Thank you all for the great response to The Blue House blanket, which I show cased here last month. It has been a real frustration for us to not be able to put yarn kits together for this project as we are still waiting for lots of shades of Life DK to come back into stock, but it has been so good to see many of you doing a bit of stash diving and creating your own colour ways of the design. You can find more information about the design lower down this email.
Last week I designed a vertical half motif for my Mystical Lanterns pattern. I have posted this on my blog so that those of you who want to make a project with straight vertical side edges can do so. The blog post includes step-by-step images and instructions, but you will need the original pattern to make the main Mystical Lanterns motifs and the horizontal half motifs. I hope this will help those of you who have been asking for this half motif for the last few years!
As you know, I love seeing my designs 'out in the wild' and so it was great to receive the image below of my Indian Roses blanket by Ros Harwood who has made the project in similar shades to the new Naturals shade listing that I released a few months ago. You can find more information about this design and the free colour substitute documents by following this link. If you look closely you can also see my Oonagh cushion cover on Ros's settee!
I tend to add 'out in the wild' project posts to my Instagram stories. I try to do this most days and it is made easier when people have used project hashtags like #persiantilesblanket for example or #janiecrow. It is always such a great tonic to see projects made in different colour palettes or layouts. This week I fell in love with this pink, peach and blue version of my Summer Palace blanket. Isn't it fab!
Click on the image below or here to be taken to Tomomi Landsman's Instagram feed where this image is posted.
Yesterday evening textile designer Lizzie Montgomery shared the image below of her version of my Magic Circles blanket on Instagram. Isn't it just a beauty? I love Lizzie's colour choices and so seeing this one as I headed off to bed really made my day!
Over the last couple of weeks I have been putting the finishing touches to a couple of big projects, one of which is the CAL blanket design that will feature in Inside Crochet magazine very soon. I am hoping to be able to attend the photo shoot for this over the next couple of weeks and am very excited by the prospect of revealing the project to you very soon. The CAL will run over 5 copies of the magazine starting in June and we hope to have yarn kits in stock in good time - as soon as I have more news on this I will let you know.
I have quite a long list of projects queuing up in my design diary, some of which will make their debut in the autumn. We have our fingers crossed that we will be exhibiting at Yarndale in September and The Knitting & Stitching show here in North London in October - it seems really strange to have a few show dates in the diary, but I am really looking forward to having the chance to exhibit again.
As an online business we have been incredibly lucky to have been able to remain open and working over the last year. Sadly the same cannot be said of ‘bricks and mortar’ stores who have all been having to cope with sporadic opening and lockdowns. As local shops start to open and the High Street starts to liven up a bit we have seen a surge in trade sales of our paper patterns, which is a great sign that things are getting back to ‘normal’. If you have a local yarn shop please try to show them support by visiting their store rather than shopping online. I think there is little that compares to the feeling of standing in a yarn store surrounded by all that fabulous colour and texture and taking a while to make great yarn choices for a project. If you want to find some stores near you, UK Handknitting have a great resource on their web site here for finding a store.
STOP PRESS! Due to a cancellation we have one space available on our crochet weekend workshop in Bournemouth in August. You can find more information by following this link.
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.
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 have been doing a bit of spring cleaning as the change in light has highlighted my need to do a little bit more housework! I am not a big fan of weekly cleaning chores, but I actually enjoy a good spring clean and love seeing the results of a good declutter!
I found a nice article on the Vogue blog that suggests 9 easy ways to refresh your home for spring - you can find it by following this link or by clicking on the image above.
Marina Kelly is one of my prized test crocheters, but she is also a very talented crochet jewellery designer and I am very lucky that she has given me permission to add five necklaces from her new collection to the web site.
Gemma is so good at recommending recipes and this week she has suggested I link you guys through to this great Vegetable Moussaka recipe by Tori Avey. I am a big lover of moussaka and so this really does look super yummy!
Since we went full blown vegetarian just over a year ago I have been making a version of Moussaka using a sauce made with grated carrots in place of the mince. It doesn't sound like it would work, but it really is lovely. I use lots of grated carrot with chopped fresh mint in place of the meat and cook it up for quite a while so that the carrot goes sweet and soft. It is VERY good! There is a similar recipe to the version I make here.
Andy has been busy seeking out exciting new products for his Just Knots web site. He has found some really fabulous things, including the range of project bags, needle cases and hook wraps from Della Q.
