I am just dropping by to wish you all a very happy New Year. We are cosied up at home with a nice bottle of wine and a string of good movies lined up to watch on the TV as we head into 2022. I have been working on the Stephen West Shawlography project over the last few days, but still have a long way to go - an evening on the settee with my knitting sounds pretty perfect for me!
It goes without saying that the past year has been a bit of a strange one, especially as we spent more than half of it in semi lockdown here in England. As I look back on the year, and think about all the things that were once again cancelled or postponed, I realise how lucky we were to have been able to celebrate our daughter's fabulous wedding in July and that of our niece, Lily, in November. I know that we were incredibly fortunate in many other aspects of our lives too.
It can be very easy to look back and remember all the bad bits though. Along with the nice things that happened in 2021 we have had some rocky moments and our fair share of bad stuff, like every family, so at times it has been really hard to stay positive and upbeat. Hopefully 2022 is set to bring a brighter future and I am looking forward to making new plans, both for Janie Crow and in my personal life. More time at home since our move out of the studio in the autumn has made me realise that there is room in my life for more than work related things and that I am at a time in my life where I can embrace the joy of being at home more - living life at a slightly slower pace and not beating myself up over deadlines and output.
From a design point of view, 2021 was the year of my Indigo Dreams CAL, which will continue through to February. With months and months of delays due to the pandemic I was so relieved to get a crochet along project out in the world and it is great to see so many of you continuing to work your way through the design.
In August 2021 Janie Crow turned 10 years old and we had hoped to make some plans to celebrate our company's birthday, but with the continued lockdown and the fact that we had to move out of our studio, we ended up unable to arrange any events to mark the occasion. With 8 months left of our birthday year we are hoping to be able to sort out something for 2022.
The last few months have seen kits slowly coming back into stock and I am looking forward to new projects in 2022. A revamped CAL project of mine will be the Stylecraft Make Along project for February (more information about that in the January newsletter) and March will see the release of my Tidings Wrap, which is currently the Advent project on Jimmy Beans.
I am working on a couple of cushion designs for Inside Crochet magazine, which will be released in the spring and I hope to have news of a larger project towards the end of the year so long as things go to plan. I hope you will keep up with all things Janie Crow over the forthcoming months.
I wish you all a fabulous 2022!
Over the festive period we have been keeping ourselves in hermit mode once again, but have been able to venture out a little and have some family over to share in our small celebrations.vThankfully almost all of us have had our booster vaccinations - Charlie will be the last one on our list when he has his booster on Tuesday next week.
We feel incredibly lucky to have been able to take up the offer of a vaccination and have made donations to the Unicef Vaccinaid programme so that others all over the world are also able to get some protection against the virus. If you would like to donate too you can find a link here.
Since Christmas we have seen a flurry of download pattern sales on Ravelry and Etsy as people start to plan what projects to make as we head into 22. We will be back at work on Tuesday and will be sending out any orders placed over the festive period.
We still have some kits and hope to add more to the site soon as there are still a lot that we do not have the yarn for yet. The following kits are still showing stock:
Fruit Garden Blanket - Night & Dusk
Fruit Garden Blanket - Red House
Persian Tiles - Eastern Jewels
We had a great response to my email last week when I told you that we finally had some kits in stock. We have been able to update our stocks again this week and now have Eastern Jewels, Sunshine & Showers, Fruit Garden Night & Dusk and Red House and Lily Pond ready for sale.
We have now sold out of all our Fiori kits, but Lucia still has some on her site. You can find them by following this link.
I feel so incredibly honoured when people post pictures of their Janie Crow projects. I love seeing different colour ways and interpretations of my designs and I adore hearing about the joy that crochet brings to the lives of people across the world. I was so touched yesterday when my friend Lita posted the image below of her crochet group in Indonesia alongside their Fruit Garden blanket projects. Honestly this image moved me to tears and I am so proud to see my designs made by such a fantastic and talented group.
Here is a pic of another beautiful version of The Fruit Garden blanket that was sent to me by Vicky Neale - isn't it fabulous - I love Vicky's choice of colours!
I really enjoy seeing my projects out in the wild, so please get in touch if you want to share some of your makes with myself and the Janie Crow team. We all love seeing them.
A huge thank you to all of you who voted for me in the recent Knitting & Crochet Awards. I am really proud to have been presented with the Highly Commended Award in the Crochet Designer category. It means so much to have made it to the top of the list alongside my fellow Blogstars Lucy of Attic 24 and Helen Shrimpton.
