The last couple of weeks have been a little quieter here at Janie Crow so it has been lovely to relax back into some time at home, especially as we have just had the long Easter weekend which provided a little extra time off than normal.
The garden is bursting into life around me as we head full throttle into spring and it has been so fabulous to be able to spend some time pottering around outside at last, although this week the weather is giving us sporadic April showers, so I am not getting too complacent about the improving weather just yet!
I have a few things to tell you about this week so I hope you can spare a some of your precious time to catch up with all things Janie Crow.
It is hard to believe that today marks the 3 year anniversary of the day we released the Getting Ready information for The Fruit Garden Crochet Along project which I released in collaboration with Stylecraft Yarns just a few weeks into lockdown.
When I was designing this project there was no way of predicting what was ahead of us, but it soon became abundantly clear that many crocheters were finding much needed solace by working through this crochet along.
The design was inspired by a visit to Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire where I saw the incredible embroideries of William Morris’s daughter May, and could immediately see how I could use her work as the basis for a crochet design.
This project means a huge amount to me and I am incredibly proud of it. Not only in terms of its design, but also in regards to how working through it created a valuable lifeline for so many crocheters during unprecedented times.
We are really looking forward to exhibiting at Wonderwool Wales next weekend (22nd & 23rd April) and hope to see some of you there. Andy has been busy getting some kits put together for us to sell at the show including the Mystical Lanterns scarf kit, the Fruit Garden blanket kit in Parchment and Caramel and a new version of the Magic Circles wrap, which has 'Dusk' included in place of the discontinued shade Autumn Fields from the Eden Cottage range of Milburn DK.
We will also have kits for the Sandalwood version of Persian Tiles and lots of items from our Emma Ball and Janie Crow collaborative range.
I have been working on a new CAL design for the last few weeks, but have recently ditched my original ideas and started again! I am in the process of rethinking my colour palette and have made a new Pinterest board. It can be really frustrating when ideas don't work out, but I am feeling more confident about my new ideas and hopefully I can incorporate bits of the sampling I have already done into the new design. With the clock ticking and the deadline looming I need to get my skates on with this design now, so I have my fingers crossed that I won't have another blip!
I have recently worked alongside my fabulous Graphic Designer, Steph, to create a new Janie Crow catalogue which is available to download here. Having a browse through the catalogue is a great way to see the Janie Crow collection in one place and it includes some background information about the designs. Steph has made it all look so lovely and I am incredibly pleased with it. We have sent the file off to print, so we should have some physical copies within the next couple of weeks.
We have continued to see increased sales of my Persian Tiles patterns ever since Justin Bieber wore a version to the Oscars after party a few weeks ago. I am still reeling a little bit and can't quite believe that the blanket took centre stage at such a prestigious event!
If any of you did happen to miss the Justin Bieber crochet blanket story, take a look at my Instagram feed for more info and images.
Emma has been working on the video for the final part of the Sunshine and Showers project and should have that uploaded to our Youtube channel some time next week. I can't believe that a year has almost passed since we relaunched this crochet along project and I am so grateful to Emma for doing such a great job on the videos.
STOP PRESS! Due to unforeseen circumstances there are now 2 places in a shared room on my week long crochet workshop in France in June. You can find more information here.
I was so incredibly excited when the first boxes of Emma Ball and Janie Crow velvet cushions arrived last week that I immediately unpacked them and popped one of each design on our bed! I love them so much!
The cushions come in 4 designs and we have already sold out of the Mystical Lanterns one, but don't worry - we will be getting more!
Don't forget that we now have lots of items from the collaborative range in stock, including stitch markers, note pads and small note-lets as well as the tin items, project pouches and purses and tote bags!
Due to cancellations there are still places left on the Arena Travel 'Knitting Traditions of Peru' trip with me as tutor in early September.
Peru has the longest continuous history of textile production in the world, going back almost 10,000 years. Invented long before pottery and just as humans started agriculture, Peruvian fibre manipulation began with simple spun fibres but by 500 AD this rudimentary craft had developed into complex techniques.
