Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The newest is Lula.
On the site as a pattern and kit.
Iv'e also added some mini skein collections, so if you become addicted you can keep crocheting.
All the patterns are now PDf's, some of the older ones are going to be re-vamped, but for now they are still the originals.



I would say I'm not going to eat or drink too much, but I would be lying, just have to do extra dyeding after christmas to work it all off again, but theres plenty to do in the new year so thats ok.

I am hopeing to get some serious crochet done, as you may have noticed I have turned into a one woman design factory - :-)
I'm going to make the most of it before I run out of steam, so for the time being there will be lots of new designs appearing.
I am working on a sweater at the moment, is driving me mad, but I will conquer it and if its good enough there will be a sweater pattern in the new year too - :-)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Treat

As a thank you to all our lovely customers we have a special Christmas treat.
Everything in the shop has a 10% discount for the month of December.

Excuse the brief posts - my fingers are numb with cold!


Introducing Queenies Flora Crochet Mobius Scarf
Kits now in the shop.

And Queenies Cassia Crochet Mobius Scarf
These kits will be in the Laughing Hens shop in a few days

Thursday, November 27, 2008


For anyone who has tried to phone me here in the afternoon.

Sorry, but I have to go home early.

The photo is of my office door, on the outside a cold wet murky farmyard and the east wind. The photo doesn't show the gaps very well, but believe me there is lots of day light and wind and rain.

My fingers don't normally start to freeze until miday (unless I am dyeing) and by about one o'clock my hands are going numb too. I don't mind the cold, but sitting here in my coat with the heater on seems stupid, when I have a nice warm house 2 mins away.

Luckily I am managing to get all the dyeing done in the mornings, and of course I have the laptop at home, so inbetween answering e-mails and stuff I am doing LOTS of designing.

I have just finished the Starry Bessie (photos and pattern to follow when we get some sun) and have just started developing a new product - many thanks to the Bessies Blanket Ravelry girls - :-) What would I do without your help?

Love Amanda

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ravelry Happy Dance

After several weeks of preparation and a steep PDF learing curve I finally have my Ravelry pattern store up and running.
At the present I have the 5 Bessie patterns, but will be adding a couple of sock patterns and the new Bessie when its finished (next week I hope)
All the patterns have been re-vamped with more details about measurements, yarn needed etc and photos

And here it is….. http://www.ravelry.com/stores/amanda-perkins-designs
What do you think?? :-)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Inside Loop - Winter 08

My lovely freinds at The Inside Loop have made The Natural Dye Studio the featured business this edition. Several photo's including me under a lot of wool.

For those of you who don't know, The Inside Loop is a really fab on-line British magazine, run by Diane and Kate.
There are some gorgeous patterns in this issue, I just love the vulture bag and the seahorse mitts.
And there is Amiga using our very own Chi, which has a 10% discount code, which all being well (fingers crossed) will give you a 10% discount.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And talking of PDF

I have just written 3 of the Bessie patterns in PDF, can't put them in the dye studio shop as I can't make them free postage, so have opened a etsy shop for them, along with other Bessie stuff.


Am goin to add the sock patterns and some other stuff.
What do I do when I have run out of patterns to convert???????


The other thing that is taking over my life at the moment is PDF files.
I am busy turning all the patterns into PDF and am sooooooooo proud of self - :-)
The first one looks so fantastic, I can't wait to finish all the others.

You may have guessed I am very impatient, as I get bored very easily and easily obsessible

Dropped off..

Have I dropped off the world??

No - I am still here, well on my sofa most afternoons (when I am not dyeing)
I am totally obsessed with this...................

(The world's most rubbish photo and you only get to see a little bit of it)

It is Starry Starry Night Bessie and the first Bessie I haven't got bored while making it. The block/motif is a really simple one, but the arrangement of blocks complex.

My arms hurt as I am crocheting so much, but I can't wait to see it finished, watch this space I am getting near - :-)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thanks for damp support

Dear everyone who mailed me

Thank you for your words of support in my cold damp crisis.

