Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Resurrection and re-organisation

The time has come to resurrect this blog.

The main reason is I am writing/designing a crochet blanket book and need to separate my identity from the day to day workings of NDS.

I've always just been a designer in the background who designs for NDS to help sell yarn, but my book means I have to start thinking about myself as a designer who has her own identity, as I will need to do lots of marketing for it.
All the designers I know are designers who design under their own names and so have blogs and facebook pages and are known for who they are and what they do.
I feel a bit embarrassed about being "Amanda Perkins - Crochet Blanket Designer"
I feel like I'm puffing up my pants and saying "look at me, look at me" the whole time, although I already do it already for NDS without any worry.

Yesterday I started a Facebook page for "Amanda Perkins - Crochet Blanket Designer"
I told the NDS page I was doing it and overnight gained 169 likes, which has given me a lot of confidence.
I've always thought that our "likes" were from knitters who suffer the crochet while waiting for the wool posts to appear, guess I was wrong.

Another reason for becoming myself is the changes we are making at NDS, due to Phil running away to his new job.
NDS has always been about wool and knitting.
A few weeks ago we did the Wonderwool show, we had crochet kits and knitting kits, we brought home quite a few knitting kits, but sold all the crochet ones.
I couldn't work out why we didn't sell more knitting kits as the designs were fabulous.
The kits are for colour work mitts and matching socks, designed by Gina Spencer
You can find them HERE


I've come to realise NDS is about crochet and lots of companies sell knitting kits, but there are hardly any crochet kits, unless you want to make a flower brooch or a beanie hat.
So we've decided to turn NDS into yarn support for my crochet designs rather than my crochet designs being pattern support for the yarn.
As customers you won't notice too many changes, we will still dye a range of yarn that can be used for both knitting and crochet and we will still have yarn updates, although maybe not every week.
But we are are planning to build a much bigger selection of crochet kits, so not only will there be all the blankets but also scarf and shawl kits.

We will be adding a couple of new yarns to the range and discontinuing some of our existing yarns, as the focus will be on the yarns I use for my designs.
So I'm afraid the only lace yarn we will be dyeing is Dazzling Lace as I've used it for a couple of designs in my "Madder Triangles" book.
We also have a couple of very popular knitted shawls in Dazzling lace, which you can find HERE

At the moment I am working with 2 new yarns, they are both "Primavera" which is 100% soft and cuddly merino, one is a DK weight (220 metres) and the other is a Sport weight (260 metres), as soon as I have some to spare I will be adding them to the website.
I've also tested a Primavera 300 metre version, which will be on the website for this weeks update, there are only a few skeins as I only dyed a kg, there will be half of the kg this week and the other half next week.
I think it is more of a knitting yarn than a crochet yarn, as the twist is slightly tighter than the DK and Sport and I like soft cuddly blankets.
I think it might be a replacement for Dazzle 4 ply/sock, if you manage to buy a skein I'd like to hear what you think, as if you like it we'll dye more.

We are planning to change our clubs for next year.
The Kaleidoscope crochet blanket club has become a huge hit, we have so many members it is taking up all our time trying to get all the yarn dyed.
So there will only be 2 clubs next year - the new Zodiac Crochet Blanket Club and the new club will be for knitters and crocheters alike.
The Mini Skein club, Murder on the Moor and Rainbow clubs will all be discontinued in December 2014.
We haven't decided anything about the new club yet, but are brainstorming lots of new idea's, so hope to come up with something special that will keep everyone happy.

So from now on Daisy will be blogging about NDS here and I will be blogging about my crochet on my crochet blog - HERE
You can follow NDS on Facebook - HERE
And Amanda Perkins Crochet Blanket Designs - HERE

Friday, December 07, 2012

Hobbit hole

I've just blogged about the next chapter in our story.
You can find it here on the new blog

HOBBIT HOLE & MOVING ON

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lacking

I've been sadly lacking in blog posts on this blog lately.
I've come to the conclusion its because we are finally happy and contented.
Its been a long time coming, but we have found our heaven and are too busy living it to say much.
We have been here 6 months now, I don't feel the need for catharctic blogging anymore.

As you might of realised I've started a new blog for my crochet designs and general wooliness.
http://amandascrochetblog.blogspot.co.uk/
I'm blogging most days about the things that inspire and excit me.
As I live my life through what I do, there's not much more to say.
So I have made up my mind to not feel guilty about not blogging here.
I will continue using this blog for the occasional post, but it will only be occasional.
So if you want to continue reading my ramblings follow me over to the new blog

Friday, October 19, 2012

Oooops - new blog

Before I started talking about hobbit holes I had meant to tell you about my new crochet blog.
I have decided to split this blog into 2.
One for family stuff and one for crochet and wool, its easier for me to control as writing the family blog takes a lot of thought as most of it is quite emotional stuff.
But I can waffle lots about crochet and wool without even thinking about it.

So here its is AMANDA'S CROCHET BLOG
At the moment I'm updating it every day, and today I'm going to set a stash competition, so head on over and sign up :-)

Hobbit hole



The estate agent is due to come and value our flat today, so our that landlord can put it on the market.

I shall happily tell the estate agent what I think of it and show him all the damp and tell him about the Basilisk in the water pipes that spends all night rushing around and the fact we don't have a stopcock so if the Basilisk escaped we couldn't turn the water off.
And the mice in the ceiling that play football all night, the flat above us has been sold or rather sale agreed, if the sale goes through the new owners are in for a nasty shock.
Its not perfect, most people would be appalled to live in it.
But after the nightmare we lived through it is a palace.
At this moment in time I'm happy here and love it, even with its faults.
Even though its hidden down an alleyway, its in the centre of town so I can open my gate and step into a world where I know people.
Its safe, no one is going to come and evict me, well at least not without 2 months warning.
Its cosy, if we shut all the doors and keep the heater on.

