Wednesday, 26 February 2014

My secret project revealed

At Ally Pally last year (2013) the commissioning editor of Search Press came to see me and asked if I would like to do a crochet blanket book for them.
We were very busy at the time and I'm afraid to admit I was a complete diva, I wasn't sure I wanted to do a book and very was demanding about this that and the other.
Later that evening back at the hotel I began to think I had made a huge mistake and blown my chances of fulfilling a life long dream.
So when we got home I sent a half apologetic e-mail to Katie, probably waffling, but still holding my ground about some of my demands.
I was very happily surprised when she replied saying that they'd still love to have me as an author.

Then came several months of dithering.
I was keen to do the book, but my life isn't my own and I needed to consider NDS and Phil and Daisy.
My designs sell our wool and our wool sales are all we have to live on, we have to pay 2 sets of rent and the rent for the business, feed ourselves and 2 dogs and a cat.
Both Phil and Daisy were really excited and confident that we could do it as a team, they would (will) take on the extra work that I won't have time to do anymore, which needs to be done while I am swanning about with a crochet hook and stolen yarn.
Also the original number of blankets talked about was 20 in 2 years, I don't think I could do it even if I crocheted for 7 days a week.
After lots of discussion and whimpering e-mails from me Katie agreed that 14 was fine.

In January I signed the contract, I was still not sure I was able to do what Search Press wanted, but Daisy and Phil had convinced me that between the 3 of us we could cope and that I needed to seize this chance as I might not get another one.
So for the past month I have been putting together a "sketchbook" of idea's and swatches, I even started one blanket and have solid plans for another two.

On monday morning after Unravel we travelled the extra miles to go and have a meeting with Katie.
I wasn't sure if any of my ideas and plans were good enough or if they were what Search Press wanted.
But I needn't have worried, she was happy with everything I am doing and put my mind to rest about some of my other worries.

I can't begin to express how happy and excited I am.
I get to do exactly what I want, just as long as it is not to complicated for you to do, which is something I am always concious about when I design.
All the motifs are simple ones, the blankets are more about colour arrangement and shape.
There will be 7 sections, each one containing 2 blankets, in each section there will be1 simple, 1 more complex, 1 bed sized, 1 smaller, 1 4 ply and 1 DK.

Along the way I will be blogging about my progress, telling you stories and even showing you tiny snippets of what I am doing.
If I seem a bit absent don't worry I'm still here beavering away on my sofa crocheting like mad and trying to restrain myself from making anything to difficult and complex to make.
2 years plus is a long time to wait for a book, I really hope you like it and that the wait is worthwhile.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Dyeing for Unravel 2014

Daisy and I have turned into mega dyeing machines.
We are doing the UNRAVEL yarn show in Farnham, Surrey next weekend and like a lot of our friends and competitors are still dyeing yarn for the show.
We are so busy I haven't had much time to Tweet, Facebook or chat on Ravelry, so I thought I would share a few photo's with you.

This is what NDS at Alta Lyn looked like 20 mins ago, its all yarn for the show.

And this is what I dyed on Tuesday, Daisy is still dyeing her batch, she would of done it yesterday, but a tree was blown over on our power line in the storm, so we lost electricity.
Once its dry and has lost the worst of its indigo smell it goes home to be wound by Phil, Poor Phil has been sitting in our flat winding solidly for the past few weeks and he doesn't realise how much more there is to come home to be wound for the show.

After taking these photo's I thought I'd take a longer shot of the dye room.

And then I walked around the corner of the building....
We have had quite a few messages from people asking if we are ok because of the storms and floods, so I thought I'd show you that we are.
The below photo is of Hollerday Hill and the whole of Lynton in front of it, our flat is in the bit of town in the middle of the photo, its 500 feet above sea level, so we are safe from the sea surges, although Lynmouth is at the bottom of the hill hasn't been so lucky.

And another photo of Lynton and the Bristol channel on a very clear day you can see the Welsh mountains across the channel and on a clear night you can see lights sparkling on the Welsh coast.

This is our little bit of Exmoor, which cleverly leads me on to our Exmoor White yarn, (50% Exmoor Horn wool/30% Exmoor white Alpaca/20% Silk) some of which is in tonights update, we only have it in small quantities as its an exclusive yarn spun especially for NDS in small batches.
Its spun by John Arbon (our friend and neighbour) at his mill in South Molton, its spun from the sheep and Alpaca's that live in the fields around us, which makes it extra extra special.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Crochet Art

I spend a lot of time on Pinterest looking at crochet pictures, I have been know to have a mini rant about seeing the same old designs time and time again.
They have their place in the world,
But I want to see are things that really inspire and excite me, so I thought I'd share some crochet artists with you, maybe they will inspire and excite you too.

The photo's I'm sharing are all on Pinterest, so I hope the artists don't mind.
So in no particular order here are some of my favourites, there are more, but thats for another time.
Please click on the links to see more work from the artist.

Anu Tuominen

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAda