I made a decision way back in the spring that I would spend December doing festive things as I’m usually horribly organised and the lead up to the big day goes by in a flash. I’ve got my wreath on the door and the tree and all the twinkly lights are up, but I am already feeling like my To Do list is getting inexplicably longer - could it be that the more time you dedicate to preparing for Christmas, the more and more things you find to do?
I had planned to spend this week making lovely decorations out of saved, and therefore recycled, paper and card and also had it in mind to do some little jobs in the house that have been crying out for attention all year, such as properly hemming the living room curtains and pulling the peeling paint off the bathroom ceiling! Once again, however, the week has run away with me and only one big job (sorting out all the old Christmas decorations in the loft) has been scrubbed off the list- Ugh! Never mind - all first world problems and hopefully next week will prove more productive!
Anyhoo - I have a few things to tell you about this week so I hope you have a spare five minutes or so to catch up with all things Janie Crow.
Last week Emma came up with the brilliant idea of using one of the tins from the Emma Ball and Janie Crow collection as the 'wrapping' for a festive gift and this got us thinking about how many of the items in the collection would make great gifts. This thought process ultimately led to Andy spending time making up some bundle options on the web site, which you can see by following this link.
We think that the large Sandalwood tin would be perfect to hold a handmade gift for a friend. All you need to do is pop the gift inside, shut the lid and tie a ribbon around it and you have created a no waste present! Or maybe you fancy more than a tin and would like to take a look at some of the bundles in stock - all the bundles include a discount of around 15% compared to the price of the items bought individually.
We now have the amazing 'Seams' hand cream back in stock. This luxury cream is specifically aimed at those of us who work with textiles and yarn and therefore suffer with ultra dry fingers and nails. It is non greasy and gets absorbed quickly, with 10 natural ingredients to help mend, moisturise, nourish, soften, & soothe hands and condition nails, fast! We stock it in 2 sizes so that you can chose a smaller trial size tube if you haven't tried it before. Click on the image below for more information.
We had such a fabulous workshop weekend in Bournemouth a couple of weeks ago when Debbie Abrahams and I tutored our annual festive workshop. We both designed a pair of beaded mitts so that participants could choose whether they wanted to knit or crochet. My mitts included a beaded pine tree and a glitzy snowflake design.
It was fabulous to see so many of our participants heading home with completed, or near finished projects. I will be working on the pattern over the next couple of months so that it includes a couple of sizes and a less complicated beading option, so keep an eye out for the pattern in Autumn 24.
Yesterday was Christmas Jumper Day here in the UK and as the festive movies are in full swing here the Janie Crow team had a chat about the lovely knitwear that pops up in them, often causing us to focus so much on pattern and 'could I make that?' that the storyline of the film becomes secondary! We discussed our favourite knitwear from the big screen and here’s what we came up with:
Jane: 'My favourite sweater from a film is the cable sweater that Amanda (Cameron Diaz) wears in The Holiday. I love cream cable sweaters and one of the very first garments I ever hand knitted for myself was a cable sweater from Rowan Magazine 19 in 1995. I wore it over and over and still have it packed away somewhere.
I love it when movies have definite wardrobe themes - The Holiday is all cream, brown and black and grey - for all characters - have you ever noticed that? No bright colours and lots of snowy scenes. I love it even though I am a real fan of colour.'
Emma: 'Ok, so while we are on the theme of cables, can we stretch that to traditional Aran sweaters and look at the lovely example worn by Chris Evans in Knives Out. NOT just an excuse to look at Chris Evans as is evidenced by the fact that we’ve also discussed Steve McQueen wearing an Aran sweater in 'The Thomas Crown Affair'.
Emma also felt it was important that we included Colin Firth's iconic Rudolph sweater from Bridget Jones's Diary.
Sarah's favourite is the knitwear in Heroes of Telemark: 'I used to knit little versions of this for my brother’s Action Man!'
Gemma is still open to persuasion on this subject, so we thought a couple of good strong women would be appropriate for inclusion in our list - we have added the jumper that launched a thousand copies, worn by Sarah Lund in The Killing, and that glorious creation worn by Katniss Everdean in the Hunger Games.
We would love to know which film or TV knitwear you covet most, so do get in touch or join in the conversation over on our Instagram feed here.
I am really excited to have been nominated in two different categories in the Yarn Industry awards for 2023! I am really proud that my name appears in the Best Independent Designer section and within the Best Online Personality category.
I am up against some true giants of the yarn world, many of them with many more followers than me, so I am flattered simply to have been nominated, but if you do want to vote for me, or any of the other fabulous nominees, please click the link here.
Thank you to all of you who have supported and nominated me - I am delighted!
There's still time to make some stash busting festive crochet decorations and we have lots of patterns to choose from! You can find them here.
If you're a knitter rather than a crocheter how about some of our cushion designs - perfect for adding a touch of cosy to your sofa over the winter months.
Just a reminder that I will be participating in the Wool in Garden City Festival which will take place in January. The event is a week long pop-up yarn show in Welwyn Garden City. A few exhibitors, including myself, have already been revealed and there will be workshops and other yarn related events you can attend.
The pop up is free to visit, but if you would like to come to the preview evening on Friday 19th January, you can purchase a ticket for £10. You can find more information by following this link.
On Instagram this week we took a look back over the Spirit of Flora Crochet Along, which has been running in Inside Crochet magazine over the last year. How time has flown! We have followed your progress through the Marlborough, Gillow and Evelyn motifs, as well as Double Carnations, Sunflower and Pair of Roses, amongst others.
The latest issue of the magazine included cushion patterns and along the way there was the Dana bag too.
Over on Facebook we celebrated the joy of a cosy blanket when the temperature drops. Of course it's a great time of year to be making a blanket too, because it keeps you warm at the same time! Here are some of your favourites that you shared:
Bliss Butler's growing blanket pile!
Jancey Glynn's first Janie Crow project in the shape of Persian Tiles is coming in handy during a cold snap!
Tricia Badley made this gorgeous Imogen blanket, which now resides in the Philippines. Isn't it gorgeous!
This time last year saw the release of the Glad Tidings Wrap, a design just perfect for using those gorgeous little Advent calendar mini skeins. It's a lovely project for the festive period, with a repeat that can be picked up quickly, making it a relaxing and mindful make.
The pattern could also work well with leftovers from other projects, as a stash-busting exercise or with a colour changing yarn such as the Scheepjes Whirl. It does work up quite quickly, so could make a great Christmas gift too. Click on any of the images above for more information.
This week's recipe is a warming sweet potato and lentil bake from the Riverford website. Gemma tried this out on her family this week, expecting mixed reviews with her girls not liking lentils and sweet potato respectively, but it apparently went down really well.
Gemma didn't have tinned lentils in her store at home, so used dried red lentils and a couple of variations on the vegetables, but everyone asked that it be made again, so it sounds like a real success. If you'd like to give it a try you can find the recipe by clicking on the image above.
It's this time of year that Christmas post box toppers start appearing around the UK, so we did a quick Instagram search on #christmasyarnbombing and here are a few of our favourites.
As we head into December, the Crisis at Christmas services have started to open and the frontline staff are working hard across the country to support as many people as they can this winter.
Right now, things are urgent. Over 250,000 families and individuals in the UK are experiencing the worst forms of homelessness. People are forced onto the streets, into sofa surfing, or temporary accommodation. This can and must end. There’s still time to make this someone’s last Christmas without a home. Donate now by following this link.
We are looking forward to meeting my brother and his wife in town this evening. Andy and I went to see the London festive lights last Wednesday and had such a lovely time, so are hoping for nice dry weather again today in order to see all the decorations at their best. The Advent calendar at Fortnum and Mason was fabulous, as were all the window and store front displays in the high end stores on Bond Street. I love London at Christmas, but don't usually get time to visit, so I am trying to make the most of it this year.
We are hoping to spend the weekend doing some Christmas prep. We have 13 coming for dinner on Boxing Day, so will cook a few things that can go in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Vegetarian cooking can be particularly time consuming thanks to all the chopping involved, so it is always good to get an early start!
I am still working on the new Marrakesh colourway of Persian Tiles, which should be ready in the new year. I am making the Granny Squares at the moment and finding them a particularly mindful make - the perfect accompaniment to Christmas movies!
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