Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Kaleidoscope Crochet Blanket Club

As I blogged about Daisy's 2014 Murder on the Moor club last week, I thought I'd better blog about my club this week.

My club is Kaleidoscope Crochet Blanket Club 2014 and for now its the only thing I am working on.
In fact my whole life is dedicated to it at the moment.
I spend my time at home crocheting the blanket and a lot of my hours at the studio working on the pattern and promoting it.
It has become an obsession, I'm really hoping the hours I am putting in will be worth it and that my club members will enjoy it and be as excited as I am about it.

I have just finished crocheting May and the blanket is beginning to come together, up until now its looked very busy, but now the design is showing through, I'm really pleased with it and can't wait to start June.
Its a bit frustrating as I have to stop after every month and photograph the wip, most of the photo's are are bit rubbish due to the fact I have taken them at home with my iphone, but members will get the idea.

Also I've just started a Flickr Kaleidoscope 2014 group for member's only, you can only join if you have signed up for the club, I can't wait to see the first photo's posted by members. The group is viewable to the public, so even though its a member's only group, non members can look at the photo's.
If you prefer not to join Flickr there are also several threads about the Kaleidoscope running in my Desirable Crochet Motif Ravely Group 

Yesterday I started dyeing the wool for the first quarter, I hoping we can post it out at the beginning of January, the pattern is finished, it all depends on how quickly Phil winds the wool over Christmas.
(I should add that being self employed means we don't ever stop work and even though we won't be dyeing during Christmas we will be working at home.)
As we are dyeing a huge quantity of wool for the club, there will be several different shades of each colour, this means that members will receive a slightly different set of colours to each other, making their finished blankets all unique to them.
Also as different amounts of colours are used in each month we are having to re-wind all the wool into mini skeins of different sizes.
You would not believe the amount of maths involved, luckily Phil (the excel king) decided to make a mega excel spread sheet that works out exactly how much yarn we need for each member.

Anyway here are yesterday's photo's of the first dyeing session, they are a bit blurry as the dye room is steamy when the dye baths are on and I wanted to get photo's of the action as it happened.

The some of the wool (Godiva HT) mordanted by Daisy hanging on the dye room wall waiting to be dyed.

 The first wool dyed, its going to be Woody Bay (green), which is made by dyeing fustic (yellow) and then over dyeing it with indigo. The colour only looks dirty because of the steam.

Woody Bay and Indigo dyed and waiting to be washed.

Woody Bay


Westerwood, waiting patiently next to the indigo bath, ready to be dyed today.

More un-dyed club Godiva and Woody Bay, Watersmeet and Withypool, dyed, washed and ready to go outside on the drying rack to be aired. All our yarns dyed with indigo have to go outside to be aired as indigo is very smelly and being outside seems to get rid of the smell.

Here's some Phil prepared earlier, its Watersmeet which he has test wound to make sure we can get the right sized skeins.

And finally a very sneaky peak of the centre of the actual blanket, there are 50+ motifs for January, so I don't think I'm giving away too much by posting this here.

Oh and I forgot to mention there's still time to sign up for January (you can find the link at the top of the page), but you'll need to be quick.
We are considering offering back membership's, so people can join in during the year and not miss all the fun, we haven't quite worked out the details yet, but will let you know when we have.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Murder on the Moor

With the help of Phil I have managed to create three very gifted and talented creative people.
All three are passionate about their life's work and dedicated to their passion.
 My big girl Fep is an extraordinary painter, creating contemporary mythical worlds on canvas, my baby boy Fred is a computer genius hoping one day to build his own games company.

And my number 2 child is Daisy, (only number 2 because she was born between the other two).
Daisy is a serious writer, she studied creative writing at university and has a passion for the written word.
She has been runner-up in several writing competitions and been published numerous times.

You know her as Daisy of The Natural Dye Studio.
This time last year we had just persuaded her to write a few murder stories for our new NDS Murder on the Moor club, it was a bit of fun and completely different to any other yarn club we knew about.
We wanted a club that was new and exciting, so decided to run a club that each month had the next installment of the murder story, a skein of NDS yarn especially dyed for the club and a clue (gift)

Daisy had never written murder stories before so it was something very new to her.
Her main character is Florence Blackmoor a forensic pathologist/detective, and over the course of the year she got to know Florence and been able to develop her character, as a result Daisy's stories have got better and better
This last quarter's story has been the best so far and finishes on a dramatic cliff hanger, you'll have to sign up HERE for January to find out what happens next......
Incidentally Daisy had rough plots for all 4 of next years stories and I'm really looking forward to reading them, you can find the synopsis of all 4 quarters on the link above.