Our daughter Summer has a real skill for gift wrapping. It is a job I dislike, but Sum always embraces it as part of her festive preparations. She is always conscious about the environmental impact of what she does, so this year she opted to wrap her gifts in brown paper and add a simple wired bow to some of them.
Upon reflection she felt that her gifts looked a little plain, so she has spent the last week or so decorating them all and giving them a wonderful personal touch. She used felt tipped pens to create her lovely designs.
I haven't started my wrapping yet and still have a few things left to get, so I am pretty sure I won't be hand decorating any presents this year, but I thought I would have a rummage through my oddments of crochet as I am pretty sure I have lots of handmade flowers and bits and bobs that I could attach to some gifts instead of bows and ribbons, which often have a plastic content. I think I might have some brooch backs somewhere so that they could be used as corsages too.
I found this fabulous pattern on Etsy, for little crochet gifts which I think would look so lovely either on a present or hung from the tree.
A few weeks ago Summer and I travelled down to Hampshire to the HQ of The Grey Sheep Co to attend their open day. We had a really great time watching shepherdess Susie Parish give a sheep dog display and chat about how she trains her dogs. It was also really interesting to hear about how the company are cross breeding sheep in order to achieve great knitting yarns.
Company owner Emma Boyles also gave a talk about the new machinery they have to produce their gorgeous yarns in house and we were given a chance to see them in action.
Summer and I had such a nice time chatting to other knitters and crocheters and browsing through the gorgeous yarns that Emma produces on her farm. You can find more information about The Grey Sheep Co (who you may have already seen featured on Country File) by following this link to their website.
The last second class postage date to guarantee delivery before Christmas is tomorrow 18th December and the last first class date is Tuesday 21st. You can find more information by following this link to the Royal Mail website.
For the first time in years we are going to have a proper break over the Christmas and New Year holidays. We will not be working from Thursday 23rd December through to Tuesday 4th January.
The Janie Crow website will be open and orders can be placed within this period, but items will not be dispatched until the New Year.
If you would like to purchase a pattern and want to start work on it over the holidays, the quickest way to access it will be to get a download copy via either our Ravelry or Etsy stores.
Yesterday I sat and wrote out my list in preparation for our food shopping next week. With Christmas plans pared right back this year we are not planning huge feasts and so I am thinking of doing lots of easy meals that we can rustle up in the evenings and hearty soups we can have at lunch time.
I love cooking, but I am not fond of too much faffing and so I like recipes that give scrummy results with minimum effort. This year we have decided to do Tiramisu as our Christmas desert.
Andy will be in charge of making this super simple but gorgeously tasty pud as he loves this recipe from BBC Good Food and has made it many times before. He adds grated chocolate between the layers and uses a little less sugar. It is always tastier when it is a few days old and the flavours have been given a chance to blend a little, so it is the perfect dessert to prepare beforehand.
We have cancelled some of our plans for this weekend and will not be heading out too much. Instead we are hoping to finish off some of the jobs around the house and paint the garage doors - so long as the weather will allow. Living the high life as usual!!!
I am hoping that I will get some time (as always) to sit with my knitting in front of the TV and so will need to make some time to wind off some of the skeins of yarn I purchased at The Grey Sheep Co a few weeks ago.
Last week I completed my hand knit tank top that I have made using Stylecraft's ReCreate yarn. I am really chuffed with it and have worn it pretty much everyday since I finished it. I made it in the shade Cherry and am quite tempted to make another in Charcoal. I used this pattern but left out the cable.
The sweater project I have chosen to work on over Christmas and into the New Year is called Oslo and it is by Petite Knit - you can find the Ravelry store by following this link. All the patterns on there are fabulous!
Earlier on this week I attended a beginners mosaic class and made a heart plaque. I really enjoyed the class and think this might be the start of a new obsession. I really like the thought of giving old chipped ceramics a new lease of life and really enjoyed the process of cutting and glueing the fragments of pottery into place. My first attempt at this technique is in no way a masterpiece but I am very proud of it.
I came across the work of mosaic artist Amanda Anderson (a piece of her work is shown above) a few years ago when I saw some of her pieces on display in a Bournemouth gallery. I adore her work, which you can find on her website here or on Instagram here. I have a long way to go to get close to this kind of skill. Isn't it amazing!
My friend Jan sent me this picture last Christmas as it reminded her of the Fruit Garden blanket - I love the pic, although I do hope the lady in the pic didn't also remind her of me, so I thought I would share it with you as we head into the festive period.
