Amanda Perkins crochet blog, including crochet blankets,designs and patterns. Ramblings about all crochet blankets, designing, wool, colour, inspiration and our life on Exmoor. Visit Amanda Perkins crochet blankets for Amanda's crochet patterns, gallery's, blog and much more.
I'm really pleased to say my book has finally reached Amazon.co.uk and you can find it HERE
Its been a chaotic few weeks I'm so glad its over, it means I can relax over Christmas before I start the marketing campaign in the new year.
I'm hoping to do lots of planning for a big motif project next year, but will tell you more when I've worked out some of the details.
Anyway back to Bert and his blankets!
The book contains 8 patterns, 4 brand new patterns and 4 revamped, rewritten patterns, there are lots and lots of photo's, both written and charted motif instructions in UK and US terms, colour information, step by step charts, 2 size variations and 4 colour variations giving a grand total of 96 different blanket designs to chose from.and finally a yarn colour index which gives you the exact colours and yarns I used in the book.
The 4 previously published patterns have been rewritten and re-vamped. They were all chosen for their simple bold designs and bright colours.
The blankets are as follows...
And Baby Lollipops, which was photographed in Suffolk near Baby Isla's home.
Rainbow Foxgloves (previously called Rainbow over the Foreland)
Queenies Square, which was designed to celebrate Bert's birth.
My new book Bert's Crochet Baby Blankets has taken two years finish it, but I'm really excited to say it's finally published ...phew
At the time of writing you can only the paperback on Amazon.com HERE
In the next couple of days it will also be available on the UK Amazon, it should also be available from the following Amazon sites - Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia.
I'll let you know as soon as the UK Amazon has the book :-)
The Kindle version is already published in the above places.
And the PDF version and most of the single patterns are available on Ravelry HERE
I've still got 2 more patterns to add to Ravelry, which I hope to do in the next couple of days.
Sorry its such a short blog post, I need to be in too many places at the same time.
P.S If you buy a copy please,please,please can you leave feedback as it really helps the book in the Amazon rankings.
I'm not sure how to start this post, it could be with another apology as to why I haven't posted for a while, but I'm just about to explain why or it could start at the beginning of the process or the end.
Firstly today is the day I upload the manuscript for Bert's Crochet Baby Blankets, once its submitted it will go through a vetting process and I will be sent a proof copy, When everyone is happy with the book someone at Amazon will press a button and it will be available and ready for sale. All being well the new book will be available to purchase next week.
So here is the emotional bit, its really a cathartic outpouring that a need to write so I can move on, so you can stop reading now if you don't want to read doom and gloom.
I'm very anxious, but excited at the same time, I invest a lot of time and emotion in my books and have come to realise writing books makes me anxious and depressed.
I cried for the last 6 months of writing Rainbow Crocheted Blankets, at the time I thought it was due to having to shut NDS and found it very difficult working with an editor who made changes to my manuscript I didn't like, I felt out of control as I was powerless to do anything about the bits I didn't like as the editor had the last say. Don't get me wrong she was a lovely girl and doing the best she could with a difficult author and produced a beautiful book, but it wasn't exactly the book I would of published.
The day the final manuscript went to print was the day the world became a better place and I stopped crying. After the experience I vowed never to write another book.
I self published a couple of booklets of blanket patterns and in October Rainbow Crocheted Blankets was published, it was a huge success, by this time I'd forgotten how depressed I'd been and started thinking about a new book.
I was approached by an agent and started making blankets, the new book was going to be called Watercolour Crochet Blankets and focus on the colour blending technique I used in my blankets.
A couple of publishers weren't interested, but a third publisher was really enthusiastic and I went to a meeting. The meeting was fantastic, the publisher was excited and keen to work with me, she wasn't keen on the watercolour idea, said I should make blankets I want to make rather than try and stick to a theme, so the new version of the book became Circles Crochet Blankets. I came away feeling rejuvenated and full of new ideas. The only down side was the final decision would be made by the US office and they wouldn't have a commissioning meeting until September.
Bert was born and my life took on new meaning.
September came and went, October came and went, November came and went, all without a decision. The US office had the meeting in December and loved the book, the UK office started planning photo shoots and layouts, but still no decision.