And please do not be alarmed the dyeroom is staying exactly where it is!!
There is no way I could dye wholesale, let alone anything else at my house.

And todays cold update is.......
Its pouring with rain, puddle on the office floor and the dyeroom is freeeeeeeezing (I would use very strong language here, but don't want to offend anyone - :-)

love amanda

The Mirasol Toilet Dollys

If you are not on my mailing list you may have missed this

All the Mirasol Charity Toilet Dollys are now listed on ebay UK.
Please do lots of bidding, I would love to sell all of them so we can raise money for the Mirasol Project.

We went to dinner with one of the project founders while we in London for The Knitting & Stitching show.
He was a lovely man, very passionate about the project,
says it is so sucessful they now have a waiting list for children who want to attend the school.

The best way to find the Dollys is from the page on the website, each dolly has its ebay auction address on its page.

And as a big favour can you tell all your freinds - :-)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Its so cold and damp and murky here at the moment that I am seriously considering shutting down the showroom and taking the office home for the winter.
It was ok last winter as I had Heidi to keep me company and I could ignore all the problems, but Val's only here a couple of hours each day.
Its lovely in the summer, but its yuk at this time of year.
My office door is rotten, has bits crumbling off it the whole time, when the wind is in the right direction and it rains I end up with a big puddle on the office floor, need my wellies on just to get to my desk.

And I am soooooooooooo pissed off with my broadband connection, which clicks off every 10 mins, means the computer crashes and then I have to start all over again - thank god Blogger saves your posts as you write them, otherwise you would never be reading this.
I think its the damp, the printer is the same takes it about an hour to warm up, if I try and print anything too soon the carriage gets stuck..

Keep thinking about the nice warm empty room I have at home, I am sure the printer would be happier, the home connection is more reliable and there isn't a howling gale coming under the door......................................

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Its good!!

I have copied this entry from some of my Ravelry posts.
A lot of you have asked publicly and privately about the new Starry, Starry Night Bessie, well until it looks the way its going to when its finished I am keeping it top secret.

However here’s a teaser. The photo is of a early test sample, its not the right pattern, in the right order and some of the colours are different, but the final Bessie has a lot of the same elements - :-)

I have recently come to realise, I am not making crochet/knitted throws, afghans or blankets, I am making quilts.
Back in the distant past I used to make a lot of bed quilts - most of the sold or given as gifts.
I was part of the Ipswich Quilters Guild and one of the members I used to know came over for a chat at Ally Pally and the first thing she said was I like your quilts! I also had a fellow stall holder who was a patchwork shop owner telling me the Bessies were like quilts.

Sitting for the last few nights obsessively crocheting I realised they are right in a way, I am designing as I crochet and thinking about them in the same way as I did about the quilts.
Had a eureka moment about 11.30 last night, looking at the Starry Starry Bessie on the floor trying to work out which bit to do next, the finished throw revealed itself to me - its good, very good - :-)

Now all I have to do is finish it, when can I go home??? It is work - honest!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sooooooooo quite

Sooooooooo quiet - where is everyone.

What have I been doing???
Wholesale, wholesale and wholesale!!
Spent the whole weekend winding sample skeins for new customers, 1.5kgs into 10 gm skeins, watched all 5 Harry Potter films - :-)
My arm hurts now, but have to do more today.

Working on 2 new Bessies
Stared a sparkle one, only have a photo to show of the test blocks

Think it will make a perfect baby shawl or blanket, so soft and delicate.

And the other one Starry Starry Night Bessie is amazing!! No photo, but I know you are going to love it, am totally addicted can't wait to finish it!!

Just have to finish the samples first! And what to watch this afternoon while winding, might be lord of the rings, might be pirates of the caribbean or star wars, don't know as long as its something I don't need to concentrate too hard on - :-)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Grumpy Old Man - Update

No photo I am afraid.

