We had a fabulous time at Wonderwool last weekend despite having one man down as Andy tested positive for covid. For a moment or two I considered staying home, but then I decided to be all grown up and put my big girl pants on and take myself to the show. I managed to hire a smaller van and cram it full of stock and the wonderful Sarah Hazell and her fabulous husband Paul came down to Wales to help me. I couldn't be more grateful for their help or for all of you who popped by the stand to say hello! We really did have a very special weekend and it was so good to be out in the wild again after such a long break away from shows.
I have been busy getting ready for my Iceland trip with Arena Travel, which heads off next week, but I have a few more things to tell you about today, so I hope you have a little spare time to catch up with my news.
We finally have lots of kits in stock, so if you have been waiting for the yarn for certain designs to be back on the website, take a look at the list below and the links for more information.
We are so pleased to have so many kits back in stock after long absences from the website and hope that there will be something that takes your fancy. We will be revisiting the Sunshine and Showers design from May onwards to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the design featuring in Crochet Now magazine as a year long CAL project. We will be focussing on the design each month from May this year through to April next year and Emma will be doing some technical videos to accompany the design. Patterns are just 95p each or £11.40 for the whole set via Ravelry.
I have created two pretty cushion designs for Inside Crochet Magazine - these will be revealed next week, on May 5th, so do look out for them.
A couple of our Instagram posts produced quite a few interesting tips this week so I thought I would share the links here for you. The first post that produced more chatter than usual was one where I asked whether you preferred to work in production line way when crocheting or whether you tend to make one complete motif at a time. It seems the majority like to work in a production line way, but there were some great tips posted too - take a look here.
In another post I showed some of the pieces I have in my essential crochet kit - such as sewing up needles, beads and my favourite crochet hooks. This post also produced a lot of feedback with many of you naming your favourite accessories - you can find that post here.
If you follow us on Instagram then you may have seen that I officially introduced the lovely Emma to the team this week and mentioned that we will have some new videos on YouTube soon - If you don't already follow us on Instagram it would be great to have you join us!
I am very much looking forward to sitting down with the family for a treat filled celebratory meal tomorrow as it will be Andy's birthday. I have baked the scrummy chocolate cake that I made a couple of weeks ago for a friends birthday and will post a pic on my Lifestyle Instagram page.
Things have been so busy lately that I have really neglected my kitchen and, other than to make the cake for tomorrow, I have spent barely any time cooking. I am not a fan of ready meals, but on weeks like this we do resort to some of our favourite pre-made meals. This week, rather than share a recipe with you, I am going to recommend you tale a look around the COOK website. We are particularly keen on the Nut Loaf (which will easily serve 3 people, if not 4, despite the packaging saying it is for 2) and the Roasted Pepper and Goats Cheese Quiche, which is a great addition to a large family gathering.
I will be appearing on Yarn Lane TV on bank holiday Monday, so I have a little bit of prep to do for this event over the weekend. The show is on at 1pm so I hope you will be able to join me as I chat about my Fruit Garden blanket design.
The weather forecast is looking a tad chilly here for the bank holiday weekend so we might not be out in the garden quite as much as we had hoped, but the house has been mightily neglected lately, so I think we will be giving it a bit of much needed TLC over the next couple of days by having a bit of a spring clean.
We have Summer and Chris coming for the weekend and as I said already we will be celebrating Andy's Birthday, so I am sure it will be a lovely couple of days. I leave you with a pic of this amazing version of Mystical Lanterns made by Anna Wells with yarns from her stash. Isn't it amazing!
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.
I had a really great time away from home last week teaching workshops and doing a couple of presentations about my work. Black Sheep Wools hosted a really nice afternoon Tea Party event on Wednesday followed by a day of mini workshops on Thursday where participants made a beaded brooch using one of the flower designs from The Fruit Garden Blanket as inspiration. On Friday I spent the day with a group from Crafty Stitchers in Northwich, Cheshire. It was so good to be with groups of crafters and it was brilliant to see them all so inspired by their crochet. Let's hope that more events and workshops are in the future for us all.
The flower motifs from the Fruit Garden blanket would all make lovely brooches or decorations. I used the Hollyhock motif and added beads on a couple of the rounds. You can find a free beading technique download document on the web site here and a video to show you how to do it on the Janie Crow YouTube channel.
Andy got the train up and we met on Friday evening in Buxton where we spent a night and then drove on to Holmfirth where we visited some of the places I knew well from my days at Rowan Yarns. On Monday we had a great meeting at Stylecraft and so I am back at my desk feeling inspired by some ideas for the future.
