Tuesday 15 December 2015

YAY!!! YAY!!! - The final end

YAY!!!! YAY!!!!!

I've finally finished writing my book.
Its taken me 27 months in total and I have been through an emotional hell and back again just to get it finished by the deadline.
I closed NDS, I worked 7 day's a week for the past 6 months and spent the whole of the last 2 hot sunny summer's under a blanket on my sofa sewing in ends.
You would not believe how happy and relieved I am, I wrote the final words yesterday and haven't stopped happy dancing yet :-)
I'm really proud of what I have achieved and its now in the hands of my publishers to turn it into something amazing and beautiful :-)
Its called "Rainbow Crocheted Blankets" and will hopefully be launched at the Yarndale show next September.

I want you to celebrate with me so I have just started my second Ravelry special pattern discount code.
Its a "Buy one get one free offer" Just add 2 of my crochet patterns to your Ravelry shopping cart, add the code and you will get one for free :-)
The offer runs from now until Christmas Day and the code is.... Thefinalend
You can find my Ravelry pattern store HERE

And look I've even had the time to make lots of pretty promotional photo's to add to Instagram :-)
(And linked all the photo's to their individual pattern pages in the store)

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/ermintrude-crochet-blanket  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kissing-circles--kaffe-blankets http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/zodiac-afghan-blanket

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rita-crochet-blanket http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/twinkle-twinkle-little-star-crochet-blanket http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/harlequin-afghan-blanket

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/kissing-circles--kaffe-blankets http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lily-crochet-blanket-afghan http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cornucopia-afghan-blanket


Love Amanda - off to do some more happy dancing :-)

Friday 11 December 2015

Celebration discount & Stargazer wip

Good morning from a gloomy grey Exmoor

Which might not sound like a good morning, but yesterday I finished writing all the crochet patterns for my book - YAY!!
Two years work is nearly finished, just the writing to do, its all in my head and lots and lots of notes, so all being well I will finish the whole book by my deadline next week :-)
As a celebration, plus its Christmas I've decided to run a couple of discounts for the patterns in my Ravelry shop, the first one is live now and the second will start next week.

The first one is a special offer discount code for my RAVELRY SHOP for all four of my self published patterns that I have published during 2015.
You will be able to buy them all together at the special price of £10 (normal price £14.50).
You will need to put all four patterns in your shopping cart and use the following code at the checkout

The patterns are as follows....

And while I'm here I thought I'd share my latest wip photo's.
I like to document my wip's, as it helps me remember when and how I made them, it also helps safeguard against copying, (I know that sounds a bit extreme, but sadly it happens far too often)

So here is Stargazer - the follow up to my Zodiac blanket, there will be lots more about it when I have finished and published the pattern.

I started in November just after Zodiac was published.

I had a false start, sadly the beautiful dark sea green silk was too speckled and made the blanket look dirty, so I frogged the whole thing just after the second photo and started all over again.

The photo's above are my progress over the past few weeks.

And this is what it looks like this morning, I have finished the constellations and about to start work on the border :-)

Have a lovely weekend
Happy crocheting
love Amanda

Friday 27 November 2015

Belladonna Crochet Scarf

Tah Dah......
Finally a blog post, I'm getting very close to finishing writing my book and so normal service will be resumed in the very near future :-)

In the meantime here is my promised post about my new Belladonna Scarf, made and designed for The LITTLE GREY SHEEP

The Little Grey Sheep is based on Well Manor Farm in Hampshire, their aim is to conserve the countryside by farming as traditionally as possible.
Their flock of Gotland and Shetland sheep produce a stunning range of wool yarns, which are spun in Devon and then dyed by Emma on the farm.

Belladonna was designed to showcase their stunning collection of colours, when I visited their stand at Yarndale I was overawed by the depth and range of colour, I wanted all of them, so I designed a snuggly colourful warm winter scarf, that would use a collection of warm snuggly colours.
Belladonna is 4 squares wide x 30 squares long and has 4 tassels at each end, that you can see in the photo below.
It measures 66 x 9 inches/167 x 24 cm's (excluding tassels).

