Quick Catch Up
Once again we have had a pretty bonkers couple of weeks here at Janie Crow and so I have a few things to tell you about this week. I have to admit I am really looking forward to a little bit of calm and serenity over the next couple of days as it has been so busy with us, but I always think that being busy is better than not being busy enough, so we are heading into our weekend full of positivity - despite the awful spring weather we are having!
I hope that wherever you are and whatever plans you have for the next few days, that you have a few minutes to spare to catch up with all things Janie Crow
We had a great time hosting the Knitting & Crochet Lounge at The Stitch Festival last Thursday and Friday, with lots of visitors joining us in the lounge to take the weight of their feet and make a small crochet flower which they could then attach to a Janie Crow keyring to take away with them as a memento. If you came to say hi to us at the Festival, it was lovely to meet you!
The stand was really busy for the whole time we were at the show and it was wonderful to meet so many existing crocheters and to hear about how crochet has helped so many of you. It was incredibly positive to talk to crafters who had not considered learning to crochet before seeing the Janie Crow collection and we were so pleased to be able to head people up towards the wonderful Katie Jones who was busy teaching people to crochet on her fabulously colourful and inspirational stand.
When we were packing up the stand we found that someone had left behind a lovely pair of hand knitted mitts. If this was you, please drop us an email so that we can return them to you.
After a great time at the Stitch Festival we travelled to Cheshire to host a 4 day workshop at Nunsmere Hall. We had a great time with a group of 40 knitters and crocheters who worked through a small beaded pouch project, either in knit designed by Debbie Abrahams, or crochet designed by myself.
Whilst in Cheshire we also managed to squeeze in a trip to visit Black Sheep Wools where we received a very warm reception from Sara and her lovely team.
For today only (31st March) Mary Maxim are offering a 31% discount on any item in their store. The offer includes the best selling Sandalwood Persian Tiles kit and all the other Janie Crow kits too. Click on the image below for a link to the Mary Maxim website and use the code ONEITEM31 at checkout.
The fourth pattern part of the Spirit of Flora CAL project, Tudor Rose was released in issue 156 of Inside Crochet Magazine on the 16th of this month. The Tudor Rose, which takes its name from the royal House of Tudor is the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England. The stylised rose was adopted by the Arts and Crafts Movement as a symbol of peace and unity. William De Morgan liked to use the flower within his tile designs, often depicting them in larger and smaller scale with outer and inner petals around a central circle.
The complete version in the image above is a little more random than the one already shown in the magazine and it has a fancier edging that features a flower motif inspired by William De Morgan's more 'Arabesque' style tile designs. You can see by the image that I have also made a matching cushion using a motif that will feature in the magazine in the late summer/early autumn. You can find a little video from the shoot on my Instagram feed by following this link.
We now have project bags, pencil cases, pouches and greetings cards from the Emma Ball range in stock. You can find the Janie Crow and Emma Ball collection by following this link. Velvet cushions and tote bags are on their way next week so do keep an eye out for those.
You can check out our YouTube video where Emma and I talk about the collection here and I have also posted our live chat on our Instagram Feed.
If you're looking for a tasty lunch or snack recipe, these Thai Red Vegetable Fritters are really tasty.
You can find the recipe on the Riverford website by clicking on the image above.
We enjoyed reading this story about Jorden, a young man in Melbourne, Australia who, with the help of his teacher, set up a Craft Club at his school after discovering crochet during lockdown.
(Photo ABC Takeover Melbourne)
If you are a knitter who likes the idea of a colourful challenge then you might be interested to know that my good friend Debbie Abrahams has now launched her Mystery Cushion Club.
In June 2022 Debbie's dear friend and best friend to her husband Steve, Kyle Ringland, took his own life after suffering from severe depression. On the outside Kyle was a fun-loving, happy guy who was the life and soul of the party, always with a story to tell and a joke up his sleeve. However, on the inside things couldn’t have been more different.