After all the preparation I did for the workshops and events last week I am now getting organised for my workshop trip to Iceland, which is in a few weeks time. It has been really nice to dig out my knitting needles and sit down at my PC to draw fairisle knitting charts. I am about to cast on my project to test that everything works ok and so it will be a bank holiday weekend with quite a lot of knitting for me. We are heading away with the kids and my lovely mother in law, so I am hoping there will be plenty of time to knit.
I have designed 2 cushion projects for Inside Crochet Magazine. They will be in the next issue, which is called Cottage Garden and is number 147. As soon as I have some official images I will share them with you, but for now you will have to make do with this sneaky peek image from this month's magazine!
We will be at Wonderwool in Wales next weekend (23rd & 24th April) so we have quite a lot of things to sort out for that. We have taken on a really big stand so that there will be plenty of room for us all. We hope to have patterns and kits for sale and Andy will be taking lots of hooks, needles and accessories, but above all, this is a chance for you to see my blankets and cushions in the flesh and get a real feeling of colours and styles - there is nothing like seeing things in 'real life' is there!
We are planning to revisit my Sunshine and Showers blanket design over the course of this year and into next. The CAL was released 5 years ago and features a new stitch for every month of the year, based on typical weather here in the UK. The pattern is available in parts as downloads, but we have never had videos to accompany the design, so my lovely new assistant Emma will be doing videos to help anyone who wants to work through the project. We will have more information about the project soon.
We have updated our stock of the beaded pastel decorations yet again! We have 13 kits in stock and will be making some more to take to Wonderwool with us next week. You can find them by following this link.
We have had a big delivery of Della Q items this week. I really love this range of knitting and crochet bags and pouches and use my own little messenger bag all the time - in fact it is my go to bag these days.
I also use my little buddy case all the time as it is perfect for storing my beads - the soft velour type interior of this case makes it really perfect! You can check out our updated range of Della Q products here.
We will be adding more stock to our Cohana and Jul ranges over the next few weeks so if you are looking for some fancy yarn snips or a lovely fair trade shawl pin make sure you take a look in the web store over the next couple of weeks.
Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it;
Not a penny was there in it,
Only ribbon round it.
As a family we still do a Zoom quiz on a Sunday afternoon. A couple of weeks ago my mum asked the question 'Who found Lucy Locket's pocket?', as in the rhyme above by James Orchard Halliwell, which was first recorded in 1842. I had no idea of the answer, but the question sparked a conversation about the fact that womens' pockets were not sewn into clothes until relatively recently. Instead, skirts or dresses of the time, as well as the petticoats worn underneath, had an opening at the waistline to allow access to the pocket which hung around the woman's waist tied by a ribbon or tape.
I found a really good piece about the fashion for ladies' pockets via The V&A here and you can find what looks like a really interesting book on the subject called 'The Pocket - A Hidden History of Women's Lives' by Barbara Burman and Ariane Fennetaux by following this link. I have found this all quite intriguing and think it would be really cool to make some separate pockets - do you think they could work in crochet?
It is always really cold at Wonderwool! Whatever the weather outside, the cold comes up through the concrete floor in the halls so we always pack plenty of warm clothes to help keep us toasty. A few years ago I got so cold that I ended up buying some hand knitted gloves from another stall holder!
When I saw these wrist warmers, made by my good friend Dedri of 'Look at What I made', I thought they would be an ideal make for these spring days when you can get caught out by the cold. Take look at Dedri's fab free pattern by following this link.
I put on a bit of weight over lockdown so I thought it was about time I made an effort to shift it. I am not a diet fan and find I always loose my way with strict plans, so I thought a book that outlines a better way of life rather than a strict low fat diet might be the answer for me.
I bought the book The Full Diet by Dr Saira Hameed and am working my way through it. It is a good read which has helped me to understand the science behind weight loss and the devil that is sugar and processed food.
I haven't made any of the recipes from the book yet, but one of my favourite meals, 'Aubergine Parmigiana', is on plan so I thought I would share it with you this week. I love this dish and make it at least once a month. There is a good recipe here.
We are heading away for a weekend by the sea with the family to celebrate the bank holiday weekend. I have packed plenty of knitting and crochet and hope that I will get time to sit with my hooks and needles over the next few days. Next week will be pretty hectic as we get ready for Wonderwool, so a relaxing weekend with some sea views will be perfect.
My friend Chris shared with me the work of Gabriela Hurst after I featured some of the crochet garments from The Peruvian Connection a few weeks ago. Gabriela's work combines knit and crochet and is really inspiring. You can find her web site here or by clicking on the images above.
I wanted to thank you again for all your support with our Ukraine Appeal to raise funds for UNHCR. We have paid the £5000 we raised to the charity and are thinking up new ways to raise money to support Ukraine. Amanda from Little Box of Crochet is asking for crochet squares to make blankets that will be raffled to raise money. You can find more information by following this link.