The sheep photographs are of Bilbo, who is a Gotland ram who is daddy to some of the sheep who kindly donate their fleeces to make the stunning wool yarn that was used to make Belladonna.
They were all taken by Emma of The Little Grey Sheep.
As you can see Bilbo makes rather a stylish model.
I've named the scarf Belladonna as its the name of Bilbo Baggins's mother and its nice to keep it in the family.
It's all very hobbitish :-)

The scarf needs 15 x 20 gm skeins (300 gms/approx. 860m) of The Little Grey Sheep British Stein Fine Wool® 4ply (Shetland/Gotland/Merino wool)
There will be kits available in the very near futue on The Little Grey Sheep's website which you can find here - THE LITTLE GREY SHEEP

You can find the pattern on Ravelry - HERE
And on Etsy - HERE 


Monday 2 November 2015

Zodiac published

I've talked about this blanket for so long, if you go back through this blog you can find several previous Zodiac posts
And today is the day I finally publish it - YAY!!!
You can find it on Etsy - HERE
And Ravelry - HERE

I designed the Zodiac for a NDS blanket club about 18 months ago.
It took 6 months to design as the layout was so complex, I had to work out how the Zodiac constellations would fit together in the right order and then calculate yarn quantities and colours so NDS could dye 16 full skeins of yarn.
It doesn't sound like much but it was weeks and weeks of maths tweaking colours here and there to make sure they were used evenly.

So here it is.....

Exmoor is a designated international dark sky reserve; the reserves are classified as public or private areas that possess an exceptional quality of starry nights.
The layout of the Zodiac constellations were a perfect illustration of the stars you might see on a moorland dark night.
The blanket contains all 12 constellations in the right placement order, however they may seem backwards, but this is due to the earth revolving in an anti-clockwise direction.

The two motif patterns are both fairly simple, they only the basic stitch's, they are only a couple of steps more advanced from the traditional granny square.
The pattern includes step by step layout charts, and a colour key for each constellation , all of this hopefully should make it reasonably simple for you to follow.

Love Amanda

P.S - The photo's are a little bit dark, one day I will manage to get some perfect blanket photos.....sigh....

Monday 26 October 2015

Behind the scenes

I'm sorry I'm a bit absent at the moment.
I've realised that I only have 8 weeks until my book deadline and am working away behind the scenes colouring in charts, writing patterns and trying to finish the last blanket.
It seems like its all very last minute, but I wanted it to be perfect so have spent the last 6 month's refining my pattern format and deciding how I was going to explain colour and alternative yarns.
The patterns are kind of under control, even though I still have about 14 layout charts to finish (originally there were 30!)
But I still haven't started writing the other bits, as I'm still working on it in my head.

The last blanket is almost finished, I spent the whole weekend crocheting like a mad woman and I'm now working on the last border of motifs.
Here are a few wip photo's that don't give too much away :-)


I will be publishing the Zodiac blanket pattern next week, so there will be a big blog post and still have the Little Grey Sheep scarf to finish before Christmas, so will be blogging about that too.
But apart from these 2 posts I don't have anything else planned.
BUT I have big plans for the blog in the new year, lots of pages to add, posts to write and maybe even a new website.

Wish me luck
Love amanda

Monday 12 October 2015

VAT's & price rises

A bit of a monday morning rant.....

About a year ago, someone on Ravelry discovered that there were new digital sales European VAT tax laws/rules planned to come into effect on January 2015 and luckily for all involved told the community.
The VAT people claimed that everyone who would be affected should have been notified, however no one knew anything about it.
The rules are incoherent, contradict other rules/laws and absolutely ridiculous, they are supposed to force the big international companies like Amazon stop evading European VAT, but they apply to all businesses world wide that sell digital downloads to customers in Europe regardless of how big or small the business is.
I could write a very long essay trying to explain all the details, but it would be very boring for you to read and even if you managed to read to the end, you would be far more confused you were before you started!

The main result is that  knitting & crochet designers have had to increase their pdf patterns prices.
Designers have 3 options on how to deal with VAT
1 - Absorb the cost of the VAT and keep the pattern price the same, which means a big drop in income for the designer.
2 - Raise the pattern prices to cover VAT, this means the price goes up for everyone.
3 - Leave the pattern prices as they are, and charge VAT on the European sales.
Whichever option the designer chooses is unfair on themselves or their customers.
Sadly I rely on pattern sales to pay the bills and so can't afford a drop in income, so I have chosen option 3, it means the prices have risen for my European customers, but stays the same for all my international customers. Its unfair if you live in Europe, but at least some of my customers don't suffer.

The reason why I have written this blog post is to answer a thread on Ravelry
It was started by customer's who weren't happy about the price rises, the thread has become very heated so I have chosen not to join in.

What I'm trying to say to you is "Please don't blame the designer's, its out of our control, if you want to have a rant, get in touch with your MP, MEP, VAT office, the IRS or anyone in power who you think will listen"

Now I've come to the end of my small rant about a big thing I'm going to leave you with a happy picture, to brighten your week :-)
Its my new Belladonna scarf, photographed on the wild and windy moor yesterday.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Cornucopia & Skein Queen Kits

When we decided to close NDS my main worry was where my yarn was going to come from.
So I decided I needed to start collecting a NDS free stash.
My very first purchase was a bright yellow skein of Selkino from Skein Queen at Unravel in February.
It was one of my favourite yarn bases and I fell in love with the colour as soon as I saw it, however the colour was completely out of place with my NDS stash, so obviously I needed a couple more skeins of equal colour intensity to go with it, so I bought some more SQ colours to keep it company :-)
And started crocheting.....

