Thank you for your incredible response to our appeal to raise funds for the charity UNHCR, who are doing their best to support refugees.
Throughout Ukraine's history sunflowers have been a symbol of peace and solidarity. The national flower is being adopted by protesters - some are carrying bouquets at rallies, others are displaying the flower emoji to show support on line. We will be donating the profit from the pattern for my sunflower blanket design Fields of Gold to UNHCR for the duration of March. I have no idea how much we have raised already as I have not had a chance to tally it all up, but I would really love it if we could manage to raise £1000. Please consider purchasing a pattern if you can - you can choose a paper copy or a download via Etsy or Ravelry. You can find more information here.
The charity Good Gifts, a sister charity to Knit For Peace, are raising funds for medical supplies for Ukraine. The emergency health packs are dispensed by health professionals in clinics set up at the borders, as refugees arrive from Ukraine.
The packs contain wound dressings, pain relief, antibiotics and medicines to treat chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. The medicines will be dispensed by health professionals free to patients at the point of provision. The contents of the packs are donated by pharmaceutical companies, but funds are desperately needed to transport them. Please consider making a donation by following this link.
I managed to catch covid and had a week or so of feeling a bit naff. This week I have been struggling to concentrate on anything for very long, maybe in part due to the infection, so I have been dipping into quite a few different projects so that I don't get too frustrated by my fuzzy brain. I have completed some more pastel coloured beaded decorations which I am planning to decorate the house with this weekend. We had these on display at the Stitch Festival recently and have a limited number of kits for the project left to sell.
The kits includes 6 balls of Organic Cotton DK in the spring shades, a bag of Debbie Abrahams beads, a 4mm crochet hook and the printed pattern, which also includes a beading masterclass. The price for the contents of the kit work out at almost £30, but we have priced it at £24.95. I have made 12 decorations so far and possibly have enough to make at least 8 more depending on the order of yarn use. You can find the kits by following this link, where you will also find the pattern if you want to use yarn from your stash.
I have also been testing out my Tidings Wrap pattern using Stylecraft's 'Charm' yarn. Sarah is making one too, so we hope to have the pattern for this project ready soon. As soon as we do I will let you know.
As I am sure you are aware the price of pretty much everything is set to increase over the next few months if it hasn't done so already. At Janie Crow we have tried to keep our prices as reasonable as possible and have swallowed quite a few of our increasing costs over the last few years, however we are at a point now where we can no longer put off a price increase on our paper patterns.
The cost of printing has almost doubled over the last few months and so we will be increasing the price of paper patterns as existing stocks sell through. The increase in price will be added to the next print run of all our brochure patterns, but for now our smaller 4 page folded leaflet style patterns will remain for sale at £3.95. Going forwards 8 and 12 page patterns will increase in price to £6.95 each and 16 page patterns will be priced at £8.95.
If you want to stock up on paper patterns before the price increase starts you can find a link to all our paper patterns here.
If you are looking for a project kit we now have Primavera yarn packs back in stock. The packs have a yarn substitution in place for the Organic Cotton Shade 'Bone', which is out of stock at Stylecraft. We did a couple of tests and replaced the shade with Ecru from the Naturals ReCReate range. I really love this yarn and think it is a great alternative to the cotton - it has a fabulously long length too, so you need fewer balls, which in turn means the kit is £5 cheaper than it was. You can find all our yarn packs and kits by following this link.
It has been amazing to see some completed Indigo Dreams projects popping up on social media. I have really enjoyed the CAL and hope that it has brought those of you who followed it some joy too. I have been working on a new colourway of the project which will be released in the autumn when the pattern reverts to me.
As the sun has been making its debut for 2022 in our house this week I have been noticing the odd spider's web and the fine layers of dust in places that it has gone un-noticed since the summer. Over the course of this week I have been starting a bit of a spring clean and this weekend I will take it a step further and put some of my spring-time decorations up.
If you follow Lucy at Attic 24 you will know that she rearranges her mantel piece at home to reflect the changing seasons and has a collection of lovely crochet wreaths that all have a seasonal theme too. Lucy has been working on a winter garland lately but I think it looks beautifully springy! You can find some lovely images and more information about her projects by following this link.
I found a lovely 'Hello Spring' cushion cover by Two Little Birds on Etsy. You can find the pattern here. There are also patterns for bunny and flower cushion covers on there.