Image with thanks to Karin Hellaby
I am really looking forward to my trip to Iceland with Arena Travel in a few weeks time, but over the last week I have been avidly following the progress of the Stitchtopia tour of Uzbekistan. It really does look amazing and I would really love to take a group of knitters and crocheters out on the same trip in the future. Uzbekistan is a Central Asian nation and former Soviet republic. It's known for its mosques, mausoleums and other sites linked to the Silk Road, the ancient trade route between China and the Mediterranean. It is also famous for its amazing textile heritage.
Take a look at the Stitchtopia Facebook page for images and videos of what looks like an incredible trip. Apparently the tour company have already had 3 stitch groups do this tour, but they say that knitters and crocheters aren't keen. I am sure there is so much to interest us yarn folk on this trip, so I would love to hear from you if you fancy this trip. If I get a good bit of interest then perhaps I can pitch it to Arena to try launching the trip again!
Last night I finally managed to settle down and watch the first episode of the second series of Bridgerton. After all the hype I was really looking forward to being immersed in the world of empire line dresses, fancy frocks and old fashioned etiquette. I think my favourite thing about the series is the costumes and settings - there really are some gorgeous details on some of those dresses! Watching the show reminded me that a few months ago I made a 'Jane Austin' inspired mood board on Pinterest using the film 'Emma' as my inspiration. Like in Bridgerton, there were some amazing costumes in this film too. You can find the board here - it is a secret board as I was using it for ideas for a design and might still do so in the future, so you will need to follow the link rather than find it on my Pinterest profile.
Well, that's it from me for another couple of weeks. I hope there has been something in this email that you found interesting and I hope you all have a fabulous bank holiday weekend and keep well.....
I hope this quick catch up email finds you well. It has been a bit hectic here at Janie Crow this week as I have been preparing for my workshops 'up north' next week. I love doing workshops and events, but there is always a lot to do in the build up to them, like making sure the project is made and accompanying yarn packs prepared, as well as making sure I have all my own notes ready. I am also doing a presentation next week, so that has taken a bit of work too. I felt a bit snowed under yesterday, so I tidied my desk and had a quick clear up in my studio space - something that always makes me feel more in control, so I am heading into the weekend feeling a little calmer!
I have a few things to tell you about this week and hope that you can spare 5 minutes out for your own hectic schedules to catch up with all things Janie Crow.
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 and it has been amazing to see how many of you adopted the idea of making a crochet mandala, using my Fields of Gold pattern to show support. We have seen so many lovely images and messages on social media over the last couple of weeks and I am absolutely blown away by your generosity.
We have tallied up all the profit made on the sales of my Fields of Gold pattern for the month of March. We have rounded all amounts up and we have taken a hit on some of the printing charges and packaging costs so that we can donate as much as possible for each sale. We have included download patterns via Etsy and Ravelry and all paper patterns, including those in blanket project kits. We have also added in donations made directly to me via the 'Support Me' buttons on my web site this month.
So, without further a do, I can reveal that the amount we raised was an amazing £4901.28. The final amount we will be donating to UNHCR is the incredible total of £5000! I am so grateful to all of you who supported this fundraiser - you are all totals stars!
Last Friday I took myself off to the V&A Museum and had a wander around for a couple of glorious hours. The V&A is my default destination when I am looking for ideas and it was so good to be back there after a long time away.
My first port of call at the museum is almost always the Islamic Middle East Gallery, where I check in with the ceramic tile that became the inspiration for my Persian Tiles design way back in 2016.
From there I wandered around the South Asia Gallery, which always leaves me full of ideas. This time I found myself really drawn to Indian water colour paintings. I have collected a few of my own miniature paintings on our travels in India, but what really drew me to those on display was the intricate floral painted frames, which I have focussed on in the images below.
A visit to the V&A is not complete without a walk around the Arts & Crafts Movement room (Britain Galleries), which has lots of lovely William and May Morris pieces. I was really excited to see that a new item in the museum's collection is this amazing portrait by the awesome Kehinde Wiley. I missed his exhibition at the William Morris Gallery in 2020, so I was a bit emotional to finally see a piece of his work up close and personal, especially as this one is so stunning! If you are a fan of Wiley's work then you might be interested to know that there will be an exhibition of his work at The National Gallery from 18th April - you can find more info here.
And finally, I climbed the stairs to my favourite 'hidden gem' in the museum, the ceramic galleries on the 4th Floor. These rooms are a bit out of the way and are not on the well trodden museum route, so there are never many people up there and it almost feels like I have found something secret! The ceramic collection is vast, with huge display cabinets from floor to ceiling in at least 4 large rooms and I always leave feeling really inspired and a little overwhelmed!
