Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Hibernation & week 4

Good morning

January is always a deep dark month

I seem to have spent the last few weeks hiding in my house cuddled up crocheting my newest design in front of the fire.
This is a week's worth of crochet on Sagittarius A, the design is beginning to build and I hope by the next round of motifs you will be able to see what it is.
You might know already or maybe you can guess, but I'm not telling you yet as I like to keep you guessing :-)

So as its so miserable I thought I'd edit Posy for this week's pattern of the week.
Posy is one of my oldest designs and was originally created for a CAL on Ravelry.
Its a small shoulder wrap/shawl made with a very simple 2 round motif, the sample was made in alpaca which makes it perfect for cool summer evenings.
The pattern is HERE on Ravelry
And if you add the code at checkout you will receive a discount, the code is Posyweek4


love amanda

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Pattern of the week - Week 3

Week 3's pattern is my Myrtle Crochet Scarf

Myrtle is another one of my circle designs, Myrtle is named after the Myrtleberries which grow on the moor and are locally known as Whortleberries, but they are also sometimes called blueberries or bilberries (there's a awful lot of berries in this sentence :-)
Its all a bit confusing as to which berry is which, but I can tell you that myrtleberry/whortleberry jam is delicious :-)

My Myrtle is in wild berry colours made with lots of different 4 ply yarns, so it is a perfect stash buster/scrap project.

The code is Myrtleweek3 and you can find the pattern HERE in my Ravelry store

Incidentally if you fancy a trip to Exmoor to search for the berries, you can stay at Myrtleberry Lodge in the East Lyn gorge. The setting is amazing on the banks of the river and only a short walk from the famous Watersmeet.
You can find out all the information and photo's HERE

Monday, 18 January 2016


Tah Dah!!!!!

I've published my Stargazer crochet blanket pattern :-)
If you follow me on Instagram or my FB page you will have been able to watch its progress from the very first few motifs in November to the finished blanket last week.


Stargazer is the follow on sister blanket to Zodiac, I started designing Zodiac about 18 months ago

Zodiac was designed for the 2015 NDS crochet blanket club.
The design took nearly 6 months to work out, as not only did I have to get the stars in roughly the right layout and position I also was restricted to exact quantities of yarn.
The club blanket the previous year (2014) was Kaleidoscope, I allowed myself full artist license and used whatever colour I felt like in whatever quantity, but it became a major headache dyeing and re-winding the yarn.
Poor Phil spent weeks rewinding 20 or 30 or 50 gm skeins for Kaleidoscope, so to save him another winding nightmare it was essential I designed Zodiac so it used full 100 gm skeins of colours in the NDS range.
As you can imagine the Zodiac maths was a nightmare.
Although I'm really happy with the finished Zodiac as I made it I became more and more frustrated that I couldn't tweak the colours and design  as I crocheted.
So I promised myself that when I had finished the book and Zodiac club I would allow myself to remake the blanket allowing myself the freedom to do what I wanted.

The result is Stargazer

The star theme and constellation layout for both blankets is inspired by the fact that Exmoor is one of the first International Dark Sky Reserves.
I have recently realised that a lot of my blankets have inspired by stars, amongst others Twinkle, twinkle and Supernova.


So I've decided to work on an Exmoor Stars book to be self published sometime this year or maybe next. 
All the projects will be based on stars and the night sky that can be seen on the moor.
Stargazer is the first and I've already stared work on the second Sagittarius A.
Sagittarius A already has its own Instagram hash tag so if you want to follow its progress you can find it HERE

I'll leave you with a couple more Stargazer photo's.
If you want to buy it you can find Stargazer HERE on Ravelry, incidentally if you add the Zodiac to your basket you will receive it for free as a special introductory offer that lasts from now until the end of January.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Rita - Pattern of the week & pattern shops

Good morning from a cold, windy, grey Exmoor.

I've just set up my £2 pattern of the week to help brighten your day.
This week its Rita.
I've decided to use a code so it becomes a special treat for all my followers, friends and fans, as you can see from the photo below Rita's code is Ritaweek2.
Just go to my Ravelry store, add Rita to your basket, add the code at checkout and Rita will be yours for £2.


I've been doing a bit of pattern shop analysis this week and have noticed some very interesting trends,
Etsy sales are down by quite a big percentage, Ravelry sales are up and so are Love Knitting, so sales are actually up rather than down :-)
I've closed my Craftsy pattern shop as sales have dropped and Craftsy don't deal with the Vat.
But would like more information before I decide what to do with Etsy.