But this morning as it was so cold and dark outside, he said he would like to spend the morning in bed reading his book and the rest of the day knitting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So far he has done an inch and a half, its not perfect but I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO impressed, can't believe how well he has done, minimal help from me - he had a dropped stitch crisis last night, which is all mended now - :-)

Will try and remember an update photo tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Grumpy Old Man Knitting

His first pair of socks, his first time using DPN's, his first time using needles under size 5mm

Just because I offered to teach him how to knit socks with 2 sets of circulars!

The knitting stayed firmly in his hands and not thrown across the room as I had expected, the football was un-watched and he couldn't come to bed as he had to finish his row!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ally Pally

The chaos of Ally Pally has now died down, its almost under control.

Every time I do a big show I plan to write about it on the blog. But it never happens as soon as I get back to the farm I am surrounded by boxes that I have to sort through, yarn to put on-line, orders to fill, people to contact.

So here is Ally Pally - the only 2 photos I took in 5 days, both are taken early morning before the show, peaceful and blue, looking beautiful.
The rest of the time we were inside with you and our wool and chaos.

And our evenings were spent with our bestest woolly freinds eating, drinking and laughing lots, as always they make the shows a very special time.

Thank you woolly freinds - see you soon
Love Amanda

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dear All

We are off to Ally Pally in about an hour, need to pack the van and go - very very excited - :-)
See you all there.

love Amanda

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bloody stupid cow!

Won't shut up, its not like she is ill or anything as the herd had a vet visit yesterday, she is just a gobby cow. And its not because she is shut in the barn as I can hear her from here when she is out on the marshes...

It took me a while to work out who the culprit was, as once she starts all the others join in.

It is the black one, as you can see from the photo, she is all sweetness and light, as soon as she thinks no-one will notice she starts again.

But they are very pretty girls, 7 calves this year, one of them last night, all 7 are boys, not a very good herd building execise, but this time next year there will be plenty of organic beef.

I wish I could say I was going to turn vegetarian because of them, as I will watch these little boys grow up, I guess knowing their destiny almost makes it ok. At least they have a happy life and will stay with their mummys until they are grown.

I just wish the bloody stupid black cow would shut up, but maybe I should be kinder maybe she knows the fate in store for her baby boy and is protesting to the world.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


There would be photos of cows but my posh new camera doesn't like its batteries, so will write that post later when I have new batteries....................

Clubs warning & THE show

Like a lot of woolly people at this moment in time we only have one thing on our minds..

THE BIG ONE - or Ally Pally as its better known

I dyed the 100 kilo's in 2 weeks!!!! and even better Val re-wound the 100 kilo's in 2 weeks - she really is superwoman. But I am still dyeing roving and yarn for kits.

We have 2 new sock designs, one is the super snuggly "Queenie's idiot sock" which you can buy as a kit and the other is "Dragon scales" I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked for the pattern and now thanks to a much appreciated brave designer I have it!
And the new Watercolour Bessie, the original (which I still haven't finished sewing up) is another group effort made by the Ravelry Bessie Knitters - what would I do without them??
So all this means, patterns to print, kits to make up, labels, sticky hook thingies etc etc etc
And then there's planning the stand, booking the van and so much more I can't even begin to think about!

And all the day to day stuff to do and wholesale

So the club warning is that the yarn is mordanted by as yet has been no where near a dye bath, I am hopeing to get it done over the weekend, but it might not be until we get back in which case they will be late this month.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fab weekend

Had a fab open weekend at mr Bluefaced's HQ, yummy scones and lots of woolly freinds and lots of new woolly freinds.
Spent the evenings with extra special woolly freinds and laughed a lot.
Just what I needed after leaving my last baby in Bolton.
Thank you extra special woolly friends for helping us get through the first couple of day's of being childrenless parents.
Would show you lots of photo's but was too busy eating scones and talking.
So have a look at Claire's blog and Mr Bluefaced's raverly group

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ba Ba Black Sheep where did all the wool go?