A visit to the V&A is not complete without a mooch around the shop. I found some great books, which I hope will help me form some new design ideas.
In my last email I mentioned that I have been thinking about designing some garments. Many of you replied to say that this is something you would like and I am still considering how my designs could work within items of clothing. I admit that I am quite apprehensive about the idea of fitted pieces and am more likely to come up with wrap, shawl and bag ideas to start with - so it is a case of watch this space for now. If you are looking for some great crochet fashion design I urge you to take a look at Cassie Ward's work. Cassie's Instagram feed is called The Missing Yarn and you can find it here.
The response to my pastel versions of the Beaded Decorations was so good last time I emailed that we sold out of kits in no time. The good news is that we now have some more in stock, so if you missed out last time please take a look!
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.
Just a reminder that the price of our paper patterns will be going up. 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 to kick in from next week, you can find a link to all our paper patterns here.
I will be at Black Sheep Wools for a couple of days next week. 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. Most of the places have sold out but you can still find a couple of spare spots by following this link.
Gemma has been incredibly busy finding some great items online this week, such as the fact that March was National Crochet Month in the US and that crochet is a key fashion trend for 2022. You can find a great piece from The Fashion Network here, a piece from Malay Mail here and a lovely piece about crochet handbag trends from Woman and Home. I am pretty sure we could all come up with some lovely crochet bags at a fraction of the price of some of these....
Gemma also found this great little video from 'On the Red Dot' entitled 'Handmade Tales'. I really enjoyed watching it and particularly liked the piece about yarn bombing in Singapore and the spotlight on fibre artist Kelly Limerick.
Gemma is always busy in the kitchen and serves her family some lovely home made meals. This week she has recommended this Parsnip Dal recipe from Riverford. It sounds delicious!
The last couple of weekends we had some amazing weather, so we spent quite a lot of time preparing the garden for veggie planting. Our little beetroots were delicious, so too were the over wintered fennel I used to make a scrummy pasta sauce.
I try to start my working week with a good dose of fresh air and tend to head for a walk around the woods before I settle down at my desk on a Monday. This week the blossom was in full bloom and the catkins were just so pretty that my walk took me much longer to complete as I kept stopping to take some photos on my phone! The weather is a little different here today as we are now in the grips of some icy and blustery weather, so it is extra nice to look back on my images and be reminded that it has been warm and sunny so recently!
We are heading away to Stratford Upon Avon for the weekend to meet up with a group of friends who came to Mysore with us in 2020. I am really looking forward to a weekend of knit and chatter and some good walks around lovely Stratford, so I am hoping the weather will not be too unkind!
If you are also planning a spot of knit or crochet over the weekend, then you might want to find some good TV to keep you company. I am looking forward to catching up with all things Bridgerton over the next few weeks and will try hard not to binge watch it. Andy and I have also been watching 'This is Us' and are totally hooked - we are only one season in, so we will probably be watching it for the next 5 years! I am always on the look out for good TV and love to hear recommendations, so I would love to know what your favourite shows are to knit and crochet along to! I know that many of you listen to podcasts and book readings, so I would love to be able to pass on your recommendations for these too.
We have been keeping an eye on our plastic use in the home for the last couple of years and have managed to drastically reduce the amount that goes into our recycling bin, but we still have a way to go, especially as the figures suggest that only 9% of household plastic gets recycled in the UK and because plastic cannot be recycled infinitely. If you are also on a mission to reduce your plastic consumption then you might want to take part in 'The Big Plastic Count', which will take place for a week between 16th & 22nd May. You can get more info and sign up by following this link.
As the war in Ukraine continues, we will be looking at ways to continue our fundraising over the next couple of months. There are still many knitters and crocheters out there doing their bit to raise money, so do have a look around for ways that you can support them. Amanda at Little Box of Crochet is asking for crocheted squares made in blue and yellow to make blankets that will become part of a big raffle. You can find more info on Amanda's Instagram feed.
Before I leave you I just want to ask a small favour. My good friend Emma has had her Instagram account blocked, which means she can no longer access it. Despite being a beautiful middle aged woman, the IG bots believe Emma to be underage for an account and, despite her providing all the required information to reinstate her account, she continues to be blocked. Over the years Emma had gained a really good following of more than 10,000 people on Instagram, but now she has had to start all over with a new account. So, my appeal is for you to take a look and follow her if you fancy - I guarantee you will not regret it as she is a lovely, funny human with a great big heart who will not fail to give you a giggle!
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. Thank you all again for your incredible support of our Ukraine appeal - you're all amazing!
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