Kyle’s last wish was that any money raised in his memory be donated to the charity Mind. Mind gives help and support to people with mental health issues which have risen steeply in the UK over the past few years, and consequently they are in desperate need of funds to enable them to continue all their valuable work. One in four people suffer with mental health problems, however, like Kyle, most of them don’t get the help they need. Mind fight for people who have mental health issues to raise awareness and build the support network they need in everyday life.
Debbie is supporting this charity and fulfilling Kyle’s wish by donating £5 out of the profit of every Mystery Cushion membership to Mind. If you decide to join Debbie's fabulous club this year, with your contribution Debbie and Steve hope they can help make a difference and give people who suffer with mental health issues the opportunity to get the lifesaving help and advice that Kyle never got. You can find more information about Debbie's Cushion Club by following this link.
NEW! We launched our first catalogue in 2020 and have updated it this year to include our up to date range of crochet and knit projects. Click on the image above to be taken to the download catalogue. Print copies are coming soon!
I had a fabulous time last Saturday afternoon being interviewed as part of the latest Rowan Connect event. It was really nice to chat about my knit and crochet related travels and the background of some of my designs, so thank you to all those of you who took the time out of their weekend to virtually join me.
The interview was followed on Saturday evening by the engagement party of our beautiful niece and her partner Charlie and then on Sunday we drove to Cheshire to set up our residential workshop event, which we drove back from yesterday. It has been a busy, busy week and as a result I am really looking forward to a much quieter couple of days this weekend. I have a little work to do as I have a deadline next Friday, so I will be heading up here to my garden studio to work on a new project for a few hours on Saturday, but I am also planning some family time and some cooking - two of my favourite things!
I hope that your weekend is set to be a good one too!
We will be at the Stitch Festival next week, which is taking place at the Business Design Centre here in North London. The festival takes place over four days from Thursday next week through to Sunday. We will be there on Thursday and Friday as we are sponsoring the Knitting and Crochet Lounge.
We will have patterns and some items from the Emma Ball collaborative collection for sale over the 2 days we are there and Sarah, Gemma and I will be there to guide crocheters through a little crochet flower design that I've called Spring Blossom. If you're coming to the show I hope you will be able to drop by to stand G36 to make a flower that you can add to a Janie Crow wooden key ring. The project is free of charge if you complete a flower on the day and it would be really lovely to see some of you on the stand. If you want to get a reduced price on your ticket for the show you can use the code JCROW23 at checkout.
This week has seen the release of another motif for the Spirit of Flora CAL and you can find more information about that a little lower down. I have been putting the fishing touches to some aspects of the design this week and have now decided on all the extra projects that will accompany the blanket layouts that we have shown you already. With the design side of the project almost over for me I have started work on a couple of new and exciting projects - one of which is a crochet techniques book and the other which will be a new CAL for Stylecraft that we are aiming to reveal to you in the late autumn.
With a residential workshop on the horizon and a show next week, it has felt like I have bitten off a little more than I can chew a couple of times this week, but now that I have managed to make a bit of an inroad into both the new projects I am feeling a little calmer about my workload and have started to relax into them and enjoy the process.
As one of the patrons of the UK Knitting and Crochet Guild I am passionate about the promotion of yarn crafts in this country and am very keen that as many of you as possible understand the value of the incredible historic collection of knit and crochet related artefacts that the guild own.
The Guild have a collection open day this coming Tuesday the 21st March and a couple more over the next few months. The collection is housed in Britannia Mill, Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire and their open days are free to attend. You can find more information by following this link.
If any of you did happen to miss the Justin Bieber crochet blanket story this week, take a look at my Instagram feed for more info and images.
It's been really great this week to see your reaction to the new design for the Spirit of Flora CAL which is being published in Inside Crochet magazine. The motif this month is called Tudor Rose, which takes its name from the royal House of Tudor and is the traditional floral heraldic emblem of England. The stylised rose was adopted by the Arts and Crafts Movement as a symbol of peace and unity.