The result was Cornucopia, which was a experiment to see if I could use subtle and intense colour in the same design.
Halfway through I realised that I had chosen fruity colours, so I named it after the mythical horn of plenty which is overflowing with fruit and flowers.

I'm really pleased with the way the blanket turned out, its one of those blankets that is better seen in real life and was hugely popular at Yarndale.

While I was away swanning about in Yorkshire Debbie was busily working away behind the scenes dyeing a collection of colours for a Cornucopia kit.
And here its is - Cornucopia Yarn Bundle
She's done an amazing job, the colours are stunning and the yarn is divine and I'm slightly jealous of the people who buy the kits as I won't be able to use them to make blanket all over again with Debbie's colours.....

But as my mother would say "onwards and upwards" I have new designs and colours to use and should be content that you will be enjoying mine and Debbie's work.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Yarndale 2015 - Thank you speech

This post is very, very long and reads a bit like a oscar winning speech, I have so many people to thank for making ,my first solo show a success.
I was very mental, hysterical and stressed, throughout the whole experience, but it was amazing and I loved every minute of it.
So much so I am already planning next year's show in my head, I made a lot of mistakes, but I now have a whole year to plan and get it right next time.

 So here goes.....

Firstly and most importantly I would like to thank...

1 - The whole Yarndale team for creating and putting on such an amazing show, for all their hard work, dedication and thoughtfulness.

2- Lucy - Attic24 For being the creative force behind the crochet element of Yarndale.
Lucy has helped create the only show that I know of with a crochet focus, she attracts crocheter's from all over the world, which means crochet designers like myself have the chance to showcase our work.
She also organises beautiful instillations, that decorate the show and the town of Skipton, made up with crochet donations from crocheters all over the world, this year it was flowers, that were sale in aid of Alzheimers Society charity.
I was told the flowers came from 23 different countries, the work that goes on behind the scenes must be immense.
I was lucky enough to have a couple of chats with Lucy and although I burbled verbal diarrhoea at her, she understood and kindly approved my idea's for my next year's show.

3 - Joy - The Knitting Goddess, who supported and enabled me to get to the show in the first place, without Joy I wouldn't of made the show at all.
Joy launched our joint Colour Wheel project, which hopefully will run for a long time, we have lots and lots of future plan's in the pipeline, I think she sold out of the very first sets of colour wheel mini skeins on the first day, which hopefully is a sign of good things to come.

4 - John and Juliet - John Arbon textiles (+ Frankie - Franks Knits & Emily - Viola Viola )
My very close friends and neighbours who became my temporary carers, who gave me some where to stay, ensured I ate properly and generally supported me through out the whole experience.

5 - I started off my Yarndale trip on Wednesday with an overnight visit to my very good friends Jeni - Fyberspates and Andy - Chester Wool
Jeni and I  did some serious brainstorming and came up with some very exciting plans to work together next year.

6 - Valerie - Agraian Artisan
My lovely, lovely friend, who helps me write all my patterns, I wouldn't be a designer without her, I went to visit her on the Thursday and we finally had the chance to chat in peace  and quiet.

7 - All my woolly friends that I only ever see at shows, I've missed seeing them this year, because I haven't been at any of the summer shows so it was lovely to catch up.
Firstly Jon & Roy - Easyknits and Linda and Andrea - Tall Yarns
Plus Jonathon & Sarah - Purlescence, Erica - Debonnaire, and so many more who will have to forgive me for not mentioning.
Plus my neighbours John & Claire - Natural Born Dyers & Marie Wallin who put up with my excess of blankets and hysteria.

8 - My fellow designer's - Janie Crow, Rachel Coopey, and Ann Kingstone, who also had to put up with my hysteria and answered my questions, thank you for your time and advice.

9 - Emma - The Little Grey Sheep, who became one of my new yarn enabler's, Emma gave me such an amazing collection of yarn to play with that I couldn't wait to use it, so immediately started designing on the stand.