I will be back with a quick update in a couple of weeks time on New Year's eve. I hope that wherever you are you are safe and well and that you have a good holiday whatever you have planned...
I hope you will forgive the fact that I have dropped into your inbox for 3 weeks on the trot, but this is a very speedy email to let you know that we finally have some kits and yarn packs in stock.
With the days until Christmas speeding away, it occurred to me that letting you know that kits are in stock in my newsletter next week and not before then, might leave it a bit tight postage wise for any of you who may want to work through one of my crochet projects over the festive period, or those of you who would like to give one as a gift.
So, without any further ado, we have the following kits and yarn packs in stock and ready for dispatch from Monday:
Fruit Garden Blanket - Night & Dusk
Fruit Garden Blanket - Red House
Persian Tiles - Eastern Jewels
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend whatever you have planned.
I know that I have dropped an email into your inbox two weeks on the bounce, but that's because last week's newsletter was a week late! As things are finally calmer and more settled here at Janie Crow I am trying to get back on schedule and keep my life on track - it is good to feel like things are finally coming together after our move out of the studio.
This week we have been busy sorting out my new work space in the summer house at the end of our garden. The building (which Andy brick built about a decade ago) spans the entire width of the garden, so it is a nice sized space which we have now divided up a little so that part of it can be used by me as a small studio space. Seeing the room take shape this week has made me feel a real pang to get back to some design work. As I said last week, I have quite a few ideas hanging around in my head, so it will be lovely to finally settle down with a hook and some yarn and get going on some new projects.
I don't have a huge amount to tell you about this week and will recap on some of the things I mentioned last week in my November newsletter, but there could well be something in here that interests you, so I hope you will stick with me for five minutes and catch up with all things Janie Crow.
I love seeing my designs worked in alternative colourways and so when Lucia Dunn of Lucia's Fig Tree asked for permission to recolour my Persian Tiles blanket to create her amazing Eastern Jewels version a few years ago I was really pleased. A few years later Lucia worked her magic to create a version of my Frida's Flowers design too, so I was really excited when we caught up in the spring and she told me that she wanted to make her own version of my Fields of Gold blanket.
I adore this new brightly coloured version of my blanket, which Lucia has come up with. It is just so gorgeous!
Lucia has named her version of the blanket Fiori and, to make this collaboration even more exciting, she has very kindly included the Janie Crow logo alongside hers on the balls of gorgeous Fohen DK yarn which make up the yarn packs for this project. Fohen and Fohen Tweed yarns are a really gorgeous soft and bouncy DK weight, which is a merino wool rich mixture in fabulously vibrant shades.
We now have less than 15 of these kits left in stock and, as it is a limited edition, we currently do not have plan to restock. If you have been thinking about grabbing one of these kits, you can follow this link to nab one.
The yarn packs contain 31 x 50g balls of exclusive yarn, a sew in Janie Crow label, the original pattern for the Fields of Gold Blanket and a printed yarn sub brochure for Lucia's Fiori colourway. All our yarn kits have been packed re-using the original plastic bag packaging from the yarn supplier rather than new bags. You can find more information about the project by following this link.
Please note that the Fiori colourway is only available as a kit and that the yarn substitution document is not accessible separately. We have a limited number of these kits available. Our order came in a little short, so we will have a few more kits towards the end of the month/early December, but it is pretty much a case of when they are gone they are gone!
You can find a lovely introductory video that Lucia has made about this blanket collaboration by following this link.
It has been fabulous seeing your Indigo Dreams blankets taking shape. With part two of the pattern out now and part three not far away it has been fabulous to see all the crochet motifs popping up on social media. As usual, it has been a joy to see lots of lovely alternative colourways and types of yarn being used.
I spent some time in the garden this week doing (what might be) my final bit of leaf clearing for the year. I even managed to give the grass a cut, so it is looking much better for a quick bit of TLC. Whilst clearing up I noticed that there was quite a lot of ivy in need of chopping back, so I gave it a good prune and brought the cuttings in to use in my first little bit of Christmas decorating. If I am honest it still feels a little early to be decorating the house, but as time is flying by so quickly, I think we might be getting up into the loft this weekend to get all the festive decorations down.
If you are looking for some nice little stash busting projects and fancy having a go at making some of my crochet decorations then why not take a look at the festive decorations page on my web site by clicking here or on the images above and below.
We are really pleased that it looks like we will be having more kits in stock within the next week as the delivery of yarn is becoming more and more reliable. One of the designs we are hoping to have yarn packs for is my Sunshine and Showers blanket, which I designed as a year long CAL project quite a few years ago now.
