If you are suddenly panicking that you have lost a day somewhere over the course of this week, don't worry, my usual fortnightly Friday date with your inbox has moved forward by a day - it is definitely still Thursday!
I am emailing a day early this week as we are in the throws of moving out of the studio and I want to let you know that we will be suspending the post in order to complete our move and prepare to exhibit at The Knitting & Stitching Show, which starts a week today.
We will not be dispatching any orders taken on the website between tomorrow afternoon and Monday 11th October. Emailing you a day earlier than usual gives us more time to react to any orders you might want to place after reading this quick catch up email and means that we can get all the post sorted before we leave the studio tomorrow.
You can still place orders on the Janie Crow site, but anything ordered after 2pm Friday 1st October through to Monday 11th will be delayed. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause, but we cannot see an alternative way of completing our move and doing the show without a little disruption.
On a brighter note, we have had quite a lot more stock arrive over the past couple of weeks and so have been able to finally make up a lot of project packs, including The Fruit Garden Crochet Blanket in the Parchment & Caramel and Love Is Enough colourways, as well as more kits for the new Indigo Dreams CAL.
I have a few other things to tell you about besides stock updates this week, so I hope you can spare a few minutes to catch up with our news...
A couple of weeks ago I gave a Zoom presentation at the AGM of the Knitting and Crochet Guild. I had a fab time chatting about how and why I became a crochet designer and didn't end up working in a bank! Look at this amazing illustration of the presentation by @salinajaneart:
Big thanks to the Guild and to Salina for all their support. If you’re not a member already then why not consider joining? For a small annual membership fee you will be offered a wealth of great aspects such as local meetings and great resources on their website.
For those of you who pre-ordered the new book, The Fruit Garden Crochet Blanket, on the Janie Crow web site, these should have now started arriving. I hope you are enjoying leafing through the pages and perhaps some of you might have already starting making your Red House versions of the blanket! I'll look forward to seeing images of them on social media over the coming months.
If you have been on the search for a Fruit Garden project yarn pack, we now have them in stock for the Parchment & Caramel and Love Is Enough colourways. We hope we will have kits for Red House in again soon, but if you are desperate for a kit, why not check out an independent store or online stockist. The books are now out in the wild and I know that quite a few yarn shops have been able to make up project packs.
If you are looking for a kit for another project, we now have really good stock levels of blanket kits including Fields of Gold, Summer Palace (original and blue/pink) and Persian Tiles (Light Blue).
We had another delivery of yarn to make up kits for the Indigo Dreams CAL, which starts in a few weeks time via Inside Crochet Magazine. From the Janie Crow website you can link through for more information about the magazine and to see the great special subscriptions on offer for the duration of the CAL project. I am really excited about the blanket and hope that you will join me on other crochet along journey to get you through the winter months. The first set of patterns will be printed in the magazine in the October issue, which is out on the 21st, and then patterns are available each month through to the February issue.
We had a really great time exhibiting at Yarndale over the weekend and it was so lovely to see so many of you 'in the flesh' at last! The show had its usual great atmosphere and the weather was amazing, so it was the perfect way to feel instantly at home in a yarn show environment. I am really grateful to all those of you who took the time to come on the stand to chat, especially those who told me how important your crochet projects had become over lockdown. I met quite a few brand new crocheters too and it was surprising to discover the number who made the Fruit Garden their first ever project!
We will be showing our wares at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace next week. The show runs from Thursday 7th through to Sunday 10th October. We have our own stand in the smaller hall and I will be on the Stylecraft stand as part of a meet and greet event on Saturday and Sunday 1pm. I hope to see some of you there!
It has been a week of mixed emotions as we have packed up all or stock and personal belongings at the studio and transported them to their new homes. We have some storage space very nearby, so it has not been a lot of long trips to move everything, but it has been surprising just how much stuff we have accumulated over the course of 5 years. I am really sad to leave our building, which is set to be developed into lots of tiny bed sitting flats, especially as I thought we had found our forever home for Janie Crow, but I am equally excited to be set on our path for a new beginning and I look forward to showing you around my new studio space once everything is sorted.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our lovely assistant Sue, who has been a total rock for us over the last 6 years. Sue has been a close friend for many years since our boys went to school together and she has been an absolute star adapting her skills to fit what we needed from her. Without Sue we could not have grown our businesses the way we have and we are eternally grateful to her and wish her the best of luck for her new life, which she hopes will be by the seaside!
I thought I would briefly step away from the excitement of the Fruit Garden and Indigo Dreams blankets to look back to the Lily Pond blanket Crochet Along, which came out in 2015 and was the first crochet along I did in partnership with Stylecraft Yarns.
