I hope this quick catch up email finds you all safe and well. It has been really windy, cold and gloomy here the last couple of weeks, so I have been keeping myself cheery with some lovely spring themed crochet projects. The daffodils are beginning to come into flower around here, so I am hopeful that some nicer brighter days are not too far away.
I have a few things to tell you about this week, so I hope you can spare a few minutes to catch up with all things Janie Crow!
If you have visited the Janie Crow website over the last couple of weeks you may have noticed a few changes. I have been doing a bit of tidying up and sorting out so that the site is easier to navigate and Andy has been doing the same to the store pages. My lovely Graphic Designer, Steph has been creating some pieces to compliment the images of my projects so that everything starts to look tidier and way prettier! It is a big job and so far Steph and I have only really concentrated on the home page (which still isn't finished), but it has been really rewarding to spend some time on the website, which has been a bit neglected recently. You can follow this link if you want to take a look around!
While I am on the subject of the website and in turn our store, we have some good news for those of you who live in Europe as we have started to implement IOSS (Import One Stop Shop) to our products. This means that those of you in the European Union will no longer face large import duties on items ordered via Janie Crow. It has been quite a lot of work for Andy to sort out the listings and add the correct VAT percentages for every country in the EU, but he is nearly there now. If you are from Europe and are considering making an order I suggest that you wait until next week as the system will be totally up and running very soon.
We sell kits and paper patterns on our website as well as some lifestyle items like the Della Q makers bags and project pouches. If you are more likely to want to use download patterns to create some of my projects then you can access these via Ravelry. We also have a thriving Etsy store, which has just been awarded a 'Star Seller' badge, so you might want to take a look by following this link too.
The patterns for the final instalment of my Indigo Dreams Crochet Along project are now available in Inside Crochet Magazine. It has been so fantastic seeing all your images of the project cropping up on social media and I am really looking forward to seeing all the completed blankets.
The patterns for the project will revert to me once the CAL is over, so I have been working on a new colourway of the blanket, which I will reveal when the pattern is rereleased in the autumn. It has been really great fun to revisit this project and I have loved using Stylecraft's new recycled yarn ReCreate to make my swatches for a new blanket.
It has also been fabulous to see how many of you are revisiting my Frida's Flowers CAL, which features bright flowers on a black background, and was inspired by the iconic costumes and personal style of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. You can find the newly updated yarn list for the original version of the project here. You can find more information about the CAL and yarn packs for this version by following this link.
A few years after the release of the original Frida blanket I asked Lucia if she would create a new colour way of the project and was really excited when she produced her version, which she named Primavera. Until recently, the kit for this blanket has only been available as an exclusive kit from the Janie Crow web site, but to coincide with the release of the CAL project as the featured make along project for February, we decided to give Primavera a wider release.
If you are looking for a kit or yarn pack for any of my projects we still have them in stock for the following designs:
Fields of Gold
Lily Pond Original and Cherry Blossom
You can find kits for my Magic Circles Scarf via Eden Cottage yarns here or by clicking on the images above.
We have also added the Bloomsbury Gardens project to our list of yarn packs this week. You can find them by following this link. Please note that yarn packs are sold separately to the Bohemian Blooms pattern book, which you can find here.
I will be on the Stylecraft stand at the Stitches Trade Show this coming weekend so I am really excited about finally being able to catch up with some lovely yarny folk! It is a really nice feeling to be preparing for a show, especially as I will also be at the Spring Stitch Festival on Thursday next week.
I will be hosting the Knitting Lounge on Thursday 3rd March at the show and Sarah and I will be on hand to showcase some of my designs and demonstrate various crochet techniques, including beading and how to work in a neat and consistent way. We will have a limited number of kits for my beaded decorations, which include Stylecraft's Organic Cotton DK in pastel shades and silver beads, as well as a 4mm hook. We will also have some fabulous Stylecraft goody bags to give away, so please come along and say hello if you are visiting the show. You can find more information and purchase tickets by following this link.
We will be launching our residential workshop in Bournemouth next week. The dates of the event are 23rd to 27th June and participants can choose whether to opt for a 3 or 4 night stay. More information about the workshop is live on the Inspired Minds website now, but it will not be bookable until next Tuesday. If you want to be amongst the first people to get the notification that it is live to book, you can sign up to the Inspired Minds newsletter by following this link. Please do not ask us to save you a space as places are allocated on a first come, first served basis.
As well as updating the website we have started to look at the way our social media platforms work and are hoping to be a bit more up to date with the technology behind them. Gemma does a fabulous job with the Facebook page, but we are hoping to get up to speed with Instagram and YouTube over the next couple of months too. We have a new member of the Janie Crow team, Emma, starting to take control of both of these over the next few weeks, so I hope that you will start to notice a difference on these platforms too.
In order to make things work in a more streamlined way we have updated my Instagram account to a business one and linked it to our webstore so that links are easier for you guys to follow. To do this Andy and Emma have had to create a store listing in the background workings of Facebook, which means that you may have seen some Facebook generated posts for items in our shop appearing in your feed. Unfortunately there seems to be little we can do about this, but we think that this is only happening because we are working on the background 'bits' and hope that once everything is up and running the automatically generated posts will stop. I hope you will bear with us during this process....