On our travels we’ll explore the processes involved in the production of textiles, including the most characteristic garment, the *chullo*, a knitted hat with an earflap and a calendar waistband that depicts the annual cycles of ritual and agricultural life, and we'll meet local artisans whose traditions have been passed down through the centuries.
I am really excited by the prospect of this incredible trip to Peru, a country that has a rich history of intricate knitting traditions. When we think of Peru we imagine bright colours of lush vegetation, foliage and flowers and the incredible surface pattern of costumes, jewellery and artwork, as well as the breathtaking scenery and archaeological sites. I am sure this will be a truly inspirational trip and I am really looking forward to all that we will see and experience on this journey of a lifetime. You can find more information by following this link.
There are also places left on my Stitch Yourself Happy - Crochet & Yoga workshop in July. Numerous studies have shown that crafting is just as beneficial for your personal wellbeing and mental health as Pilates, yoga and mindfulness are for both physical and mental health. Over the course of this weekend I will be tutoring beaded crochet workshops and, if you come along, you will get to do some lovely relaxing yoga too!
Beaded crochet is a beautifully effective technique that is much simpler than you imagine. There is no need to learn any new stitches, the beads are just added into your crochet at certain stages of the stitch to create a really lovely effect. Participants will need to know how to work crochet basic crochet stitches and how to read a crochet pattern.
A few weeks ago we introduced our lovely Gemma over on Instagram and you can find the post by following this link.
If you have ever wondered what the members of my fabulous team do for Janie Crow, or simply want to put a face to a name, then do head over to our Instagram feed to take a look!
On Sarah's advice I recently bought a copy of 'One Pot, Pan, Planet' by Anna Jones. It is a really lovely looking book with lots of recipes and interesting information about seasonal food and how to cook in a more economical and smart way to the advantage to both the planet and your pocket.
We have tried quite a few recipes from the book, but the one we have now adopted as a firm favourite is the Sag Aloo Shepherds Pie, which is easy to make and is truly delicious. You can find the recipe here.
I make the bean casserole part of the pie in my slow cooker then pop it in the oven to crisp up the mashed cauliflower, spinach and potato topping later on.
As I settle back into the daily routine of working in the studio after what feels like weeks of events and deadlines, I have found myself looking forward to more moments of calm and TLC in my life and am once again trying to create some good habits like going to the gym and getting out of the house for a walk.
Reading is one of the first things to go out of the window when my life is work heavy as I tend to find I can't concentrate and end up flicking mindlessly through my phone instead, so I have started a couple of new books this week too. One is Why Women Grow, by Alice Vincent (another recommendation from Sarah) and the other is a fascinating book about the ageing process called Ageless by Andrew Steele. I have the two books on the go at the same time as the Andrew Steele one is quite information heavy and includes quite a lot of long words that I have to look up so I am dipping into both of them depending on my mood and how tired I am!
I have discovered a really great interiors feed to follow on Instagram called The Jungalow. The feed has so many lovely interior shots and is awash with fabulous colour combinations so it is fair to say that I am more than a bit hooked!
The Jungalow feed is created by Justina Blakeney who has a personal feed that you can find here. This is also the kind of account you can loose a couple of hours rooting around in!
At this time of year I always find myself making plans for the house and garden. We are hoping to finally complete the lean-to in the back garden this year by sorting out the paving and I also hope to give our little conservatory a bit of a revamp after it suffered some water damage during the winter. I must admit that when it comes to jobs within the house I tend to enjoy the planning stage more than the doing and am drawn to completing jobs in the garden rather than indoors first. No doubt the jobs in the conservatory will be weather dependant!
We are hoping to take a trip to the Garden Centre at some point this weekend, but other than that I think it is set to be a couple of days of pottering around. I have been working on a new book over the last couple of weeks, so if the weather is a bit miserable and we have yet more rain, I might tuck myself away in the studio for a couple of hours of writing.
I hope that wherever you are, and whatever you have planned that you will have a great weekend and that you stay safe.
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