Monday, 24 August 2015

Yarndale 2015 & panic

Good morning world from a gloomy damp Exmoor.

I feel really sorry for the tourists, especially the campers, but they did have sun for a few hours yesterday afternoon so its not all bad :-)

YARNDALE 2015 is a month away.

Thanks to Attic 24, (Lucy is one of the original organisers and attracts crocheters from all over the globe) Yarndale has become the only UK yarn show that focuses on crochet.
There will be all the normal suspects :-) - indie dyers, spinners, knitting designers, yarn brands, shops etc etc, but there wll also be a lot of crochet designers and crochet related stands.

It will be a momentous show for me as its going to my first show as a full time designer, not only is it my first show as a designer, but its also the first show that I will be flying solo and I'm beginning to panic.
I have no idea what to expect, what am I going to sell? is anyone going to know who I am? will anybody come and see me? will I be busy? or will I spend the whole show sitting in a corner quietly crocheting? and will the Beast behave and manage to get me to Yorkshire without any problems in the first place?
I really don't know the answer to any of these questions.

I've done yarn shows with NDS for about 10 years, but my designs have always just been pattern support for the yarn, over the years the NDS stand had developed into a very professional looking stand.
Its going to be difficult for me to produce a comparable crochet stand.
For one thing I won't be able to take all the grids as they are too long for the Beast and I don't want to hire a trailer, even though the Beast is built for towing the last 2 times I hired a trailer it had a big tantrum and broke down.
I might manage to persuade John Arbon to squeeze a couple of them into his van, but only enough to hang 2 or 3 blankets.

Secondly I don't have much of a product to sell.
So far I have a box of crochet hooks and a box of "Madder Triangles" that I discovered hidden away in the cellar, I thought the book had sold out, but it turns out that there are still a few left.
I will also have some Knit by Numbers DK, which is yarn support for Kissing Kaffe and Harlequin.
And I'm planning on raiding my stash for what's left of my NDS yarn as I can't really use it in my designs any more due to it being discontinued.

The only thing I am certain about is which blankets to take......

 Harelquin, Kissing Kaffe and Kaleidoscope for the 3 side walls.

Cornucopia for the table 
& maybe one or two blankets from "Madder Triangles" to cover up the rest of the table.

I need to stop dithering and panicking and just get on with it before I run out of time :-)
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


My second blog post is about Harlequin.
Which is the blanket I decided to make to see how quickly I could make a blanket.
The blanket took me 3 weeks to make from a pile of skeins to published pattern ...phew...
I have already blogged about the first week of Harlequin, so here are week's 2 and 3.

Week 2
I spent the whole week crocheting like a mad woman and being good and sewing in my ends as I went :-)
I finished making the blanket on Thursday (or it may have been Wednesday)



And week 3
I wrote the pattern, took the photo's and published the pattern yesterday :-)
You can find it on Ravelry HERE
And on Etsy HERE

Summer CAL - Part 2 & 3

Oooops - I was trying to blog at the beginning of each week, but I have slipped a bit.
So there will be 2 blog posts this morning to explain why I have been a bad blogger.

This one is about the Love Crochet Summer CAL

Since the last time I blogged the Summer CAL took over the whole of my life.
I was completely obsessed, spending all my waking time in the CAL Facebook group encouraging and answering questions and as there are nearly 2000 ladies crocheting along it meant an awful lot of questions and encouraging, plus all the e-mails and private messages.
I made the decision to step away, as I have a book to write and other patterns to publish.
So I un-joined the group, but am still trying to check in every day to see how every one is doing and "like" all your beautiful projects.
I'm quite sad about leaving the CAL group as I have always been involved with my customers and like to be able to help in anyway that I can.
And even sadder at the fact that I didn't even say goodbye, but saying good bye would of generated far too many comments and answers that I would struggle to keep up with.
I hope the nearly 2000 ladies will forgive me :-)

Incidentally one of the questions I have noticed while lurking is coming up time and time again, it is "What colour border should be used to join the squares together?"
The answer is there isn't one, the squares should be joined to each other, so the colours flow.
However if you have already started joining with a colour please don't worry, its your blanket and is adding a border makes you happy then its perfectly fine :-)

Since I last blogged 4 more square patterns have been published on the Love Crochet Blog
And here they are.....


Happy Crocheting
love Amanda

Thursday, 6 August 2015

How to read my patterns

This blog post is especially for some of the ladies on the Love Crochet CAL Facebook Group
I have chatted to many ladies at wool shows over the years, many have said they can't follow crochet patterns, so this post is also for them.
Although hopefully it will be of some use to everyone :-)

I've just started to use a very specific format for my patterns, I write them long hand, instead of abbreviating them into long lines of symbols and numbers, so they can seem a bit long winded and basic for the experienced crocheters who have been using patterns all their crochet lifes.
The reason I write them long hand is because sadly crochet has always been thought of as something you do with your left over scraps of yarn from knitting projects and that granny squares are the only motif out there.
However things are changing, there are some fabulous crochet designers and so more and more new crocheters are learning the basics from YouTube and crochet workshops are popping up in shops all over the place.
This has lead to a huge number of newbies, many of whom struggle to read the traditionally written patterns. I want to encourage them to have the confidence to explore the world of crochet.