The design was inspired by the series of Lily Pond paintings by Claude Monet and I tried to create the feeling of movement with the stitch combinations to represent the lilies floating on top of water.
The reaction to the project was incredible with crocheters worldwide getting on board with the concept of the CAL. It was the first time that I was aware of whole groups of crocheters getting together to craft and I especially love these photos of completed projects sent to me by a crochet group in The Netherlands, who even celebrated their blankets with a party in the botanical gardens!
The design proved so popular that Stylecraft asked me if I had any ideas for a new version and the Cherry Blossom colourway was born! Here's an example in the making from ellevensies.design over on Instagram:
All of the patterns, together with the Cherry Blossom colour substitution document, remain available to download free of charge from the Crochetalong pages of the Stylecraft Yarns website here.
A quick search on #lilypondblanket on Instagram also revealed this cushion cover version from @crogemcrochet. Such a great way to turn a big project into a smaller, more manageable one for those of you with less hobby time!
I'll start with an apology for those of you who don't like beetroot but as I might have mentioned once or twice, we're a bit obsessed with it at the moment. This month Gemma has recommended this Riverford recipe for Aromatic beetroot curry with coconut.
Gemma says she put potato in her version to add some variety to the flavour/texture of the curry and it worked really well. We're definitely going to give this a go, especially as the beetroot in our garden are quite literally pushing themselves out of the ground ready to be eaten!
Facebook has been all about Indigo Dreams over the last couple of weeks. We had the most incredible response when we were able to share images for the first time, as you can see from the screen shot of the post below. This was the widest reach of any Janie Crow post on Facebook ever!
There is already a whole community of crocheters gathering in the Facebook group that has been set up especially for the CAL, with membership currently well over one thousand! Thank you to Sue, Jan and Tracy who are dedicating their time to welcoming you and helping members from all around the world with information about the CAL.
We loved reading this story about a grandmother in India being helped by her granddaughter to start a knitting & crochet business at the age of 78.
You can see Sheela's makes over on Instagram at @caughtcrafthanded.
We feel like our feet haven't touched the ground since we arrived back from our holiday a month ago. Indeed we have barely been home since, except to have dinner and head off to bed, so I am really hopeful that this weekend will provide a bit of much needed rest and recuperation!
We have a lot of sorting out to do at home as quite a lot of things have been moved there from the studio, but I am hopeful that we will find a little time to spend in the garden and Andy wants to do a bit more work on the lean to and new shed that he has built, so fingers crossed for nice weather - it has turned a bit damp and chilly here today...
I have a lovely knitting project on the go using Stylecraft's fabulous ReCreate, which is a 100% recycled yarn, and I will be hoping for some time on the settee with this. I am also hopeful that I might finally be able to get some alone time with a crochet hook as we head into next week - it feels like an age since I was immersed in a crochet project!
Are any of you planning to do the Stephen West MKAL this year? I have chosen a yarn palette that I now realise is very similar to the one I made last year, so I might make a few changes. The knit along shawl project starts next Friday and you can find more information about it by following this link.
We always enjoy hearing from you, so if you want to get in touch simply hit reply and let us know what is on your mind. I will be back in your in box with the October Newsletter on Friday 15th. Until then I hope you stay safe and warm as we head into Autumn...
My new crochet along project Indigo Dreams will run in Inside Crochet Magazine over five issues between October and February. The CAL will start in issue 141 of the magazine, which will be on sale on October 21st and you can find preview images and the list of yarns needed to create the project in this month's issue, which came out yesterday.
The design for this blanket was inspired by a beautiful Kantha stitched quilt that I found on my travels in India a few years ago, as well as my love of traditional patchwork quilts and tessellations.
The pattern will be broken down into five parts and will include the usual step-by-step images and detailed written instructions and charts. This is possibly one of my easiest projects to date, with most motifs based on the traditional granny square motif. As usual with my CAL designs the project will get progressively harder so that you can push your crochet ability and increase your skill set.
I love working with Inside Crochet Magazine and am incredibly proud of the outcome of this project. The styling of the blanket by Claire Montgomerie and the shots themselves by the fabulous Leanne Jade make me so happy and I hope you are going to love this project as much as I do.
You can find more information and a list of the Stylecraft yarns I have used to make this project by following this link. We have stock of kits available on the web site now. They are £59.50 plus P&P and include the yarn and a Janie Crow sew in label. Patterns are only available via Inside Crochet Magazine for the duration of the CAL and are not included in the yarn pack.
The magazine are offering a six-month subscription offer, which will guarantee that you receive each part of the CAL as it is revealed every month. You can find a great offer (which will save you ££££) for the print magazine by following this link and one for the digital subscription by following this link.
