As usual it has been a busy couple of weeks here at Janie Crow. I have been working on the new techniques book alongside Sarah who is making many of the crochet samples. I have embraced the challenge of writing step-by-step instructions for stitch formations I haven't met before and have enjoyed sampling some of the pieces, especially the more decorative crochet samples, such as beaded edgings and crochet flowers. Next week I will be moving on to write the chapter about Finishing Techniques (one of my favourite things to do in crochet) so I am looking forward to that.
I have been putting the finishing touches to a shawl design for the Spirit of Flora crochet along, which continues to run in Inside Crochet Magazine. I have also been finalising a few workshops projects, so all in all, a pretty busy time, especially as the plants in the garden are now going full throttle and need our daily attention. What a joy it is to be back out in the garden again! The prospect of peonies blooming in abundance is making me particularly happy!
I hope that whatever you have been up to and no matter what you have planned for the next couple of days as we head into yet another Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, you can find a bit of time to catch up with all things Janie Crow.
Thank you for the amazing response to Fiori. We have kits back in stock alongside some for Fruit Garden Love Is Enough and Parchment and Caramel.
We have kits for The Blue House, Primavera and Sandalwood as well as the Summer Palace Original colourway, which is in stock for the first time in almost a year!
The process of publishing crochet patterns is a long-winded affair. It involves creating a design in the first place, copious hand written notes, word documents, test crocheters and Tech Editors. In the final stages it also involves translators, photographers, stylists and graphic designers. Creating a pattern can take months from start to finish and the work can pass through many hands before a final document heads off to the printer and a download version gets posted.
Whilst I pride myself on the quality of my patterns, every now and again little things get missed. A case in point is my Indigo Dreams design, which was inspired by a kantha stitched quilt I found in India a few years ago. Whilst the original pattern instructions should not hinder the process of crocheting this beautiful blanket in any big way, we realised there were places where the charts had incorrect keys and an asterisk or two needed moving. On the US version there was also a round where the instructions had been left in UK terms, so we have spent the last few weeks meticulously checking through the pattern.
We have uploaded a revised copy on Ravelry and will ensure that all future print runs of the pattern are of the revised copy. Unfortunately we cannot replace existing purchases, but if you have a pattern and want to see where we have made changes, head over to the web site to access a downloadable errata document. We totally understand how frustrating these small blips in a pattern can be and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
The Crochet Guild of Australia will celebrate their National Crochet Conference in just over a week. My great friend Dedri Uys of Look at What I Made will be at the show and I am disappointed not to have made it too - unfortunately the logistics of such a big trip did not work out for me this year, but hopefully I will get to go another time.
I am really pleased that despite me not being able to attend the conference this year my best selling design, Persian Tiles will be making its debut as a kit using an Australian brand of yarn. The exclusive kits, which also feature some other Janie Crow and Emma Ball merchandise, will be on sale at the show and there are also some in stock on a pre-sale basis on The Stitchy Witches website.
I am incredibly grateful to Patty and Mercury at Stitchy Witches who have worked really hard to create these lovely exclusive kits which also include a limited edition tote bag and a signed postcard. There are just 7 kits left in stock online, so if you are in Australia and fancy treating yourself to a kit do take a look.
I love seeing images of your projects out in the wild and always enjoy it when you have created your own colouways of my designs. The Eastern Jewels version of my Persian Tiles blanket, which was created by Lucia Dunn a few years ago continues to inspire many of you to create versions of this blanket using lots of lovely colours. Rosie Coles recently sent me the image above of her lovely interpretation which uses Semilla GOTS certified wool. I am sure that it is lovely, warm and luxurious made in a fabulous natural fibre.
Some of you may already know that as well as working for Janie Crow, Sarah writes regular columns for Knitting Magazine. She hosts their Yarn Reviews, Top Tips and 'Ask Sarah' column. More recently she has started to write features as well and this month sees her discussing how craft is being used to raise awareness of climate change as well as combat the stress of this massive subject.
Sarah is using a stitch project to record the highest and lowest temperatures in Birmingham on a daily basis. This prompted her to look at how other crafts have been recording this kind of data. The feature describes how and why crafters are recording data and the impact this is having on its audiences. She has been amazed by the creativity and community that has evolved globally.