Want to know what happened to last weeks 100 kilo's?
Well here it is...

Half of stock that is off to the Bluefaced.com open weekend tomorrow.

Some of the Ally Pally stock, which is still building

What came off the line yesterday and still isn't dry.

And a dye room with about another 8 - 10 kilos left to dye.

Bad, Naughty Merino Roving

Normally Merino sheep don’t grow in this country - they don’t like the weather, however somewhere in the UK there is a small flock or maybe a slightly small medium flock. They only produce a small quantity of fleece and I know a man, who knows a man who has all of last years (I think) crop.

And now I have some roving!!!!!

It will be going to The Bluefaced. com weekend and will be unveiled in all its full glory at Ally Pally and if there is any left; then home to the website mid October.

But it is very naughty!!! So fluffy I can’t get it in its bag, I end up in a huge fight, with the Merino winning, takes about 10 mins to get it in its bag and then when I have I discover it is full of bits, which it has picked up from the clean table.

I think it secretly calls to the bits which fall out of the sky when I am not concentrating. I don’t notice them until the bag is sealed, so then I have to go through the whole bag shoving trauma again!

And here is the bad, naughty Merino pre-bag.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


And as I haven't posted a photo for ages, I have chosen one at random from my files, its Bracken - The Natural Dye Studio's sponsored sheep, she lives on the heathland in the forest and is a very good mum.


Far too much work to do, have to write invoices, dye roving, organise the yarn for this weekend's open day at Bluefaced.com's HQ, labeling, dry 8 kilos in the wet rain, be inspired for next month's club photo, dye for the club and sell my house contents on ebay - :-)

And I am bored!!! going to drink tea and look at wet wool.

Before I go to drink tea, here are the Bluefaced open weekend details....

In Mr Bluefaced's own words

"Hi All

Jeni is joining in the bluefaced open weekend on the 27th and 28th of this month in Chester.

Amanda from the Natural Dye Studio will also be there with their hand painted yarns and fibres

DT Crafts will be bringing along their dyes

Laughing Hens will have all their goodies as well.

So everyone is welcome to come and sit and knit or spin chat and relax , and of course spend a little cash if something takes your fancy.

There will be scones and tea on each day.

Hope that loads of you can make it , cant wait !!

Andy PS

The full address is The Croft Stables Station Lane Great Barrow Cheshire CH3 7JN Its easy to find , its next to the cricket ground."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Dazzle Aran & Alpaca/Merino

I have about 5 kilo's of BFL Dazzle Aran to take to Ally Pally this year, again it is a wholesale yarn.

BUT if you ask for it nicely I might put it on the site when we get back - :-)
I have decided to discontinue our alpaca/merino sock and DK yarns, as I have far too many different retail yarns to cope with.

As with the Nino Merino and Mirage sock yarns the alpaca/merino will still feature in the clubs and will also be sold wholesale.
The alpaca/merino will be on the site until we go to Ally Pally and will be removed sometime on the 6th or 7th of october.
So if you were thinking of buying some, now is the time before it disappears -:-)

Alpaca/Merino Sock

Alpaca/Merino DK

Friday, September 19, 2008


We took Precious to I Knit with us and when we came home it was left on the showroom floor.

Diane wrote a review on her blog which made me remember it was hiding under a set of shelves.
So you have Diane to thank for Precious being in the Weekly Sale, I will let you read her review - :-)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Not hysterical

This post was going to be me screaming hysterically and tearing all my hair out.

I have or rather had 100 kilos (give or take) to dye for Ally Pally, as you can see from the photo below I still have an awful lot of wool to dye, each one of the skeins is 500 gms. I think I have probably dyed 30 or 40 kilos this week already.
And today I heard a click and went into a huge panic as I thought another one of my dye vat's had blown up, as it is I am down to only 3 out of 5, was being lazy and keep forgetting to tell Phil they need mending. If no 3 went today I would have been hysterical. As it was the click was when the vat came up to temperature - why do I not know this, why am I so stupid at times??????
Guess I have a head full of steam and blue feet...............