Lynton is linked to murder stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who frequently visited his friend Sir George Newnes who lived here. Sir George is famous as the  publisher who published The Strand magazine and in 1887 he published the very first Sherlock Holmes story, he also built the Lynton town hall, cliff railway and a mansion on the top of Hollerday Hill.

I like to think that maybe Daisy is following in Sir Arthurs footsteps and maybe Florence will go on to be the new modern day Sherlock Holmes.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Bad maths

I'm working on the Kaleidoscope Club Blanket at the moment.
The crochet bit is easy, but I'm having to do lots of maths, working out how much of each colour is needed for each motif variation and so how much wool is needed to complete each month, then adding it all up to work out how much of each colour is needed for each quarter, so we can send members the right amount of wool.

My maths is appalling, I'm frustrated and confused, there are so many variables that even with a calculator I'm coming up with different totals each time.
Luckily I have Phil and Valerie to check my maths and correct my mistakes, but I have a sense of panic and dread every time I start thinking about maths.

I have really bad number dyslexia (there is a proper name for it, but I can't remember what it is and probably couldn't spell it even if I did remember.
My inability to do maths (and spell and punctuate) has made me feel frustrated and stupid all my life.

remember times when my parents spent long journeys in the car making me recite my times tables, my mother shouted at me at the time, she was good with numbers and she couldn't understand why I couldn't get them right. It wasn't her fault, being number dyslexic wasn't recognised at the time.
Nor was normal dyslexia (which I also suffer from)
I hated maths at school, always got an "e" or failed, reports always said "could do better" and "she doesn't concentrate in class"
Had to take my o'level 2 or 3 times till I passed it and my lovely teacher said she was convinced the exam board had marked my paper incorrectly and with anyone else she would of sent it back to be checked.
English and spelling of any sort was also a struggle, but I loved reading and books, so I took English literature A'level, I hated the essays, but loved the books, so manage to struggle through.

Numbers don't stay in my head, I have no idea what my mobile number is and I've had the same number for about 10 years, after 18 months living here I can almost remember my phone numbers, but sometimes get them wrong too. 
My postcode is a bit of a struggle too, if someone asks me for my phone number I panic and stutter and do my best to remember.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I realised I'm not stupid, its just I have a number problem, but I'm good at other things like colour, design and art.
I've kind of got normal dyslexia under control with spell check, but always spell some words wrong however many times I write them. 
I'm still rubbish at punctuation and normally have to read everything I've written and re-order the words so they make more sense.
Hopefully my writing isn't too bad.
Very occasionally I get e-mails from people pointing out my spelling mistakes and even more very occasionally the e-mails are quite indignant and rude about my lack of professionalism.
I'm sure these people have no problems with spelling or numbers and don't understand that other people do.
In the past I have read forum posts laughing at people who can't spell or punctuate, they just don't understand and assume anyone who makes mistakes is obviously stupid or badly educated.
I find the lack of understanding very sad, everyone is good at something, but the somethings are all different.

I design crochet patterns that need lots of maths, my motifs have got simpler, but my colour layouts have become far more complex.
I've made life difficult for myself, but I love what I do and keep doing it so, have to fight maths on a regular basis.
But having said all this I love geometry and how shapes fit together, I even have a  Pinterest  Geometry board
I guess geometry is visual and as long as I don't have to work out the angles, its brilliant.

I've written this blog post as I know I'm not the only one who struggles with numbers and spelling and punctuation, in fact I gave birth to and work with one - Daisy, who's a writer, which means she's made her life difficult too :-)
I just want to say to them "your'e not alone, don't feel stupid, as your'e not, its just numbers and when you write them down they make pretty patterns" :-)

P.S I didn't let anyone proof this post, so its bound to read all wrong and have the wrong punctuation, I thought it would be a good illustration of my issues.