The effects of climate change can feel overwhelming at times and leave us feeling helpless by the enormity of it all. Sarah goes on to suggest that craft can be used to help keep our focus on the here and now rather than racing too far ahead, as well as outlining ways to start your own project.
Knitting Magazine Issue 243 is now on sale. You can find download copies here.
As a thank you for your continued support over on Instagram, which has recently led us to reach the 100k followers mark, I am excited to reveal the free download pattern that followers can access for the course of this weekend.
The pattern for a Beaded Crochet Pouch is live now. You can follow the link in bio from our Instagram page to download the pattern. Please note that the pattern is only available via Instagram, so if you are not a follower already you will need to head over there and sign up. The pattern will only be there for the duration of this weekend and the Bank Holiday Monday, so make sure you download and save it as it will not be available from Monday evening onwards.
The project uses Stylecraft Organic Cotton DK in 5 shades and beads in 4 shades, but you can use as many or as few as you fancy, especially as it is a great stash buster. Instructions for placing beads into stitches are included in the pattern, but if you want some visual guidance on how to work beaded crochet check out the videos on our YouTube channel.
Please share our Instagram post to your friends and followers so that they also get the chance to get their hands on this free pattern and don't forget - it will disappear in a plume of smoke and turn into a pumpkin like Cinderella’s coach at Midnight (UK time) on Monday. Happy Bank Holiday everyone!
The latest issue (number 158) of Inside Crochet Magazine was released yesterday and in perfect keeping with the Chelsea Flower Show happening this week, and in a move that was definitely, absolutely, planned and not in any way a fabulous coincidence, the name of the new block for the Spirit of Flora CAL is called Chelsea!
William De Morgan was enthralled by Persian design and spent a long period of his creative life making tiles that echoed an ‘Arabesque’ style. When designing this motif, I wanted to try and capture a similar feeling by using the blue and cream shades on the border.
Of course that doesn’t mean I’m suggesting you have use those colours for your block as I’m excited to see how Chelsea looks in the incredible colours we are seeing you use for your own projects.There are some absolutely wonderful projects taking shape so do have a look at the #spiritofflora hashtag on Instagram – as always there is so much inspiration to be found there.
Big thanks to Inside Crochet Magazine, Leanne Dixon photography and Claire Montgomerie for the gorgeous photographs.
It has been a while since we had a show & tell on our Facebook page so, hoping that a lovely sunny weekend had inspired some serious crafting recently, we asked what you had on your hooks or needles. You can see some of the wonderful projects below, beginning with Susan Johnson's Fields of Gold looking absolutely resplendent in the photo.
Next up is Julia Hill's Crimson Dreams blanket, made from yarns she already had. We're thinking Julia must have quite an impressive stash!
Henny Fiserova has started work on Persian Tiles in blue, but has been advised by her doctor to rest her hand for at least a couple of weeks. Wishing you a speedy return to your crochet, Henny.
Finally, Denise Meldrum has only been crocheting for a couple of months but she is almost halfway through the Mystical Lanterns pattern. Lovely work, Denise.
Many more of you shared images of your beautiful work - too many for us to show here, but thank you to everyone who contributed a photo. We do love seeing your work, especially the ways you use colour to really individualise your projects and it's also great to hear that some of you are making up your own kits from your stash yarn.
This week Gemma's recipe recommendation is this one for Harissa Cauliflower Pilaf which contains a lovely combination of fruit, nuts and spice, together with delicious roasted cauliflower.
It looks like a really interesting combination of flavours and textures. Click on the image above to find the recipe over on the BBC Good Food website.
We love reading about younger people taking up crafting, after all how many of us wish we had started so much earlier? We came across this article about Miah Henley, from Rayleigh in Essex, who learnt to crochet at the age of 10, before setting up her own business selling her crochet makes through a Facebook page in 2020. This led to her being nominated and subsequently winning the Entrepreneur of the Year award at her district council's business awards. You can see some of Miah's makes in the image below and find her Facebook page here.
Image copyright Miah Henley
A couple of weeks ago the coronation of King Charles lll took place at Westminster Abbey and to coincide with this event yarn bombers around the country did themselves proud with an amazing array of post box toppers and other coronation themed yarn offerings! We were particularly impressed with the 37 post box toppers made by The Secret Society of Hertford Crafters, especially with the first topper (shown below) into which they have incorporated yarny versions of some of their own members!