You can also find a wonderful Facebook community, so that you can share your progress and ask questions as you go along, by following this link.
The Fruit Garden Crochet Blanket books arrived here this week after a slight delay due to unforeseen circumstances, but boy was it worth the wait! I am so incredibly happy with it and hope that you are going to love it too!
Because of the delay in receiving the books we have had to move the publishing date a little, so if you are waiting on a pre-order please excuse the slightly longer wait. The official publishing date will now be Thursday 23rd September. Moving the date gives us time to make sure that books are also available via other yarn stores, so if you have a local Stylecraft stockist you may want to ask if they are expecting to have it for sale.
The original patterns for this project remain available as free downloads via the Stylecraft web site, but I have now amalgamated all the motif designs needed to make this stunning heirloom blanket into a book, which also includes crochet charts, testimonials and more background information about my inspiration and design process as well as a brand new colourway of the blanket project, 'Red House'.
When putting the book together I was lucky enough to be granted permission to use images from The William Morris Society, The V&A and The National Museums of Scotland, all of whom have items in their collections by William & May Morris that inspired my design.
I am immensely proud of The Fruit Garden blanket and all that it came to represent over the course of the last 18 months, when so many people used it as a way to help them through difficult times. I have included 8 testimonials in the book from people all over the world who created their own versions of the blanket in 2020.
I hope that this book will act as a great learning tool for crocheters who want to create a blanket of their own and also as a lovely keepsake for those who may have already made one or more of the project colourways.
All versions of the blanket use yarns from the Stylecraft range, including Life DK, Naturals – Bamboo + Cotton and the new Organic Cotton.
When I posted the video above on Instagram of my test print copy, I had a lot of people asking about purchasing a spiral bound copy. I asked our printer if he could cost a print run for a spiral bound version, but the price has come up far too high for it to be feasible.
Within the chat on Instagram many people mentioned how easy it is to get existing books spiral bound, so if you think this is something you might want to do with your copy of the book, check out this link to Rymans for more information. Apparently if you have an existing book they can cut through the spine and bind it for you! I am sure other stationary stores are able to provide this service, so don't worry if you don't have a Rymans near you. If you are in the US I understand that Office Depot provide this service too.
We may only just be on the verge of autumn here in the UK, but when it comes to crafting for the festive season it is wise to start planning your projects early, so I am really pleased to say that my Tidings Wrap, which I designed for this year's Jimmy Beans Advent Box is now available to order via their web site.
This will be the sixth annual Craftvent, a holiday-themed Advent calendar and there is something for every type of maker, as Jimmy Beans commissioned both knit and crochet project options and you can choose to work on either a 24 day project or 12 day one.
Designer Ambah O'Brien developed the large knit project called Festive Wrap and I came up with the crochet project, Tidings Wrap, which utilises a unique construction that begins at the centre and works each side outward. Adorable pom-poms are added to the outside using leftover scraps from each day and you can choose from 2 lovely colourways - Ribbon Candy is shown above and the Buttermint version is shown below.
Jimmy Beans' own knit and crochet designer Amy Gunderson created both the smaller knit and crochet projects, called 'Tis The Season Mitts. Gunderson owned a pizza place in Iowa City for seven years, which is also where she first learned to knit in between making pizzas. In addition to being a designer, she is also the Yarn Director at Jimmy Beans Wool.
We have just two weeks left here at the studio and so, if I am honest, I am beginning to get a little worried about the mountains of stock we need to sort through before we leave, especially as the books and yarn for new kits has all arrived this week and we have Yarndale to prepare for. I think we will be having a lot of late nights and no days off between now and the end of the month in order to sort ourselves out, but I am also feeling really excited about our new beginnings...
Andy's Just Knots site will be live until this coming Monday, so if you want to grab any of his reduced stock you have a few days to do so - there are still some great kits and yarn bargains there. Just Knots will be up and running as an ebay only store in a few weeks time, but while we sort everything out here and start to merge parts of Just Knots back into Janie Crow, we have put the store into holiday mode.
If you were previously a subscriber to Andy's Just Knots mailing list (which operated under the umbrella company of Janie Crow) this might be the first email you have seen from me directly, so welcome!
We are really excited that we will be exhibiting at Yarndale next weekend - 25th & 26th September. We have secured a really big stand so that there is double the amount of space for us to display the blankets and projects and more room for people to move around whilst browsing and stay a little more socially distanced. We are hoping to have yarn kits, patterns, books, crochet hooks, knitting needles and accessories for sale.
