Friday, 31 July 2015

Cornucopia Crochet Blanket pattern

Just a quick blog post to tell you I have published Cornucopia.

Cornucopia was designs as a colour experiment; I wanted to explore the effect of subtle tonal and saturated colour in the same blanket.

I started with a skein of bright yellow “Skein Queen” and added extra colours that worked together from my stash.

After the first few rows motifs of the blanket I realised I had chosen fruity natural colours and so named it Cornucopia, which is the mythological “Horn of Plenty” which overflows with fruits and flowers.

The more I look at the blanket the more fruits I can see – strawberries, cherries, apples, mangos, limes, kiwi’s, oranges etc etc

You can find it on Etsy - HERE and Ravelry - HERE

Monday, 27 July 2015

Crochet colour rule breaking

Dear Crocheters

As you probably have realised by now I spend a lot of my social networking time on Instagram, after all I do mention it quite often :-)
I have discovered its a really handy for market research.
I can see what other people are crocheting, which colours and yarns are being used, which designs are in trend and what everyone else thinks about them.
Plus I love seeing what everyone else is making and sometimes get a bit carried away with my "likes"

I have slowly come to the realisation that there seem to be several unwritten rules that most crocheters follow.
I'm firmly convinced that not all rules are good and some of them need to be broken and are being broken by me, so I'm writing this blog post in the hope that some of you might join me in my rule breaking rebellion :-)
If you're not happy about breaking rules, please don't take this blog post too seriously, maybe its probably best you don't read any further as I respect your opinions and choices and really don't want to offend you.

The rules to be broken and the reasons why are as follows.....

Rule 1 - Baby colour's
All baby crochet items must be made in pastels, pink for girls, blue for boys and yellow for the unknown sex babies who haven't been born yet.
Although unknown sex babies can end up with a variety of neutral colours including brown!
Reasons for breaking Rule 1
Babies are stimulated by bright colours, just take a look at baby toys, lots and lots of bright colour, texture and noise to help stimulate a baby's development.
I've done a small amount of research into babies and colour, because I don't understand the whole pastel thing, having had 3 babies of my own I discovered pastel doesn't stay pastel very often and science seems to back up breaking the crochet pastel baby rule.
In fact I found one Doctor's website that even went as far as saying use soft pastel colours and you might as well blindfold your baby.

Rule 2 - Neutral same colour edging 
If you make a motif blanket you always need to  use a neutral colour to edge and join the motifs together, preferably black or white or sometimes brown and very occasionally dark green or orange!!!
Reasons for breaking Rule 2
Both black and white kill colour, I've seen so many piles of beautifully coloured motifs murdered by their edging. The colours get lost and either look too saturated or too bleached.
All the blankets end up looking like they were made in the 1970's so unless you are purposely aiming for a retro/vintage look its time to try something different.
So if you want to edge all your motifs with a single colour why not pick out one of the colours you have already used, it will visually pull your blanket together rather than separate it into little boxes.

Rule 3 - Using the same yarn/colour as the designer
You must use exactly the same yarn and colours if you want to end up with a blanket as beautiful as the original made by the designer.
Reasons for breaking Rule 3
This rule has always caused a problem for me, as when I was the yarn supplier I couldn't provide the exact colours of the original.
I couldn't dye the same colour twice, even if I dyed it on the same day to the same recipe and I think most hand dyed yarn is nearly always slightly different shades from different dye lots and for that matter so is a lot of commercially dyed yarn, if you are a knitter its a huge problem and you should always buy from the same dye lot if you don't want to end up with stripes.
But if you are a crocheter who make motifs slightly different dye lots shouldn't be a problem.
AND..... if you want to make my blankets different yarn brands/fibres shouldn't be a problem either in fact they are preferable
I don't like flat colour, it has a dulling effect, I like lots of texture and complex colour which gives a blanket depth and detail and kind of mysterious as you never know what you will find if when you look really closely.
I've always made my blankets as scrap blankets, using whatever was the right colour, but most right colours were actually several different close colours due to my dyeing restrictions.
So I would recommend choose the colours from your stash and then add to them from which ever yarn manufacturer makes a similar colour yarn weight.

I've written Rule 3 in preparation to publishing Cornucopia this week as I know its going to cause a flurry of questions as to which yarn I recommend.
Coruncopia is made of several different shades of 10 core colours and uses Skein Queen, Easyknits, Drops Alpaca, Cascade Heritage Silk and some NDS. 

Love Amanda 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Love Crochet Summer CAL

Finally I can spill the beans on one of my secret projects :-)
Although they were actually spilt on Tuesday, I just haven't had the time to tell you :-)
The response has been phenomenal and on my part totally unexpected, I started to write this post before the CAL was launched and since then have been answering questions and lovely lovely comments, so haven't found the time to post.

I am really excited and proud to announce that my project/CAL with Love Crochet is live :-)
You can find more details HERE
I have designed 12 individual motifs, the colours for each blends into the colours of the next motif (I hope that makes sense)
Love Crochet will publish 2 of my motif designs each week on their blog for the next 6 weeks so at the end of September you will have all the designs and be able to make a blanket in one of three layouts, the one below is made with 6 motifs of each design.

Clever Love Crochet have produced a yarn pack which contains enough yarn to make the blanket layout pictured below, which happens to be my favourite :-)
You can find the yarn pack HERE
Although it sold out within a few hours of the CAL being launched, LC are working hard to re-stock, so you will need to check back and favourite the page and hopefully next week they will have more packs available.

