I had a really great time away from home last week teaching workshops and doing a couple of presentations about my work. Black Sheep Wools hosted a really nice afternoon Tea Party event on Wednesday followed by a day of mini workshops on Thursday where participants made a beaded brooch using one of the flower designs from The Fruit Garden Blanket as inspiration. On Friday I spent the day with a group from Crafty Stitchers in Northwich, Cheshire. It was so good to be with groups of crafters and it was brilliant to see them all so inspired by their crochet. Let's hope that more events and workshops are in the future for us all.
The flower motifs from the Fruit Garden blanket would all make lovely brooches or decorations. I used the Hollyhock motif and added beads on a couple of the rounds. You can find a free beading technique download document on the web site here and a video to show you how to do it on the Janie Crow YouTube channel.
Andy got the train up and we met on Friday evening in Buxton where we spent a night and then drove on to Holmfirth where we visited some of the places I knew well from my days at Rowan Yarns. On Monday we had a great meeting at Stylecraft and so I am back at my desk feeling inspired by some ideas for the future.
After all the preparation I did for the workshops and events last week I am now getting organised for my workshop trip to Iceland, which is in a few weeks time. It has been really nice to dig out my knitting needles and sit down at my PC to draw fairisle knitting charts. I am about to cast on my project to test that everything works ok and so it will be a bank holiday weekend with quite a lot of knitting for me. We are heading away with the kids and my lovely mother in law, so I am hoping there will be plenty of time to knit.
I have designed 2 cushion projects for Inside Crochet Magazine. They will be in the next issue, which is called Cottage Garden and is number 147. As soon as I have some official images I will share them with you, but for now you will have to make do with this sneaky peek image from this month's magazine!
We will be at Wonderwool in Wales next weekend (23rd & 24th April) so we have quite a lot of things to sort out for that. We have taken on a really big stand so that there will be plenty of room for us all. We hope to have patterns and kits for sale and Andy will be taking lots of hooks, needles and accessories, but above all, this is a chance for you to see my blankets and cushions in the flesh and get a real feeling of colours and styles - there is nothing like seeing things in 'real life' is there!
We are planning to revisit my Sunshine and Showers blanket design over the course of this year and into next. The CAL was released 5 years ago and features a new stitch for every month of the year, based on typical weather here in the UK. The pattern is available in parts as downloads, but we have never had videos to accompany the design, so my lovely new assistant Emma will be doing videos to help anyone who wants to work through the project. We will have more information about the project soon.
We have updated our stock of the beaded pastel decorations yet again! We have 13 kits in stock and will be making some more to take to Wonderwool with us next week. You can find them by following this link.
We have had a big delivery of Della Q items this week. I really love this range of knitting and crochet bags and pouches and use my own little messenger bag all the time - in fact it is my go to bag these days.
I also use my little buddy case all the time as it is perfect for storing my beads - the soft velour type interior of this case makes it really perfect! You can check out our updated range of Della Q products here.
We will be adding more stock to our Cohana and Jul ranges over the next few weeks so if you are looking for some fancy yarn snips or a lovely fair trade shawl pin make sure you take a look in the web store over the next couple of weeks.
Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
Not a penny was there in it,
Only ribbon round it.
As a family we still do a Zoom quiz on a Sunday afternoon. A couple of weeks ago my mum asked the question 'Who found Lucy Locket's pocket?', as in the rhyme above by James Orchard Halliwell, which was first recorded in 1842. I had no idea of the answer, but the question sparked a conversation about the fact that womens' pockets were not sewn into clothes until relatively recently. Instead, skirts or dresses of the time, as well as the petticoats worn underneath, had an opening at the waistline to allow access to the pocket which hung around the woman's waist tied by a ribbon or tape.
I found a really good piece about the fashion for ladies' pockets via The V&A here and you can find what looks like a really interesting book on the subject called 'The Pocket - A Hidden History of Women's Lives' by Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux by following this link. I have found this all quite intriguing and think it would be really cool to make some separate pockets - do you think they could work in crochet?
It is always really cold at Wonderwool! Whatever the weather outside, the cold comes up through the concrete floor in the halls so we always pack plenty of warm clothes to help keep us toasty. A few years ago I got so cold that I ended up buying some hand knitted gloves from another stall holder!
When I saw these wrist warmers, made by my good friend Dedri of 'Look at What I made', I thought they would be an ideal make for these spring days when you can get caught out by the cold. Take look at Dedri's fab free pattern by following this link.
I put on a bit of weight over lockdown so I thought it was about time I made an effort to shift it. I am not a diet fan and find I always loose my way with strict plans, so I thought a book that outlines a better way of life rather than a strict low fat diet might be the answer for me.
I bought the book The Full Diet by Dr Saira Hameed and am working my way through it. It is a good read which has helped me to understand the science behind weight loss and the devil that is sugar and processed food.
I haven't made any of the recipes from the book yet, but one of my favourite meals, 'Aubergine Parmigiana', is on plan so I thought I would share it with you this week. I love this dish and make it at least once a month. There is a good recipe here.
We are heading away for a weekend by the sea with the family to celebrate the bank holiday weekend. I have packed plenty of knitting and crochet and hope that I will get time to sit with my hooks and needles over the next few days. Next week will be pretty hectic as we get ready for Wonderwool, so a relaxing weekend with some sea views will be perfect.
My friend Chris shared with me the work of Gabriela Hurst after I featured some of the crochet garments from The Peruvian Connection a few weeks ago. Gabriela's work combines knit and crochet and is really inspiring. You can find her web site here or by clicking on the images above.
I wanted to thank you again for all your support with our Ukraine Appeal to raise funds for UNHCR. We have paid the £5000 we raised to the charity and are thinking up new ways to raise money to support Ukraine. Amanda from Little Box of Crochet is asking for crochet squares to make blankets that will be raffled to raise money. You can find more information by following this link.
Image with thanks to Karin Hellaby
I am really looking forward to my trip to Iceland with Arena Travel in a few weeks time, but over the last week I have been avidly following the progress of the Stitchtopia tour of Uzbekistan. It really does look amazing and I would really love to take a group of knitters and crocheters out on the same trip in the future. Uzbekistan is a Central Asian nation and former Soviet republic. It's known for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. It is also famous for its amazing textile heritage.
Take a look at the Stitchtopia Facebook page for images and videos of what looks like an incredible trip. Apparently the tour company have already had 3 stitch groups do this tour, but they say that knitters and crocheters aren't keen. I am sure there is so much to interest us yarn folk on this trip, so I would love to hear from you if you fancy this trip. If I get a good bit of interest then perhaps I can pitch it to Arena to try launching the trip again!
Last night I finally managed to settle down and watch the first episode of the second series of Bridgerton. After all the hype I was really looking forward to being immersed in the world of empire line dresses, fancy frocks and old fashioned etiquette. I think my favourite thing about the series is the costumes and settings - there really are some gorgeous details on some of those dresses! Watching the show reminded me that a few months ago I made a 'Jane Austin' inspired mood board on Pinterest using the film 'Emma' as my inspiration. Like in Bridgerton, there were some amazing costumes in this film too. You can find the board here - it is a secret board as I was using it for ideas for a design and might still do so in the future, so you will need to follow the link rather than find it on my Pinterest profile.
Well, that's it from me for another couple of weeks. I hope there has been something in this email that you found interesting and I hope you all have a fabulous bank holiday weekend and keep well.....
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