Thursday, 24 March 2016

Operation Sea Slug - The Foreland

I'm still walking with Phil everyday or rather still staggering along behind him trying to catch up. Some nights I really don't enjoy it, such as tonight when it was wet & cold & dark. 
But some walks make up for the cold, dark, wet ones, such as last Sunday's walk.
We went up to the top of Countisbury Hill, overlooking the Foreland, it's one of my favourite places as the views are always amazing even when it's raining. 
It's also one of my favourite blanket shoot locations.
On Sunday it was bathed in soft late afternoon light.

 
Looking east towards Porlock and beyond, if you look closely you can see the moon rising.


Looking north across the Severn Sea (Bristol Channel) towards Wales.

 
And looking south towards the moor.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Pattern of the Week - Lecchi crochet blanket

This week's pattern is Lecchi.
You can find it on Ravelry HERE



In 2012 we went on holiday to Italy with our very dear friends Fyberspates & Chester Wool, we stayed in a village called Lecchi.
I had taken my current project and as much yarn as I could physically fit into the car, while sitting, relaxing under olive & pine trees in the Tuscan sun I decided that I didn't like what I was working on so started playing with colour and triangles.

 

It didn’t take long for me to realise that the very simple triangle I was mindlessly playing with had huge potential, the colours glowed in the dappled sunlight and I loved the way they fitted together. I spent the rest of the holiday making triangles out of the colours I had, it took us 3 days to drive home and when I wasn’t driving I was sitting crocheting with a lap full of orange and pink triangles. 
In fact I loved the triangles so much that Lecchi became the first pattern in my Madder Triangles e-book.



Lecchi was first published in the very first edition of Simply Crochet, I was really proud to see it on the very first cover.




Saturday, 19 March 2016

Destination Amanda Perkins - Crochet Colour Wheels

Dear Blog Tour travellers

Its lovely to welcome you here at my destination on Exmoor, North Devon in the UK
Exmoor is a beautiful, wild and windy moor bordering the Bristol Channel in the bottom South West corner of England.

I've thought long and hard about what to write for this special blog post and decided to write it about choosing colours for scrap blankets and colour wheels.
My new book Rainbow Crocheted Blankets comes out in September 2016 and this blog post will hopefully be useful for people who are planning to buy it.
If you are interested in the book and would like more infomation, please sign up for my mailing list, you can find the form in the side bar. 

These days a lot of blanket designs use a specific yarn, but these can work out to be expensive, so to help with cost I try to write my blanket designs as scrap blankets.
Scrap blankets not only help you use some of your existing stash, but can also contain lots of memories of past projects and help you use the precious leftovers of a favourite yarn that you don't want to throw away.
But scrap blankets can also be a bit daunting if you aren't confident with colour.

When I'm making a rainbow blanket I base my colours around a colour wheel, if you are anxious about your choices it can help to make a wheel of your own.
A colour wheel is perfect way to experiment and will hopefully give you a little bit more confidence.


Choosing the wheel colours
My wheel is made with 4 ply/fingering yarn, but you can choose any weight of yarn, its best to use whatever you have the most of in your stash.
Firstly you will need to choose 12 colours, you don't need to use the same as the ones in my wheel, just use the colours you have in your stash, the following photo's will give you an idea which to choose.
If you want more information about choosing yarns and colours for your wheel you can read my Choosing Colour page.

I start off with 3 primary colours.
I prefer to use gold, magenta and cerulean blue for my colour wheel rather than the normal colour wheel colour's, because they make much prettier secondry and tertiary colours.



Then I add the secondry colours in between the primary's.
The secondry colours are a mix of the primary colours for example yellow & blue make green blue & red make purple and red and yellow make orange.


And lastly I add the tertiary colours.

The tertiary colours are a mix of a primary & secondry colour, for example blue & green make blue/green which could be yarns named jade teal, aqua, azure, or yellow & green make yellow/green which could be named lime, chartreuse.



How to make a crochet Colour Wheel
Once you have your colour collection you can start crocheting.
I start with the big central circle, pick any of the colours for round 1 and for each round use the next colour in the wheel, it doesn't matter which way round the wheel you choose, the choice is yours.
I like to pick a neutral or darker colour for round 8 as it defines the central circle.

Then make and join the 12 small (which are made with rd 1 & 2 of the pattern) circles.
The full construction and joining instructions are written below the pattern.

I have used 2 colours for my small circles, I start with a colour from the wheel for round 1 then use the next colour along for round 2, and for the next circle along I use the previous circle's round 2 colour for round 1 and next colour in the wheel for round 2.
But is fine if you find it easier to use a single colour for each of the small circles.

The pattern is written in English terms, but also has the US version in red for people who crochet with US terms.
The written pattern might seem a bit unusual, but I like to write my patterns as logically as possible to help newbies understand.

The Circle Pattern


Round 1

Make a 6 ch foundation ch and join into a ring with a sl st.

Into the foundation ring, crochet 2 ch (counts as 1 htr/hdc), 11 htr/hdc

Join to the 2nd st of original 2 ch with a sl st.

Break yarn, fasten off.

(12 htr/hdc in total)



Round 2

In this and all following rounds work into the gaps between sts from the previous round, always start a new round into the gap following the join gap of the previous round.

Into the first gap - Crochet 2 ch (counts as 1 htr/hdc),1 htr/hdc,

Into the next 11 gaps - crochet 2 htr/hdc

Join to the 2nd st of original 2 ch with a sl st.