So I'd really love to hear from you as to where you buy your crochet/knitting patterns and why.
Please comment on this post, hopefully it will give me a little more insight

love Amanda

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

2016 Pattern of the week

One of the first things on my "To do" list is to edit my entire back catalogue of patterns.
I need to edit out all the references to NDS and edit in new yarn recommendations, a lot of the patterns also need updating.
I have 69 individual patterns so its going to take a very long time.......

As I want to celebrate 2016 as much as possible I have decided to run a "Pattern of the week" promotion for the whole of 2016.
Each week one of my patterns will be reduced to £2 in my Ravelry store.
I'm planning on featuring the latest updated patterns one by one as I finish them.
If you have already bought one of my patterns via Ravelry you will be sent the new updated version automatically when its been published.
You don't have to do anything to get the discount except add the pattern to your shopping cart and press checkout :-)

This week's pattern is Lily, which is the blanket I designed in honour of my mother a couple of years after her death.
I edited the pattern just before Christmas, so Ravelry users should have already been sent the updated pattern.
Lily's £2 promotion will run until midnight on Monday the 12th of January 2016.
You can find Lily in my Ravelry store -  HERE

Monday, 4 January 2016

Happy 2016 & good riddance to 2015

Good morning 2016, I'm so glad you are here, I've been waiting for you for so long and stupidly happy that the 2015 adventure is over at last....

2015 was a difficult roller-coaster year.
It started with our announcement that we were closing NDS.
We were so busy, Daisy and I spent 4 months struggling to keep up with demand for the last NDS skeins from retail and wholesale customers.
Both of us were emotionally and physically drained and didn't have the time to appreciate why and what we were doing.
The last dye bath and update were heartbreaking. I loved my business and had grown it from a a couple of skeins on ebay to 30 kg last update.
Although you can't see it in this photo I was crying so much I could hardly see what I was doing.

It had looked after me and my family in times of need and defined me as a person for so long it was difficult to imagine life without it.
I felt like I was discarding a precious friend and still haven't really had the time to comprehend what I have done.
And then it was all over, we'd cleaned the last dye stain, packed the last package, painted the floor, handed the keys back and walked away.

I started my new life as a designer with no idea what to do next, I knew I had to finish the book, but that was all.
I stumbled about doing anything that came my way, I felt naked without NDS behind me and thought no one would know who I was, so that I would need to start building my career from scratch.
My first major project was the Love Crochet Summer CAL, which was a massive learning curve, I really enjoyed the designing bit, and there seem to be lots of lovely Summer CAL blankets appearing, so even though there were a few Facebook hiccups it seems that most of the lovely CAL members enjoyed making the blanket.

Getting to Yarndale became a massive mountain I didn't think I could overcome.
Without NDS I struggled to find the funds to print patterns and buy the fuel to get there.
But The Knitting Goddess came to my rescue, she was my knight in shining armour and I am eternally grateful.
I still didn't have enough patterns and had sold out by lunchtime of the first day, so next time I will make sure I take enough for everyone.

And then 3 weeks ago I finished the book!
I woke up the next morning smiling, feeling proud I had actually finished and a little bit sad it was all over.
I've taken 2 whole weeks off work over Christmas and even though 2015 had one parting shot to throw at me in the shape of flu I'm ready to tackle the world!

Years ending in 6 have always been good to us.
In 1986 we got married, bought our first house, had our first baby.
In 1996 Phil had a massive promotion we moved back to the country, although I did develop epilepsy, but in hindsight it was no where near as bad as it could of been.
In 2006 NDS moved to its own premises and started to grow into a proper business, we also had the best holiday I can remember, we drove the Zoom through Europe over the Alps on a adventure, ending up on our 20th wedding anniversary sitting in a posh harbour side cafe in St Tropez eating Soupe de Poisson and drinking Cote de Provence.

So 2016 is going to be a good year
I've already got lots of very exciting projects and collaborations in the pipeline.
In February I'll be exhibiting my blankets in a gallery setting at Unravel, which is one of my big ambitions.
Some time in the early spring Landscape magazine are running a feature about me and my blankets.
And the book will be launched at Yarndale in September.
I'm also planning on building a new website and selling some of my blankets, I'm not sure if they will sell as they will be expensive, but you never know..... :-)
We are also thinking about having a party to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, we didn't celebrate our 25th due to NDS and other commitments, so we are owed a celebration, 30 years is an achievement we are very proud of.

And who knows what else, but I'm really excited to find out.......