The village of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire became home to a giant knitted King Charles, complete with gardening supplies should he get bored!
Last weekend Andy and I joined a group of friends to complete the Big Fun Walk to help raise funds for The North London Hospice - a charity very close to our hearts as they cared so incredibly for Andy's sister Julie before she passed away last year.
The route of the 8.5 mile walk took us through many of London's wonderful parks and we walked past lots of landmarks on the way, including Buckingham Palace and we felt really proud to be presented with our medals at the end - even the dogs, Luna and Willow got one!
As the evenings are getting longer and I have a little more spare time, I have been trying to get to the gym or go for a walk most days this week. It always surprises me just how therapeutic walking is and how often I find have sorted out lots of problems in my head while walking. It could be that a crochet pattern that has been perplexing me suddenly falls into place, or that I manage to sort out the logistics of some plans, or maybe it just makes me feel calmer and more at peace.
The Peonies in the garden are almost in bloom
Tomorrow I am planning to take a trip into town to see what is going on in the shops. I often find inspiration for projects from current interior trends, so I am looking forward to having a mooch around Anthropologie, John Lewis and Liberty. Going into town will also give me a good walk. For the remaining part of the weekend I am planning to potter around in the garden and make the most of the sunshine, something that is incredibly welcome after months a grey and wet weather here in North London.
I hope that whatever your plans are, that you have great weekend and that you are able to enjoy an extra day off on Monday. I will be back in your inbox in a couple of weeks time with the June update when I hope to have news of a couple of new projects. Keep well....
We are excited to finally have kits for our revamped Fiori blanket in stock! Fiori was a collaborative project between myself and Lucia Dunn of @luciasfigtree. The original design is Fields of Gold and the new colour palette was chosen by Lucia, using a trip to the her home in the Dolomites, Italy as inspiration.
The original kit used a limited edition yarn, but because of this we struggled to keep up with the demand for kits for this beautiful project. This newer version uses 16 shades of Stylecraft yarn instead and is as colourful as you’d expect from a palette where Lucia is involved!
The kits are now available on the website and include all the yarn you need for the project, the printed Fields of Gold pattern, a printed yarn substitution brochure and a Janie Crow sew in label. Lucia will also have the yarn substitution document available on her website soon, so do go and have a visit there within the next week or so if you would rather not get a kit.
Here’s a top tip for a Friday (or indeed any day really) – get a cup of your favourite tea and have a browse of this hashtag: #spiritofflora over on Instagram. Your photos are glorious! They are a riot of colour and now that there are a few different blocks, it’s especially lovely seeing how you are beginning to group them.
Some of you clever people have already made complete projects and it’s amazing to see your colour schemes and how they give the project such a different look and feel to mine. From calm pastels to vibrant jewel colours and everything in between, what an absolute treat to see all the different interpretations.
Thank you so much for continuing to share your delight in this project, it was a long time in the making and to see it keeping you busy and happy is just wonderful. Don’t forget to tag us in with the same hashtag when you post your photos.
This time 2 years ago we were preparing for our daughter’s wedding. It’s amazing how fast the time has gone since and I often find myself wishing I could re-live the day. It was just so fabulous!
I wanted some of my crochet to be involved in Summer and Chris’s big day, but as Sum didn’t want a crochet wedding dress I made do with some small touches instead and created a beaded doily to go under the wedding cake and some crochet covers for the willow trees we decorated the tables with. I used an image from Ravelry as a guide for my doily but changed the stitch count and added a shorter fan edging with beads.
As crochet plays such a large part in our lives, it’s natural that we want to include it in our very special events. Many of you have created amazing shawls or wraps to compliment a wedding outfit and we were delighted to meet Briony (above) at Wonderwool this year. Briony’s mum crocheted that incredible version of the Climbing Rose Wrap for her winter wedding. Briony explained that her wedding had a wool and words theme as she is a published author who loves yarn – check out her page @brionymarshallauthor and have a look at her books; Unravelled is likely to appeal to many of us, you’ll see why!