William De Morgan liked to use the flower within his tile designs, often depicting them in larger and smaller scale with outer and inner petals around a central circle. There's a series of tiles that are blue Tudor roses on a cream background. There are also some tiles with red roses with leaves and thorny stems on a white background. This is the first piece that I designed for the Spirit of Flora crochet along and I really enjoyed making a flower that had layers of petals and leaves. I think it would be really lovely worked in lots of different colourways and hope that those of you joining in the CAL are already enjoying working through the pattern.
We have seen some really lovely versions of the CAL cropping up on social media and over in the dedicated Facebook Group, which now has almost more than 5500 members. You can find it by following this link.
We finally have Mystical Lanterns mugs in stock! We had no idea how many to order and so might have got our estimation way off, so if the stock sells out quickly please be assured we will get some more! You can find them here.
Our daughter, Summer, recently worked her way through the Fruit Garden 1000 piece jigsaw and took a time lapse video of her progress. You can find it on Instagram here.
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.
Due to cancellations there are now 2 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 2 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.
I started collaborating with Mary Maxim in the US and Canada a few years ago. Working alongside them means that I can enable my designs to reach an audience that would otherwise find the postage costs of my kits prohibitive and has also meant that I get to play with some lovely yarns and experiment with new versions of existing designs.
The first design they stocked a yarn kit for were the original and light blue versions of Persian Tiles and a few months down the line I created the Sandalwood colourway, which has proved very popular.
Recently the team at Mary Maxim have created some more versions of the Persian Tiles pattern, which they have advertised under the name of Rose Garden. There are now 4 colour ways to choose from and you can find them here.
We had a really nice time at the Yorkshire Yarn Festival a few weeks ago. We had a big stand in the Great Hall upstairs at the pretty venue and were so pleased to have so many people pop along to say hello!
On the Friday evening I attended a Q&A session by knitwear designer Rachel of Unwind Knitwear who I urge you to take a look at as her work is just so lovely. On Saturday evening it was my turn to take the stand to talk about my background and my crochet work. It was so kind of organiser Sophie to allow me to talk at people for half an hour and especially great to hear how many people have come over to the 'dark side' as a result of seeing my designs.
The next festival will be held in November so if you fancy going, check out the website for more information. I think it will be a fabulous venue and show in the lead up to Christmas - perfect for yarny gift finding!
We had planned to introduce you to the lovely Gemma over on Instagram this week, but with the Justin Bieber blanket mayhem we have moved the post to next week.
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!
This month marks 3 years since Andy and I became vegetarian - a decision we have never regretted and so I am really pleased that March is officially Veggie Month here in the UK.
We cut out meat partly because we were in lockdown with our son, Charlie who was already vegetarian, but also because we were becoming more and more concerned about the global meat trade.
Whatever your opinion on the way meat is farmed and processed, it is now recognised that eating less meat is good for you and the environment so I hope you have enjoyed seeing the vegetarian recipes we have been sharing within the newsletters over the last few years. You can find them all featured over on the blog.
I asked Andy which is his favourite recipe find of the last couple of years and he said it was Dishoom's Gunpowder potatoes. I agree! They are truly delicious and so easy to make that they have become a regular item in the Crowfoot kitchen. You can find the recipe here.
You may have seen the current trend for fashion houses to promote the idea of visible mending and mending in general. The fashion company TOAST have been running lots of workshops along this theme. I attended one of them that was about mending knitwear, which was really interesting and they've also had some events surrounding visible mending and sewing techniques. TOAST now have a range of reinvented clothes that they have called Renewed - you can find it by following this link.
Zara have also jumped on the bandwagon of mending with their new range called Pre-Owned. It's something that of course our grandparents did without even thinking about it, but hopefully more and more of us are going to start to thinking about mending our clothes before passing them along the line to others.