During this time my beloved Billy cat died, I was heartbroken and retreated into myself a little.
After long negotiations with my agent the publisher decided not to go ahead with the book because even though I'd sold over 30,000 copies of Rainbow Crocheted Blankets the numbers didn't add up and they weren't prepared to pay me the price I asked for.
February and March 2018
My agent approached several more publishers including my existing publisher, they were all keen and made offers, BUT none of them would improve on the deal I already had.
This left me feeling worthless and empty that no one considered that my book was worth investing in. But I was not prepared to work for a pittance to pay for some else's skying holiday while we struggle to make ends meet, so I turned all the offers down.
I decided to self publish on Amazon, I did a test run with Madder Triangles, which I renamed Crochet Madder Triangles so the search engines would pick it up. I wish I could say it was a huge success, but it hasn't been, so even though it didn't fill me with joy I was really happy with the book its and proud that I produced it on my own. So I started work on the manuscript for Circles Crochet Blankets.
My beloved Loki dog died and we were/are still devastated, I still can't look at a German Shepard without crying, his death has broken us all. I didn't realise it was possible to grieve so much for a dog, but like Billy he had been with us through all our trauma's of the past. Probably the worst part was watching Tinks grieve, she didn't understand and had lost her life long companion, she stopped eating, playing, didn't run anymore just lay on the sofa and sighed.
We were told our house was going to be sold and couldn't afford to buy it so needed to find a new home, this broke me even further, but I kept writing the book, often through tears and anxiety that we wouldn't be able to find somewhere new.
We found and moved into our new flat and even though I miss my big garden its perfect for the 2 of us and has a south facing courtyard, my mood lifted a bit and I enjoyed the summer.
I watched Bert trying to pick the circles up off one of the blankets and realised that I should be making a book for him. So Circles Crochet Blankets was split in 2, I only had 8 blankets which wasn't enough for two books, so I chose eight of my existing patterns (four for each book) which fitted with the themes of the two new books, which are Bert's Crochet Baby Blankets and Moorland Crochet Blankets which will be published next year.
We brought home Oberon (Ron) our new lurcher puppy, Tinks hated him, 3 months later she's still not that keen, but when she's not snapping at him they play and run together and best of all she isn't grieving anymore. Ron has brought new energy into our life, he'll never be loki or Billy, but he helps fill the gaps they left and given us someone new to love.
The Beast my beloved land rover died. I know most people won't understand why I feel sad about a car, but I've always loved driving and my cars are an extension of myself, plus the Beast was one of the few things I had left of NDS.
By this time I'd almost stopped social networking, I haven't talked to several close friends for nearly a year, I've buried myself deeper and deeper in my pit of self doubt and depression.
I have nothing new or interesting to say, why would anyone want to buy the book? I'd decided to publish Bert's book and the Moorland book and then give up writing patterns completely, maybe edit a few of the old ones, but quietly fade into obscurity, no one would notice.
December 3rd 2018
Today is the day I upload the manuscript and press submit on Bert's Crocheted Baby Blankets, I can already feel the world is a brighter place, even though I'm on my second attempt at uploading the file, the first pdf writer I used corrupted the file ....grrrr
Maybe its helped writing this blog post, maybe I've cried all the tears I have left, maybe its because 2 years of disappointment and heart break are over.
I feel the fight is still within me,
I have at least another 2 books in me after Moorland Crochet Blankets, I need to rewrite and re-publish Desirable Crochet Motifs and Bert is going to be a big brother in March so I will need to do another baby book for my second grandchild.
Moorland Crochet Blankets isn't going to be anywhere near as big an emotional roller coaster that Bert's book has been.
In the past year I've watched Bert grow from a tiny baby into a naughty but charming toddler,
I've always been surrounded by my loving family,
I have naughty Ron to love and cuddle (even though he's all legs and going to be a lot bigger than we thought.
I have a tiny flat I love and am really happy in.
And we've got another ridiculous car that drinks petrol, this one doesn't have a name, but goes very fast and is totally unsuitable for life on the moor
While writing this post the manuscript has uploaded, I'm excited and delighted to say its been approved and the proof copies are on their way.
