Wednesday 27 May 2015

Bank holiday and secrets

You might notice I am a bit quiet on the social networking front.
I've started to tackle my "To Do" list and realised that about 90% of it is secret projects I can't share.
I'm crocheting away in the back ground and it looks like I am doing nothing.
I'm really hoping I can start to reveal my Love Crochet project very soon, its very exciting and I had a eureka moment yesterday where the whole thing transformed into something I was happy and excited about.
Up until then I wasn't sure and considered starting it all over again.

Anyway I can share my bank holiday photo's.
My baby and his partner James came for a short weekend visit and we went on a family picnic to Landacre or Lanacre as it's know by the locals.
We had an amazing day, here are a few photo's :-)

Phil and I started off with the "walk of shame" down the hill to pick up our car's from Lynmouth.
There had been an auction at the Rising Sun to raise funds for the pre-schoolers at our local school.
Phil had driven there straight from work and I had driven the family down, I wasn't too bad, but Phil had had a really messy night and was suffering the morning after :-)
I love this photo, it really sums up the "walk of shame"

Then we drove across the moor to Lanacre and lay int he sun beside the river, basking in the sun.

Oh and yesterday I added some more yarn to Ebay, which you can find HERE


Wednesday 20 May 2015

John Arbon's Open Mill Weekend

Daisy and I had a brilliant time over the weekend.
We went to help John and Juliet with their open mill weekend.

I thought I was going to sit and crochet and chat to customers, however it was so busy that I ended up on the floor selling with a huge queue of customers waiting patiently to pay.
I'd even been to see Juliet to get some yarn for a new version of Lorna Doone so that I could crochet with their yarn, sadly the new Lorna didn't really happen.
However I have almost finished crocheting her now and there will be a blog post when she is finished :-)

It was lovely to be in the wool show atmosphere without any of the pressures of setting up, breaking down and worrying about costs.
I'm already looking forward to helping again next year :-) 



Monday 18 May 2015

Call for Kissing Circle testers

As I mentioned in the previous post I have been editing my Kissing Circles/Kaffe pattern, taking out NDS as the recommended yarn and adding a new yarn, its been a lot more complicated than I thought.
For one thing I wanted to make the pattern easier to understand, its an easy construction method, once you understand how it works, I don't think the original version explains the method very well. So I have completely re-written it.
I still haven't completely finished it as I need to recommend the exact colours of the new yarn which is Cascade 220, preferably the superwash version as it crochets up slightly smaller than the normal un-superwash version.

I want my patterns to be easy to follow, the crochet is simple but the colour placement is complicated.
And before I launch into the very long process of writing my book patterns I want to make sure I am not confusing my readers and that I am producing the best pattern that I possibly can.


 So I decided I would like to have to have it tested and I mentioned I was thinking of calling for testers on Instagram several weeks ago, the response was massive, so many people saying "pick me, pick me".
I have no idea how to pick, who to pick, how many to pick and don't want to disappoint any one, so I have come up with a cunning plan.

My plan is as follows

1 - You buy the pattern I want tested and you test it, you don't have to make the whole blanket, just a small swatch or beginnings of the blanket.
2 - You e-mail me your review, questions, comments, whats missing from the pattern, what you would like explained in more detail etc etc
It needs to be a e-mail rather than a blog/facebook/instgram comment, because of step 3.
You can find the e-mail address on the pattern or send me a e-mail via the contact me link in the side bar here on the blog.
3 - I send you 2 free patterns of your choice as a "Thank you"

I only need feedback on the patterns I have re-edited, at the moment it is only my Kissing Circles/Kaffe pattern, but in time I will work my way through my entire back catalogue, so there will be plenty of testing to do in the future.

You can find the new Kissing Circles/Kaffe pattern on ....

Love Crochet - HERE
Raverly has 2 versions (either version will do)
Kissing Circles - HERE
Kissing Kaffe - HERE
Etsy - HERE

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Swatching, swatching, swatching....

Oooops - I've just noticed I haven't done a instagram catch up for a couple of weeks.

I do have a good excuse, this is now the 3rd week of me being a full time designer, so this post marks the end of NDS at Alta Lyn and my struggle to come to terms with all the things I have been putting off until the day I was a full time designer.
I've made a "To do" list and then edited it and then enlarged it and then enlarged it again, how did I end up with so many "To do's"?
Luckily most of them are one time only "To do's", but while I am catching up with them new "To do's" will be piling up behind them forming a queue to be added on to a new list....sigh....

The biggest "to do" is edit all my existing back catalogue of pattern to remove NDS as the recommended yarn and replace it with a suitable alternative, I've written all about it in the Drops Alpaca review which is the post below this one.
So I've done lots and lots and lots of swatching, which is actually taking a lot longer than I imagined.