And finally my amazing customers, who forgave the fact that I'd sold out of patterns by lunchtime on the first day, ran me out of 500 postcards and accepted me stickering them with my Ravelry shop address for the remainder of the show.
Especial "Thanks" go to Denise, who suffered my panic & my hysteria when I realised I hadn't taken my epilepsy & high blood pressure tablets on Sunday & for always being a loyal and supportive friend & customer.
And Gina who has been a loyal supporter who has been a loyal customer and friend from the very beginning of my NDS days

The end :-)

Saturday 19 September 2015

VAT promotion

Ever since the new digital VAT regulations came in at the beginning of the year all my UK customers have had to pay VAT on my patterns, normally they wouldn't be charged VAT as they live in the same country as me.
However because the platforms I sell on are based in the US, they have to charge VAT on all European sales.

I feel its very unfair on my UK customers, and have been trying to think of a way to make it a little bit fairer.
So I've done a little bit of research and I've discovered I can run a Etsy promotion, so I've set one up to run until then end of the month (Sept 2015)
When you buy one of my patterns on Etsy you will receive a coupon that gives you 20% off your next pattern.

Incidentally all of my customers will receive the coupon code, so if you live outside Europe and don't have to pay VAT you will still get the coupon, which means you will still get the 20% discount off subsequent patterns.

I'm a bit confused about how the Etsy coupons work, I think you will be able to use the coupon on all subsequent purchases.
So I'm going to be cheeky and ask if you could buy a pattern to test to see if  you will get subsequent discounts.
As a special incentive here is the coupon code, so you can take advantage of the discount on your first purchase - VAT2015
After your purchase you should receive a e-mail giving you the code, please can you let me know if you receive it :-)
If the code works I'll set up a new promotion which will last until the end of the year.

You can find my Etsy shop - HERE
And some of my patterns to tempt you......... :-)

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/244528009/harlequin-crochet-afghanblanket-pdf?ref=shop_home_feat_4     https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/80527550/lily-crochet-blanket-pdf-crochet-pattern?ref=shop_home_feat_1

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/198695904/kissing-circles-kaffe-crochet?ref=shop_home_feat_2     https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/114082442/ermintrude-crochet-blanket-pdf-crochet?ref=shop_home_active_4 


Friday 18 September 2015

The Knitting Goddess & Yarndale

This time next week I will be setting up my stand at Yarndale.
You would not believe the behind the scenes chaos and hoops I have had to jump through to get there.
Everything is beginning to fall in place and excitement is setting in and fingers crossed I will see you next weekend :-)))
Along with my family I have 2 people who have made it all possible.
The first is my lovely Valerie - Agrarian Artisan, she has always been my head cheerleader and has believed in me and talked me through numerous traumatic day's.
The second is Joy, the lovely and amazing Knitting Goddess, this blog post is about her :-)


I have known Joy for years and for almost all of them she has been one of my indie dyer competitors.
I remember first discovering her on eBay back in the day when I didn't realise competitors could be friends, but didn't actually meet her in person until 2009 when we both had stands at the disastrous wet first Ravelry day in Coventry.
We instantly became friends, because not only were we both indie dyers, but we also shared a slightly wicked sense of humour.
Since then when ever we have met at shows we have always done lots of laughing.

So fast forward 6 years to this spring when I closed NDS.
Joy kindly sent me some of her yarn to use in my last 2 book blanket's, as I wanted them to contain yarn from my indie dyer friends as a thank you for all their support and love over the years.
She sent me some Britsock, after playing with it for a while I realised it was the perfect replacement for some of my NDS yarns and so I asked if I could name her as one of my new yarn recommendations, to which she said yes :-)
Then I very cheekily asked if she could dye some colour wheels that I could use as examples for my book.
Joy took the colour wheel idea and ran with it, she was so keen to help that she spent a whole day dyeing mini skeins, I fairly certain she told me she'd dyed about 96 colours that day!!

Since then we have been discussing and planning on ways we could collaborate on a colour wheel project.
Yarndale will mark the beginning of our project.
Joy has been dyeing colour wheels and will have sets available to buy on her stand, they will be available in her on-line shop when she gets back from Yarndale.

And I have been editing and revamping some of my patterns for her to use for kits and to sell at Yarndale.
In fact she was so keen that she made her own version of my Iris scarf design, which she will have on her stand at the show.
She will also have my Rita blanket, I have spent the last week re-writing the pattern, who knows how she is going to fit it in, you will need to go and see her to find out :-)
Her stand number is 158


Incidentally you can find the new Rita pattern HERE in my Ravelry shop.

We have lots more plans for the colour wheel project later on in the year, including (fingers crossed) a set of colour wheel cushions and a blanket design using the motifs I designed for the Love Crochet CAL.
Plus I have a couple more of her yarns I want to use as yarn replacements, so far I have only swatched them, but am hoping that her 4 ply Silk and Merino will be a good substitute for a couple of scarf/garment patterns and her 4 ply British wool & Alpaca will work as a back up to Britsock.