I thought I'd better give you a quick update to let you know where I am.
I'm still here working away in the background try to meet my self imposed deadline for my new book (Bert's Crochet Baby Blankets) and when I"m not working on the book I'm looking after Bert.
The book is kind of on schedule, I've written 6 out of 8 patterns and taken most of the photo's, I still have 2 patterns left to write and the arty photo shots of babies and blankets to do, I've taken quite a few baby/blanket shots already but so far I only have a couple that might be usable, remember the old adage "never work with children and animals.........."
I still have 7 weeks left, so fingers crossed I make my deadline :-)
This is the potential cover shot, I decided not to put Bert on the cover as not everyone has a baby, but he on the title page.
Onto the Ravelry sale.
I won't be able to do the Indie designer gift-a-long this year as I'm so busy with the book, so I thought you'd like a treat anyway.
Its Wednesday and I have only just managed to squash a couple of hours into my chaotic life.
Before I have to rush off again I wanted to tell you I have added 11 blankets to the website shop, my flat is too small to keep all of my blankets, so I thought they might make lovely Christmas gifts for some one special..
The blankets include Kissing Kaffe and Kaleidoscope, neither of which I want to part with, but sometimes its good to let go.
I've also added a few patterns and will be adding a lot more in the days to come,
So onto why my life is so chaotic........
We have a new puppy, we picked him up on Saturday and since then he has turned our life upside down in a frenzy of chewing, biting and running around exploring his new life. His name is Oberon, Ron for short and he is an 8 week old greyhound lurcher.
Normally it wouldn't be as chaotic, but I've been looking after Bert a bit more often than usual, because his mummy is working silly hours and has given herself migraines.
Bert and Ron spent their first day together on Monday, Bert is both shocked and delighted because all the dogs in his life run away from him and he'd never had the chance to stroke or play. He not very impressed when Ron nibbles his fingers, is happy to try and pull Ron around by the tail!
They spent Monday playing (chewing) with the same toys, not very hygienic, but Ron has just left his mum & siblings and is probably more vulnerable to germs than Bert.
It's exhausting and all encompassing to try and keep 2 active babies safe and under control at the same time, I have a huge newfound admiration for parents with twins.
But when they curled up together to sleep, my heart melted a lot and ever second of the chaos was worth it, They are going to be the best of friends I'm looking forward to watching their friendship evolve.
Its been a while since I've blogged, all my best intentions of a blog post a week seem to have evaporated in the sunshine, I must try harder :-)
Anyway what I've been doing instead is mainly crocheting blankets for my next book and enjoying my time being Grandma or rather in my case Queenie, Bert already has a Nanny Jo, Great Granny, and Great Grandma, so I decided to be his Queenie.
A few weeks ago I came to the realisation that most of my new designs were quite childlike and I'd obviously been subconsciously designing for Bert, so I decided to divide the blankets into 2 piles and publish them in 2 books.
The first will be Bert's Crochet Baby Blanket book, which I'm hoping to get published by mid November in time for Christmas.
And the second will be Moorland Crochet Blankets which will be published next year.
The books cost 12.99 UK sterling which is the same price as the English version.
I have also added Crochet Madder Triangles to the shop, which you can find HERE
The book is selling well so you will need to allow up to 10 days for dispatch in case I need to restock, however hopefully you will have your copy a lot sooner.
Over the next few weeks I will be adding PDF patterns which will be e-mailed to you instead of being a instant download, due to the silly European VAT law.
And finally some of the blankets themselves, I've finally decided to sell them as they are spilling out of cupboards, there are too many to fit into our tiny home and if I continue making them we won't have anywhere to sit :-)
I'm finally able to write this blog post about the blankets in my Crochet Madder Triangles book, its taken me a while as I've just moved house.
This latest move has been the most challenging, we've packed a 7 roomed, 3 storey house and moved all our possessions into a 3 roomed ground floor flat, no mean feat considering how many books I've got. Its taken me nearly 2 weeks to unpack my laptop and create a space to work in.
However we absolutely love the flat, especially our small Mediterranean courtyard which we'll spend the summer relaxing in the sun :-)
The blankets are (in order as seen on the photo above) Spyro, Lecchi and Rising Sun.