We have had a myriad of weather here in North London over the last couple of weeks with a sprinkling of snow last Tuesday followed by lots of rain and wind, but the bright patches are starting to appear and I have noticed it is much lighter in my garden studio through to the early evening. I am really excited by the prospect of the official start of spring here in the UK on Monday.
We have a busy weekend ahead as it is Charlie's birthday on Monday too, so I am panning a bit of cake making (Lemon Drizzle is his favourite) and we have family coming for lunch on Sunday. I would love to know what you have planned for the weekend and especially what you currently have on your hook. Don't forget to tag us into any images of your projects that you share on social media.
Sending virtual yarny hugs to you all
Quick Catch Up
It has been a busy couple of weeks here at Janie Crow and this weekend finds us at The Yorkshire Yarn Festival where we will be exhibiting our wares for the weekend. We are so excited to be out and in show mode again.
Whilst the weather has been bright but still chilly here in North London I have been trying to get out and about a bit for some local walks. It has been good to finally see the daffodils and crocuses making an appearance and bringing some spring time cheer. The hyacinths on the window sill in my kitchen and my incredibly prolific amaryllis (which currently has 6 flowers in bloom) have definitely kept my spirits up alongside a few bunches of daffodils!
Flowers are such a healing power don't you think? Maybe that's why they always end up making an appearance in my designs, even when I am trying not to create them in crochet!
I have been putting the finishing touches to some of the motifs and projects that will be part of the Spirit of Flora CAL and, as we head into March, we are looking forward to some new projects that will be out in the wild soon. I have a few things to tell you about this week and hope that you have the time and inclination to catch up with our news..
Three motif patterns that make up part of the Spirit of Flora CAL project have now been released via Inside Crochet Magazine with the fourth pattern, Tudor Rose, coming soon.
It has been fabulous seeing versions of the motifs cropping up on social media and especially great to see those that have been made using alternative colours. Last week I was lucky enough to attend another photo shoot with the magazine team where we shot images of the my alternative blanket layout.
This version is a little more random than the one already shown in the magazine and it has a fancier edging that features a flower motif inspired by William De Morgan's more 'Arabesque' style tile designs. You can see by the image that I have also made a matching cushion using a motif that will feature in the magazine in the late summer/early autumn. You can find a little video from the shoot on my Instagram feed by following this link.
Over Christmas I worked on creating a new colourway of my Mystical Lanterns pattern. Annabelle at Stylecraft has also come up with a new colourway so we will be releasing a yarn shade substitution document, which will also show the layout for a shawl project, over the next couple of months. At the moment we are hoping this will be ready for May.
Whilst on the subject of new colourways, I am really excited to reveal that my good friend Lucia of Lucia's Fig Tree has also been working on some new versions of my designs too. I am looking forward to showing you her version of Indigo Dreams, which we are tentatively calling Rainbow Dreams, soon.
The Glad Tidings Wrap was designed as the Advent project for Jimmy Beans Wool in December 2021. The original design used 16 mini skeins of yarn, with a new shade added to the design each day in the lead up to Christmas. The design is a great stash-buster if you have lots of little bits of left over 4-ply yarn, or you could use a curated collection of mini skeins.
The wrap is made by working a central crochet band which is added to daily. In the Jimmy Beans version the colours used on each side of the central band pretty much matched each other in terms of colour and we have made a version using Scheepjes Whirl, which does the same. You could create a quite different effect by using random shades or treating the wrap like a 'temperature' project where you assign colours to different temperatures and select your yarn according to the warmth of the weather that day.
The pattern has been amended so that it is not in a crochet along style. You can purchase the paper brochure pattern (in UK or US terms) by following this link, or you can find download versions on Etsy and Ravelry.
If you have been patiently waiting for Persian Tiles Sandalwood kits to come back into stock then you might be pleased to hear that we have them in stock now! Follow this link for more information
We will be taking over the Knit & Crochet Lounge at the Stitch Festival at the Business Design Festival here in London in March. You can find more information by following this link and you can get a discount on tickets by entering the code JCROW23 at checkout. It would be great if you could come along and join us on the stand where we will be making little crochet flowers that you could add to a free Janie Crow key ring!