So most of my mornings have been spent at my laptop, editing existing patterns, well actually just the Kissing Circles/Kaffe pattern,so that's one down and about what feels like a million to go.... :-)

I've spent most of my crochet time working on the two Zodiac club blankets, I was so behind with them I like to include a photo with the chart, so members can see what the blankets look like in real life and I like to photograph them at the same time, so the light is the same.
I was very behind Phil who is knitting the motifs for the knitted version, he was kniting August motifs while I was struggling to get May finished by the beginning of May so I could send the pattern installment out to the members in time.

But I caught up and over took him - YAY!!
He's still knitting September motif's, my September crochet version is done, so I'm waiting for him to catch up so the blankets can be photographed together.

Here is May, if you're not a member and want to join in, you can find all the monthly instalments and pattern in my Etsy shop HERE
I need to add it to Ravelry, but that's still on my "to do" list..


I did some more strolling around the village in the sun.
I will be doing lots more strolling and visiting as soon as I have a bit more time.


And Phil and I went on a road trip to Hartland Quay


And we celebrated our 3 year anniversary of living on Exmoor with some relaxing at the Rising Sun with our small rat type monkey lurcher Tinkabelle



Friday 8 May 2015

Drops Alpaca Review

When we closed NDS I was suddenly left without a yarn supply, which was the worst nightmare I could imagine as a designer,
I've always been able to dye the exact colour I needed to use, which made choosing colours easy.
I was left stranded without my colours and without my yarn, most of my indie dyer friends use my main supplier Chester Wool, so some of them have "my yarn". 
Sadly because they are indie dyers most of their colours are one-offs, so even though I can recommend them as dyer's they don't always have the colours I/you need
I have added them and their yarns to my "Recommended Yarns" page, so go and check them out if you want to buy an extra special skein/s to add to your collection.
(I will be adding more commercial yarns and indie dyers and their yarns to the list as I test them)

Anyway back to my worst nightmare.
Within day's of my worst nightmare coming true, I was offered the opportunity to solve it.
The lovely people from asked me to work with them on some future projects, this meant I had a whole world of new yarns to discover and so my search for NDS replacements began.

Drops Alpaca is my first discovery.
It is at the budget end of the price range, and being used to only ever using luxury yarn I didn't really expect to like it very much.
So I started of with testing a couple of balls, using it with my NDS yarns in the book blanket I am working on at the moment.
I was completely shocked and surprised as to how nice it was and how well it worked with my NDS yarns.
And even better it came in a range of subtle colours, that would blend with my NDS colours.
As to be expected its not as soft as the luxury alpaca's, but its still soft and cuddly and has the tell tale fuzzy aura that makes alpaca special.
Its gentle on your hands and just generally lovely to work with.
Even though its a different yarn base you can use it as a replacement for the following NDS 4 ply yarns
Phoenix 4 ply (50% merino/50% silk), Angelus (70% Alpaca/20% silk/10% cashmere) Godiva HT (100% merino) and Godiva Silk. (70% merino/30% silk)

The above photo is of my Drops Alpaca colour wheel so far, I've only got 11 colours so I have one missing. 
My real only criticism is that the colour range is missing a proper green.
Obviously I will need to "test" a few more potentials to find the missing colour, maybe teal or dark turquoise which shouldn't be too much of a hardship for me :-)
Even better Drops Alpaca is on special offer at the moment (£1.85 for 50 gms, normal price £2.90 per 50 gms) which gives you the perfect time to stock up on lots and lots of lovely yarn.

Here is the list of colours in my wheel, starting with the dark blue at the top and working clockwise.
Dark Blue - 6790
Olive - 7233
Dark Lime - 2916
Goldenrod - 2923
Orange - 2915
Deep Pink - 2922
Pink - 2921
Dark Pink - 3770
Old Pink - 3800
Purple Violet - 4434
Grey Purple - 6347

John Arbon Textiles Mill Open Weekend

My freinds (and neighbours) John and Juliet are having a open weekend at their mill in South Molton next weekend.

There will be lots of lovely socks, yarn and fibre for sale, some of it on sale and tea and cakes and plus mill tours with the lovely John as the tour guide.
Daisy and I will be there at some time over the weekend, and at some point over the weekend its very possible we will be helping to sell yarn, that is if I can stop buying it all for myself long enough to sell it:-)

You can find all the details HERE on their website

Monday 4 May 2015

Not a proper blog post this week

Sorry we've been so busy cleaning and decorating the dye room before we hand back the keys I haven't had much time to work on a proper blog post.
But I have added a couple of new pages, they both need lots more work, but both of them are a start.

I've added Choosing Colour
And Lynton Links

Hopefully lots more later :-)