The main hexagonal motif used in this project was originally designed to be part of my Frida’s Flowers blanket crochet along project which was released 5 years ago, however I felt it wasn’t totally right for the design, so I made an alternative piece instead. Despite its omission from the project, I love the motif and so I named it ‘Diego’s Flowers’ after Frida Kahlo’s husband Diego Rivera. The pattern was originally published on my old blog as part of the Stylecraft Blogtour in 2017, but I always intended to look at the design again in order to make some bigger projects at some point.
Fast forward a few years and here we are with the updated pattern, which now also includes the instructions for a matching half motif. The colours for this project were inspired by the décor of Frida & Diego’s fabulous kitchen within their home in Mexico City ‘The Blue House’, which is now a museum. The kitchen surfaces feature bright yellow and blue ceramic tiles and the painted table and chairs that sit at the centre of the room have green and red hand painted details. The large terracotta bowls and cooking pots that are placed around the room are decorated with flashes of orange and pink - all colours that feature in the palette I have chosen for this project.
I adore the fun ‘fiesta’ feeling of this blanket and am really pleased with the outcome of it, but I also love seeing how motifs can be used to make alternative projects, so I asked ace crocheters Marina Kelly, Gemma Biggs and Sue Macdonald if they would like to come up with a couple of ideas for how to use the motifs in another project. Within this pattern we have included some images of the fabulous cushion project made by Marina and the vibrant handy bag project made by Gemma as well as the fun, stash busting mandala that Sue created. I love seeing my designs ‘out in the wild’ and I think the way Marina, Gemma and Sue have interpreted the pattern is fantastic. Hopefully you will be inspired too!
The updated pattern includes written instructions and charts and it is available in UK or US terms. The pattern has a few tweaks to the construction of the hexagonal motif, which originally featured as part of the Stylecraft Blogtour and also includes instructions for a half motif so that you can achieve a straight sided project.
Please note that the pattern includes instructions for making the motifs and shows the layout for the blanket. The bag and mandala projects were made using the motif to show how you could use it to make alternative projects. The specific patterns for the bag and the mandala are not included in the pattern, but Marina has put together a PDF document showing how she made her beautiful ‘Aladdin’ cushion cover using the motifs. You can find Marina's free guidance document by following this link.
The pattern for the Blue House is available as a 12 page paper brochure on the Janie Crow web site or as a download via Ravelry and Etsy. You can find links and more information here.
STOP PRESS! We will add a small surprise free gift in with the first 20 copies of the paper pattern sold via the Janie Crow web site. We will pop these in the post regardless of where you are in the world, so if you are quick you might manage to nab a cheeky little free gift as well as a great crochet pattern!
I love seeing my designs made in alternative shades. The blanket versions shown above have been made by Lex Priestly (above top right) and Chris Bourne (above bottom right).
You can find my Pinterest Board, which shows more images from Frida's house and some of Diego's amazing art work, which inspired the colours of The Blue House blanket by following this link or by clicking on the image above.
I found the images of the motif made in lots of lovely colour variations on Instagram - click on the images above to be taken to the feeds.
I have been doing a lot of pattern checking and writing over the last month and not so much crochet. I have not had a chance to update my blog either, other than to write a post about copyright, which you can find by following this link.
A few weeks ago we had a bit of a run of copyright infringements and I had a lot of you contact me about things you had found online that appeared to be copies of my work. So many of you are amazing at calling out people who think it is ok to share work that doesn’t belong to them and I am so grateful that you are willing to fight my corner. We had a few of you asking for clarification on copyright so I put a short blog post together that I hope helps to explain why my patterns have copyright statements.
Stylecraft have been recording a series of conversations with their Blogstars. These are available to view on their Youtube channel. A few weeks ago Catherine Bligh of Catherine's Crochet Corner and I caught up for a lovely chat about choosing colours for crochet projects. You can find the video of our Zoom conversation by following this link.
Now that the CAL project for Inside Crochet magazine is pretty much done it is nice to start thinking about some new design work. I have been invited to design an advent project for a big US yarn retailer, which is really exciting, although it does seem odd to be thinking of Christmas projects when we have not yet celebrated Easter! As soon as I have more news on this I will let you know.
The Craft Business Awards has been an active part of celebrating the key brands in the craft industry for 17 years. This year they are back and are bigger and brighter than ever before. The awards reach every area of the craft sector and are split into Reader-Voted and Elite judged categories. I was lucky enough to be voted Craft Influencer of the Year in the 2020 awards and would love it if Janie Crow could be nominated within the Best Small Business category this time.
The nomination stage of the Craft Business Awards has officially opened so if you are a fellow business owner (you have to enter a business name on the nomination form) and would like to nominate Janie Crow, or another business, for some of the awards you can find the link here.
As we are set to slowly emerge into the real world over the next few months now might be a good time to give your make up collection a spring clean ready for all those exciting social situations that we will hopefully be able to start planning.
I am not a huge fan of make up and have been wearing even less of it over the last year, but I have to admit that when I do make the effort to pop on a bit of mascara or a smudge of lipstick it definitely lifts my mood.
Over the last six months or so I have slowly been bringing my collection of creams and potions up to scratch, slowly replacing my used up cosmetics with better, greener alternatives. If you are interested in doing the same then you might want to take a look at the range of ethical products we have in stock on Janie Crow Lifestyle - I am a huge fan of the Scence deodorant, tinted lip balms and our range of Le Papier lipsticks in particular.
I thought you might also be interested in this piece about facial acupressure massage I found via City Beauty.