We now have project bags, pencil cases, pouches and greetings cards from the Emma Ball range in stock. You can find the Janie Crow and Emma Ball collection by following this link.
You can check out our YouTube video where Emma and I talk about the collection here and I have also posted our live chat on our Instagram Feed.
As I said already, Andy and I are exhibiting at Yorkshire Yarn Festival this weekend. The show organiser, Sophie from Botanical Yarns, has lined up some really fabulous fellow exhibitors and I will feature as the guest at the Saturday evening craft night event where I will be doing a short presentation and Q&A session.
Tickets are still available for both days, although tickets are now in short supply for Saturday. You can purchase them in advance by following this link. Tickets for workshops and my Q&A session on Saturday night are also still available. You can find more information by following this link.
Hi, Gemma here. Last Friday I was lucky enough to visit the Unravel Yarn Festival in Farnham, Surrey, together with my good friend Courtney. Interestingly Farnham, around 36 miles southwest of London, has the status of a World Craft Town, something I wasn't aware of until I read the informative show guide that was included in the reasonable ticket price of £12. Timed tickets were available in advance giving entry throughout the morning, with some tickets available on the door too, for a couple of pounds more than the advance price.
These two look like trouble! That's me on the right, we might look it but we're not actually related
The show is hosted by Farnham Maltings, an Arts & Cultural organisation, who you can find out more about here. Farnham itself is a really lovely market town, with a surprising number of independent shops to explore (when there isn't the urgent business of attending a yarn show of course).
On arrival we were greeted with the art installation 'Seed of Hope' by Diana Burch, representing the connections between people and nature. All of the connecting cells were bound by hundreds of local people and drop in sessions were running across the weekend for visitors to get involved with binding the laurel cuttings with recycled wool.
Once inside the building there were two floors to explore, with 75 exhibitors in total spread throughout several interconnecting spaces. It felt quite crowded at times but not too uncomfortably so, although I expect it might have been busier on the Saturday and Sunday.
There were beautiful yarns on display as far as the eye could see. We spotted the Glad Tidings Wrap that Sarah Hazell worked up adorning the Knitting Shed's stall and it's even prettier in the flesh than in the photo.
The primary focus of this show is hand-dyed yarn, with the majority of stalls offering a highly tempting array of the most beautiful colours you can imagine. There were rainbow bright colours on some stalls alongside more muted, sultry colours, some of which you can see here on the Urban Purl's stall.
Courtney and I found that two hours was enough time to visit and browse all the stalls we were interested in and, although refreshments were available in the venue, we decided to head back into the town centre to find somewhere for lunch (and to compare our purchases of course).
Mine - I just have to learn to knit & crochet faster now!
We both enjoyed the show as the range of stalls and the manageable size of the show was fabulous, so we will be getting next year's date in the diary as soon as it's announced!
Gemma works a really long day teaching crochet on Wednesdays and always has to leave food prepared for her family. This week's offering was a roasted vegetable and lentil lasagne, from the Delicious Magazine website. Lasagne is always great for the winter as it's so warming and satisfying. If you fancy having a go at the recipe click on the image below.
We found this fascinating article from the Guardian newspaper about crochet patterns created through Artificial Intelligence. We're not sure designers need to feel threatened quite yet - which is a bit of a relief if we are honest!
A Guinness World Record was broken in Derby last Friday, with 960 people crocheting simultaneously at the Derby Arena. The previous record was 604 people and was set in Australia in 2017. You can read all about it here or click on the image below.
I have felt more inspired this week than I have for a while so I have packed my crochet hook and some yarn to take away to Yorkshire with me. I have finally started work on a new CAL design and so, as we have a long drive ahead of us, I hope that means plenty of hooky time for me!
I hope that you have some nice plans for the next few days and that life treats you kindly whatever you have planned...
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