Monday, 14 August 2017

Pin boards

At over 12 years ago I used to have a proper studio and a pin board, since then we have moved 5 times and I haven't had a suitable studio space or wall to place a board.
In those days I embroidered, painted and made patchwork art quilts, plus a small amount of batik, the board gave me the chance to pin out designs, move bits around and make sure I had the right colours.
It saved a lot of unpicking time.
I used to spend a lot of time looking at my board, just thinking.
(The photo's below aren't very good, they were taken with a old fashion point and click camera and then scanned into the computer, long before the days of the Iphone)

I've really missed having a board, and have had to rely on photographs, which are good for checking colour and design, but rubbish when it comes to moving pieces around to get the right layout.
I've done an awful lot of frogging :-)
So as you can imagine I am delighted and relieved  to have a new pin board in my new wool room (studio), fingers crossed the days of constant frogging are over.
The piece on the wall below maybe be a blanket one day or maybe it won't, but I can guarantee I'm going to spend a lot of time looking and rearranging :-)

If you fancy a board of your own they are very simple to make.
Mine is a sheet of polystyrene which I bought from Wickes DIY, I've painted it with 3 coats of white gloss paint which gives the pins something firm to press into.
I use sewing pins to pin with, as they don't damage the yarn (fabric) and are cheap and easy to replace.

Love Amanda

Friday, 4 August 2017

Wigglytuff's Star Mobile

You may have heard me mention that I'm going to be a Grandma for the first time in the very near future.
The bump is called Wigglytuff and named after a Pokemon character.
I'm very honoured and lucky to have been able to watch Wigglytuff grow every day and watch & feel it when it wiggles in its mummy's womb.
If its on time in just under 4 weeks I will get to meet it in person, so as you can imagine I have been crocheting in the background like a mad woman, trying to make some special secret things to welcome it into the world.
This mobile is the first thing, I can show you now, as I gave it to Adam and Daisy last night, they are decorating the nursery at the moment so the mobile needs to be in place ready and waiting.

Making a mobile is a huge step away from a blanket and I had to work it out as I went along, so the pattern was a challenge.
Its made with 6 padded stars, each with a bell on the end, hanging from a metal ring.
There were so many steps that I had to work out, so rather than write pages and pages of what I've done, I've added step by step photo's as well.

I've enjoyed making the mobile so much, that I suspect there will be more Wigglytuff designs to come.... :-)

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

Happy crocheting
Love Amanda

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Ten years of endlessly writing crochet patterns.

I seem to be constantly writing patterns, I have a big list to work through, for example at the moment I have 6 old patterns to be revamped, 3 secret blanket patterns and 5 unmade designs that I need to work on. It can take me anything up to 6 weeks to write a pattern so you can understand just how long its going to take me to work through them all and why my patterns might seem expensive.

The queue is endless and exhausting, as soon as I've finished one I move straight onto the next one.
While endlessly drawing charts I have time to think and have realised that I've been writing crochet patterns for over 10 years. In the very early days my patterns were very simple and not very informative, they contained a photo, motif chart and written instructions.
I've come a long way since then, not only have my blanket designs developed and got better so have my patterns.
I want to make them as beautiful and easily understandable as possible.
I thought I'd write this blog post to show you how far I've come :-)

I still make my blankets using very simple basic stitches (ch, dc/sc, htr/hdc, tr/dc dtr/tr), I think of my motifs as jigsaw pieces, so need to keep them simple or the finished look of the blanket will be blurry. I'm too lazy to learn complex stitches and the basics make the effect I want, plus I don't want newbies to be scared off.
The stitches haven't changed, they are still the ones I used 10 years ago, but everything else has.

As my blankets have very complex colour layouts I now include detailed colour information about the palette and yarns  I use. 
Most of my patterns include swatches of the colour used, so if you can't find the right yarn you can use the swatches to find a similar colour.

The patterns now include information on joining sewing in ends and more recently how to keep your colours in the right order

My motif patterns are written in UK and US terms and all of them have charts and stitch abbreviations, also in UK and US terms.
The charts have developed and become more professional, in the early days they were hand draw with a mouse, believe it or not the one below is actually one of the better ones.


I draw complex numbered colour charts to show you exactly which colours are used in each motif, which correspond to a layout chart, these charts can take 6 or 7 days to draw.

Then I break down the chart into step by step charts, showing you where to start and what to do next.

There can be as many as 9 or 10 steps on the more complex patterns.

All the motifs have a colour key, telling you which colour to use for each round for the corresponding motif on the chart.

Also included are instructions for finishing.
And finally sometimes I include a couple of colour variations.

(Secret blanket due to be published in the autumn.)

And to think in the old days, all I did was photograph, write and just do a motif chart....:-)

If you fancy buying a piece of my hard work you can find my patterns all on Ravelry, don't forget I am running a Ravelry Summer Sale .

Happy crocheting
Love Amanda 
Back to Photoshop for some more chart drawing....sigh.....

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A little bit of knitting and a lot of love & happiness

Those of you who have followed me since the NDS years will remember Daisy my daughter who worked with me dyeing yarn.
You will be delighted to know Daisy got married last Friday to her wonderful Viking, she's given me permission to share some of the photo's with you, so without further ado here are some of my favourites..........

Dais, her new brother-in-law & Baby Collier, (you will notice the wedding car is slightly unusual - :-)

Dais with her Daddy waiting to walk down the aisle

Mr & Mrs Collier's first kiss, as you can see from the window it rained quite a lot in true Devon style.

Adam is an engineer on the famous Lynton to Lynmouth cliff railway, so of course they had travel down the hill in style on their way to the reception.

Thankfully it had stopped raining by the time we got to Lynmouth.

The two family's plus our assorted dogs on the bridge at Lynbridge.

There was lots and lots of love and hugging.

Adam's Granny made a mountain of wedding cakes.

And then we celebrated till the early hours of the morning.

The flowers were done by the two mummy's (Myself and Jo)

The little bit of knitting is stunning wedding shawl made by Daddy Phil, who had to take 3 days off work to finish in time for the big day

And finally if you are wondering about the AC/DC badge, its because John Arbon Textiles surprised us all by giving one to everyone, it took a little while to realise that AC/DC actually stood for Adam Collier/Daisy Collier.