Spyro was a result of experimenting with spirals and named after a character in a computer game called Spyro the Dragon, which my children played during their childhood. He was a small blue dragon who ran around a very colourful kingdom collecting gems. I remember spending a lot of time watching him run around in circles.
You will need 1400 gms of 4 ply fingering yarn in assorted colours,
Lecchi is named after a small village in Tuscany, Italy, we were staying in while on holiday.
The blanket was the result of relaxing and experimenting with a bag of yarn. I became so obsessed with making the triangles that I crocheted every moment I could when not driving on the long drive home back to England.
You will need 1100 gms of 4ply/fingering yarn in assorted colours.
I've wanted to make a ripple blanket, but struggle with crocheting straight rows, they involve counting stitches, which I never get right however hard I try, so I decided to make a ripple using motifs.
The blanket is named after The Rising Sun Hotel, which faces east over the harbour wall in Lynmouth.
If you get up early enough in the morning you can see the sun rising over Countisbury Hill.
Rising Sun has waves of green and blue symbolising the sea, nestled in the bright pink and orange sun rise.
You will need 1400 gms of DK yarn in assorted colours.
All the blanket patterns are have step by step charts, motif charts, colour key's, written in UK & US terms and have 4 colour variation charts, so if you are not keen on the original colour of the blanket you can choose one of the others.
You can find the book on amazon.co.uk HERE, its also available in the US and other European Amazon sites.
If you have already bought the book or planning to buy a copy I would really appreciate it if you could leave an Amazon review, even if its just a couple of words as it really helps how well the book does.
I am planning to do a longer blog post about it soon with more photo's and info but my second news is we are moving again, we had hoped to stay here for a lot longer, but our landlords need to sell the house, so we are off again and I am busy packing.
Our new house is smaller, but its on the sunny side of the valley and very very close to our grandson and his parents, they were only a few minutes walk across the valley, but now they are going to be a few seconds :-)
I will lose my lovely garden which I'm very sad about, but I will gain a very sunny small courtyard which I'm very excited about, its my birthday in a few weeks time and top on my birthday list is a olive tree. I've always wanted one but never had anywhere suitable to grow one.
And finally our very sad news, we had to have our beloved Loki put down last week, this is his last photo and as you can see he was still smiling up until the very end.
He was almost 12, his back kegs had gone, he'd stopped eating and his kidneys had failed.
We are heartbroken and there is a huge furry hole in our life, but it was best for him.
My team of helpers is now down to one and as you can see she is heartbroken too, she doesn't want to eat, spends most of her time like this, the only time she is animated is when we are out walking and she meets another dog.
In a month or so after we have moved we will get her a new friend and team member, he/she won't replace Loki, but it will bring new joy to our life.
In between baby sitting Bert I've been busily working away on my Madder Triangles book re-write.
As I woke up this morning I came to the realisation that Madder Triangles isn't a good name for a book, the title doesn't give you any idea what its about,
You know, I know, but Amazon has no idea, so I need to change it, but what do I call it??
I know you'll help me decide, or maybe come up with some new idea's, so could you give me some feedback on the names below
1 - Crochet Madder Triangles
2 - Madder Triangles Crochet Designs
3 - Madder Triangles Crochet Patterns
4 - Madder Triangles Crochet
I'm getting closer to my self imposed deadline, at the moment I am just under halfway through, this is the second edition of the manuscript, I was halfway through the first one, but wasn't happy with the fact that the photo's didn't go all the way to the edge of the pages, so I did a lot of research and experiments and finally solved the problem, however word wouldn't let me apply the changes to the existing document so I had to start from scratch.
I've rewritten the introduction and information pages and finished editing 4 patterns, including all 3 of the blankets and 1 scarf
So only have another 4 patterns left to go, however for the next 2 weeks I have 2 extra days of Bert duties, which will slow my progress down.
I could try working when I'm baby sitting, but I want to experience every second of him that I can, especially now that he is beginning to play with his toy's, has learnt to throw and has a whole vocabulary of strange noises.
Although he does fit very neatly in a box, so I could just keep him at my feet while I type.......... :-)