwood, Cochineal and Madder, these are the dyes that work best for us, but they limit the colours we can achieve.
Mordants can also alter the dye colours, we also only use alum and cream of tartar which again limits our range.
Chemical dyers have a huge palette of colours to work with and so its a lot easier for them to come up with new colour combinations

Anyway Daisy and I had planned to spend a couple of weeks in the summer experimenting, but we were just too busy and it never happened.
While we were dyeing for Ally Pally I had a bit of a mental blip and dyed far too much Dazzling 4 ply blues, yellows and greens.
So last week we started over-dyeing and experimenting with it.

This is what we did last week........
They'll all be in tomorrow's update at 7 pm UK time, which you will find HERE
We dyeing the rest of my mental blip at the moment, so there will be more next week.
And the week after we'll be playing with white yarn, I can't wait.........