While searching through Etsy I also found these ready made crochet tulips by La Fleur Creations. Aren't they fab! You can pick your colour and create your own bouquet!
If you fancy making some crochet flowers to brighten up your home and make it feel lovely and springy then you could use this pattern, which you can download via the Knit For Peace web site - obviously I would love it if you would also make a donation to the charity while you are there!
I have a few exciting events on the horizon that you might fancy joining me for. You can find information about an afternoon tea event and a couple of workshops that I am doing at Black Sheep Wools lower down this email, but I have a few other things I want to tell you about.
We are really looking forward to exhibiting at Wonderwool Wales next month. The show has not happened since 2019, so we are particularly excited about returning. You can find more information by following this link.
I will be tutoring two workshops for Arena Travel as part of their Stitchtopia programme. I will be accompanying a group on a cruise to Iceland in May and then will be going on a tour of Finland in June. You can find more information about the trips by following this link.
I have been invited back to Yarn Lane TV on May 2nd. I hope you can join me.
I will be at Black Sheep Wools for a couple of days in early April. I will be hosting a Fruit Garden Blanket Tea Party at the store on Wednesday 6th of April. The event is a chance for you to come along and hear about my design process for the project, how we launched it as a CAL over the pandemic and how I set about creating the dedicated book last year. I will be bringing along lots of my own projects and hope that participants will also get involved in a show and tell and talk about their own Fruit Garden projects. You can find more details about the event by following this link.
The following day (7th April) I will be tutoring 2 beaded flower mini workshops where I will demonstrate how to make a lovely beaded flower using a motif from the Fruit Garden project as inspiration. You can find more information about this event here. I hope you might fancy joining me!
Do you fancy a relaxed weekend away in the Hertfordshire countryside with specialist knitting and crochet teachers, gorgeous yarn kits and likeminded people? If so, the WoollyAway could be the answer.
A weekend of woolly fun starts in just over a week on the 26th of March and the event includes 2 days of crafting and relaxation in beautiful surroundings. With workshops being led by Natalie Warner, Andrew Kite, Deb Cunningham from Crates of Wool and Diana Bensted from The Crochet Chain.
If you book a place you will get to stay in the beautiful Manor of Groves hotel, choose between a knitting or crochet class each morning and immerse yourself in your crafts for two blissful days. Meals are provided and you get access to the hotel's leisure centre if you feel the need for a change.
You will also receive an amazing tool kit with some exclusive luxury yarns and patterns for all 4 workshops with a value of approximately £95. You can find more information about the event by following this link and you can book a spot here. I have to admit I am VERY tempted!
I was banished from the house for a week while I was infectious with covid recently. Thankfully my symptoms didn't include loss of taste and smell, which I was really pleased about as Andy was a total star catering for my every need. Breakfast, Lunch and Tea were delivered to the door of our garden room without fail for a week and I was treated to some really lovely home cooking.
s a thank you to Andy for his amazing attentiveness I gave him a copy of the first ever book from Dishoom called From Bombay with Love. It really is a gorgeous book, full of really tasty recipes. This is what the authors say about the book:
'Dishoom: From Bombay with Love, is an eccentric and charming cookery book, with over 100 recipes for the Bombay comfort food and drink that we love. Through the course of the pages, you will be taken on a day-long tour of south Bombay. Starting at breakfast, through to lunch, dinner and nightcaps, we share recipes for beloved dishes such as Masala Chai, the Bacon Naan Roll and House Black Daal.'
The book is a really lovely read, with lots of stories, anecdotes and information about the origins of some of the recipes therein. The images are so incredibly enticing. I visited Mumbai in 2015, but this book is really making me want to go back again!
We already love this recipe for Kejriwal - fried eggs on chilli cheese toast - which we discovered a couple of years ago. It used to be our favourite Dishoom recipe, but now that Andy has the book he is working his way through some more - all of which have been delicious so far!
When I looked back at last month's newsletter I saw that I was waiting for my Amaryllis to flower, so I thought I would show you what it looked like a few weeks ago. It really was stunning and flowered for about 3 weeks. I have only just moved it off the kitchen table and cut it back. This weekend I am planning to replace it with some twigs and cuttings form the garden which I will decorate with my spring inspired beaded decorations.
I am hoping to get into town next week to do a bit of design research. It is ages since I have been to the V&A or an exhibition or even to some of the larger stores like Anthropologie, which I always find so inspiring. A bit of window shopping sounds like a great plan!