The canvas makers bags have proved particularly popular and we have struggled to keep them in stock, but parcels are arriving weekly and we are updating the stock as often as we can.
All the bags in the Della Q range have lots of great pockets and some include a pouch with a clear side so that you can refer to your pattern without spoiling it on a journey. They also have integrated yarn guides and stitch markers and other features perfect for crafters on the move.
We have placed a pre-order for more exciting Della Q stock which will be in soon, so you may want to keep dropping by Andy's site to see what exciting things he has got!
Hopefully you didn't miss the fact that yesterday was World Earth Day. I found quite a few emails in my inbox asking me to sign petitions and take some action. If you want to do something too then you might want to take a look at a couple of the links I have included here.
‘This is not a one time thing. This is our entire future'. Greta Thunberg.
My Friend Jan sent me a link to a group called Stitches for Survival who are planning to create knitted, crocheted and stitched banners with a heart felt message to use at the COP26 climate talks to be held in Glasgow in November.
Greenpeace have released some shocking statistics on where the UK's plastic waste goes and what happens to it once it gets there. It is pretty grim reading, but the more of us who attempt to make our voices heard in regards to the Government making 'greener' choices the better! You can find more information by following this link. If we all stop buying products that are single use plastic too then we can really make a difference.
I recommend you take a look at a great blog post by the fashion company Thought, which you can find here. It is entitled Read, Listen, Watch and Follow. They say:
'Whether you’re a reader, listener or you prefer to watch a documentary, there are many different resources available that can help us learn more about how we can reduce our environmental impact. Read on as we suggest some of the books, podcasts, documentaries and people who have inspired us in our sustainable journey recently.'
If you know any young people looking for something rewarding to do, then how about getting them to take a look at The William Morris Society's new volunteer project that they revealed on their Instagram feed yesterday to coincide with Earth Day. They say:
'On this Earth Day we are excited to share with you our brand-new young volunteer project, which will be exploring William Morris’s environmental work and producing new art works to encourage local residents to lead more eco-friendly lifestyles.
We are looking for imaginative and creative 16–24-year-olds to join us for the chance to gain new skills, to work with artists exploring issues around sustainability and make new friends.'
Makes me wish I was 25 years younger!!!
The weather has been much brighter over the last 10 days and thankfully it looks like the threat of snow has gone, although I think the north of the country could still get a bit more as the temperature is not rising very quickly and we are still having quite cold mornings. We are hoping it will stay relatively nice as we are planning a family get together in the garden tomorrow afternoon. Despite the cool temperatures it has been so nice to spend time together outside.
I am planning to do some step-by-step photography for the new CAL project next week and so I was silly excited to have been able to secure an appointment to have my nails done earlier today. It feels very indulgent after more than a year with terribly neglected nails. I don’t have a hair appointment until the 1st May, so another week to wait for that - I never thought I would be so excited by the prospect of having my hair and nails done!
The garden plans are coming on nicely. Andy has built the footings for the new shed, which will link through from the summer house and we have dug over a new vegetable patch. The seedlings are all thriving in the sunshine in the conservatory, but as we are still having light frosts overnight very little has made it out into the garden except the potato tubers, which were planted last weekend.
It is Andy's birthday next week so I am thinking of doing a bit of baking on Sunday, although he has yet to decide what type of cake he would like. A couple of weeks ago I made an 8 strand plaited loaf from a Paul Hollywood recipe. I tested the plaiting out with string first as I know it's something all the contestants on The Great British Bake Off struggle with!
I enjoyed making the bread and only made a couple of small errors with the plait - it tasted pretty good too! I am wondering about making brioche this weekend but that seems a bit too scary, so it might be another simpler type of loaf instead! If you want to follow my home based triumphs and tribulations you can do so by taking a look at the Janie Crow Lifestyle Instagram feed.
So, I think that is pretty much it from me. I definitely have the Friday feeling this week, especially as we will get to spend some time with family and friends over the next few days. I have the blankets and cushions at the ready for when we sit in the garden and I am hopeful that the weather will be kind. I hope that wherever you are that you are safe and well too.
I leave you with a link to this video - you may well have seen it before, but it always makes me smile!
Sending yarny love....
A few years ago I was interviewed by Andrea and Andrew of Fruity Knitting. They came to the studio for a morning and we had a lovely time drinking tea and chatting. We have bumped into them at shows over the last few years and have kept in touch, especially as Andrea has been working through my Bohemian Blooms blanket design.
