Friday 16 December 2016

Flower Power - Story of a crochet blanket

This week's featured blanket from my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets is Flower Power.

Flower Power is the sister blanket to Liberty, it uses the same motif.
As Liberty was inspired by the fabrics my aunt used I thought it was only right I made a blanket inspired by fabrics my mother (her sister) used.
My mother worked for Singer Sewing Machines and made her own clothes all her life, in later life she was a big Laura Ashley fan and when she died we found a cupboard full of Indian saris she had bought and hidden away to use to make into dresses.
But I have chosen to design the blanket around fabrics I remember as a very small child, I was born in the 1960's and grew up through the 1970's,
I remember big bold simple flower prints using a lot of green, orange and brown, a colour combination I'm not very fond of, so I've swapped the brown for a dusky pink and violet.

WIP photo's

Finished photo's

Friday 9 December 2016

Severn Sea & Scrumptious Bubbles

This week's blog post was going to be the story of my Flower Power book blanket, but as I published 2 new blanket patterns this week I thought they needed a blog post first.

So here they are.....

Severn Sea
It was inspired by a combination of John Arbon Textiles Knit by Numbers yarn and the Bristol Channel which is the sea I live next to.
John's Knit by Numbers is very cleverly spun, he has a collection of base colours, each colour has a range of 6 different shades which run from the dark base colour and get paler each new shade.
You can find more information about it HERE
My blanket is made with 4 ply, but the pattern contains yarn amounts and measurements for a DK version.
In Tudor times the Bristol Channel was called the Severn Sea, which is a much more romantic name and also more descriptive, as our coastline is on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you swam directly west about 2,200 miles you would end up in Canada :-)
The blanket was designed to reflect the shape of waves and colours of the sea.

You can find the pattern HERE on Ravelry.


Scrumptious Bubbles

The second blanket was made with the same motif design and made using Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply, you can find a list of stockists HERE
Last year Jeni asked me to choose some new colours which would fit into the Scrumptious 4 ply range, the colours came out this summer and of course I had to test them all.
I absolutely love working with Scrumptious as its soft and has a big percentage of silk. I firmly believe that silk is the perfect seasoning for yarn, as it complements the shine and drape of a wool yarn.
You can find a small selection of the colours used HERE in my Etsy shop
The bubbles part of the name ties it in with the Severn Sea blanket as the circles could be rainbow sea foam.
You can find the pattern HERE on Ravelry.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Happy Christmas "Buy 1 get, 1 free" offer.

As its the 1st of December I thought I'd offer you a discount code, so you have plenty of crochet to keep you busy over Christmas.

Use the code in my Ravelry store, add two patterns to your cart, add the following code at checkout and you will only have to pay for one. The offer includes all my patterns, including the books.
The code is Christmas2016 and you can find my Ravelry store HERE
The offer will run from now until January 1st 2017.

Thursday 24 November 2016

Liberty - Story of a crochet blanket

Liberty was the fifth blanket made for my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets

It was inspired on a early summer morning's walk along the West Lyn river about half a mile from my home, the river runs through a deep wooded valley and is more of a mountain stream than an actual river.
There aren't really banks as such, just a rocky footpath along the riverside, but there is a small meadow, on that summer morning the meadow sparkled with sunlight, full of wild flowers with the fluffy seeds of Rose bay willow herb blowing in the breeze, it truly was one of those magical moments frozen in time.
I was so inspired that I decided to make a meadow blanket, as I started crocheting I realised that the design looked like a liberty print fabric. My beloved Aunty Pat, sews all her own clothes and makes a lot of them out of Liberty fabric, so Liberty was the perfect name.

Liberty features a green background representing the meadow with rose red hexagonal flowers.

Wip photo's

Finished photo's

This year I gave Liberty to Pat as a birthday present, I'm glad to say she was delighted to be given it and shed a few tears :-)

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Arabian Nights - Story of a crochet blanket

Arabian Nights is the sister blanket to Lilian and the fourth one I made for my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets.
I'm really surprised that it is the book blanket with the most hearts on Ravelry. I love it, but its orange and orange normally doesn't get much love, I wonder if its because I added tassels?

Arabian Nights is inspired by Persian carpets, the orange yarn was dyed with madder which is the orange dye used in antique carpets, madder was also my favourite dye that we used at NDS.
Its earthy, rich and smells like the desert, our madder was grown in Iran which adds an extra something special to the blanket.
It was designed as a child's blanket and inspired by the magic carpet in the Aladdin Disney movie, the Aladdin story comes from a collection of fairy tales called "One Thousand and One Nights", also known as "Arabian Nights".
If I ever have grandchildren its on my list of books to read to them and maybe they'll use it to go on their own magic carpet rides :-)

Wip photo's

Finished photo's

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Lilian - Story of a crochet blanket

Lilian is the third blanket for my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets
Technically Lilian is the first blanket as I started it in December 2013, before I started working on the book, but I stopped working a while when I made the first 2 blankets and then re-started when they were finished.