I recently came across this amazing cardigan by The Peruvian Connection, which reminded me a little of my Frida design - isn't it amazing? It has a price point far beyond my pocket, but the work involved in it is really intricate and I love the style. You can find a few more gorgeous crochet garments on the site such as the Saltillo and Millefiore tops below.
I have always designed items for the home as I am not sure my skills are up to creating garments, but seeing these on the Peruvian Connection web site have me inspired. I would love to know how you guys feel about crochet garments - should I stick to blankets and cushions?
We have had a real mixture of weather this week - we had torrential dirty rain on Wednesday, which left the windows and cars covered in a fine red dust thanks to a Saharan dust cloud that travelled up to us through Spain over the last week or so. A bit frustrating that we now need to give everything a good clean, but the sun is shining and we are set for a lovely weekend weather wise so we can't stay cross for long!
I actually made it back to the gym this week for the first time in a while, so after months of ignoring my membership I am hoping to make it back there over the next few days and will also get a bit of a workout by cutting the grass - my life is so rock and roll!
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend whatever you have planned and I look forward to popping back into your inbox in a couple of weeks time.
At Janie Crow we are supporting the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency). We have a link to donate via our homepage, or you can follow this one if you want to make a contribution.
Over the last couple of weeks we have also made donations to The Disasters Emergency Committee and to The British Red Cross.
Many other charities are doing vital work, however I have noticed that many of them have stopped asking for items such as blankets and warm clothes and are now focusing on monetary contributions as this will have the fastest impact on the people of Ukraine. I know that it can be really hard to find some spare money to give away, especially as we are constantly being told about how the cost of living is set to soar, but even the smallest contributions make a difference.
Sarah mentioned to me that a friend of hers is making some crochet sunflowers which she plans to put on a wreath to display in her front window. Throughout Ukraine's history sunflowers have been a symbol of peace and solidarity, so creating something which involves them is a great idea. The national flower is being adopted by protesters - some are carrying bouquets at rallies, others are displaying the floral emoji to show support online.
For the month of March we will be donating the profit on the download and paper patterns for my sunflower design, Fields of Gold to the UNHCR as well as continuing to make our own donations. You can find more information about the design by following this link.
Looking at my sunflower design has got me thinking that a single flower motif would make an amazing mandala, which I could hang on the front door. I had planned to make a new pompom wreath, but maybe this is a nugget of a new idea....
If you don't fancy making something as big as my sunflower, perhaps you could make some small brooches and sell them to friends and give the proceeds to charity, or maybe you could make a wreath of them to display to your neighbours like Sarah's friend Linda. You can find some patterns and ideas by following this link to Etsy. Some of the sellers have patterns or readymade items that include a charitable donation, so do take a look.
The team at Love Crafts have suggested making crochet or knitted hearts using the blue and yellow shades of the Ukrainian flag. You can find a free pattern by Annemarie Bentham by following this link or by clicking on the image above.
On both Etsy and Ravelry you can sort designers based on the country they are in. Ravelry have provided a link for Ukrainian Designers here.
Etsy have created a Ukraine landing page, which you can find here and they have also waived all balances for Ukrainian based sellers. Etsy CEO Josh Silverman wrote in a recent blog post:
'Being part of a community means that when one part is suffering, the rest of us must step up and offer our support'.
According to Etsy, it is waiving a total of around $4million in fees, which includes listing, advertising and transaction fees. If you want to directly contribute to citizens of Ukraine you can do so as follows:
Go to the Etsy home page.
Click the 'All Filters' button and scroll down to 'Country'.
Click 'Custom' and type Ukraine into the box.
The results you get will include all digital files created and sold by Ukraine based Etsy sellers. Digital download file transactions allow Ukrainians to earn money without having to produce anything new or process physical orders during this unbelievably tough time.
When I did my search I found a lot of downloadable cards and postcards, like the one shown in the image above which I chose, but there are also lots of knit and crochet patterns on there too.
We are all aware of the sanctions being imposed on Russian businesses and individuals and so I was interested to read how many UK based supermarkets have made the decision to remove Russian produce items from their stores. It seems that this mostly means vodka, which is predominantly made in Russia, but there are a few other items that we could avoid too, such as Russian grown sunflower seeds and charcoal. If you shop at a certain store then you might want to check their policy. It made me smile to read that Sainsburys have also changed the name of their Chicken Kievs to Kyivs - the preferred way of spelling the Ukrainian name.