At Christmas we heard that Andrew had been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour, which he valiantly fought over the last 4 months. We are sad to hear of his passing earlier on this week despite his brave battle.
At this time Andrea has no idea how her beloved Fruity Knitting podcast will look in the future, but if you do want to support her at this incredibly difficult time please follow this link to the Fruity Knitting Patreon web site.
I designed the Mystical Lanterns motif in 2016 in between working on my first two CAL projects for Stylecraft (Lily Pond and Frida's Flowers blankets). It has always been a really popular design and it is a real joy to see the project motifs being made in lots of fabulous colour combinations.
The first version of the pattern I realised was for a triangular shawl, so I designed a horizontal half motif to ensure that the shawl had one straight edge at the top. The Ogee shape of the motif gave the shawl a really nice sloped edge so I was more than happy with the outcome of the design. The horizontal half motif was also used in a blanket version a little later on so that it had two straight edges.
I am often asked if I have plans to add a vertical half motif to the design as some of you would like to create projects with straight edges on all sides of a project. I love the wavy edges on the blanket, but I know this is not to everyones taste, so I have finally got around to making an alternative vertical half motif and you can find the instructions below.
The step by step instructions for how too make this half motif are only available here on the blog - they do not feature in the download or printed pattern.
If you want to find the original patterns for this motif you can find the blanket pattern by following this link. The shawl pattern by following this link and the scarf pattern by following this link.
I have made my sample using a 4mm hook and DK weight yarn in 4 shades.
INSTRUCTIONS (UK terms)
Note: All rows are RS facing - do not turn.
Using your first shade of yarn make 7ch, join with a ss to form a ring.
Foundation Row: 4ch (counts as 1tr & 1ch), [3tr into ring, 3ch] twice, 3tr into ring, 1ch, 1tr into ring, fasten off. (11sts & 4 ch-sps)
Row 1: Join your next shade of yarn into 1ch-sp made at beginning of last round by working 1ch + 2ch (counts as 1tr), 3tr into same ch-sp, 1ch, * [3tr, 3ch, 3tr] into next ch-sp, 1ch; repeat from * 4tr into next ch-sp, fasten off. (20sts & 5 ch-sps)
Row 2: Join your next shade of yarn into top of first tr made at beginning of last row by working 1ch + 5ch (counts as 6ch), working back along 6ch just made skip next ch, 1dc into each next 2ch, 3tr into (same) st at base of 6ch, 3tr into next ch-sp, [3tr, 3dtr] into next ch-sp, dtr3tog into next ch-sp, [3dtr, 3tr] into next ch-sp, 3tr into next ch-sp, skip 3sts, 3tr into next st (this is the final st made on the last row), 3ch, working back along 3ch just made skip next ch, 1dc into each next 2ch, ss into (same) st at base of 3ch, fasten off.
Row 3: Join your next shade of yarn into the skipped ch at motif 'tip' by working 1ch, 1dc into same ch, 1dc into each next 10sts, 2dc into next st, 1dc into each next 3sts, 3dc into next st (this is the st that sits just before the top of the dtr3tog made on previous row), 1dc into each next 3sts, 2dc into next st, 1dc into each next 10sts, 1dc into skipped ch at end of row, fasten off. (35sts)
You should find that these motifs join in with your main motifs nicely and that the addition of a border along the side of the motifs will help straighten the 'raw' edge out a little and prevent it from looking quite so wonky! I estimate that you need to work 23sts along the side edge of each half motif when adding a border. I would probably work as follows, but I haven't tried it so you may need to do a bit of jiggling about to make it work:
1st into side of dc made on Row 3
2sts to correspond with next 2dc made at tip on Row 2
2sts along side of next tr made on same row (Row 2)
3sts along side of tr made on Row 2
3sts into next ch-sp made on Foundation Row
1st into ring
3sts into next ch-sp made on Foundation Row
3sts along side of tr made on Row 2
2sts along side of next tr made on Row 2
2sts to correspond with next 2dc made at tip on same row (Row 2)
1st into side of final dc made on Row 3
I hope this goes some way to help those of you who are fans of straight edges! I do plan to revisit the Mystical Lanterns design at some point and will probably add in this vertical half motif to my project too. I am notoriously slow though, so don't hold your breath in the hope of seeing my completed project before you do yours!
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