I'm really looking forward to seeing your motifs

Monday, 20 July 2015

Photo dithering

As we live in an amazingly beautiful place we go out for a drive most weekends to discover new places on the moor, we normally have a mission.
For the past few weeks we have been on a hunt for elderberry trees, the flowers are out so they are easy to spot, Phil has been picking flowers for wine making, but we are trying to find a place with lots of trees that should have berries later on for later on in the year so Phil can pick them for more wine making.
Sometimes we look for places to just sit and enjoy, sometimes we look for places to do photo shoots in, so sometimes we carry a big bag of blankets and the camera just in case........
I'm really obsessive about finding the perfect blanket photography place and so far we haven't discovered it yet.

This weekend we went to a friend's allotment in a hidden valley to pick gooseberries for more wine making and on the way back home I took a few blanket photo's.
I like to have a good view as a backdrop, random blankets are good draped over a gate, but complex design blankets like Kaleidoscope need to be photographed in their entirety so need to be resting on a bank.
This week we found a couple of interesting gates, which were good for photographing Kissing Kaffe on.
In the first photo the blanket is in shade and too dark, so is going to the discard pile.
The bottom two are a bit better even though you can see the light through the blanket, I think a sheet under the blanket might cure the problem, but I keep forgetting to put one in the car.

I also took the below photograph of the blankets in a pile on the bonnet of the car, I was using it as a place to put the blankets while I took photos of other blankets.
I really like how clear they look on the car and think maybe I should do some more car/blanket photo's, its not very scenic unless you like Land Rover's (which I do), but the colours are almost perfect.
What do you think?
More car photo's with the blankets laid out like page 3 girls?
Or is a completely stupid idea?

And yesterday we went to Robbers Bridge in the Lorna Doone valley and lay in the sun by the river reading our books all afternoon, while the dogs bumbled around playing in the water and chasing butterflies, it was total bliss.


Monday, 13 July 2015

Blanket report - July 2015

I started work on my book in January 2014 and for the past 18 months I have been crocheting secret book blankets.
Along side the book I have also run 2 secret blanket clubs, the Kaleidoscope in 2014 and the Zodiac which is still running.
I thought I'd give you a progress update of the secrets and other designs.

Its been a struggle not to show you what I'm working on as I like to share what I am doing because I need feedback and its really helpful to know if you like it and if I'm going in the right direction.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc etc are incredibly important to designers like myself.
I like to constantly talk to you and show you new pictures of what I am working on and keep you interested and excited,  the problem is if I don't have anything new to show you, so you might end up bored with waiting and when the book comes out next year everyone may have forgotten all about it.
So it is essential that I design and self publish new patterns alongside working on all the secret designs.
However due to the book its not as easy as it should be, last year I only managed to self publish one new blanket pattern, Kissing Circles

But at Christmas I published Kaleidoscope club blanket pattern, as the club had finished and all the members knew the secret.

I also revealed this photo of my 2014 blankets, which gives you a very sneaky peak, but hopefully doesn't give too much away.
 So far this year I have only self published one pattern, which is actually a follow up of the Kissing Circles pattern, I wanted to re-make the original blanket as it wasn't big enough and I wanted to try a different colour lay out. 

Its called Kissing Kaffe and is incorporated in the Kissing Circles pattern, so to be honest isn't really that new, but I loved making it and am very happy with the result :-)

 For the last couple of months I have been working on a secret project for Love Crochet which should be revealed next week, I'm afraid there aren't any sneaky peak photo's, you'll just have to wait and see :-)

I'm still making book blankets, I thought I'd put together the photo below, it shows you my book blanket progress, at the moment I'm working on number 9, so after that I only have one left and I'm hoping its going to be a grand finale with fireworks and bells and whistles and sparkles - well maybe not sparkles but you know what I mean :-)

I'm also working on a new blanket to self publish which I have mentioned previously, its called Cornucopia due to the colours being very fruity, this is my progress since I started a month ago.
My cunning plan is to finish it and publish it by the end of July and then quickly make a new DK blanket which I can take to Yarndale at the end of September!
Wish me luck, I'm going to need it!!




Monday, 6 July 2015


This week's blog post is a Instagram round up of the last couple of weeks.

 I finally finished both Zodiac blankets, plus my Love Crochet project that I'm not allowed to talk about yet, but it will be starting mid month, so I'll do a blog post as soon as I get the go ahead.

And did lots and lots of work on Cornucopia, I realised I haven't self published a pattern since January, so I'm hoping to get this finished and published by the end of July.

We went for several dog walks and I took some photo's of moorland flowers


Some time ago I nagged John Arbon into spinning some of my NDS pink colour in Knit by Numbers It was spun a couple of weeks ago and I finally got to test a couple of skeins, there will be a proper blog post about this in the near future as Frankie, who works for John took some photo's of it being spun, but she's on holiday at the moment, so can't send them to me.
Plus I had a long discussion with Juliet (Mrs John Arbon) about the possibility of me stocking and selling Knit by Numbers DK, as it has become my "go to" DK yarn.

And we went to The Crown, the cosy village pub just round the corner at the bottom of Lydiate Lane and I photographed some of the Mick Cawston murals, Mick Cawston was a very well known local artist and painted a lot of murals in The Crown.
The Crown and the murals are well worth a visit :-)

The end :-)