We will be dedicating quite a large space on the stand to display The Fruit Garden blankets and I will be on hand to sign copies of the book and catch up with any of you who want to have a chat!
The organisers of the show have made tickets available as timed entry to ease congestion and they have provided us with lots of suggestions to make the day safer of everyone, such as the provision of hand sanitisers on the stand and the recommendation for attendees to wear face coverings.
We are really looking forward to the event after 2 years away and hope that some of you will come along too. You can find tickets and more information by following this link to the Yarndale web site.
Veronica Drury is the driving force behind a great company Simply Shade Cards, who produce wooden cards that you can use to record your yarn choices for a project. Veronica has already made cards for Attic 24, Emma Varnam and Coastal Crochet projects, so I was really pleased when she approached me about making cards for The Fruit Garden Blanket.
Veronica will have Fruit Garden cards for each of the 4 blanket colourways on sale in her Etsy shop this afternoon.
Because the new book uses an alphabetical reference for the shades used in each of the 4 blanket colourways I thought that a shade card that lists shades from A to L would be a really useful tool, so over the last few months I worked with Veronica in order for her to also create some fabulous cards which will be exclusive to Janie Crow (shown above). We will have the alphabetical cards for sale at Yarndale and if we have any left over I will add them to the website on our return from the show.
Aren't they fabulous!
Stylecraft have had a large delivery of yarn this week, which means that many of our out of stock kits will start to make an appearance on the Janie Crow web site again. We have yarn packs for the Eastern Jewels version of Persian Tiles and the Night & Dusk version of The Fruit Garden blanket back in stock on Janie Crow. We also have kits for the original Persian Tiles blanket project.
We have yarn waiting to be made up for the Climbing Rose Wrap, Sunshine and Showers and the Sussex Garden version of Bohemian Blooms - all these kits have been put into stock and can be dispatched from Monday.
Most of our yarn kits are now packaged using repurposed packing as we are re-sealing the yarn bags that we receive our stock from Stylecraft in. This has meant we are using a lot fewer new plastic bags.
A few weeks ago Mary Maxim released a new yarn pack for my Delft blanket design. You can find it by following this link. If you would rather not have a yarn kit and are interested in my paper catalogue or download patterns, then take a look at them here on the Janie Crow website. Project pages have links for download copies of my patterns via Ravelry and Etsy.
I am really pleased to have been nominated within the 'Most Iconic Crochet Designer' category in this year's British Knitting & Crochet awards. If you want to head over to the awards website to vote for all your favourite yarn brands, stores, designers and products then you can find the link here. The Crochet Designer award is listed under 'Miscellaneous'. Voting closes next Friday, September 24th.
I want to show you the outcome of all the experimental cake making I went through in order to make Summer & Chris's wedding cake. Ta Dah!
Transporting and stacking a 4 tier wedding cake on the morning of the wedding was not the most relaxing thing to be doing, but I am really pleased with how the cake turned out and hope that you will be especially impressed by the beaded crochet doily that I made for the cake to sit on!
I used the rich dark chocolate cake and zingy lemon cake recipes from the BBC Good Food website and my fantastic Dad made a gorgeous fruit cake which was the second tier down.
I am not sure I will ever volunteer to make a wedding cake again, but I do really enjoy my new cake making hobby even if my waistline doesn't!
We will be at the studio over the next few days doing some packing and sorting, but we have a few little arrangements slotted in to make it feel a little more like a weekend.
Tomorrow afternoon we are heading over to see our artist friend Paul Hillary's open studio event and on Sunday we are going to try to catch a pop up zero waste market that is held once a month in our town.
We have a lot of vegetables suddenly ready in the garden, including an abundance of aubergines which we have been really successful with (beginners luck!), so I will probably make an aubergine and red onion casserole on Saturday night. Although we also have lots of beetroot suddenly ready, so it is going to be a hard choice!
This week I have started knitting a tank top in Stylecraft's ReCReate yarn. It really is lovely to knit with and I was inspired to make it by Emma Varnam who showed her lovely version on one of her recent Instagram Live videos. Like Emma, I am probably going to make it without the cable on the front. I am using shade 1942 Cherry. Emma does a weekly video on a Saturday morning, so you may want to check that out tomorrow.
Have any of you already signed up to the next Stephen West Mystery Knit Along? I made the slipstravavganza shawl this time last year and love it, although the last few rows felt never ending as the stitch count was so huge! So far I have resisted the temptation to officially join in, but I have found myself gathering 4ply from my stash to look at colour combos and will probably be dipping into it again over the next few days when I get distracted from the packing!
I hope that wherever you are and whatever you have planned, that you have a fabulous weekend and I will see you back here in a couple of weeks time - if you are coming to Yarndale next weekend please make sure to come and say hello!