Just after we moved in, so the court yard is still full of odds and ends.

If it sells I will be very angry, not because its sold, but because it will probably be sold for a holiday home.
I don't mind being made homeless again, but I do mind being made homeless for someone who only uses it occasionally.
Holiday homes kill towns and villages, its fine in holiday season as people support the local shops, restaurants, etc etc  but in the winter when everyone goes home, the shops etc struggle and some of them end up closing down.
Back in Suffolk there are villages with no schools, no pubs, no shops, they are dead in the winter, the only thing that remains are pretty houses.
Pretty houses are no help to people who live there all the year around.
And bad for young people in the villages who will have to leave as they can't afford to live in the place they grew up in because the houses are too expensive.

Anyway enough of my holiday home rant and back to my hobbit hole.
It has 2 windows and a door to the outside world, which makes the flat dark, but also makes it feel like a burrow.
Lynton is full of hobbits, people who work hard at jobs that won't make them millionaires, but people who delight in their surroundings and finally people who are happy.
I met someone in the summer who said she had never been to such a happy place, she said she knew it was happy because everyone had upwards smile lines on their faces.
This makes me a hobbit.

We will probably move out in the spring, maybe to a house, maybe with heating, maybe with a garden, it doesn't matter where, just as long as its here in Hobbiton.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Hollerday Hill part 2

I made it :-))))))
And here is the proof
I'm afraid some of the photos are slightly out of focus (no idea why) and there are a lot of them.

Loki patiently waiting for Juliet to arrive

The start of the hill at the back of the town hall.

Overlooking the town


The house site, the grass was the front lawn

The view from the house

Where the house was. Almost 100 years after the fire nature has nearly covered all traces of it.

Steps behind the house leading up to the tennis court

The tennis court

Out buildings behind the tennis court

The summit and bit of grass which is the site of the iron age hill fort.


From the top you can see......

Valley of the rocks

Countisbury hill

The Bristol channel and Wales, which is a faint grey blur on the horizon

And finally the view inland, the red arrow points to Alta Lyn and NDS.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Very absent & Hollerday hill

You may have noticed I have been very absent recently and that I have not updated our story for a long time.
The simple reason is we are truly happy for the first time in several years, we are too busy enjoying our new life to remember all the stress that went before.
I still miss the people we left behind, but I don't miss Suffolk.

I started to write this post as a whole write up of my new life, but there is too much to tell so I'm going to start with my new found hill walking skill.

Lynton is my dream home in a dream setting, its on a little shelf behind Hollerday hill, on the other side of the hill is the Bristol Channel.
I've taken to walking in the mornings, I used to hate walking, I was too fat and hills really scared me, but one day Juliet asked me to go for a early morning walk with her. I knew it would be good for me and I was so pleased to be asked that I said yes.
The first few walks were a real struggle and I hated walking, but 4 months later I can honestly say I really look forward to our walking mornings.
When I first started my goal was to walk up Hollerday hill by Christmas.

This is a wild goat on the sea side of the hill.

Most of the walks we do are either up or around the hill.
Its a very special place, there was once a Victorian mansion, which was burnt down in 1913, there are lots of theory's about what happened and why it was burnt.
The most popular story is that suffragettes burnt it down, but the most likely story is that it was burnt for insurance purposes.
On the town side the hill is covered with trees.
The only thing that remains of the house are a couple of garden walls in a clearing over looking the sea and another clearing which was the tennis court
Its like something from Alice in Wonderland, what seems like hundreds of paths criss cross it in hundreds of directions.
Sometimes I have no idea where we are until the path opens up onto the tennis court or house site.
I haven't made it up to the Iron age hill fort on the top yet.
Juliet my guide and walking companion says she is waiting for the right weather to take me to the top.

Just as I finished writing this blog post Juliet phoned me up and said tomorrow is the day she'll take me to the top, so think of me tomorrow morning at 7.30 staggering up the hill in the rain :-)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Andyfest

We've just come home from a fantastic weekend with most of our woolly friends.
The occasion was Andyfest or rather Bluefaced Open Weekend in Chester.
It was a very small but perfectly formed show, if Andy decides to hold an open weekend next year I recommend you move heaven and earth to get there, as it was an event for Indie dyer lovers.
The starring dyers (in no particular order) were us (NDS), Easyknits, Knitting Goddess, Babylonglegs, Felt Studio, Fyberspates and Posh.
Plus Nicsknots, Susan Crawford, Laughing Hens and Ann Kingstone - I don't think I have forgotten anyone.

A massive THANK YOU goes to Andy for inviting us and as always being the perfect host.
Not only did he hold an extra special show, but he also raised nearly £800 for Walton Neuro Care Hospital.

On the friday we set up
This is me and my good friend - Jeni  (Fyberspates) setting up.

24 hours later it looked like this

And this

Ans this
Our stand is in the background with me wearing Kitty.
Who know what the knitting Goddess is doing, I suspect some kind of wool theft is going on......

And there was cake, lots and lots of cake provided by the lovely Nic.
And a hog roast.

Saturday night we all had a meal together and did lots and lots of laughing and ate some food and drank some wine.
Roll on next year when we can all do it all over again.