Crocheted wedding items are inevitably going to be treasured and kept for many years. Julie’s Bunting adds a gorgeous elegance to a garden party and with delicate lace and beads is very much in keeping with summer weddings outside. We love the idea of this pretty decoration being stored and brought out to decorate special events for years to come.
If you can face it, favours are an amazing way to bring crochet into a wedding celebration. We say 'if you can face it' since they are often required in large numbers! Kate @just_pootling is a master of this – please do go and look at her work if you’ve not seen it. The photo above is of the 140 penguins (!!!) she made for her daughter’s wedding. Incredible stuff!
We received some great feedback on this topic when we talked about it on Instagram this week, with lots of people telling us about things they had made for weddings, including quite a few who had made place settings and doilies like me and others who had made mandalas and bunting. Lizelle said she made 100 doilies for the wedding tables that were then made into a keepsake blanket and Agitha told us she was busy crocheting her own wedding dress! Amazing!
We still have some kits in stock for the Magic circles scarf shown above and below. We have added a new shade in place of the discontinued one. You can find a short video that shows the colours in better light by following this link to Instagram.
We will also have kits for the Sandalwood version of Persian Tiles and lots of items from our Emma Ball and Janie Crow collaborative range.
I was looking back through our posts on Instagram from the last year and realised that it has been almost a year since we hit 50k followers, which means that our following has almost doubled in the space of year. How amazing is that!
Having Emma on board to help me with Instagram over the last 12 months has been fabulous and I am really grateful to her for getting me organised so that between us we can post beautiful content more often. I think we have created a really lovely space on our feed, where we can all share our passion for our craft and what goes on in the world around us as we happily hook!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get to 100k followers in time for the last bank holiday weekend in May. I know this is a tall order, but I am thinking that If we were to manage to get another 1500 followers over the next 2 weeks or so we could celebrate with an extra special free download pattern that would be available exclusively to my Instagram followers over the bank holiday weekend.
If you love our feed and would like to get your friends involved, or you simply want to get your hands on an exclusive free pattern, why not help us get to 100k by inviting your instagram friends to follow us. I’m dangling a little carrot in front of your noses by sharing the image above which shows a tiny snippet of the beaded crochet project we will treat our Instagram followers to if we reach 100k by the end of the month.
We are so nearly there and I am really grateful to all those of you who have shared our feed over the last couple of weeks and invited your friends and followers to follow us too!
Last week I had a couple of fabulous days away with my amazing friend Jo who invited me to stay with her in Bath. We had the best time, drinking lots of coffee, eating yummy food and chatting a lot.
On Thursday afternoon we went to a fantastic workshop at The Bath Flower School, where we each made a bouquet to be proud of. Honestly it was the best couple of hours under the guidance of our tutor, the very knowledgeable (and super nice) Saffy.
The Flower School runs lots of amazing courses, aimed at rookies like me, right through to professionals and their range of workshops all sound wonderful. If you’re in the Bath area, or just want to follow a lovely looking feed on Instagram with lots of floral inspiration, then do take a look @thebathflowerschool
You can see a pic of my bouquet (taken by Jo), lower down this email.
Last week on Instagram we showcased the exquisite use of colour by a favourite maker of ours here at Janie Crow, Lizzie Montgomery.
If you take a look at her fabulous feed you will see how Lizzie’s perfect eye for colour has transformed my designs, including Fields of Gold, The Blue House, Persian Tiles, Climbing Rose Wrap and Magic Circles.
Please treat yourself to a browse of Lizzie’s page because there is so much inspirational stuff to see on there! Her posts are always beautiful and it is wonderful to see so many fabulous interpretations of my patterns, along side so many other wonderful images.
Emma and I catch up weekly to talk about Instagram posts mostly, but we also end up chatting about all sorts of everything and she mentioned this week that she has gone a bit bonkers about the blossom this year. Emma says she has been loving the school run of late as her drive takes her through some beautiful countryside and it’s especially gorgeous at the moment because the blossom on the trees is absolutely glorious.
Emma's Apple Blossom
'The cherry blossom is always so pretty at this time of year but but even that seems extra special this year – possibly a little past it’s peak now, it’s still a total joy to visit an avenue local to me which is lined on both sides with beautiful trees in full pink bloom. Little blossoms falling like confetti when it’s windy.