Break yarn, fasten off.

(24 htr/hdc in total)



Round 3

Into the first gap - *Crochet 2 ch (counts as 1 htr/hdc),1 htr/hdc,

Into the next gap - 1 htr/hdc *

Repeat * to * 11 times.

Join to the 2nd st of original 2 ch with a sl st.

Break yarn, fasten off.

(36 htr/hdc in total)



Round 4

Into the first gap - crochet 2 ch (counts as 1 htr/hdc)

Into the next 35 gaps – crochet 1 htr/hdc

Join to the 2nd st of original 2 ch with a sl st.

Break yarn, fasten off.

(36 htr/hdc in total)



Round 5

Into the first gap - *crochet 2 ch (counts as 1 htr/hdc)

Into the next two gap’s - crochet 1 htr/hdc *

Repeat * to * 11 times.

Join to the 2nd st of original 2 ch with a sl st.  

Break yarn, fasten off.

(48 htr/hdc in total)



Round 6

Working into the gaps between sts from round 5,

Into the first gap - *crochet 2 ch (counts as 1 htr/hdc), 1 htr/hdc

Into the next three gap’s - crochet 1 htr/hdc *

Repeat * to * 11 times.

Join to the 2nd st of original 2 ch with a sl st.  

Break yarn, fasten off.

(60 htr/hdc in total)



Round 7

Working into the gaps between sts from round 6,

Into the first gap - *crochet 2 ch (counts as 1 htr/hdc), 1 htr/hdc

Into the next four gap’s - crochet 1 htr/hdc *

Repeat * to * 11 times.

Join to the 2nd st of original 2 ch with a sl st.  

Break yarn, fasten off.

(72 htr/hdc in total)



Round 8

Working into the gaps between sts from round 7,

Into the first gap - crochet 2 ch (counts as 1 htr/hdc)

Into the next 71 gaps – crochet 1 htr/hdc

Join to the 2nd st of original 2 ch with a sl st.

Break yarn, fasten off.

(72 htr/hdc in total)

Or you can use the chart below if you prefer visual instructions.




Construction


The circles are joined by the “as you go” method



To start with make one large (8 round/A) circle.
Then crochet round 1 of a small circle (B).
The circles are always joined with 2 sts.   
Crochet 4 sts of round 2 of circle B and then prepare to sl st into the htr/hdc of circle A.    
The crochet order of each join is as follows:
Join into the corresponding gap of circle A with 1 sl st,
Crochet 1 htr into circle B (which you are working on), join into the next gap of circle A with 1 sl st, continue crocheting the circle 2 until you get to the next join or finish crocheting the circle.

There are 4 htr between the joins on the large circle, whereas the htrs between joins on the smaller circles will be 3.

Please see the diagram below




I keep my wheels as samples, so I like to refer back to them, but you can use them for all sorts of projects, you can sew them together or add more rounds maybe for a blanket or cushion or even the centre of a mandala, the possibilities are endless.....


And finally if you want to put your newly found colour expertise into practise you can try making one of my blankets.
I am running a "Buy one, get one free" offer on all my patterns bought in my Ravelry store.
Simply put 2 patterns in your shopping cart, add the following discount code and you will only have to pay for one of them.
Code - Crochetexpress2016
The offer lasts from now until the 1st of April 2016.

Good luck and have fun :-)
Love Amanda



Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Twinkle - Pattern of the Week

I love Twinkle, Twinkle, it was the last blanket I made before I embarked on writing my book.
The book has a theme and structure so I had to work within the self imposed guidelines, even though I was really happy and excited to make the book blankets I wasn't totally free to do whatever I wanted and let my inspiration run wild.
So you could say Twinkle was my last burst of freedom before the book, since I finished the book in December I have gone back to following my own path and am completely free to do what I want again :-)

Twinkle is this week's Pattern of the Week
You can find the pattern HERE on Ravelry, don't forget to add the discount code in the photo so you can buy Twinkle at the special price of £2.

Its made up of lots and lots of little triangles that are joined together to make interlocking stars.
I've completely rewritten the pattern and added step by step charts, I have to say drawing the charts made my head hurt, it took a long time to work out how to make them simple enough for a newbie to understand.
I've also added US pattern terms into the actual motif pattern, its the first time I've done it and think its the right thing to do. But it means I now have to go back to all my newly edited patterns and re-edit them again....sigh....



Monday, 14 March 2016

Operation Sea Slug


Since I stopped dyeing yarn last April my dyers muscles have been fading away.
I don't eat a huge amount and most of the time I eat reasonably healthily, but I was beginning to feel like a giant sea slug, I think mainly due to the fact that 50% of my life is spent sitting on a computer chair and the other 50% is spent crocheting on the sofa
I don't think I've put on weight and normally do a small amount of walking, but no where near enough, so I've decided that I need to do more exercise before it's too late.

My cunning plan is to walk the dogs with Phil every night rather than occasionally.
Phil has very long legs and I have very short ones, so for every stride he takes I take 2. I end up staggering along behind him doing a fast walk/slow jog, and I hate it.
But if I force myself to try and keep up with him, eventually in theory I'll get fitter and find it easier.
As yesterday was Sunday we went for a proper walk, instead of a local walk.

We went to Dunkery Beacon which is the highest point on the moor, from where we parked the car it was 3/4's of a mile to the beacon and 3/4's mile back.
It was a glorious sunny day, but very hazy so the views look watery, on a clear day you should be able to see forever.