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be the featured guest on Yarn Lane TV. I had a lovely time chatting to show presenter Rebecca about some of my projects and also managed to squueze in a couple of technique demos. If you missed the show and want to take a look, you can find a video of the programme on the Yarn Lane TV YouTube channel by following this link.
My pal Stuart Hillard, of Sewing Bee fame, hosts quite a few of the Yarn Lane TV shows these days. Stuart is great fun to watch and always has lots of great tips, so I tend to try to tune into the show when he is on. In very exciting news this week, Stuart has just revealed his brand new sock yarn colourways that he has worked in collaboration with Stylecraft to produce. You can find more information about these gorgeous Head Over Heels yarns by following this link to Stuart's Instagram feed.
I am so thrilled that The William Morris Society have included an interview with me in their latest magazine. The Society were a huge support to me while I was working on The Fruit Garden Blanket Book and I feel so honoured that they felt my work was worthy of an article in their magazine. You can find the society's website here. While you are there, be sure to check out their shop as they have recently added some really fantastic Morris inspired items. I am currently coveting the Orange Tree tote bag, which I think would make a perfect storage bag for my Fruit Garden blanket!
A few weeks ago I made the most chocolatey chocolate cake ever for my friend's birthday. I followed this recipe by Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats. I chose it because it said it was an easy recipe to follow, which was true, but I did have a bit of a wobble about just how much coffee to add!
I have never created a cake from such a sloppy batter. I really thought I had made a huge mistake when it went in the oven, but it really was delicious. I split my batter into 3 x 20cm tins instead of cooking in one and reduced the cooking time. I also added a bit of sour cherry jam between the layers to take a bit of the sweetness off - kind of mad when I then added salted caramel fudge and tons more chocolate to the top - but it did work really nicely and I will DEFINITELY make it again despite the calories!
I didn't follow any of the Winter Olympics, but I did see quite a few people sharing images of the crochet bouquets that winners were presented during the medal ceremonies. In case you missed them, I have posted an image below and there is a link to a video showing the groups of ladies crocheting them here.
I have to admit it concerns me a little just how many plasters the ladies have on their fingers and how much crochet they may have been obliged to do in a short space of time, but it is interesting from a crochet perspective. Interesting too that China sited carbon emissions as the reason to produce crochet bouquets instead of real flowers when the country is by far the largest producer of CO2 in the world, but then I suppose every little helps?
Andy and I will be travelling to Birmingham on tomorrow so that we can drop my blankets and display items into the NEC ready for the trade show on Sunday. We will be spending the evening with Sarah and her husband Paul, which I am REALLY looking forward to as we have not all been together in 2 years! As I said already, I will be at the show on Sunday (and Monday), so that pretty much wraps up my weekend, but I am sure there will be some time to settle down with my yarn and hook for a spot of mindful crafting.
Hopefully I will get a bit of time for some reading too - I am reading a book called 'Why has no one told me this before?' by Dr Julie Smith on the recommendation of my friend Michele. The book is not totally relevant to me, but it does follow up on many of the 'small habits lead to big changes' themes of another book I recently enjoyed.
As I sit here writing this from my garden room, with the birds flying around outside and the sun shining on the emerging bulbs in the garden, it is hard to imagine the horror of what is happening in Ukraine. It is difficult to know if there is anything we can do, so I did a search and found this article, which has provided me with more information and has given me some ideas of how I can help. Perhaps you would like to take a look and decide what you can do too? On a day when the world seems madder and badder than usual I hope we can all find it within ourselves to be kind and think of others, while the powers that be work out what to do. I send you all lots of yarny love and hope you stay safe....
I have been working on a couple of cushion cover designs for Inside Crochet magazine. The covers are very pretty and have a floral theme, which includes some beading. It has been so nice to add beads to a design again as I do so love a bit of bling! You can find beading technique videos on my YouTube channel and free technique download documents on the web site. The cushions will appear in the magazine soon!
Working on a beaded design made me want to revisit my Beaded Christmas Decorations pattern, so I have grouped together some lovely 'springy' pastel shades of Stylecraft's Organic Cotton to make a new set. I am hoping to add in an egg shaped decoration in the hope that they will be ready for Easter. I will share some images when I have finished them.
We have been able to put together some more kits. Yay! We now have yarn packs available for the following designs:
We also still have kits in stock for the following designs: Frida's Flowers - Primavera, Frida's Flowers, Sunshine and Showers, Lily Pond and Lily Pond Cherry Blossom, Eastern Jewels and Fruit Garden Night & Dusk and Red House colourways.
The final pattern set for my Indigo Dreams crochet along will be published in the next copy of Inside Crochet magazine. It has been fabulous seeing your crochet blankets taking shape on social media. I am so pleased to hear how many of you have enjoyed the project.
Over the next few weeks we will be doing a bit of work on the Janie Crow website. It has needed a bit of attention for a long time, so I will be working with my fabulous graphic designer, Steph, to bring it up to speed and make it look lovely! I hope you will like the changes we have planned.