Lilian was meant to be one of a pair of orange blankets, but I started off with the wrong colours and it ended up with just a few orange motifs.

I love Persian carpets and have a few of my own. These two are my favourites, they are both quite modern but contain elements of traditional design, I didn't want my blanket to be a replica of a carpet design, but I wanted it to have a similar essence.

I chose the name Lilian for 2 reasons, the first is that its the name of a carpet making village in Iran and secondly because Lilian was my mother and she loved colour, especially bright pinks and turquoise, so most of the colours were chosen for her.


Wednesday 2 November 2016

Solstice - Story of a crochet blanket

The second blanket for my book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets is called Solstice, it is the sister blanket to my Crop Circles blanket.
Its named Solstice because I wanted to make it fit in with the Crop Circles blanket inspiration.

The following is it's original description...
"Solstice is named in honour of the summer solstice celebrated at Stonehenge in Wiltshire UK.
Wiltshire is a county in which a lot of UK crop circles appear, especially in the areas around ancient monuments like Stonehenge.
Every year thousands colourful pagans travel to the henge from all over the world, hence the rainbow colours.
Incidentally I’m not one of them, but I love the idea that they are so passionate that they are prepared to travel so far to see a sunrise."

Originally when I started working on the book the plan was to make 14 rainbow blankets, there were going to be 7 sections, 1 for each rainbow colour.
Each section would contain 2 blankets, 1 would be the rainbow colour and the second would be a blanket made out of all the rainbow colours.
The plan didn't last long as I realised that making 14 blankets & writing all the patterns and the rest of the book in 2 years was impossible.
Crop Circles and Solstice are the only 2 blankets that were part of the original plan.

I'll let the photo's tell the rest of the story

Wip photo's

The blanket only took a month to make as its made with DK and I'm a super fast crocheter.

This beautiful arty photo is courtesy of Search Press and one of the photo's from the book.
(Don't forget you can find the book HERE in my Etsy shop)

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Crop Circles - story of a crochet blanket

In January 2014 I started working on my new book Rainbow Crochet Blankets (also called Rainbow Crocheted Afghans for the US market).
You can find the UK version HERE in my Etsy shop.

The first blanket was Crop Circles, as the book was based on the rainbow I thought I'd start with yellow, which was not a colour I use very often. I made the blanket out of NDS yarn, dyed with Fustic and Cutch which created a lovely corn field yellow.
NDS yarn is discontinued, but Drops Alpaca do an almost perfect colour match called Goldenrod.
As the yellow was corn field yellow I didn't need to search very hard for inspiration, I've always been fascinated crop circles, I love the fact that someone has created interesting and complex designs on such a large scale in the landscape, but I doubt that farmers feel the same way.

The photo's below tell the story of my Crop Circles blanket progress.

I started off trying to master making a crochet circle, you would not believe how difficult I found making a crochet circle that laid flat, I searched the internet for circle patterns and tutorials. I swatched and swatched and swatched, my circles were either curled at the edge or had corners and flat sides, eventually I tweaked the basic pattern to come up with a perfect circle.
And so my circle/square obsession began :-)

For some reason I decided to make a king sized blanket, I quickly realised that it was a stupid idea as I'd never get 10 large blankets finished within my deadline, but as I'd already started crocheting I decided to carry on and make Crop Circles to its intended size.

It took me 3 months, but I loved the result, so much so that I decided Crop Circles was going to be my blanket and to put it on my bed when all the photographs had been taken.

Its impossible photographing such a massive blanket, its just too big to be able to see the design.

But even though my publishers Search Press focused on artistic photos rather than photo's on the entire blanket, they have done an amazing job and I think they've done it justice.

Thank you Search Press :-)

Monday 17 October 2016

Giveaway prize draw

I've decided to do a Give away prize draw :-)

Entry is very simple, all need you to do to enter is own a copy of my book, it doesn't matter which version it is, either the UK Rainbow Crocheted Blankets or the US Rainbow Crocheted Afghans and leave an honest review on Amazon.

If you don't own a copy yet, you can buy from one of the links below, you can also find signed copies of the UK terms version in my Etsy shop - HERE

Once you have left your review, comment on this post or let me know on any of my social networking sites, Instagram, twitter or Facebook, or even send my an e-mail HERE

You can find Rainbow Crocheted Blankets here on AMAZON UK
And Rainbow Crocheted Afghans here on AMAZON US

The prize is a copy of my Foxgloves blanket booklet, a skein of yummy Fyberspates Scrumptious 4 ply and a pack of postcards.

Entries close on the 1st of November 2016.

Happy reviewing
Love Amanda