Facial acupressure massage is said to help release tension in your face. According to a study published in the International Journal of Dermatology, facial massage may help delay the appearance of wrinkles, promote a tighter, suppler look and leave your skin feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
Here’s how you do it:
After washing your hands, apply a little bit of olive oil or facial oil to your fingertips.
Use your middle finger to apply soft pressure to the space between your eyebrows. Focus on your breathing and relax.
Use your index fingers to massage the area a couple of centimetres above your eyebrows, moving from the inner corners to the outer corners of your eyes.
Move your fingers past the corners of your eyes, closer to your temples and apply pressure in small circles. Continue to breathe deeply.
Use your ring fingers to massage the area above your cheekbones, just below your eyes in anti-clockwise circles.
This is a great little technique that takes just 5 minutes. It costs next to nothing and it’s a great way to calm yourself and perhaps break a stressful cycle or train of thought.
Why not give it a try this weekend?
I am really looking forward to tutoring workshops again next year and have already popped quite a few dates in my diary for 2022. I will be heading off to a couple of exciting destinations and am particularly pleased to have the opportunity to return to teach in France. Places on my workshop in the Charente-Maritime region with 'Knitting Holidays in France' are now sold out, but you can find the details of other workshops and retreats on offer by following this link.
There are still a few spaces left on the weekend knit and yoga retreat I am tutoring for Stitchtopia in November. In the lead up to Christmas I am sure this trip will provide a great opportunity to slow down for a few days and award yourself a bit of TLC. I would love it if you are able to join me. Just to be clear, I am teaching the knitting, not the yoga!
The 'join as you go' method of putting crochet motifs together is easier than it looks and makes the finishing process of a big project far quicker than if you have to crochet pieces together once they are complete.
The 'join as you go' method is used in my Fields of Gold blanket design. You can find a downloadable document that explains how to work this great technique here. It also includes a link to a Youtube video by Bella Coco that shows how to work a flat braid join.
Gemma tried this recipe that uses Swiss chard and chickpeas on the Riverford web site and said it was yummy! If I had to choose which food I would take to desert island and therefore eat for the rest of my life it would be chickpeas and so, as a huge lover of greens too, I am definitely going to give it a go.
The last 2 batches of Janie Crow hook wraps and pouches sold out super quick, so I am pleased that we now have some more hook wraps in stock!
The pouches come in a choice of fabric shades and the small pouches feature crochet flowers (made by me) in a few shades. The large pouches feature the outline of the Janie Crow birds in machine stitching and hand stitched detail. These also have an additional inside pocket. Each pouch is lined, has a smooth zip closure and includes a metal ring on the outside seam.
The hook wraps feature intricately hand stitched embroidery as well as some machine stitching and are fastened with a ribbon tie. The wraps will hold up to 15 hooks and we have also included some larger pockets for hooks with big handles or to hold some scissors or other accessories. The wraps come in a protective cotton bag within a sturdy cardboard box, so make the ideal gift for any serious crafter. Hook wraps are made from woven wool fabric and are lined with cotton fabric with a vibrant floral design.
Because of the handmade nature of the pouches and hook wraps we do not have a large stock holding. In the new batch of hook wraps we already have just thirteen left. Three of these include a new dark pink/purple crochet flower. If you want to nab one, you might need to be quick!
So, as is the norm these days, we have a pretty standard weekend plan that will include some time in the garden and a spot of baking.
Last summer Andy and I focussed our weekend efforts on sorting out the front garden so that we could use it as a driveway. For years we have left it as a rather neglected lawn so we decided to add a raised bed and dig up the grass to make room to park. We worked on the garden over the course of a few months and moved somewhere in the region of 14 tons of top soil and hardcore between us. It was hard work but it was a great way of keeping fit and we got to meet lots of our neighbours!
This year we have plans for the back garden. Andy has already built a retaining wall for one of the flower beds where the original wooden railway sleepers have rotted away. We have extended the bed to include a small vegetable patch too, which is exciting. We are also hoping to build a new shed that will link through from the summer house, along with a gazebo type structure so that there is a little bit of shelter if we want to sit outside over the summer. We are planning to do all the work ourselves again as we do not have the budget to pay anyone else to do it, but having this time to spend on the garden still feels like a real luxury, so I am really looking forward to it.
This week we had a day of remembrance in the UK to mark the first anniversary of lockdown. It was a chance to reflect on the past 12 months and to think about all those who have died or who have had their lives altered because of COVID. It does seem amazing to think that we went into this thinking it would be a short change to our everyday lives, but here we are a year on still dealing with the effects of the pandemic.
‘It's hard when you miss people, but you know if you miss them, that means you were lucky. It means you had someone special in your life. Someone worth missing .’ Nikki Schiefelbein.
From Monday we are hopefully going to be able to meet up to 6 people (from 2 households) outside, so we are hoping for better weather next week. The forecast is looking really nice for the early part of the week here in North London, but a bit miserable by the time the Easter weekend comes around, which is kind of typical! The cafe's and restaurants on our local High Street are gearing up to open with tables and chairs out on the pavements. There was a hive of activity up there this morning when we did our grocery shop and it was really good to see things changing a little and businesses getting ready to open again.
So, as we head into the weekend, and hopefully into a slightly less restricted way of life next week, I hope you are all staying safe and well. My friend Teresa sent me this link to a video of Stephen West demonstrating the technique of Navajo plying. It is amazing! Take a look here - I promise it will make your Friday even better than it is already!
Sending yarn love....
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