As I said in the introduction it has been really good to see some more events and plans on my forward radar - you can find more information about these a little lower down this email.
It has been really fabulous to see how many of you are planning to revisit my Frida's Flowers pattern. The blanket is featuring as the Stylecraft Make Along project for February and you can find more information about how to get involved here.
I have written a blog about the project, which includes some images of the blankets made in fabulous alternative colourways. You can find it by following this link. Images with thanks to Lita Johnathans.
One of my New Year's resolutions is to see if I can create a better base for my mental and physical health going forwards. I read a book called 'Atomic Habits', which is about creating small habits that build over time to create a big change.
In January I started walking daily and have really enjoyed getting out in the local countryside for a daily romp! The habit has slipped a little this week as my workload has grown a little, but I am still managing to get at least 10,000 steps a day - something I struggled to do previously.
This month I have been trying to be a little more aware of what I eat and drink. That isn't to say that I am on a diet - the only thing I am doing differently is writing down every single item that I eat or drink in a note book. This practice has already made me far more aware about how much I eat without really thinking about it and has made me snack less. So far, I have no idea if this practice has made any difference to my weight as another of my small habits is to weigh myself just once a month - but I already feel better.
I am definitely a convert to small habits rather than massive change and would love to hear if similar approaches have worked for you. If you want to sign up to James Clear's weekly newsletter you can do so by following this link.
Over the last few weeks we have had some great images sent in of projects out in the wild so I thought I would feature a few in this week's newsletter.
Rose emailed with an image of her Mystical Lanterns blanket which she gave to a friend as a gift. Isn't it lovely - I really like the way Rose has added another dimension to this blanket by blocking colours together.
The image above was sent to me by Jill 'in cold wet Adelaide'. She says: 'you called it Willow Blossom, I've christened my versions Field of Daisies'.
Jill Hill sent me the image above of her fabulous Imogen project made using shades of blue - Gorgeous isn't it!
I am often blown away by versions of Persian Tiles when they pop up on social media, but the version above, sent in by Marg McRae, made me gasp in delight when I opened the image. Marg says:
'Hi Janie, I am Marg McRae from Albury NSW Australian. My husband and I have been ex farmers for 30 years, I am his carer as he has a disability. I am writing to you to say I love all of your crocheted blanket patterns, also enjoy reading your newsletters.
In our 1st lockdown last year, I got my crocheting hooks out and did your Persian Tile rug pattern. I chose 4ply pure Australian merino wool. I wanted to share a photo of my blanket, I love it. It has been 30 so years since I have done any crocheting, didn’t want to put my hook down.
I do lots of quilting all by hand, which I find very relaxing also...Marg'
Needless to say, we really love getting emails like Marg's one and all adore seeing your images. You can share them on our Facebook page by following the link.
I will be appearing on Yarn Lane TV this coming Sunday (13th February) at 12 noon. I will be chatting to Rebecca about some of my projects and will be doing some demonstrations. I hope you will be able to tune in!
Next Tuesday evening there will be a talk about the work of May Morris on the William Morris Society website. I have a ticket and am really looking forward to it. You can find more information here.
I will be on the Stylecraft stand at The Stitches trade show on Sunday 27th & Monday 28th February.
Sarah and I will be on hand within the Knit & Crochet lounge at The Spring Stitch Festival on Thursday 3rd March. You can find more information about the show by following this link. We will have a few spring inspired kits for sale and will be demonstrating how to add beads to your crochet, so I hope you are able to drop by and see us.
There are still a few spaces on my Iceland Cruise with Stitchtopia, which runs for 11 days from the 4th May. You can find more information here.
I have been busy baking today, making a chocolate fudge cake for a friend's birthday. If it all goes to plan I will show you some images next time, however it is the cake I made for my Mum's 80th birthday a few weeks ago that I am featuring today.
The Sticky Ginger Lemon Drizzle cake was made using the recipe as a guide, but I split the batter into 3 cakes instead of 2 and added a tad more cream cheesy icing. I didn't make the lemon frosting but drizzled some fresh lemon juice over the cakes before I iced them. I used crystallised ginger to decorate it. It was super yummy!
We had a really lovely family day with Mum to celebrate her birthday - she says that the '80' balloons, that Summer and Chris got her, are the first balloons she has ever had. They have taken pride of place for the last few weeks!
Today marks the 20th anniversary of the BBC's children's channel CBeebies. Both my children were big fans of the channel when they were little and I have always loved the bedtime story segment, especially since famous people have started reading stories. As I am sure you are aware Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, will be reading a story to raise awareness of chidren's mental wellbeing on Sunday. You can find the Cbeebies YouTube channel here.
The weather has been really bright and sunny here today so I am hoping to squeeze in a few nice walks this weekend. Our local countryside is coming to life, with lots of daffodil bulbs and crocuses about to bloom. At home, we are on amaryllis watch as the bulb I planted in January is about to burst into glorious flower!
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend and that you have some lovely plans to look forward to. Sending yarny love....
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