Many yarn companies, shops and designers have come out in support of Ukraine and lots of them are offering to donate profits from sales to the charities involved in helping. Below I have highlighted a couple that Sarah and I have found over the last few days:
Love Crafts are donating 100% of profits from Debbie Bliss pattern sales on a selection of reduced designs.
Quinton & Chadwick are holding a raffle for the beautiful sweater shown above. Tickets are £10 each - The retail price of the sweater is £190!
Laine Magazine have started a fundraising page 'Knitters for Ukraine', which you can find here.
Knit and crochet designers Arne & Carlos are supporting Save The children and have a dedicated pattern sale.
If you are shopping around for anything else and want to be sure you are doing the right thing then you might want to check out the following article, which I found 'These Brands Let you Support Ukraine Just by Shopping.
You can write to your MP and ask them to put pressure on the Government to provide more support for the people of Ukraine. If you want to find your local MP's details follow this link and you can find a template letter here via the Ukrainian London website.
There is a petition you can sign asking the Government to provide more help to refugees - you can find it here.
When posting on social media use the hashtag #StandWithUkraine
There are lots of events planned for the weekend, both nation and world-wide. If you are interested in joining a march, then check out the following sites for some guidance:
Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain
Ukraine Solidarity Campaign
Stop The War Coalition
Stand with Ukraine
As we head into the weekend I am praying that we start to see some calmer times. Hopefully by the time I am sending my usual style newsletter next Friday we may have seen a de-escalation of aggression, but in the mean time I hope that your knit and crochet is bringing you some peace and that you can find solace in knowing that you have helped in some way.
I hope you all understand the reason for my break away from a usual Janie Crow news heavy email and that you will understand that my motive is humanitarian and not political.
Within the 'Thought for Today' feature on the radio this morning the speaker talked about the importance of women vocalising their success and it got me thinking about how we measure the achievements of ourselves and other women. I follow inspirational speaker Kubi Springer on Instagram and have read one of her books about building a strong brand. I like the way she writes and enjoy listening to her motivational speeches, but it always bugs me that her benchmark for whether or not you are successful (in business anyway) is what car you drive and how big your house is.
It seems to me that when evaluating the worth of anyone these days (not just women) society has a tendency to base calculations on the amount of money we earn, the area we live in and how many holidays we can afford rather than the actual level of success we have achieved.
On International Women's Day, we often hear about women who are championed because they have broken the mould and made a pathway into male dominated areas. We see praise for female engineers and mathematicians for example. Women who work in areas traditionally dominated by men. I am not saying this is a bad thing - my daughter is a Design Engineer and I am so incredibly proud of her, especially given all the discrimination and misogeny she has come across over the course of her working life, but shouldn't we be championing ALL women regardless of their chosen careers?
For me, converting another crocheter to the benefits of our craft is a win. Hearing how crochet has changed someone's life is another win. Seeing how women support each other in the craft world - win win win! None of these achievements has a monetary value and no price tags can be placed on the joy people experience making projects either. To me, the worth of a hand made gift is immeasurable - the ultimate love token!
Over the course of my career I have met some of the most amazing women, many of whom have totally changed my life. My little Janie Crow team is predominantly made up of incredible, strong, loving and funny trail blazing women who have supported me in so many ways, both on a work and personal level, but I have also found that in broader society women can be their own worst critics, especially on social media, where we are often reminded to be kind and thoughtful.
We lost Andy's amazing sister to bowel cancer recently. At her funeral everyone spoke of her amazing personality. Of the love she had for her family and her incredible courage in the face of her illness. Julie worked as a teaching assistant and always put the joy of children to the forefront of her life. She was a loving wife, a doting mother to three incredible children and an amazing daughter, sister and friend. Her worth is not measured on the basis of the career she chose, what car she drove or how much money she made in her lifetime, it is based on her incredible gift for loving and looking after people - her own in-built magnificence. Our lives will never be the same without her.
In 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' Steve Covey talks about how we should all live our lives with 'the end in mind'. In other words, by continuously thinking about how we want to be remembered and on what we want our achievements to be based. For International Women's Day 2022, in a world where social media tells us we should 'have, have, have', I am reminding myself today of the importance of championing and supporting ALL women regardless of how traditional society measures worth.
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Welcome to my blog. Here you will find my email newsletter archive alongside any other general musings or information about events or new pattern releases that I wish to share with you!