My patterns are written as logical as I can make them, so here is my explanation.
I am using the Sky motif from the Love Crochet Summer CAL as an example, you can find the pattern HERE
I normally start of with a photo of a finished motif, so you can see what your finished motif should look like.
I used to include step by step photo's of each round and am in 2 minds as to whether I need to start including the photos again, if you would like to see me using them again, please let me know :-)

Then I add a chart of the motif pattern, which can be a bit scary, but the chart is just a drawing of the motif. Each stitch has its own symbol and I always include a key, plus the American translation for crocheters who are used to reading American term patterns.
I normally use the colours of the finished motif, which should make it easy to compare it with the photo.

Then comes the written pattern.
I write the pattern for one side of each round, always starting in the corner and working across to the next corner.
So for a square you need to crochet the pattern four times, a hexagon six times and a triangle three times, until you reach the beginning corner.
Each round starts with set of chain stitches, which are the equivalent height of the stitch it is replacing.
For example an htr (hdc) stitch is 2 chain, the 2 chain is only used for the first side of the motif, the remaining sides first stitches are all crocheted with the actual stitch.
I always crochet into the gaps between the stitches, rather than the stitches themselves, I've always done it as it is the way I was taught to crochet.
Below is the Sky motif chart with round 4 coloured blue, I have shaded the starting side of the pattern so you can see what the written instruction refer to.
And below the chart it is the written instructions for round 4, this should help you understand how the pattern works

Round 4
Join into 2 ch corner space from round 3, 
*2 ch (counts as 1 htr), 1 htr, 3 ch, miss 3 gaps between sts
In next gap - 1 htr,
in next gap - 1 tr
In next gap - 1 htr, 2 ch, miss 1 space
in next 2 ch space, 1 dc, 1 ch, 1 dc, 2 ch, miss 1 space
In next gap - 1 htr,
in next gap - 1 tr
In next gap - 1 htr, 3 ch,  miss 3 spaces
in next 2 ch corner space - 2 htr, 2 ch*
Repeat * to * 3 more times.
Join to the top of the starting 2 ch with a sl st. 
Break yarn and fasten off.

Incidentally I've edited the pattern slightly from the original to change some of the "spaces" to read "gaps", as I'm still developing the format.
Since this pattern was written I have decided to use the word gap for the space between 2 stitches and the word space for spaces made with chain stitches.

And finally each of my patterns has a layout chart, some have key's to help you understand which motif should go where.
However the Love Crochet Summer CAL charts are actual photographs of the motifs, which should be easily recognisable.
Below is the small version of Layout 1

I hope this blog post helps those who are struggling and explains the format to those who are used to the traditional format.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Love Crochet Summer CAL charts

Second blog post of today :-)

This post is especially for all the lovely ladies who are taking part in the Love Crochet Summer CAL
(Facebook group - HERE)
You can find the yarn packs HERE, but you will need to hurry before they sell out - again.....:-)

There has been much confusion and discussing about the 3 layout's especially layout 1, so I thought I'd post the layout charts here, so you can choose one and be ready and waiting for more information when the first motif pattern is published tomorrow on Love Crochet's blog.

Layout 1 - small, it takes 1 pack of yarn 
(Approx 30 x 30 inches)

Layout 1 - medium, the original layout 2 which takes 2 packs of yarn 
(Approx 45 x 45 inches)

Layout 1 - the biggest, which also takes 2 packs of yarn
 (Approx 55 x 55 inches)

Layout 2 - 1 pack of yarn 
(Approx 40 x 40 inches)

Layout 3 - 1 pack of yarn 
(Approx 40 x 45 inches)

Harlequin wip

I will be selling John Arbon Textiles "Knit by Numbers DK" on my stand at Yarndale and if I don't have a blanket that uses KBN then its slightly pointless having the yarn.
The blanket is called Harlequin, because of the shape of the motif, also because anyone who knows John will know that he has a few Harlequin type similarities.

Yarndale is only about 9 weeks away, so my blanket needs to be made super quick and I have decided to document its progress and making.
So this is last week's progress .......

Day 1 - Wednesday 29th of July  
I went to see the lovely Juliet and stole 12 skeins of her and John's Knit by Numbers.


Wednesday afternoon and night - I wound 2 balls and crocheted 110 round 1's.

Day 2 - Thursday 30th July 
I wound another 2 balls and organised the round 1's into colours and crocheted all 110 round 2's

Day 3 - Friday 31st of July  
I wound another 5 balls and organised the round 2's into colours and crocheted 55 round 3 & 4's


Day 4 and 5 - Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd of August
I didn't really do much at all, because I actually allowed myself to enjoy the weekend.
On Saturday morning we went to Lynton farmers market at the town hall, then in the evening we went to watch the raft race at Lynmouth and spent Saturday night dancing in the moonlight till midnight in the wet grass at the Beggars Roost Inn, behaving like 50 year old teenagers with our friends.
Yesterday morning I walked up Hollerday Hill with Juliet and spent the afternoon with Phil reading our books in the beautiful sunny beer garden at Hunters Inn.

But I did manage to wind the last 3 balls and crochet another 32 round 3 & 4's.

So now onto week 2, lets see where I am before next weekend, as we will be going to a wedding on the edge of the moor and do lots more behaving like 50 year old teenagers, I don't envisage much crochet happening :-)