Friday, September 12, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

And the winners are..............

The Toilet Dolly competition was judged on saturday at I Knit, by a very exhausted Gerard. We had a collection of 28 dollys all of them stunning as you can see from the photo's on tuesdays blog.
Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winners.

Don't forget the auctions start the first week of november on ebay, I will load the auction links on the individual dolly pages on the web site. That way you can find them easily. There will be 3 prizes for the 3 dolly's who raise the most money, so please do lots and lots of bidding.

Bogpuss by Jane

And The Shearer by Gill

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

As promised

How not to save the planet!!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I Knit 2008

What can I say....
Fantastic day, wonderful to meet so many new faces and all the old ones too - I know that sounds like you are all old, but you know what I mean - :-)

I only took 3 photos, rushed off our feet all day, didn't see the Yarn Harlot, didn't have lunch, but Yvette bought us some yummy french biscuits which were devoured in seconds - :-)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Show Panic

Have just calculated its only 33 days until Ally Pally!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And during that 33 days we have i Knit tomorrow and Blueface.com's open weekend in Chester. However am I going to be able to dye enough and prepare enough to fill the giant stand we booked this year???

And Heidi is leaving to start her sparkly new job on the 23rd of sept, Val will be her replacement, but Val does all the winding too, who knows how she is going to fit it all in.

Plus there is september's club yarn to finish dyeing, october's to get out before Ally pally and several huge wholesale orders.

And on the personal front we have sold the house and the sale will be complete at the end of October, we still don't have anywhere to move to.
The planning permission saga is on-going with lots of meetings.
Fred is starting uni, so I become childless for the first time in 22 years, have already had several nights of feeling the pain of being an empty nester. Although there isn't going to be a nest soon.

Think I am going to self destruct or find a nice big warm stone to hid under.....

Shop update - 5/9/08

Only a little update today, preparing for i Knit tomorrow.
We are not taking the stand as we all have market stalls, Phil is a tortured soul, no stall to construct, can either of us cope without our comfort zone. It will be interesting - :-)
So hopefully we will see lots of you tomorrow

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Dasiy & Mark

Daisy and Mark were handfasted on saturday, as usual for the Perkins family it was all very chaotic, but did happen and was a very special occassion. I am a bit lost for words and know the photos don't tell the whole story, but they tell the important part.
I am sure you have heard me moaning about my rubbish camera, well I have a brand new sparkly one. Phil was sent off to buy a couple of disposable cameras and came back with a brand new sexy, shiny pink camera that he informed me the business had bought!

The handfast in photos.....................

Daisy maisy in the dress we had bought 2 hours earlier, I had to sit in Liverpoool city centre doing the alterations so it would be ready in time.

This photo is called "Dad, of course I know where Formby beach is I have been twice before!"

After following Dais for 20 mins in the wrong direction we eventually arrive at the beach 1 hour late.

The oath keepers or maybe its promise keepers.

My baby Girls

The big one & her man (incidently you may not believe it, but her hair is 100% natural colour & curls)

The camera decided to focus on the wine rather than the faces, who are my big baby and my little baby who is leaving at the end of the month and I will then be a childless mother.

The morning after.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Hand fast

We are now off to Liverpool for the weekend for Daisy's handfast, so see you all on monday with photo's if I can find the camera - :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Enviromental sin

You might have noticed my whole life is lived as ethically and as enviromentally concious as possible.

And yet I have one huge enviromental sin, that goes totally against all my principles, I can't help it and feel very guilty and am hopeing for forgiveness (not that I am going to give it up). Its small and black and if you look back through the blog to last april you will find it. And to be fair it only does about 2,000 miles a year as I never leave the village.