Since hearing a radio article back in February telling us we could expect some spectacular blossom this year, I’ve been really looking forward to seeing what the trees produce. Even in our own small back garden, our little apple tree is giving us the most beautiful show of pink and white blossom and hopefully the promise of some lovely fruit to come.
I have read up on the RHS website and the reason the blossom is so abundant this year is that we had the perfect combination of intense heat last summer and a frosty February: apparently deep-rooted trees LOVE this. The buds have had plenty of cold weather which they need to release them to flower once spring warms up. The cold has also ensured that the fruit trees haven’t flowered too early, which is good as it means they are more likely to escape any late spring frost that can prevent fruit forming.'
Whilst walking back from a trip into town a couple of weeks ago Andy and I were really struck by the cherry blossom on the trees on our street. They are stunning every spring, but, as Emma says, they seem particularly abundant and full this year. I took the image below at about 10pm so it isn't the clearest of shots, but it gives you an idea of just how full the tree was.
When I start to think about a new design I am invariably inspired by flowers. I love looking at tessellating patterns and adore the whole mathematic side of crochet, but if I had a choice I would list floral crochet as my favourite pass time.
I had such a lovely time last week at the @thebathflowerschool and it was such a joy to have an array of flowers to choose for our bouquets. In fact Saffy instructed us to choose 20 flowers and accompanying foliage for our arrangements, so it was a couple of hours of heaven for me and I really love the bouquet I made even though it was too big for me to carry home from Bath on the train. Jo has been sending me pics of how it has been looking over the last week - including the fab pic above.
Over the weekend I spent a lovely hour or so putting together a new flower orientated Pinterest Board. I find Pinterest such a great place to pull together images for mood boards and can easily spend hours on the site looking at gloriously inspiring images.
Jo is also a huge flower fan and so it was brilliant to discuss plants, trees and crochet inspiration with her for a few days last week. She is such a colourful person and spending time in her wonderful flat, surrounded by her eclectic taste and vibrant possessions was a real tonic.
At this time of year, as we start to emerge from the grey of winter, it can almost feel overwhelming to find such beauty and colour around us, but as the summer months pass it can also be easy to take it for granted. The summer time is all too short here in the UK so I am hoping to get out and about in nature as much as possible this year.
There are still some 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 think I have told you this before - May is the month for birthdays in our family. Our niece, Helen was 17 on Tuesday (the same day as my Mum and Dad celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary!) and our daughter, Summer will celebrate her birthday next Tuesday on the same day as my Dad. Our nephew Dan will be 14 on the 26th, the same day as our cousin Alexi celebrates his birthday and I have mine at the end of the month so there is always a lot of cake and celebrating for us this month.
We are going away for a few days to visit Andy's Dad down in the New Forest this weekend so I have made Summer's birthday cake to take with us. I used this Lemon Drizzle recipe but made it in 2 round tins and added some lemon curd and icing to make it extra special.
I have recently worked alongside my fabulous Graphic Designer, Steph, to create a new Janie Crow catalogue which is available to download here. Having a browse through the catalogue is a great way to see the Janie Crow collection in one place and it includes some background information about the designs. Steph has made it all look so lovely and I am incredibly pleased with it. We have sent the file off to print, so we should have some physical copies within the next couple of weeks.
If you head over to the website over the next couple of days you will notice that we have added a note to say that we are unable to dispatch orders until next week. This is because Andy and Charlie got unexpectedly held up after (what was supposed to be) a short trip to Ibiza this week for a music festival. They were meant to come home on Tuesday, but their flight home was cancelled and they were unable to get back until yesterday. As Andy looks after most of the orders on the web site (and as we are visiting family this weekend) we think it is likely that orders will take a little longer than expected to be dispatched, so please be patient. Normal service will resume next week.
Will you be watching Eurovision on Saturday? We know it's corny, but as a family we are big fans of the show so we will definitely be watching it whilst cheering and dancing along!
We haven't been away as a family for a while so I am really looking forward to us all being together for a few days and hope that we will get to do some walking in the New Forest and visit the beach. It is so beautiful down there. Of course I will be taking my crochet hooks along with me too!
I hope that wherever you are, and whatever you have planned that you will have a great weekend and that you stay safe.
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