The project was originally released as monthly patterns, but they are now all available as downloads via Ravelry and Etsy.
The inspiration for the design was the seasonal weather of the UK and each section of the design, the patterns for which were originally published monthly, reflects a different seasonal theme. For example, in July and August the design was based on sunny skies and flowers, whereas in January the focus was great snowy weather, which I represented by using crochet puff stitches.
Sunshine and Showers uses 15 balls of 100g Special DK, so if you fancy doing your own colour way you could search through your stash for left over yarns.
Like all my crochet along projects I tried to design this one in a way that made it a great learning tool. It gets progressively harder so that crocheters can build their skills. All patterns include step-by-step images and detailed instructions throughout. Follow this link to the Janie Crow website for more information.
The other kits we are hoping to have in stock next week are Eastern Jewels, Fruit Garden - Night & Dusk and Lily Pond. If you are after one of these kits please keep an eye on the web site.
We felt really privileged to attend our niece's wedding last weekend, especially as the ceremony had previously been cancelled twice as a result of lockdown.
The wedding was absolutely wonderful and it was so lovely to see our beautiful girl finally marry her prince. The whole day was a delight from start to finish, but one of the highlights was the amazing Italian wedding breakfast, which included the most delicious pasta dish I think I have ever had in my life!
All the food was delicious, but we enjoyed the mushroom fettuccine so much that we searched out a recipe and made our own version the following day. We used this recipe from Pinch of Yum.
As we have been sorting out the summer house/studio space this week I have been looking at lots of interiors/decorating web sites and whilst doing so I came across a great app from Dulux which helps you envisage what their paint shades will look like in your home. The visualiser app is really cool and you can find more information about it here. Whilst playing about with it this week I found that you can pick colours from existing images too and then match them in their paint range, so needless to say, I am now a tad addicted to the app!
We have also been looking for some curtains for the studio and so I was excited to see the range of William Morris fabrics that are making a comeback in the form of ready made curtains. Whilst on the John Lewis website I found some Kelmscott Tree curtains.
As the embroidered bed hangings on William Morris's bed at Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire were one of the inspirations for the Fruit Garden blanket I couldn't resist these beauties, despite the price tag - I will just have to make a few savings elsewhere to stay within my little budget!
Finding the Kelmscott curtains led me down a William Morris rabbit hole once again and I came across some lovely festive items in the William Morris Gallery shop. I resisted temptation, but there might be something there that takes your fancy.
We have an imitation Christmas Tree that we get out year after year. I bought the tree around 10 years ago, but have since discovered that you need to keep a fake tree for many years to balance its carbon foot print so it looks like our tree will have a few more years left with us. Thankfully I still love the tree, so am not too worried about that, however I did consider renting a real tree this year to give us a bit of a break from our fake snowy one.
Andy's cousin rented a tree last year and many areas in the country operate a tree rental service. You can find more information about this in a piece via Country Living, which you can find here. If you want to read up on the fake vs real Christmas Tree debate you could take a look at this article.
After a long period of time of not really doing a lot of anything (in terms of going out) we have a busy weekend ahead of us so I am thankful that we have already had our booster jabs!
Tonight we are going to see The Manic Street Preachers in concert at Wembley and tomorrow Summer and I are heading to the festive open day at The Grey Sheep Co in Hampshire. On Sunday afternoon we are hoping to see a local band at the pub! I would like to think that somewhere amongst all of this we will manage to get some of our festive decorations up at home and that I will get to have some cosy time with my knitting on the settee....
I know that we are very lucky to be in such a privileged position to be planning a lovely weekend ahead and that there are many others who are not so lucky. We are very thankful for what we have and try our best to pay back in small ways if we can. At this time of year we support two of the UK's homeless charities, Shelter and Crisis. If you want to support them too, please click on the links. Both charities rely on the work of volunteers and not just on the proceeds of donations and they do amazing work at a time of year when not everyone is lucky enough to be at home enjoying a lovely Christmas.
I will be back in a couple of weeks time with my December newsletter. If you are looking for a project to work on over the festive period or want to source a kit as a gift (either to self or for a friend) don't forget to check into the web site to see if kit stocks have been updated. If you are looking for small stocking filler gifts with an eco edge, then you could also take a look at our Lifestyle range here.
I hope that you are well and happy as we head into the weekend and that all is good with you wherever you are in the world. Sending yarny hugs...
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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!