On sunday I drove a Ferrari, very fast around a race track, the kids gave Phil, my Dad and myself a drivers dream day when my mother died and sunday was the day. Beforehand I worried it would be difficult to get out of the car and hand it back, but it wasn't anywhere as near as impressive as I had hoped,

But what I do want to do is get back out on the track again and drive my zoom until either I or the car expires.

The dream day experience wasn't limited to Ferrari's, the whole place was full of very sexy cars - Porches, Aston Martins, Lotus's, Caterhams, TVR's - I think we experienced overkill, as there were too many in the same place to take them all in.

But I did fall in love with the Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder - of course the most expensive car there - luckily as my ethics would be seriously tested if I could afford one.

Confession over - photos to follow

Friday, August 22, 2008


2ply posted these photo's on one of the Dye Studio's ravelry groups

It was really bizarre looking at them, seeing my 19 year old self....

Did I really look like that? I can remember it so well (ok - so only the parts I didn't have a hangover). I can't remember what I thought life was going to be, probably didn't think much at all.

I was sure I hadn't changed that much over time, but maybe I have - older, fatter, longer hair, wrinkles and wobbley bits. I used to be a nice person, now at certain times a day I am crabby bitch from hell. I didn't have my grown up kids, who are not only my babies but 3 people I am really close to and really admire and love. I didn't have a DH either, who is someone I can't imagine my life without. I have the Dye Studio, I have 25 years of extra knowledge and I wouldn't want to be that age again for all the tea in China - :-)

P.S I should have said, this is Ipswich Art College 1982/3 & 2ply is sitting opposite me in the knitting photo

Shop Update - Cloud & Alpaca/Merino DK

Due to the bank holiday and the fact that my children bought my a drive of a ferrari when my mother died I can't update the site on monday. I will be a big red sexy blur -can't wait - VERY un-enviromental - well we all have to have our sins!

So I have updated all our new yarns today - Alpaca/merino DK and Cloud Lace


Monday, August 18, 2008

Nino Merino - Weekly sale

I have decided that I will probably discontinue Mirage and Nino, at least until next summer, when I might bring them back.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Buying British - Stroppy

In response to a thread on Ravelry.........

I feel REALLY strongly about buying British, after all we are in a credit crunch and need to support our small business or they will fail to survive and be lost for ever. Almost all the mills have closed in the UK, why?? because it is cheaper to spin abroad, which is worse for us because the UK is losing valuable skills, jobs and part of its heritage.

I am not saying anymore as I don't want to get into arguments or upset anyone.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A little bit of history

I am always being asked how I started, so I thought I would tell you (almost my life's history)

1981-3 - I studied textiles at art college, knitting was my speciality and I played with dyeing (both chemical and natural) or rather made a mess.

1986-9 - Made intarsia jumpers for my 2 baby girls

1990- 2004 - Made quilts/embroideries -The first quilt was for my brand new baby boy. I was rubbish at quilts, they started out as traditional ones, which quickly turned into art quilts and then slowly turned into embroideries.
I was a reasonably sucessful artist and have shown my art work all over the world (USA, South America, Europe & Dubai) as well as locally.

1997 - Started to dye my own fabric and embroidery threads, as I was poor I started to use hedgerow dyes - cow parsley, bracken, stinging nettles etc etc

2000 - Onwards - I started to use bought natural dyes that I couldn't pick. I only used (and still do) the real dyes, bits of wood, chopped roots etc I have never used extracts, in the beginning I couldn't afford them and they weren't available, now I think they are cheating and no where near as much fun - what better than to have a big vat of decomposing plant bits that when used will give the most beautiful colour in the world - :-)

2001 - Birth of The Natural Dye Studio, I started selling my fabric and threads on ebay, was amazed at the demand so quickly built my own website.

2003 - Started to dye wool, the sales exploded and I stopped dyeing fabric and threads and have never looked back. The Dye Studio has gone from strength to strength, is getting bigger every day and expanding into places I never dreamed of.

I think of it as some kind of wild animal dragging me along behind it and sometimes step back and am amazed at what it has become - :-)