Welcome to a quick catch up with Janie Crow. I hope that this email finds you well and happy wherever you are in the world!
I am never quite sure how I feel about this time of year when the end of the summer school break is in sight and thoughts start to turn towards the autumn. I love the sunshine and we have seen so little of it this year that I feel a little bit cheated, but as I said a couple of weeks ago, we finally have a lot of exciting things going on here at Janie Crow, so at least we don't have too much spare time to dwell on the lack of sunshine!
I have just seen the reveal pages that will feature in this month's copy of Inside Crochet Magazine promoting my new CAL 'Indigo Dreams' and I cannot wait for you to see them too! The wait is almost over! The CAL will run across 5 issues and the magazine will be doing a special offer for a six month subscription, both postal and digital - so do look out for that very soon.
We hope to have kits for the new CAL project by the end of the month and will let you know as soon as they are in stock. I have used Stylecraft Life DK, Highland Heathers and Batik DK to make the blanket, which was inspired by my love of Indian textiles and traditional patchwork quilt designs.
In case you missed it a few weeks ago, we have put my new book, The Fruit Garden Crochet Blanket, on the web site as a pre-sale item with the aim of despatching the books in time for the official publication date of 17th September.
The response to the book has been amazing and I am so pleased to hear that so many of you are excited about it. I am incredibly proud of it!
The pattern focus this week can only really be The Fruit Garden Blanket as we are still buzzing about finally being able to show you the new colourway and talk about the dedicated book.
With the imminent release of the book, which showcases the three original colour ways of the design, together with the new exclusive colourway, Red House, here is a visual celebration of the Fruit Garden family. You can click on the images to be taken to the web pages.
Love is Enough
Melsetter & Kelmscott Cushions
Night & Dusk
Parchment & Caramel
As a child I hated beetroot as I thought it tasted like mud and it has taken me an age to to realise just how incredibly delicious it is - now I just cannot get enough of it and use it in recipes at every opportunity!
We have been growing beetroot in the garden this year and it is abundant in all the greengrocers stores right now, so we tried out a delicious Beetroot, Red Onion and Goats Cheese Tarte Tatin recipe recently. You can see the results in this post over on the Janie Crow Lifestyle Instagram feed.
You can read more about the Janie Crow Lifestyle brand over on the website, but in short it came from our love of home and our desire to nurture ourselves, our friends and our families, whilst also being kind the the environment we live in. You will find products that we have tried out and that have the environmental credentials that fit with our beliefs along with seasonal recipes and inspiring images.
This month Facebook was abuzz with excitement as the first images of the Red House colourway of the Fruit Garden blanket were released along with the publication date of 'The Fruit Garden Blanket' book. A few of you commented that this is your favourite colourway yet!
We also joined in the celebration of Simply Crochet Magazine's Granny Square Day on Sunday 15th August. Lots of you shared images of beautiful squares with us. Sarah Haws showed us this lovely image of her Willow Squares (pattern from 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws, and Afghans by Jan Eaton):
This was Carolina Stefania's Hollyhock motif from the Fruit Garden blanket - her favourite Granny square at the moment:
This is the Wikipedia definition of a Granny Square:
'A granny square is a piece of square fabric produced in crochet by working in rounds from the center outward. Granny squares are traditionally handmade.'
We think that lots of Janie Crow motifs count as Granny Squares - albeit not in the traditional style and we love the way that many of you use them to make a variety of great projects.
None of us can have failed to be moved by the dreadful scenes from Afghanistan over the last few weeks and some of us may already have been involved with local collections of clothes, toiletries and other essentials for refugee families who are being settled in our areas.
The online community Woolly Hugs is appealing for help to make squares for blankets to gift to these families. Click here or on the image below for further details. If anyone is able to help I'm sure they would be very appreciative.
Woolly Hugs get involved in a variety of projects, from making blankets for very poorly children in hospitals around the UK, to the Chernobyl project where blankets are gifted to children who visit the UK from the Ukraine each year, many of whom are in remission from cancer caused by the dreadful contamination from the nuclear accident back in 1986.
You can find out more about them on their website or on their Facebook page.
We are looking forward to a weekend with family and friends and I hope that whatever your plans for the next few days that you have a great couple of days too.
We always enjoy hearing from you, so if you want to get in touch simply hit reply and let us know what is on your mind.
PS: If you are looking for a few yarny bargains we still have some sale stock over on Andy's Just Knots web site here.
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Welcome to my blog. Here you will find my email newsletter archive alongside any other general musings or information about events or new pattern releases that I wish to share with you!